Once he was Sierra Lane, hero to countless youngsters in a series of B-movie westerns. Now, after two years in prison, John Ray Horn lives on the margins of post-World War II Los Angeles. His wife has left him, and, blacklisted by the studios, he makes ends meet by collecting debts for his old Indian co-star, Joseph Mad Crow. Then he is shaken out of his cynicism and self-pity: an old friend, Scotty, contacts Horn to tell him about some obscene photos found in his dead father's possession - one, several years old, is of Clea, who was Horn's stepdaughter before his divorce. Within days, Scotty is dead, and Clea has run away. Horn is convinced these developments are linked, and sets off urgently to find Clea. His search takes him from neon-lit ocean-front piers to wooded canyons, from rich homes in the Hollywood Hills to Central Avenue, the Harlem of LA, a street rich in jazz and corruption. The backdrop is Los Angeles in the late 1940s, an adolescent city growing up fast, a city swallowing up its orchards and pastures, a city of equal parts sun and shadow. But will the on-screen tough-guy hero be able to sustain his role off-screen?