Owen Toller hadn’t strapped a gun on in five years, not since he’d lost the election for Sheriff of Reunion to the newcomer Will Cushman. Instead, Owen had married the schoolteacher and become a farmer. Raising cotton in Eastern Oklahoma had been easier than he’d imagined, he had a talent for it, and he was also a father twice over as well.
So when the banker Ben McKeever came begging for help, Owen wasn’t receptive. After all, McKeever had supported Cushman in that old election.
That was before the Brunners, Ike and Cal, had moved into the area, outlaw brothers that were threatening the possible railroad spur that would help the area a thousandfold. McKeever had sunk to much money into bribes to let it go. Cushman wasn’t much of a lawman it turned out and the reward was a thousand dollars dead or alive for the Brunners. But as mentioned, Owen hadn’t worn a gun in five years. He was a farmer now.
The pressure came next. McKeever made sure Owen got his accounts ended. Cash for evrything. That didn’t work either. Judge Lochland was the next to visit. He made no threats, just appeals to Owen. The Brunners hd raided a freight office and killed the couple that ran it, friends to Owen. McKeever began a campaign to blame Owen for the deaths, the fact that he hadn’t immediately gone after the gang. Things come to a head when one “brave” citizen painted COWARD in big yellow letters on his wagon when he was out of sight.
And Owen questioned himself then. And made a decision that even his wife knew he must if his self respect were to remain intact.