GUN LAW [West of the Wide Missouri] by Philip Ketchum


“A rip-snorting tale of rawhide violence and action between Texas and Abilene. Topflight!” —REAL MAGAZINE

Lee Isobel and John Aldrich returned from the death and destruction of the Civil War to the ranch Aldrich had carved out of wilderness, longing for the hard but peaceful life they loved. Lee had learned to ride, rope and shoot from Aldrich—and had come to half-worship the powerful, grizzled, tough but kindly older man who rode at his side.

The two men soon found carpetbagger Sam Gelhorn and his appointed sheriff were now in charge of the town. Gelhorn made the law and the sheriff enforced it. Isobel and Aldrich learned Gelhorn had seized their entire herd of livestock, nearly 5000 longhorns, on a pretext and planned to drive them north to Abilene, through Indian country, across the plains of Kansas to a town which was only a name to them, where there were cattle pens, a railroad line, and a market.

When Aldrich demanded his cattle back from Gelhorn, Lee Isobel saw the man who had been like a father to him shot down in cold blood. Next Lee knew, Gelhorn had accused him of the killing. Witnesses backed the Carpetbagger up, and the sheriff had thrown him in jail, charging him with John Aldrich’s murder. Laying in darkness afterwards, Lee vowed he would find a way to escape and make Gelhorn pay for murdering his friend.

Gelhorn leaves for Abilene, while Lee is jailed, heading a remuda of 5000 longhorns, over 200 horses, 50 riders, 3 chuck wagons, and 5 supply wagons. On the trail, Gelhorn finds Charlotte Christofferson, her grandfather and their 1500 steers, deserted by their trail hands after two stampedes and a week of driving in the rain. Impressed by his seeming respectability and promises of a fair deal in Abilene, they merged their cattle with his.

An experienced ranch woman, Char rode tirelessly each day, circling the herd every morning after it started moving—then traveling on ahead to find the next night’s campsite. Char had abandoned her ranch, after receiving notice of her father’s death in a prison camp; her mother had died long before. Her desire for a fresh start was only natural.

Meanwhile, Lee plotted a jailbreak with his fellow prisoners—men unjustly arrested by Gelhorn and the sheriff, men carrying grudges against both. Once free they plan to gather guns and ammunition and take back the cattle Gelhorn had stolen from Aldrich and Lee.

All Lee wanted was Sam Gelhorn in his gun-sights—then to hell with the law. The law had failed him before and now Lee planned to render justice Texas style at the point of a gun!

What Lee doesn’t count on is the dangers posed by Gelhorn’s cunning and the tricks his own heart will play when he meets Char Christofferson.

In this absorbing novel of Texas in the late 1860s, you will meet:

John Aldrich, his dream of peace was shattered by a bullet through the heart.

Sam Gelhorn, a man who believed his government position placed him above the law. It was a mistake other men had made—most of them now at rest in Boot Hill.

The Sheriff, whose job was the opposite of most men who wore a badge; instead of putting law-breakers in jail, he set them free—and locked up the innocent.

Jim Huber, Wayne Rossiter, Frank Rudd, Russ Volney, Harry Coughlin, and Carlos McKibbon, six men with nothing in common—except a consuming desire for vengeance against the man who had imprisoned them, knowing they were innocent.

Char Christofferson, who couldn’t help falling in love with the man she had been told on good authority was a killer and an outlaw.

Lee Isobel, who thought all he wanted was revenge—until he met the right woman at the wrong time.

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