Gaius Domitius Tubero, also known as Lord Fearghus O’ Glaisne, and currently going under the name of Gaius Smith, has learned about the new country of the Americas. The president there now is Zachary Taylor, doomed to spend less than two years in office. Gaius learns that gold has been discovered in California, but that is not what attracts him. He is drawn to some land investments in the Northwest, and now wishes to live near his son, Quintus. Quintus is married to a Shoshone woman of the same tribe as Sacajawea, and has settled at the far end of the Oregon Trail.

Yet there are shadows over Gaius. His beloved wife Teresa has died. At the same time, Gaius feels the draw of family, of settling down, which is a death knell for a vampire. Now, having decided to travel the Oregon Trail rather than simply fly to his land in the Northwest, he finds that woodcraft and vampires are not as compatible as he might have imagined. Mountain lions can tear a vampire apart;
rattlesnake venom can pollute the blood. And the sustenance of blood on the trail, for a vampire, is not that easy to come by.