After a human corpse from a gruesome murder is discovered at the Carlton County Feed Yard, Sheriff Sam Abbott, Undersheriff Lottie Albright, and her deputy husband know their resources are going to be overstretched. Still, none of their team or the neighboring law enforcement in western Kansas welcomes the idea of a regional crime center.
KBI agent Dimon suggests the murder may not be a simple local affair. Unconvinced, Lottie - still director of the historical society - calls for stories from families whose ancestors were part of groups colonizing Kansas, hoping to uncover information for the investigation. Doña Francesca Diaz, the elderly head of one such clan, arrives at the society with her great-granddaughter. It turns out that the murder victim was Francesca's great-grandson Victor. Francisca insists she knows why Victor was killed, claiming to have ancient documents that can clarify everything.
At Doña Francesca's invitation, Lottie visits the Diaz property and gets several surprises. In a drought-ridden area, the land is lush; there are hints of a mysterious family treasure; and Francesca, a fabled curandera with terribly damaged hands, seeks an heir for her herbal knowledge and folk medicine skills. With Victor dead and his sister vowing to become a nun, Francesca has selected Lottie. Reluctant yet fascinated, Lottie agrees. And that's just the first step into generations of a family history fraught with tension and emotional distress. Will it also hold the key to murder and other terrible crimes?