The Hennessey Clipper (Hennessey, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 28, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 14, 1916 Page: 3 of 12
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THE CLIPPER, HENNESSEY, OKLAHOMA
The Lone Star
A Fine Tale of the Open Country
By ZANE GREY
The time of the story: about 1P75. The
place: The Texas cow country. The chief
character: Buckley Duane. a young man
who has Inherited a lust to kill, which he
suppresses. In self-defense he shoots dead
a drunken bully and is forced to flee to
the wild country where he Joins BUind'S
outlaw band. Euchre, an amiable rascal,
tells him about Jennie, a young girl who
had been abducted and sold to Bland for a
bad fate. They determine to rescue the
*1rl and restore her to civilization. Eu-
chre Is killed. Buck kills Bland and is
dangerously wounded by Mrs. Bland, but
escapes with Jennie.
Considering all the domestic
troubles, family scandals and
love affairs that turn out badly,
one might be cynical indeed
about the power of woman's af-
fection and trust to keep a man
on the path of honor in the face
of alluring temptation. But
there comes into Buck Duane's
life a feminine influence so fine
—as depicted by the author—
that the reader of "The Lone
Star Ranger" cannot resist the
charm of it ail. If you want the
cream of romance and adven-
ture, don't miss this installment.
Buck and Jennie are sitting in the
wilderness cabin discussing their fu-
"I've been brought up In Texas. I
remember what a hard lot the men of
my family had. ISut poor as they
were, they hud a roof over their heads,
a hearth with a tire, a warm bed—
somebody to love tliem. And you,
Duane—oh, my God ! What must your
life be? You must ride and hide and
She ended with a sob and dropped
her head on her knees. Duane was
amazed, deeply touched.
"My girl, thank you for that thought
o' m«," he said, with a tremor in his
voice. "You don't know how much
that means to me."
She raised her face, and It was tenr-
etained, eloquent, beautiful.
"I've heard tell—the best of men
go to the had out there. You won't.
Promise me you won't. I never—
knew any man—like you. I—I—we
may never see each other again—after
to-day. I'll never forget you. I'll pray
for you, and I'll never give up trying
to—to do something. Don't despair.
It's never too late. It was my hope
that kept me alive—out there at
Bland's—before you came. I was only
a poor weak girl. But if I could hope
—so can you. Stay away from men.
Be a lone wolf. Fight for your life.
Stick out your exile—and maybe—
Then she lost her voice. Duane
clasped her hand and with feeling as
deep as hers promised to remember
her words. In her despair for him she
had spoken wisdom—pointed out the
Duane's vigilance, momentarily
broken by emotion, hud no sooner re-
asserted itself than he discovered the
bay horse, the one Jennie rode, had
broken his halter and gone off. The
soft wet earth had deadened the sound
of his hoofs. His tracks were plhin
In the mud.
Duane did not want to leave Jennie
alone in the cabin so near the road.
So he put her on his horse and bade
her follow. The rain had ceased for
the time being, though evidently the
storm was not yet over. The tracks
led up a wash to a wide flat where
mesquite, prickly pear, and thorn-bush
grew so thickly that Jennie could not
ride into it. He could not expect her
to sc-arable quickly through thafbrake
on foot. Therefore he decided to risk
leaving her at the edge of the thicket
and go in alone.
As he went in n sound startled him.
Was i' the breaking of a branch he
had stepped on or thrust aside? He
heard the impatient pound of his
horse's hoofs. Then till was quiet.
Still he listened, not wholly satisfied.
He was never satisfied In regard to
safety; he knew too wall that there
never could be safety fop him in this
country. Certain he was now that
some kind of danger threatened.
Suddenly there came an unmistak-
*ble thump of horses' hoofs off sotne-
jwhere to the fore. Then a scream rent
<he air. It ended abruptly. Duane
leaped forward, tore his way through
jthe thorny brake. He heard Jennie
(cry again—an appealing call quickly
Bushed. It seemed more to his right,
land he plunged that way. He burst
Into a glade where a smoldering fire
and ground covered with footprints
and tracks showed that campers had
lately been. Hushing across this, he
broke his passage out to the open.
