Bannack is a story of adventure and self-discovery set in the time of the Civil War and vigilante violence. Sixteen-year-old Billy Mayfair, kicked out of his home in Illinois by his father, sets out to find a fortune in gold in a remote mining camp in what would become the Montana Territory. While in St. Louis, he loses his money and virginity, gets in a fight and lands in jail. But he manages to save enough working in a Union hospital caring for Civil War casualties to book passage on a streamer headed 2,000 miles north to Fort Benton. Panning for gold and living in the wild hard-drinking town of Bannack, he becomes a friend of the sheriff, who will become known in the official record as the most notorious outlaw in Montana history. There, Billy witnesses the deadliest outbreak of vigilante violence in U.S. history: twenty-one men are hanged in less than a month's time. What makes this story unique is that it gives voice to the victims as well as the victors of this actual event.