In The Sackett Brand , Louis L'Amour spins the story of a courageous man who must face overwhelming odds to track down a killer.
Tell Sackett and his bride, Ange, came to Arizona to build a home and start a family. But on Black Mesa something goes terribly wrong.
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Nov 2005
From the cover
Nobody could rightly say any of us Sacketts were what you'd call superstitious. Nonetheless, if I had tied a knot in a towel or left a shovel in the fire nothing might have happened.
The trouble was, when I walked out on that point my mind went a-rambling like wild geese down a western sky.
What I looked upon was a sight of lovely country. Right at my feet was the river, a-churning and a-thrashing at least six hundred feet below me, with here and there a deep blue pool. Across the river, and clean to the horizon to the north and east of me, was the finest stand of pine timber this side of the Smokies.
Knobs of craggy rock thrust up, with occasional ridges showing bare spines to the westward where the timber thinned out and the country finally became desert. In front of me, but miles away, a gigantic wall reared up. That wall was at least a thousand feet higher than where I now stood, though this was high ground.
Down around Globe I'd heard talk of that wall. On the maps I'd seen it was written Mogollon, but folks in the country around called it the Muggy-own.
This was the place we had been seeking, and now I was scouting a route for my wagon and stock. As I stood there on that high point I thought I saw a likely route, and I started to turn away. It was a move I never completed, for something struck me an awful wallop alongside the skull, and next thing I knew I was falling.
Falling? With a six-hundred-foot drop below me? Fear clawed at my throat, and I heard a wild, ugly cry ... my own cry.
Then my shoulder smashed into an outcropping of crumbly rock that went to pieces under the impact, and again I was falling; I struck again, fell again, and struck again, this time feet first, facing a gravelly slope that threw me off into the air once more. This time I landed sliding on a sheer rock face that rounded inward and let me fall again, feet first.
Brush growing out from the side of the mountain caught me for just a moment, but I ripped through it, clawing for a grip; then I fell clear into a deep pool.
Down I went, and when I thought to strike out and swim, something snagged my pants leg and started me kicking wildly to shake loose. Then something gave way down there under water, and I shot to the surface right at the spillway of the pool.
My mouth gasped for air, and a wave hit me full in the mouth and almost strangled me, while the force of the water swept me between the rocks and over a six-foot fall.
The current rushed me on, and I went through another spillway before I managed to get my feet under me in shallow water.
Even then, stepping on a slippery rock, I fell once more, and this time the current dropped me to a still lower pool, almost covered by arching trees. Flailing with arms and legs, I managed to lay hand to a root and tug myself out of the water. There was a dark hole under the roots of a huge old sycamore that leaned over the water, and it was instinct more than good sense that made me crawl into it before I collapsed.
And then for a long time I felt nothing, heard nothing.
It was the cold that woke me. Shivering, shaking, I struggled back to something like consciousness. At first I sensed only the cold ... and then I realized that somebody was talking nearby.
"What's the boss so wrought up about? He was just a driftin' cowpoke."
"You ain't paid to question the boss, Dancer. He said we were to find him and kill him, and he said we were to hunt for a week if necessary, but he wants the body found and he wants it buried deep. If it ain't dead, we kill it."
"You funnin' me?...