But he was too late. His horse had
disappeared. Jennie was gone. There
■were no riders in sight. There was no
sound. There was a heavy trail of
horses going north. Jennie had been
carried off--probably iy outlaws.
Duane realized that pursuit was out
of the question—that Jennie was lost.
A hundred miles from the haunts
iuost familiar with Duane's deeds, far
tu> where the N uuciia ran a trickling
clear stream between yellow cliffs,
stood a small deserted shack of cover-
ed mesquite poles. It had been made
long ago, but was well preserved. A
door faced the overgrown trail, and
another faced down into a gorge of
dense thickets. On the border fugi-
tives from law and men who hid In
fear of someone they had wronged
never lived IQ houses with only one
It was a wild spot, lonely, not fit
for human habitation except for the
On clear days—and rare indeed were
cloudy days—with the subsiding of the
wind at sunset a hush seemed to fall
around the little hut. Far-distant dim-
blue mountains stood gold-rimmed
gradually to fade with the shading of
At this quiet hour a man climbed
up out of the gorge and sat In the
westward door of the hut. This lonely
watcher of the west and listener to the
silence was Duane. And this hut was
the one where, three years before,
Jennie had nursed him back to life.
The killing of a man named Sellers,
and the combination of circumstances
that had made the tragedy a memor-
able regret, had marked, If not n
change, at least a cessation In Duane's
activities. He had trailed Sellers to
kill him for the supposed abducting
of Jennie. Vague rumors, a few words
here and there, unauthentlcated stor-
ies were all that Duane had gathered
in years to substantiate his belief—
that Jennie died shortly after the be-
ginning of her second captivity.
Sellers might have told him. Duune
expected, if not to force It from him
at the end, to read it in his eyes. But
the bullet went too unerringly; It
locked his lips and fixed his eyes.
After that meeting Duane lay long
at the ranch-house of a friend, and
when he recovered from the wound
Sellers had given him he started with
two horses and a pack for the lonely
gorge on the Nueces. There he had
been hidden for months, a prey to re-
morse, a dreamer, a victim of
It took work for him to find sub-
sistence in that rocky fastness. And
work, action, helped to pass the hours.
But he could not work all the time,
even if he had found it to do. Then
In his idle moments and at night his
task was to live with the hell in his
The sunset and the twilight hour
made all the rest bearable. The little
hut on the rim of the gorge seemed to
hold Jennie's presence. It was not
as If he felt her spirit. If It had been
he would have been sure of her death.
He hoped Jennie had not survived her
second misfortune; and that Intense
hope had burned into belief, if not
A strange feature of this memory
of Jennie was the freshness of it—the
failure of years, toil, strife, death-
dealing to dim it—to deaden the
thought of what might have been. He
had a marvelous gift of visualization.
He could shut his eyes and see Jennie
before him just as clearly as if she
had stood there In the flesh. For
For Hours He Did That, Dreaming.
hours be did that, dreaming, dreaming
of life ne nad never tasted and now
never would taste. He thought of her
beauty and sweetness, of the few
things which had come to mean to
him that she must have loved him;
and he trained himself to think ?
these in preference to her life at
Bland's, the escape with him, and
then her recapture, because such mem-
ories led to bitter, fruitless pain. He
had to fight suffering because it was
eating out his heart.
Sitting there, eyes wide open, he
dreamed of the old homestead and his
white-haired mother. He saw the old
home-life, sweetened and filled by dear
new facer ana added Joys, go on be-
fore his eyes with him a part of It.
Then in the Inevitable reaction, In
the reflux of bitter reallti. he would
send out a voiceless cry no less
poignant because It was silent:
"Poor fool! No, I shall never see
mother again—never go home—never
have a home. I am I Ijjuue, the Lone
A group of specters trooped out of
the shadows of dusk and, gathering
round him. escorted him to his bed.
