The Last Range War

The Last Range War

Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction


Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction


In an isolated part of America in 1912 a two-family feud developed into something that might lay claim as being the last of the range wars in the USA.


In an isolated part of America in 1912 a two-family feud developed into something that might lay claim as being the last of the range wars in the USA.

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Last Range War

Author Chapter Note

In an isolated part of America in 1912 a two-family feud developed into something that might lay claim as being the last of the range wars in the USA.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 15, 2009

Reads: 1020

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 15, 2009



A SATIRE, perhaps historically incorrect in places.


In 1912 a rancher’s son Lee Stanton, aged twenty-two who was heading home after failing final exams to qualify as a pastor, unintentionally started an escalating feud between the Stanton and Murphy families that probably was the last of the range wars.

You won’t find it in history books because it took place in an isolated county and was finally settled by the guy and gal who unwittingly started it.

People died but it was not recorded how many because none of the principal protagonists was killed. They were the literary people capable of recording such an event but their attitude was why bother when no close kin were victims. The only other source of written record was lost when the nearby town’s funeral business was destroyed in a fire and all records were reduced to ashes in the conflagration. A cat chasing a mouse may have started the fire when knocking over, a lamp igniting cotton sheets used in those days as primitive body bags.


Lee Stanton left the small town of Wellhead and headed across open range to Stanton Ranch when a guy ahead of him fell off his horse that reared, startled by the sight and sound of Lee’s red Indian V-twin motorcycle he’d won in a poker game after whoring the earlier part of the evening, making up for his youth lost at a seminary.

The guy was pulling out a carbine looking ready to shoot Lee.

Lee unhooked his shotgun from behind his back and accelerated forward and held the barrel against the guy’s belly, the guy having only just got his terrified horse under control.

Then he noticed the guy had breasts, reasonably large ones and there was no 5 o’clock shadow on the guy’s quite delicate chin and his fingers were long and slender.

“Are you a guy?”

“No you fool, I’m Sissy Murphy. Get that barrel away from me or I’ll kick you ass. What the hell are you doing with that contraption scaring old ladies and horses?”

“Sissy, the little beauty with freckles and pigtails. I’m Lee Stanton.”

“Ohmigod, little Lee is all grown up and riding a contraption,” she said, dismounting athletically not being restricted by a dress. “Good lordy.”

Lee grinned. “You don’t have to speculate any more what I have between my legs. You are old enough to have it up high between your legs.”

“You foul mouth son of Satan. I’m going to ram that shotgun up your ass.”

There was a struggle that Lee was soon winning. Sissy had her fingers on the trigger. The shotgun discharged and her horse fell, blood pouring from its chest.

“You horse is dead,” Lee said unhelpfully.

“Oh god, that’s father’s horse. I wasn’t supposed to be riding him.”

“Stay here and I’ll go to the Murphy Ranch and send someone to take you home. This motorcycle won’t carry anymore weight.”

“Damn useless thing.”

“Well right now it’s damn more useful than your horse. I see you later. I’ll come over in a couple of days and we can wrestle in the hay barn and see what happens.”

“You are really evil Lee Stanton. Get off our land.”

“The land we are on right now is open range with the title vested in the State. Just remember that Miss High and Mighty. Legally you might not even own the cow shit your cattle drop on to it.”

“God I’d like to put a bullet up your ass Lee Stanton.”

“Okay but let me fuck you first.”

“Oh I’m going to faint.”

“Bye Sissy. You could earn money in vaudeville.”

* * *

Bart Stanton noticed the horses stampeding and then heard the contraption.

He grabbed his rifle. “Bessie, it’s one of those snake oil salesmen. I’m off to shoot his contraption to death.”

“No don’t, let me speak to him,” Bessie yelled, coming into the room and removing her apron. “I want green beans, gaucho trousers and cough elixir and Chelsea flour.”

She went out and the salesman had beans and seven different kinds of cough elixir, and flour but no gaucho trousers.

“Ma’am, I have two new products that are all the range out on the Coast. Crisco shortening and these things called Oreo cookies.”

Bart came out and growled, “We make our own cookies. Why make some greasy fat skunk in a big city even richer by buying his factory output fodder?”

“Sir just try an Oreo from this sample pack, and you too ma’am. They are being called the sensational new taste of the New Century and five big tins were sent to England to be loaded on the ill-fated Titanic but were delivered to the Port of Southampton too late.”

“What’s the Titanic?”

“A ship sir. It sank.”

