Part wolf and fiercely independent, Jim Ugly is a dog who answers to only one person. Unfortunately, that man -- Sam Bannock -- has disappeared. Rumor has it that Sam is dead, but to his son, Jake, something about that doesn't sound quite right. So Jake and Jim Ugly embark on a wild journey into the frontier West, where they find themselves pursued by a pretty lady, a theater troupe, and one very ornery yellow-legged man. And they all want to know one thing: Where is Sam Bannock?
When Jake hears talk about a fortune in missing diamonds, he wonders if his father is hiding out somewhere. Jake feels sure that Jim Ugly has the nose to pick up his father's trail. But eyes are watching every move they make. Whom can Jake trust on his search for the truth about his father?