Cattleman Catlow

A skilled cowhand makes a name for himself on the Plains in this excerpt from Louis L’Amour’s “Catlow.”

| March/April 2018

  • Cattle herding was a rugged job for the likes of Cattleman Catlow.
    Photo by Getty Images/DaydreamsGirl
  • A Texas hill country sunset.
    Photo by Getty Images/nkbimages
  • "Catlow" by Louis L'Amour.
    Photo courtesy Bantam Books
  • Cover of Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 1, featuring a variety of stories.
    Photo courtesy Bantam Books

Catlow ( Bantam, 2004) by Louis L'Amour follows the adventurous life of fictional cowhand and outlaw Bijah Catlow. This excerpt is from Chapter 1.

Wherever buffalo grazed, cattle were rounded up, or mustangs tossed their tails in flight, men talked of Bijah Catlow.

He was a brush-buster from the brazada country down along the Nueces, and he could ride anything that had hair. He made his brag that he could outfight, outride, outtalk, and outlove any man in the world, and he was prepared to accept challenges, any time or place.

Around chuck-wagon fires or line camps from the Brazos to the Musselshell, men talked of Bijah Catlow. They talked of his riding, his shooting, or the wild brawls in which, no matter how angry others became, Bijah never lost his temper — or the fight.

Abijah was his name, shortened in the manner of the frontier to Bijah. He was a broad-shouldered, deep-chested, hell-for-leather Irishman who emerged from the War Between the States with three decorations for bravery, three courts-martial, and a reputation for being a man to have on your side in any kind of a shindig, brannigan, or plain old alley fight.

A shock-headed man with a disposition as open as a Panhandle prairie, he was as ready to fight as an Irishman at a Dutchman’s picnic; and where the wishes of Bijah Catlow were crossed he recognized the laws of neither God nor man. But the law had occasion to recognize Bijah Catlow; and the law knew him best in the person of Marshal Ben Cowan.

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