The Checker Board, Book Three: Satan's Havoc
By 1883, Dave Smith and Sam Eagle Feather Larson leave West Texas when bounty hunters pursue them. Finding a way to survive by chasing wild horses, the two settle into a horse camp where they round up likely horses for re-sale in El Paso. One magnificent herd leader has a reward on its return to the owner, Stan Piper. Dave agrees to break the wild stallion and sets about the dangerous task with help of a large Percheron horse that is three times the size of the herd stallion. Complications begin when Dave locates his missing girl-friend, Dolores Alconda and attempts to rekindle their loving relationship, only to learn that Dolores is to marry someone else, and he is devastated. Young fifteen year old tom-boy Andee Piper has designs on Dave Smith, and becomes his one true friend; though artless and clumsy, Andee attempts to snag Dave’s affections. Dolores further confounds matters, believing her fiancé dead, decides to marry Don Ruis Matoes, wealthy local ranch owner over the protests of her relatives and of Dave, who feels that Matoes has an underlying forbidding agenda. Having no other alternative, Dave stages a raid in which he abducts Dolores, steals Ruis’ racehorse, and a priest which turns into a deadly encounter with Ruis Matoes and his henchman, Ramon Garcia. Dave is seriously injured by the overzealous attempts of the Don and Garcia to learn where Dave has hidden the girl and the horse. Seeking help from the Piper’s, Dave becomes the object of a murderous attempt by Ruis to get what he wants through maneuvering and outright arson. The Piper’s become entangled in the two-way tug of war between Dave and Ruis after they learn that Wes Piper may have legitimate claims on the Matoes rancho. Only through perseverance and the assistance of a federal circuit judge does the show-down come about. Ruis, in his maddened lunacy, snatches Andee and her mother in the hope of outdistancing the law by using the two women as hostages. Saving Andee and her mother from being savagely murdered by the deranged Don falls to the capable hands of Dave, Sam, the Piper’s and the men from the village of San Miguel.