Every one of his victims, singly and
collectively, returned to him for ever,
it seemed, in cold, passionless, accus-
ing domination. They did not accuse
him of dishonor or cowardice or brutal-
ity or murder; they only accused him
of death. It was as If they knew more
than when they were alive, hud learn-
ed that life was a divine mysterious
gift not to be taken. They thronged
about him with their voiceless clamor-
ing. drifted around him with their
After nearly six months In the
Nueces gorge the loneliness and Inac-
tion of bis life drove Duane out upon
the trails seeking anything rather
than to hide longer alone, a prey to
the scourge of his thoughts. The mo-
ment he rode Into sight of men a re-
markable transformation occurred In
him. A strange warmth stirred in him
I —a longing to see the faces of people,
to hear their voices—a pleasurable
| emotion sad nnd strange. But it was
only a precursor of Ills old bitter,
sleepless, and eternal vigilance.
Mercer was the first village he rode
| into. He hud many friends there.
Mercer claimed to owe Duane a debt.
On the outskirts of the village there
was a grave overgrown by brush so
that the rude-lettered post which
marked It was scarcely visible to
Duane as he rode by. He had never
read the inscription. But he thought
now of Hardin. For many years Hard-
in had harassed the stockmen and
ranchers in and around Mercer. On
an evil day for him he or his outlaws
had beaten and robbed n man who
once succored Duane when sore in
need. Duane met Hardin in the little
plaza of the village, called him every
name known to border men, taunted
him to draw, and killed him in th^ act.
Duane went to the house of one
Jones, a Texan who had known his
father, and there he was warmly re-
ceived. The feel of an honest hand,
the voice of a friend, the prattle of
children who were not afraid of him
or his gun, good wholesome food, and
change of clothes—these things for
the time being made a changed man
of Duane. To be sure, he did not often
speak. The price of his head and the
weight of his burden made him silent.
But eagerly he drank In all the news
that was told him. In the years of his
absence from home he had never heard
a word about his mother or uncle.
Those who were his real friends on
the border would have been the last
to, make inquiries, to write or receive
letters that might give a clue to
Duane remained all day with this
hospitable Jones, and as twilight fell
was loath to go and yielded to a press-
ing invitation to remain overnight. It
was seldom indeed that Duane slept
under a roof. Early In the evening,
while Duane sat on the porch with two
awed and hero-worshiping sons of the
house, Jones returned from n quick
visit down to the postofflce. Summar-
ily he sent the boys off. He labored
under intense excitement.
"Duane, there's rangers in town," he
whispered. "It's ail over town, too,
| that you're here. You rode in long
after sunup. Lots of people saw you. I
don't believe there's a man or boy that
'd squeal on you. But the women
might. They gossip, and these rangers
are handsome fellows—devils with the
"What company of rangers?" asked
"Company A, under Captain Mac-
Nelly, that new ranger. He made a
big name in the war. And since he's
been in the range service he's done
wonders. He's cleaned up some bad
places south, and he's working north."
"MacNelly. I've heard of him. De-
scribe him to me."
"Slight-built chap, but wiry and
tough. Clean face, black mustache and
hair. Sharp black eyes. He's got a
look of authority. MacNelly's a tine
man, Duane. Belongs to a good
Southern family. I'd hate to have him
look you up."
Duane did not speak.
"MacNelly's got nerve, and his rang-
ers are all experienced men. If they
find out you're here they'll come after
you. MacNelly's no gun-fighter, but
he wouldn't hesitate to do his duty,
even if he faced sure death. Which
he would In this case. Duane, you
mustn't, meet Captain MacNelly. Your
recoro is clean, if it is terrible. You
never met a ranger or any officer ex-
cept a rotten sheriff now and then,
like Rod Brown."
Still Duane kept silence. He was
not thinking of danger, but of the fact
of how fleeting must be his slay
"I've already fixed up a pack of
grub," went on Jones. "I'll slip out
to saddle your horse. You watch here."
He had scarcely uttered the last
words when soft, swift footsteps
sounded on the hard path. A man
turned In the gate. The light was
ditu. vet clear enough to disclose an
unusually tall figure. When It ap-
peared nearer he was seen to be walk-
ing with both arms raised, hands high.
He slowed his stride.
"Does Burt Jones live here?" he
asked, in a low, hurried voice.
"I reckon. I'm Burt. What can I
do for you?" replied Jones.
The stranger peered around, stealth-
ily came closer, still with his hands up.
