Story by Garry Armstrong
Pictures by Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

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More than a week in Arizona and we couldn’t lose them. We couldn’t see them. The big country that protected us shielded them, too. It was the posse from Hell!


We kept to the high country, hoping the cactus, tumbleweed and narrow trails would distance us.

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Scorpion Gulch was the way to the mountains and beyond. We saw a few pilgrims here and there taking in the view. They ignored us. Good for them.


This was the same trail used by Waco Johnny Dean, Long Tom and Dutch Henry Brown in the relentless chase for that Winchester ’73.

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The same trail used by Sheriff Pearly B. Sweet and the posse from Welcome and Carefree who pursued Bob Hightower, Pete and the Abilene Kid, the three Godfathers.

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There was no losing our posse from Hell.

Rawhide, we figured, might be a good place to lose those guys … whoever they were.

Rawhide — a place where dudes are welcome. We wouldn’t be noticed as the pilgrims sashayed up and down Main Street. Maybe the posse from Hell might have paper on a few of these strangers.

Rawhide also was a good place to grab some grub. Maybe even some shut-eye. But no time for real fun if you get my drift. Those pilgrims kept giving us shifty looks.



Back on the trail, I thought we saw an old saddle pal. He rode with us in the old days. He was a good old boy. Turned out he was dead and just a statue, probably done in by the railroad men who dogged us for too many years. Close up, our old pal still looked good. They don’t make men like him any more.

We had to move on. No sense chasing memories. We wanted to head back to the high country and the safety of those mountains. But time was running out. We knew the end was near.

Just as well. We were running low on luck and bullets.

The posse from hell finally cornered us at Wild Horse Pass. They stayed with their long guns as we faced them down. It was a long day’s siege into night.


We would not go quietly. We could see the fear in their eyes as we held our position. Clearly, we  had them on experience, as we stared across the pass and other confrontations which have blurred over the years.

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In the distance, we heard the strains of “Shall We Gather At The River” sung mournfully by the good folks at The Light of The Desert Lutheran Church. Was this a boot hill elegy?

Print the legend.

Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Fiction, Garry Armstrong, Humor, story

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22 replies

  1. During that Arizona visit…I was like a kid in John Ford country.

    All those classic westerns swirled in my head. I cudda sworn I saw Waco Johnny Dean and Dutch Henry Brown, I wudda blasted them to save Jimmy Stewart who already had to deal with Liberty Valance and that printed legend.


  2. This is hilarious. Thnks for the laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those were the days…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fun story of cowboys and more cowboys in the desert! And great illustrations to go with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry is a bigtime western movie fan and taking all those picture in Arizona … it was a movie for him. And he could remember all the movies he’d seen made in those mountains, too 🙂


    • Slmret, my heroes have always been cowboys. Especially in the old westerns when good guys wore white hats and bad hombres dressed in Black.


  5. Great stuff, Garry. I only ever dreamed of being a cowboy. I had my chaps and six shooter…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate it especially when I run low on luck. I never have any bullets.

    Liked by 2 people

    • If you had the right scriptwriter, you would have HUNDREDS of bullets in your six gun. In the end, it’s all about the script. It always is.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Bullets. Not enough to pay for my bullets. The old man was right.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Martha, ever notice in the old oaters that the good guys never run out of bullets. their 6 shooters have maybe 3 dozen rounds. I hate it that they always have to break the brand new windows in the cabins top fend off the bad guys.

      Liked by 1 person


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