Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Short Story, The Tallest Indian in Toltepec, by Will Henry

Hm-m-m. I saw the title of this story and I said to myself, "Self, with a title like that this has to be a tall tale with many comedy tid-bits in it." And so I began reading it and looking for the first bit of comedy, but. alas, there was none. It was a deadly serious, super-secret, spy story in which Charlie Shonto was the chief spy for the Texas Express Stage outfit. His only mission was to deliver "Item 13" to the train in Toltepec, Mexico, from El Paso, Texas. As part of this fifty-mile journey he had to get passed the Executioner of Camargo, Colonel Ortega, and his band of ruffians. Ortega was a shifty, dangerous, deadly leader of the so-called militia who was tryng to prevent "Item 13" from getting across the Rio Grande and to the train at Toltepec.

Shonto's accomplice in this drama was a young Chihuahua Indian boy who was to lead Shonto over a hidden Apache trail to their destination. The young Indian escaped from Ortega while Ortega was in the process of shooting the boy's father dead because the father measured up exactly to a line on a tree drawn by Ortega. Ortega was looking for an Indian of that height and shot any Indio who met the line, innocent or not, he was that mean.

Shonto, feared on both sides of the border, drives over the crossing in a Texas Express stagecoach and is immediately hailed to a stop by Ortega and his gang of wolves looking for this short Indian. Through a ruse, Shonto gets the drop on Ortega and picks up Item 13 and the boy, who had crossed over in the water and takes off for Toltepec on the unhitched stage horses with the wolves not far behind.

I like Will Henry's writing. This story has suspense, tension, action, and mystery, and I give it five stars since it already won a Spur Award.

No comments:

Post a Comment