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Toll Bridge and Other Short Stories : Toll Bridge, Weight of Command, the Code (MP3-CD) (Ernest Haycox)
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As proprietor of a lone boarding house in an isolated canyon, Kelsey Taggert is accustomed to the hardscrabble life he endures in the tough western country. But when a stagecoach brings a beautiful, wily woman and an outlaw to his door, Taggert begins to look for the gentler things in life with which to balance the harsh and stark realities of existence in the West.
"Weight of Command"
Several travelers risk death, and worse, to reach Lordsburg, Arizona. Among them—an English hunter, a whiskey drummer, a young woman known only as Henriette, an army officer's fiancée, a gambler and Malpais Bill, who's on his way to a gunfight. The stage route crosses hostile Apache territory—and they will be spotted.
Old-timer Gabe is accustomed to younger, arrogant men roughing him up, so when a newcomer comes in between Gabe and an ugly brawl with fiery upstart, Gabe isn’t sure how to respond. By helping Gabe, the newcomer has made himself the target of vicious repercussions, but warning him of the danger would break a sacred, unspoken code of the West: never venture into another man’s business. Yet, since the newcomer has already broken into Gabe’s business, Gabe starts to question if the code should be kept.