“L’Amour falls into the grand tradition of Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson.” —Wall Street Journal
Samuel Patton lost his wife to lung fever two years ago. Now, suffering from lung fever himself and closer to eternity every day, he is traveling south through the mountains with his small son and daughter, hoping somewhere in this savage land he can find a good home for them before time runs out. When the two kids find an unconscious man, the three tend to his wounds, care for his horse, and load him into their wagon. Samuel finds a cache of money in the saddlebags of the man the children have named Mr. Black, and he is certain they have taken an outlaw under wing. When the man comes round, he tells them his name is Jess and he can guide them through the thoroughfare pass and on to the town of Hereford in Absaroka Valley, a cowman’s paradise in the mighty mountain range, where he was born. Against his better judgment, Samuel agrees. Only a stone’s throw from Hereford, Samuel is too exhausted to push on and so they make one last camp. It is a decision that nearly kills his daughter when a stampede runs through their camp that night. The Pattons find themselves taking refuge in the midst of the valley where ranchers have declared war on encroaching squatters.
In the first in this trio of Western stories by Louis L’Amour—“Black Rock”—Jim Gatlin, a Texas trail driver, arrives in the town of Tucker where he finds himself quickly drawn into the middle of an all-out battle for the XY Ranch when, due to a case of mistaken identity, he kills the segundo of Wing Cary’s Flying C Ranch. Gatlin is a dead-ringer for Jim Walker, who, like Cary, wants control of the XY. Gatlin is thrown into a situation in which all he can do but fight for his life.
Seventeen-year-old Shandy Gamble in “Gamble of the KT” is in Perigord with plans to buy a new saddle and bridle with the $500 in reward money he had received for catching two horse thieves, but instead he gets conned out of the money. He returns to the KT Ranch never mentioning what happened. But when he learns the con man is back and hanging out with the June gang, he decides it’s time to get his money back and even the score.
Always a fighting man, both for the US Army and in battles across the ocean, Tom Kedrick in “Showdown Trail” has been hired to help run off the squatters and outlaws occupying a strip of land claimed to be unusable swamp. When he learns that he is being misled by his new bosses and that the squatters are honest and hardworking settlers, including one of his father’s old friends, he has to determine which side he will fight for.
Louis L’Amour is the most decorated author in the history of American letters, and his stories are loved the world over.
Forced to take a precipitous route off the rimrocks and down into an unknown valley to escape certain death by four men pursuing him, Pete Knight, a cowhand seeking a job, sees a town ahead in the distance. If he can just make it to that town, he believes he will be safe. Little does he know that he is heading into Gunsight, Wyoming, where a long-standing feud between the townsmen and the range men has reached the boiling point.
Arthur Hobart owner of the Diamond H has issued a warning that if the people of Gunsight do not stop victimizing his cowpunchers, he’s going to bring in his own law enforcer and burn the town down. And the appearance of Pete means only one thing to the townsfolk: Hobart is about to make good on his threat.
When Pete is jailed, he tries to convince Sheriff Mike Mulaney to get confirmation that he is not who the Gunsighters think he is. But before the matter can be resolved, Pete is lynched in the middle of the night by five men wearing burlap hoods.
When his Pete’s brother Ben, a US deputy marshal, arrives seeking vengeance for his brother’s hanging, he has even more reason to hate the town and what it represents than those on the Diamond H. But when Hobart tries to use Ben’s arrival for his own advantage, Ben must choose between protecting the town and abandoning his trail of vengeance or standing by while Hobart’s threats become reality.
Within ten days of stepping out of the woods near the town of Moose Creek, Duval is the most popular man in the district. After all, what’s not to like? He is a good listener, generous with his money, a great cook and host, and a hard worker on old Dad Wilbur’s place, which he bought for $1,500. He wins the admiration of Sheriff Nat Adare when he quells and befriends the often-wild Charlie Nash and pays for the damages Charlie has caused in the town saloon.
The only person in the town that he doesn’t win over is the sheriff’s niece, Marian Lane, who runs the local grocery and has caused more than her share of heartbreak among the young men of the town. What bothers Marian is that no one can learn anything about Duval or his past, other than that he was a cowpuncher who had worked for a taskmaster on the T Bar Ranch. Marian’s curiosity is intensified when Duval runs the thug Larry Jude out of town after he calls Duval a “boy-killer.” But Duval’s past lands in Moose Creek when Discretion, the horse that he loves, is accompanied from the East by the animal’s self-proclaimed groom, Henry.
Once Duval learns that Henry, who he had known in New York, plans to stay on in Moose Creek, he warns him not to “play no tricks.” Things begin to heat up when Duval attends a dance where he encounters not only Marian but the famous manhunter, Marshal Richard Kinkaid. When a robbery occurs at the same time as the dance, Kinkaid, who has already been baited by Marian to find out who Duval is, promises she will have the answer to her question. So begins a dangerous game of matching wits between Duval and Kinkaid.
