The Greatest Western Writer Of The 21st Century
In a blockbuster new series, America's leading Western writer captures the most violent chapter in frontier history-in the saga of a Yankee with a rifle, an outlaw with a grudge, and a little slice of hell called. . .
For renegades and pioneers, there is no place like Texas-as long as you have a gun and the guts to use it. Now, the Civil War is over. Carpetbaggers and scalawags rule Austin. Soldiers return to pillaged homes. Longhorns roam the wilds and the state is in chaos. Especially in a town called Hangtree.
Sam Heller and Johnny Cross are Hangtree's newest citizens: Heller is a former Yankee soldier, a deadly shot, and a believer in right from wrong. Cross is a gun for hire with dark dreams of wealth and power-at any cost. Hangtree, with its rich grazing land and nearby mineral deposits, soon erupts in murderous violence. By fate and by choice, these two strangers will find themselves on opposite sides of the law. And Hangtree will soon erupt in murderous violence
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
September 06, 2011
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Savage Texas by William W. Johnstone
Some towns play out and fade away. Others die hard.
By midnight Midvale was ablaze. The light of its burning was a fire on a darkling plain.
It was a night in late March 1866. Early spring. The earth was quickening as Midvale was dying. The well-watered grazing lands of Long Valley in north central Texas supported many widely scattered ranches. Midvale had come into being at a strategic site where key trails came together.
The town supplied the needs of local ranchers and farmers for things they couldn't make or grow but couldn't do without.
A cluster of several square blocks of wooden frame buildings, it had a handful of shops and stores, several saloons, a small caf�, a boardinghouse or two, and a residential neighborhood.
Tonight Midvale had reached its end. Its passing was violent. The killers had come to usher it into extinction. Raiders they were, a band of cutthroats, savage and merciless. They came under cover of darkness and fell on the town like ravening wolves--gun wolves.
The folk of Midvale were no sheep for the slaughter. The Texas frontier is no place for weaklings. For a generation, settlers had fought Comanche, Kiowa, and Lipan Apache war parties, Mexican bandits and homegrown outlaws.
The battle fury of the recent War Between the States had left this part of Texas untouched, but there was not a family in the valley that hadn't given husbands and sons to the armies of the Confederacy. Few had returned.
The folk of Midvale were not weaklings. Not fools, either. They were undone by treachery, by a vicious attack that struck without warning, like a bolt out of the blue. By the time they knew what hit them, it was too late to mount any kind of defense.
Ringing the town, the raiders swooped down on it, shooting, stabbing, and slaying. No fight, this--it was a massacre.
After the killing came the plundering. Then the burning, as Midvale was put to the torch. The scene was an inferno, as if a vent of hell had opened up, bursting out of the dark ground in a fiery gusher. Shots rang out, shrieks sounded, and hoofbeats drummed through the red night as the killers hunted down the scant few who'd survived the initial onslaught.
All were slain outright; all but the young women and children, boys and girls. Captives are wealth.
The church was the last of Midvale to burn. It stood apart from the rest of the town, a modest distance separating it from worldlier precincts. A handful of townsfolk had fled to it, huddling together at the foot of the pulpit.
That's where the raiders found them. Their screams were silenced by hammering gunfire. The church was set on fire, its bell tower spire a flaming dagger thrusting into night-black sky.
Wooden beams gave, collapsing, sending the church bell tumbling down the shaft into the interior space.
It bounced around, clanging. Dull, heavy, leaden tones tolled Midvale's death knell. The marauders rode out, well satisfied with this night's work. They left behind nearly a hundred dead men, women and children. It was a good start, but riper targets and richer pickings lay ahead.
The war had been over for almost a year, but there was no peace to be found on the Texas frontier. No peace short of the grave.
But for the ravagers and pillagers who scourge this earth, the mysterious and unseen workings of fate sometimes send a nemesis of righteous vengeance. . . .