In February 1864, the Confederate States of America opened a POW camp that originally covered about 16.5 acres. It was enclosed by a 15-foot high stockade made of rough-hewn logs. A fence known as "the dead line" was erected approximately 19 feet within the borders of the grim stockade walls. It demarcated a no-man's land designed to keep prisoners away from the stockade wall. Any man crossing or even touching this "dead line" was shot without warning by sentries in the watch towers. Before the conflict ended, nearly 13,000 men died at Andersonville.
Caleb Blackwell is thrust into a man-made version of hell when he is marched into Camp Sumter, a Confederate prison near Andersonville, Georgia. He is forced to become a different man than the son of a farmer that he was before the war. After killing a fellow prisoner a number of inmates began calling Caleb, Cain, for killing his brother in arms. Once the war was over, Caleb returns to Missouri trying to take up the life of a farmer--building a cabin, taking a wife, and tilling the land. Plowing is not an easy task, but Caleb finds it not as difficult as dealing with the ghosts of his past.
Jorge Morales tugged on his sleeve and cautioned, "Go easy Deuce. That's Cain Blackman." Pecos turned and took a harder look at the rider on the mule. Little Bill clenched his fists and wished he was closer to the rifle on his saddle. Deuce lost a little of his swagger, but didn't want to appear to back down in front of Morales and the Diamond-S boys.
"'That true? Are you Cain Blackman?" Cain just stared at Deuce with a strange light flooding into his eyes and there seemed to be a sudden tension in his body. "I heard you killed a couple of cowboys up near the Hole in the Wall," said Deuce.
"Nothin' wrong with your hearing, then," Cain responded shortly. Little Bill had to laugh, causing Carlisle's face to turn red. Deuce looked like he wanted to say something, but thought better of it after a look at Cain Blackman's scarred face and the strange light playing in his eyes. He wheeled his horse, and he and Morales headed back toward the Anchor spread. Cain watched them go, then turned his attention to Pecos and Little Bill.