In 1889, shortly before Dakota enters the United States, a man named Jim Trusdale is arrested for the murder of a young girl named Rebecca Cline. The motive for the murder was apparently the theft of a silver dollar Rebecca had received for her birthday. However, the dollar is not found in Trusdales’ possession, despite a thorough search of both Trusdale’s house and Trusdale himself. Also, the only thing pinning Trusdale to the crime is his favorite hat, which was found at the crime scene.
Trusdale himself keeps claiming innocence, and for the bulk of the story the reader is led to believe he was indeed framed for the murder. Even sheriff Barclay starts to doubt Trusdales’ guilt. Nevertheless, the jury finds him guilty and a month after his arrest, he is executed by hanging. When his corpse is taken to the Mortuary however, the silver dollar is finally found in Trusdales pants; his bowels emptied when he died. Apparently, he had swallowed it shortly before his arrest and each time it came out, he swallowed it again to keep it hidden.