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New American Western
Saddlebag Dispatches




Western Short Stories
Tom Sheehan
Page Three


Western Short Stories by Tom Sheehan


The Son of Cattle Barons

Tom Sheehan

When beloved Welcome "Kucky" Ross was shot by a bushwhacker, no range war rampant, nor enemies of common knowledge, two of Texas' cattle barons met at the boundary of their ranges after interment, to discuss the death of a son, a son-in-law as well.

Both men were heart-broken and neither one tried to hide his feelings, though they had long been on opposite sides of many deals.

 Read the full story HERE>>


The Deacon, Lucky Lu and Duke

Tom Sheehan

Deacon Allie Jones studied a crude map of Texas he'd found on the trail near a campsite long since used, the ashes in the ring of stones blown with the wind, and the ring disturbed by man or beast. He accepted the discovery as a sign sent to him. Without thought, he reached and patted a shaggy-looking dog by his side.

 Read the full story HERE>>


The Badge and the Good Word

Tom Sheehan

Kennard Kenny Duques was the only sign of law for a hundred miles around the cow country of Hornbull, Texas, and Deacon Roger Delphin was the main source for the good word, where whispers made no intrusion. The pair had arrived there from opposite directions, little known about Duques and Delphin's background known as wide as a poster board; sought, hired away from a northerly town, and right to work from day one, burying cattleman Randell Dagos, mangled by a mad bull, marrying Claire Dumont and Chet Williams, blessing newborn Felix to Freighter Eddie Calhoun's wife, Bobby-Joe Calhoun.

Read the full story HERE>>


Six-gun Sugar Stetson in a Race for Life

Tom Sheehan

Cowboy, ranch hand, sometimes deputy to a few sheriffs in Bridgeton, Texas, often a disputant in favor of any small rancher like his father, Sugar Stetson was named by his mother on her death bed the day he was born, his father ever saying in endless tribute to both of them, "That was the last and the only word she said when she held him at birth, 'Sugar,' so 'Sugar' he is." Thus was a legend of a kind traveling the whole of Texas, even as his prowess with a six gun grew and stormed each and every saloon within a few hundred miles of his home range; "That Sugar Stetson sure can handle that six gun of his." to accompany that statement, they'd make a practice quick-draw at their for-sure empty belt line as if their idea of a six gun was aimed and ready for action, right at the belly of a listener.

Read the full story HERE>>


Sam Kirkness, Sheriff

Tom Sheehan

Sam Kirkness rode as fast as his horse would go, across the low grass of Melwood Alms, a territory of the open West. May, 1864 had arrived. Now and then a swirl of dust could be seen behind him when he topped a slow rise in the grassy stretch and looked back over his shoulder. The gang would not catch him, he was sure, before he reached Melwood and many guns would be on his side.

Read the full story HERE>>


Boy in a Cave

Tom Sheehan

The sound was different from all sounds he'd heard coming from outside the cave, from beyond the boulder his father had, with all his power and ingenuity, placed at the entrance to the cave. This was not a bear trying to get into the cave, pawing and thrusting at the boulder shoved there, oh, so long ago he was not sure of any time lapses, what month it might now be, the darkness, the interior night that a deep and lonely cave has for a 12-year old boy, for Noah Quirk. Read the full story HERE>>


The Hooded Horde

Tom Sheehan

For the fourth day in a row, Sheriff Dermott Candler sat his mount on a hill outside his responsibility, the growing town of Saddlebox, Texas. He was hoping to catch sight of a gang of hooded riders who for weeks upon weeks had committed a host of crimes from murder down to kidnapping, including bank robbery, stage robbery, and burning the barns on two spreads, a half day's ride apart. The hooded riders had been seen only once by a young lad on the outs with his parents, and lying low in his own hideout. Read the full story HERE>>


