The frontier. (O'Neill City, Holt County, Neb.) 1880-1965, June 05, 1941, Image 3

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    Alan LeMay'a reputation ai a writer
la rapidly growing among readers who
prefer a good western story to any other
sort of book. He has outstanding ability
to make his characters live against a
background that is accurate to the finest
• •
This was the crisis—the climax of
all that long war. Here they sat,
these men who had fought a common
enemy for so long: Dusty King, who,
with the hoofs of countless cattle,
had carved many a Great Plains
trail deep into the short grass; young
Bill Roper, who had begun follow
ing those trails with Dusty King be
fore he was big enough to hold a
horse; and old Lew Gordon, Texas
man, whose wild marketless herds
had been the roots of fortune.
Dusty King and Lew Gordon con
stituted King-Gordon, the famous
partnership that had developed with
the great cattle trails; until now
their many brands marked far-scat
tered herds beyond estimate. They
were here because of tomorrow’s
auction of land leases. Under the
hammer would go the grazing rights
on the Crying Wolf Indian lands—
those miles and miles of stirrup
deep grass that King-Gordon want
ed, and that Ben Thorpe had to have.
It was curious that their long war
with Ben Thorpe should have met its
true climax here. The three in this
room understood that the outcome
would rest upon what the two older
men decided here. Possession of the
Crying Wolf meant dominance in
the north to King-Gordon, or to Ben
Thorpe; there was no longer going
to be room for both.
“This is an old fight, Lew," Dusty
King said. “It goes back as far as
that first time you backed me with a
little herd, to see if I could make it
through to Abilene. Don’t hardly
seem like we better draw back
Lew Gordon stirred, swaying his
shoulders imperceptibly, like a stub
born bear. “Credit’s going to be
terrible hard, this coming year,” he
said at last.
Dusty King seemed to sprawl a
little more loosely; he was playing
poker in a way of his own. Swag
gering, easy-going, spendthrift—he
still was a man who believed in
vincibly in himself.
"I passed Ben Thorpe in the road,
today,” he said. “He was looking
mighty prosperous. I bet he weighs
two hundred and twenty-five pounds
now, with his stomach pulled in,”
“His backing is terrible strong,”
Lew Gordon said, his eyes on the
No one knew better than Lew Gor
don that Dusty King, in tackling the
impossible a hundred times, had a
hundred times shown the way for
the rest. But Gordon remembered
too the poverty of the cattle-poor
days before any outlet was found for
Texas beef. To risk all they had
won, in a single slashing stroke at
an old enemy, was almost more than
Gordon could bear.
“You know why Ben Thorpe's
strong,” Dusty King said. “And you
know how he got his start. We know
why it is that so many Texas out
fits stand in Ben Thorpe’s name;
and how many different ways he’s
found to jump down on little lonely
Texan cowmen and leave them
broke or dead. And we know what’s
happened to many a little outfit that
started north, but never brought
their cattle through, nor got home.”
“Every year,” Dusty King said,
“since we began driving up the big
trails, we’ve locked horns in one
way or another with this one gang.
I’m not forgetting who started the
Red Crick stampede where Dave and
Bob Henry died under piled up cat
tle; nor the Tularosa shootings, with
four more of my boys dead. There’s
some good cowboys under the prai
rie, Lew.”
Gordon said almost inaudibly,
“Never could prove anything.”
“His herds have grown faster than
ours have grown,” Dusty King’s ex
pressionless voice droned on. “He’s
as big as we are; he’ll be bigger
soon. From the Big Bend to the
Tetons, he owns more outfits than
he knows the names of. He’s never
run an honest deal where he could
Honest Bill Roper turns
outlaw. Or so it seemed.
