A Gunslinger’s Bloody Mission (Preview)

Prologue 

Pawnee Jones reined his spotted Indian pony to a stop in front of the Rifleman’s Saloon. The wages from a month-long campaign scouting for a cavalry detachment out of Fort Leavenworth felt like it was burning a hole in his blue cavalry pants. He needed a few shots of whiskey to wash away the bad taste of tracking down Kiowas and watching as they were slaughtered. It helped that his mother’s people, the Pawnee, hated the Kiowas; still, he was half Indian and resented the white man taking their land and exterminating those who resisted.

With a sigh, Pawnee reined Surefoot over to the hitching post and dismounted. Although half Scottish, Pawnee looked every inch a Pawnee. He wore his jet-black hair in a single long braid down his back. He had a gun belt buckled around his waist, a pearl-handled Navy Colt in the holster, and a hunting knife in a leather sheath on the left side of the belt. Only when he spoke did the image of a pure Pawnee vanish. He had a slight Scottish accent—a gift from his father, a Scottish trader in the Nebraska Territories.

“I won’t be long, Surefoot,” Pawnee said in his lilting Scottish brogue as he patted the stallion on the shoulder before climbing the two steps to the saloon porch.

Pawnee paused at the swinging doors, anticipating the hostile reception he would face in the saloon. He lifted his Navy Colt halfway out of the holster and let it drop back down to make sure it sat loose. The handle of the pistol felt natural to his palm. His father had given him a gun at the age of four, a Colt Paterson. The revolver was so heavy that Pawnee remembered dragging it across the floor of the trading post.

He stepped through the butterfly doors and stopped, scanning the room for possible immediate threats, which he concluded probably included everyone in the room.

No one noticed Pawnee until he walked past a table where four men, one of them in Army blues, sat drinking and jawing. 

“What are you doing off the reservation?” the soldier said.

“Looking for someone to scalp,” Pawnee replied.

“That ain’t a bit funny,” the soldier said as Pawnee turned and headed for a poker table when he spotted one of the four men getting out of his chair.

“Mind if I join you fellows for a hand or two?” Pawnee asked.

The professional gambler wearing a white suit had his back to Pawnee. “Sure enough,” he said, as he turned his head to look at who had joined the game. “Oh, an Injun. You don’t sound like an Injun.”

Pawnee put his hand over his mouth and made a whooping sound. “Is that better?” 

The gambler paused. “Hell, come on and take a seat if you got money.”

Pawnee reached into his pocket, pulled out a money clip, and showed it to the gambler.

“Hmm, that’ll do just fine. “Any of you gents object to us taking the Injun’s money?”

“The name is Pawnee Jones,” Pawnee interrupted to say.

The other players stared at the money in the clip and shook their heads.

“My name is Slick Martin,” the gambler said. “And I’ll be the one taking most of your money.”

Pawnee shrugged. “As long as you take it in an honest game, I’m fine with that, pard,” he said as he took the empty seat and placed the money clip on the table in front of him.

“The fat man is Rick, and the ugly one is Murphy,” Slick said and chuckled at his joke.

“You just haven’t looked in the mirror lately, Slick,” Murphy said gruffly.

“I’m betting that you need some whiskey,” Slick said, motioning one of the big-chested saloon girls over to the table.

“Yeah, sugar, what can I fetch you all from the bar?” the woman asked.

“The Injun needs some firewater,” Slick said, causing the other two men to snicker.

The woman glanced disapprovingly down at Pawnee. “As long as he can pay for it,” she said and frowned.

Pawnee lifted his money clip.

The woman’s frown turned to a broad smile. “What can I get you, sugar?”

“The bartender doesn’t by any chance have Scotch whiskey, does he?”

A surprised expression briefly crossed the woman’s face. “Yup, I think he does.”

“Bring me a double shot,” Pawnee said.

“Hmm, Injun, you sound Scottish and drink Scotch whiskey. That’s a first,” Slick said, shaking his head.

