Filled with action, adventure, mystery, and historical detail, the Sackett saga is an unforgettable achievement by one of America's greatest storytellers. In Mustang Man, Louis L'Amour tells the tale of a man who lived by his own law-even if it meant being branded an outlaw. Lost gold on the Santa Fe trail.Nolan Sackett was running ahead of a posse when he stopped to help a wagon stuck on the plains. But why was it stranded in the middle of nowhere with a beautiful-and murderous-young woman Nolan was trying to find out when he ran into Penelope Hume, another attractive lady. She was the key to a cache of gold hidden in the mountains. But to get the rightful heiress there first, Nolan would have to help her beat out jealous relations, paid assassins, and a killer without a conscience... all maddened by gold fever.
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December 31, 1965
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Excerpt from Mustang Man by Louis L'Amour
WHEN I CAME down off the cap rock riding a wind-broken bronc, half of New Mexico must have been trailin' behind me, all ready to shake out a loop for a hanging.
Nobody told me I should wait around and get my neck stretched, so when I'd seen them coming my way I just wrapped myself around the nearest horse and taken off down country. Seemed likely those boys would run out of ambition before long, but they must have been mighty shy of entertainment in that gyprock country, because they kept a-coming.
Me, I high-tailed it out of there as fast as that bronc would take me, and for a spell that was pretty fast. Only the bronc had run himself out trying to save my bacon and now I needed myself a fresh horse, or else I'd never need another.
About that time I sighted a clump of cottonwoods down on the flat, and cottonwoods spell water in any man's country. Water usually meant there was stock close by, and probably folks. Where there was either there might be a horse.
So right then I began building myself a fresh dust cloud behind me, and when I rode up to those trees I was just a-fogging it. Sure enough, there were horses there, and some mighty fine stock, too. So I shook out a loop and dabbed it on a handsome line-back dun with a black mane and tail.
Snubbing him to a post, I stepped down and unlatched my saddle and threw it on the dun. I cinched up tight, and was about to climb into the leather when I heard the click of a cocked hammer and froze right where I was. That gun was behind me, but judging by the sound the range was no more than twenty feet; and my ma never raised no foolish papooses. Back there in the Clinch Mountains of Tennessee we boys learned to use guns mighty early, but we also learned to hold them in respect. When a man puts a gun on you, you've no cause to believe he won't use it.
"Mister" -- the voice was dry and cold -- "you sure ain't pa'tic'lar where you put your saddle."
"Figured I was mighty pa'tic'lar. If that ain't the best horse in the lot, you show me a better and I'll switch my saddle."
He chuckled, but I knew that rifle hadn't moved any. This was a hard man there behind me.
"What you figure gives you title to that horse "
"You keep an eye on the rim of the cap rock yonder, and when you see dust a-fetching up over the rim you'll know what gives me title. Those boys back yonder got themselves a rope, and they figure on making me the belle of the ball."
"What did you do "
Well, I taken a chance and turned around. That old man held a Sharps .50 buffalo gun on me, a gun that would open a hole in a man as big as your fist. He was slight built, but he had a pair of the coldest eyes you ever did see.
"I fetched my gun a mite faster'n another man; only I was a stranger, and that other man, he owned himself a big outfit and a lot of good friends."
"You got a name Something folks call you by "
"Heard of you. Outlaw, the way folks tell it."
"Look at that rim, mister. There's your dust. Now this here ain't no time to start discussin' a man's moral outlook. There's no time to talk about my past, not if I am to have a future."
He stepped around me so's he could look at the rim, and then he said, "What d' you figure to do now, Sackett "
"Seems to me I've got a choice between a rope and a bullet, or a rope and a chance. Folks consider me a right fast hand with a six-shooter, so I'm likely to take the chance and see if I could beat you to a killing."
"You wouldn't beat me, Sackett, but I like your sand. You get up on that horse and light out. Hold to the bottom yonder and you'll be out of sight. The canyon cuts back toward the Yellow House, and you'll have a fair run down the valley. Give that horse a spell now and again and he'll take you clear of them."