Lone Star Law

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9780743490313: Lone Star Law

LONE STAR LAW
Twelve thrilling Western tales that celebrate the proud heritage of the TEXAS RANGERS

Louis L'Amour leads off this powerful collection with a stunning tale featuring his legendary Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie. Here, too, are superb, action-packed entries from today's outstanding Western storytellers -- distinguished award winners as well as daring newcomers, including
Peter Brandvold · Randy Lee Eickhoff · Marcus Galloway · Ed Gorman · Elmer Kelton · Rod Miller · Robert J. Randisi · James Reasoner · Dusty Richards · Troy D. Smith · L. J. Washburn
Edited by renowned author and anthologist Robert J. Randisi, Lone Star Law spans the existence of this elite investigative law enforcement agency. From fending off hostile Comanche to tracking serial killers, from aiming Winchesters and Colt revolvers to firing up laptops and state-of-the-art forensics technology, from targeting rustlers and outlaw gangs to leading harrowing hostage negotiations, the men and women who don the badge and white hat of the Texas Ranger stand as steadfast deliverers of American justice -- the Lone Star way.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Robert J. Randisi is the creator and author of The Gunsmith, the popular Western series with more than 250 novels and more than 5 million books in print, which was written under the pen name J.R. Roberts. Under various pseudonyms, he has created and written the series Tracker, Angel Eyes, The Bounty Hunter, Mountain Jack Pike, and Ryder. Western novels that have appeared under his own name are The Ham Reporter, Targett, The Ghost with Blue Eyes, Legend, and Miracle of the Jackal. He has also edited the Western anthologies White Hats, Black Hats, and Boot Hill.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

A Job for a Ranger

Louis L'Amour

While the only true series Louis L'Amour wrote in novel form was his tales of the Sackett family, he did write a series of short stories that featured Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie. Some of the stories were published in a collection called Bowdrie. Most of them were written between 1940 and 1947 and appeared in the magazine Popular Western.

The one I've chosen for this anthology shows Bowdrie acting not only as a Ranger, but as a detective as well.

There were two bullet holes in the bank window, and there was blood on the hitching rail where the cashier had fallen while trying to get off a last shot. Lem Pullitt had died there by the rail, but not before telling how he had been shot while his hands were up.

Chick Bowdrie stood on the boardwalk, his dark, Apache-like features showing no expression. "I don't like it," he muttered. "Either the holdup man was a cold-blooded killer or somebody wanted Pullitt killed."

He glanced up the street again, his eyes searching the buildings, the walks, the horses tied at the rails. Many men kill, but killing a game man when his hands were up...it just wasn't the way things were done in Texas. And Lem had been game or he would not have stumbled out there, dying, trying for a shot.

The bandits had come into town in two groups. One man with a rifle dismounted in front of the Rancher's Rest while the others rode on to the bank. One then remained outside with the horses, and three had gone inside.

When shots sounded from inside the bank, men rushed to the street; then the man with the rifle opened fire. He covered the retreat of the four men at the bank, but what had become of the man with the rifle? He had not run the gauntlet in the street.

Henry Plank, clerk in the stage station, had stepped to the door and opened fire on the fleeing bandits. He claimed to have winged one of them. Bowdrie pushed his hat back on his head and studied the street, scowling.

A large man with a blond mustache emerged from the bank and walked over to where Bowdrie stood. His face was florid and he wore a wide, dusty Stetson.

"Are you the Ranger?"

Bowdrie turned his black eyes on the man, who felt a sudden shiver go through him. There was something in those eyes that made him feel uncomfortable.

"Name of Bowdrie. Chick, they call me. You're Bates?"

"Yes. They call me Big Jim. I am the banker. Or maybe I should say, I was the banker."

"Is it that bad?"

Bowdrie's eyes strayed up the street. That was the direction from which the bandits had come. They could not have been seen until they were right in the street, and when they left, it was in the opposite direction, which put them behind some cottonwoods within a minute or two.

On the side of the street where he stood were the bank, a livery stable, a general store, and a blacksmith shop. At the opposite end, standing out a little from the other buildings, was the Rancher's Rest. Across from the Rest were a corral, two houses, a dance hall, now closed, and the Chuck Wagon, a combination saloon and eating house. Directly across was the stage station.

"Yeah," Big Jim said, "it is that bad. I've got money out on loans. Too darned much. None of the loans are due now. A few weeks ago I loaned ten thousand to Jackson Kegley, and I was figurin' on loanin' him the ten thousand they stole."

