|Jason Manning, Writer||
With the War Between the States ragin' in the East, the Confederacy had a strong hankerin' for the Yankee gold coming overland from California through Fort Yuma, Arizona Territory. With the help of folks spuing for the South but working for the Union, Alkali Jim Sullivan and his gang of thievin' bushwhackers took to robbin' the Wells Fargo payroll shipments and keepin' more 'n a little of the loot for themselves.
Only one man had the gumption to stand tall against the killers and his name was John Clayton Lonaker. A legend on the prairie for his raw courage and fast gun, Lonaker signed on to ride shotgun with the new shipment along the Oxbow Route to Yuma. Backed by his whiplash-tough pard Huck Odum, the Union gunman dealt death from the top of is iron-plated war wagon against Sullivan and his Rebel compadres until the trail of traitors' blood came to an end at the....
Showdown at Seven Springs
1992 by Jason Manning
Zebra Books (New York)
This novel brings the outbreak of the Civil War to the Wild West, and one of the few of my westerns in which the protagonist had a genuine sidekick -- in this case, Huck Odum, who turned out to be a pretty entertaining character. As for the armored stagecoach, there is some evidence that the Pinkertons had an armored wagon, and of course several movies have featured one, most notably War Wagon. This was my last Zebra western, as I subsequently moved on to Signet and bigger historical novels.