Centuries ago the Picture Rocks were painted by a tribe of Arizona Indians that since have vanished, leaving behind the powerful figures on the virtually inaccessible cliff walls.
For many years the Picture Rocks basin has sheltered the Jore family from the law. The basin also shelters a fabulous palomino stallion called Black Wing. The Jores have left him to run free with the wild herd, but Race Coulter has a different plan. He has convinced a young kid named René Rand to help him steal Black Wing. But when Rand is befriended by the Jores after a serious illness, he learns lessons that will change the direction of his life.
Kit Butler and Lige Turner are weathered trackers—trappers who once lived among the Dakota people as brothers, learning their language, their land, and their way of life. Now, with the fur trade dwindling, they find themselves guides for a wagon train—a group of emigrants leaving behind the comforts of the world they know for the Wild West. The problem is, they have to pass through hostile Dakota Indian territory to reach their destination.
The members of the wagon train, fresh faces in a wild land, are certain that all this talk about Indians is just stories—a way to keep a control over them. After all, they haven’t seen any sign of Indians … But Kit and Lige know what to look for, and they know they’re being watched.
When the Indians brutally attack, the stories become a frightening reality. The Dakota warriors tell the emigrants that they must turn around or face their wrath—they will not be allowed to pass through Dakota territory.
The emigrants have come too far to turn back, but they are not trained to fight—the women and children handily outnumbering the men in the group. Kit and Lige are the only ones who know how to survive out in the wild, and it is their duty to protect the wagon train against the Dakota men they still consider brothers.
Max Brand wrote hundreds of stories, books, films, and TV shows. His output was so voluminous that though he died in WWII, posthumous books have been published approximately every four months since. This book collects three stories from his early work in Western pulps.
“Señor Coyote” was first published under Frederick Faust’s pen name John Frederick in two installments in Argosy (6/18/38 - 6/25/38). It was the last Western short novel Faust wrote. It was fitting that the story was published in Argosy since Faust’s earliest Western fiction had been sold to All-Story Weekly and The Argosy owned by The Frank A. Munsey Company, which merged the two magazines in 7/24/20. In this story, Frank Pollard, a small-time rancher down on his luck and owing the bank $500, looks to his legendary friend, Slip Liddell, to give him the money before the banker, Foster, forecloses on his ranch. Liddell refuses to pay Foster even for his friend. Pollard threatens to do something about it, and then the bank is robbed and Foster shot. Will Liddell help when his friend is accused of the crime?
Only two years into his publishing relationship with Street & Smith, which was almost exclusive between 1921 and 1932, Faust was asked to contribute two Christmas stories to magazines the company published. The first was to Detective Story Magazine — “A Christmas Encounter” (12/23/22) under his Nicholas Silver pseudonym — and the other was the story that follows that he titled “The Power of Prayer.” It appeared under the John Frederick byline in Western Story Magazine (12/23/22). In it Gerald Kern embodies many of those same qualities of a figure found in several of Faust’s Western stories, a gunman who is also a gentleman.
“The Cure of Silver Cañon” by John Frederick was the second short novel by Faust to appear in Western Story Magazine (1/15/21). In Faust’s Western fiction the mountain desert is a country of the imagination where no man is ever a hero and no man is ever a villain, but rather a mixture of both. This certainly proves the case in this story in which both Lew Carney and Jack Doyle love Mary Hamilton and where we, as readers, can never know with certitude for whose soul it is that Mary Hamilton weeps. The story’s opening is perhaps the most imagistic and at the same time eerie as Faust ever wrote.
Johnny D. Boggs turns the battlefield itself into a character in this historical retelling of Custer’s Last Stand, when George Custer led most of his command to annihilation at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in southern Montana in 1876.
More than forty first-person narratives are used—Indian and white, military and civilian, men and women—to paint a panorama of the battle itself.
Boggs brings the events and personalities of the Battle of the Little Bighorn to life in a series of first-hand accounts.
Now available for the first time with two additional stories!
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be bitten by a zombie or live through a bioweapon attack? In Cory Doctorow's collection of novellas, he wields his formidable experience in technology and computing to give us mind-bending sci-fi tales that explore the possibilities of information technology—and its various uses—run amok.
"Anda's Game" is a spin on the bizarre new phenomenon of "cyber sweatshops," in which people are paid very low wages to play online games all day in order to generate in-game wealth, which can be converted into actual money. Another tale tells of the heroic exploits of "sysadmins"—systems administrators—as they defend the cyberworld, and hence the world at large, from worms and bioweapons. And yes, there is a story about zombies too. Plus, for the first time, this collection includes "Petard" and "The Man Who Sold the Moon."