Joe Baker telegraphed his friend Cheyenne Bodie to tell him of a new business venture and encouraged him to come south right away. After that communication, Joe came down with a mysterious illness that caused him great pain. Unable to afford doctors, Joe let the illness run unchecked and it only got worse. His neighbors stopped by to help Joe out when they could, but his home started to show signs of neglect.
By the time Cheyenne arrived, Joe was in such bad shape he couldn't get up to open the door or even to shake Bodie's hand. He shared with Cheyenne his business idea: pair up with investor Sam Wilson to wrangle wild mustangs from Mexico and bring them back to sell to ranchers. Cheyenne signed on immediately to uphold Joe's part of the deal, even after Joe told him of the heightened danger of indian attack.