"It Is known that IHick Duane Is
here. Captain MucNelly's camping on
the river Just out of town. He sends
word to Duaue to eome out there after
The stranger wheeled nnd departed
as swiftly and strangely us he had
"Iiust me! Duane, whatever do you
make of that?" exclaimed Jones.
"A new one 011 me," replied Duane,
"First fool thing I ever heard of
MacNelly doing. Can't mulce head nor
tails of it. I'd have said off-hand
that MacNelly wouldn't double-cross
anybody, lie struck me 11 square man,
sand all through. But hell! he must
mean treachery. I can't see anything
else In that deal."
"Maybe the Captnln wants to give
me a fair chance to surrender without
bloodshed," observed Dunne. "Pretty
decent of him, it he meant that."
"He Invites you to come to his camp
after dark. Something strange about
Ibis, Duane. But MacNelly's a new
man out here. He does some queer
things. Perhaps he's getting a swelled
head. Well, whatever his Intentions,
his presence around Mercer is enough
for us. Duane, you hit the road nnd
put some miles between you and the
amiable Captain before daylight. To-
morrow I'll go out there and ask him
what In the devil he meant."
"That messenger he sent—he was a
ranger," said Duane.
"Sure he was, and a nervy one! It
must have taken sand to come bracing
you that way. Duane, the fellow
didn't pack a gun. I'll swear to that.
Pretty odd, this trick. But you can't
trust it. Hit the road, Duane."
A little later a black horse with
muffled hoofs, bearing a tall dark rider
who peered keenly Into every shadow,
trotted down a pasture lane back of
Jones' house, turned Into the road,
and then, breaking into swifter gait,
rapidly left Mercer behind.
Next morning Duane was off again,
working south. During the next few
days he paid brief visits to several
villages that lay In his path. And in
each some particular friend had a
piece of news to impart that made
Duane profoundly thoughtful. A
ranger had made a quiet, unobtrusive
call upon these friends and left this
message, "Tell Buck Duane to ride
Into Captain MacNelly's caipp some
time after night."
Duane concluded, and Ills friends all
agreed with him, that the new ranger's
main purpose in the Nueces country
was to capture or kill Buck Duane,
and that this message was simply an
original and striking ruse, the daring
of which might appeal to certain out-
But it did not appeal to Duane. His
curiosity was aroused; it did not, how-
ever. tempt him to any foolhardy act.
He turned southwest and rode a hun-
dred miles until he again reached the
sparsely settled country. Here he
heard 110 more of rangers.
He got Into rough country, rode for
three days without covering much
ground, but believed that he was get-
ting 011 safer territory. Twice he came
to a wide bottom-land green with wil-
low and cottonwood and thick as
chaparral, somewhere through the
middle of which ran a river he d&-
cided must be the lower Nueces.
One evening us he stole out from
a covert where he had cumped, he saw
the lights of a village. He tried to
puss it on the left, but us he mounted
a ridge he noted that the road made a
sharp turn, and he could not see what
was beyond it. He slowed up and
was making the turn, which was down-
hill between high banks of yellow
clay, when his mettlesome horse heard
something to frighten him or shied at
something and bolted.
The few bounds lie took before
Duane's Iron arm checked him were
enough to reach the curve. One
flashing glance showed Duane the open
once more, a little valley below with a
wide, shallow, rocky stream, a clump
of cottonwoods beyond, a somber
group of men facing him, and two
dark, limp strangely grotesque figures
hnnging from branches.
The sight was common enough in
southwest Texas, but Duane hud never
before found himself so unpleasantly
A hoarse voice pealed out: "By hell!
there's another one!"
"Stranger, ride down an' account fer
yourself!" yelled another,
"Thet's right. Jack; don't take no
chances. Plug him I"
These remarks were so swiftly ut-
tered as almost to be continuous,
Duane was wheeling his horse when a
rifle cracked. The bullet struck his
left forearm and he thought broke it,
for he dropped the relu. The frighten-
ed horse leaped. Another bullet
j whistled past Duane. Then the bend
In the road saved him probably from
certain death. Like the wind his fleet
steed went down the long bill.
Dunne was In 110 hurry to look back.
