Fiction Romance Western
At age 16, he stood up in the classroom and walked out. It was time to get on with life. A dirt-poor family. An Irish ill-tempered father. Tolliver had the reputation for petty theft, but never caught and charged. The young man worked as a horse-breaker on several local ranches and became a fair judge of horseflesh.
Tolliver did work as a stagecoach station hand. That was his first glimpse of a lifestyle he aspired to. One night working late he forgot to lock the back door of a stables and unwittingly allowed a four-man team a hideout after a bank robbery. He discovered the sleeping men in the loft the next morning. Tolliver Asked to be taken with them when they fled. He never looked back.
It was a wake of robbing, rustling and cold-blooded murder he left behind him and whoever else chose to ride alongside. Tolliver bore the scars and bruises of his escapades. But the deepest wound would fester until he knew the truth about his childhood.
Tolliver was haunted by stories about his late natural-born mother, Minnie. Now a grown man with nothing to lose, he had tracked her last known whereabouts down to a small town in Southern California. Whoever had caused her pain, however she had died, someone was about to pay the price.
Newton Cutter was of strong German-Swiss stock, one of the successful gold miners who had ever walked out of the Bear Valley, California gold fields. Pure brute strength and stubborn determination kept the hard digging going until he had found a fortune. It was a fierce competition with claim wars, unscrupulous miners, and Cutter had butted heads with more than a few.
At eighteen, leaving his family almost two thousand miles away, Cutter decided to move on. The freezing winters drove him south to find a warmer climate and one day he rode into a quiet county town called Bradford. A handsome, single man used to physical labor, he renovated an old warehouse and opened up the only blacksmith shop within sixty miles. Within two years, it was a thriving business and Cutter had once again found a satisfying level of success.
The cold past was a distant memory. He started building his own home. He proposed to a beautiful girl from a wealthy San Francisco family. The future looked bright until the shadow of the past walked into town one day.