Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Making of Guns of Ponderosa -- Part II

I guess the original character I came up with for Guns of Ponderosa was Matthew Stryker. I liked the name Stryker and thought at the time that he might make a lead character in a series.

My novel in manuscript – The Snake Den – is set in Yuma. I took a trip to Yuma some years ago when I first began that novel. I went through the Hell Hole, as the Territorial Prison was called, and saw how inmates were treated and how the system worked. I also visited the historical society and go lots of background information on the town.

The main cell block at the Yuma Territorial Prison

The country outside Yuma is forbidding to say the least.

Stryker brings a dead man to Yuma. He goes to its real (at the time) county courthouse where the sheriff’s office was. He saw and talked to the real sheriff, Andy Tyner. The amount Tyner was paid for riding to pick up a jailbreaker in Tucson is on the record. I used it because it seemed to make the reward Stryker got for Crazy Bill more significant.

Small note: most of the buildings in Yuma were adobe. The Colorado River once flooded and overran the town. Most of the structures melted.

Fletcher Comstock and Matt Stryker had an adventure together as younger men, and Comstock once saved Stryker’s life. Now he wants a favor, but Stryker doesn’t want to be a town tamer. But riding from Yuma to Ponderosa in the White Mountains put him in a situation that changed his mind.

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