The noonday sun blazed down upon the town of Dry Gulch, Texas.
Sheriff Matt Stone walked into the coolness of the saloon. He was a tall man,
handsome in a rugged way, with black hair, steely blue eyes and a strong jaw.
He wore his gun low on his hip. He looked the perfect lawman, but for one
thing. He was just a bit slow on the draw. He walked with a limp, thanks to a
bullet from an outlaw whod outdrawn him. The reason he was still alive
was that many fast gunmen werent that accurate when they shot. Once
Sheriff Stone had his gun out he didnt miss, as that outlaw had found
The cowboys at the bar stared down into their drinks as the
sheriff passed them. Stone knew why. The Brady brothers were coming into town.
The oldest, Billy Brady, was one of the fastest guns in Texas. Hed sent
the youngest brother to the hangman. Now they were coming to get their revenge.
Everyone in town considered him a dead man.
Come and set a spell, Sheriff. It was Monte Faro,
the town gambler, seated at his usual table, in a corner, back to the wall.
Faro trusted no one. The rumor was that he cheated at cards, but no one had
been able to catch him at it. The one cowboy whod accused him had
regretted it as Faro was as adept with a gun as he was with cards.
The sheriff sat. Drink? asked Faro, raising his own.
Thats right. The Brady brothers should be here
In about an hour.
Ever think of leaving town for a while.
No, Im the sheriff.
Billy Brady is fast. Hes also a dead shot. I
dont think youll have much of a chance against him.
Stone shrugged. Maybe Ill get lucky.
The odds are against that..
Stone stood up. Id better get going.
The gambler raised his drink again. Well, heres to
Thanks. The Sheriff limped out. Still, nobody looked
Stone checked his gun and put on his hat. Why cant
you at least take your deputies with you? asked his wife Mary. She was a
tall woman, almost as tall as her husband. She had blonde hair, striking blue
eyes and strong features.
They dont have the stomach for it. Besides, the
Bradys quarrel is with me.
Then what about me? I dont want to lose my
Its just something I have to do. Im the law in
Youll be killed.
Well see. Other gunmen have tried and Im still
Mary put her arms around the Sheriff. I wont let you
The two pairs of blue eyes stared into each other.
Dont make it any harder. You know I have to.
Mary looked away and released her husband. Yes, I suppose
you have to.
The Sheriff limped out the door.
The Brady brothers were waiting in front of the saloon. Nobody
else was on the street. The sun still blazed down. There was an uncanny
silence, as if everything else in town had stopped. Hi, Sheriff,
said Billy Brady.
Hi, Billy. The Sheriff nodded to the two other
You come by yourself?.
Your deputies too yellow to come out and fight?
Its my quarrel, Billy.
It is. You sent my brother to the hangman.
He was a cattle rustler. The judge and a jury found him
guilty. He deserved to be hung.
Stone was deliberately trying to goad Brady. He saw Brady turn
red and tense.
Brady shouted, He was my brother. and he drew. Stone
had been watching Brady gun hand; even so,. when it moved it was a blur
that could hardly be seen and . Stone knew his own draw would be too late. He
stiffened, waiting for the bullet to hit, but nothing happened. He heard a shot
and a bullet hole appeared between Billys eyes. The other two brothers
seemed frozen. Clearly, theyd expected Billy to have killed the Sheriff.
They reached for their guns, but by this time Stone had drawn and, as always,
when he shot he didnt miss.
Stone heard a noise behind him. He turned around and saw his
wife Mary walking toward him. She was carrying a rifle. Did you shoot
him? asked Stone.
No. I would have, but this gentleman beat me to it.
Im much obliged.
Stone saw that Monte Faro, the gambler, was behind Mary. Faro
raised his hat. It was no trouble, maam. The odds against the
Sheriff were so good I couldnt resist making a few wagers. I had to
protect my investment
Arent the other men going to be a little mad that
you were the one who killed him? asked Stone.
The wager was that youd be alive, and here you
Yes, Im still here.
Well, I have to collect my bets. Faro turned and
walked back to the saloon.
By this time, a dozen or so townspeople had gathered around.
Luke Tidwell, the town casket maker, stepped forward. Ill take care
of these bodies, Sheriff, he said. Why dont you and Mrs.
Stone go home now.
Stones wife linked her arm in his. Yes, she
said , Lets go home.