This New York Times bestseller is a richly imagined novel of the Old West that tells the tale of two gunmen who arrive in the lawless town of Appaloosa, where the actions of a renegade rancher have already taken their toll.
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1 . Difficult to put down.
Posted February 22, 2010 by Jim , Portsmouth, OHI always enjoy reading Parker. Love Spenser. Now I love Virgil cole and Everett Hitch. Just sorry that there will be no more in this series after "Brimstone".
June 04, 2006
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Excerpt from Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker
It was a long time ago, now, and there were many gunfights to follow, but I remember as well, perhaps, as I remember anything, the first time I saw Virgil Cole shoot. Time slowed down for him. He fought with an odd stateliness. Always steady and never fast, but always faster than the man he was fighting.
Like my father, I'd been to West Point, and I was good at soldiering. But soldiering didn't allow too much for expansion of the soul. So after five years in the Indian Wars, I turned in my commission and rode away to see how far I could expand it. To keep from starving to death while I was expanding it, I shot buffalo for the railroad, and rode beside the driver on Wells Fargo coaches with an eight-gauge shotgun, and scouted now and then for the Army. I sat lookout for a while in a gambling parlor in Durango. I did a short turn as a bouncer in a whorehouse in Canon City. I got in a fight in Tres Piedras, and killed the man and had to move on pretty quick. I tried to find a little gold in the mountains in Colorado and didn't, and came down out of the San Juan Mountains, looking for something else to do. Along the way, I read a lot of books and fucked a lot of women, all of whom I liked. Now, with thirty dollars' worth of gold in my pocket, on a dark bay gelding named Sugar that I'd won playing poker in Esmeralda, I came on into Trinidad in the midafternoon on a summer day with the sun warm on my back.
It wasn't much of a town then. Two streets north and south. Three streets crossing east and west. Twelve blocks in all. It was one of those towns that existed mostly for people passing through. Cowboys who brought cattle to the railhead from the East Colorado grasslands. Soldiers on the way to Fort Carson. Hide hunters, teamsters, and miners occasionally, coming down to resupply. A few people trying to farm. People like me, moving from place to place because they didn't know what else to do.
As I passed the Rattlesnake Saloon on my left, the swinging doors burst open and a big man in a buckskin shirt came through them faster, surely, than he would have wished, stumbled across the boardwalk, trying to catch his balance, and fell forward into the street. There was blood on one side of his face. Sugar shied a little, and I pulled him up. The man in the street had gotten himself onto all fours when the saloon doors opened more gently and a tall man came out wearing a black suit. The suit's coat was pushed back on the right side to expose a big, bone-handled Colt. I could see the badge pinned to his white shirt. Very dignified and deliberate, he stepped off the boardwalk into the street and stopped maybe six feet from the man in the buckskin shirt, and waited. Behind him, five or six other men pushed out of the saloon and stood on the boardwalk. He didn't seem to see them, but I noticed that he had turned slightly, so that he could look at the man in the street and the men on the boardwalk.