Holed up in a cabin in the Idaho hills, the mysterious man who called himself Trent wasn't looking for trouble. It came looking for him. A trigger-happy kid named Cub Hale emptied his gun into an unarmed man. Then he came swaggering after Trent. The girl who ran the gambling hall tried to get him to hightail it. But Trent wasn't buying. Even in that forsaken back country, he knew when a man had to speak with his shooting iron. From the Paperback edition.
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August 04, 1997
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Excerpt from The Mountain Valley War by Louis L'Amour
Smoke lifted from the charred timbers where once the house had stood, and curled wistfully in memory of the great barn Moffit had built to store hay and grain against the coming winters. The corral bars were down and the saddle stock had been run off. Where Dick Moffit's homestead had been that morning there was now only desolation, emptiness, and death.
Dick Moffit lay sprawled on the hard-packed earth of his barnyard, the earth deeply clawed in the agony of death. Even from where he sat on the long-legged buckskin, the man known as Trent could see Moffit had been shot at least six times. Three bullets had gone in from the front, the other three fired directly into his back by a man who stood over him. And Dick Moffit had been unarmed.
The small green valley lay still in the lazy afternoon sun, a faint heat emanating from the burned timbers.
So this was the way a dream ended! Dick Moffit had sold a good business back East to try his luck at stock-raising in the far West, something for which he had longed since boyhood.
The man who called himself Trent walked his horse slowly around the burned-out farm. Four or five men had come here, one of them riding a horse with a split right-rear hoof. They had shot Moffit down, then burned his layout.
Yet, where were his children? What about Sally Crane, who was sixteen? And young Jack Moffit, who was but fourteen? There was no evidence of them here, and although the killers might have taken Sally away, they would undoubtedly have killed Jack.
There were no other bodies, nor were there any recent tracks of the children. Those that remained and could be distinguished at all were several days old.
Thoughtfully Trent turned away. The buckskin knew the way they turned was toward home and quickened his pace. There were five miles to go, five miles of rugged trails through mountains and heavy timber and with no clear trail. For this was the way of the man called Trent, that he leave no definite trail wherever he went, and each time he came or went from his mountain hideaway he used a different route, so far as was possible.