The Dog is in Livingston, Montana, daydreaming about fishing the Stone and, as usual, subsisting on Swisher Sweets, vodka-Tang, and the hope that pretending to forget will be enough.
He's forged a few tenuous friendships, and now finds himself watching from the bank as troubled local girl Jesse Ringer leads D'Ontario Sneed into the swift current of young love. It's sweet, really . . . but some of the locals object to the relationship on the basis of Sneed's skin color.
Then the unthinkable: vibrant, wild Jesse is found shot in the head, and Sneed is passed out in her car, gun beside him, window seams taped, and engine running. Sneed is hospitalized for severe carbon monoxide poisoning and can't string together a sentence to defend himself, so it falls to the Dog.
If only the Dog could run from his life without ending up in the tangle and snarl of the lives of others. A man who wants to lose himself in the current must be careful of his backcast; it'll always keep him tethered to a life he's trying to forget.