Written when Howard attended Cross Plains High School. Date February 9, 1921. He received a grade of “A”. First published in The Last of the Trunk Och Brev I Urval (Paradox Entertainment, March 2007).

This early work of Howard’s showcases his ability to weave a gripping tale of survival and loyalty, set against the backdrop of the harsh and unforgiving desert landscape.

The story

The tale set in the vast expanse of the Arizona desert. The story encapsulates themes of loyalty, survival, and the bond between a man and his dog in a harsh environment.

The narrative follows a lone horseman, identified as Landon, and his loyal dog, Skagen, as they traverse the desert. Skagen is described as a mongrel with a mix of various breeds, including collie, hound, bulldog, Great Dane, bloodhound, and even coyote ancestry. The dog is noted for his endurance and strength, but is visibly fatigued and thirsty from the journey.

Landon, while on a quest to find a runaway pinto, decides to head back home after an unsuccessful search. However, their journey takes a perilous turn when Landon’s horse, startled by a rattlesnake, throws him off, resulting in a broken leg for Landon. As Landon realizes the gravity of his situation, he sends his horse back to the ranch to alert his cowboys, while Skagen stays faithfully by his side.

The story intensifies as night falls, and the threat of desert predators becomes imminent. A lobo wolf, drawn by Landon’s vulnerability, approaches them. In a dramatic and fierce battle, Skagen bravely confronts the wolf. Despite being outmatched in size and strength, Skagen’s cunning and agility allow him to overcome the lobo, saving Landon’s life. The fight leaves Skagen severely injured.

The story concludes with the cowboys arriving the next morning, finding Landon and the injured but triumphant Skagen. Landon, grateful for Skagen’s loyalty and bravery, declares that Skagen will be treated with the utmost care for the rest of his life.


  • Landon: The protagonist, a rancher who suffers a broken leg in the desert.
  • Skagen: Landon’s loyal dog, who plays a crucial role in saving his master’s life.
  • Landon’s Horse: The horse that Landon rides, which he sends back to the ranch for help.
  • Lobo Wolf: The antagonist, a wild wolf that threatens Landon and is ultimately defeated by Skagen.
  • Cowboys: Landon’s ranch hands, who come to his rescue the following morning.

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