Burning Daylight takes place in the Yukon Territory in 1893. The main character, Elam Harnish, nicknamed "Burning Daylight" was the most successful entrepreneur of the Alaskan Gold Rush. The story of the main character was partially based upon the life of Oakland entrepreneur "Borax" Smith. Bringing his fortunes to the States he is cheated out of it by a crowd of money kings, and recovers it only at the muzzle of his gun. Embarking on a new life in California, he makes another fortune by underhanded means . . . only to find his corrupt life suddenly turned around by the love of a woman.