While Angels Dance, nominated for a Pulitzer in 1994
Available in hardcover, paperback and e-book editions.---
Jeston Nash bears a striking resemblance to his cousin Jesse Woodson James of Clay County Missouri. After killing a Yankee soldier in self-defense, Jeston meets his cousins, Jesse and Frank, and joins them to fight in Quantrill's guerilla forces.
Later, after the war, he rides with the James-Younger gang as they invent their special brand of bank and train robbery. All the while, Jeston seeks vengeance against Daniel Zanone of the Free Kansas Militia - the man responsible for the death of his child.
In 1868, as U.S. Cavalry begins another romp towards manifest destiny in the heart of Indian land, the Sioux Nation is ripped apart by one tribe's angry death throes and another tribe's greed.
Not above greed themselves, and plenty used to killing, Nash, Quiet Jack Smith and the mysterious black man named Big Shod road on into the storm. From a plan to deal in stolen horses, they found themselves fighting madmen, warriors and thieves - not just for their lives, not just for gold, but for the difference between right and wrong.
Ralph Cotton spins another epic tale of guns and grit in the wake of the Civil War, a journey through a world of outlaw justice and the men who lived and died for it.
Sure, it would've been easy
killing Two Diamond Joe with a second shot. No
man takes a .44 round square between the eyes
and survives. But Jeston Nash only
wants his prize horse back from the man, and a
fast trail out of the New Mexico badlands.
Together again with Quiet Jack, Nash is on
a hunt that will take him through unforgiving
terrain, a tangle of firebrand beauties, and even
into a lawman's trust---before squaring off with
most ruthless pack of gunmen ever to rule the desert
In a hail of thunder and gunfire, Jeston Nash fled a new Orleans billiards hall with a land deed in one hand, a blazing pistol in the other. He'd won his gamble with Quick Quintan Cordell fair and square. But in seconds, violence flared, Cordell lay dead, and Sheriff Pat Garret's still rang in Nash's ears...somewhere, someday, they would meet again...
Jeston Nash learned about robbery from his cousin, Jesse James. But it was the wild outlaw Billy the Kid who taught him that even a wanted man is just a man. Nash catches up with the kid in a dusty town of drunken bottle-shooters. Along with a scraggly band of gamblers and gunslingers, they ride for New Mexico, where for Billy the Kid, freedom lies just beyond the border.
For Nash, the enchanted land holds the chance to exchange his hard-won land deed for the hauntingly beautiful and seductive Contessa Cortez. But their dreams turn to dust in the face of revolutionists, scalp hunters, and the deadliest threat to of all - the determined Sheriff Pat Garret, who plans to take Nash down with the Kid, all in the name of justice.
Jeston Nash is used to dodging bullets, but when a hired thug's rotten remark gets under his skin, he can't let it go - and he makes himself an instant enemy aboard a snowbound train owned by the sleaze's boss, Ben Larr. A rich son-of-a-gun hell-bent on getting the grizzly who robbed him of a leg, Larr is a fouler piece of work than the usual brand of lowlifes Nash comes up against.
When Larr blackmails Nash into leading his hunt, Nash discovers the killers of man in Larr's twisted domain - a netherworld filled with violence and drugs, obsession and revenge. Before long, he finds himself face-to-face with Laura, Larr's gorgeous but murderously manipulative wife, and one savage grizzly, a man-killer straight from the jaws of hell.
Jeston Nash knew horses-he'd stolen enough of them in his time. But the lookalike cousin of Jesse James was going respectable, almost. Then, in New Orleans awash in drunks and blue uniforms, he sold a horse to a well-bred lady, It was the biggest mistake of his career....
He hit Fort with a belly full of wounds and without one boot. His horse had been stolen, and he'd stolen it back-along with some bootleg crackers. All and all, it hadn't been a pleasant trip through the dreaded Black Hills. But at least Jeston Nash-for the time being calling himself Beatty-hadn't drowned. Now he fully intended to fulfill a promise: to deliver an unridable horse called Honest Bob to a woman named Custer.
The trouble was, the wife of General George Armstrong Custer, Elizabeth, wasn't very interested in the horse she'd persuaded Nash to deliver. In fact, Mrs. Custer was on the war path. So were the Sioux-and General Custer's commanders in Washington. Suddenly, Nash finds himself in the middle of the most dangerous kind of fight: a marital squabble. Before he knows it he's riding alongside a hardheaded, buffalo hunting, blonde haired general who's sure glory awaits them-at a place called Little Big Horn.
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