A Novel Excerptby Ron Hansen
Henry “Kid” Antrim got hired again as a hay reaper, this time for an army contractor named Sorghum Smith whose ranch was near Camp Thomas. The Kid’s horse and tack and guns and such had been confiscated in his arrest for horse stealing. Easy enough for him to steal another horse, but he felt he needed weaponry and finally had to request an advance on his wages from Sorghum Smith. The rancher offered him ten dollars but the Kid said he needed forty. The Kid had a talent for wooing folks into obliging him and it worked again on Smith so that the Kid came back from the post trader’s store with a six-shooter, a holster, and a fifty-cent box of cartridges.
And then in August 1877, orphaned by his worthless stepfather, his mother nearly three years gone, things got worse for him. Homesick for his friends in the saloons outside Camp Grant, he thought he could sneak back, have himself a time, and get out of the settlement again before Sixth Army officials found out he was there.