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Toby Ryker, a colorful old mountain man and lord-knows-what-all similiar to J.B. Books in Swarthout's classic, "The Shootist," is forced to come to grips with his mortality. He moseys into Laramie and stirs up a saloon brawl just for the fun of it then pays for the damages, thus bailing everyone out of a passle of trouble. Moments later, he collapses of a heart attack. When he wakes up, the doctor directs him to adopt a quiet way of life. He looks up an old friend, David Stewart, a rancher living in the area who is now married with a family, and the two decide to go on a last hunting trip in the Medicine Bow Mountains. Ryker learns that McQuiston, a sadistic bounty hunter, has trailed him to Laramie over a shooting he committed in Deadwood. McQuiston kills a local cowboy soon after his arrival and the chase is on, with Ryker and Stewart hunting elk, McQuiston hunting Ryker, and the sheriff hunting McQuiston. The final shootout leaves McQuiston dead, but with a story ending that is not what it appears to be.
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