Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Wade Shiveley had killed his own brother in a fight over a squaw and had murdered and robbed old man Howell. Now he had been captured. The officers wanted Uncle Press Shiveley, Wade’s father, to try to get Wade to say where he had hidden the money. Uncle Press, however, had threatened to shoot Wade if he ever laid eyes on him again, and so in his place, he sent Clay Calvert, the son of one of Wade’s wives. Clay did not want to go because he also hated Wade. Uncle Press gave Clay a gun to slip to Wade in the jail. Having loaded the gun with blank cartridges, he hoped Wade would use the worthless gun to attempt an escape and thus be shot down by the officers.
On the way to the jail, Clay met a horse trader and his wife and daughter. When Clay slipped the gun to Wade in jail, Wade said that he had not killed Howell, that Howell was killed by a bullet that split when it was fired and that such a bullet did not fit his own gun. Wade had always been a liar, but Clay suspected that this time he might be telling the truth.
Clay left town to hide in Wade’s abandoned shack until after Wade had been killed and buried. Later, Uncle Press sent a half-breed Indian to tell him that Wade had escaped and that the sheriff was looking for Clay as an accomplice. Clay left the shack with the Indian, taking with him Wade’s rifle he had found there. After traveling awhile, they met the horse trader and his woman again. Clay learned that the girl was called...
(The entire section is 1198 words.)
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