Gun Hawk by Ed Earl Repp
COWSKIN was being bled to the bone by the bloody reign of terror of The Devil’s Disciples, a gang of self-installed vigilantes. Ranches were stolen, herds ravaged and men lynched wholesale by this unholy crowd.
COWSKIN was being bled to the bone by the bloody reign of terror of The Devil’s Disciples, a gang of self-installed vigilantes. Ranches were stolen, herds ravaged and men lynched wholesale by this unholy crowd. And then Steve Hale came home from California to find they had lynched his father, Bronco Hale, and Johnny, his younger brother. Returning, he found the bodies swaying dismally in the storm that spewed wildly over the valleys.
Then Steve, known as The Gun Hawk, rides the trail of vengeance, swearing to kill the father of the girl he loves, as one of the Disciples. How does Steve get around the killing of his sweetheart’s father? Does he carry out his oath of vengeance, or does he let him live out of love for Terry Holcomb?
Chapter 1 – Tragedy On The Range
Chapter 2 – A Little Man Of Mystery
Chapter 3 – Riders Of The Dawn
Chapter 4 – A Meeting In Cowskin
Chapter 5 – A Name On The Board
Chapter 6 – Death’s Rendezvous
Chapter 7 – Hangnoose Medicine
Chapter 8 – The Mystery Gun
Chapter 9 – Who Is Arch Prader?
Chapter 10 – Buckaroo Justice
Chapter 11 – The Hand Of Chico
Chapter 12 – Claws Of The Gunhawk
Chapter 13 – The Wrath Of Cowskin
Chapter 14 – Terry Saves A Life
Chapter 15 – Man-Trap
Chapter 16 – Three Down, Three To Go
Chapter 17 – Gathering Of The Devil’s Clan
Chapter 18 – Holcomb Makes A Decision
Chapter 19 – Gunsmoke Showdown
Edward Earl Repp (1901–1979) was an advertising man and newspaper reporter who wrote a great many pulp magazine adventures between 1929 and World War II. He also used the pseudonyms Bradnor Buckner, John Cody and Peyer Field. His stories appeared in various early pulp magazines including Air Wonder Stories, Science Wonder Stories and Amazing Stories as well as a number of Western fiction magazines.
After World War II, Repp began working as a screenwriter. He is credited with writing and/or screenwriting 49 western movies including Saddles and Sagebrush (1943), Terror Trail (1946), and Guns of Hate (1948).
Gun Hawk was first published in 1936.
Gun Hawk has 0 illustrations.
Excerpt: Gun Hawk
Tragedy On The Range
FOR HOURS NOW the storm had been gathering, breeding like a festering sore over the high scarps of the Organs. From the Pecos to the Rio Grande the sky domed over the Pecos Valley like a canopy of smoked steel. Black, ominous clouds pitched and tossed restlessly in the high winds, stabbed by jagged blue tongues of lightning that played about the tall pinnacles of Baldy Peak as if some monster serpents were bent upon licking it up. Thunderheads, like bales of frayed black cotton, formed a forbidding mass that made an awesome back-drop down the Big Bend horizon. Blistering heat waves beat up from the Valley floor. They were like the breath of hell. Gusts of wind, hot, parching, whipped across the land, pungent with sage, creosote and the smell of distant rain.
Suddenly the sky seemed to fall in one gushing, snarling growl as the black curtain of rain splattered down from the hills. In a moment Steve Hale was soaked to the skin. He pulled the wide brim of his Stetson more snugly to his forehead and hunched his broad shoulders against the storm. Water cascaded from his hat, splattered over the withers of his plodding horse. And the sudden chill of the storm made him shiver a bit. He rode on, listening to the crash of the thunder, the snarl of the downpour and the steady, rhythmic shuck-shuck-shuck of his pony’s hoofs in the ‘dobe mud.
A loud, deafening roar of thunder, so close that it almost made his strong, white teeth rattle, spooked the horse for a moment. He felt the gallant palomino quiver between his legs. He extended a sinewy, sun-dyed hand to run it comfortingly along the animal’s glistening neck.
