One of the superior sagas of our time, the chronicle of the Sackett family is a great achievement of one of our finest storytellers. In Mojave Crossing, Louis L'Amour takes William Tell Sackett on a treacherous passage from the Arizona goldfields to the booming town of Los Angeles.Tell Sackett was no ladies' man, but he could spot trouble easily enough. And Dorinda Robiseau was the kind of trouble he wanted to avoid at any time, even more so when he had thirty pounds of gold in his saddlebags and a long way to travel.But when she begged him for safe passage to Los Angeles, Sackett reluctantly agreed. Now he's on a perilous journey through the most brutal desert on the continent, traveling with a companion he doesn't trust and headed for a confrontation with a deadly gunman who also bears the name of Sackett.
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December 31, 1963
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Excerpt from Mojave Crossing by Louis L'Amour
WHEN I SAW that black-eyed woman a-looking at me I wished I had a Bible.
There I was, a big raw-boned mountain boy, rougher than a cob and standing six feet three inches in my socks, with hands and shoulders fit to wrassle mustang broncs or ornery steers, but no hand with womenfolks.
Nobody ever claimed that I was anything but a homely man, but it was me she was looking at in that special way she had.
Where we Sacketts come from in the high-up mountains of Tennessee, it is a known thing that if you sleep with a Bible under your pillow it will keep you safe from witches. Before they can do aught to harm you they must count every word in the Bible, and they just naturally can't finish that before daybreak, when they lose their power to hurt.
Yet when I taken a second look at that black-eyed, black-haired woman I thought maybe it was me should do the counting. She was medium tall, with a way about her that set a man to thinking thoughts best kept to himself. She had the clearest, creamiest skin you ever did see, and a mouth that fairly prickled the hair on the back of your neck.
Most of my years I'd spent shying around in the mountains or out on the prairie lands, with no chance to deal myself any high cards in society, but believe me, there's more snares in a woman's long lashes than in all the creek bottoms of Tennessee. Every time I taken my eyes from that black-haired witch woman it was in me to look back.
My right boot-toe was nudging the saddlebags at my feet, warning me I'd no call to take up with any woman, for there were thirty pounds of gold in those bags, not all of it mine.
The worst of it was, I figured things were already shaping for trouble. Three days hard-running I'd seen dust hanging over my back trail like maybe there was somebody back there who wanted to keep close to me without actually catching up. And that could only mean that trouble lay ahead.