“A gift from my pappy,” Pawnee said. “Now, are we going to sit here and swap family stories, or are we going to play cards?”

“Wow, boys, the Injun is eager to part with his money, ain’t he,” Slick said as he picked up the cards, shuffled them, and started dealing. 

Pawnee relaxed a bit as memories of playing poker with his father and friends at the trading post flashed through his mind. Poker and whiskey worked hand in hand to wipe bad thoughts from Pawnee’s mind.

He won four out of five of the first hands, to the disappointment of Slick and the other two players. Then, things took a turn for the worse—Pawnee lost five hands in a row. Even though he had good cards, the first three hands he lost might have been Lady Luck turning her nose up at him, but the last two made him suspicious of Slick since he had won all five hands.

Pawnee stopped relaxing and studied Slick’s hands as he dealt the cards.

There! Pawnee’s eagle eyes spotted Slick pull one of his cards out of his sleeve.

“Stop!” Pawnee shouted, pausing the conversations at the other tables.

“What?” Slick demanded with a surprised look.

“You pulled that card out of your sleeve, pard,” Pawnee said.

Slick dropped the deck of cards onto the table. “Injun, are you calling me a card cheat?”

“Yup. I think I know where you got the name ‘Slick’ from,” Pawnee said, speaking loud enough to be heard across the room.

“You fellows take it outside. I don’t want no gunplay in my saloon,” bellowed the bear of a man behind the bar, putting a double-barreled shotgun on the bar to back up his words. “Slick, make him a good Injun, and then get back to playing poker.” The bartender nodded toward the door.

Pawnee picked up his money clip as he stood and put it into his pocket. “After you, Slick,” he said and noticed the man’s eyes widen when he spotted Pawnee’s pearl-handled Navy Colt.

“Who did you steal the fancy pistol from?” Slick said before he pushed his chair away from the table and stood.

“A gift from my pappy,” Pawnee said.

“Well, it’s going to belong to me in a few minutes,” Slick said with a chuckle.

Pawnee smiled. “Yup. Others have had the same thought, but I’m still packing it,” he said, headed for the swinging doors. While he crossed the room, he heard chairs sliding across the plank floor as men got up to follow them. 

This ain’t good! he thought, but things were in motion, and he couldn’t stop them.

“Murphy,” Slick said as he stopped on the porch to remove his suit jacket. “Hold my jacket for me, would you?”

“Sure thing, Slick. Go put a bullet in that uppity Injun,” Murphy said, taking the jacket and draped it over his arm.

“Come on, Injun, let’s get this over with,” Slick said. He walked into the middle of the street and waited for Pawnee, who had stopped to pat Surefoot on the neck.

“Look, the Injun is saying adios to his horse,” someone on the porch shouted.

Slick wouldn’t be so sure of himself if he knew all the years pappy had made me practice daily with a pistol, saying that since I was an Injun, I would have to know how to handle a revolver better than the next man, Pawnee thought as he walked into the street and turned to face Slick.

“You got any last words, Injun?” Slick asked with a smile.

“You shouldn’t have cheated,” Pawnee said, his voice carrying to the men standing on the saloon porch.

The expression on Slick’s face changed as his eyes narrowed. He grabbed his Schofield revolver; however, he let go of its handle before his pistol cleared leather as a shot rang out. As his gun dropped back into its holster, Slick glanced down at the hole in the chest of his ruffled powder-blue shirt before falling face-down in the dirt.

A hush descended over the men gathered to watch the duel. Then, as one, they spilled into the street to gather around as Pawnee walked over to where Slick lay in a puddle of blood.

“Damn Injun killed Slick,” Murphy shouted. “Everyone knows that Slick was as honest as the day is long.”

“Lynch him! We can’t have an Injun killing a white man in Platte City,” someone behind Pawnee shouted.

As Pawnee turned to face the man, something smashed into the back of his head. Everything suddenly went dark.

***

“Wake up, Injun—we want you to know you’re getting hung,” said the voice that penetrated the darkness.

