Blue Is Not the Word
Rick Lemoore is drinking beer in a tavern when he recognizes a backhoe operator named Tragg Tustin, who was said to have left town years earlier with Lynette Cole, a girl both of them had been dating. Seeing Tustin in town again, with a different woman, makes Rick wonder what ever happened to Lynette. Rick’s curiosity picks up when he sees Tustin out driving the unpaved roads in the grasslands where Rick goes antelope hunting. Rick follows him for a while and watches from a distance. The next time Rick is out hunting, he is sure that Tustin is following him. Rick has a hunting rifle in the gun rack, but he is glad he has his pistol when something prompts him to take a look inside an old implement shed in the lonely ranch country.

Buckskin Trail
Tag Benson is looking for a lost packhorse when he finds the body of a man in the grassland. His trail leads him to the dead man’s widow, who is very reserved and says she doesn’t need any help. When his trail takes him to a neighboring ranch, he meets a hardcase who tells him to watch where he is going. Benson’s search for the lost horse leads him next to an eccentric sheep queen and from there to a box canyon in a maze of buttes. He crosses paths again with the deadly ranch hand and then has to settle things at the ranch itself before he meets with the dead man’s widow one more time.


Finalist, Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award, Best Short Western Fiction 2023

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