The year is 1876. Among the warring Indian tribes and lawless gold-rush towns of America's western territories, two paleontologists pillage the Wild West. They are hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars. Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled Yale student William Johnson. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition. But Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, so he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. Soon William joins forces with Cope and stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions. The struggle to protect this extraordinary treasure tests William's newfound resilience, and pits him against some of the West's most dangerous and notorious characters.