Pawnee opened his eyes. The first thing he noticed was that he was astride Surefoot with a noose around his neck. The next thing was the crowd of men gathered around the big oak tree. 

Pawnee tried to move his hand but found them tied behind his back.

“You got any last words, redskin?” the man on the horse next to him asked. Pawnee recognized him as one of the men at the poker table named Murphy.

“You were working with Slick, weren’t you?” Pawnee said.

He felt the noose tighten around his neck.

***

Buck Blackman shook his head as he approached Platte City. The image of the shootout only hours ago in Camden Point, between him and a fourteen-year-old boy out to prove his quick draw, lingered fresh in Buck’s mind. Shaking his head didn’t get rid of the image of the dying boy as the kid lay on the ground with a bullet hole in the front of his blue shirt, his eyes clouding over. Platte City wasn’t his destination; Independence was. Buck hoped to hire on to a wagon train heading to Oregon and outrun his reputation as a quick-draw artist.

In his distraction, Buck hadn’t noticed the crowd of men ahead. He puzzled at what they were up to until he spotted an Injun sitting atop his spotted pony with a noose around his neck.

Buck sighed. The last thing he wanted to see was a hanging. He started to turn his black gelding around to circle the crowd when he noticed how young the Injun looked. The image of the fourteen-year-old boy reemerged in Buck’s mind. Instead of turning Midnight around, he urged the big gelding forward until he reined him to a stop near the crowd.

A man dressed in chaps and with a battered felt hat turned around when Midnight nickered.

“Why are they hanging the Indian?” Buck asked.

“He killed a gambler named Slick Martin in a duel,” the cowboy replied.

“Why the duel?” Buck asked.

The cowboy looked annoyed but answered. “The Injun accused Slick of cheating.”

“Did Slick cheat?” Buck asked.

The man shrugged. “Who cares? We can’t have Injuns killing white men.”

Buck glanced over the men’s heads and saw someone tie the end of the rope to a lower oak branch. Almost as soon as the man secured the rope, another man who was mounted on a horse beside the Indian’s pony raised his hand to slap the horse on the rump.

Without conscious thought, Buck drew his pistol and fired as the man lowered his hand. His shot snapped the rope before the noose tightened enough to hang the Indian. The crowd shouted in surprise as the Indian pony ran into the crowd, causing men to jump out of its way.

“He’s getting away!” Murphy shouted as he reached for his pistol only to have it shot out of his hand as Buck fired his Army Colt a second time.

“Ouch!” Murphy yelled, shaking his hand. He glanced over the crowd at Buck. “What the hell are you doing? The Injun killed a white man.”

“Sounds like he deserved it. There ain’t going to be no hanging today, fellows, but Iffin you don’t move along, there will be some graves dug.”

“Murphy, that’s Buck Blackman. You don’t want to rile him,” someone shouted.

“Buck Blackman the gunslinger?” Murphy asked, still shaking his stunned hand.

“Yup!” the man answered.

“Is the sheriff in the crowd?” Buck asked.

“He’s in Leavenworth,” someone called out.

“Well, now I don’t think he would approve of you men hanging someone that killed another man in self-defense.”

“But he killed a white man!” 

Buck shrugged. “That don’t change the law. Now, you fellows go back and open your shops or belly up to the bar, but there ain’t going to be a hanging,” he said in a cold, hard tone as he glanced from face to face with his hand on the hilt of his Army Colt. “Now, get, I said.”

“Let’s go, boys; the drinks are on me,” Murphy shouted as he flexed his injured hand.

Buck waited until the lynch mob dispersed before he reined Midnight around and walked him back to the road. “Maybe we should skip Platte City and ride on to Independence,” he said as he patted the gelding on the neck. 

Hearing a horse approaching from behind, Buck drew his pistol, and he turned to face the possible threat.

The young Indian they meant to hang.

“Howdy,” the Indian called out as he slowed his pony to a walk.

“Hmm, you don’t sound like no Indian I ever heard,” Buck said when he caught the hint of a Scottish brogue. 

