A harsh and deadly land...Rye Tyler was twelve when he saw his father cut down in an Indian raid. Taken in by a mysterious stranger with a taste for Shakespeare and an instinct for survival, Rye is schooled in the lessons of a hard country. Then tragedy forces him to live a loner's life in a wild land of canyons and buttes, and on dust-choked cattle trails.But his skill with a gun has earned Rye a bloody reputation he can't escape. Though he's become the law in a lawless town, he had hoped for a better life with the beautiful Liza Hetrick. When Liza is taken away and held in a mountain-girded outlaw fortress, Rye must face his deadliest enemy--the very man who taught Rye about manhood, friendship...and the ways of a gunman.
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February 28, 2005
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Excerpt from To Tame a Land by Louis L'Amour
It was Indian country, and when our wheel busted, none of them would stop. They just rolled on by and left us setting there, my pap and me.
Me, I was pushing a tall twelve by then and could cuss 'most as good as Pap, and we both done some cussin' then.
Bagley, the one Pap helped down to Ash Hollow that time, he got mighty red around the ears, but he kept his wagon rollin'.
Most folks, those days, were mighty helpful, but this outfit sort of set their way by the captain. He was Big Jack McGarry.
When the wheel busted, somebody called out and we swung back. Big Jack had no liking for Pap because Pap never took nothing off him, and because Pap had the first look-in with Mary Tatum, which Big Jack couldn't abide.
He swung that fine black horse of his back and he set there looking at us. We had turned to and were getting that wheel off, fixing to get it repaired if we could.
"Sorry, Tyler. You know what I said. This is Indian country. Goin' through here, we keep rollin' no matter what. We'll wait a spell at the springs, though. You can catch us there."
Then he turned his horse and rode off, and nobody else in the wagons said by word or look that they even seen us setting there.
Pap, he didn't waste no more time. He looked after them, his face kind of drawn down and gray like, and then he turned to me and he said, "Son, I don't mind for myself. It's you I'm thinkin' of. But maybe it'll be all right. You take that there gun, and you set up high and watch sharp."
So that was the way it was, and Pap aworking to fix that wheel so we could go on. He was a good man at such things, and he had built many a wagon in his day, and had done some fine cabinetwork, too.
He worked steady and I kept my eyes open, but there was mighty little to see. It was a long rolling grass plain wherever a body looked. Here and there was draws, but I couldn't see into them. The wind stirred that tall grass, bending it over in long rolls, the way the sea must look, and it was green-gray and then silver in the changing light and wind. Overhead the sky was wide and pale blue, with just a few lazy clouds adrifting.
We had us a good Conestoga wagon and six head of cattle, good big oxen, to haul it. We had two horses and two saddles, and inside the wagon was Pap's tools, our grub, bedding, and a few odds and ends like Ma's picture, which Pap kept by him, no matter what.
Pap had swapped for a couple of Joslyn breech-loading carbines before we left Kansas, and we each had us a handgun, Shawk & McLanahan six-shooters, caliber .36, and good guns, too.
Like McGarry said, this was Indian country. Not two weeks ago the Indians had hit a wagon train, smaller than ours, killing four men and a woman. They hit it again a few miles west, and they killed two more men.