Phil Sundeen thinks Deputy Sheriff Kirby Frye is just a green local kid with a tin badge. And when the wealthy cattle baron's men drag two prisoners from Frye's jail and hang them from a high tree, there's nothing the untried young lawman can do about it. But Kirby's got more grit than Sundeen and his hired muscles bargained for. They can beat the boy and humilate him, but they can't make him forget the jog he has sworn to do. The cattleman has money, fear, and guns on his side, but Kirby Frye's the law in this godforsaken corner of the Arizona Territories. And he'll drag Sundeen and his killers straight to hell himself to prove it.
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July 02, 2002
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Excerpt from The Law at Randado by Elmore Leonard
At times during the morning, he would think of the man named Kirby Frye. The man who had brought him here. There had been others, most of them soldiers, but he remembered by name only the one called Frye. He had known him before and it had been a strange shock to see him last night.
Most of the time, though, Dandy Jim stood at the window of the upstairs jail cell and watched the street below in the cold sunlight and tried not to think of anything.
He would see riders walking their horses, then flat-bed wagons--most often with a man and woman on the seat and children at the back end with their legs swinging over the tailgate--and now and then a man leading a pack mule. They moved both ways along the street that appeared narrower from above with the ramadas making a shadow line along the building fronts.
Saturday morning and the end of a trail drive brings all kinds to town. The wagon people, one-loop ranchers and their families who would be on their way home before dark. A few prospectors down out of the Huachucas who would drink whisky while their money lasted, then buy some to take if their credit was good. And the mounted men, most of them on horses wearing the Sun-D brand--a D within a design that resembled a crudely drawn flower though it was meant to be a sunburst-men back from a month of trail driving, back from pushing two thousand cows up the San Rafael valley to the railhead at Willcox, twenty days up and ten back and dust all the way, but strangely not showing the relief of having this now behind them. They rode silently, and men do not keep within themselves with a trail drive just over and still fresh in their minds.