"Who's Kegley?"

"Kegley? He owns the Rest. Got a big cattle spread west of town. Runs eight, nine thousand head of stock. His place runs clean up to West Fork. That's where the Tom Roway place is."

"Roway's the man you think done it? Something to that effect was in the report."

Bates shrugged. "I ain't seen Tom Roway but twice in five years. He killed a couple of men in shootin' scrapes, then went to the pen for shootin' a man in the back.

"Three years ago he came back and brought Mig Barnes along. Barnes is pretty tough himself, or so they say."

"Why did you suspect Roway?"

"Bob Singer...he's a puncher around here, seen that paint horse. I guess everybody else saw it, too. The gent who used the rifle was ridin' that paint. Sorrel splash on the left hip and several dabs of color on the left shoulder."

"Did you send a posse after them?"

Bates looked embarrassed "Nobody would go. Tom Roway is mighty handy with a rifle and he's fast with a six-shooter. Bob Singer is pretty salty himself, and he wouldn't go, and after that, people just sort of backed off. Finally Kegley, Joel, an' me went out. We lost the trail in the waters of West Fork."

"Joel?"

"My son. He's twenty-one, and a pretty good tracker."

Chick walked past the bank. There was a bullet hole in the side window of the bank, too. When they started shooting in some of these towns, they surely shot things up. He walked on to the Rancher's Rest and stepped inside.

Aside from the bartender, there were three men in the saloon. The big, handsome man standing at the bar had a pleasant face, and he turned to smile at Bowdrie as he entered.

A man at a card table playing solitaire had a tied-down gun. The third man was a lantern-jawed puncher with straw-colored hair.

"You'll be Bowdrie, I guess," the big man said. "I am Jackson Kegley. This is my place."

"How're you?"

Chick glanced at the straw-haired puncher. He grinned with wry humor. "I'm Rip Coker. That shrinkin' violet at the card table is Bob Singer. Better keep an eye on him, Ranger, he's mighty slick with an iron, either shootin' or brandin'."

Singer glared at Coker, and his lips thinned as he looked down at his cards. Chick noticed the glance, then turned his attention to Kegley.

"You know Roway. Do you think he done it?"

"I wouldn't know. He's a damn good shot. We trailed him as far as the West Fork."

Coker leaned his forearms on the bar. His plaid shirt was faded and worn. "Roway's not so bad," he commented, "and I don't think he done it."

Singer was impatient. "Nobody could miss that paint hoss," he suggested. "Ain't another in the country like it."

Coker gave Singer a disgusted glance. "Then why would he ride it? If you was robbin' a bank, would you ride the most noticeable horse around?"

Bob Singer flushed angrily and his eyes were hard when he looked up, but he offered no comment.

"I'll look around some," Bowdrie said.

He walked outside, studying the street again. There was a suggestion of an idea in his mind, and something felt wrong about the whole affair. He went to the hotel section of the Rest and signed for a room, then strolled outside.

Something in the dust at his feet caught his eye, and he stepped down off the walk, running the dust through his fingers. He took something from the dust, placed it carefully inside a folded cigarette paper, and put it in his wallet.

Singer had come out of the saloon and was watching him. Bowdrie ignored him and strolled down to where his horse was tied. He was swinging into the saddle when Bates came to the door. "You ain't goin' after him alone, are you?"

Bowdrie shrugged. "Why not? I haven't seen any of his graveyards around."

He turned the roan into the trail. He was irritable because he was uneasy. There was something wrong here, it was too pat, too set up, and they were too ready to accuse Roway. "Personally," Bowdrie told the roan, "I agree with Coker. An outlaw using a horse everybody knew, that doesn't even make sense."

The trail was good for the first few miles, then became steadily worse. It wound higher and higher into rougher and rougher country. Skimpy trails edged around cliffs with dropoffs of several hundred feet to the bottom of dry canyons. Then, of a sudden, the trail spilled over a ridge into a green meadow, and that meadow opened into still another, each one skirted by borders of trees. At the end of the last meadow was a cabin, smoke rising from the chimney. A few cattle grazed nearby, and there were horses in the corral.

Chick Bowdrie rode up and stepped down. One of the horses in the corral was a paint with a splash of sorrel on the hip, a few smaller flecks on the shoulder. It was an unusual marking, unlikely to be duplicated.

