''Michael Zimmer writes in a simple, straightforward way about life in the old West.''
—Historical Novel Society
''. . . an action-packed tale, well told by the always reflective Wil. The chase scene in the rocks, in which Wil and his sweetheart find refuge in a fearsome, bat-infested cave, is as harrowing as any you'll read . . . a fine western, full of amazing gun lore and agreeable horse sense.''
—Finalist for the 2014 Will Rogers Medallion Award
—Finalist for the 2014 Elmer Kelton Award from the
Academy of Western Artist
Wil Chama was interviewed in 1938 as a contributor to the American Legends Collection, a part of the Federal Writers Project. Speaking into an Edison Dictaphone, he narrated the events of his life. His personal narrative included his involvement as a strike breaker in what became known as the Gunnison Affair.
It was as a result of this shameful episode that he gained his reputation as a gunman and sought to bury himself as a driver of a salt wagon in Río Tinto, Texas. What Wil never suspected is that he was engaged to work for the Red Devil Salt Works in Río Tinto not because of his skill as a muleskinner, but precisely because of his reputation as a gunman.
This becomes clear to Wil when Randall Kellums, the owner of the Red Devil, tells him he wants Wil to give up his job as a wagoner and serve notice on Amos Montoya that his company and his people will no longer have access to the salt deposits at Tinto Flats.