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Billy Pinto's War



In 1904, sixteen-year-old Billy Pinto watches as the three men accused of murdering his Shoshone mother are set free, simply because the judge and prosecuting attorney don t believe they can successfully try white men for the killing of an Indian. Stunned by the court s decision, Billy decides to take justice into his own hands. He ambushes the three killers outside of town, then kidnaps the judge s granddaughter before fleeing into the remote San Pedro Mountains.

The job of tracking down Billy Pinto falls to Sheriff Hudson Pratt, who knows the only way he can stop the rising tide of violence between the Indians and Anglos of San Pedro County is to find Billy and rescue the kidnapped child before the young man s crime explodes into a full-fledged war.

 Billy Pinto's War.jpg Billy Pinto's War
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The Rusted Sun



Half-frozen and nearly dead, Gil Ryan rode into the little mountain town of Larkspur just ahead of a raging late-winter blizzard. He’d lost everything he owned except for his mount and the clothes on his back when his pack horse fell through the ice on the Big Sandy River; racked with fever, early-stage pneumonia, and a barely healed gunshot wound, all he wanted was a little medicine and a warm place to wait out the storm. But Gil had no way of knowing the surrounding Ensillado Basin was about to be plunged into a range war, or that the man whose bullet he carried, the same professional killer who had murdered his brother the previous fall, was also in the Ensillado, leading an army of hired guns to rid the Basin of its homesteaders and small ranchers.

Even before he’s fully healed, Gil is mistaken for a member of the opposing side. Forced into a war he doesn’t want and feels ill-equipped to handle, he assembles a ragtag army of reluctant townspeople and local homesteaders and sets out to bring order to the town of Larkspur and the grass-rich basin surrounding it. But there’s more at play in the Ensillado than Gil originally realized. Soon he finds himself in the battle of his life, the stakes a kindly doctor’s loyalty, a widow’s promise of love, and a chance to bring his brother’s killer to justice … assuming the town doesn’t turn on him when the bullets start to fly.

 The Rusted Sun.jpg The Rusted Sun
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Charlie Red

Booklist Starred Review!
(6-1-2016)


Tom Slade is riding shotgun for the Colorado and Prescott Stagecoach Company, in charge of delivering $45,000 in cash to the mines in central Arizona, when the stage is robbed at an isolated way station. Most men would have gone on to Prescott for help, but Slade knows he doesn’t have that kind of time if he hopes to catch up with the thieves before they disappear into the desert. Alone and riding a worn-out harness mule, Slade grimly sets off in pursuit. He realizes it’s going to take every ounce of skill and perseverance he’s got to recover the mine payroll and bring the bandits to justice. What he hadn’t counted on was a woman named Claire Adams showing up in the middle of the desert with her own reason for tracking down the outlaw gang, or the influence of her mysterious friend, Charlie Red.

 Charlie Red jpg Charlie Red
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Miami Gundown



“I've got something I want to say right up front,” says Boone McCallister, as he speaks into an Edison Dictaphone in 1937, “and that is that I did not feed David Klee to an alligator. That damned rumor has hounded me my whole life.”

Back in 1864, with his father gone to fight for the South, young Boone embarks on a cattle drive with the McCallister’s Flat Iron Ranch in pioneer Florida, sending a herd of cattle to the Gulf port south of Tampa. Besides navigating dangerous cattle country, the headstrong, naïve Boone encounters vengeful Yankees, orders a hanging, braves alligators, and comes into contact with a group of swamp outlaws, the Klees, which begins a costly feud between the two families.

When the Klees pillage and set fire to the Flat Iron Ranch, they also kidnap a comely slave girl, Lena. Against the odds, Boone must lead an operation to get her back, leading to a showdown in the middle of unfamiliar and unsettled outlaw territory that would one day become Miami.



 Miami Gundown.jpg Miami Gundown
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The Poacher's Daughter

Winner of the 2015 Wrangler Award
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award


“The Poacher’s Daughter” is the story of Rose Edwards, whose husband was hung by vigilantes. She grew up on the Montana frontier in a time when hunters and traders could move freely among the tribes. As the story begins, everything Rose has ever known or believed in is starting to disintegrate as large cattle ranches, many of them owned by foreign investors, begin moving onto the Upper Plains. The old-timers, and she includes herself in that group, even though she’s only twenty-four when her husband is killed, find themselves being crowded off their land by these huge operations.