"Lookin' for something?" The tone was harsh, and Bowdrie took care to keep his hands away from his guns.

The man stood at the door of his cabin not twenty feet away. He was a hard-visaged man with an unshaved face and cold eyes under bushy black brows. He wore a gun in a worn holster, and beyond him inside the door another man sat on a chair with a rifle across his knees.

"Are you Tom Roway?"

"And what if I am?"

Bowdrie studied him coolly for a long minute and then said, "I'm Chick Bowdrie, a Ranger. We've got to have a talk."

"I've heard of you. I've no call to like the law, but you want to talk, come on in. Coffee's on."

The man at the door put down his rifle and put a tin plate and a cup on the table. He was a stocky man with a pockmarked face. "Ain't often we have a Ranger for chow," he commented.

Roway sat down, filling three cups. "All right, Ranger, speak your piece. What business do you have with us?"

"Have you been ridin' that paint horse lately?"

"I ride that paint most of the time."

"Did you ride into Morales Monday morning an stick up the bank?"

"What kind of a question is that? No, I didn't rob no bank and I ain't been in Morales in a month! What is this? Some kind of a frame-up?"

"Five men robbed the bank at Morales Monday morning, and one of them was ridin' a paint horse, a dead ringer for that one out yonder." Bowdrie gestured toward the corral. "Where was that horse on Monday?"

"Right where he is now. He ain't been off this place in a week." He looked up, scowling. "Who identified that animal?"

"A dozen people. He was right out in plain sight. Nobody could've missed him. One who identified him was Bob Singer."

"Singer?" Roway's eyes flashed. "I'll kill him!"

"No you won't," Bowdrie said. "If there's any killin' done, I'll do it."

For a moment their eyes locked, but Roway was the first to look away. Mig Barnes had been watching, and now he spoke. "Do you reckon Tom would be so foolish as to ride to a holdup with the most known horse in the county? He'd have to be crazy!"

He gestured outside. "We've got a cavvy of broncs all colors an' kinds. He could take his pick, so why ride the one horse everybody knows?"

"I thought of that," Bowdrie agreed, "and it doesn't look like anybody with a place like this would want to steal. You boys have got yourselves a ranch!"

"Best I ever saw!" Roway said. "Grass all year around and water that never gives out. Our cattle are always fat."

"Has anybody ever tried to buy you out?" Bowdrie asked casually.

"You might say that. Jackson Kegley wanted to buy it from me, and for that matter, so did old man Bates. Then some of Kegley's boys made a pass at running me off the place a few years back. We sort of discouraged 'em, Mig an' me, we shoot too straight."

The coffee was good, so Bowdrie sat and talked awhile. The two were hard men, no doubt about that, but competent. Nobody in his right mind would try to drive them off a place situated like this. Bowdrie knew their kind. He had ridden with them, worked cattle with them. Left alone, they would be no trouble to anyone.

Neither of these men shaped up like a murderer. They would kill, but only in a fight where both sides were armed and where they believed themselves in the right.

The idea persisted that the bank cashier had been shot deliberately, and for a reason. But what reason?

Bowdrie was not taking Roway's word for it as far as the paint horse went, but he did not have to. He already had some thoughts about that, and an idea was beginning to take shape that might provide an answer.

It was a long ride back to Morales, and Bowdrie had time to think. The sun was hot, but up in the high country where he was, the breeze was pleasant. Bowdrie took his time. Riding horseback had always been conducive to thinking, and now he turned over in his mind each one of the elements. When he arrived at a point where he could overlook the town, he drew rein.

Morales, what there was of it, lay spread out below him like a map, and there are few things better than a map for getting the right perspective.

The paint horse was too obvious. Rip Coker had put that into words very quickly, but Bowdrie had been quick to see it himself. To ride such a horse in a robbery meant that a man was insane or he was trying to point a finger of suspicion at its owner.

"What I want to know, Hammerhead," he said to the roan, "is how that fifth bandit got away. More than likely, if he rode around behind the Rest an' took to the woods, he had to come this way to keep from sight. He had to know a trail leading him up to the breaks of this plateau without using the main trail."

For two hours he scouted the rim, returning to town finally with the realization that there was no way to reach the top without taking the main trail in full sight of the town.

"And if he didn't use the main trail, he just never left town at all!"

Several men were running toward the bank as he rode into the street. Dropping from the saddle, Bowdrie tied his horse and went swiftly in the direction of the others. Hearing someone coming up behind him, he turned to see Jackson Kegley. "What's happened?" Kegley asked.

