Macon Fallon had never needed much more than a deck of cards, a fast horse, and a ready gun. And he was counting on those things now, as he led an unsuspecting group of settlers into an abandoned mining town. But while Fallon prepared to pass the ghost town off as a gold mine in the making, a funny thing happened: a real-life community started to take shape in the town he's christened Red Horse, and a lovely, strong-minded woman started to take notice of one Macon Fallon. So when a band of vicious outlaws and a kid who fancied himself a gunslinger threatened to rip Red Horse apart, Fallon found himself caught in the one predicament he's never gambled on -- picking up a gun and laying down his life for a place he just might call home ...
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March 01, 1982
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Excerpt from Fallon by Louis L'Amour
MACON FALLON WAS a stranger to the town of Seven Pines, and fortunately for him he was a stranger with a fast horse.
In the course of an eventful life, Macon Fallon had become a connoisseur of western hospitality, and knew when a limit had been reached.
Hence, when an escorting party, complete with rope, arranged to conduct him to the vicinity of a large cottonwood where the evening's festivities would be concluded, he wasted no time on formalities, but promptly departed the premises.
The moment chosen was, of course, appropriate to the situation. The self-appointed posse were as confident as a few drinks could make them, but were totally unaware of the quality of the man they escorted.
One of the riders had lagged a little, and at that moment they came abreast of an opening in the brush that walled the trail. Fallon rode an excellent cutting horse that could turn on a dime.
The black horse went through the opening with a bound and, sensing the urgency of its rider, took off on a dead run.
No horse Fallon had ever seen could catch that black of his in under half a mile, and by the time that distance lay behind, Fallon was prepared to resort to evasive tactics. The black had staying quality as well as an initial burst of speed; and the posse, less superbly mounted, fell rapidly behind.
Unfortunately, by the time the opportunity for escape was offered, only one direction remained to Fallon . . . and westward lay a waterless waste . . . or one that was relatively so.
The nearest water hole was thirty miles off, but on Fallon's one previous visit the water there had been plentiful and good. With a safe lead, and some tracks purposely left to indicate that he had circled the town, he settled down for a long ride.
At thirty miles, with his throat parched for a drink, the water hole proved to be a bed of dried, cracked mud.
At forty-two miles, with his horse stumbling, the creek was a dusty trough, and Macon Fallon was a man in trouble.
Somewhere behind was a posse of irate citizens who had by this time found his trail. They would be coming along with filled canteens and could afford to ignore the water holes.
To the best of his knowledge, which admittedly was not thorough, the next seventy miles offered no water.
Dust sifted over him, and sweat etched a fine pattern of lines upon his lean, ruggedly handsome if somewhat saturnine features. He dismounted, talked to the horse to reassure it, then walked on, leading the horse.
He was a man naturally considerate of horses, but he also knew that in this country if his horse should die, his own death was only a matter of time.