In old California, Deputy Cal MacLamond and his partner have earned the hatred of Leonis, The Big Basque, by killing one of his gunmen and arresting the other. On the bright side, Cal has met a pretty young lady from Chicago who doesn't seem to mind his romantic attention . Two different kinds of danger: one bad, one enjoyable.
The Sheriff tries to keep his two deputies out of harm's way for a while by sending them on other deputies' patrol areas. The Verdugo Ranch trail allows Cal to introduce his partner to Tomas Sanchez, who gives him some background on the really bad old vigilante days in Los Angeles when he was Sheriff. Things like the so-called Flores Rebellion.
On the next patrol, taking the old trail to Caheunga Pass, Cal tells him the true story of the famous bandit Vasquez, and takes him to where Tiburcio was finally captured, a victim of his overly amorous nature.
But the easy times come to an end when Leonis tries to lure them into a deadly ambush.
(BAD MEN AND ANGELS, Kindle edition)