In 1914 in a remote shack on the New Mexico prairie, two young brothers, Archie and Henry Tucker, await the eventual arrival of a wheat threshing crew. Instead they are visited by "The Outlaw," a grizzled, aging gunfighter who has shot his injured horse. They are also joined by Lily, a former dance hall girl who now owns the biggest hotel in town and a new car. Henry, the hot-headed older brother, is also an avid student of western lore. After recognizing that The Outlaw is indeed the genuine article, he pumps him for stories of his glory days and then, to his fatal regret, tries to beat him to the draw. After Henry's demise the action moves back and forth from high comedy to affecting sentiment. Lily consoles Archie by indoctrinating him into the rewarding mysteries of sex, as The Outlaw, in a rare fit of repentance, makes a stab at committing suicide. Now with his first flush of manhood, Archie decides to go off to battle in World War I, while The Outlaw—cowed at last—meekly follows Lily off to her shiny Buick and to what promises to be a very different life indeed.
This inventive, picaresque play mingles humor and sentiment with moments of arresting theatricality as it unfolds its antic tale of an aging gunfighter brought down by the changing times.