Everyone in the Never Summer Mountains knows about the ancient Indian curse on Skull Canyon. That's why most folks stay clear of the forbidding chasm that sits up in the highest, remotest reaches of the range, not far from the ranch young Lonnie Gentry shares with his mother and infant half-brother. Lonnie finds himself near Skull Canyon one day, working cows. A man's agonized wail lures him into the canyon, where he finds a youth only a few years older than himself dying from a gunshot wound. Lonnie spends the night in the canyon, lending comfort to the wounded Cade McLory. When the sun comes up, McLory is dead and Lonnie, having let nightfall find him in the forbidden canyon, knows he is probably cursed. Later, when savage men pour into the remote canyon, apparently searching for something they're willing to kill to keep others from finding, Lonnie learns the extent of Skull Canyon's horror.