There was a reason. There
is also a girl you'll like in
The Smoky Tears
By Alan LeMay
Start Reading It Now
detail. Unlike many metropolitan writers
of western fiction, he knows that part
of the country Intimately, and can set It
on paper without leasing much of the
freshness and feeling of the plains and
• a
run a crooked one, nor a square
trick where he could play a mean
one; it’s a long time since he rode
all night with his rifle in his hands,
but Lew, if he isn't stopped—there’s
plenty he can hire to do his dark
of-the-moon stuff now.”
“Dusty,” Lew Gordon said, "we’ve
blocked him every way we could.”
"That’s why he’ll get you, and
me too, in the end.”
Again the silence closed, with be
hind it the perpetual bawling of the
cattle, far off in the spring night.
Dusty King said casually, "Cleve
Tanner’s here.”
Bill Roper saw Lew Gordon’s eyes
flick up to look at Dusty King.
"Cleve Tanner?”
"Here in Ogallala.”
“What the devil’s the meaning of
"Cleve and Walk Lasham are the
only two of Ben Thorpe’s men that
raided the cross timbers with him in
the old days; the only two he can
really trust, now."
“It’s natural that Walk Lasham
should be here,” Lew Gordon con
ceded; “but Cleve Tanner, all the
way up from the Big Bend—”
"Shows you,” Dusty King said,
"what store they set on the Crying
Wolf lands. Ben Thorpe is sold
mighty deep into next year’s deliv
eries. Already he’s committed for
more northern-fed cattle than he can
"Maybe thirty-five cents an
show—unless he can get the Crying
Slowly Lew Gordon got a frayed
tally book out of his back pocket.
“The survey—” Lew Gordon’s voice
was curiously bewildered—“it’s hard
to believe there’s any land as good
as this.”
Their private survey had been
made by Bill Roper; it represented
weeks of hard riding, and shrewd
calculation of the strength and depth
of the feed upon the surface of the
broken land.
“One place here reads fifty head
to the section,” Lew said wonder
ingly. “Fifty head of cattle grazing
one section of land! It's past be
“This isn’t Texas, Lew.”
“I figure we might pay as high as
thirty cents to the acre,” Gordon
said, “by the year's lease.”
A flicker like that of heat lightning
showed for a moment behind Dusty
King’s eyes; but his voice was low
and monotonous as before. “Thirty
cents be damned,” he said.
Lew Gordon looked at him for a
long time. How deep you figure to
“Get the land,” Dusty King said.
"Ben Thorpe is liable to go crazy
and bid his head off.”
"We’re looking down his throat,”
King said for the second time. “The
least the deputy commissioner can
accept is drafts on Kansas City. Ben
Thorpe hasn’t realized the value of
the land. We’ll catch him short and
force him off the board.”
“At what cost to ourselves?” Gor
don demanded.
"At all costs.”
Slowly Lew Gordon shook his
head. "Maybe thirty-five cents an
Dusty King’s voice rose explosive
ly for the first time. "Thirty-five
cents,” he echoed—“or fifty cents,
or seventy-five, or a dollar! Get the
Lew Gordon sighed, and he looked
like a man who was weary and old.
“You want that land,” Gordon said,
"even if—”
“At all costs,” Dusty King said
Gordon looked his partner in the
"Go in and bid!”
• * •
Swinging down the board walks of
Ogallala in the cool spring sunlight,
Dusty King and Bill Roper looked a
whole lot alike. The more than
twenty years difference in their ages
had not changed Dusty King’s loose
jointed swagger, the rakish cock of
LeMay's "The Smoky Years" Is a
glowing, vividly written western ro
mance which contains all the speed
and colorful detail that Is making him
so popular today. It is his best work.
Don't miss it!
• e
! his old soft hat, nor the cracking
ring of the spurs he was believed to
sleep in.
The trail years had leathered his
face, but they could not diminish his
gay exuberance; just as prosperity
was unable to take from him the look
of the trail. Whatever Dusty King
wore, he always appeared to be
wearing disreputable saddle clothes.