“We don’t have ships out here. We have horses that are scared of contraptions and cattle are scared of them too.”

“Well sir horses are scared on this Model T because it will make horses obsolete, especially the commercial version of the vehicle that are being called delivery vans.”

“That’s puerile rubbish. There’s not sufficient petroleum in the world to fuel that many contraptions. Get wise and buy horses young man.”

“Ma’am were you aware the new Cadillac car has an self-electric start motor which means you don’t need a man to accompany you to crank-start the motor?”

“That sounds highly speculative and far too dangerous for me,” Bessie said. “Pass me another Oreo and we shall have two tins of them.”

“Yes sir ma’am. That’s my biggest order today. Mrs Murphy purchased bought only one tin.”

“Well they would, wouldn’t they? With all those children there can’t be a lot of spare cash about in that family.”

When the salesman left, scaring the horses again, Bart said, “Why did you have to buy all seven types of elixir?”

“To try them all to see which one works better.”

“But if you try several how will you know which one works?”

“Oh I never thought about that. Sorry Bart.”

“Jesus, look was it says about alcohol content on this bottle. It is higher proof than cheap whisky.”

“Well you take that one darling when you ride out to check cattle. It will make your day seem shorter and no cold germs will dare come near you.”

“Holy smoke he’s another damn contraption coming. God it’s a pedal bike with a motor stuck on to its bowels.”

Bessie asked, “Are you sure that’s the correct term?”

“How would I know?” Bart said. “I’m a cattleman, not a blacksmith.”

“Oh good gracious,” Bessie said. “Although I can’t see the rider’s face under that cap and goggles I recognize that wave… it’s my son Lee.”

“So it wasn’t my sperm you used to help make him?”

“Wash you mouth out with soap Bart Stanton. Of course your sperm fertilized my egg. How could you even think of a ghastly thing like having me impregnated by someone else? Here comes OUR son Lee.”

“Howdy mother, howdy father.”

“If you have high-tailed it from that seminary after all the money I paid them you’re for the cemetery young man.”

“I failed the examinations dad and was told my soul was weak and my spiritual values were non-existent.”

“He sounds exactly like you Bart.”

“Huh? Well yes. Those monks or whatever you call them have insulted you Bart. Let’s round up the boys and go down and shoot the hell out of that place.”

“It’s 400 miles away father.”

“Damn, why do they have to make a seminary so inaccessible? Well it’s fine boy; I’d promised your grandmother I’d send you to a seminary when you turned eighteen and that’s my promise fulfilled.”

“It’s been wasted years for me. If I hadn’t snuck out at times I wouldn’t have remembered how to shoot back whisky or fuck loose women.”


“Sorry mom. Shouldn’t you be busy in the kitchen?”

“Christ, just like his father,” Bessie sniffed, walking off.

Bart looked at his son and grinned. “That’s her way of paying you a high compliment Lee so be proud of yourself.”

“Rider coming from the south-east.”

“That’s someone from the Murphy’s spread,” said Bart, squinting. “Christ is that daughter with the big udders who rides wearing her brother’s trousers.”

“They are called breasts dad. Cows have udders.”

“Cows and Murphy women. Don’t you go forgetting that Lee. I wonder what she wants?”

“Me father. I have this huge effect on women.”

“Well I’m going inside. If I stare at the udders on this Murphy girl I’ll be getting ideas.”

“Watch it dad. If mother catches you out she’ll put the meat cleaver through your skull.”

“You idiot, that’s why I’m going inside. My action is called self-protection. You won’t have learned that at the seminary because those weirdoes preach that God supplies all the protection any guy needs. That’s why pastors retire early, usually with a terminal illness looming.”

“There are exceptions.”

“No there ain’t.”

“What about Methuselah?”

“Who’s he, a New York Jew?”



“Oh nothing.”

Bart sighed. “I’m off. God look at the way they jiggle when her horse is trotting.”

“What’s jiggling?”

“Christ boy, what sort of education did you get at the seminary?”

Sissy said, “I need to talk to you Lee, um in private.”

“Well ride over to the barn and take care of your horse. I’ll be right behind you.”

She murmured, “I wish.”

“Excuse me?”


Lee entered the barn and found Sissy waiting for him. “You son of Satan, you left me out on the range abandoned. I had to walk the eight miles home humping the saddle and bridle.”

“Oh shoot. Sorry. I knew when I arrived home there was something I ought to have remembered.”

“Well at least you did have a trickle of a thought.”