The Indian smiled. “Yup, I get that a lot.”

“I bet you do at that. Shouldn’t you be heading back to the reservation before those men you riled regroup?” Buck asked.

“Well, I would head for the hills, but I can’t do that,” the Indian said with a sigh.

“Why not? There’s no noose around your neck anymore.”

He nodded. “And that’s why I can’t head for the hills.”

“Are you drunk or something? Because you ain’t making much sense,” Buck said.

The Indian shrugged. “You saved my life.”

“Yup, I reckon you can say I did,” Buck agreed.

“There’s the rub, pard. You see, the Pawnee believe that if a man saves your life, then your life is his,” the Indian said.

“Yeah, but I ain’t a Pawnee and don’t believe in that Injun stuff,” Buck said. “So, thank me and go on your merry way.”

“Well, mister, you might not believe in Injun stuff, but I do. So, I’ll be tagging along with you from here on out.”

“What’s your name?” Buck asked.

“Pawnee.”

“Damn, that’s not very original.”

“Pawnee Jones,” Pawnee said.

“I guess that’s a tad bit better. Well, Pawnee Jones, I don’t want or need a sidekick,” Buck said.

“What’s your name? I need to know the name of the man I’m going to be protecting.”

“Hell, didn’t you hear a word I said?”

Pawnee didn’t respond.

“It’s Buck Blackman,” Buck finally said.

“Where are we heading, Buck?” Pawnee asked.

“I’m heading to Independence; I don’t know about you,” Buck said.

Pawnee shrugged. “I go where you go. But damn, I’m going to have to buy myself a new pistol. Murphy stole mine.”

“I shot a pistol out of his hand. It fell around where they were going to hang you. Maybe it’s still there. I think it had a pearl handle. I nicked the man’s hand and not the pistol. I hate ruining a pistol,” Buck said.

Pawnee had already reined Surefoot around and was trotting toward the oak tree. “Well, what good luck,” he said as he jumped off his pony. He bent over, picked up his pistol, and waved it in the air. “I ain’t going to have to buy a new one, I reckon.”

 

Chapter One

“Why are we in Independence?” Pawnee asked as they left the livery stable after dropping off their horses to be fed, watered, and given a stall.

“We’re going to hire on with a wagon train heading to Oregon,” Buck said. He navigated through the crowded street, trying not to bump into anyone.

“Why Oregon?” Pawnee asked; unlike Buck, he didn’t have to try to avoid pedestrians. They avoided him with fearful looks.

“I need to get away from my reputation as a quick-draw.” Buck shook his head. “Too many men want to test themselves against me. Maybe in a new place, I can find some peace. You don’t have to come with me. In fact, you should forget all about me saving your life and go your own way.”

“I can’t do that, amigo. We’re bound at the hip like one of the Siamese twins I once saw in a traveling sideshow in St. Louis,” Pawnee said.

“Hell, if I had known I would be saddled with you for the rest of my life, I would have let them hang you.”

“Yup, but you didn’t, and here you are with a sidekick,” Pawnee said with a snicker.

“And nothing but trouble,” Buck added as they reached the saloon. “Don’t start any trouble inside.” 

They climbed the steps to the porch where several shabbily dressed men stood watching the crowded street. The looks they gave Pawnee weren’t friendly, but none of them spoke as Buck and Pawnee made their way past. There’s going to be trouble for sure inside, Buck thought. It seemed folks didn’t like drinking alongside an Indian in any frontier town.

Buck paused just inside the door to look over the crowded room. The rowdy piano music matched the tough-looking crowd of hard-drinking men and women seated at the tables. While Buck looked around, a man jumped up from a table, pulled his pistol, and shot his companion in the shoulder. The music stopped, and everyone glanced over at the man lying bleeding on the floor. 

“You,” the man who had shot his companion called out, pointing his revolver at an old codger nursing an empty whiskey glass. “Luke, take him over to Dr. Cobb to get patched up. When he wakes up, tell Rudy he’d better be out of town before sundown, or the next bullet is in his head.”

