The episode jumps into the action, film noir style. Leaphorn and sergeant Bernadette Manuelito (Jessica Matten) pull up to a trailer and call in to the station that they found their suspect. Joe expresses that he is tired of chasing this guy. The two tribal cops go into the trailer, but no one is there. There are a lot of clocks and a metronome. Leaphorn sees car lights approach and when he looks out the window, a man with a shotgun is standing in front of the trailer. He yells at Manuelito to get down as the man starts shooting up the trailer. Everything goes quiet when the man stops shooting.
Six days ago, Joe works around his house, fixing fences, tending to his sheep, and staring at the motorcycle that obviously needs work. Emma Leaphorn (Deanna Allison) is at work and tends to a young man named Steve Begay (Jarrett Hogner). The top of two of Steve’s fingers are missing. He says aliens, disguised as a sheep, bit his fingers off. Emma decides to take him to the hospital to reattach the fingers.
Emma almost hits a white man when they arrive at the hospital. While Emma waits for Steve, she watches an elderly Navajo man walk to his car parked in front of the hospital. She turns to get a cup of coffee from the vending machine and the Navajo man’s car explodes. The impact of the explosion throws Emma into the vending machine and knocks her out.
Joe is still working on the fence when Sally (Elva Guerra) runs out of the house, holding her baby. She tells him that something happened to Emma. Joe races to the hospital. Emma is okay and waiting on the doctor to release her. Valencia County Sheriff Gordo Sena (A. Martinez) comes in to speak with Joe.
Out of Balance
The two lawmen go outside to look at the remains of the car. Sena thinks it was an accident, but Joe finds a trip wire that suggests it wasn’t. The deceased man is Emerson Charley and someone wanted him dead. Leaphorn volunteers to go talk to Emerson’s family to find out if anyone had any beef with the man.
Joe takes Emma home and she says they need to have a ceremony. It’s not normal for them to be around so much death and violence. Joe isn’t too concerned but admits he was scared that she was injured. Emma said it’s time to put their family back in balance. They are having a ceremony.
Chee is now a private investigator. He does small jobs around here and there, and not getting paid much. One day he receives a call to pay a visit to a rich lady near the reservation. Her name is Rosemary Vines (Jeri Ryan), wife of B. J. Vines (John Diehl). She wants to hire Chee to find a stolen box. The box belongs to her husband. He’s on a hunting trip and she wants the box back before he comes home.
Rosemary doesn’t know what’s in the box. She says a man named Tomas Charley was seen outside of her home with the box. According to Rosemary, Tomas and his father Emerson are from the People of Darkness. B. J. used to be interested in the group and even funded them for a little while. She thinks the People of Darkness stole the box to get back at B. J. for not funding them anymore.
Bernadette chases down a local boy who’s running away on horseback. She catches him and takes him to the station on his own horse. Leaphorn assigns her to help Steve Begay. He takes her to his hangout and claims that aliens landed nearby. He describes the sheep who bit him as having weird swirly horns. The “spacecraft” actually belongs to the US Air Force. Bernadette is annoyed with Steve and leaves. On the way back to the station, she finds the sheep with the weird swirly horns and takes it back to the station. One of the other officers stares at the sheep and holds her medicine bag tightly.
The first time we saw the blonde stranger was when Emma almost hit him with her car. The next time we see him, he’s meeting with a PI (not Chee). The blond man’s name is Colton Wolf (Nicholas Logan) and he’s looking for a woman named Linda Maddox. The PI is having trouble finding her. Wolf pays the PI more money and says he needs her to be found. The PI says they are close to finding her, but Wolf doesn’t believe him. He kills the PI in the bathroom.
Joe goes to Tomas Charley’s house, but he’s not home. Joe talks to his son Benny (Jet James Grant) instead. Meanwhile, Chee finds Tomas (Robert I. Mesa) at the rug shop where he works. He asks for the box, but Tomas only wants to talk about how bad of a man B. J. Vibes is. Tomas says Vines is a witch and is killing his father. The People of Darkness are Vines and his rich hippy friends practicing nothing but bad medicine. Chee doesn’t buy it and he’s not really interested. He just wants the box. Tomas says he took it to the Malpais. He draws a map for Chee to find it. While he draws, Wolf watches from the window.
On the way out, Chee runs into Leaphorn. After they catch up a little, they discover they are looking for the same man. They go back to the rug shop, but Tomas is gone. Since their cases are now intertwined, Leaphorn decides to go with Chee to find the box. They find a truck near the location on the map and write down the license plate.
Once they stop, Chee walks directly to the location of the box. The contents of the box have been burnt. Among the items are papers, jewelry and a silver belt buckle. Leaphorn picks up the belt buckle and reads it. It’s from the 1967 Navajo Rodeo for the Bareback Champion. On the back of the buckle, there is a name engraved … Joe Leaphorn Jr.
Leaphorn is taken back. His son wore that belt buckle the day he died. A gust of wind blows through. Chee says it’s some crazy witchcraft stuff going on. They are interrupted by a bullet going through Chee’s shoulder. Leaphorn takes the buckle and takes cover with Chee. The shooter continues to shoot at them, barely giving Leaphorn a chance to see who and where he is.
Leaphorn says there’s a rifle in the police car. He gives Chee a gun to cover him. Chee shoots at the man and tells Leaphorn that it’s a white man. While Chee tries to find the shooter, Leaphorn runs to the police car. He sees a rag hanging out of the gas tank and it’s on fire. Leaphorn gets to the car but it’s locked. He breaks the window to retrieve the rifle and runs away just before the car blows up.
Leaphorn looks back and sees the shooter run from behind the first truck. We see that the shooter is Wolf. He continues to shoot at Leaphorn until Chee starts shooting at him. Wolf runs to his truck and drives away. Leaphorn shoots at the truck as he drives away, shooting out the driver side window. He then goes to check on Chee. Chee is okay, but needs medical attention. They don’t have a vehicle anymore, so they have to walk.