Sackett Got To Texas With A Well-Oiled Hogleg, A Racing Mule That Didn't Look Worth Its Salt And A Damn Good Idea Of The whereabouts of buried gold across the border in Mexico.
In Mexico he had bad luck. His party had to run for it, and when Lando stood rear guard they pulled out and left him. Six years in a Mexican prison put muscles in his arms, fire in his heart and pure recklessness in his head.
When he caught up with the men who betrayed him, it made no difference that he didn't have a gun.
They are the unforgettable pioneer family created by master storyteller Louis L'Amour to bring to vivid life the spirit and adventure of the American frontier. The Sacketts, men and women who challenged the untamed wilderness with their dreams and their courage. From generation to generation they pushed ever westward with a restless, wandering urge, a kinship with the free, wild places and a fierce independence. The Sacketts always stood tall and, true to their strong family pride, they would unite to take on any and all challenges, no matter how overwhelming the odds. Each Sackett novel is a complete, exciting historical adventure, and read as a group, Louis L'Amour's The Sacketts form an epic story of the building of our mighty nation, a saga cherished by millions of readers around the world for more than a quarter century.
THE GOLD WAS GOOD.
Every single one of the million pieces--fat, yellow, fresh, Spanish coins, enough to make ten men rich for life!
The gold was good, what was wrong was where it was buried, a sandy island in the Gulf, sixty miles south of the border--sixty miles inside Mexico!
Lando Sackett knew the Mexicans weren't about to let no Texan come in and get that gold.
The one that tried could easy be a dead man soon as he laid a hand on it, but Lando needed gold, needed it bad, and the whole damn Mexican army wasn't going to stop him!
We Sacketts were a mountain folk who ran long on boy children and gun-shooting, but not many of us were traveled men. And that was why I envied the Tinker.
When first I caught sight of him he was so far off I couldn't make him out, so I taken my rifle and hunkered down behind the woodpile, all set to get in the first shot if it proved to be a Higgins.
Soon as I realized who it was, I turned again to tightening my mill, for I was fresh out of meal and feeling hunger.
Everybody in the mountains knew the Tinker.
He was a wandering man who tinkered with everything that needed fixing. He could repair a clock, sharpen a saw, make a wagon wheel, or shoe a horse.
Fact was, he could do almost anything a body could think of that needed doing, and he wandered up and down the mountains from Virginia to Georgia just a-fixing and a-doing. Along with it, he was a pack peddler.
He carried a pack would have put a crick in a squaw's back, and when he fetched up to my cabin he slung it down and squatted on his heels beside it.
"If you reckoned I was Higgins," he said, "you can put it out of mind. Your Cousin Tyrel cut his notch for the last Higgins months ago. You Sacketts done cleaned them out."
"Not this Sackett. I never shot 'ary a Higgins, although that's not to say I wouldn't had they come at me."
"Tyrel, him an' Orrin, they taken out for the western lands. Looks to me like you're to be the last of the Sacketts of Tennessee."
"Maybe I will and maybe I won't," said I, a-working at my mill. "I've given thought to the western lands myself, for a man might work his life away in these mountains, and nothing to show for it in the end."
The Tinker, he just sat there, not saying aye, yes, or no, but I could see he had something on his mind, and given time would have his say.
"You're the one has the good life," I said.
"Always a-coming and a-going along the mountains and down to the Settlements."
There was a yearning in me to be off the mountain, for I'd lived too long in the high-up hills, knowing every twisty creek to its farthest reaches, and every lightning-struck tree for miles.
Other than my cabin, the only places I knew were the meetinghouse down to the Crossing where folks went of a Sunday, and the schoolhouse at Clinch's Creek where we went of a Saturday for the dancing and the fighting.
"Tinker," I said, "I've been biding my time until you came along, for come sunup it is in my mind to walk away from the mountains to the western lands."
Filling the mill's hopper, I gave the handles a testing turn, then added, "If you've a mind to, I'd like you to come with me."
Now, the Tinker was a solitary man. A long-jawed man, dark as any Indian, but of a different cast, somehow, and he'd an odd look to his yellow eyes. Some said he hailed from foreign lands, but I knew nothing of that, nor ought of the ways of foreign folk, but the Tinker knew things a body could scarcely ken, and held a canny knowledge of uncanny things.
Beside a fire of an evening his fingers worked a magic with rope or yarn, charming queer, decorative things that women took fancy to, but the likes of which none of us had ever seen.
"I have given it thought, 'Lando," he answered me, "but I am a lone man with no liking for company."
"So it is with me. But now it is in my mind to go the western lands and there become rich with the things of this earth. You have the knack for the doing of things, and I have a knack for trade, and together we might do much that neither could do alone."
"Aye ... you have a knack for trade, all right. A time or two you even had the better of me."
A time or two he said? Every time. And well he knew it, too, but it was not in me to bring that up.
"Except for one thing," I said. "You never would trade me a Tinker's knife."
He took out his pipe and settled to smoke, and I knew it was coming, this thing he had on his mind.
"You have enemies. Is that why you have chosen to leave at this time?"
It ired me that he should think so, but I held my peace, and when I spoke at last, my voice was mild.
"Will Caffrey and his son? They have reason to fear me, and not I to fear them. It was my father's mistake to leave me with Will Caffrey to be reared by him, but pa was not himself from the grief that was on him, and in no condition for straight thinking."
"Caffrey had a good name then," the Tinker said, "although a hard-fisted man and close with money.
Only since he became a rich man has he become overbearing."
"And it was the gold I claimed from him at Meeting that made him rich, and none of his earning.
He had it from my father to pay for my keep and education."
"You put your mark upon his son."
"He asked it of me. He came at me, a-swinging of his fists."
When I had emptied the meal from the hopper, I tightened the mill and filled the hopper again, for such a mill as that of mine could grind only to a certain coarseness on the first grinding, and then the mill must be tightened and the meal reground before it was fit for the baking or for gruel.
"They are saying how you faced Will Caffrey at Meeting, and him a deacon of the church and all, and demanded he return the money your father left with him, and all the interest he had from its use.
"They tell how he flustered and would give you the lie, but all knew how five years ago you ran from his farm and have lived alone in this cabin since, and how, suddenly, after your father left Will Caffrey had money with which to buy farms and cattle.
"You'll not be forgiven this side of the grave, not by Will Caffrey. He is a proud man and you have shamed him at Meeting."
"The money is rightfully mine, Tinker. When he decided my father would not return, he took me from school and put me to work in the fields, and sent his son to school in my place."