It appeared to be just a scarecrow dangling from a high limb of the oak tree until you got close enough in the dim light of early morning to see the blackened face with one side almost gouged out where the magpies had been picking at it. The eyes were gone too, and there was no smell; so Jedekiah Starlight knew the rustler had been hanging there for some time. These were dangerous times in Wyoming, the rustler having been left there as a warning to others. Starlight was the only one who so much as glanced at the dead man, because the eyes of the other Slash L hands were fixed on the last rise that lay between them and the lures of Rawlins. They rode eagerly, angling in a ragged line across a shadow-strewn meadow toward the stagecoach road. Sunlight shone golden through the upper reaches of the oak tree standing along a nameless creek, struck the eastern flanks of the Sierra Madres. It had rained during the night, and the loping horses were throwing up clods of turf, the only other sounds the creaking of leather or the snort of a horse.
Used availability for Robert Kammen's Starlight's Quest
April 2018 : USA, Australia, Canada, UK Kindle edition