Cole Blackwater's life isn't what it used to be. Once a political superstar within Ottawa's environmental movement, he now runs a nearly defunct conservation strategy consulting firm that distinctly lacks a paying client. His ex-wife loathes him for a scandalous affair that ended their marriage, he feels he's failing his eight-year-old daughter as a father, and he's turning far too often to the bottle to solve his problems. When Peggy McSorlie, head of the Eastern Slopes Conservation Group, seeks his help to stop a mining project planned for Alberta's magnificent Cardinal Divide, Blackwater jumps at the opportunity to earn enough money to pay the rent and buy a few pints at his favourite pub. But when Mike Barnes, head of the mining project, is brutally murdered and a radical member of the Eastern Slopes is accused of killing him, Blackwater must first prove the man's innocence in order to save his failing business and the future of the Cardinal Divide.