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The Legend of King Max begins in 1954 with the arrival of young newshawk, Paul Sullivan, to the small North Dakota farming community of Lidgerwood. Out to make a name for himself, Sullivan has been invited by the editor of the weekly paper, Benjamin Zwick, to cover the fascinating story of the town's builder, Ralph Maxwell. Distracted by the editor's spirited niece and staff reporter, Cathy, Sullivan soon finds himself enthralled by the tale. One of the most complex and controversial individuals in the history of the Dakota Territory, Ralph Maxwell was the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles. Although very little is actually known about the man, described by some as a crime boss, an 'angel of darkness', he was seen by others as a powerful man of vision. Told in alternating perspectives, the story looks at rural life in 1954-a time when there were still people alive who knew Maxwell and the wild and wooly 1880's west in which he lived. The authors try to reconstruct what may have influenced the crude Canadian lumberjack to transform himself into a polished gentleman, a shrewd entrepreneur and a dangerous-and deadly-opponent.