by Dean L. McElwain and Barry Myers
In the turmoil and confusion following the War Between The States, Jeremy Preacher, late of Mosby’s Rangers, rode home to find his plantation burned to the ground, his parents slaughtered and his sister brutally raped and mutilated. The men responsible, elements of Quantrill’s Raiders, once led by Preacher’s older brother, were scattered to the four winds – safe from retribution. Or so they thought. Because in life there are two kinds of law – one is written in books, the other is written in blood. And the blood would flow. That was Preacher’s vow, that was Preacher’s law.
Out of money, out of luck and out for revenge, J.D. Preacher rode a bloody trail littered with the corpses of his enemies. There was no escaping his wrath; no mercy or rest for the guilty.
Like an angel of death, Preacher descended on the Black Hills hoping to find and shoot some of the men who had tortured and murdered his family. What he found was – competition. For he had landed smack in the middle of an all-out war between a golden-haired madman named Custer and several thousand Indians who were tired of being pushed around.
Most men would have ridden on, but for Preacher, peace was hell and war was the only trade he knew.
Blackmailed into working for Isaac Parker, the notorious hanging judge, J.D. Preacher found himself with a tin star on his chest and a whole lot of trouble on his hands. His job: bring in some of the thieving, murderous scum that were raping the territory and the judge would clear his name.
Preacher believed in justice at the end of a rope – but only when he was judge and jury. That was Preacher’s Law.
It was the end of the trail for J.D. Preacher. He had fought his way west to California leaving a string of bloody corpses behind him. He had been possessed by the need for revenge, but those fires were burning low. Time had blurred his sharp eyes and made his gun hand just a hair slower; his nerve, as always, was rock-steady, but he could feel the cold grave calling to him.
J.D. Preacher had one more gunfight left in him and he knew it wouldn’t be long until he had to face down the man who had made his life a living hell.
In the last gunfight, the first man to flinch was the loser; the last man to draw a breath, the winner. That’s the law of nature, that’s Preacher’s Law.
There were six of ‘em – a father and five sons – all snake-mean, all named Bascomb. They came up with a little plan that would make them rich for life – kidnap the daughter of General Demming and trade her for the money the army had stashed away in Ten Sleep, Wyoming.
Preacher, an unreconstructed Confederate soldier, had no love for the blue bellies, but he had a personal score to settle with the butchering Bascombs. The way Preacher figured it, the family that slayed together, stayed together – in the grave. That was Preacher’s Law.
J.D. Preacher was just a kid living on his family’s Tennessee plantation when he stumbled on the illegal slave-trading ring led by the notorious Fuller brothers. They didn’t think twice about killing anyone who got in their way, so young Preacher figured he was doing the world a favour when he gunned them down. What he didn’t count on was the sheriff – he was on the take, and what he wanted most was to take Preacher’s hide from his bones.
To escape the noose, Preacher had to ride the dangerous trail to Missouri where his kinsfolk could hide him out. But along the way he met up with Charles Barrington, the fastest draw in the West. Barrington taught Preacher everything he knew – then challenged the greenhorn to a showdown. If Preacher lost, no one would miss him – if he won, he’d spend the rest of his life defending his reputation as the West’s most dangerous gunman.
Forrest’s Raiders: “The most dangerous set of men this war has turned loose on the world!” – General Sherman.
“You’re damned right!” – J.D. Preacher
During the Civil War, General Nathan Forrest led a mixed bag of cutthroats, scouts, sharpshooters and renegades against numerically superior Union forces. He and his men cut a bloody swath through the Blue Coats, leaving a gore-laden trail of destruction behind them. They were all tough, wary veterans, but none was more daring and resourceful than J.D. Preacher. Son of a Southern aristocrat, he had put his life, his fortune and his honour on the line to stem the rising tide of Yankee aggression. That’s why he was double tough on war profiteers and low-down yellow bellies like James Brice who lived high off the misery of patriots. And when he uncovered a treasonous plot that Brice was hatching, he made up his mind to act. For there was only one thing Preacher hated worse than a traitor – and that was a live traitor.
The first book in the series appeared in 1987 and the last in 1989. I believe three different authors wrote these books. The first four books cover a vast period of time in the history of the West and the fourth brings about a spectacular end to J.D. Preacher's revenge trail. The following three books tell tales of Preacher’s earlier life.