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CHAPTER I THE LIVING DEAD   "Oh, I want to go back to the Rio Grande!        The Rio!  That's where I long to be!" The words, sung in a soft and musical tenor, died away and changed to a plaintive whistle, leaving the scene more lonely than ever. For a few moments nothing was to be seen except the endless expanse of wilderness, and nothing was to be heard save the mournful warble of... more...

CHAPTER I THE STRANGER AT DRY BOTTOM From the crest of Three Mile Slope the man on the pony could see the town of Dry Bottom straggling across the gray floor of the flat, its low, squat buildings looking like so many old boxes blown there by an idle wind, or unceremoniously dumped there by a careless fate and left, regardless, to carry out the scheme of desolation. Apparently the rider was in no hurry, for, as the pony topped the rise and the... more...

THE HOME-COMING OF CALUMET MARSTON Shuffling down the long slope, its tired legs moving automatically, the drooping pony swerved a little and then came to a halt, trembling with fright. Startled out of his unpleasant ruminations, his lips tensing over his teeth in a savage snarl, Calumet Marston swayed uncertainly in the saddle, caught himself, crouched, and swung a heavy pistol to a menacing poise. For an instant he hesitated, searching the... more...

CHAPTER I THE COMING OF THE SHEEP From his seat on the top of a high ridge, Gordon Wade looked into the bowl-shaped valley beneath him, with an expression of amazement on his sun-burned face. Pouring through a narrow opening in the environing hills, and immediately spreading fan-like over the grass of the valley, were sheep; hundreds, thousands of them. Even where he sat, a good quarter mile above them, the air was rank with the peculiar smell... more...

CONCERNING MORALS There were fifty thousand acres within view of the ranchhouse—virgin grass land dotted with sage, running over a wide level, into little hills, and so on to an upland whose rise was so gradual that it could be seen only from a distance, best from the gallery of the ranchhouse. The first tang of autumn was in the sage-scented breeze that swept the county, and the tawny valley, basking in the warm sunlight that came down... more...


FOREWORD It was inevitable that in my efforts to write romantic history of the great West I should at length come to the story of a feud. For long I have steered clear of this rock. But at last I have reached it and must go over it, driven by my desire to chronicle the stirring events of pioneer days. Even to-day it is not possible to travel into the remote corners of the West without seeing the lives of people still affected by a fighting... more...

THE VIRGINIAN I. ENTER THE MAN Some notable sight was drawing the passengers, both men and women, to the window; and therefore I rose and crossed the car to see what it was. I saw near the track an enclosure, and round it some laughing men, and inside it some whirling dust, and amid the dust some horses, plunging, huddling, and dodging. They were cow ponies in a corral, and one of them would not be caught, no matter who threw the rope. We... more...

VAUGHN STEELE AND RUSS SITTELL In the morning, after breakfasting early, I took a turn up and down the main street of Sanderson, made observations and got information likely to serve me at some future day, and then I returned to the hotel ready for what might happen. The stage-coach was there and already full of passengers. This stage did not go to Linrock, but I had found that another one left for that point three days a week. Several cowboy... more...

CHAPTER I REWARDS OFFERED The sign on the tree attracted the man’s attention while he was still far down the slope. He could see the tall pine on the crest of the ridge above a veritable landmark in that country of stunted timber, and the square of paper, tacked to its trunk under the lowest branches, gleamed white against the background of vivid green. The air was clear, and every detail of the landscape––the red rocks,... more...

CHAPTER I What subtle strange message had come to her out of the West? Carley Burch laid the letter in her lap and gazed dreamily through the window. It was a day typical of early April in New York, rather cold and gray, with steely sunlight. Spring breathed in the air, but the women passing along Fifty-seventh Street wore furs and wraps. She heard the distant clatter of an L train and then the hum of a motor car. A hurdy-gurdy jarred into the... more...