Perhaps young Bill Roper had
picked up a lot of Dusty King’s char
acteristics in the course of an asso
ciation that had lasted almost as
long as Bill Roper's life.
Everybody who knew King-Gordon
at all knew the story of Bill Roper
and Dusty King. Fifteen years ago,
at the age of five, Bill Roper had
been found hiding in the brush, like a
little rabbit, beside a wrecked outfit
on the old trail to Sedalia. It was
Dusty King who had found him
there; and it was Dusty King who
had buried the bullet-shattered body
of Bill's father beside that God-for
saken trail.
In the fifteen years since then,
Bill Roper had learned guns and
horses and cattle, and the tricks of
the trail as only Dusty King knew
them. He had been able to read
prairie signs before he could read
print, and if it had not been for
tomato can labels, perhaps would
never have learned to read print
at all. Everything he knew he had
learned with Dusty King. There
was every reason that he should
have grown to look something like
the great trail driver who had
brought him up.
Now, as they made their way
down the muddy street, before the
false-fronted wooden buildings, half
the cowmen that thronged Ogallala
hailed Dusty with comradeship and
delight; so that his progress was
that of a celebrated character, al
ready famous. The other half—they
were Ben Thorpe men—seemed not
to see him at all. It was hard to
tell which tickled Dusty King more
—the warmth of his many friends, or
the bitterness of his innumerable
The bidding for the Crying Wolf
lands was being held in a disused
store, and here the sidewalk and
half the street were filled with knot
ted groups. Through this crowd
Dusty King and Bill Roper waded,
Dusty trying to look like something
bewildered, from the tall country.
Beside the door was posted a hand
bill in black type, giving due legal
notice of the auction of leases, and
Dusty stopped to study this with a
grave empty face, as if he had
never heard of it before.
“Mr. King,” somebody said,
“they’ve been waiting for you, fully
an hour.”
Dusty looked blank. Then he
clutched his hat to his head in a
startled way, and rushed inside
with a clownish representation of
Within, the crowd of plains-coun
try men—bronzed men, saddle-faced
men, sometimes bearded men—gave
way as King, followed by Bill Roper,
shouldered his way to the back.
“Is this the place,” King asked,
“where the feller is selling the
The deputy commissioner took his
feet off his table. “The sale was
supposed to start at two o’clock,”
he complained.
A little tribute, there. The com
missioner—perhaps already in Ben
Thorpe’s pay—hardly dared start an
important sale, without present this
slouching, nondescript-looking repre
sentative of King-Gordon.
“No word has come from your
partner at all,” the commissioner
“He ain’t coming.”
Three men who sat in chairs
grouped around one end of the table
looked at each other. They ignored
King and Roper, as hostile dogs ig
nore an enemy of whom they are
not yet keenly aware.
The big man in the light-colored
hat was Ben Thorpe — the Ben
Thorpe, whose far-scattered hold
ings perhaps already exceeded those
of King-Gordon. Thick-shouldered
now, heavy-bodied, he was today
more than ever a power feared in
the cattle country—still unscrupu
lous, still menacing, but now of a
different sort—a power of wealth, of
organization, and of bought-up law.
Beside him, the tall man, lean and
narrow-bodied as a slat, was Cleve
Tanner; a hawk-faced man, keen
eyed, so cleanly shaven that the
tight skin of his jaws seemed to
shine. Cleve Tanner was manager
of Ben Thorpe’s Texas holdings, the
breeding grounds from which
Thorpe’s whole organization drew
its strength.
The other, the man who seemed
uncommonly dark, even among
these sun-darkened men, was Walk
Lasham. He was Ben Thorpe’s man
ager in the north, now; under his
poker-faced watchfulness lay Ben
Thorpe’s northern holdings, the feed
ing grounds now necessary to any
wide operation in the cattle trade.
