Colorado Territory is in the midst of a struggle for statehood in 1876; at the same time the United States is in the midst of a Presidential Election. It would prove to be perhaps the most corrupt election in U.S. history. Some newspapers made jest of the new President Elect, naming him "Rutherfraud" B. Hayes. Politics makes for strange bedfellows and few partnerships could be stranger than that of the ex-butcher from the mean streets of Chicago, Dane Larsen, and the aging Cheyenne Dog Soldier, Red Elk, a member of the Reservation Police.
Dane Larsen is the son of immigrants, born in Chicago, and raised near the Union Stockyards. As a toddler he was entertained by tales of Vikings and rievers. The tales of raiding Vikings seemed far more appealing than following in his father's footsteps working as a butcher for the meat-packing industry. Drifting west to escape the killing floor, he discovers a new type of killing floor in the wide open spaces. The bounty hunter has a quick temper and a Sharps Big .50. Anyone gunning for Dane Larsen better not miss.
No longer believing the Cheyenne can stem the rising tide of settlers that invaded their traditional homeland, Red Elk merely wants his people to be able to survive the flood. Investigating the murder of his cousin, he discovers a plot suggesting that his people are going to be sacrificed for political gain in the upcoming Territorial election. Dane's Law is a story that invites you to ride along with the butcher-turned-bounty-hunter, Ivarr "Dane" Larsen and the Cheyenne warrior as they join forces to try to unravel the riddle of why someone wants Dane Larsen dead, and who stands to benefit by creating an all-out war between the Cheyenne and the citizens of the Territory!
“It would be interesting to know what will become of him.” Two Coats observed, watching Dane ride away. “His people will see him as a renegade, if it is known he rode with us.”
“I’m not sure he thinks of it that way.” Red Elk responded. “The spider-people have a written law that says certain things are bad, or good. I don’t think he cares much about what is written on paper. He is a man who decides for himself what is good, and what is bad, without consulting a piece of paper. I think, in his mind, he does follow the law; Dane’s law.”The big white man is a butcher by trade. He’s killed, cleaned and skinned many different animals. Perhaps, he views us all as so much meat. Inside, we are all just flesh, blood, and bone, regardless of the color of the hide. That would explain why his conscience allows him to hunt men for a living. Just blood, bone, and hide; some worth more than others.”
“I had not thought of it those terms,” Two Coats stated with a frown. “Does that make him a good man, or a bad man?”
Red Elk shrugged. “I have seen what he can do with that Sharps Big .50. I think that makes him a good man to have as a friend, and a very bad man to have as an enemy!”
Author's note: Dane's Law is a western, but one that reads as more contemporary than a typical western. Political intrigue, graft, corruption, and government inefficiency are not soley the perogative of current times. After all, it was Napoleon Bonaparte that observed, “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap”.
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For more western action, read A Child of the Wind, by Steve Croy.