The Sacketts were fierce fighting men from the hills of Tennessee.The Talons were French, but a life of piracy brought them to America.Milo was half Talon, half Sackett.He'd been riding the outlaw trail for three years, but now he was hunting a man who had betrayed a trust with his own kin.And when he found him, Milo Talon would do no less than any Sackett or Talon before him. From the Paperback edition.
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February 26, 2007
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Excerpt from The Man from the Broken Hills by Louis L'Amour
I CAUGHT THE drift of woodsmoke where the wind walked through the grass.
A welcome sign in wild country . . . or the beginning of trouble.
I was two days out of coffee and one day out of grub, with an empty canteen riding my saddle horn. And I was tired of talking to my horse and getting only a twitch of the ears for answer.
Skylining myself on the rimrock, I looked over the vast sweep of country below, rolling hills with a few dry watercourses and scattered patches of mesquite down one arroyo. In this country, mesquite was nearly always a sign that water was near, for only wild mustangs ate the beans, and if they weren't bothered they'd rarely get more than three miles from water. Mesquite mostly grew from horse droppings, so that green looked almighty good down there.
The smoke was there, pointing a ghost finger at the sky, so I rode the rim looking for a way down. It was forty or fifty feet of sheer rock, and then a steep slope of grass-grown talus, but such rims all had a break somewhere, and I found one used by run-off water and wild animals.
It was steep, but my mustang had run wild until four years old, and for such a horse this was Sunday School stuff. He slid down on his haunches and we reached bottom in our own cloud of dust.
There were three men around the fire, with the smell of coffee and of bacon frying. It was a two-bit camp in mighty rough country, with three saddle-broncs and a packhorse standing under a lightning-struck cottonwood.
"Howdy," I said. "You boys receivin' visitors, or is this a closed meetin'?"
They were all looking me over, but one said, "You're here, mister. Light and set."
He was a long-jawed man with a handlebar mustache and a nose that had been in a disagreement. There was a lean, sallow youngster, and a stocky, strong-looking man with a shirt that showed the muscle beneath it.
The horses were good, solid-fleshed animals, all wearing a Spur brand. A pair of leather chaps lay over a rock near the fire, and a rifle nearby.
"Driftin'?" the stocky fellow asked.
"Huntin' a job. I was headed east, figurin' to latch onto the first cow outfit needin' a hand."
"We're Stirrup-Iron," the older one commented, "an' you might hit the boss. We're comin' up to roundup time and we've just bought the Spur outfit. He's liable to need hands who can work rough country."
Stepping down from the saddle I stripped off my rig. There was a trail of water in the creek, about enough to keep the rocks wet. My horse needed no invitation. He just walked over and pushed his nozzle into the deepest pool.