A lot of research went into this story. My goal was to capture a transitional era in American history, when ranching and rustling coexisted with telephones and polo fields. Buffalo-hide teepees are gradually being replaced with canvas, and there’s talk of fences carving the land into individually owned chunks. It was an exciting time, but heartbreaking for many of the people who had been there before, Indian and white.

Rose’s father is an old hunter and trader, and despite her admonitions for him to stay out of trouble with the local law, he begins slipping into the newly formed Yellowstone National Park to poach bison, then sell the heads and tanned hides to wealthy Easterners. A lot of things really came together for this story, and I’m very proud of it. It received a good review from Library Journal, and a starred review from Booklist.



 photo 329e5d13-2339-49df-b31b-280d7c1437b6.jpg The Poacher's Daughter
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Leaving Yuma

Interviewed in 1937 as a contributor to the American Legends Collection, J.T. Latham narrated the events of a dangerous trek he guided into the badlands of Sonora, Mexico, in exchange for a pardon from the term he was serving in Yuma Territorial Penitentiary. Acting Deputy Sheriff Del Buchman who made the offer, and described the situation: "Six days ago a train on its way to Hermosillo was stopped by bandits. Seven Americans were taken off. Four were shot on the spot, but a woman and her two kids were taken away. Now, here's the kicker. On the very same day those three were pulled off the train, her husband gets a proposal from a bandit chief named Chito Soto that ain't nothing but a ransom demand wrapped in fancy words. This Soto claims he's a major in something called an Army of Liberation. He wants the ransom delivered to Sabana by May Sixteenth, which is eight days from today. They're threatening to start carving on them kids on the Seventeenth if they don't get the...their ransom on time."

The ransom Buchman chose not to mention was three machine-guns and a dozen cases of .30-40 Krag ammunition that Latham has to transport through two hundred miles of hostile desert inhabited by revolutionaries, bandits, Yaqui Indians, and very few water holes. And that turns out to be the easy part.

Leaving Yuma Leaving Yuma
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Rio Tinto

Finalist for the 2014 Will Rogers Medallion Award
Finalist for the 2014 Elmer Kelton Award from the Academy of Western Artist


Wil Chama was interviewed in 1938 as a contributor to the American Legends Collection, a part of the Federal Writers Project. Speaking into an Edison Dictaphone, he narrated the events of his life. His personal narrative included his involvement as a strike breaker in what became known as the Gunnison Affair.

It was as a result of this shameful episode that he gained his reputation as a gunman and sought to bury himself as a driver of a salt wagon in Río Tinto, Texas. What Wil never suspected is that he was engaged to work for the Red Devil Salt Works in Río Tinto not because of his skill as a muleskinner, but precisely because of his reputation as a gunman.

This becomes clear to Wil when Randall Kellums, the owner of the Red Devil, tells him he wants Wil to give up his job as a wagoner and serve notice on Amos Montoya that his company and his people will no longer have access to the salt deposits at Tinto Flats.

Rio Tinto Rio Tinto
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Beneath A Hunter's Moon

Big John McTavish has been hunting and trading among the métis buffalo hunters of the Red River Valley for more than thirty years. He's a trusted member of the half-breed nation, and a leader of the mixed-bloods' twice-yearly buffalo hunts. But when he returns to the settlements in the autumn of 1832 with a mountain man he's rescued from a Chippewa war party, he has no way of knowing the chain of events the outsider is about to unleash on the unsuspecting hunters. Or the kind of destruction that will follow them onto the buffalo ranges that border the lonely Missouri River.

Before the hunters return to their homes along the Red River, Big John will learn the macabre secret that has brought the trapper from the far reaches of the Rocky Mountains. He will discover a daughter he thought he'd lost forever, and relive the horror that took her away. And the métis will will discover that if they are to survive as an independent nation, they must free themselves of the influence not only of the powerful Hudson Bay Company, but of the man they have viewed as their friend for more than a quarter of a century.

"Beneath A Hunter's Moon" is a novel of honor and treason, love and betrayal, but mostly it is a story about a proud and wonderful people -- the métis of the Red River Valley of the North.

Beneath A Hunter's Moon Beneath A Hunter's Moon
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City of Rocks

An American Library Association Top 10 Western for 2012.
Finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award
Finalist for the 2013 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award



Excerpt from Federal Writers Project 1938 Joseph Roper Dictaphone Interview:

"A lot of people go to those moving-picture shows and think they’re seeing the real McCoy, but that’s not the way it was. You take a guy like William S. Hart, or that kid, John Wayne. They try to come off rough-barked, but they’re nothing but a bunch of lilies compared to men like Ian McCandles.

