The deer run trail, p.1
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       The Deer Run Trail, p.1

           David R Lewis
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The Deer Run Trail
What Readers are say about DEER RUN TRAIL

  5 Stars

  Ruben Beeler is a good natured and untested young man on his own since his father died a year ago. His rescue of brutally beaten, robbed and left to die gunsmith Arliss Hyatt sets him on a path filled with danger, violence, friendship and romance.

  This book is written in Ruben's voice and you can't help but like him and want to know what happens to him next. There are moments of subtle humor in his conversations and everyday life that just sneak up on you and have you laughing out loud. This exemplifies the author's ability to create a close relationship between the reader and Ruben. It was so engrossing that I was sad when it ended. So sad in fact that I've already read it twice after buying it less than a month ago.

  It's a great book and I want to share it with everyone. I'm sure my friends and family would like me to shut up about it and I will if they read it and still don't want to talk about it. CJ_Mac

  Deer Run Trail 5 Stars

  I'd recommend this book to anyone! The characters and plot came alive right from the start! There is everything from depth of character to light hearted fun in this book. I cannot wait for the second one so I can learn more about how Ruben continues to grow and mature! The main characters are fellows I'd love to have in my life. Ruben is honest and hard working, Arliss possesses skill and strength of character and Deputy Marion Daniels is forthright and rugged. Please keep 'em coming! BluAnge131

  An entertaining and fun read 5 Stars

  I will be the first to admit I have only read a few Western novels. If they were all as good as this one, I would read a lot of them. I think novelists should be good story tellers and David is!

  For me reading Deer Run Trail was like being masterfully drawn through a window in time and I went willingly. The author's creative use of a point of view was excellent and led me to readily accept the book's virtual reality. It was easy to become drawn into the interesting story line. The nice balance between story line and characters made this an easy read. This is a book I did not want to put down and I finished it in two sittings on the same day.

  The book's pacing was just right so the story line did not lag and yet the characters were believable and interesting. The dialogue added to the period feel of the book and was very well done. The writing was of very good quality.

  In summary I give this book 5 Stars and recommend it not only to fans of the Western genre but to others who are adventurous. Reviewguru

  Titles by David R Lewis

  Nosferati Series (2)



  Crockett Series (8)






  Trail Series (8)







  CUTTHROAT TRAIL-coming in early 2016

  Stand Alones:



  ENDLESS JOURNEY (nonfiction)


  Read the first 4 chapters of NODAWAY TRAIL

  Sneak Peek of book #2 in the TRAILS series, NODAWAY TRAIL by David R Lewis, at the end of this book!


  By David R. Lewis

  Published by Ironbear, LCC

  Copyright 2012, David R Lewis

  ISBN: 9781452475400

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally; and any resemblance to people, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  All Rights Reserved

  This book is dedicated to my grandfather, and those men like him,

  who lived what I can only imagine.


  I never did really meet ol’ Arliss Hyatt as much as I just come up on him. I found him, actually, layin’ in a dry wet weather creek bed in Osage County where he’d drug hisself after one of them Duncan Brothers had shot him. They took his wagon, ridin’ horse, an’ team a mules an’ left him for dead. I reckon they was a time or two when he’d been sorry they hadden gone ahead on an’ finished the job. Judging by the tracks, he’d drug hisself a fair ways to git down into that creek bed an’ outa the sun. It was terrible hot for early May, an’ unusual dusty, too.

  It was the buzzards that made me take notice an’ find where he’d been knocked off his wagon. I ain’t real good at readin’ sign, but it didn’t take no Injun to tell purty much what had happened. I seen where his body had hit, an’ how the ground was kindly scuffed up an’ clotted with blood where they’d kicked him around some afore they left him laying there an’ run off with his wagon an’ stock.

