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New American Western
Saddlebag Dispatches




Western Short Stories
Lee Bond


Long Sam Rides the River

Lee Bond

Black Shadows cast by giant tupelo and cypress trees wrapped Long Sam Littlejohn and his ugly old roan gelding, Sleeper, in a protective cloak. Beyond the shadowy forest lay a natural meadow, bright under the Texas sun. Long Sam gazed across that meadow in astonishment, his smoke-colored eyes wide. Out there sprawled the busiest town he had seen in many a moon.

“Seein’ is supposed to be believin’, Sleeper, but hanged if I believe what I’m seein’!” Long Sam declared. Read the rest of the story HERE>> 


Long Sam Mooches a Meal

Lee Bond

The house was as forlorn looking as the ragged hills that hemmed it in. But it was not deserted. That fact comforted Long Sam Littlejohn considerably. He put his ugly roan gelding, Sleeper, down a scarred ridge towards the house and other buildings. Long Sam was shaky from hunger, boneweary from long riding. Yet as he approached this place here in the lonely hills of Texas, there was the wariness of the hunted in him. Read the rest of the story HERE>>


Long Sam Vents A Brand

Lee Bond

Although it was past midnight, there were still people on Vista Verde’s main drag. At sight of those late strollers, “Long Sam” Littlejohn swore under his breath, halting the tough old roan horse he called “Sleeper” at the street’s east side.

“Half tipsy cowhands and town bums, mostly,” Long Sam growled. Read the rest of the story HERE>>

  


Long Sam's Hangnoose Swap

Lee Bond

It was his big, splay-footed roan gelding, Sleeper, that warned Long Sam Littlejohn of the danger. Long Sam had been hipped around in the saddle, smoke-colored eyes watching the cedar slope up which he was riding. Outlawed, with a cash reward offered for his dead-oralive capture, there was nothing strange in Littlejohn’s watching his back-trail, even here in this lonely land of cedar brakes that fringed the Texas plains.

Back there somewhere, rode Joe Fry, a deputy U. S. marshal who worked out of Austin. Read the rest of the story HERE>>


Long Sam Jumps the Devil

Lee Bond

For moments after he crawled to edge of the clearing and peered toward the circle of firelight, Long Sam Littlejohn wondered if he was having a nightmare. Certainly what he beheld was reminiscent of hair-raising pirate tales he had read in his youth.

There was the open grave, yawning black and evil in the flickering red light of the mesquite wood fire. On the brink stood three men, their wrists and ankles tightly bound. Across the pit were four other men, one of whom was dressed in dazzling white satin charro-style pants and jacket.

“El Diabolo Blanco, by thunder!” Long Sam whispered. Read the rest of the story HERE>>


Long Sam Lends A Hand

Lee Bond

Some time during the hot, black night that was now fading into gray dawn the weariness in Long Sam Littlejohn had gone beyond physical agony. He was simply numb now—numb of mind and body. Outlawed, with a sizable cash reward offered for his deador-alive capture, Long Sam Littlejohn knew full well the danger of riding down this open trail through the Texas dawn in his present condition.

But stopping was out of the question. Somewhere on his back-trail came derbywearing, cigar-chewing Joe Fry, a deputy U. S. marshal who worked out of Austin. Read the rest of the story HERE>>


The Rattler Roundup

Lee Bond

Without warning “Long Sam” Littlejohn leaped over the lip of the cut, his gaunt figure plunging down through the murky dawn. His boots were aimed at the stocky man who was there in the cut, crouched down to light the pile of brush he had stacked across the shining steel rails.

The crouched man heard the sound of the plummeting figure, jerked his derbyhatted head around sharply. He cried out, tried frantically to roll away, pulling at a gun tucked under the tail of his gray coat. But Long Sam Littlejohn’s attack had been too swift. Read the rest of the story here>>  


Powdersmoke Insurance

Lee Bond

Outlawed, with a sizable cash reward offered for his dead-oralive apprehension, “Long Sam” Littlejohn had learned the hard way to be cautious about approaching other humans too boldly. He thought the smartest thing he could do would be to let the man and woman down there in the canyon below him settle their squabbling. Yet Long Sam kept squatting there on his heels. He was a gaunt, unusually tall man, dressed in jetty black from boots to flat-crowned Stetson.

