He was a tough enforcer for a New York gang. But when young Tom Shanaghy made one too many enemies, he skipped town on a fast-moving freight. He landed in a small Kansas town that had big dreams, no name, and the need for an honest lawman. Tom figured that a knuckle-and-skull man from Five Points would be perfect for the job. He didn’t know that a high-stakes cattle drive was headed his way and that leading it was a vindictive rancher bent on settling an old score, even if he had to destroy the town to do it. Tom had himself stuck in the middle of the feud before sunset on his first day in town. All he could do was hope that his years on the Bowery had left him with the smarts he needed to keep himself alive.
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|Title of History eBook: The Iron Marshal|
|Release Date: 06-29-2004|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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The Iron Marshal
A BRUTAL KICK in the ribs jolted him from a sound sleep and he lunged to his feet. The kicker, obviously a railroad detective, stepped back and drew a gun.
"Don't try it," he advised. "Just get off."
"Now? Are you crazy? At this speed I'd get killed."
"Tough. You either jump off or you get shot off."
Shanaghy looked at the gun. "Ah, what's the use? For two-bits I'd take that away from you and make you eat it, but I'll take the jump."
He turned and swung over the edge of the open gondola, hung for an instant to gauge the speed, then dropped from the ladder. He hit the ground knees bent and rolled head over heels down the embankment, coming to his feet in a cloud of dust to hear a fading shout.
". . . an' take your dirty duds with you!"
A bundle came flying from the train and hit the ground several hundred yards farther along. Then the train was past and he watched the caboose disappearing down the singing rails.
Shanaghy spat dust and swore at the disappearing train. "Ah, me lad!" he said bitterly. "There will come a time!"
He dug sand from his eyes and ears, muttering the while, and then he looked slowly around.
He stood on the bank beside the tracks in the midst of a vast and empty plain, nothing but grass, rippling in the wind. It reminded him of the sea when he crossed from Ireland.
He was thirsty, he was hungry, and he was mad all the way through. Moreover, he was bruised from the fall, adding to the bruises from what had gone before. He stared around again. At least, they would never find him here. H