“If you buy me a drink, I will, Rooster,” said the toothless old man with tobacco stains on his beard.

Rooster cocked his Colt Dragoon.

“All right, all right, I’m leaving,” the old man said. He rose slowly out of his chair and limped to the wounded man. “Bert, come help me carry him over to the doc,” he called out to another old man who had been sitting at the table with him. 

The two helped Rudy to his feet, and then moved toward the door. 

It seemed his departure was a signal. The moment the old two men stepped through the butterfly doors, supporting Rudy, the piano player started banging on the piano and the buzz of conversation filled the room again.

“Rough place,” Pawnee said. “My kind of saloon.”

Buck shook his head. “You just like to get into trouble, Injun.”

“Scaring white men is my hobby,” Pawnee told him.

Buck shook his head. “When are you going to start acting like a regular Injun?”

“When I reach the happy hunting ground, I reckon.”

“Well, with your attitude, you’ll be on your way soon,” Buck said. “Let’s go over to the bar.” He started across the room, weaving through the maze of crowded tables.

The bartender—a beefy man that looked half bear, he was so hairy—nodded at Pawnee. “The Injun had best head for the door while he can.”

Pawnee drew his pearl-handled Navy Colt and laid it atop the bar. “You had best have some scotch whiskey.”

“Hmm, half-breed, are you? Well, I reckon you can drink with white men,” the bartender said as he reached under the bar and brought out a bottle of Scotch. He nodded at Buck. “Same for you?”

Buck shook his head. “No, I’m American. I drink American whiskey.”

 “Chancy, are you serving Injuns now?” a man burly enough to be the bartender’s brother said as he stepped up behind Pawnee.

Before Chancy could answer, Pawnee pivoted around and struck the man in the nose with his elbow. Buck winced as he heard the man’s nose crack.

The man dropped to his knees while grabbing his nose, which spewed blood. Not finished with him, Pawnee kicked the man under the chin knocking him out cold. 

“Yup, he’s serving an Injun,” Pawnee said before he turned back to face the bar and lifted his shot glass. “Good Scotch tastes like water from a mountain stream,” he declared before tossing the whiskey into his mouth. After he swallowed, he smacked his lips. “I’ll take another one.”

“Sure thing,” the bartender said as he hurried to refill Pawnee’s glass.

Buck glanced around as two men walked over to help the man on the floor to his feet. They glanced at Pawnee’s back but didn’t speak as they helped their friend to a nearby table.

“Your sheriff didn’t come to investigate the pistol shot,” Buck said after he tossed down his whiskey and pushed the empty glass across the bar for a refill.

“And I’m glad he didn’t. He’s worse than any of the bandits and thieves in here. Iffin you cross him, he’ll shoot you dead. But he lets men in here sort things out among themselves. He says if they shoot one another, it’s justice.”

“Hmm, sounds like you have a curly wolf for a sheriff,” Buck said as the bartender slid the shot glass back to him, brimming with whiskey. 

“He’s a killer with a badge. But he keeps the lid on the town, for else the streets would run with blood. Iffin you haven’t noticed, Independence is full of pickpockets, thieves, and bandits that would split their mother’s throat for an Irish dollar.”

“We just arrived,” Buck said and downed the second shot. He put the glass down and turned to Pawnee. “I’m leaving; you can stay and get drunk on firewater. Iffin you have a mind to do so.”

Pawnee shook his head. “Nope. I go where you go, amigo.”

“Yup, that’s what I feared you would say. Hell, I might have to kill myself just to get rid of you,” Buck said as he pushed off from the bar.

“That’s one place I won’t follow you to; I’m opting for the happy hunting grounds, Buck,” Pawnee said when he caught up to Buck before he pushed through the swinging doors.

The group of men smoking on the porch stepped aside to let them pass but didn’t keep their scrawling looks to themselves.

Pawnee glanced at one of the men. “Ain’t you ever seen a Injun before that wasn’t trying to scalp you?”

The man glanced at the floor and didn’t answer.

