Cowboy rancher Jim Canning is released from Huntsville Prison and returns to his hometown of Frontera, Texas. He plans to regain his land and become an upstanding member of the little community that found him guilty of assaulting Ed Wingard and permanently injuring one of Ed's hands that was now practically useless. Although he acted in self-defense, the jury found him guilty.
The land he was going to reclaim was once the Wingards' ranch, but Mott Wingard lost it in a poker game to Canning's father, who named the land the Three Deuces Ranch. When he left for Huntsville to serve his time, Jim leased the land back to Mott Wingard, Ed's father. Mott Wingard doesn't want to give it back to Canning and that's where the rub comes in and partly to get back at him for maiming his son.
The story is written in a gritty style and even the sheriff is against Canning, so it seems. Sheriff Hawk Adams is a rough, tough hombre and takes his duties seriously. It appears as if everyone is against Canning except the doctor's daughter Ann Neeley, and he has an uphill battle with the town to restore his good name.
Frank Bonham, the author, is one of my choices for the best western writer. His stories are written in a gritty style that keeps things hopping right along with lots of action. Tough Country is a Dell First Edition pocket book, the one I read, published in 1958.