Troublesome Range: A Western Story
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During his short stay in town, Joe has an unpleasant meeting with Ed Merrill, the brother of a girl Joe had once courted. Warned by Merrill to stay away from his sister, Joe whips the man in a fist fight. Later that same night Ed Merrill decides to ride out of Lodgepole to his ranch, rather than face humiliation the next day over the fight. On his way to the stable to get his horse, he sees a light in the Acme Land Company’s office and realizes that someone is opening the safe. While he is deliberating what to do, the hold-up man comes out, sees him, and brings down his gun on Ed’s head with a vicious blow. From a piece of evidence found at the scene of the crime, it appears that Joe Bonnyman did it.
Troublesome Range is a classic story of good and evil, of a man forced to do whatever it takes to defend his honor and his town.
grew to within thirty feet of where Saygar stood, he started circling toward the spot, keeping the cabin out of sight. Clark left his roan well back in the cedars and, the thick trunk of one tree between him and the cabin, walked in on the corral. Saygar heard him coming and said, not loudly: “Chuck claims that’s Joe Bonnyman in there. What’s this addin’ up to?” “You tell me.” Clark was behind the tall cedar now. “He’s got a posse on his tail. Me, for one. Last night Acme’s safe was blown, and
now, as Blaze began what appeared to be his almost hopeless search, his earlier doubt was gone. The fact that Joe had been shot and left here, apparently dead, to be discovered by the first stray rider who happened along was proof that someone had a reason for not bringing Joe in himself. What that reason was, Blaze had no way of knowing. But there was a reason, and it might tie in with Ed Merrill’s murder. That small possibility did more to bolster Blaze’s belief in Joe’s innocence than anything
though lost for an explanation. At length he said lamely: “It just isn’t like Joe. He’d never lay a finger on a woman. He . . .” “He clubbed Merrill to death!” Sam Thrall cut in. “He meant to do the same to me! Why the hell wouldn’t he do this?” The man to whom Lyans had given the note looked at Clark, and there was open hostility in his eyes. “Sam’s right, Dunne. Joe and me used to get on pretty well, and up to now I ain’t been sure about him. Right now I am. If it ever comes to hangin’, I’ll
direction until he saw the lights once more. Then, heading back up the trail, he started for the basin. Danger Signals The glowing coals of the cedar fire tinted the cave’s walls with a ghostly pinkish light that lacked the strength to cast a shadow. Jean Vanover sat in the feeble outer radius of that light, near the blanket-draped figure that gave out but a faint whisper of shallow breathing. It had been this way last night and all day today, and now, at the beginning of this second night,
followed, and with another night’s lonely vigil in prospect, the girl was counting on the friendly glow of the fire to drive out her despairing mood. When she could no longer make out the light at the cave mouth, when the darkness in the cañon was complete, that feeling of despair became so strong that she wanted to cry out. She was sure now that Joe Bonnyman would never again be alive and well. The injustice of the thing galled her. For, from what Blaze had said last night, she saw now that Joe