Harbin was the gunslinger. All he wanted was the gold. Badger was just a little weasel, waiting to see where the chips fell before he made his move. Nora was an orphan search for news of her lost parents. But Kid Rodelo He was the man of mystery. Who was he What did he want Ahead of them was fifty miles of desert hell.Behind them was a band of savage, bounty-hunting Yaquis. Only Rodelo could save his companions. But would he
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December 31, 1994
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Excerpt from Kid Rodelo by Louis L'Amour
THE YUMA DESERT, east of the Colorado River mouth, was like the floor of a furnace; but of the four riders, three were Yaqui Indians and accustomed to the heat, as were the buzzards swinging in lazy circles above them. The fourth rider did not mind the heat. He was dead.
The part of the desert they were now crossing was hard sand. Before them and on their right were sand dunes. Four days earlier the dead man had ridden his horse to death in those dunes. Obsessed by the desire to escape, to reach the boat awaiting him on Adair Bay, he had not realized until too late how hard he had ridden the animal.
To attempt the escape across the desert, dotted here and there by low-growing creosote or burro bush, was madness if he traveled by day. Yet there was no time to stop. It was the Yaquis, hungry for the fifty dollars his carcass would bring, who arranged his schedule. It was run or die, and so he ran . . . and died anyway, for they caught up with him short of his goal.
Nobody escaped across the Yuma Desert. The Yaqui in the battered cavalry hat could have told him that, for he had collected bounty on seventeen bodies, and it made a nice living. The Yaquis knew nothing about the boat on Adair Bay, and cared less.
At Yuma Prison, Tom Badger did know about the boat. He had been the escaped prisoner's only confident, had known of the plans, and had known that the boat was to appear at a certain place on the shore each evening for two weeks. The men handling the boat were well paid, and they knew only that one man, perhaps two or more, would appear out of the desert. They were to pick those men up, ask no questions, and sail them to Mazatlan.
Tom Badger had intended to make the break with Isacher, but Isacher was alone when the chance came and he accepted the chance. Badger had been left behind, but he did not blame his cell mate. In his place he would have done the same thing. Now he waited. . . . Had Isacher made it
Suddenly he heard the bell toll. One . . . two . . . three . . . four!
The prison gate had opened and closed. Badger sat up, scratching. Somebody had come in, and at this hour It was not quite six in the morning.
Outside he heard a voice, some distance off and near the gate. It was plain enough, even at the distance, for in this clear air sounds carry. "They brought in another one."