Frank Morgan was riding through the redwood forests of Northern California when he heard the screams and gunfire somewhere ahead of him. Curious and never one to run from trouble, he investigates. The scene he comes upon is one of horror. A number of dead men, loggers, lay around a clearing. The extreme violence did to them, Morgan had never seen the like.
Bodies were shredded, throats ripped out, limbs torn from the torsos. It had to be some sort of animal. Right?
When the rest of the logging crew comes up, the Drifter learns it’s a creature tagged as the Terror of the Redwoods by everyone. Described as a monster, giant, hairy, smelling really bad, with a fierce roar, he doesn’t believe it’s some exotic creature like everyone else. But what is it?
He learns that Rutherford Chamberlain, the owner of the logging rights in the area, has placed a $10,000 bounty on the Terror’s head. He knows that won’t be a good idea when he’s first accosted by three gunmen who, upon learning his identity, want to take down the Drifter and then gets caught in a crossfire between two bands of hunters firing wildly at each other, so scared of the Terror, in spite of their greed, that they fire at any noise.
Morgan goes to visit Rutherford in his redwood “palace” in the forest to try talk him out of the bounty. His reputation preceding him, he’s given the offer of doing the job himself and the bounty will be pulled. He refuses at first until he speaks with Rutherford’s daughter who has another idea and begs his help. Never one to turn down a lady, he gives in and takes the job.
Something else is going on though. He fids another group of the Terror’s victims, but a critical examination of the bodies tells him they have been chopped up with axes. He soon learns that another timber baron wants the leases. And apparently that gang is being lead by an old childhood friend of Morgan’s, a man he’s fought with over the years, saved each other’s lives on more than one occasion.
The tale told here has Morgan in a time limit to find the Terror, or the bounty will be doubled, one gang out to kill him so that will happen, this other gang probably working for the opposition trying to take him out, and a sad young woman to whom he made a promise.
The author does his usual superb job of carrying one of Johnstone’s characters through a fine new adventure.
Recommended if you like a good western.