A group of businessmen is working to open a uranium mine and nuclear power plant on the Navajo Reservation. The NEED project will provide cheap power to the Navajo nation, employ many who are out of work, and earn income for the tribe by selling surplus power to Arizona, New Mexico, and other western states. Investigating the murder of a Navajo cop during a break-in and robbery, Navajo Police Special Investigator Ella Clah learns that the dead man's father, a retired physicist, is strongly opposed to uranium mining and nuclear plants.
Ella's mother, Rose, opposes the plans as well, taking as her cause the health of the workers and the land. Kevin Tolino, the father of Ella's daughter, hires a bodyguard after receiving threats because of his public support of the project. A Navajo community college teacher is assaulted, and his office and home ransacked-apparently by the same person who murdered the Navajo police officer.
A tribal official who opposes NEED is murdered. Clues seem to lead to a major supporter of the nuclear project, but the man insists he's being framed. Other area murders are also linked to NEED supporters-but why would a group of wealthy businessmen kill their opponents when they could just outspend them? There has to be more going on than political wrangling, but Ella is fumbling in the dark, with uncooperative witnesses and few clues.