Bill Canavan rode into the valley with a dream to start his own ranch. But when he managed to stake claims on the three best water holes, the other ranchers turned against him.
No one is more determined to see Canavan dead than Star Levitt. Levitt is an unscrupulous businessman who has been accumulating cattle at an alarming rate. Suspicious after witnessing a secret meeting between the riders of warring ranches, Bill begins noticing other dubious behavior: Why is Levitt’s fiancée, Dixie Venable, acting more like a hostage than a willing bride-to-be?
Canavan doesn’t have much time to figure out what’s going on. The entire valley is against him, and everyone is ready to shoot on sight.
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July 25, 2005
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Excerpt from Where the Long Grass Blows by Louis L'Amour
THERE WAS A lonely place where the trail ran up to the sky, turning sharply away at the rimrock where a man could see all the valley below, a splendid green of forest and meadow fading into the purple of the farther mountains. It was a place where a man could look down upon eagles, soaring far below, yet thousands of feet above the valley's floor. Here at sundown a man came riding.
Bill Canavan rode a horse strangely marked, a true leopard Appaloosa . . . white with black spots except for a splash of blue roan on the left hip. He drew up where the trail turned, and sat his saddle, looking over the valley below. The gelding, nostrils spreading to catch whatever scent there was, pricked its ears and looked eagerly toward the wide valley below.
The rider was a tall man, narrow of hip and broad of shoulder, his features blunt and rugged, not handsome but strong. There was a tough, confident look about him, and he looked upon this valley now as Cortez might have looked when first he saw the Valley of Mexico.
Bill Canavan came alone, but he did not come seeking favors, nor even work. He came as a conqueror.
For Bill Canavan had made his decision. At twenty-seven he was sitting in the middle of all he owned, a splendid Appaloosa gelding, a fine California saddle of hand-tooled leather, a .44 Winchester rifle and two walnut-butted Colt .44 pistols. These were his all. Behind him was a life that began with birth in a covered wagon rolling westward, a boyhood in the gold and silver boom camps of California, Nevada, Montana and Colorado, a cattle-drive over the Chisholm Trail, another over the Goodnight-Loving Trail, shotgun guard on a stage and scouting Indians for the Army.
He had fought rustlers and Kiowas, Comanches and Apaches, Sioux and Blackfeet, with nothing to show for it but a few scars here and there and his memories of hunger, thirst, cold, of hard winters and dry range and long dusty drives. All it had brought him was trouble and hard riding. Now his decision was made. He was going to ride for himself and fight for himself.