He knew what to expect, llis chief
j concern of the moment wivs for his
! injured arm. lie found that the bones
j were still Intact; but the wound, hav-
I ing been made by u soft bullet, was an
exceedingly bad one. lilood poured
from It. Giving the horse his head,
Duaiie wound his scarf tightly round
the holes, and with teeth and hand
tied it tightly. That done, he looked
] buck over Ills shoulder.
Riders were making the dust fly on
the hillside rond. There were more
coming round the cut where the road
curved. Duane needed only one glance
to tell him that they were fust nnd
hard-rtdlng cowboys In a land where
all riders are good. They would not
have owned any but strong, swift
horses. Moreover, It was a district
| where ranchers had suffered beyond
! all endurance the greed and brutality
of outlaws. Duane had simply been so
j unfortunate as to run right into u
I lynching purty ut a time of nil times
when any stranger would be in danger
nnd any outlaw put to his limit td
escape with his life.
Duane did not look back uguin till
he had crossed the ridgy piece of
ground and had gotten to the level
road. lie hud gained upon his pur-
suers. When he ascertained this he
tried to save his horse, to check a little
thut killing gait. Tills horse was u
magnificent animal, big, strong, fast;
but his endurance had never been put
to a grueling test. And that worried
Duane. His life had made It Im-
possible to keep one horse very long
at a time, aud tills one was an un-
Duane had only one plan—the only
plan possible In this case—aud that
was to make the river-bottoms, where
he might elude his pursuers In the
willow brakes. Fifteen miles or so
would bring him to the river, and tills
was not a hopeless distance for any
good horse If not too closely pressed.
He began to hope and look for a trail
or a road turning off to right or left.
There was none. A rough, rnesquite-
dotted and yueca-sptred country ex-
tended away on either side. Duane
believed that he would be compelled to
tuke to this hurd going. One thing
wns certain—he hud to go round the
village. The river, however, was on
the outskirts of the village; and once
In the willows, he would be safe.
Dust-clouds fur aheud caused his
alarm to grow. He watched with his
eyes strained; he hoped to see a
wagon, a few stray cnttle. But no,
he soon descried several horsemen.
Shots nnd yells behind him attested
to the fact that his pursuers likewise
had seen these newcomers on the scene.
More than a mile separated these two
parties, yet that distance did not keep
them from soon understanding each
other. Dunne waited only to see this
new factor show signs of sudden quick
nctlon, and then, with a muttered
curse, he spurred his horse off the
road into the brush.
He chose the right side, because the
river lay nearer that way and put his
horse to his best efforts, straight
ahead. He had to pass those men.
When this was seemingly made Im-
possible by a deep wash from which
he had to turn, Duane began to feel
cold and sick. Almost he lost his hear-
ings, and finally would have ridden
toward his enemies had not good
fortune favored him in the matter of
an open burned-over stretch of
Here he saw both groups of pur-
suers, one on each side and almost
within gunshot. Their sharp yells, ns
much as his cruel spurs, drove his
horse into that puce which novf meant
life or death for him. Aud never had
Duane bestrode a gamer, swifter,
stancher beast. He seemed about to
accomplish the Impossible. Ill the
dragging sand he was far superior to
any horse in pursuit, and on this sandy
open stretch he gained enough to spare
a little in the brush beyond. Heated
now aud thoroughly terrorized, he kept
the pace through thickets that almost
tore Duune from his suddle. Some-
thing weighty and grim eased off
Duane. He was going to get out in
front! The horse hud speed, fire,
A race began then, a dusty, crashing
drive through gray mesquite. Duane
could scarcely see, he was so blinded
by stinging branches across his eyes.
The hollow wind roared in his ears.
He lost his sense of the nearness of
his pursuers. But they must have
been close. Did they shoot at him? He
imagined he heard shots. But that
might huve been the cracking of deud
snugs. His left arm hung limp, al-
most useless; he handled the rein
with his right; und most of the time
he hung low over the pommel.
Suddenly he burst out of a line of
mesquite into the road. A long stretch
of lonely road! How fiercely, with
hot, strange Joy, he wheeled his horse
upon it! Then he was sweeping along,
sure now thut he was out in front.
