After a long day ridin’, ropin’, and sometimes rustlin’, cowpokes love to stop by a local saloon to wet their whistles. Card playing, loose talking, and fighting always ensued, some in good fun and others deadly serious. In this collection of stories, author Tom Sheehan rides and relaxes with them all. You’re in the right place for rollickingly good western yarns.
Seventeen western short stories by Tom Sheehan.
Western short stories Bio. of Tom Sheehan
Sheehan (31st Infantry, Korea 1951-52; Boston College 1952-56) has published 32 books, has multiple works in Rosebud, Linnet’s Wings, Serving House Journal, Literally Stories, Copperfield Review,Literary Orphans, Indiana Voices Journal, Frontier Tales, Western Online Magazine, Faith-Hope and Fiction, Eastlit, Rope & Wire Magazine, The Literary Yard, Green Silk Journal, Fiction on the Web, The Path, etc.He has 33 Pushcart nominations, 5 Best of the Net nominations (one winner).
Later book publications include Swan River Daisy by KY Stories, The Cowboys and Beside the Broken Trail by Pocol Press, and Jehrico byDanse Macabre. Back Home in Saugus (a collection) is being considered, as is Elements & Accessories (poetry), and Valor's Commission (a collection of war and post war tales reflecting the impact of PTSD). He was 2016 Writer-in-Residence at Danse Macabre in Las Vegas.
The Pony Balladeer
As a mere boy on the way up out of his small boots, a copycat background a good part of his growing, like listening to his father sing around the ranch and on his way off on a long cattle drive, singing as he rode down the stretch of grass leading away from their ranch, the echoes hanging on for days and nights of memory, Lincoln Link Houston found his own voice, one evening in 1873, around a ranch campfire rigged by his mother Pearl supposedly just for him.
Calumet Stockridge and The Odyssey
Of all the people in town, I'm the one who looks closer, deeper, measures more of what I see in front of me, behind me, in darker corners and the hidden places where danger hangs its hat any day of the week. I'm a newspaperman and as far as I'm concerned, danger's a sneak that usually rides a black horse, a fast one that is suddenly there where it wasn't a moment ago, and with a pistol or revolver it really doesn't make any difference once its fired in anger or plain threat, like "all aboard for the action." Read the full story HERE>>
When the Sheriff Came to Hammerfield
The town was raw as fish eggs or prairie beef cooked on the sly.
Nobody in Hammerfield owned up to it, so much gold found in the mines that folks, quick-rich folks, looked past any civic duties or civic calls, or civic needs for that matter, to involve themselves in such interests. Gold, if it was yours, solved everything wrong around a person; poor health, poor love-life, poor social instincts, being last one invited to a funeral.
Comfort, at any extreme, was uppermost in taste, desire, search. Read the full story HERE>>
Brushback from Death’s Door
“Hey. Mum,” yelled 7-year old Ronnie Coppersmith, “there’s another rider comin’ our way. Never seen him before. Not one time.”
Adelle Coppersmith, widowed less than a year, a 27-year old beauty of a woman in anybody’s sight, muttered, “Won’t they ever stop and let me catch my breath, Ronald not gone a full year yet, and they keep pushing my way. A man’s got a right to want but show some respect. I hope it’s not that loud-mouth braggart, Stash Winslow. I think he’d drive a woman crazy quicker than she could spit.”
Teddie Silverado’s My Name
He stood dirty, dusty, powerful dry, after a long ride for a short drink, and exclaiming to a nosy bartender at the Wobbly Cow Saloon, “Sure, that’s my name, Teddie Silverado because I like it and my mother liked it better than the stupid one my father gave me, which I long ago have put back to sleep somewhere along the line.” Read the full story HERE>>
The Formal Transitions
The twist and turn of the trail grabbed him as he looked back over his shoulder, the range of mountains looming over all the land more like a bank of clouds in early morning. Gabron Gabby Burridge, new hire and due for a new start in life after two years in a Colorado prison (for a crime only him and you and me know he didn’t commit} was ready for a new life. Read the full story HERE>>
The Goat Killer, a Sharpshooter's Story
He never understood a word of it, or the intention, but finally understood that his being given a nickname meant something good or maybe something bad. Besides, for the latter, it might have been Mexican in origin and that couldn't hurt him in the least. But "Johnny Abattoir" had a ring to it, something special. Of that he was sure; there'd be no chance of mistaking anyone else for him. "Don't get too near that man, Sonny; that's Johnny Abattoir," or "matadero," in the old voice. Read the full story HERE>>
Jake Armitage and the Lady of the House
Bang! The dropped mug sounded like a gunshot on the bar top.
