Monday, July 29, 2013

A Western in 30 working days--Eight

Dapper at the age of 19 or so
I was once a young and dapper man. But the years have added wrinkles and splotches and several feet around the waist. But still, it is good to have a challenge.

The eighth day of the Write a Western in 30 Working Days marathon is almost finished. So close, in fact, that I have decided to go ahead and do this blog entry.

A new character came upon the scene as Stryker was eating breakfast. But what happens when he meets Dodge Miller, wounded husband of poor Molly?

Let's see.

After a long minute, Miller said, “Lige Carpenter? Lige Carpenter from Higgins Bottom?”

“The same.”

“I heard you went wild,” Miller said. “Before we come west, I heard you rode with James Danby’s boys.”

“I did, but I quit. Them Dents what got my cousin Molly, they was once with Danby, too. Well, at least Lester and the two older boys was.”

“You know them bastards!”

Stryker stood to one side, interested in seeing what Dodge Miller made of Lige Carpenter.

“Not that I’m proud to say it,” Carpenter said. “Don’t like to admit it at all. To anyone but you, I’d say I didn’t know no Dents.”

“So wha’choo doing here?” Miller’s brows remained knitted in puzzlement.

“I’m here to go with Matt Stryker to get Molly back for you. If he’ll let me, that is. You can’t. Not right now. Molly deserves kin to get her away from them Dents.” Carpenter stuck out a hand. “Dodge. I figure you’re kin, too.”

In Westerns, you'll find that families mean a lot. How many Sackett novels did Louis L'Amour write? A bunch. And if you've taken the time to read my Pitchfork Justice book, you'd know how older brother Garet Havelock comes to help his younger brother Ness. At the end of Chapter 30:

"Wilson did it," Gatlin said from the door. "He likes to hurt people. Makes him feel good."
"I'd better get word to Garet Havelock," Hubbell said. "With people thinking Ness killed Prince and Cruger, all hell's liable to break loose."

Then, in Chapter 31:

"What's this about you killing Roland Prince," Garet demanded. He'd rode too long as a lawman to let serious things like murder slide. So I told my story again.

"Hubbell, you want to deputize me? I'd stand against those rowdies," Garet said. And he would, too. He'd stopped a mob of miners cold in Vulture City when he was marshal there.
"I'll stand, too, Sheriff," Sid Lyle said from where he stood outside the door. "And I got four good men. Ain't nobody gonna take Ness Havelock outta that cell while we're here."
I grinned at Sid as he walked in. "For a man who took a shot at me, you're all-fired loyal, Sid."
He grinned back. "Mistake," he said.
"All right," Hubbell said. "Garet. Lyle. Raise your right hands."

And on, until Garet and the men who stand with him are able to keep the mob from lynching Ness. Now, we have family coming together to rescue Molly Miller, if there's anything left of her body and mind to rescue when the time comes.

Miller reached for Carpenter’s hand. “Dear God, it feels good to have kin.” His eyes glittered with unshed tears.

Carpenter clapped his left hand over his handshake with Miller. “Dodge, Matt Stryker’s about the best man you could have going after your Molly. And I’ll be right with him. All the way, I’ll be there.”

“I thank you, Lige. I truly do.” He swiped at his eyes with the heels of his hands. “And you, Matt, what takes you out after my Molly?”

“Men like the Dents don’t deserve to run wild, Dodge. I’ll bring them in, like I said, and if they won’t come, I’ll bring them in anyway. Belly down, if that’s how it’s got to be.”

Keeping his grip on Lige Carpenter’s hand, Miller stretched his other one toward Stryker. “I’d have your hand on that,” he said.

Stryker gripped Miller’s hand.

“Kin and good friends. Sometimes that’s all that gets a man through,” he said.

Word Count: 12,224


  1. Funny you should mention the importance of family in westerns. I was working out a plot plan this morning (thanks to Nik Morton and you for both inspiring me) and included it strongly under theme, character, dramatic high points, additional conflict, what the character wants and final conflict. I think it's fair to say that family is very important in my story based on that, although as always, nothing will be straightforward for my poor old characters. :D

  2. True. Nothing is ever straightforward, and sometimes family (relatives) can be the death of you.