A lone rider stops at the border, preparing to return to the United States for the first time in three years. When he left for Mexico, the Rio Kid was 18, a terrified youngster fleeing a fraudulent murder charge. He returns a grown man, with blood on his hands and twin .45s on his hips. His destination is a small town in Arizona, where he plans to clear his name and reclaim his legacy. But there is a lot of trail between here and there.
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After being run out of Arizona on a trumped-up murder charge, the Rio Kid spent three years in Mexico, learning how to shoot quicker than any man on the range. Now he's headed home to clear his name. But before he reaches Arizona, the Kid will have to pass through the deadliest border region in the West. Nestled snugly in a bend of the Rio Grande, Hell's Half Acre is a lawless outpost claimed by both Mexico and the United States, and belonging to neither. There, justice comes from the barrel of a six-gun, and the only sentence is death.
After three years in exile in Mexico, the Rio Kid slipped back into the United States, evading the clutches of a Texas Ranger, a crooked rancher, and a gang of desperadoes. Now he's ready to press on to Arizona to clear his name and find his fortune. There may be a $10,000 price on his head, but the Kid is unafraid - he has his gun, his horse, and his freedom. When a scream splits the black Texas night, the outlaw rides toward it. In a godforsaken cave, four men are beating a terrified young boy. The Kid draws two .45s and steps into the line of fire.
Three years ago, the sheriff of Chapparell, Arizona, was shot dead. Eighteen-year-old Hugh Aiken was falsely accused of the murder and forced to ride south with a lynch mob hot on his trail. He spent the time since hiding out in Mexico, growing from a fresh-faced Texas youth into the hardened gunman known far and wide as the Rio Kid. Now his exile is over. Chapparell has changed since the Kid last set foot on its dusty streets. Most of the ranchers are dead broke, save for one bloodthirsty scoundrel, Henry Pelham.