Western Short Stories
The Bullpen

The Bullpen

We all started our writing careers somewhere. We all had help from someone along the way. The Bullpen section of Rope and Wire is where unpublished writers have a chance to start their writing career by showing the rest of us what they can do. And you have the chance to pay it forward.

You're welcome to leave a constructive comment. You can be tough and to the point. Please help these authors get better at their craft.

Before I'll accept a story, the author has to prove they have some writing skills. They also have to follow all submission guidelines except being a published author.

I post the stories as I get them. I make no corrections. They do not receive an authors page or the ability to link to other work.

What they need most is your feedback.

Are you an unpublished author trying to get a leg up? Submit a story and let's see what we can do. Start Here.


Lily Tierney

The Civil War had ended, and Luke returned home to his wife and son. He and his brother Lonnie enlisted in the army, but fought on different sides. It was a long hard road back from the war. Some knew they would never find the home they once knew. Back home, with his wife Martha and their son Chester; Luke was feeling the weight of war. He took to drinking heavily something he had never done before.  Read the full story HERE>>


Lily Tierney

Summer lived with her dad on a farmhouse just outside of Virginia. Her mother had passed away during childbirth. The baby boy was stillborn. She was only five years old, and still remembers how afraid and alone she felt. Her dad methodically did his work, and never showed any emotion after his wife died. He never laughed or smiled. As she got older, Summer started to take over the chores around the house. She cleaned, cooked, did laundry, and tended to the animals. Vern, her dad, occasionally dated, but never got serious about another woman.  Read the full story HERE>> 

The 21 Foot Rule

Clay Hardy

Flint Erikson pushed his way through the rickety saloon doors. The doors continued to creak behind him as they eventually settled back in place. Dust that had been migrating on the stained and splintered tables wafted into the air as he moseyed inside. When his deep brown leather boots weren’t crunching on the discarded pistachio shells they were sticking to the dried-up beer that layered most of the establishment’s wooden floor boards.  You can read the full story HERE>>

Cow-Boys and Calf Fries

Maggie DeMay

I have been told the ‘calf fries’ are very tasty. I’ve never been hungry enough to put that to the test. And that leads my overly curious mind down a twisted and convoluted path to the brave man who was the first to look at a calf’s testicles and say, “I bet there’s some good eatin’ on that calf nut.”

Arizona Territory 1880

Spring round up was a hot and dusty job under the best of circumstances, but the overly warm winter and lack of precipitation of any kind had left the washes and arroyos drier and dustier than usual. The mild winter must have put every cow on the range in the mood for love, resulting in a bumper crop of calves, making the job of rounding the stubborn little critters up take twice as long as it usually did.  Read the full story HERE>>

The Lee Creek Howler

Rick Breeden

Ezra Bullock whistled loudly and a bit off key as he announced to no particular tree, "Yes sir I am gonna ask her."

He pictured Marie Boyd with her long wavy dark hair as he moved over the first rocky ridge that separated his families’ homestead from hers. These same two thickly wooded hills and the hollow along Lee Creek had separated their farms for three generations now.

Read the full story HERE>>

The Cottonwood Incident

Mickey Bellman

Bert just wanted to get past Great Falls without being noticed. But Comach noticed, and so did four night riders.

Read the full story HERE>>

The High Line Incident

Mickey Bellman

The High Line shack was a lonely place on the Montana prairie. Bert was not expecting any company, but a single rider was coming. He reached for is Winchester just in case the stranger wanted to “remind” him of the fatal saloon fight a year ago.

Read the full story HERE>>

The Preacher

Al Matlock

The sounds of thunder rolling down the canyon hid the sound of the shot. Lighting pierced the dark black ominous clouds, outlining a lone solitary figure of a saddled horse standing as if holding a vigil for some obscure reason, while the rain continued coming down in sheets.

The storm had raged for two hours and a deluge of water filled the stream bed that roared into life. The lighting continued to light the night sky illuminating the steep rocky slope lined with blackjack oak and a black object appearing to be a man’s body, unmoving and without life.

Read the full story HERE>>

The 8:10 to Chicago

Bryan Grafton

“Call the next case bailiff,” shouted Judge Jackson Davis of Jeff Davis County Texas.

“State of Texas versus Nels Albright,” bellowed the bailiff.

“What do we have here Mr. Bean?” Judge Jackson asked the County Prosecutor as he drew his coat up over his shoulders trying to keep warm in his unheated west Texas courtroom this wintry blustery cold March morning 1893. Read the full story HERE>>

The Badlands Incident

Mickey Bellman

“It says here there’s a fellow by the name of Jack Ripper on the loose over in England. Evidently, he’s already butchered half a dozen folks with a knife. It goes on to say….”

“Why Cleve, where did you pick up such a habit like reading—some girl’s school back East?” Uncle Eli continued stroking his skinning knife on the whetstone he held in his lap. The nearby campfire didn’t offer much light or heat, but Uncle Eli could sharpen a blade to a razor’s edge on a moonless night inside a cave. He had skinned buffalo for thirty years and a sharp knife had been an essential tool of his trade. Eli wetted the stone with a brown wad of spit and continued drawing the blade slowly across the stone. Read the full story HERE>>


Mickey Bellman

Seth stared nervously at the boiling cloudbank marching toward him across the western horizon. Living beneath open skies for 38 years had taught the wrangler to predict what was coming. He spurred Dramm into a trot as he hurried across the high desert. A rider sitting on his horse was the tallest thing on the flat range, just inviting a lightening bolt from any passing storm.

Read the full story HERE>>

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The Last Warrant by Darrel Sparkman

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