It's October, 1870, and once again, violence erupts on the streets of Los Angeles. City Marshal William Warren gets into a gunfight with his deputy Joseph Dye, and is severely wounded. Fortunately, winemaker and physician Maddie Wilcox is on the scene to take care of the marshal. But the next day, she finds that the marshal has been smothered in his bed.
The morning after the marshal's death, red paint is splashed all over the front porch of his home, and a list of his sins posted on the front.
The list of people with grievances against the fiery-tempered marshal is long. But then another prominent citizen has his sins posted and house front splattered.
Maddie takes an interest in the vandalism in the hopes of finding Marshal Warren's killer. But she soon finds out that she is up against a killer driven by a profound longing, and who is prepared to do the worst to keep that most basic of human desires: a home.