Ennis Middlebrooks and Harry Byerly are warriors, and the time for fighting is past. They’re cowboys, and when they get back home to Texas, the time for cowboys is passing, too.
Monte Dutton’s fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, begins on the island of Peleliu, where the two privates somehow manage to save themselves when cut off from their fellow Marines by the Japanese. Ennis and Harry come home to a heroes' welcome, but life gets complicated after that.
The Middlebrooks ranch, east of Janus, near the Oklahoma border, is run-down, and Ennis's father is dying. Harry moves in, Mama Middlebrooks moves out, and Ennis takes a job as a deputy sheriff under a wise but aging lawman, Judson Lawson. His little sister, Becky, is wild beyond her years and takes an immediate shine to Harry, who is haunted by the war and prone to violence.
The closing of an Army base, Camp Ammons, is causing the town to die. The county loses nearly 40,000 infantry trainees and gains nearly 60,000 acres. The ranchers it displaced are either long gone or too poor to purchase their land back. Men with political clout and money move in like vultures. Money buys influence and, with it, elections. Ennis Middlebrooks goes from sheriff-in-waiting to disgraced lawman. He and his old Marine pal, Harry Byerly, decide to do something about it.