“Pawnee, you must be the luckiest man in the country to have lived as long as you have. If trouble doesn’t come a-calling, you go looking for it,” Buck said. 

A man in a derby hat bumped into Buck as he and Pawnee stepped off the porch of the saloon and into the street. Pawnee grabbed the man by the back of the collar of his tweed jacket and jerked him backward.

“What are you doing?” Buck asked.

“Hand it over,” Pawnee demanded, shaking the man by his collar like he was a puppy dog.

“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The man paused as a hunting knife appeared in Pawnee’s hand, and the Indian pressed the blade against the man’s throat. 

“Buck’s billfold,” he said, putting enough pressure on the knife’s edge to cause a trickle of blood to run down the man’s neck.

“Okay, okay,” the man said. He reached into his coat pocket, pulled a billfold out, and handed it to Pawnee.

Seeing the billfold in Pawnee’s hand, Buck reached back and patted the right hip pocket of his dungarees. His wallet was missing. 

He shook his head as he took the billfold from Pawnee. “I didn’t even feel him take it.”

“Should I scalp him?”

“Nope, but he needs to be punished,” Buck said as he stuck his wallet back into his hip pocket.

The thief screamed.

“What did you do to him?” Buck asked.

“He broke my fingers!” the thief yelled, holding up his right hand as Pawnee released him, placed his hand in the small of the man’s back, and gave him a shove that sent the man stumbling.

“Get, before I break the fingers of your other hand,” Pawnee said as folks passing by glanced at him, surprised by his accent. “Yup, I’m an Injun,” Pawnee told them in his Scottish brogue. 

“Thanks. Independence is about as lawless a town as I have ever seen,” Buck said, shaking his head as a man ran toward them, pushing people out of his way. “What’s this?” 

Buck stuck his foot out as the young man ran past him, wearing a shabby gray tweed suit jacket and pants two sizes too large and carrying a green carpetbag. The man stumbled and fell face-down on the ground.

“Don’t let him get away,” another man said, running up to them. 

“What is going on?” Buck asked as he looked at the newcomer. What he saw was a man with a jovial face and friendly eyes. 

“My family just arrived on the train and were heading for the Independence Hotel when this man grabbed my bag and ran away with it. The bag has all of my money in it. I need it to join a wagon train for Oregon,” the man said pleadingly.

“Get out of my way!” the thief said, pulling a revolver from his belt.

Buck stepped between the thief and the owner of the bag, “Put the gun away,” he ordered.

Instead of obeying Buck, the thief leveled the pistol at Buck and cocked the hammer. Buck’s hand blurred with the speed of his movement when he drew and fired his Army Colt.

A shocked expression appeared momentarily on the thief’s face as the bullet struck him in the shoulder.

“Oh!” the owner of the carpetbag said. “You shot him?”

“It was him or me,” Buck said as he replaced his pistol while Pawnee reached down and picked up the carpetbag that had fallen to the ground. The man lay bleeding and moaning.

“Henry, are you all right?” a middle-aged blonde woman shouted as she pushed her way through the crowd that had formed around the wounded man.

Suddenly, the most beautiful golden-haired young woman that Buck had ever laid his eyes on appeared, and the middle-aged woman grabbed the girl’s arm as she glanced down at the moaning, bleeding thief.

“Don’t look at him, April,” the woman said.

“Yes, Helen,” Henry said. “Thanks to this fine gentleman and his… his Indian companion,” he added as he grabbed the carpet bag and raised it to show it to the woman. He shook his head. “Where are my manners? Mister, my name is Henry McCain, and this is my wife Helen and my daughter April.”

“I’m Buck Blackman, and the Injun shadow is Pawnee Jones,” Buck said

“What in the hell is going on? Who fired that shot?” a bearded man with a tin badge pinned to the front of his shirt demanded as he shoved his way through the crowd to stand beside the wounded man.

“I did,” Buck said. He nodded at Henry. “The man stole Mister McCain’s bag. I tripped him, and he drew a pistol and made the mistake of pointing it at me.”

