Frederick Schiller Faust (1892-1944) was an American fiction author known primarily for his thoughtful and literary Westerns. Faust wrote mostly under pen names, and today he is primarily known by one, Max Brand. Others include George Owen Baxter, Martin Dexter, Evin Evans, David Manning, Peter Dawson, John Frederick, and Pete Morland. Faust was born in Seattle. He grew up in central California and later worked as a cowhand on one of the many ranches of the San Joaquin Valley. Faust attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he began to write frequently. During the 1910s, Faust started to sell stories to the many emerging pulp magazines of the era. In the 1920s, Faust wrote furiously in many genres, achieving success and fame, first in the pulps and later in the upscale 'slick' magazines. His love for mythology was, however, a constant source of inspiration for his fiction and his classical and literary inclinations. The classical influences are particularly noticeable in his first novel The Untamed (1919), which was also made into a motion picture starring Tom Mix in 1920.
THE FIFTY EMPTY FREIGHTS danced and rolled and rattled on the rough road bed and filled Jericho Pass with thunder; the big engine was laboring and grunting at the grade, but five cars back the noise of the locomotive was lost. Yet there is a way to talk above the noise of a freight train just as there is a way to whistle into the teeth of a stiff wind. This freight-car talk is pitched just above the ordinary tone-it is an overtone of conversation, one might say-and it is distinctly nasal. The brakie could talk above the racket, and so, of course, could Lefty Joe. They sat about in the center of the train, on the forward end of one of the cars. No matter how the train lurched and staggered over that fearful road bed, these two swayed in their places as easily and as safely as birds on swinging perches. The brakie had touched Lefty Joe for two dollars; he had secured fifty cents; and since the vigor of Lefty's oaths had convinced him that this was all the money the tramp had, the two now sat elbow to elbow and killed the distance with their talk.
"It's like old times to have you here," said the brakie. "You used to play this line when you jumped from coast to coast."
"Sure," said Lefty Joe, and he scowled at the mountains on either side of the pass. The train was gathering speed, and the peaks lurched eastward in a confused, ragged procession. "And a durned hard ride it's been many a time."
"Kind of queer to see you," continued the brakie. "Heard you was rising in the world."
He caught the face of the other with a rapid side glance, but Lefty Joe was sufficiently concealed by the dark.
"Heard you were the main guy with a whole crowd behind you," went on the brakie.
"Sure. Heard you was riding the cushions, and all that."
"But I guess it was all bunk; here you are back again, anyway."
"Yep," agreed Lefty.
The brakie scratched his head, for the silence of the tramp convinced him that there had been, after all, a good deal of truth in the rumor. He ran back on another tack and slipped about Lefty.
"I never laid much on what they said," he averred. "I know you, Lefty; you can do a lot, but when it comes to leading a whole gang, like they said you was, and all that-well, I knew it was a lie. Used to tell 'em that."
"You talked foolish, then," burst out Lefty suddenly. "It was all straight."
The brakie could hear the click of his companion's teeth at the period to this statement, as though he regretted his outburst.
"Well, I'll be hanged," murmured the brakie innocently.
Ordinarily, Lefty was not easily lured, but this night he apparently was in the mood for talk.
"Kennebec Lou, the Clipper, and Suds. Them and a lot more. They was all with me; they was all under me; I was the Main Guy!"
What a ring in his voice as he said it! The beaten general speaks thus of his past triumphs. The old man remembered his youth in such a voice. The brakie was impressed; he repeated the three names.
"Even Suds?" he said. "Was even Suds with you?"
The brakie stirred a little, wabbling from side to side as he found a more comfortable position; instead of looking straight before him, he kept a side-glance steadily upon his companion, and one could see that he intended to remember what was said on this night.
"Even Suds," echoed the brakie. "Good heavens, and ain't he a man for you?"
"He was a man," replied Lefty Joe with an indescribable emphasis.
"He ain't a man any more."
"Get bumped off?"
The brakie considered this bit of news and rolled it back and forth and tried its flavor against his gossiping palate.
"Did you fix him after he left you?"
"I see. You busted him while he was still with you. Then Kennebec Lou and the Clipper get