"I can kill a Cartwright, Pa. Let me do it."
Bret Van Remus glanced at his father before staring back out the stagecoach window where the rocky hills and valleys, green with summer in the Sierra Mountains, blurred through his mind. The Overland coach bound from Sacramento to Virginia City, Nevada hit ruts and lingering mud puddles as though included in the fare. Dust had settled on his lips but Bret only tasted the blood of revenge that marked their dusty trail.
He and his pa had fought over their plans for eighteen years, putting it off, finding flaws, making adjustments, and now at age 30 he felt still 12, with no future and no past, just anger.
“We don’t need to involve any outsiders.”
Clete Van Remus brushed absently at the dirt on his chesterfield coat without looking up from his papers. "No. I’ve said this before. I want your hands clean in this." He'd seen to their privacy in the coach by paying the full fare for just the two of them.
Pa thought himself wise using those eighteen years to invest, barter and even steal wherever possible. And now, by throwing money around in Virginia City they would remain above suspicion when things started to go wrong for one particular family of so-called noble citizens. But Bret couldn’t get past his own need – no matter how remorseless a killer Clete eventually finds to do the proper harm to the right target.
"Nobody'd know it was me." Bret pulled his long blonde hair from his face, an unconscious game he played with the wind. He didn’t share with his pa, whose nearsightedness affected not only his physical ability to see the present but often the future, too, that he felt capable of exploding into a million bits of uncontrolled rage just seeing one of those murdering Cartwrights.
The bumpy ride didn’t keep Clete from studying the property claim papers he had legally drawn and notarized. For the hundredth time, Bret thought, he checked them to make sure they'd fool any judge in the land. Clete finally put the papers down to study his son. "Bret, you sound just like you did when you were 12. Now quiet and let me think.”
"You find a problem?" (continue reading)
The wagon rocked, shaking the three runaways into clutching each other as Tobias jumped out.
“Tobias! You’s leaving us here alone?! You promised to keep us safe!”
Tobias turned back to his sister. “They’re catching up to us now, Sadie. We have to split. One of us will get through. You keep going. Don’t stop. You know what to do.”
Sadie clung to her children as Tobias sprinted up a rock cliff and looked for a route of escape. “You be careful, Tobias! I’ll find us a Cartwright, like we planned. You just be careful!”
“We’ll make this right, Sadie, we has to. Lincoln has to. Hurry!”
* * *
With his ranch house waiting cozy and firelight-warm behind him, his sons finishing dinner, Ben Cartwright walked outside to watch the sun fight the coming darkness over Lake Tahoe. No color in the sky, no clouds, no moisture. This was about the driest weather he could remember. Carson Valley was normally dry most of the year, but on the mountain they should have a little rain by now. He couldn’t shake the warning in his gut, a half-grown fear not ready to be shared with his sons. Once he figured its source… (continue reading)
THE internet, a little timing, luck, and some ridiculous miscommunication. Of course ridiculous miscommunication and the internet do go quite well together, so this success, as with most success, the key was in the timing.
Back in 1992 I was head of “the Bonanza Board” on Prodigy’s internet site. I had found no other Bonanza fan sites and since I had just started writing Bonanza fanfic for a western fanzine, craved communicating with other fans.
It was a different kind of internet back then. There was email but no IM’ing and the sites did not send email from other people directly into your inbox. Instead, you had to link on to the public bulletin board to read what others wrote to your posting. Today we would call them ‘blogs’ without RSS feed.
I got nearly an immediate response to the start of this Bonanza fan site, and the first Bonanza-dom was born. Inside that universe I found what I did not expect—all the anger toward Pernell Roberts (Adam) for leaving the show. This eventually led me to give up the site in 1994, at least as its leader. I openly confessed there that after Roberts left I lost interest in the show, so many of those who came together under this Prodigy roof began to revile me.
But I was there long enough to get series creator David Dortort’s attention. Because of timing. (continue reading)