US Forest Service Ranger Robert Dawson leads Boy Scout Troop 370, Mammoth Lakes, California, on a snowshoe hike along Deadman Creek the second Saturday in December every year. Last year he led them to their first corpse.
A snowmobile had crashed into a tree eight feet from the water. An unconscious man with a bloody face lay in the snow next to the machine, and a woman lay face down in the creek near him.
Forty-three-year-old Rex Andrews, a popular real estate salesman and three-term city councilman, had misjudged a turn. His wife, Lauren, had hit a rock which left her unconscious when she landed in the water. She drowned.
Four months later, Meghan Williams, Lauren’s best friend since kindergarten, finally finds a receptive ear at Lauren’s insurance company. Private Investigator Dan Ballantine is sent to Mammoth Lakes to convince Ms. Williams that an accident is just an accident.
Though he omitted if from his official report, Deputy Sheriff Brad Madison tells Dan, privately, he thought Rex had been untruthful at the scene.
When somebody shoots at Dan while he visits Deadman Creek, he begins to suspect the ‘accident’ may have been something more.