Max Brand

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In “Lawman’s Heart,” Larry Traynor is driving a state with his shotgun guard, Sam Whitney, the man who has been his mentor in life, when a hold-up occurs.  Sam is shot dead.  Traynor is determined to bring the thief to justice, but then fate intervenes.  Although he does not recognize the symptoms, or what they mean, Traynor is suffering from heart failure.  He is deputized to give pursuit even through, given his condition, it can only lead to his ruin.

Joe Palmer in “White-Water Sam” had been a deck hand on the Thomas Drayton before the railroad came.  Now the fine river boat is permanently moored in Lake Bennett, useless to her owner, because the only chance for a future is to get her downstream through the impossible rapids of Miles Canon.  Sam Bridgeman once tried to shoot those rapids with a river boat, the Denver Belle.  He knew that the only way to do it was to ride the very center of the rapids, but the Denver Belle turned sideways and smashed against the rocks.  The experience affected Sam’s mind.  Now Larry Decatur arrives with enough money to buy the Thomas Drayton, but he knows nothing about river boats and certainly cannot hope to run the rapids in Miles Canon by himself.

In “Back Thunder” Dan Harrigan and Angus MacTee are partners in a mining claim.  What divides them is Kate Malone.  They both love her, but she loves only one of them, and has gone into hiding.  macTee learns her whereabouts, and head out, with Dan Harrigan in pursuit.

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For fifteen years after Andrew Lanning's father died, his Uncle Jasper raised him.  Jasper wanted his nephew to be the kind of man who rightly belonged with the Lanning clan: good with horses, even better with guns.  But the results proved disappointing.  Andrew became the mild-mannered town blacksmith.  Then one day something happens that changes that.  The belligerent Buck Heath confronts Andrew, and Andrew fights back, a single punch knocking Heath down, probably killing him.  Andrew flees into the wilderness where he turns outlaw, relentlessly pursued by Deputy Sherriff Bill Dozier and a posse.  When Andrew is finally within the sights of their long guns, he stops them by means of a fabulous long-distance shot, killing Bill Dozier.  Andrew does not know that Buck Heath recovered, that he was mistaken in believing he had killed him.  But now, with the killing of an officer of the law, he is outlawed for sure.  Only one thing keeps him going.  The love he has for Anne Withero.  She is terrified of Andrew and drawn to him at the same time.  She is the fiancée of rich Charles Merchant, the man who offered Bill Dozier money to keep up the pursuit of Andrew Lanning even through Andrew was actually innocent of any crime.  Now more than ever Merchant wants Andrew brought in dead and increases the price on his head.  For Andrew remaining free has suddenly become more dangerous than it has ever been.

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Notorious outlaw Lawrence Grey has been captured in El Paso.  Marshal Neilan has a proposal for him.  Neilan will set Grey free if he tries to locate John Ray, a man who when last heard from was living in San Vicente, Mexico.  The men Neilan sent previously have disappeared, or quit the job.  Brick Forbes of Pittsburgh is worth millions.  Ray once did him a kindness when he was down and out, to which Forbes attributes the fortune he has amassed. Now that Forbes is desperately ill, he wants to leave his fortune to Ray rather than to his own relatives.  Grey agrees to Neilan’s proposal and goes to San Vicente, where he promptly saves the life of Mexican general Miguel O’Riley during a bombing attempt.  The general makes inquiries and learns that the stranger who saved his life is called John Lawrence and that he is studying Spanish.  Another American named Dickson Jarvis, employed by Forbes’s relatives, informs O’Riley that Lawrence is actually a wanted outlaw on both sides of the border.  Later, Jarvis is murdered.  Lawrence has his own audience with General O’Riley and asks him for a guide into the mountains.  O’Riley sends for Oliver Slade, a man who strangely resembles the one who killed Jarvis.  This proves only the beginning of an intrigue in which Lawrence’s life is threatened continually from all sides.

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In “Gunman’s Bluff,” Cheyenne was challenged to a shootout by Danny and Chuck Martin.  He managed to kill Danny and wound Chuck, but before he could get away, Chuck shot Cheyenne in the shoulder.  Now Doc Lindus has told him that it might be quite some time until he has use of his right hand again.  With the Martins out for blood, how’s Cheyenne to defend himself?

In “Torridon,” Paul Torridon was only seven when he was brought before John Brett.  The Bretts hated all of the Torridons but, unable to bring himself to kill such a young boy, John leaves him to the women of the house.  They poisonous hatred between the Bretts and Torridon simmered quietly until a magnificent Brett colt becomes a one-man house – and that man is Paul Torridon.

In the title story, wealthy rancher Oliver Lane is believed to be near death.  His will leaves his fortune to his drifter nephew Sandy Lane, if he should return before a set date.  If he doesn’t show up, it all goes to Henry Barnes – and Barnes is not the type to leave such matters to chance.

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Born to white parents, Rusty Sabin was taken prisoner and raised by the Cheyenne’s, who know him now as Red Hawk, an admired leader and great warrior.

When Sabin extracts two full bags of gold from along the creek of the Sacred Valley, a place that is holy to the Cheyenne’s, his intention is to spend half of it on improving the lot of Cheyenne’s.  The other half is for Maisry Lester, the girl he hopes to marry.

 Rusty and Standing Bull, a Cheyenne friend, are guests at the Lester cabin when Charlie Galway, a local frontiersman, tries to steal the sack of gold meant for Maisry, and is interrupted by her father.  Galway kills Lester with Standing Bull’s tomahawk, and then accuses him of the crime, setting the stage for a bloody confrontation between the settlers and the Indians.

 

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Meet Tom Fernald, the gutless sheepherder of Mount Griffon.  The townsfolk scorned him for being slow-witted, so he kept to himself, mostly.  And Tommy never fought back when it came to bandits – maybe because he had nothing to lose.  A freak accident on a wintry night turned Tom into a rancher of mysterious wealth.  He stole a dead man’s fortune and wanted it for keeps.  Only Bill Ransome, the reformed reprobate, knew the truth and was intent on seeing Fernald behind bars.  To survive, Tommy had to become Mount Griffon’s most feared gunfighter!

 

 

 

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Speedy does not usually use a gun, although in Nighthawk Trail he does, but it is only an elaborate illusion.  Regarded as one of the most dangerous men in the West, the object of his quest is to find the great horse Nighthawk.

Bob Nelson in The Vamp’s Bandit started out as merely a rowdy ranch hand, but he stepped over the line, and began robbing, such as the night he help up the stage in Porter’s Pass.  Bart Chambers is convinced that there is one trap that will catch Nelson – often-married but currently single Maybelle Crofter.

In Rifle Pass, ageing Sheriff Thomas Weller has one major problem: his son Dick Weller.  Dick cannot seem to apply himself to anything.  In a desperate attempt to have Dick’s courage tested, the sheriff deputized his son and charges him with the capture of Harry Sanford.

 

 

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All it took was one look to know that young Phil Slader was bad to the bone.  The son of a murdering outlaw, he was adopted by the man who put a bullet in his father’s heart.  No more than a boy, his cold eyes burned with hate.  But soon he’d show the world what kind of man he was.

 

 

 

 

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