Lee asked what was a trick of thought and was told it was a quotation from a famous Suffragette. He asked what was a Suffragette and that was greeted by a sigh and Sissy said how could he possibly know being male.

Lee snorted and said he did have all day to discuss theoretical notions trapped in a woman’s head. “Why are you really here?”
“I’ll tell you after.”

He scratched his left testicle. “After what?”

“After we have had intercourse.”

“What’s that?”

“Sexual exchange of fluids dummy; what mothers and fathers do, especially fathers who’ll do it with anyone.”

“You’re kidding.”

Sissy sighed and fell back on to loose hay and said, “Stick it in Lee.”

He stopped as if unsure of what to do.


Lee stroked up his growing erection under his Levi’s and partly lied, “In my experience the only women who leave their clothes on when doing it are prostitutes.”

“Oh my god,” Sissy said (that expression was not written as OMG or Ohmigod in Dusty County in 1912). She divested all of her attire in less than thirty seconds. Most of her contemporaries wore so many layers it took them a full two minutes to undress but Sissy was shaping up to be a forerunner of the modern American woman of the 1920s.

“Please pull out well in advance; I don’t want your baby,” she said prudishly.

Lee scowled, “I don’t want you having any baby ascribed to me. Should I go out and kill a sheep and grab an intestine and tie a knot in one end?”

“That won’t be necessary. I’m not ovulating and anyway you guys farm cattle, not sheep.”

“What’s ovulating?”

“Never mind and hopefully not me. Can we get on with it? You will need to undress.”

“Why. There’s no such thing as a male prostitute so I have no custom to avoid like you do with female prostitutes.”

“Get your clothes off so I can see what you’ve got. If it doesn’t look clean and healthy you’re not getting your thing anywhere near me.”

Lee quickly stripped and stood at attention for Sissy’s inspection.

“Oh god, are you a man or a horse?”

“You females are so rude. We guys never say what a large or small cunt.”

Sissy’s looked pissed off. “Don’t you dare use that word in my presence.”

Lee said slyly, “What word are you objecting to… large or small?”

“Oh I am beginning to think I know why some women murder men. It looks fine, much better looking than my father’s… oh Christ. Quickly, shove it in a move your ass.”

Sissy had a big cunt and so his size was no problem. He bit one of her nipples; she screamed and bucked and they were away and they went at it full on for twenty minutes before Lee pulled away and…

“No, no. Leave it in. This is s-o-o-o good.”

Lee ignored plaintive plea of the treacherous siren and sprayed over her face and hair.

“God, how foul.”

“Prostitutes won’t allow a guy to do that,” he said slyly.

“Oh, squirting me over my face and hair and leaving such a mess was, um, lovely. Thank you.”

“Now do you want one up the back passage?”

“Oh my god. Lee, don’t be so depraved..”


“You shouldn’t frighten me like that. Help me to my feet. God I can’t go home in this mess. Carry me out to the horse trough and dunk me but leave my mouth, ears and nose clear.”

“What a woman you are Sissy, a swell woman… tough yet feminine.”

“Oh Lee, you really know how to talk to a female around your own age.”

“Thank you Sissy. Gee look at that stuff dripping out of you.”

“Oh you depraved maniac!”

Lee the gentleman tightened the girth strap of Sissy’s saddle and assisted her mount, giving her ass quite a squeeze, making her giggle.

He said, “We had an English woman at the seminary who was permitted to be there because allegedly she only had sex with other women.”

“Oh my, what a clever woman.”

Ignoring that while thinking Sissy’s father needed to give her a good thrashing to bring her into line, Lee continued, “For horse riding she wore what she called ‘full bottom breeches’ that she said enabled here to feel the movement through the saddle.”

“She told you that?”

“Yes when I was undressing her. Englishwoman are not nearly as prudish as American women.”

“Oh my god. A woman allowed a man to undress her. But you said she only had sex with other women?”

“Didn’t I use the word allegedly?”

“God you men are so incredibly evil. Oh for the days not too far away when women because of their superior intelligence and the power of sisterhood will rise to control men.”

“That’s bullshit baby.”

“I’m not a baby, I’m a woman. And why don’t you think women will attain such status?”

“Because they’ll be too busy in the kitchen and doing other things.”

“What things?”

“That Englishwoman rode her horse twice a day, fucked at least five times every day, she smoked and she drank whisky.”

“She was probably a guy in female clothing.”

“Well I’m telling you baby she had a cunt wide enough to take me.”

“Stop using that word.”

