Killing Time

NewArizona Territory was rough country in the late 19th century. Cattle barons ruled small empires, sometimes built on government lands, stolen cattle, and fast guns. The border between the territory and Old Mexico was an invisible barrier that men north and south of the border acknowledged or ignored, based on which proved to be the most expedient at any given time. There was silver and gold in the ground for a few lucky prospectors. On the other hand, cattle, proved to be gold on the hoof for those ranchers that could get a herd to market. That is why rustlers were pursued with a vengeance. Taking money out of the pocket of any wealthy cattle baron, was buying a ticket to a hangman's noose. Any man accused of rustling was sure to face swift, often vigilante justice.

Trey Connelly was a top cow hand, tired of eating trail dust, looking to try his hand at prospecting. It was just bad luck that his search for a rich claim put him in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Framed for rustling, defended by a drunken advocate, Trey Connelly is hanged by a vigilante mob, inflamed by the very men who had named him as a rustler. Swinging from a hemp rope was not an uncommon ending for many a rustler--in fact it was a common tale in Western folklore. Thus the hanging in the small town of Magdalena might not have been particularly noteworthy at all; if the attorney for the defense, Benton Hull, had stayed drunk and the accused, Trey Connelly had just stayed dead!


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