DeArment shows in dramatic detail how for two years gangs of robbers ruled the road, perpetrating holdups and killings, until lawmen and stage-company and railroad agents finally brought an end to the mayhem. The characters populating this violent tale include such legendary figures as Wild Bill Hickok and the famous railroad detective James L. "Whispering" Smith, a formidable opponent of bandits. We also get to know the men who operated the stages, the lawmen and company men who ran and defended the coaches, and the outlaws who fought against them. DeArment tells where these men came from and what became of them after the outlawry ended. He ends his account in the 1880s with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show and its spectacular rendition of a shotgun robbery, featuring an actual Deadwood stagecoach. After nearly a century and a half, the Deadwood stage continues to command our attention.