The deputy commissioner raised
his voice. “This,” he said, “is a
federal auction, to place by public
bidding certain lands in the charge
of the Indian Department, by the
authority of the Secretary of the In
terior and the President of the
United States; namely certain
lands ...”
He droned through his preamble
perfunctorily; everyone in the crowd
knew exactly what was involved.
Something more than land was here
changing hands. To hold the Crying
Wolf would all but mean supremacy
in the north. But this thing was
bigger than that The two organiza
tions which here clashed again were
the great powers of the trails; be
hind each of them were whole coun
ties of Texas mesquite grass plains,
great are^s of the middle short
grass country, scores of outfits. The
strugglo between them had devel
oped with the Chisholm trail itself
—a decade-long combat between
men of diametrically opposed prin
ciples and methods. And now—
"This land," the deputy commis
sioner concluded, “is thrown into
blocks. I think, gentlemen, you are
already familiar with the placement
of the lands. Block 1 includes, as
previously agreed, an estimated one
hundred sections, or sixty-four thou
sand acres, known hereinafter as
‘Block 1’; bounded on the north
Cleve Tanner leaned close to Ben
Thorpe, whispered, and Thorpe nod
"I shouldn’t think,” said the depu
ty commissioner, "we need hear any
bid of less than ten cents per year,
per acre.”
There was a moment’s silence,
and the deputy commissioner got out
a big silk handkerchief and mopped
his head, as King now let a slow
smile come to the surface of his
impassive face. A curious rumble
ran over the room, and the crowd
seemed to sway.
"I got a proposition, Dusty King
said. "Nobody is bidding on this
land but just us two; nobody means
to bid. Throw the whole thing in one
pot and we’ll bid on the works.”
"I’ll agree to that,” Thorpe de
cided. The black anger In his face
had submerged again, so that he
was poker-eyed.
The deputy commissioner was be
ginning to look like a man who
wished he were some place else.
"If there are no objections—”
"Fifty cents," said Dusty King.
Ben Thorpe’s face had turned a
curious color, not gray, certainly
not bloodless; an odd congested col
or, like dark sand. "Fifty-five,” he
"A dollar," said Dusty King.
"A dollar, five."
"Just in confidence between you
and me,” Dusty King said; "Mr.
Thorpe can’t pay that"
"I think my name is good any
where in the cow country,” Thorpe
said to the commissioner.
"It ain’t good here,” said King.
The deputy commissioner slapped
his pen down on the table. "Gentle
men,” he said, "I’m sorry to do this;
but in the interests of the govern
ment, and of the Indian Department
which I represent, all further bids
in this auction will be accepted only
as representing American gold.”
“Cash on the nail?” King asked.
"Immediate payment in Ogalla
la.” There was no question now
about the sweat that stood out on
the commissioner’s forehead.
"Seventy cents,” said King.
"I’m already bid a dollar, five!”
"Sure; but we got different rules
now. God knows Thorpe can’t back
a dollar, five in gold. What kind
of shenanigan is this, anyway?”
The eyes or the deputy commis
sioner went to Ben Thorpe’s face
again, but there was nothing to be
read there. Thorpe seemed so
lumpishly still that it was not ap
parent that he breathed.
“Seventy cents,” said Dusty King
again in the silence. “Whoop ’er
up, boys—I’ve only begun!”
Silence again through the pack of
those saddle-faced men; perspiring
silence on the part of the deputy
commissioner, dead lumpish si
lence on the part of Ben Thorpe.
Cleve Tanner, his hands locked back
of his neck, looked at the ceiling;
Walk Lasham sat motionless, his
eyes on the face of his boss.
“You—” the deputy commission
er wavered, "you—you can back this
bid in gold?”
“Immediate delivery by Wells
Fargo,” King said. “Right now, in
“Mr. Thorpe,” the commissioner
wavered, “Mr. Thorpe, will you—do
They waited for what Ben Thorpe
would say. His face was expres
sionless still, as he got up from his
chair; but men stumbled over each
other to get out of his way, as he
walked down the length of that
packed room, and out into the street.
