The Wild West of Louis L'Amour lives on in a daring tale of adventure and suspense that will prove the making of a man - or lead to his death.Folks tried to tell him that his father had killed himself, but Kearney McRaven knew better. His pa was no quitter.Then the boy discovered that just before the bullet had found him, the elder McRaven had had a remarkable run of luck. He'd won nearly ten thousand dollars and the deed to a cattle ranch. So Kearney decided to go after what was rightfully his ... even if it bought him some man-size trouble.
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December 31, 1977
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Excerpt from The Proving Trail by Louis L'Amour
All winter long I held them cattle up on the plateau whilst pa collected my wages down to town. Come first grass I taken them cattle down to Dingleberry s and I told old Ding what he could do with them, that I had my fill of playin nursemaid to a bunch of cows.
He made quite a fuss, sayin as how pa had hired me out to him and I d no choice, bein a boy not yet eighteen.
So I told him if he figured I d no choice, just to watch the tail end of my horse because I was fetchin out of there. I knew pa was down to town gamblin , workin with my money as his base, but pa was a no-account gambler, generally speakin , and couldn t seem to put a winnin hand together.
Nonetheless he might have enough put by to give me a road stake, and I could make do with five dollars, if he had it.
Only when I rode into town pa was dead. He was not only dead, he was buried, and they d put a marker on his grave.
It taken the wind out of me. I just sort of backed off an set down. Pa, he was no more than forty, seemed like, and a man in fair health for somebody who spent most of his time over a card table.
There was a lot of strangers in town, but one man who knowed me and who d knowed pa, too, he told me, Was I you I d git straddle of that bronc an light a shuck. Ain t nothin around town for you no more, with your pa dead.
How d he die It don t make no sense him dyin right off, like that.
That s the way folks usually die, son. Everybody knows he s goin to die sometime, but nobody really expects to. You light out, son. I hear tell they re hirin men for work in the mines out in the western part of the Territory.
How d he die I persisted.
Well, seems like he killed hisself. I never did see the body, mind. But Judge Blazer, he seen it. He shot hisself. Lost money, I reckon. You know he was always gamblin .
Hell, I said, disgusted, he d not kill himself for that! He d done been losin money all his life! That man could lose more money than you d ever see.
You take my advice, boy, an you light out. There s some mighty rough folks in this town an they won t take to no wet-eared boy nosin around.
That couldn t make no sense to me, because I d been around rough folks all my life. We never had nothin , our family didn t, scrabblin around for whatever it was we could find after ma died an Pistol that s my brother taken off. It just left me an pa, an we d gone from one cow camp or minin camp to another. Now pa was dead an I was alone.
Pa wasn t much account, I guess, as men went, but he was pa, and a kindly man most of the time. We d never had much to say to one another but hello or good-bye or how much money was I holdin Nonetheless, he was pa an I loved him, although that was a word we d have been shamed to use.