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Why Dusty Richards Wrote Texas Blood Feud

There are ten more in the series to read.


Product DetailsLike most of my book projects, I started writing it years before driving west across the country to do some research. Doc Sonichson (probably) didn’t spell it right but we talked a lot about Texas feuds when we got the chance at WWA conventions. He taught western history at the University of Arizona. Never attended a class he taught, but one of his students I knew won ten thousand dollars in an Arizona Poetry Contest and Doc told him to save it. That it would be a damn long time before he’d win another that big. Doc was flat out honest—he did lots of history on the Texas feuds.

He and I shared the same notion about feuds from the Appalachia to California was when two ignorant families lined up against each other over an incident like who kicked my pig?  Hatfield’s and McCoy’s was a primary one from Kentucky. Taylor County Texas feuds he wrote a book on. The Pleasant Valley Wars was another one that showed up in Arizona and in a shootout, at one ranch the hogs were eating the dead victims while they fought and one of the grannies wanted a cease-fire to bury them. They never stopped shooting at each other for days.

Ignorance spelled the reason for them to get started. So the first book I did for Gary Goldstein at Pinnacle set the stage for my feud. Members of the Ralston family stole his remuda—I better go deeper than that. Chet Byrnes father stayed out in west Texas too long trying to get back three of his children that the Comanche kidnapped.  Texas Rangers brought him back he was unconscious and delirious. Though he never recovered to his full senses, he lived a few years more but not in his right mind.

As a sixteen years old, teenage boy Chet had to take over the operation of the ranch built on his father’s land that he received for service in the Texas War for Independence against Santa Anna. The home place was a rock-walled fortress with a windmill, corrals, barns and a sprawling ranch house inside and ten-foot tall thick lumber gates to shutter the enemy. His year younger brother did nothing but argue with him and hid in a shed to repair machinery.

The Ralston’s their neighbors and always jealous lived next door in contempt of the large operation the Byrnes had built up or bought out. But some younger members of the Ralston family and other worthless men rustled Chet’s remuda that he needed to drive their cattle herd to Kansas markets, all Chet figured the ranch could spare were his two teenage nephews to go with him to capture them. The three found them before they crossed out of Texas. They hung the rustlers and drove the horses’ home.

The rustlers’ bodies were brought back later.  One woman from Ralston’s side said real loud in the store one day so everyone could hear.  “Anyone would have known them boys were not stealing them. Them damn Byrnes ain’t got no sense of humor at all.”

Chet agreed. No sense of humor at all when he had to go near 200 miles just to recover his own stock. It was no joke to him and neither was eventually selling his family ranch and moving to Arizona to escape them.

That was book one “The Bloody Texas Feud.” It can be ordered today and there are ten more in the series to read.

The film adaptation of my Spur 2017 winner “The Mustanger and the lady”   a film called “Painted Woman” is beginning to be shown in theaters around here. More by Dec 1.

You can find out about all of Dusty’s books, and his movie,

I’d like to thank Dusty for stopping by to share his story and wish him much success with the new movie!

Perilously yours,



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