The sheriff shrugged, “Well, it was just a matter of time before someone shot Willy for stealing their bags.” He glanced at the crowd. “In my opinion, you should have killed him. It would save me the trouble of tossing him in jail.” 

The bearded sheriff reached up and twisted his handlebar mustache, glancing around at the crowd gathering around to gawk at Willy.  

“Get on to where you folks are heading, or you’ll be heading to jail!” he bellowed.

Buck smiled at how quickly the crowd dispersed. He figured they knew the menacing sheriff and didn’t want to get his dander up.

The sheriff glanced at April and shook his head. “Wherever you folks are going, you’d better get there as quick as possible. Some men in Independence would tangle with a bear to snatch your daughter.”

“We’re heading for the Independence Hotel,” Henry spoke up.

“Then get on your way. I ain’t joshing when I say your daughter is in danger while she’s on the street,” the sheriff said.

“Pawnee and I are heading that way. We’ll escort them to their hotel,” Butch said, unable to keep his eyes off April—who, after one glance at him, ignored him.

“You ain’t going to shoot anyone else on the way, are you?” the sheriff asked.

Buck shrugged. “Depends on what they do.”

“Yeah, well, keep your pistol in your holster. I’m the only one allowed to shoot folks in Independence,” the sheriff warned.

“Henry, we should get to the hotel,” Helen said, sounding nervous.

“Yup, that’s a fine idea the lady has,” the sheriff said.

“Come on. I’ll show you to the hotel,” Buck said as he forced himself to look away from April and make eye contact with Henry.

“But, Daddy, we can’t just leave the wounded man lying in the street,” April said.

Buck glanced back but didn’t respond.

“Don’t you worry your pretty head about Willy. I’ll toss him in a cell and fetch the doc to patch him up,” the sheriff said. “That is, if he doesn’t bleed to death first, which I hope he does. I don’t like having to feed prisoners.” The sheriff glanced at April, smiled, and touched his fingers to his battered felt hat.

Buck, who was still staring at April, felt Pawnee’s elbow poke him in the side and snap him out of his daze.

“Okay, let’s mosey over to the hotel, Mister McCain, and get your family off the street,” Buck said as pedestrians jostled them, stepping around the dead thief.

“I don’t want to trouble you none, Mister Blackman,” Henry said.

 “I’m heading that way anyway,” Buck said. “And call me Buck.”

“And you can call me Henry. I’m a bricklayer, not some high-society gentlemen,” Henry said, motioning for Helen and April to follow Buck.

“Pawnee, stay behind us to guard them from thieves,” Buck ordered as Henry matched his stride.


“A Gunslinger’s Bloody Mission” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

Buck Blackman is an infamous gunslinger with a questionable reputation. In an effort to leave his traumatic past behind and ease his conscience, he saves Pawnee Jones from getting hanged after a gambling game. With Pawnee by his side though, he soon finds himself caught in a bloody mission, where he will have to face the menace of the mad Charley O’Leary, son of an Irish gang lord. When he meets a family fleeting O’Leary, Buck falls in love with their daughter, April, and promises to protect them along their way on the Oregon Trail.

A perilous quest begins…

Helping the McCain family proves more dangerous than any duel Buck has survived. Buck and Pawnee soon intertwine in constant shoot-outs with O’Leary’s Pinkerton Agents, hired to capture April and drag her back to Chicago. As the journey across the Oregon Trail slowly reveals its many dangers, Buck’s love for April grows and the group gets to know some unlikely allies that prove to be an important asset to their mission.

Will they survive the harsh trail?

Buck keeps trying to protect the wagons while fighting off Indians and bandits’ attacks with Pawnee. The more they cross mountains and deserts to reach the lush valleys in the Oregon Territories, the more they feel O’Leary’s threatening presence approaching. Will he succeed in capturing April? Will Buck’s ride on the wagon train be the thing that finally redeems him?

“A Gunslinger’s Bloody Mission” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

Get your copy from Amazon!

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