The deputy commissioner seemed
melted down, unrecognizable now as
the crisp little man who had opened
the bidding. His face was white
and set, and his eyes showed fear.
“Well?” said King.
“The Crying Wolf,” the commis
sioner said huskily, “the Crying
Wolf lands—if—if there are no oth
er bids—go to King-Gordon ...”
Something like a sigh, a general
release of tension, ran through that
jam of men.
Close to Dusty King’s ear Bill Rop
er asked, out of the side of his
mouth, “How high would we—how
high could we have gone?”
The mask of Dusty King’s face
broke up; every muscle in his face
came into action, every tooth
showed as he grinned.
“Seven.'y cents,” King answered
Hand-Crocheted Hat, Bag Sets,
To Be Popular This Summer
NOW that dame fashion has given
a high rating to hand-crocheted
garments, it behooves every style
minded woman to stop, look and lis
ten to what is being said and done
in regard to this very smart trend.
Via a simple crochet hook, a spool
or so of crochet cotton, or perhaps
a skein or so of washable cotton
yam, lovely-to-look-at styles may be
You could search everywhere and
It would be difficult to find anything
more fetching in hat and bag sets
than the masterpieces in crochet
artistry such as here pictured.
Even if you have never crocheted be
fore, with a little application and a
willingness to “live and learn," you
can crochet for yourself a whole col
lection of accessory items every bit
as pretty and wearable as those
here shown. A fascinating pastime
you will find it, too, for the work is
easy and the cost of crochet cot
tons low.
Doesn't the very sight of the cun
ning fashions illustrated make your
fingers fairly tingle to crochet and
crochet until you have acquired a
number of accessories to wear with
your summer outfits?
Have you ever tried crocheting
with heavy cotton rug yarn, boilfast
and washable. The work just
speeds along. In no time you can
finish a new hat and bag. The at
tractive high-crowned turban-and
bag twosome shown to the left in
the picture is crocheted of heavy
white cotton rug yarn. It also
comes in colors. You will be sur
prised and delighted at how quickly
this set can be made. There's noth
ing intricate or tedious about it!
For the star-trimmed crochet pill
box and matching round bag to the
right, use mercerized cotton thread.
The star detail is somewhat mili
tary in effect, as so many fashions
art this summer. Mercerized cot
ton thread was used also for the
beret in the inset below. Note the
colorful crochet emblem which
adorns the front of the crown.
Describing other attractive cro
chet themes, a prim little Gibson
sailor is worth noting. It is cro
cheted of mercerized cotton in a
firm, even, single stitch and is so
manipulated it keeps in perfect
shape. A cluster of crochet berries
in self color is its only trim. Be
assured this sailor is very good look
As clever a headpiece as any mod
ern school girl would want is the
“pigtail calot." It is really very
similar to the popular schoolgirl
“beanie” and is worn on the back
of the head in exactly the same
manner. The novel and amusing
part is a long braid of yarn that
starts from the crown center of
the calot and dangles to the waist
in back, just like a Chinaman’s pig
tail. To add more interest, the
braided yarn is tied with a hair
ribbon in school-girl fashion.
If it is a lace-trimmed hat you
want, it may be crocheted in a lacy
open-work stitch and when finished,
starched very stiff.
(Released by Western Newspaper Union.)
New Sports Fabric
This very good-looking frock is
made of a new and unusual sports
fabric, which, because of its out
standing attractiveness plus its de
pendable wearability, may be re
garded as a real "find'’ for women
who seek reliable materials. It is
a rough crepe, one of a number of
new creative fabrics done in
Celanese rayon and silk. Woven
with a special twist in the yam, a
pleasing unevenness is produced—
best described as a splash effect.
This charming frock will be well
liked both because of the ripple
surfaced crepe that fashions it and
because of the promise it carries of
satisfactory wearableness. Note
how smartly it is styled, with the
new accented hipline.
