When Ethan Payne and his best friend, Gil Stark, left their hometown for the California Gold Rush, the recklessness of youth and the bravery of dreams fueled them. But somewhere on a journey that took them down the Missouri, across the Gulf of Mexico, and through the jungles of Panama, the two young men began to change. Ethan learned he had the heart of an outlaw. By the time they reached California, both had left their innocence and friendship behind-but they were destined to come face to face again.This saga of an authentic frontier adventurer vividly captures the life and times of a young man coming of age in a harsh world of unlimited possibility and swift, savage death. For Ethan Payne, the untamed West gave him a place to make a stand-with a gun, a fierce heart, and a dream that wouldn't die.