After being discharged from the United States Marine Corps, Stan ends up in Dallas where he intends to finish law school. In the spring of 1976, while attending SMU, he is recruited into the Republican party, elected county chairman, and finds himself helping President Gerald Ford in his campaign against Jimmy Carter. The campaign is marred, however, by an untimely FBI investigation into the financial dealings of a major party contributor, Brad Thornton.
The investigation unleashes an avalanche of misfortune beginning with the alleged murder-suicide of Stan’s friend, Rob Shepard, his wife Cindy and their three children and culminating in the resignation of two Republican candidates for the 67th District’s state representative seat. Stan, who can’t believe his best friend could have murdered his family, launches his own personal investigation to clear Rob’s name. When the investigation turns up new evidence that threatens members of a powerful Mexican drug cartel, Stan becomes the target of Cartel thugs and hit men. Undaunted by these threats, Stan enlists the help of a resourceful classmate, Paula Waters, and a law professor, Harry Hertel (aka Snake) and undertakes a dangerous mission to extract a key witness held by the Cartel at a Mexican resort.
Still saddled with the responsibility to field a candidate in the 67th District Stan recruits his assistant, Kristina Tenison, for the job. Kristina is reluctant to run as no woman has ever been elected to this office since Reconstruction, but when Stan agrees to be her campaign manager and promises her she’ll win, she reluctantly enters the race against the veteran incumbent, Ron Wells. But as the election draws near and she still finds herself lagging in the polls, she wonders if she hasn’t made a big mistake and questions Stan’s continued assurances that she’ll win.