Ben Hawkins and his friends Johnny and Billy rode into the town of Globe with a little bit of money in their pockets and some big ideas about how they wanted to spend it. They liked southeastern Arizona because it was wide open. There was good land for sale and plenty of wild horses. There even was enough business in town for Ben and his partners to make a good living running their own blacksmith shop. But Ben wanted something more, and one day while he was out riding he saw it - a wonderful expanse of land in the high country, between the Mazatzal Mountains and the Mogollon Plateau. Even if Johnny, Billy, and he pooled all their money and put the smithy up for sale, they'd have nowhere near enough. There was a way, though, to earn enough money. With the help of Darby Sullivan, an old muleskinner who had been fired by the only freighting company in the area, Ben and his partners started their own freighting outfit. They bought and repaired broken-down wagons. Sullivan got mules for them cheaply and taught the boys how to drive a mule train. They could charge less than P. G. Murphy and still make a good profit! However, Murphy was not the sort to let Ben Hawkins or anyone else take business away from him - more than one man had already died trying.