"I’ll tell you something else about those cowboy pictures. They’re clean, barely a smudge of dirt anywhere, but what happened out there in City of Rocks wasn’t clean. It was grimy and smelly and gut-numbingly cold. Men died, and when they did they didn’t just grab their chests and fall over. They got knocked down hard and the life spilled out of them like blood from a butchered hog. I guess I ought to know since I was there. Since it was me who did most of the killing that day.”

Great News!

The American Library Association's "Booklist Online" has named “City of Rocks” one of its Top 10 Westerns for 2012.

Booklist Online is a website for subscribers to Booklist, a book-review magazine published by the American Library Association. It features more than 135,000 book reviews and thousands of features for librarians, book groups and book lovers.

Check out the entire list here: Booklist







City of Rocks City of Rocks
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The Long Hitch



In 1874 Utah territory, young teamster Buck McCready becomes wagon boss for the Kavanaugh freight outfit after his mentor, Mason Campbell, is murdered. With the Kavanaugh outfit engaged in a wagon train race that will decide whether Kavanaugh or a competitor lands a lucrative freight-hauling contract, Buck vows to find Campbell's killer. But first he must win the race, a difficult task considering there's a saboteur among his crew and a hired gun out to take him down -- plus the possibility that Campbell's killer is after Buck, too.

 The Long Hitch.jpg The Long Hitch
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Wild Side of the River



When Jacob Wilder and his sons came to Montana Territory, the land still belonged to the Sioux and the buffalo. Now times are changing. The buffalo are gone, the Sioux are confined to reservations, and the newer citizens are saying it's time for the likes of the Wilders to go, too.

The Wilders say differently.

 Wild Side of the River Wild Side
of the River

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Johnny Montana

In the Redhawk Mining District, he is known as Johnny Montana. It is the name given to him by those who followed him to the Northwest gold fields in the spring of 1863. Now, with a harsh Montana winter about to descend upon them, all Johnny and his partners want to do is go home. And all that stands in their way is a highly organized gang of thieves and murderers.

Others have tried to escape the Redhawk District with their summer's cache of gold, but none have succeeded. Now they are turning to one man, asking him to accomplish what heavily armed parties have so far failed to achieve -- get their gold out of Montana, before the outlaws come for it. One man, one woman, $60,000 worth of gold -- against a horde of bloodthirsty killers.

 Johnny Montana Johnny Montana
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Where The Buffalo Roam

Born a slave on an east Texas cotton plantation, Clay Little Bull was captured by the Kiowa as a small child and raised among the wild tribes. But at the age of 20, he left the only home he''d ever known and began a journey in search of freedom.

 Where The Buffalo Roam Where The
Buffalo Roam

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Fandango

In a saga of the Old West, several young mountain men contend with horse thieves, treachery, a merciless climate, and a renegade Indian warlord in their quest for the beaver pelts that could make them rich.

 Fandango Fandango
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Cottonwood Station

Holed up in a stone fortress in the middle of a dusty wilderness with a gang of cutthroats on the run from the law, a war party of Cheyenne bent on revenge haunting the barren hills surrounding them. Only one man knows what it is going to take to save the lives of the inncocent occupants of the besiged outpost. One man and one rifle - the famed Whitworth, capable of throwing a lead slug eight hundred yards. But is that going to be enough?

 Cottonwood Station Cottonwood Station
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Dust and Glory

Jesse Ross was just a kid when the Yankee invaders raided his family's isolated Missouri farm, but before that night is over, he'll be branded a traitor and murderer. With nowhere else to turn, he joins Josiah Slaughter's Company of Missouri Rangers, and by the time the War is over, he'll not only be a man -- he'll be a legend.

 Dust and Glory Dust and Glory
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Sundown

Hell had come a-callin' on the remote cattle town of Sand Creek, Nebraska Territory. Wide-spread rustling from the area's ranches was about to destroy the local cattle industry, and the recently opened Black Hills, with its gold camps like Custer City and Deadwood, were prime markets for the stolen beef. That's why the Cattlemen's Association brought in Luke Howard and a handful of others as Range Detectives, men experienced in the ways of cattle -- and guns. But Luke knew that if they were ever going to stem the tide of stolen beef, they would have to find out who was directing the operation from behind the scenes. And that might mean going up against the very men who hired them.

 Sundown Sundown
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