Ray Seegar is an insurance agent and a skilled wildlife photographer. While in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest lining up a photo of a cougar, Seegar helplessly watches as the cat is shot by a couple of poachers. Fed up with the damage caused by poachers and careless hunters, he buys a sniper rifle, trains himself in marksmanship, and begins hunting them down.
The vigilante himself becomes the prey of law enforcement. Two young detectives, a man with the Washington State Police and a woman with the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office find themselves working together on the case. While they privately sympathize with the vigilante’s crusade, they face increasing pressure from the public and their own superiors to arrest him.
The detectives finally succeed. The case against him is circumstantial but strong: his own photos place him in the vicinity of each of the shootings. Seegar languishes in jail as the District Attorney prepares to prosecute him for murder.
Just before the trial, another poacher is executed in the forest. Ballistic analysis shows that the rifle was the same as the one used in the other vigilante shootings. Seegar is now free, but now he is haunted by the question of who did the killing that secured his freedom.