A Four-Book Series
By Gary L Stuart
“Angus—Riding the Rio Chama”
“Angus—Riding the Rio Pecos”
“Angus—Riding the Rio Grande”
“Angus—Riding the Valles Caldera”
Angus, a young cowboy, rides the high country separating the Territory of New Mexico from the State of Colorado in 1881. He’s a complicated man whose love for riding mountain ridges and fast running rivers defines his existence. He likes to ride at night, talks to his horse, and seems a mystery to most that cross his path. While riding the banks of the Rio Chama, he gets caught up in a series of train robberies in the famous Toltec Gorge. A posse and a Pinkerton man chase him up and down mountain passes and through roaring rivers until a fierce gun battle resolves the matter. Two men die but Angus rides on. Some think he’s an outlaw himself. Others think he’s a good but secretive man who knows things no one else does. At book’s end, some but not all of Angus’s secrets are revealed in a courtroom scene. Turns out, Angus ain’t what anyone thought he was. Once again, he rides out of town after telling the boys in that posse to keep their cinches tight.
In Book Two, Angus rides south-by-southeast, along the Rio Pecos where he runs headlong into a famous New Mexico outlaw called Black Jack Ketchum. Black Jack was older, bolder, and much better known at the time than Billy The Kid. Angus finds himself spending a little time with Black Jack, and another famous outlaw, Butch Cassidy, at their hideout known as the Hole-In-The Wall, in Union County New Mexico. In a series of high country chases, shootouts, and disastrous river crossings, Angus and Ketchum part company. Their parting could not have been imagined by either one, not to mention the outlaws, sheriffs, and United States Marshals who eventually brought peace to the New Mexico Territory.
Book Three brings Angus back into central New Mexico, riding down the Rio Grande from its headwaters in Colorado to Albuquerque New Mexico, in 1885. He becomes immersed in another famous New Mexico event, the notorious hanging of Albuquerque Town Marshal Milton J. Yarberry. They hung him in a most unusual way—from a gallows that jerked his body upward to a high beam rather than dropping him down through a trap door. The story follows two controversial murder convictions, which were upheld by the New Mexico Supreme Court. Along the way down the Rio Grande, Angus meets Jill Garrison, New Mexico’s first female gunsmith and high-end shooting instructor. She proves mighty influential to a man used to riding alone in the high country.
In Book Four, Angus rides up high into New Mexico’s Valles Caldera, on the trail of the infamous Mendoza Mendoza. The chase epitomizes the end of an era in New Mexico and the beginning of a new life for Angus. Nonetheless, as always, the chase is hard, and populated by men of the gun riding magnificent horses whose speed and stamina made the American cowboy a legend in his own time.
All four books use the historic American plot (Stranger Comes to Town). This elemental theme drives the tension between what people think Angus is doing, and what he actually does—he’s the American west’s first undercover policeman. Moreover, he’s a man who relishes his freedom to ride ranges and rivers not yet barb-wired, fully civilized, or even domesticated. Every woman he meets falls a little in love with him. Every man admires or hates him, depending on which side of the law they are on. From his first gunfight, on the slopes of Ten Shoes Up, to his capture of Black Jack Ketchum just outside the Hole-In-The-Wall, and on to his running gun battle in the Valles Caldera with a very bad man, Mendoza Mendoza, Angus never backs down, and survives to see justice prevail, his way.
At the end of the four-book series, Angus does what everyone thought he would. He tightens up his cinch and urges his pony down into a fast running river.
About Gary L. Stuart
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Published April 15, 2013
Westerns, Literature & Fiction.