In the debut issue of Gunsmoke, Flying Eagle Publications introduced Nelson Nye’s “Rock Bottom” with: “It was a crazy thing to do with the posse so close behind him, but he couldn’t help himself. He had to wait and find the girl.”
The opening paragraph: “He stood there like a fool, with time running through his fingers and knowing it and not doing anything about it. A man with Sam Halsop on his backtrail ought to be pounding leather. Farradine didn’t know why he’d come into the town in the first place. Need of a horse was poor excuse for a man with a price on his scalp showing his face in a place this size. He wondered how crazy a man could get for a woman.”
It was love at first sight for Farradine, but that first glimpse didn’t reveal his obsession’s secret.
Nelson Nye (1907–1997) wrote his first novel in 1936 and launched a professional writing career that lasted over six decades. In 1953 he co-founded the Western Writers of America (WWA), to promote the literature of the American West and bestow Spur Awards for distinguished writing in the Western field. Nye served as the organization’s first president and earned two Spur Awards himself for best reviewer (1954) and for best novel, Long Run (1959).
Nye wrote more than 125 books over his lifetime including four nonfiction works about quarter horses which he bred and trained. In 1968 he won the Saddleman Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the American West” from the WWA.