A Slug of Hot Lead
Joe Weaver thinks his biggest problem is keeping the cattle fed over the long, cold winter. Being foreman for Mrs. Summerlin did have its advantages he was earning wages while he courted Mrs. Summerlin s attractive daughter, Emma. But when rustlers steal the ranch s stock they also take Emma s brother, twelve-year-old Tommy, and Emma blames Joe for the kidnapping. Joe swears he will bring back Tommy and the missing stock, but he runs into more than he expects. He is captured by the rustlers and thrown into an abandoned mine shaft with a rattlesnake. His horse, Davey, is stolen and forced to work as a mule at a mining camp. But the final straw is when he finds Tommy chained to a hand-pump car. Joe had sworn to Emma that he would protect Tommy and bring him back safe and sound. That vow was going to be difficult to fulfill.
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