“Sorry, I meant woman. Why did you come over? No woman would ride twelve miles just for a fuck.”

“That’s true. Well I’ve always admired you for your pristine looks and especially your intelligence Lee. Although the capacity of your intellect is pretty small it is large for a guy. I came to warn you there’s to be a meeting at our ranch house tonight of the Murphy families. I think the plan will be to come over and shoot five of your horses because dad says his horse you shot was worth four Stanton horses.”

“You said five?”

“I persuaded dad to shoot the fifth to be one ahead.”

“You bitch.”

“I’m a woman not a dog Lee Stanton and it’s best you remember that if you have an inclination to use my vagina again.”

“Oh that inclination is burnt into my brain my pretty and sweet woman.”

Sissy smiled and blushed. “Oh, you think I’m pretty?”

“Yes, your beauty makes my heart beat so.”

“Oh my god,” Sissy said, almost falling off her horse. She then slashed Lee across the face with her riding crop.

“Why the fuck did you do that?” he cried murderously, holding his cheek.

“Don’t you dare use that word in my presence,” she snapped. “I flayed you because you called me a bitch.”

She galloped away and forgetting she wasn’t on her father’s horse attempted to jump the railing fence but the horse swerved and stopped and she fell off in a thump, dust rising.

Lee laughed loud enough for Sissy to hear and began walking back to the house.

She remounted and charged back at him, crop raised, her face screwed up fearsomely.

Lee stood strong and faced her and judging his moment correctly made a sound like a motor vehicle. The terrified horse slithered to a stop and reared, throwing off Sissy.

Lee picked up the out-of-breath woman, dusted her off, kissed her and lifted her back on to the saddle and walked off.

Still dazed, unable to quite remember Lee’s name, Sissy spat out dust and said, “Thanks pal,” perhaps using that word for the first time in America or at least Dusty County, thinking she’d invented it. Actually it derives from the Gypsies Indic language and was first recorded in English in the 17th Century.

Lee found his parents in bed, his mother asleep with a fat smile.

“Why are you guys in bed so early?”

“I have no idea son. You’ll learn one day women have this inclination.”

“And you don’t?”

His father lied, “I have no idea son.”

“Some of the horses look a little down in condition. Do you mind if I cut out the good ones and put them in the barn and feed them oats strapped with molasses?”

“Do what you wish. You’re a rancher’s son. Were you fucking that Murphy girl out in the barn?”

“I have no idea dad,” Lee said, and watched his mother’s smile widen.

* * *

A war cannot be a war until the other side retaliates. Well at 2:00 am on the day after Patrick Murphy’s prize stallion was unintentionally shot dead by his daughter Sissy and her intending seducer Lee Stanton, the final range war in American History, or so it’s alleged, began in Dusty County on July 22, 1912, nineteen years to the day of Katharine Lee Bates writing ‘America the Beautiful’ in Colorado. Seven Murphy men rode up to the fence of the 40-acre home pasture holding Stanton horses and callously shot thirteen of them dead, some having as many as a dozen bullets pumped into them.

Lee, who had the best horses safely away, called to his father, “Stay in bed fucking… that’s a safer activity. It’s the Murphy mob. Effecting retribution.

His father marveled, “Christ, you learned night vision to allow you to see who’s doing the shooting and learned prophesy at the seminary?”

“No dad,” Lee said, and sat on the bed and told his parents about the mishap.

“You did bad son, I ought to tan your ass, but a range war will liven things up here a bit. Tonight you, me and the boys will go out and shoot out the windows of the bunkhouses on five Murphy brother’s ranches. Your brothers Alan and Ron are due home tonight from the cattle drive so may join us.”

“Please Bart, think carefully,” Bessie pleased. “Such action could be interpreted as an escalation, turning an incident or two into a full-out war.”

“That’s the idea Pussy. Good thinking.”


“It’s my nickname for your mother. I know how to make her purr.”

Patrick Murphy was livid. When he and the boys stopped to spell the horses he shouted, “You crazy horse murderers, I said we shoot five horses and you twerps shot at least a dozen.”

“That’s a twerp?”

“Dunno,” Patrick said, scratching his nuts. “My grandfather used it when he was angry.”

There was a discussion amongst his brothers and Danny said, “We believe it’s your fault Pat. You took us in without identifying which five horses to shoot. You lacked strategy in your leadership.”

Gorrie said, “Stop it, Before you know it will be arguing like a bunch of women. Think about this. If the Stanton’s work out we did it this could escalate from a feud into a full-scale range war, the first ever in Dusty County. We could make history.”

