Jack Hays is just 19 years old when he arrives in Nacogdoches, Texas in 1836. Moment later, when a bully is killed, none of the witnesses dispute that Jack acted in self-defense. Despite his young age, Jack is a man who commands both fear and respect.
Although he is too late to enlist in the fight for Texas Independence, he soon joins the ranging company of Deaf Smith and begins a 13-year history of defending Texans from raids by Comanche bands and Mexican bandits. When he is just 23 he is made a captain of the Texas Rangers and gains a reputation as the fearless leader of a group of young men who will follow him anywhere and under any circumstances. He leads a regiment of Texas volunteers in the Mexican/American War defending U.S. supply lines, finds and destroys Mexican guerrillas, and fighting with regular Army units to gain significant successes. In so doing he earns a significant reputation for bravery and success. Jack's journey leads him to love and marriage and a transformative role in Texas history.