As the 19th century winds to a close, Sheriff Sylvester
Tilghman of the small Pennsylvania town of Arahpot
ponders his biggest problems: finding a new deputy and
convincing his true love, Lydia, to marry him. But an
early autumn day finds Arahpot’s usual tranquility
shaken when a stranger is fatally stabbed.
Upon seeing the victim, Tilghman recalls witnessing a
strained encounter between him and Valentine Deibert,
an obese man with a wife half his age who had recently
moved to Arahpot. The sheriff questions Deibert who
denies knowing the victim.
Tilgman is unconvinced, but lacks a connection until the
widow arrives in Arahpot and tells how her husband was
in pursuit of a man who had scammed him, bankrupting
his business. Sylvester pays another visit to Deibert only
to discover him dead of arsenic poisoning.
Suddenly Sylvester is plunged into investigating two
murders. As he works through an abundance of motivated
suspects, Tilghman finds himself in danger. And worse --
Lydia is pushing her obnoxious cousin as a candidate for