A Freighter’s Connection

Tom Sheehan

Creighton Glastenbury, last of his family, impoverished from birth despite his name and lucky to get to his 16th birthday, found his journey working on a wagon train ending in the small California town of Newbridge. Across seven state borders he had traveled seeking warm weather, safe winters, and a chance to find a cause other than simple survival... Read more of A Freighter's Connection HERE>>


A Mannequin for Missy Drumm

Tom Sheehan

Every good morning the sun sat like a flame in the window of Missy Drumm’s women’s store in Wallow Creek, Wyoming. She went outside early each day to see that window display for herself, from where her customers could see it and warm up to a purchase as they came into town on errands, visits or head off to jobs. Since the day the store opened she felt the scene was incomplete for some reason... Read more of A Mannequin for Missy Drumm HERE>>


A Matter of Disguise

Tom Sheehan

He came up out of shale and sand and a face full of grit that cut him when the wind was right, coming down-range and cooler than he thought it would be. His horse shuddered on worn legs, slipped in more shale, and then straightened his legs as he found solid ground underfoot after an arduous climb... Read more of A Matter of Disguise HERE>>


A Mountain Man’s Gold

Tom Sheehan

The sun boiled in the cauldron of the canyon where water for perhaps 1000 years stayed hidden, where ants scurried to hide from the heat, snakes rarely showed before darkness was complete, an occasional rabbit came in and left in a hurry, the vultures had long given up hope of finding a quick meal, and it had become a place man ought not enter... Read more of A Mountain Man's Gold HERE>>


A Place for Smitty

Tom Sheehan

It happened in a split second, the way quick decisions can hang on a person’s life with a grasp that is often an enormous weight. To this day, Smitty says he was never conscious of making a decision. “The wagon came busting down the street, the team of horses in a panic runaway. The kid being carried away was clutching at the seat with no reins in his hands and screaming as loud as he could. Some ladies across the road were screaming as well. I just bolted off the boardwalk in front of the general store and ran to head off the animals, trying to stop them or slow them down. It was just a plain reaction.”... Read more of A Place for Smitty HERE>>


A Prairie Christmas Wish

Tom Sheehan

They were lucky that the mule lasted long enough to haul in all the firewood from the forest, before he fell dead in his tracks. And there was little chance that there’d be any presents for the children, two boys. The snow had drifted in some places as high as 8-10 feet, and the path to the barn was treacherous when any wind was blowing. Gerard Fiddler knew he’d have to walk with a shovel to be sure he’d make it out and back, the snow drifts moving, falling, shutting off what was almost a tunnel at some points. He hoped he didn’t have to try it again before the storm had stopped... Read more of A Prairie Christmas Wish HERE>>


Manhattan Eddie

Tom Sheehan

Along with a sudden shaft of sunlight, as if they were tandem, a newcomer entered the lone saloon in Woodfork, Texas and stood just inside the swinging doors, brandishing the strangest hat seen in the saloon in years. The ridiculously looking hat, topper of toppers, might have caused an eruption of laughter, except for the loose manner guns hung on his frame, the promise hanging there too, like ready, like prominent and popular of use, the gun-side hip positioned for access and speed...Read more of Manhattan Eddie HERE>>


The Sheriff's Son

Tom Sheehan

Twenty-two year old Zack Nobleknot had never led a posse into the hills or out on the plains, or cornered a prisoner on his own, or commanded legal respect even from old hands of the town of Gray Setting, Texas (including long-time friends of his father), but his father had done all of that and more before a fatal bullet from out of hiding had knocked him off his horse more than a mile from town, the horse carrying the message home with the empty saddle, abetted with a scrawling note in an imperfect hand that said, "No man should ride alone," as if one mystery deserved another. Some folks thought the note to be a knock on the profession, some looked askance upon the dead man with the badge, some folks thought a statement, of unknown intent or warning, had been laid upon Gray Setting for past indiscretions of unknown wrongs against an unknown person. Read more of The Sheriff's Son HERE>>


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