The war between society and the antisocial personality has long been a subject of fascination, and few have explored it as thoroughly as award-winning author Jack Olsen. In his recent national best seller Son: A Psychopath and His Victims, Olsen studied a psychopathic rapist who found the perfect protective coloration in jogging shoes and sweats.

In this new book, the story of Claude Lafayette Dallas, Jr., Olsen takes on perhaps his most challenging assignment -- explicating the curious relationship between a homicidal young "mountain man" and those who saw in his colorful ways the embodiment of the cowboy mystique of the West.

On a snow-blown day in January 1981, Dallas killed two game wardens who entered his trapping and poaching camp in ldaho's Owyhee Desert. The cold-bloodedness of Dallas's crime shocked the West. Stained with his victim's blood. he confessed to a companion, "This is Murder One for me."

Then Claude Dallas vanished into the wild and rugged mountains that had sheltered him for so long. For fifteen long months he was the subject of an international manhunt until the FBI and a drawling country sheriff joined forces to run him to earth in a rain of bullets. Only then did lawmen learn about the network of friends who had helped him elude capture. To some of Dallas's rustic neighbors the deadly progression from cowboy to poacher to killer seemed justifiable, even admirable.

Clanking around the bars and barrancas of the high desert country in his hand-filed spurs and well-oiled guns, Claude Dallas had brought a strange new madness to the mythology of the West, a madness that even a jury of his peers found nostalgically seductive in a sensational trial. Claude Dallas came within a whisker of going free. Only Jack Olsen, through painstaking research into Dallas's background and exhaustive on-the-scene interviewing, could unravel such a rat's nest of contradictions and confusions and create so compelling a portrait of the killer whose bloody deeds might have been foreordained from childhood.