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Chancy

Cover of Chancy

Chancy

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He was an orphan from the hills of Tennessee and he hadn't eaten in three days. With the front of his stomach making friends with the back, he was in no position to let an opportunity slip by unnoticed. And when Chancy defended his new herd of cattle with a shotgun, he didn't miss. The dead man left a pistol on the ground. Chancy needed a spare and, after stowing it in his bedroll, forgot about it. He had a cattle drive to finish and a profit to make.

But the gun had a history. Another killing had taken place and Chancy would never know the truth until it was too late. Now, locked in a jail cell with an angry, drunken mob outside and time running out, he must somehow find a way to prove his innocence.

From the Paperback edition.

He was an orphan from the hills of Tennessee and he hadn't eaten in three days. With the front of his stomach making friends with the back, he was in no position to let an opportunity slip by unnoticed. And when Chancy defended his new herd of cattle with a shotgun, he didn't miss. The dead man left a pistol on the ground. Chancy needed a spare and, after stowing it in his bedroll, forgot about it. He had a cattle drive to finish and a profit to make.

But the gun had a history. Another killing had taken place and Chancy would never know the truth until it was too late. Now, locked in a jail cell with an angry, drunken mob outside and time running out, he must somehow find a way to prove his innocence.

From the Paperback edition.

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  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    880
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you


Excerpts-
  • Chapter One When I rode out of the timber I fell in with a cow outfit, and a sorry lot of rawhiders they were.
    They had a fire going and coffee on, and the smell of the coffee and of bacon frying fairly set my stomach to asking questions of my face. I'd come a far piece with nothing to chew on but my thoughts.

    When I came up to the fire not one of them upped to say aye, yes, or no. They just sat there looking beat. This was a played-out hand if ever I saw one.

    "Howdy," I said. "You folks taking on any help?"

    There was a thin, stooped-down man, with every bone showing through his thin cotton shirt, who looked around at me. If that man's cattle were as poor as he was, there'd not be fat enough on any one of them to grease a skillet.

    "Was I to hire you, I couldn't pay. We're fresh out of everything a man needs most."

    Well, I could have fetched him some ideas on that score, because I'd already seen the girl who stood with her back against the chuck wagon.

    "Where you driving the herd?"

    "We ain't. Not no more. We were headed for a valley out yonder where the grass stands high. Now it looks like we ain't a-goin' anywhere at all."

    "What happened?"

    "Sheriff in this town lays claim to a bunch of our cattle. Swears they're local brands."

    "Ain't the cattle yours?"

    "Rightly they are, but there's a point of question and the sheriff knows it. Cattle have been running on Texas grass since Spanish days, with nobody laying claim to hide nor hair of them. Folks branded a few of them, but the War between the States cut that short, so they just ran free and bred free. We made a gather of them, and started north.

    "We had a few brands among them. Men died during the war, and then in the Injun fightin' an' such. These brands we have nobody laid claim to, and we honestly tried to run them all down. Now this man claims they're local cattle that drifted south."

    "All the way to Texas?" I said. "Swimming those rivers and all? It ain't likely. Away out west it might happen, but there's too much good grass around here for cows to leave it. He's running a bluff on you."

    "You et, son? I got no kind of job for you, but no man ever walked away from Noah Gates's fire without he'd et if he was a mind to."

    All I owned was on my back or on my horse. That excepts a lay of ridge-country land back in Tennessee, and the offer of that meal sounded fresh and likely to me. So I out with my skinning knife and edged up to the fire, helping myself to beef and beans.

    Nobody had much to say as they moved to the fire to partake. It looked to me as if this outfit was fresh out of hope and gumption, as well as other things. They were oldish men, most of them with families at home, likely, and wondering what their womenfolks would do if they didn't come back.
    They weren't the frontier type of man. These were the second string, and good men often enough, but hard work and bad crops or bad luck had probably wiped out their efforts, and had taken away a good deal of their will to fight back.

    Only a few weeks before I'd left the faraway hills of Tennessee to make myself a place in the world, and when I finally taken off there was nothing left in the cabin but a chunk of side meat off a razor-back hog and some fresh ground meal. I taken that grub and rattled my hocks out of there.
    When I rode up to this cow outfit I was three days without eating except for some hazelnuts I'd found, but the longer I sat there listening to their talk the more it seemed to me that this sheriff, as he called himself, was running a blazer on Gates and his outfit. The worst of it was, he looked likely to make it stick. Now, I was just a...

About the Author-
  • Louis L'Amour is undoubtedly the bestselling frontier novelist of all time. He is the only American-born author in history to receive both the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of his life's work. He has published ninety novels; twenty-seven short-story collections; two works of nonfiction; a memoir, Education of a Wandering Man; and a volume of poetry, Smoke from This Altar. There are more than 300 million copies of his books in print worldwide.

    From the Hardcover edition.

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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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