The Greatest Western Writer Of The 21st Century
Frontier Justice Runs in the Family
Falcon MacCallister couldn’t duck his father’s legacy as a shootist in the Wild West—and he’s never tried to. A man who lives between two worlds, Falcon has a reputation of his own—and it’s about to plunge him into a different kind of war.
On a stagecoach in southern Arizona, Falcon is ambushed. But the only people who die are the shotgun guard and a beautiful young Indian woman returning from school in the East. While Falcon has a choice to walk away, a violent conflict is erupting among the natives. The dead woman was the daughter of a powerful chief with links to Geronimo and Cochise—and a tinderbox has been ignited. Falcon knows that the innocent will die with the guilty if the murderers aren’t caught soon. And in a land where nothing is quite what it seems, Falcon MacCallister is the one man who has the courage, the gun, and the bloodline to bring justice to a wounded and violent land...Chapter One
Falcon MacCallister stood on the depot platform at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Behind him, the train popped and snapped as the bearings and gearboxes cooled. The relief valve vented steam in puffs that made it sound as if the mighty engine was trying to recover its breath after a difficult run.
Standing slightly over six feet tall, Falcon had shoulders so wide and muscular, and a waist so flat and thin, that his suits had to be custom-made for him. His eyes were pale blue, staring out from a chiseled face. He had wheat-colored hair, which he wore short and neat under a black hat decorated with a turquoise-encrusted silver band. Right now he was wearing a black suit with a crisp white shirt and a black string tie.
He had come to Glenwood Springs because an old friend was here. Walking across the depot platform, he threw his grip in the back of a hack.
“The Glenwood Springs Hotel,” he said.
The driver snapped the reins over his horse and the Light Brett carriage pulled away.
“You moving to our fair city, or are you just here for a visit?” the driver asked over the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves.
“Ah. And will you be taking our waters? The sulphur springs are good for what ails you.”
“Well, you certainly picked a good time to visit us. We are having a beautiful spring,” the driver said. Realizing then that his passenger wasn’t much of a talker, the driver stopped trying to make conversation, and concentrated on his driving.
The Hotel Glenwood sat in such a way as to allow its front door to open onto the corner of Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue. It was a large, imposing edifice that could compete with just about any hotel Falcon had ever seen, including those in New York. It was three stories high, with dormer windows in the roof that made the attic usable as well. A roofed balcony wrapped around the second floor, providing an arched roof for the ground-level porch.
Falcon paid the fare, then stepped into the hotel. The lobby was large, with overstuffed sofas and chairs, highly polished brass spittoons, and a few potted plants. The carpet was light brown, decorated with a pattern of roses.
“Yes, sir,” the clerk behind the desk said brightly. “Come to take the waters?”
“No. I need a room.”
The clerk turned the registration book toward him, and Falcon signed in.
By the time Falcon finished signing, the clerk was
holding a room key. “Very good, sir, you’ll be in Room
307, Mister. . . .” He looked at the registration; then his
eyes grew wide and he swallowed. “MacCallister? You are
“Oh, uh, Mr. MacCallister, I beg your pardon,” he said.
Turning, he hung the key back up on the board, then
got another one. “Three-oh-seven would not be an appropriate
room for you. I’m sure you will find this one
much more to your liking. It is three-oh-one, it’s our corner
room, and as you’ll see when you go up there, it has
cupola windows, which will provide you with an excellent
view of our fair city.”
“Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes. I believe John Henry Holliday is staying in this
“Doctor . . .” The hotel clerk gasped. “Good Lord, sir,
do you mean Doc Holliday?”
“Well, yes, yes, as a matter of fact he is a guest in our
hotel. He is here in Glenwood Springs, taking the cure
for his tuberculosis.”
The clerk smiled. “He is in three-oh-three, which, as it
turns out, is right next to your own room. But you won’t
find him there now. He is down at the springs. He generally
returns to the hotel around suppertime, though.”
Falcon went to his room. His name often elicited the
kind of response he got from the hotel clerk. There were
those who said that he was one of the most accomplished
men with a six-gun to ever roam the West. Stories about
him were told and retold until they reached legendary
proportions, and Falcon MacCallister seemed larger
But the truth was, and Falcon understood and accepted
this . . . many of the stories told about him had actually
happened to his father, Jamie Ian MacCallister.
From the War for Texas Independence to the Colorado
Rockies, to the goldfields of California, to the battlefields
of the Civil War, Jamie MacCallister had made a name for
himself, raised a family, and amassed a fortune. If some of
Jamie’s exploits were confused with some of Falcon’s, it was
understandable. On the other hand, Falcon’s own exploits
had put his name in the history books, alongside that of
his storied father.
