A frontier con man who claims he can raise the dead...a prisoner desperate to escape from the hellhole of Yuma Prison...a legendary Texas Ranger...a famous gunfighter and peace officer turned newspaperman...a family that's both dangerous and strange...These are only some of the characters who inhabit the tales in STORIES ALONG...THE HUNGRY TRAIL by Christine Matthews. Poignant, expertly plotted, and filled with compelling characters, these stories capture the human drama of the Old West and the people who lived in that time and place, and will stay with the reader long after the hungry trail has come to an end.
The trail is always hungry. No matter how much you feed it, it always wants more—never satisfied. It chews up animals, leaving behind only bones to bleach out in the blazing sun. Many have offered a sacrifice to the earth, tearfully burying a wife or little brother, deep down, begging for forgiveness because they're forced to leave a loved one behind. They pile rocks to mark the grave and keep wild things away. But they never stop to think that the trail is their real enemy.
Old ones, too tired to go on, stumble and finally fall. They pray with every step for renewed strength. But they can't get back up. The trail grabs hold of them, never letting go until they all become one with the dirt.
And when the trail is thirsty, it drinks up the rain, the blood, anything wet. It doesn't care. Sometimes, when it's had enough, which isn't often, it spits up a flood. But sooner or later, everything soaks back down, causing the trail to parch and crack again, craving only to drink more. Men who respect the trail do better than naive travelers who insult the ancient soil they ride over in their wagons, for they never forget the trail is alive. Dirt, grass, even the rocks, forever chewing, gnawing at the life moving above it.
I was arrogant. But it didn't take long for me to learn that the trail isn't particular. It'll beat the hope right out of a man—make him its slave.