Authors: Michael McGarrity
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Genre Fiction, #Family Saga, #Historical, #Westerns, #United States, #Sagas, #Historical Fiction
|Penguin Group (2012)|
After his wife dies in childbirth and his brother is killed on the West Texas plains, John Kerney must give up his ranch and go hunt for the killers—and a place where he and his newborn son can start over. Along the way, he’s offered work on a cattle drive heading to New Mexico Territory that changes everything. A plain-spoken novel that will appeal to readers interested in historical fiction and fiction about the American West.
ALSO BY MICHAEL MCGARRITY
The Judas Judge
Under the Color of the Law
The Big Gamble
Nothing But Trouble
Dead or Alive
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First printing, May 2012
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Copyright © 2012 by Michael McGarrity
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Hard country: a novel / Michael McGarrity.
1. Western stories. I. Title.
Printed in the United States of America
Set in ITC New Baskerville Std.
Designed by Leonard Telesca
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously; and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Table of Contents
ary Alice Kerney spent the late afternoon hours of a dry September day cleaning the one-room cabin her husband, John, had built upon their arrival in West Texas. They had settled on the land soon after the U.S. Army had defeated the Indians in the Red River War and the buffalo herds that once roamed the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation had been mostly wiped out.
It wasn’t much of a place: half cabin, half dugout, with a low ceiling, a sod roof, a hard-packed dirt floor, and no windows—just slat openings on both sides of the door wide enough to aim a long gun through. The only sunshine that penetrated the cabin came when the door was open during warm daylight hours. Even then, without the kerosene lamp lit and a fire going in the fireplace, the light inside was always dim. It felt more like a dungeon than a home.
Keeping it clean took hours out of her day. Dust from the packed-earth floor, wind-blown sand from the West Texas plains, dirt that seeped down from the sod roof, and fireplace soot coated every crack and cranny. She dusted constantly; otherwise an inch of grit covered everything within hours. She hated the dirt, the dust, and the never-ending wind.
She had little furniture in the cabin. A rough plank table with four stools sat in front of the squat stone fireplace. Opposite the fireplace against the sloped wall stood a sturdy cupboard traded to her husband by a family traveling west. It protected her foodstuffs from the mice and rats that found their way inside the cabin no matter how many tiny holes in the walls she plugged with mud. That cupboard was one of the few things in her life that made her work easier, and she was grateful to have it.