Sheepman Abel McKenzie and cattleman Zack Rainford were once the best of friends, but are now, in 1887 Montana Territory, mortal enemies. Their escalating feud threatens to throw the people of Meriwether County into a bloody range war. Three ranchers have already been killed, and the investigation into the homicides received only cursory review. One of those three men was McKenzie's employee. Deputy United States Marshal Merlin Fanshaw is sent to investigate and enforce the law. Shortly after his arrival in Meriwether County, Deputy Fanshaw's assignment is complicated by the activities of a corrupt sheriff, a mysterious range detective, and a clandestine romance between the shepherd's son and the cattleman's daughter. Deputy Fanshaw accepts the burden of their secret and becomes an ally to the young lovers. If the two young people get married, it could help unite the feuding families, or it could light the fuse on the lethal powder keg. With conditions in the area becoming more strained, the McKenzie and Rainford homes become armed camps, with malice running rampant between the cowhands and sheepherders. Can Deputy Fanshaw prevent any further bloodshed? What will it take for him to put an end to the Meriwether County War?
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Stan Lynde was born in Billings, Montana on September 23, 1931, and was raised on his father's ranch near Lodge Grass, Montana, on the Crow Indian Reservation. He attended grade and high school at Lodge Grass, and traveled with the family wherever his father's business--sheep-raising--took them. During his early years, he lived with his parents in "every kind of dwelling you can imagine--sheep wagon, tent, dugout, line shack, cabin, and ranch house." He attended the University of Montana at Missoula, Montana, served during the Korean War with the Navy on the island of Guam and on board the submarine tender U.S.S. SPERRY. He created the comic strip RICK O'SHAY in 1957, and for nearly 20 years wrote and illustrated the feature. He ended his association with Tribune Media Services, the newspaper syndicate that owns and distributed the feature, in 1977. In 1978 he created the comic strip LATIGO for Field Newspaper Syndicate, and produced that feature until 1983. In 1984, he created the cartoon series GRASS ROOTS as a self-syndicated feature for weekly newspapers throughout the United States. He wrote his first novel--THE BODACIOUS KID--IN 1995. The book proved to be a critical and commercial success. Other novels followed--CARELESS CREEK in 1998, VIGILANTE MOON in 2003, SAVING MISS JULIE in 2004, MARSHAL OF MEDICINE LODGE in 2005, SUMMER SNOW in 2006, VENDETTA CANYON in 2008, TO KILL A COPPER KING in 2010, and THE BIG OPEN in 2012. All his novels are still in print, and are also available as audiobooks, read by the author, and as Kindle E-books. Stan calls himself "a westerner by birth and inclination" and his work aptly reflects his life-long interest in the history, lore, and legend of the American West. He is a member of Western Writers of America and the Author's Guild, and is a recipient of the Inkpot Award for achievement in the comic arts, Western Writers of America's prestigious SPUR Award, as well as the Montana Governor's Award for the Arts. He was a 2012 inductee into the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. Stan lives in Helena, Montana, with his wife Lynda.
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