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Shoe-Bar Stratton   By: (1878-1928)

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[Illustration: "I can stand here till I get tired," retorted Lynch.]

A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York Published by arrangement with The Century Company

Printed in U. S. A.

Copyright, 1922, by The Century Co.

Printed in U. S. A.



CHAPTER PAGE I Back from the Dead 3 II Crooked Work 13 III Mistress Mary Quite Contrary 24 IV The Branding Iron 31 V Tex Lynch 41 VI The Blood Stained Saddle 51 VII Rustlers 60 VIII The Hoodoo Outfit 70 IX Revelations 81 X Buck Finds Out Something 91 XI Danger 106 XII Thwarted 119 XIII Counterplot 127 XIV The Lady From the Past 136 XV "Blackleg" 145 XVI The Unexpected 153 XVII The Primeval Instinct 166 XVIII A Change of Base 176 XIX The Mysterious Motor Car 186 XX Catastrophe 197 XXI What Mary Thorne Found 208 XXII Nerve 219 XXIII Where the Wheel Tracks Led 230 XXIV The Secret of North Pasture 239 XXV The Trap 248 XXVI Sheriff Hardenberg Intervenes 256 XXVII An Hour Too Late 268 XXVIII Forebodings 276 XXIX Creeping Shadows 284 XXX Lynch Scores 291 XXXI Gone 301 XXXII Buck Rides 309 XXXIII Carried Away 319 XXXIV The Fight on the Ledge 332 XXXV The Dead Heart 339 XXXVI Two Trails Converge 345




Westward the little three car train chugged its way fussily across the brown prairie toward distant mountains which, in that clear atmosphere, loomed so deceptively near. Standing motionless beside the weather beaten station shed, the solitary passenger watched it absently, brows drawn into a single dark line above the bridge of his straight nose. Tall, lean, with legs spread apart a bit and shoulders slightly bent, he made a striking figure against that background of brilliant sky and drenching, golden sunlight. For a brief space he did not stir. Then of a sudden, when the train had dwindled to the size of a child's toy, he turned abruptly and drew a long, deep breath.

It was a curious transformation. A moment before his face lined, brooding, somber, oddly pale for that country of universal tan looked almost old. At least one would have felt it the face of a man who had recently endured a great deal of mental or physical suffering. Now, as he turned with an unconscious straightening of broad shoulders and a characteristic uptilt of square, cleft chin, the lines smoothed away miraculously, a touch of red crept into his lean cheeks, an eager, boyish gleam of expectation flashed into the clear gray eyes that rested caressingly on the humdrum, sleepy picture before him.

Humdrum it was, in all conscience. A single street, wide enough, almost, for a plaza, paralleled the railroad tracks, the buildings, such as they were, all strung along the further side in an irregular line. One of these, ramshackle, weather worn, labeled laconically "The Store," stood directly opposite the station. The architecture of the "Paloma Springs Hotel," next door, was very similar. On either side of these two structures a dozen or more discouraged looking adobe houses were set down at uneven intervals. To the eastward the street ended in the corrals and shipping pens; in the other direction it merged into a narrow dusty trail that curved northward from the twin steel rails and quickly lost itself in the encompassing prairie... Continue reading book >>

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