Hopalong Cassidy has received a message from the dead. When he answers an urgent appeal for help from fellow cowpuncher Pete Melford, Cassidy rides in only to discover that his old friend has been murdered and the livestock Pete left to his niece, Cindy Blair, has vanished without a trace. Hopalong may have arrived too late to save Pete, but his sense of loyalty and honor demands that he find that cold-blooded killers and return to Cindy what is rightfully hers.
Colonel Justin Tredway, criminal kingpin of the town of Kachina, is the owner of the sprawling Box T ranch, and he has built his empire with a shrewd and ruthless determination. In pursuit of Pete’s killers and Cindy’s property, Hopalong signs on at the Box T, promising to help get Tredway’s wild cattle out of the rattler-infested brush. But in the land of mesquite and black chaparral, Cassidy confronts a mystery as hellish as it is haunting—a bloody trail that leads to the strange and forbidding Babylon plateau, $60,000 in stolen gold, and a showdown with an outlaw who has already cheated death once and is determined to do it again.