“And make a name for the Murphy’s because we Irish are not liked in these parts because we get drunk a lot and fuck other guy’s women,” said Riley.

“You never hear the women complaining,” Gorrie quipped and everyone laughed, easing the tension.

“Yeah, let’s have a range war,” Patrick said. “There’s not a hell of a lot to do around here expect to work cattle, drink and fuck. It’s not civilized here like in Ireland.”

“What do the guys in Ireland do?” someone asked.

“Most are without work so they mainly drink and fuck,” Patrick said. “Oh and write poetry.”

“How do you do that?” someone asked.

Patrick rolled his eyes and gave the order to remount.


Tired, red-eyed and dusty, Ron (26) and Alan (24) arrived home and immediately asked, “What’s for dinner mother?”

“Oh hi boys. Beef stew and potato mash and carrots.”

Their faces fell because they’d eaten that every night for two weeks driving the cattle to the railhead but they brightened when she added, “Followed by apple pie.”

“We saw our sister Angela in Acton but she wouldn’t speak to us.”

Alan grinned. “We were with a couple of women of the night.”

“Oh my poor Angela,” Bessie groaned. “I didn’t know she inhabited bars.”

“No she was walking a group a school kids just as we were entering the brothel. She made the kids put their hands over their eyes and most of them fell over. It was so funny.”

Everyone laughed and their father said, “We are riding out tonight to shoot up the bunkhouses on the five Murphy ranches. You guys will be too tired to ride with us.”

“No we’ve been two weeks without fun apart from yesterday in the brothel.” Ron said. “Can we kill Murphy’s?”

“No, otherwise they’ll bring in professional killers. Dispatch just a few of their men though, leaving them short-handed.”

Bart told his older sons everything he knew.

Alan looked at Lee in awe. “Every guy at senior school tried to get one up Sissy but failed, or so it is alleged by Sissy. She kicked my nuts black and blue.”

“She poked a finger in my eye,” Ron said, slurping gravy.

His father growled, “You told me a calf kicked you and I gave you two days off work.”

Ron said technically Sissy had been a heifer three years ago.

“How many times did you get away with her,” Ron asked but that caused his mother to roar, “That’s enough. No more of that filthy talk at my table.”

Lee said, “Dad let’s plan this attack because if we don’t we could end up shooting one another. Let’s divide everyone into five teams and do one bunkhouse each. We need the element of surprise because those brothers could be linked by talking wire. We don’t shoot out the windows. We dismount, leave our horses where we can find them in the dark and simply run around the bunkhouses and break the windows with a rifle butt or take iron bars or even a hammer. By the time those cowboys inside wake up, get their hands off their dicks, pull up their long johns and grope round for a gun as they won’t want to light a lamp, we’ll be out of there.”

“Thank goodness the only one in this family with brains has spoken,” Bessie said, earning dark looks from her husband and older sons.

“Yeah, I was thinking along those lines,” Bart lied.

At dawn that morning Patrick and his four brothers watched their men cut wires and remove posts along 10 miles of the Stanton Ranch, allowing their cattle out into the open range that the Stanton’s distained to use because they’d developed superior pastureland and a lot of it was irrigated.

At first it appeared that felony had backfired because the Stanton cattle stayed put and Murphy cattle headed off the range on to Stanton grassland.

Patrick was spitting tacks when the latest situation was reported to him saying they’d have to go in and shoot Stanton-branded cattle.

“No love,” said his wife Caitlin, “Come to bed.”

“B-but it’s only 9:00 in the morning.”

“I’m in need of it darling. While you are fucking me you can think of our cattle eating down Stanton grass, leaving them depleted. It’s a pity this didn’t happen three weeks ago before they began haymaking and then they would have been depleted of hay going into winter.”

Developing a very hard erection in glee at the brilliance of his strategy, Patrick raced the giggling Caitlin to bed. Sissy still in bed in the next room, pulled a pillow over to block her ears.

* * *

Jake Bart’s foreman came in at 10:00 to report huge sections of barbed wire were down and posts were nowhere to be seen, probably stolen.

Bart armed his wife and her housekeeper with rifles to guard the house while he and the boys rode out to help drive Murphy cattle off their land. They drove the 200 head two miles out and then shot dead twenty bulls and returned to begin reinstating the fencing.

© Copyright 2019 Grigor McGregor. All rights reserved.


Add Your Comments:


Other Content by Grigor McGregor

More Great Reading

Popular Tags