Louis L’Amour is undoubtedly the bestselling frontier novelist of all time. He is the only American-born author in history to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of his life's work. He has published ninety novels; twenty-seven short-story collections; two works of nonfiction; a memoir, Education of a Wandering Man; and a volume of poetry, Smoke from This Altar. There are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide.
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The Gift of Cochise
Tense, and white to the lips, Angie Lowe stood in the door of her cabin with a double-barreled shotgun in her hands. Beside the door was a Winchester ’73, and on the table inside the house were two Walker Colts.
Facing the cabin were twelve Apaches on ragged calico ponies, and one of the Indians had lifted his hand, palm outward. The Apache sitting the white-splashed bay pony was Cochise.
Beside Angie were her seven-year-old son Jimmy and her five-year-old daughter Jane.
Cochise sat his pony in silence; his black, unreadable eyes studied the woman, the children, the cabin, and the small garden. He looked at the two ponies in the corral and the three cows. His eyes strayed to the small stack of hay cut from the meadow, and to the few steers farther up the canyon.
Three times the warriors of Cochise had attacked this solitary cabin and three times they had been turned back. In all, they had lost seven men, and three had been wounded. Four ponies had been killed. His braves reported that there was no man in the house, only a woman and two children, so Cochise had come to see for himself this woman who was so certain a shot with a rifle and who killed his fighting men.
These were some of the same fighting men who had outfought, outguessed and outrun the finest American army on record, an army outnumbering the Apaches by a hundred to one. Yet a lone woman with two small children had fought them off, and the woman was scarcely more than a girl. And she was prepared to fight now. There was a glint of admiration in the old eyes that appraised her. The Apache was a fighting man, and he respected fighting blood.
“Where is your man?”
“He has gone to El Paso.” Angie’s voice was steady, but she was frightened as she had never been before. She recognized Cochise from descriptions, and she knew that if he decided to kill or capture her it would be done. Until now, the sporadic attacks she had fought off had been those of casual bands of warriors who raided her in passing.
“He has been gone a long time. How long?”
Angie hesitated, but it was not in her to lie. “He has been gone four months.”
Cochise considered that. No one but a fool would leave such a woman, or such fine children. Only one thing could have prevented his return. “Your man is dead,” he said.
Angie waited, her heart pounding with heavy, measured beats. She had guessed long ago that Ed had been killed but the way Cochise spoke did not imply that Apaches had killed him, only that he must be dead or he would have returned.
“You fight well,” Cochise said. “You have killed my young men.”
“Your young men attacked me.” She hesitated, then added, “They stole my horses.”
“Your man is gone. Why do you not leave?”
Angie looked at him with surprise. “Leave? Why, this is my home. This land is mine. This spring is mine. I shall not leave.”
“This was an Apache spring,” Cochise reminded her reasonably.
“The Apache lives in the mountains,” Angie replied. “He does not need this spring. I have two children, and I do need it.”
“But when the ApachWith more than 120 titles still in print, Louis L'Amour is recognized the world over as one of the most prolific and popular American authors in history. Though he met with phenomenal success in every genre he tried, the form that put him on the map was the short story. Now this great writer—Wall Street Journal recently compared with Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson—will receive his due as a great storyteller. This volume kicks off a series that will, when complete, anthologize all of L'Amour’ s short fiction, volume by handsome volume.
Here, in Volume One, is a treasure-trove of 35 frontier tales for his millions of fans and for those who have yet to discover L'Amour’s thrilling prose—and his vital role in capturing the spirit of the Old West for generations to come.