This is the third book in the Ira Adler series, which was until now set in the criminal subaltern of 1890s London, so I will admit, after having read the other two previous books in this series I was not at all expecting to read a Western when I picked this up! But, naturally, it's the same time period, and Oscar Wilde even toured the Wild West himself, and I love Westerns! So a nice surprise.
The story begins with Ira, against his best judgement, agreeing to meet Cain Goddard, the crime lord who Ira previously lived with as a kept man. However, Goddard's house explodes minutes before their appointment. Grieving not just Cain but also the lack of proper resolution to his complicated feelings for him, he reluctantly accepts an invitation from his friend Lazarus to come to America with his family. There, natually, the real story begins.
The book includes some of the thematic elements that make the Western such a distinct genre of historical fiction: learning where your physical and mental edges are and then pushing them, learning when to stand on your own and when to accept help, and a certain mental restlessness that keeps your character moving through the entire book. But it also includes some more challenging emotional content, with untidy romantic resolutions, and worthwhile relationships that take more work than the ultimately empty ones.
The Ira Adler books are one of the rare mystery series out there that includes active character development. So there's no magic end of book reset button on characters and you do need to read them in order! These continue to be an undeservedly under-read series of books with the gay historicals set, and I highly recommend them.