A story based on a historical event...
The west has been a lifelong interest of the author, as the den in his home gives ample evidence. A graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Gordon spent four years in the Air Force. While stationed at Greenville AFB in Mississippi, God made a huge change in his life. He has authored four books for family and friends, but "Ride, Cowboy, Ride" is his first formal publication.
The discovery of gold in California in 1848 increased the need for quicker communication between the two coasts. Trains got the mail from New York and Washington, DC to St. Joseph, Missouri okay, but slow stagecoaches then took a long southern route to California. Three investors began the Pony Express -- a series of relay riders on horseback carrying the mail non-stop the nineteen-hundred miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California in only ten days! In "Ride, Cowboy, Ride", Tad Rawlings pursues the love of a pretty seamstress amid threats and a showdown with the meanest guy in town. As the first rider on the Pony Express, Tad relied on God when encountering life-threatening situations with bandits and Indians on "the trail." Upon his return home, he found a truly surprising development.
Where do I begin? Beautiful, intimate. Great insight into history as well as life and spiritual matters. The author amazes me with his ability to spin a tale. God has certainly "gifted" the author with a talent few people have. Quite a "wordsmith". Just remarkable. A book that demands a "re-read" just for the joy of the adventure.
Tad very carefully moved up the incline to the overlook. He spotted Patch leaning against a large boulder with his rifle pointed toward the trail. Tad moved ever so quietly until he was less than thirty feet behind Patch. Tad had thought deeply about what his plan should be as he was riding cross-country to get on Patch's trail. Now the time had come to implement it.
With his feet set, and his revolver pointed right at Patch, he boomed out, "Drop that rifle, Patch, or you're a dead man." Patch nearly jumped out of his skin and his rifle clattered to the ground. A look of fear and terror was on his face as he spun and faced the long-barreled six-shooter pointed right at him.
"D-d-d-don't shoot," Patch was finally able to say.
Tad let about twenty seconds go by before speaking again. He wanted Patch to think about the entire situation that was transpiring. It seemed more like five minutes to Patch... when you're looking down the barrel of a gun, and you can even see the tips of the bullets in the rotating revolver chamber of this powerful sidearm.
"Move over to your left a good ways away from that rifle, Patch."
Patch was clearly scared, but he managed to get a weak bluff out: "I'm not movin'. You're not about to pull that trigger." With his Colt 45 at hip level Tad pulled the trigger and a lead slug slammed into the boulder just six inches from Patch's right hip. Stone chips flew from the impact, some hitting Patch's hand. He recoiled from the sting, and now clearly scared, he moved a good ways from the rifle. Tad walked over and picked up the rifle without taking his eyes off Patch. He glanced at the rifle and saw Patch's name engraved on the stock.
"Now... here's the plan Patch; you'd better listen up: "I am taking your rifle with me, and due to its added weight, will hide it somewhere along the trail... and pick it up whenever I get back this way. I will be giving it to Sheriff Johnson to keep until you can be trusted with it. Just in case anything happens to me, I will be relating exactly what you did today to the next two station masters. They will be sworn to secrecy unless something happens to me... at which time they will get in touch with the sheriff.
"Patch, I know you have had a hard upbringing and I am real sorry about that. I lost both my parents in a boulder rockslide up in Dakota Territory when I was only four-years-old. But God allowed me to be brought up by my aunt and uncle here in Tanner. To me, they are just like my mom and dad. Through no fault of your own, you don't have a mother around, and your dad thinks more of his own life than he does of yours... and hasn't given you the love and upbringing I have been so fortunate to have. However, you are an adult now and must take responsibility for your own decisions. You have not been doing well in that regard... and that needs to change. Some weeks ago I became a Christian, and God changed me from the inside out. That's what you need... but you have to make the decision. No one can do it for you.
"So... I will be willing to forget what happened today on one condition: that you make an appointment with Pastor Millard at the church. Sit down with him and ask him the question, 'What do I need to do to become a Christian?' You listen to him closely, and come back on a later date for another visit to see how you are doing. If you allow Jesus Christ to change you like he changed me, you get your rifle back. If you don't, then I will be taking this rifle with your name on it to the sheriff and telling him the entire story."
"It will just be your word against mine," Patch replied. "I can tell him you stole the rifle from me."
"Because my dad and mom have such a good reputation with the sheriff and everybody else in this part of the country... the word of a Rawlings is as good as gold against any other story. I'm a Rawlings. Who do you think the sheriff will believe?"
Patch just sort of dropped his gaze, and Tad could tell he looked very defeated.
"You've caused me to run behind on this very important job," Tad said, intentionally showing some anger, "so I've got some time to make up. Think about what I have said, Patch. Your future depends upon it." Tad looked Blitzen's way and hollered, "Blitzen... come!" Immediately his horse responded by trotting right to where Tad was still holding a gun on Patch. With his gun in his right hand, rifle under his arm, and the reins in his left, Tad walked to where Patch's pinto was standing. He let go of Blitzen's reins and took hold of the pinto's. He then turned him back toward the quarry trail, walked him forward in the direction of Tanner a few yards, hollered "Get goin'," and slapped him hard on his hind quarters. The pinto took off... and jinxed Patch's ability to go anywhere until he could catch up with his horse. Tad holstered his forty-five, tied the rifle behind the saddle and mounted Blitzen. He hollered "Good luck," to Patch, and spurred Blitzen forward to the junction just ahead where he got back on the designated Pony Express trail.
Tad couldn't see it, but Patch slumped to the ground. As he sat there, he picked up a rock and threw it. Totally defeated in life... Patch cried for the first time since he was a young boy.
The West has been a lifelong interest of the author, as evidenced by the den in his home. A graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Gordon spent four years in the air force. While stationed at Greenville AFB in Mississippi, God made a huge change in his life. He has authored four books for family and friends, but "Ride, Cowboy, Ride" is his first formal publication.