When the legend becomes fact

rough countryBrett Cogburn recently published my western short story, “A Matter of Respect” in his new anthology, Rough Country. Fifteen other tales by writers that know life west of the Mississippi are included. I deem it a great honor to be side-by-side with these folks.

“A Matter of Respect” began with a hike through Palo Duro Canyon in West Texas decades ago. During that visit, I felt an endless curiosity about Col. Ranald Mackenzie and the slaughter of 1,400 plains ponies, a great turning point for the western plains.

An interesting legend lingers around the Llano Estacado wintering grounds of the Comanche and Kiowa. On moonlit nights the sound of horses running and screaming can be heard echoing off the hoodoos and rock walls. Above the ghostly stampede, a woman laughs hysterically. Thus sprang my tale of a Mascogo scout and a mystical woman riding a claybank horse with turquoise bridle.

“You got white blood?” asks Nat, the Mascogo scout.

“At one time. No más,” the woman answers.

Like the reporter said in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” – when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

You can find Rough Country Volume I at http://www.highhillpress.com/


  1. I’m so proud of you. Maybe I’ll write you into one of my stories someday. Probably won’t name a library after you like Mike did, but something of major relevance to the plot.


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