The Last Gunfighter series by William W. Johnstone continues to expand the reach of the author's creative powers, placing the American frontier front and center with tales of down-and-out drifters, simple settlers, gregarious gunmen and loathing lawmen. In The Drifter, farmer Frank Morgan was an honest man with a future and a family before a barbarous baron pushed him off his hard-earned Colorado homestead. Now drifting through the New Mexico territory, Frank has given up his future and embraced his past: as a gunfighter, the only profession left to this most desperate desperado. But just when he thinks he's got nothing to live for, the citizens of the mining town that took him in find themselves in a precarious situation. the mining town that took him in is in a precarious predicament themselves. Their only hope is the quick draw and resolute spirit of ' The Drifter.
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August 01, 2005
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Excerpt from The Last Gunfighter: The Drifter by William W. Johnstone
"Boy," the older man said, "I strongly advise you not to pull on me."
It seemed to those in the barroom there was not only a great weariness to the man's voice, but also a great sadness. Some of the spectators wondered about that. A few thought they knew why the sadness was there.
Outside, the early spring winds still had a bite to them on the late-afternoon day.
"You're nothin' but a damned old washed-up piece of coyote crap," the young man replied.
Old is right, the man thought. Both in body and soul.
"And you're a coward, too!" the young man added.
The older man smiled, but his eyes turned chilly. "Boy, you should really learn to watch your mouth."
The young man laughed. "You gonna make me do that, you old has-been?"
"I would rather not have to do that, boy. Besides, that's something your mother and father should have taught you."
"I never paid no mind to what they said."
"Huh? Old man, you talk funny -- you know that? You tryin' to insult me or something?"
"Not at all, boy. Just agreeing with you."
"I don't like you, old man. I mean, I don't like you at all. I think you're all talk and no do. And I don't believe all them stories told 'bout you, neither. I don't think you've kilt no twenty or thirty men."
"I knowed it!"
"Closer to forty."
"You're a damn liar!"
"Boy, go home. Leave me alone."
"Naw. I'm gonna make you pull on me, Morgan. Then I'm gonna shoot you in the belly so's I can stand right here and watch you beg and cry and holler like a whipped pup 'til you die. That's what I'm gonna do."
"Is that really Frank Morgan?" a man in the crowd whispered to a friend.
"I thought he was a lot older."
"'Nuff talk, old man!" the young man yelled. "Grab iron, you old buffalo fart!"
Frank Morgan did not move. He stood and watched the much younger man. "If you want a shooting, boy, you're going to have to start it."