When his top wrangler, Jake Armitage, gawked at the new lady of the house when she first came down the stairs of The Bull’s Horn Saloon in Leadville, Texas, rancher Tom Wagner knew he was going to lose the best hire he’d ever selected. The mug in Jake’s hand had slipped from his grasp and banged extra loudly on the counter in the suddenly quiet saloon where beauty took quickly the upper hand. And it was, there at the outset, a statement of surprise, abrupt consideration and, most likely, a potential property claim, one of those declarations that said, “No man gets in my way.” Read the full story HERE>>
Micah Topaz, Born Sheriff
Some men, whether you believe it or not, come bidden by fate to fill holes in the human condition. So it was with Micah Topaz, born in a wagon train heading to California. He never got much further on the family journey than the place of his birth, a small corner of Nevada with the mountains staring them in the face. When the dispute among the wagon train leaders erupted, and deep factions developed, Micah’s family decided to stay pretty close to where they were at the time. The place was called Mattsville. Read the full story HERE>>
An hour's ride from get-up brought Dorbruk Malkev to the crest of a hill in Oregon, one of the states for less than a year, where he heard a fusillade of gun shots, the last one practically visible as the lone man standing in his sight fell to place alongside other victims, all dead for certain, grounded forever in an irregular and highly skewed valley that was perfect for murder or bushwhacking of choice, their horses scattered or fallen in place, the fusillade of gunshots sounding like the handclapping of a huge audience hidden away, tucked into shadows waiting for sunlight and, likely, their quick disappearance...Read More of Dorbruk Malkev
The name stuck. It was that simple.
The slim, black-clad stranger was thereafter referred to as Snake. Not a soul in town used his real name, Thomas Pitchpen, once of Tennessee, but, for all that matter, the town of Asheville, Utah was looking for a killer, a hired gun if they could get him for free, to stand up to the sly, devious, and artful gun-hand who came to town every so often and often tore it apart with death at the end of a challenge...Read More of Snake
Tale of Two Trail Blazers
As evening descended on Bartonsville, Texas, smoke and steam issued in cloudy funnels from the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad Company steam engine and was quickly absorbed by dusk. In the shadows cast by one passenger car, a man stood still and alone, a small night bag in one hand, his other hand close to a revolver holstered on his belt, under his coat. He stared up the tracks toward the engine puffing away in place, and waited in the darkest spot, hidden from all eyes...Read More of Tale of Two Trail Blazers
Caves of the Gods, Heart of the Mountain
Puma-Dog, heavily burdened, yet bound in belief, wondered about the inside of the mountain he was climbing, and the trail so old in the making that he could not begin to measure its age. Even the old chief and man of wisdom, One-Wing-Gone, told him the mountain was as old as the gods themselves...Read More of Caves of the Gods
The Dam at Wasahoa
The settlement of Wasahoa in the Utah Territory sat on the Wasatch Plateau and was ripe with game. This cool forest high above the San Rafael Swell provided refuge for an incredible amount of prey, which also included all manner of criminals on the run, from all over the western region. One establishment in Wasahoa was reserved for bank robbers only, the owner figuring her clients were able to spring with cold cash...Read more of The Dam at Wasahoa
Grandpa's Tale From Johnson's Ranch
Me? I’m Brady Cross, the 4th, and I am going to tell you a story told me by my grandfather, Brady Cross, Jr., as told to him by his father, the first Brady Cross in the line that ran from Heatherford, Oklahoma to this old saloon practically on the edge of nowhere, but still in Nebraska.
The voice of the story, if you get what I mean, has never changed since the first telling, which happened to be in a saloon much like this one...Read More of Grandpa's Tale from Johnson's Ranch