The story is set in 1889 Wyoming when it was still open to the Homestead Act of 1862. It is narrated by the homesteader's son Bob Starrett. The original unclaimed land was used by a cattle driver named Luke Fletcher before the homestead was claimed by Bob's father, Joe Starrett along with many other homesteaders. Luke Fletcher settled there first, although only so much land could be claimed as a homestead (only 160 acres). Luke Fletcher's herd is at the verge of expanding to the point which the homesteads in the area are proving to be an interference. Shane is the mysterious stranger who comes into the lives of the homesteaders. He is tougher than the farmers who homestead the land. Shane is thought to be Shannon a gunslinger who went missing in Arkansas. He helps them avoid the intimidation to abandon their farms to Fletcher. With Shane's help the farmers are able to resist Fletcher. Shane is tested many times by the cowhands hired by Fletcher to intimidate him. But he always in the end comes through.

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