A prequel to Spirit of Love and Spirit of the Sabre

By Darla Vasilas

Bill Raines was the Marshal in Rio Madre, Texas.  He knew he needed a deputy and eventually hired 19 year old Corey Hansen.  They developed a close working relationship as they tried to keep the town free of the riffraff that came and went.  While trying to bring down a gang of rustlers, Corey undergoes a life-changing crisis, and Marshal Raines has to deal with the aftermath.


It was May 1878, in the small Texas town of Rio Madre located in the southern part of what is now the Texas panhandle.  Forty-two year old Marshal Bill Raines was six feet tall, had slightly graying hair, brown eyes and a medium build.  He had been hired three months before and was still getting to know the folks around the area.  Most of them he found to be normal, law-abiding citizens.  That is, until it was payday and the area cowhands would come into town to spend their hard-earned money.  Now he saw nothing wrong with that, not at all.  They were supplying a livelihood to the local merchants, saloon keepers, and any number of travelling gamblers that might be gracing the town with their presence at the time.  The problems came when these law-abiding cowhands would have a few too many drinks at the saloon and suddenly think they were God’s gift to the women in the town, especially the saloon girls.  They also seemed to take a dislike to any gambler that would try to ‘cheat’ them out of their hard-earned money.  It never occurred to them that, maybe, they were just not good poker players.  Also, recently, some of the local ranchers had been missing some of their stock.  Not a lot, but it was becoming more than a suspicion that there just might be a rustler problem developing in the territory.  Therein lies our story.