Open-Tliroat Necklines
Low-cut necklines are increasing
In popularity. In blouses it is the
open-throat turn-back collar type
that leads. Dresses have very low
V-shape lines. Whether necklines
are square, round or Ijeartshape,
they are low cut this summer.
New Cottons Make
Fashion Headlines
Cottons are not news, but the cot
ton materials manufactured today
are not only news, but front page
One of the highspots on the sum
mer program of cottons is the suit
of crinkly seersucker. At the races
fashion-wise women are wearing
these suits. The perfected tailoring
of these suits gives them a thorough
bred air that is recognized at a
Chambray is also gaining in popu
larity. Emphasis on striped cham
bray leads to such intriguing
styling as the dress of monotone
chambray that is detailed with
stripes. Matching hat and bag com
plete the costume.
A word about the new colorful
denims and gabardines. The latest
message is bright yellow denim for
play clothes. And flowered chintz
is seen in both formal and infor
mal dresses.
In the evening cottons go forth in
party frocks of gingham and flow
ered prints, and in peasant skirts
with blouse or middy tops. This
season’s cotton sheers never were
Cotton Fabric-Type Lace
Enters Fashion Picture
Lace is “all set” for a tremendous
vogue this summer. Special empha
sis is on a new allover—patterned
cotton lace that is so fabriclike that
it is practical for dresses, redingotes
and all types of summertime ensem
bles, including the suit tailored of
starched cotton lace, either in white
or colors.
Week-End Matchmates
Practically a complete wardrobe
within itself is the five-piece
matchmate cottons now selling I
throughout stores the country over.
Very practical and very attractive
are these ensembles made up of five
pieces—pajamas or slacks, shorts,
bra-top, butcher-boy smock and
knee-deep coat.
v_-=^- ^
C'RANKLY, the purpose of thi*
1 frock is to make you look sweet
and pretty 1 A high point of charm
is the open-sleeved effect, accent*
ed by flattering frills. The por
trait neckline is wickedly becom
ing. This fashion makes up very
charmingly in silk print, taffeta,
and afternoon cottons. Easy to do.
# • •
Pattern No. 8929 la designed In even
sizes 13 to 20. Size 14. 4ft yards 39-lnch
material; 3ft yards ready-made ruffling.
For this attractive pattern, send your or
ler to:
Room 1324
211 W. Wacker Dr. Chicago
Enclose 13 cents in coins for
Pattern No.Size..,,.,.,
Name ..
Address ....
HAIR without
razor, liquid, A r
paste, powder £ wc
Baby Touch Hair Remover
ii the modern way to re
move hair from the arms,
lege and faca. No chemi
cals—no odor. Use it like
a powder puff. Women prefer it because if is
so convenient to use, and costs so little. Try
It—if you don't like it better than any other
method just return It to us. Your money will
be promptly refunded. At drug and department
stores or tend 25c for one or $1.00 for five of
the Baby Touch Pads. Baby Touch Mittens
(Two sides) 35c each, 3 for $1.00.
4839A Fyler Are. :: St. Louis, Mo.
Swaying Mind
When the mind is in a state of
uncertainty, the smallest impulse
directs it to either side.—Terence.
-Nervous Restless-i
|a|pgA I Cranky? Restless?
■Ill IN * Can’t sleep? Tire
■Mil IV ■ easily? Because of
distress of monthly
functional disturbances? Then try
Lydia E. Plnkham’s Vegetable Com
Plnkham’s Compound Is famous
for relieving pain of lrregularperlods
and cranky nervousness due to such
disturbances. One of the most effec
tive medicines you can buy today
for this purpose —made especially
Jot women. WORTH TRYING!
Dark Ignorance
Ignorance is the night of the
mind, but a night without moon
or star.—Confucius.
Must Be GOOD
to be
Consistently Advertised