  He warn’t no spring chicken, an’ he’d been awful used. At first, I thought he was dead, there was so much blood an’ all, but he warn’t. He’d been shot through the left side of his neck, in an’ out, an’ grazed heavy on the left side of his head, down low enough toward his ear that a little bit of it had been cut off the top. Heads bleed a lot an’ there was so much blood all over his head, an’ face, an’ neck, an’ on his shirt, that them Duncan Brothers must a thought he was a gone beaver.

  I took his shirt offa him to see, but I couldn’t find him shot nowheres else. He was bruised up quite a bit on his back an’ chest. I reckon they’d stomped on him. I cleaned him up a little bit with what water I had left an’ give him a sip or two, slow like so he didn’t choke, but it just run into his mouth an’ out agin. I covered his neck an’ the side of his head up with my bandana to keep the flies off, poured on some of a little dab of whiskey I carried, an’ left him alone. Night come on an’ I built a small fire an’ et some biscuits I had with me. I didn’t mean to, but I drifted off an’ he woke me up, screamin’ an’ shakin’ quite a bit. It didn’t last long an’ he was out agin. But this time it seemed more like he was sleepin’ instead a dyin’. That’s when I figgerd he might make it. I give him a little more water an’ it ran down his throat. That’s when I decided he was one tough ol’ sonofabitch. Turned out, I was purty much right.

  He warn’t the first I’d ever seen shot. Back home when I was a kid, there was a fella everbody called Turkey. He warn’t but about half smart. He lifted a Henry rifle outa somebody’s saddle scabbard, offa horse tied up in front a the dry goods store, one afternoon an’ shot hisself in the foot with it. He dropped the Henry an’ fell down squalling an’ flopping around in the mud quite a bit. Some fellas come out of the store to see what all the noise was about, includin’ the man that owned that Henry that was layin’ out there in the mud. He was some put off. Picked Turkey up by the collar a his coat an’ knocked him down in the mud agin’. In a little bit, two ol’ boys carried him out to a shack by the livery stable an’ the barber come down an’ had a look at him. They liquored him up an’ the barber got that slug outa his foot, but it still swelled up an’ got rotten after a few days. Took nearly a week afore he finally died from it.

  I was afraid that was gonna happen to Arliss, but it didn’t. The next morning right after I woke up an’ done my business, I give him some more water. He opened his eyes an’ looked at me.

  “Who are ya?” he asked. His voice was pretty weak. Only about a whisper.

  “Ruben Beeler is my name, sir,” I tolt him. “You been shot, but I don’t think whoever done it has managed to kill ya.”

  He actually smiled a little. “I’m Arliss Hyatt,” he said. “You found me, I reckon.”

  “Yessir, I did,” I said. “You been shot in the neck an’
the head, an’ you been kicked on some. I washed out your wounds, built a fire, an’ set with ya. You carried on a little last night, but you seem to be better this mornin’.”

  He studied on me with hard eyes for a minute, then they softened. “Rube,” he said, “you git me through the next few days an’ you got yourself another friend.”

  “I oughta pour a little more whiskey on them wounds a yours,” I said. “You ain’t gonna like it.”

  “Don’t make no difference,” Arliss said, “I’m leavin’ ya for a spell anyways.”

  While he was out, I poured what was left of the whiskey on his head an’ neck an’ covered it all up agin ‘cause of them flies. I took my canteen an’ walked down the dry wash a ways ‘til I come on a little seep in a low spot. The water smelt kindly bad an’ was full a little critters zippin’ around. I filled the canteen an’ headed back with it anyways, an’ flushed a rabbit that run off a little piece then stopped to look things over. I got a lucky with my Yellaboy, luckier at least than that cottontail, but that 44/40 purty much made a mess of him. At least the hindquarters was still good. When I got back, I freshed the fire, strained that water through the sleeve of my second shirt, an’ put it on to boil while I skint what was left of the rabbit. The water was coolin’ an’ the rabbit was sizzlin’ when Arliss come around agin’.

  “Can ya eat?” I asked him.

  “I can try. I’m awful thirsty.”

  I took my little pot to him. “It’s still warm,” I said. “Had to strain an’ boil it. Probably gonna taste awful.”