Even the shell-studded belts slanted about his middle were black, supporting a pair of hand-tooled black holsters that bulged with black-butted six-shooters. Read the rest of the story HERE>>


Long Sam Borrows A Badge

Lee Bond

The Rio Grande was lower than “Long Sam” Littlejohn had seen it in months, yet the man out there in the sluggish current was drowning. A quarter-moon turned the surface of the river to dappled silver, showing the head and shoulders of the man who threshed the water. The current was pushing him downstream from this Tornillio ford, toward deeper water where the river made a tight bend around tall banks. That man was drowning—or putting on a mighty good show calculated to make somebody think he was drowning. Read the rest of the story HERE>>  


The Powdersmoke Prescription

Lee Bond

The sound of the rig coming down the road brought a growl of annoyance from “Long Sam” Littlejohn’s throat. He halted his big, hammer-headed roan, Sleeper, his annoyance changing to surprise as he listened in the black Texas night that would soon end.

“If that ain’t a stage, I never heard one,” he thought. “But what in blue blazes is a stage larrupin’ down here at this hour of the night for?” Read the full story HERE>> 


Long Sam Deals in Dollars

Lee Bond

Pistol shots had drawn Long Sam Littlejohn along the timbered ride for a quarter-mile. He was directly above the spot where the Loma Pintado stage road forded Breakneck Creek now, hauling the big, ugly roan horse he called Sleeper to a halt in a thick stand of giant oaks. The pistols were still banging away down in the canyon below the ridge, and Littlejohn sat his roan for a moment, his thin, unusually tall body stretching up stiffly as he tried to see what was going on down there. He gave his yellow-thatched head a disappointed shake when he discovered that he could not see over the rim from his position.   Read the full story HERE>>


Long Sam's Singing Six-Guns

Lee Bond

In the seconds it took him to fully wake up, Long Sam Littlejohn tried to tell himself that the roaring guns, snorting horses, and the woman’s frenzied screams, were all a part of an unnerving nightmare. But by the time he was sitting up, blinking into the tar-black Texas night, he knew that those sounds were real. Read the full story HERE>> 


Long Sam Makes A Deal

Lee Bond

Long Sam Littlejohn moved with the wariness of a bullet-stung lobo as he approached Firefly’s main drag. The newly born Texas night was as black as the inside of a tar barrel; yet a silvery smudge in the east gave notice that the full moon would soon be up.

Littlejohn’s thin brows formed a hard knot of worry above smoke-colored eyes that watched Firefly’s street alertly. He ghosted between two buildings, stopped finally where he could look out upon the light-blotched street that stretched away to the right and to the left. Read the full story HERE>> 


Long Sam Pays With Lead

Lee Bond

The little old gent with only one eye did not look like the thief they were calling him. That fact kept sticking in the mind of Long Sam Littlejohn, outlaw, as he stood there in the black night outside the sheriff’s office.

With two thousand dollars scalp money awaiting the man or men who could capture him dead or alive, Long Sam reckoned that he was worse than a fool for lingering around this combination jail house and sheriff’s office. Wolfing into town for needed supplies, he had been passing along behind the building when he heard the shrill cries of that old man they were grilling in there. Read the full story HERE>>


Long Sam Fights For Nesters

Lee Bond

The thing was so utterly unreal, so damnably cruel, that for many minutes “Long Sam” Littlejohn sat his horse there on the oak-covered ridge, doubting his own eyes and sanity. Outlawed, with two thousand dollars in cold cash offered for his yellow-thatched scalp, Long Sam had seen enough of the seamy side of life to be almost shockproof. But out yonder in that sunlit little valley beyond the ridge a thing was happening which held the outlaw spellbound. Read the full story HERE>> 


Long Sam's Coyote Cure

Lee Bond

When the roaring shots that knocked young Tommy Galvin out of the saddle threw their thunder against the hot Texas sky, Long Sam Littlejohn was already off his horse. He cursed the pain of a bullet-wounded leg as he crouched down beneath a patch of brush.

Littlejohn reached quickly for the two black-butted six-shooters that rode his thighs in tied-down holsters. He saw Tommy Galvin rock in the saddle, fling up both arms, and tumble off over the rump of the sleek sorrel. The sorrel went up the trail like its tail was on fire, and Tommy Galvin did a double somersault before he rolled to a stop against a rock. Read the full story HERE>> 


Long Sam Collects

Lee Bond

With a day old bullet hole through his leg, a Texas rain squall beating him in the face, a deputy U. S. marshal trailing him, and no food for twenty-four hours, Long Sam Littlejohn, outlaw, was in about the worst humor a man could be in when he rode up into the hill pass.

The unusually tall outlaw rode slumped forward, shivering from the gnawing pain of the bullet wound in his left thigh. His bony-jawed face was a sickly white color from suffering and hunger. Read the full story HERE>>