The Man from the Bitter Roots
The two partners glared at each other across the clumsy table of hewn pine. They looked like two wild men, as black eyes flashed anger, even hate, into black eyes. Their hair was long and uneven, their features disguised by black beards of many weeks' growth. Their miners' boots were but ludicrous remnants tied on with buckskin thongs. Their clothes hung in rags, and they ate with the animal-like haste and carelessness of those who live alone.
The smaller of the two men rose abruptly, and, with a vicious kick at the box upon which he had been sitting, landed it halfway across the room. His cheeks and nose were pallid above his beard, his thin nostrils dilated, and his hand shook as he reached for his rifle in the gun rack made of deer horns nailed above the kitchen door. He was slender and wiry of build, quick and nervous in his movements, yet they were almost noiseless, and he walked with the padded soft-footedness of