His horse still had strength and speed,
but showed signs of breaking. Pre-
sently Duane looked back. Pursuers—
ha could not ivuut how muuj—were
loping along la Ma rw. lie paid Ml
more attention to them, and with teeth
set he faced ahead, grimmer now in
Ills determination to foil them.
Sight of the village ahead surprised
Duane. He reached it sooner than he
expected. Then he made a discovery—
he had entered the zone of wire fences.
As he dared not turn back now, he
kept on, Intending to ride through the
village. Looking backward, he saw
that his pursuers were half a mile
distant, too far to alarm any villagers
In time to intercept him in his flight.
As lie rode by the first houses his
horse broke and began to labor.
Duane did not believe he would last
long enough to go through the village.
Saddled horses In front of a store
gave Dunne an Idea, not by any menus
new, nnd one he had carried out suc-
cessfully before. As he pulled in his
heaving mount and leaped off, a couple
of ranchers came out of the place, and
one of them stepped to a clean-limbed,
The Sight Was Common Enough.
fiery bay. He was about to get into
ills saddle when he saw Duune, und
then he halted, a foot In the stirrup.
Dunne strode forward, grasped the
bridle of this man's horse.
"Mine's done—but not killed," he
panted. "Trade with me."
"Wal, stranger, I'm shore always
ready to trade," drawled the man.
"But ain't you a little swift?"
Duaue glunced back up the road.
His pursuers were entering the village.
"I'm Duane—Buck Dunne," he cried,
menacingly. "Will you trade? Ilurry !"
The rancher, turned white, dropped
his foot from the stirrup und fell buck.
"I reckon I'll trade," he said.
Bounding up, Duaue dug spurs Into
the buy's flunks. The horse snorted
in fright, plunged into a run. He wns
fresh, swift, half wild. Duune flashed
by the remaining houses on the street
out into the open. But the roud ended
at that village or else led out from
some other quurter, for he had ridden
straight Into the fields nnd from them
into rough desert. When he reached
the cover of mesquite once more lie
looked back to find six horsemen with-
in rifle shot of him, und more comiug
His new horse had not had tlms
get warm before Duane reached a high
sandy bluff below which lay the willow
brakes. As fur ns he could see extend-
ed an immense flat strip or red-tinged
willow. How welcome it was to his
eye! He felt like a hunted wolf that,
xveury and lame, had reuched Ills hole
in the rocks. ZIgzugging down the
soft slope, he put the buy to the dense
wall of leaf aud orunch. But the
There was litle time to lose. Dis-
mounting he dragged the stubborn
beast Into the thicket. This was
harder and slower work than Duane
cared to risk. If he had not been rush-
ed he might have had better success.
So he had to abandon the horse—a
circumstance that only such sore
straits could have driven him to. Then
he went slipping swiftly through the
He had not got under cover any
too soon. For he henrd Ills pursuers
piling over the bluff, loud-voiced, con-
fident, brutal. They crashed into the
"Hi, Sid! Ileah's your hoss !" called
one, evidently to the man Duane had
forced into a trade.
"Say, if you locoed gents 'II hold up
a little I'll tell you somethln'," replied
a voice from the bluff.
"Come on, Sid! We've got him
corralled," said the first spenker.
"Wal, mebbe, an' if you hev It's lia-
ble to be damn hot. Thet feller was
Absolute silence followed that state-
ment. Presently it was broken by a
rattling of loose gravel und then low
"He can't git acrost the river, I tell
you," came to Dunne's ears. "He's
corralled In the brake. I know thet
Then Duane, gliding silently and
swiftly through the willows, heard no
more from his pursuers. He headed
straight for the river. Threading a
passage through a willow brake was
nn old task for him. Many dnys and
nights had gone to the acquiring of a
skill that might have been envied by
Do you believe that Captain
McNelly is trying to lure Duane
to his camp at night time In or-
der to shoot him from ambush?
(TO NU CU.NTiNUii.iU
Here’s what’s next.
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The Hennessey Clipper (Hennessey, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 28, Ed. 1 Thursday, December 14, 1916, newspaper, December 14, 1916; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc106055/m1/3/: accessed September 16, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.