May, 2021

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Issue #140

Welcome, Western Fans!

Looking for free, tantalizing Tales of the Old West?
You're at the right place.


Read this month's Tales and vote for your favorite.
They'll appear in upcoming print volumes of The Best of Frontier Tales Anthologies!

by Phillip R. Eaton
The move to Kansas turned into a nightmare for Seth Owens. He was bullied Mercilessly at school until one day he fought back. But Seth's parents paid the ultimate price for his retaliation. With his world shattered, Seth set forth on a quest for REVENGE.

* * *

Forgive Me, Father
by Issac Withrow
A stranger admits to a brutal murder. Sheriff Dan Fields wants to figure out who this man is and why he did it, but the stranger's not talking. Once the truth starts coming out, Fields's own secret past emerges, and he soon hears more truth than he bargained for.

* * *

A Lynching
by B. Craig Grafton
A drunken encounter between a white man and three black soldiers ends with two men in jail. They're to see the judge in the morning, but a rope might just change those plans.

* * *

Farmer's Son
by Raymond Paltoo
A US deputy Marshall is passing through a small Oklahoma town on his way to the Indian Nations territory when he sees a farmer being harassed by some cowboys in a saloon. Whereupon he quietly teaches them a lesson they will never forget.

* * *

The Dealer
by Jake Jaskowiak
We all have to play the cards we've been dealt. On a quest for a lost treasure Luke and Harrison take a stop at a saloon where a mysterious card dealer lets them glimpse their futures.

* * *

The Hind Tit
by M.D. Smith, IV
An insult from a corrupt sheriff only added venom to what was already brewing inside the kid. Finding justice in this town would not be easy but he didn't come unprepared for what he'd find.

* * *

Want all of this month's Western stories at once? Click here –

All the Tales

The Hind Tit
by M.D. Smith, IV

He rode down the dusty street with smells of horse dung strong in the calm morning air. Piano music of a nearby saloon and cowboys laughter inside was now louder than the single clip-clop of his horse the previous week.

A store-keeper talking to a woman in his door looked carefully at the lone rider. The Colt .45 riding low and strapped to his leg and the leather holster cut short, top and bottom, signaled a man who could draw fast. The well-worn wooden grips telegraphed the sixgun had been removed many times. Likely a lot of lead had traveled through the four-and-three-quarter-inch-long barrel.

As he passed the store owner and the lady, he tipped his hat. His stone-chiseled face caused the pair to freeze and watch him go by. They whispered to each other as the rider moved on and pulled up at the rail in front of the saloon.

"Hey, you, where's the sheriff?" he said to a wobbly drunk who exited the doors. The staggering man pointed inside with one hand and held the other over his mouth. He stumbled into the dirt street and proceeded to puke up a week's wages.

Another cowpoke at the swinging doors observed his buddy, then looked up at the kid who spoke to him. "Sheriff in there?"

A nod.

"Tell him there's someone outside waitin' for him with some business."

The grim look told the cowpoke it was serious and he disappeared inside.

The kid backed away from his horse to the middle of the dirt street.

Soon a weather-beaten man with a badge strolled through the swinging doors. "You looking for me, you scrawny kid. Looks like you hadda suck the pig's hind tit as a baby." The wide gap between his front teeth as he grinned looked like he was missing one.

The young cowboy tilted his head down until his eyes were at the brim of his hat. Looking up with most of his white eyeballs showing, he regarded the older white-haired man as if he could bore holes through him.

"You broken-down old mule. You've signed a lot of paperwork in your years, but you've just signed your own death warrant with that comment."

"Oh, yeah?" The man with a star on his vest stroked his scruffy white beard with his hand. His frame was still muscular, and he appeared fit. His expression became stern. "Whose army is gonna do it?"

Town folk stopped to listen at the beginning of the verbal exchange.

He strolled down the steps of the saloon to face the kid. Two deputies were on either side of the Sheriff.

"That's mighty bold but dumb talk, kid. What'd you make it through, second grade? Guess I need to teach you your last lesson."

"I'm smart enough to read a telegram I got the day you killed part of me."

"What kind of cow-dung you trying to feed me? Killed part of you? You look like you're in one piece to me." The Sheriff smiled at the deputies on either side, and both of them laughed.

"It happened a year ago this month. You were cheating at cards, and my brother called you out, and you shot him. Rose saw it all and sent me the wire."

"You talking about Rosie, my half partner in this here saloon?"

"Yep, that's the one. She's my aunt."

Looking uncomfortable now, the Sheriff wasn't smiling anymore. "Well, that guy went for his gun. My deputy and I had to shoot him."

"He wasn't wearing a gun."

"He put his arm near his belt. Didn't know. We had to shoot first."

"Which shot went wild and killed the young lady next to Rose?"

The Sheriff didn't answer at first and looked to his side at one of his men.

"Eh . . . er . . . don't matter. Just keeping the peace. Bullets do go wild sometimes. That girl shouldn't a been in the saloon.

"That was my sister from Topeka visiting my brother. You scored big that day."

The Sheriff moved his hand closer to his sixgun, and the two deputies stepped further to either side with their hands low as well. The smile was gone. Townsfolk scattered.

Rose had come to the double doors of the bar and listened. Worry painted her face. The kid took a glance at her, then tilted his head forward as he focused on the man in the center. He already knew the two overweight deputies were slow on the draw, thanks to Rose. His right hand stood just inches away from the wooden grip of his Colt 45. The quick-draw holster was strapped tight on his leg, and the rawhide hold-down loop over the hammer-spur was off.

The Sheriff gazed at the kid's gun hand. A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, almost going in his eye. He grabbed the gun at his side and began the draw.

The kid cocked his Colt as he drew, fired at the Sheriff, fanned off a second shot, and rolled to the ground.

As the kid completed his turn on the dirt, he fired another shot into the body of the other deputy, who was just clearing leather and cocking his gun. The Sherriff was standing but had dropped his gun into the dirt.

Blood spurted from the second man's chest with the mortal wound.

The Sherriff stood with no expression on his face, and a bullet hole in his forehead was trickling blood, as he toppled forward.

"Maybe not in school, but the kid got an education somewhere," whispered a bystander. "Fast and a deadly shot."

Rose burst from the saloon door and ran to her nephew. "Oh, Billy, I was so scared for you. I knew you were fast, but there were three of them."

"I've had a lot of practice since I last saw you, Aunt Rose." He breathed a big sigh. "Well, this is over. Maybe the town'll get a real Sherriff. And, you own a saloon now."

"I didn't think your brother and sister would ever be avenged. You weren't a gunslinger a year ago when you worked on that ranch."

The kid put his arm on his aunt's shoulder and squeezed. "A year of venom in your gut and several caseloads of cartridges can do a lot to speed things up."

"Stay here and run it with me, Billy." She gave him a hug, which he returned.

"Nah, my job's done here. When word gets out, there'll be others looking for me, even though it was a more than fair fight and they drew first, so I think I'll be heading on. At least I know my brother and sister can rest in peace now."

The young gunslinger mounted his horse. He smiled and thought as he rode out of town, Not bad for a kid who had to suck the hind tit.

The End

M.D. Smith, IV lives in Huntsville, AL. He's a life-long story-teller. He has written over 150 short non-fiction stories in the past 20 years for Old Huntsville Magazine. Turning to fiction, he's written 200+ stories in the past three years. Short fiction of every genre is a new passion these days. More at

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