  I held his head while he took a couple of swallers, an’ he passed out agin for a little bit, but come back.

  “I pass out?” he asked me.


  “I thought so,” he said. “You raised my head an’ everthin’ commenced to spin. Is my skull broke, I wonder?”

  “I seen some blood and such,” I said, “but I ain’t seen no brains. You got creased pretty deep along the top of yer left ear. I speck that’s what’s makin’ ya dizzy. Little bit off the top of yer ear is gone.”

  “The hell ya say.”

  “Yessir. They hit your neck on the left side, too. Hole goin’ in an’ coming out. They bled quite a bit, but I stuffed a couple a pieces of my neckerchief in ‘em an’ they clotted up. Yer bruised up front an’ back some. Looks to me like they was kickin’ on ya.”

  Arliss kindly smiled then. “Boy, are you trying to tell me that I ain’t the picture a health?”

  I grinned down at him. “You ain’t the picture a good health anyways,” I said.

  He laughed, gritted his teeth, an’ went off agin’. I led my ridin’ horse an’ my pack horse down the creek bed to that little seep an’ hobbled ‘em there, then I went back to the fire an’ tended to the rabbit.

  That rabbit was about as done as a fella could stand when Arliss woke up agin. I tore off some little pieces an’ soaked a couple a biscuits in water. I’d give him a little bite a rabbit an’ a bite a soggy biscuit together ‘cause he couldn’t hardly chew. It took some time, but he et both biscuits an’ near half a haunch a that rabbit afore he had to quit. While he rested up, I et the rest of the rabbit an’ my last biscuit.

  “We’re plumb outa food,” I tolt him. “Chamois is about twenty miles behind me. I’m gonna have to ride back there an’ git us some bacon an’ beans or somethin’. If my horse holds up, I can do it in a long day. Reckon I should leave a little afore dawn in the morning. I could build a travvy an’ take you along, but I ain’t sure you’d make it.”

  Arliss studied on me for a minute an’ seemed to make up his mind. “My right boot heel,” he said, “has a trick to it. There’s a nail head into the sole of the boot just in front of the heel. Take your knife and prise up on that nail head. It’ll come up a quarter of a inch or so. Then twist on the heel of the boot.”

  The heels a his boots were durn near three inches tall. I did what he asked, an’ that boot heel twisted to one side an’ ten twenty dollar gold pieces fell right out onto the ground. Two hunnerd dollars was hiding in the heel of his boot! I never saw the like.

  “Rube,” Arliss went on, “you saddle up and make tracks. Just leave me your handgun and your slicker. You can be in town before dark and back out here tomorrow by the middle of the afternoon. You get whatever you need for us to stay here for a week or two. I’ll hang on until you git back.”

  “You got any idea who done this to you?”

  “Got no memory of it. You said they took my horse, my team, and my wagon. I know that much. Dirty bastards.”

  I hustled around an’ got ready to leave, then took my revolver an’ slicker over to him.

  “A Schofield Smith and Wesson,” he said. “Why not a Colt?”

  “I like top breaks,” I tolt him. “Faster to load an’ easier on horseback.”

  He smiled. “What kind of rifle you carry?” he asked.

  “Yellaboy,” I said.

  “Why not a Henry?”

  “Don’t like that top load magazine.”

  “I admire a fella that knows his own mind,” Arliss said.

  “I left my packhorse hobbled down the creek bed a little ways,” I told him.

  “If there’s water, he’ll hang around,” Arliss said. “Now git.”

  I touched spurs to my sorrel an’ he snorted an’ wanted to run, but I held him in a short lope. We had a ways to go.


  I’d gone about ten miles or so, retracin’ the route I’d come out on, staying a mile or two south of the river as trails would allow, when I stopped for a spell by a near dry little creek to let the sorrel blow an’ ketch his breath, an’ me to ketch mine. We’d both settled some an’ got ourselves a drink, when I heard a horse nicker an’ seen a fella come ridin’ up through the scrub. When he noticed me, he raised a hand an’ said “howdy.”