"Don't know," Chick said.

When they rounded the corner of the bank, they saw a small knot of men standing at the rear of the bank. Bowdrie glanced at Kegley. His face was flushed and he was breathing harder than what a fast walk should cause. A bad heart, maybe?

Bob Singer was there, his features taut and strained. "It's Joel Bates. He's been knifed."

Chick stepped through the crowd. He looked down at the banker's son. A good-looking boy, a handsome boy, and well-made. Too young to die with a knife in the back.

"Anybody see what happened?" Chick asked.

Rip Coker was rolling a smoke. "He was investigatin' this here robbery. I reckon he got too close."

"I found him," Henry Plank said. He was a small man, bald, with a fringe of reddish hair. "I come through here a lot, going to Big Jim's barn. He was lyin' just like you see him, on his chest, head turned sidewise, and a knife in his back."

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 170 x 106 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. LONE STAR LAW Twelve thrilling Western tales that celebrate the proud heritage of the TEXAS RANGERS Louis L Amour leads off this powerful collection with a stunning tale featuring his legendary Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie. Here, too, are superb, action-packed entries from today s outstanding Western storytellers -- distinguished award winners as well as daring newcomers, including Peter Brandvold - Randy Lee Eickhoff - Marcus Galloway - Ed Gorman - Elmer Kelton - Rod Miller - Robert J. Randisi - James Reasoner - Dusty Richards - Troy D. Smith - L. J. Washburn Edited by renowned author and anthologist Robert J. Randisi, Lone Star Law spans the existence of this elite investigative law enforcement agency. From fending off hostile Comanche to tracking serial killers, from aiming Winchesters and Colt revolvers to firing up laptops and state-of-the-art forensics technology, from targeting rustlers and outlaw gangs to leading harrowing hostage negotiations, the men and women who don the badge and white hat of the Texas Ranger stand as steadfast deliverers of American justice -- the Lone Star way. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780743490313

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reissue. 170 x 106 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. LONE STAR LAW Twelve thrilling Western tales that celebrate the proud heritage of the TEXAS RANGERS Louis L Amour leads off this powerful collection with a stunning tale featuring his legendary Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie. Here, too, are superb, action-packed entries from today s outstanding Western storytellers -- distinguished award winners as well as daring newcomers, including Peter Brandvold - Randy Lee Eickhoff - Marcus Galloway - Ed Gorman - Elmer Kelton - Rod Miller - Robert J. Randisi - James Reasoner - Dusty Richards - Troy D. Smith - L. J. Washburn Edited by renowned author and anthologist Robert J. Randisi, Lone Star Law spans the existence of this elite investigative law enforcement agency. From fending off hostile Comanche to tracking serial killers, from aiming Winchesters and Colt revolvers to firing up laptops and state-of-the-art forensics technology, from targeting rustlers and outlaw gangs to leading harrowing hostage negotiations, the men and women who don the badge and white hat of the Texas Ranger stand as steadfast deliverers of American justice -- the Lone Star way. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780743490313

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Book Description Simon & Schuster. Paperback / softback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Lone Star Law, Louis L'Amour, James Reasoner, Edward Gorman, Elmer Kelton, Ed Gorman, LONE STAR LAWTwelve thrilling Western tales that celebrate the proud heritage of the TEXAS RANGERSLouis L'Amour leads off this powerful collection with a stunning tale featuring his legendary Texas Ranger Chick Bowdrie. Here, too, are superb, action-packed entries from today's outstanding Western storytellers -- distinguished award winners as well as daring newcomers, including Peter Brandvold - Randy Lee Eickhoff - Marcus Galloway - Ed Gorman - Elmer Kelton - Rod Miller - Robert J. Randisi - James Reasoner - Dusty Richards - Troy D. Smith - L. J. WashburnEdited by renowned author and anthologist Robert J. Randisi, "Lone Star Law" spans the existence of this elite investigative law enforcement agency. From fending off hostile Comanche to tracking serial killers, from aiming Winchesters and Colt revolvers to firing up laptops and state-of-the-art forensics technology, from targeting rustlers and outlaw gangs to leading harrowing hostage negotiations, the men and women who don the badge and white hat of the Texas Ranger stand as steadfast deliverers of American justice -- the Lone Star way. Bookseller Inventory # B9780743490313

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