The Lonely Men Tell Sackett had been lured into the Apache's mountain stronghold by the icy beauty of his brother's wife.He didn't go alone.John J. Battles, Spanish Murphy and the half-breed Tampico rode beside him.Each was driven by his past to test his speed and cunning against an enemy who could smell a white man a mile away-and then shoot his eyes out at a dead gallop.It was a contest few men could enter-and fewer still could hope to win. The Sacketts They are the unforgettable pioneer family created by master storyteller Louis L'Amour to bring to vivid life the spirit and adventure of the American frontier.The Sacketts, men and women who challenged the untamed wilderness with their dreams and their courage.From generation to generation they pushed ever westward with a restless, wandering urge, a kinship with the free, wild places and a fierce independence. The Sacketts always stood tall and, true to their strong family pride, they would unite to take on any and all challenges, no matter how overwhelming the odds.Each
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October 01, 1984
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Excerpt from The Lonely Men by Louis L'Amour
IT WAS HOT. The shallow place where I lay atop the desert ridge was like an oven, the rocks like burning coals. Out on the flat below, where the Apaches waited, the heat waves shimmered and danced. Only the far-off mountains looked cool.
When I tried to push out my tongue to touch my cracked lips it was like a dry stick in my mouth, and the dark splashes on the rock were blood... my blood.
The round thing lying yonder with a bullet hole in it was my canteen, but there might be a smidgen of water left in the bottom -- enough to keep me alive if I could get to it.
Down on the flat lay my sorrel horse, who had run himself to death trying to save my hide, and him with a bullet hole in his belly. In the saddlebags were the few odds and ends that were likely to be as much as I'd ever have of possessions in this life, for I didn't seem to be a fortunate man when it came to getting the riches of the world.
Back in the high-up Tennessee hills they used to tell it that when fighting time came around a body should stand clear of us Sacketts, but those Apaches down yonder had never heard the stories, and wouldn't have paid them no mind if they had.
If you saw an Apache on a parade ground he might not stack up too much, but out in the brush and rocks of his native country, he was a first-class fighting man, and maybe the greatest guerrilla fighter the world ever saw.
Squinting my eyes against the glare and the thin trickle of salty sweat in my eyes, I clutched the stock of my rifle right back of the action and searched the terrain for something at which to shoot. My mouth was dry, my fingers stiff, and my rifle action so hot I daren't touch it unless to shoot, and quick.
Down there on the trail Billy Higgins lay gut-shot and dead, killed at the last by my own bullet to save him from torture.
WE'D BEEN RIDING east in the cool of the morning when those Apaches hit us from out of nowhere. Rightly, this wasn't even Apache country. This was Pima or Papago country, and they were Indians who were friendly to us, and who fought the Apaches on every occasion.
When those 'Paches hit us it was every man for himself, and Billy Higgins and me, we taken out a-running, heading for the rocks where we could make a fight of it.
An Apache with a .56 Spencer r'ared up from behind a greasewood and shot Billy right through the belly, opening him up as if it had been done with a saber. It meant he was dying, and he knew it.
Swinging my horse, I came back to him where he had fallen, but he looked up cool as could be and said, "You light out, Tell. I've seen some gut-shot folks in my time, but nobody had it worse than me."
The shock of the bullet was still on him, but in a minute or two he would begin to suffer.
When I got down to lift him up he stopped me. "Before God, Tell, if you try to pick me up everything I've got in me will spill out. You hit the trail, but try to get another one for me, will you You can he'p more up in the rocks, keepin' them off me."
What he said was gospel true and we both knew it, so I swung my horse and lit a shuck for those rocks as if my sorrel's tail was afire. Only we didn't get far. I heard the shots and felt the sorrel's hoofs break rhythm, and then he started to cave under me, but somehow he fought himself up and kept on for fifty yards more. Then he started to go and I hit the ground running before he was down, with bullets kicking gravel ahead of and around me.