The corner of Falcon’s hotel room was circular and surrounded
by bay windows that, as the clerk had promised,
afforded excellent views of both streets. A settee and an
easy chair converted the corner into a sitting area. Falcon
stepped up to the windows and looked out over the town,
and into the mountains beyond. He recalled his first meeting
with Doc Holliday.
After Falcon’s wife, Mary, was killed by renegade Indians,
Falcon started moving. He had no particular place to go, and
nothing he had to do when he got there. But somehow moving
around seemed to help him get over the pain of his loss.
He found himself in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during
one such sojourn, and as he stood at the bar in the Oriental
Café, two star-packers stepped up beside him. One of the deputies
was very short, but with a prominent belly rise. The other, who
was younger, was reed-thin and gawky.
“Mister, Your name wouldn’t be Falcon MacCallister now,
would it?” the short, fat one asked.
“You’re under arrest.”
“For murder, or so the wanted posters say.”
“Deputy, if you’ve got paper on me, it’s no good,” Falcon said.
“All the dodgers have been recalled.”
“I don’t remember no recall notice,” the short one said, his
hand moving toward his pistol. “I’m Deputy Stillwell, and I’m
puttin’ you under arrest.”
“I told you, the papers have been recalled. Check with the
Stillwell shook his head. “Can’t do that,” he said. “Seein’ as how
Sheriff Behan’s outta town, why, that makes me’n Jimmy here in
By now the confrontation between Falcon and the deputies
had caught the attention of everyone in the saloon, and all other
conversation came to a halt. Over in the corner, Falcon saw a
well-dressed man sitting by himself. He had a deck of cards
spread out in front of him, and was playing solitaire. He continued
to play, but it was clear that he was monitoring everything
that was going on.
“All right, if you insist, I’ll go to the sheriff’s office with you,
and find the recall notices,” Falcon said.
“We ain’t goin’ nowhere till your hands is up and your holsters
is empty,” Stillwell said, starting for his gun.
As quick as thought, Falcon drew both guns. He had them
cocked and aimed before either of the deputies could clear leather.
The two deputies slowly raised their hands, their eyes wide
with naked fear.
“What . . . what’re you goin’ to do with us, mister?” the one
named Jimmy asked.
Falcon let out a long sigh. “Well, I’ll be damned if I know,”
he said. “I just came into town for a drink, meal, and bath. I
guess we can go on over to the jail, like we were going to, and
I’ll prove to you that I’m not a wanted man.”
At that moment, Falcon noticed that the man in the dark
suit, the one who had been playing cards, got up from his corner
table and approached them.
“Good afternoon, Mr. MacCallister. My name’s John Henry
“Holliday?” Falcon asked. Then something about the man
matched a description he had heard once. “Would you be Doc
“That’s what they call me,” Doc Holliday replied.
Falcon had heard of Doc Holliday, and he wondered why he
was stepping in to take a hand in the situation.
“Perhaps I can be of some assistance here,” Doc said, answering
Falcon’s unasked question. He nodded toward the two deputies. “These two misguided gentlemen lack the intelligence
of a cow turd. But I’m sure they thought they were just doing
Falcon nodded. “As slow as they are, maybe they should start
thinking about some other form of employment.”
Doc chuckled. “I imagine that thought is going through their little pea-sized minds right now.”
Doc turned toward Deputy Stillwell. “Suppose I take Mr. MacCallister over to the city marshal’s office and have Wyatt check him out. Would that satisfy you boys?”
Both nodded their heads. “Yes, sir, Doc,” Stillwell answered.
Doc glanced back toward Falcon.
“That all right with you?”
“Sure, fine, just so I get something to eat before much longer.” Falcon holstered his pistols, but so quickly had he drawn them that Stillwell and Jimmy knew they were in as much danger from him now as they had been when he had the guns in his hands. They kept their hands up.
Oh, for cryin’ out loud, will you two idiots put your hands down?” Doc said to them. Then, turning back to Falcon, he said, “It is all right for them to put their hands down, isn’t it?”
“Yes, of course,” Falcon replied.
With a sigh of relief, both Stillwell and Jimmy lowered their hands.
“I tell you what, Mr. MacCallister,” Doc began.
“Falcon,” Falcon corrected.
“All right, Falcon it is. Right after we see Wyatt and get this
straightened out, we’ll go to Campbell and Hatch’s saloon.
They’ve got the best food, and what’s more important, the best
whiskey in town.”
Falcon’s reverie was interrupted by the sudden outbreak
of a deep hacking cough, coming from the hall
just outside his room. Falcon moved to his door and
opened it, just as Doc Holliday was using the key to his
“Damn. I’m going to have to write a letter to the governor,”
Falcon said. “It appears that they will let just anyone
into the state now.”