The Valley - A SampleByWilliam Meikle
The Walker Colt was the most powerful black-powder repeating handgun ever made. The.44 caliber cylinders held fifty grains of black powder that fired a conical bullet of two hundredand twenty grains. The pistol kicked like a mule and was as effective as a rifle at one hundredyards. Jake Stratford tried not to think about that as he stared down the barrel from less than twofeet away.From this distance it looked like a small cannon. The pistol weighed in at over four pounds, but the hand holding it didn’t waver.“Ah promise you mister,”the youth at the other end of the weapon said. “If you’ve led usall the way up here just to look at a ghost-town, I’ll blow your head off.”Jake sat as still as he could, staring into Eric Strang’s eyes. He’d noticed the madnessdancing there before, but this was the first time it had been directed at him.“I promised you a share of the gold,”Jake said, and was grateful to note that there wasn’teven a slight tremor in his voice. “And you’ll get it.”
I just hope I can make good on that.
Things didn’t look hopeful. Three weeks travelling through the tail end of one of theworst winters in memory had finally brought them to the Big Hole Valley. For the past two days