“AUTHOR W.T. BALLARD”

AUTHOR W.T. BALLARD

When it came to sheer production, an even stronger word than prolific might be needed in describing the writing career of Willis Todhunter Ballard, a career that began before he reached his teens.

Born December 13, 1903, in Cleveland, Ohio, his first short story appeared in Hunter-Trader-Trapper magazine at age twelve.

Starting in 1933, he wrote a series of short stories that began appearing in Black Mask magazine.

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“BORDER TOWN HEIST”

WILL "BLACK JACK" CHRISTIAN

— THE HIGH FIVES — On a sleepy Tuesday afternoon, August 6, 1895, five men on horseback entered the border town of Nogales, Arizona Territory, followed the railroad tracks along Morley Avenue, and made their way to the front of International Bank.

Black Jack Christian, the leader of the group, noticed the street was quiet since most folks were at lunch. He gave a quick nod to the others.

As […]

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“THE AMBUSH”

TELLURIDE, CO

— LAW, ORDER, AND POLITICS — At around midnight, August 6, 1895, a gunshot exploded from the darkness and echoed through the main street of Telluride, Colorado, sending City Marshal Jim Clark to his knees, a bullet to his chest. Less than an hour later, he died.

Authorities never identified the killer who ambushed the 54-year old lawman.

Speculation varied on the reason for the execution. Some […]

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“RETRIBUTION”

FT KEARNY, WYOMING

— THE WAGON BOX FIGHT — The soldier in the observation post felt the ground tremble and heard the thunder of hoofbeats. Fearing the worst, he lifted his field glasses. In the distance, the lookout spotted a massive force of Lakota Sioux charging out of the sunlight.

“Indians! he yelled.

James W. Powell heard the alarm, slipped into his boots from bathing in a nearby creek and ran toward […]

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