“Nothin’ to git spooky over, Shasta boy,” he soothed assuringly. “Jes’ keep on ploddin’ along an’ we’ll be there in a jiffy. Ten more miles, old son, an’ yuh’ll be buryin’ yore muzzle in Spur Rowel hay!”
As if understanding, Shasta shook his great head and increased his gait. Steve let him go, a grim smile on his weather-tanned face. The rain beat down steadily. Shasta’s running legs shot up clots of mud that showered over him. He buried his head against his chest and contemplated his return to the Spur Rowel after an absence of nearly four years. He asked himself once more a question that had beat in his brain constantly during his month’s ride from California.
What would he find when he reached home? The terse note he had received from his father, old Bronco Hale, imploring him to return to the hearth of the Spur Rowel, had told him nothing, yet hinted directly at trouble.
In the same bold scrawl that old Bronco used on the tally sheets, the cattleman had written his wishes. And Steve had left California immediately to comply. Now, the contents of that letter, terse, hurriedly done, was uppermost in his mind.
“My dear son, Stephen,” it read, and Steve knew every word by memory.
“Your brother, Johnny, and me want you to come home. We need you, Steve, as these are trying days on the Pecos and the Spur Rowel. Hell is riding our ranges and the Devil’s Disciples are preaching gunsmoke gospel. Please come home, Steve, right away. If you can’t come pronto or get here too late, I want you should go to that hollow cottonwood out back of the ranch house where you and John used to play bear and Indian, and find that old Bisley Colt’s I gave you years ago. It will tell you what should be done as best as we know. With love,
John Hale, Sr.”
Steve Hale pried the innermost recesses of his brain for a definite meaning of that rather cryptic note, asked himself time and again what it meant. What were the Devil’s Disciples? Who were they? What did they mean to the Spur Rowel? In mocking reply to these and many other questions that letter had inspired, the rain beat down.
That there was something wrong at home he was sure. He felt it, sensed it stronger than ever as Shasta carried him nearer to the hearth of his birth. A wintry bleakness swept into his sombre eyes as he struggled to piece it all together. It wasn’t like old Bronco to write such a letter. It betrayed fear, worry, as if something had come up to sap the soul from the old cowman’s body. And old Bronco Hale had been a tough man to frighten. But here was something different—the Devil’s Disciples—
Renegades, outlaws riding the Spur Rowel ranges? Steve was sure of that. Preaching gunsmoke gospel? He knew what that meant—death was riding the Pecos Valley. Thought of death made him touch spurs to Shasta’s writhing flanks. The great palomino from the Shasta country of California bellied the ground, sending a shower of muck and shale over his rider. Every fibre in his young, trail-hardened body taut and straining, he peered through the rain-sheets for a glimpse of the home he had deserted to wander. Now he could have kicked himself for ever having left the Spur Rowel, although, and a faint smile spread over his thin lips at the fun he’d had, it had been a delectable adventure—California. But now—
And his brows drew down as he thought into the future. An ugly premonition of disaster erased that ghost of a smile. Night was gathering fast, as if it portended something untoward. The storm was letting up, but brown, gurgling water coursed sluggishly along old creek beds. He shielded his face as Shasta spilled through the streams, geysering water over him.
Steve Hale was young, too young, it seemed, for a man of his reputation throughout West Texas and points west to California. He was big, narrow-hipped. His shoulders would have graced a wrestler. His leonine head, drawn down on a powerful neck, was one of character. Steel-thewed legs encased in clean Levi’s that failed to hide rippling muscles, made him a man to be conjured with. And he was tall and straight like the willows that cloaked the banks of Spur Rowel Creek surging through his father’s ranch.
People were lifted out of their troubles by his contagious smile and free swelling laughter. The few who had caused his lips to draw into grim lines, eyes to become amber-flecked and chill, were indeed lucky to live and tell of the gunswift of this youngster who was known from the Pecos to the Sacramento as The Gunhawk. Few cowboys ever had his speed on the draw. And few men with that speed had used it to such good cause.
Excerpt From: Ed Earl Repp. “Gun Hawk.”
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