  I tossed it back at him an’ kept both my hands in plain view an’ my movements slow. He done the same as he climbed down off a big ol’ ugly blue roan with a long head an’ a thin neck. He looked to be a little past his prime with long hair going gray, an’ a mustache that drooped down past his mouth on both sides. He wore a gray slouch hat, a white shirt an’ a black vest with a watch chain across the front, a short barreled Colt in a cross draw toward his left side, an’ another one in a short drop on his right hip. It had a barrel long enough that a couple a inches of it poked out the bottom of the holster. There was a ten or twelve gauge coach gun in his saddle scabbard. He was tall enough to hunt geese with a rake.

  “Marion Daniels,” he said. “United States Marshal.”

  “Glad I run across you, Marshal,” I said. “My name is Rube Beeler. I’m on the way to Chamois to git some food an’ such for a feller that got bushwhacked. He’s about ten miles behind me, shot through the neck an’ damn near through the head. Says he usta have a horse, a team a mules, an’ a wagon.”

  “He know who done it?” Daniels asked me.

  I shook my head. “He don’t remember nothin’ about it,” I said. “I seen some vultures an’ found where it happened. From sign, it looked to me like two or maybe three fellers shot him off his wagon, kicked him around some, an’ left him for dead while they made off with his truck an’ possibles. I tracked where he’d drug hisself to a creek bed for shelter outa the sun an’ found him. I poured whiskey in his wounds an’ he come around in a little while. I speck he’s gonna make it, but not terrible soon. He give me money an’ sent me to git food an’ such over in Chamois to keep both of us goin’ ‘till he gits back on his feet. I left him my slicker an’ my Schofield an’ lit a shuck.”

  “You know who he is?” the marshal asked.

  “Yessir. He said his name was Arliss Hyatt.”

  The marshal kindly jerked. “He didn’t!”

  “Yessir, he did,” I said.

  “Well, hell,” he went on. “I don’t like that. I’ve knowed Arliss for a spell. He’s a good man.”

  I waited while he cogitated on things for a minute.
  “Ruben, is it?” he asked me.

  “Yessir,” I said. “Or Rube.”

  “Ruben,” he said, “you go on with your errand. I’ll backtrack you and go set with Arliss until you get back. That all right with you?”

  “It’d be a comfort to me, Marshal,” I told him. “I hated to leave him in the first place.”

  Marshal Daniels shook his head. “I seen a wagon with two outriders an’ a couple of extra horses a little ways this side of Gasconade County yesterday evening, but I wasn’t close enough to recognize it as the rig belonging to Arliss. Can’t miss his much. Got the prettiest set a matched mules you ever seen. Big red sonsabitches with tiger stripes on their legs. Unusual for Arliss to be out this way so far. He usually stays on the other side of Jeff City. Between there and over at Saint Joe. Your horse all right?”

  “Yessir,” I said. “I ain’t workin’ him too hard.”

  “Good,” he said. “Slap leather, boy. I’ll find Arliss. You go git them possibles and chuck.”

  It was late in the day when I come to Chamois. I went straight to the general store an’ got a slab a salt bacon, a bag a beans, a bag a flour, some coffee, a little sugar, a little salt, five tins a canned peaches, two three-gallon water bags that I filled from their cistern, a bottle a whiskey, a bottle of laudanum, a bottle of rubbin’ alcohol, a clean white sheet, a twelve-inch iron skillet, an’ a handful of peppermint sticks. From there, I went to the livery, told the fella what I needed, an’ come away with a rented black mare that was a little nippy under a beat up Mexican saddle. I went back to the store, talked the fella there out of a couple a ol’ flour sacks an’ a piece a rope, put the chuck in them bags, tied ‘em together, tossed ‘em over that Mexican saddle with a dally around the horn, an’ figured on startin’ back to where Arliss was. The sky was clear an’ a near full moon was comin’ up. I could git a bite to eat, take it slow, an’ still get back by sunup. My sorrel was a purty stout horse.

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