“The Feud Buster” is a tale from the wild and tumultuous world of Breckinridge Elkins, a character who embodies the rugged, untamed spirit of the American frontier. 

First published in Actions Stories June, 1935. This short story was altered slightly to become Chapter 6 of A Gent From Bear Creek.

“The Feud Buster” is a story filled with humor, action, and the peculiar honor system governing family feuds in the Old West. It highlights the lengths to which Breckinridge Elkins will go to defend his family’s honor, all while navigating the complexities and misunderstandings that arise in the lawless and rugged frontier.

The story

The story begins with Breckinridge’s departure from Wampum, where he had previously been involved in a chaotic and violent misunderstanding, all in the name of preserving family honor and pursuing personal vendettas. Heading to Chawed Ear to find a town-girl, his plans take a detour when he decides to work for the Triple L cowpunchers to earn some money.

The narrative takes a sharp turn when Breckinridge learns that his sister, Elinor, has been dishonored by Dick Blanton, who boasted about jilting her. Fueled by a mix of familial loyalty and personal outrage, Breckinridge sets out to bring Blanton to justice, a quest that leads him into the heart of the Mezquital Mountains and straight into another feud—this time between the Warrens and the Barlows.

In an attempt to find Blanton, Breckinridge inadvertently gets tangled in the Warren-Barlow feud, initially mistaken for a Barlow himself. After clearing up the misunderstanding, he learns that Blanton, a Barlow ally, is part of the enemy camp planning an attack on the Warrens. With the Warrens outgunned and desperate, Breckinridge devises a bold and unconventional plan to level the playing field. He captures a mountain lion and unleashes it into the Barlow stronghold, creating chaos and giving the Warrens an opportunity to strike.

The plan works better than expected, leading to a comical yet brutal brawl that ends with the Warrens on top and Blanton captured. Breckinridge’s intention to bring Blanton back to Bear Creek to marry Elinor takes an unexpected turn when he discovers that Elinor had actually jilted Blanton, not the other way around. The story concludes with Breckinridge’s humorous yet futile attempt to restore his sister’s honor, underscoring the recurring theme of miscommunication and the chaotic, often absurd nature of life on the frontier.


  • Breckinridge Elkins: The protagonist, a giant of a man from Bear Creek, known for his unmatched strength and somewhat naive outlook.
  • Uncle Jeppard Grimes: A relative of Breckinridge, whose mention of a dishonored sister sets the story in motion.
  • Dick Blanton: The alleged offender of Breckinridge’s sister’s honor, who turns out to be a coward and a liar.
  • Elinor Elkins: Breckinridge’s sister, who actually jilted Dick Blanton, contrary to what Breckinridge was led to believe.
  • The Warrens (George, Ezra, Elisha, Joshua, and Old Man Warren): A family entrenched in a feud with the Barlows, who initially mistake Breckinridge for an enemy but later enlist his help.
  • The Barlows: The rival family in the feud with the Warrens, whose attack on the Warrens is thwarted by Breckinridge’s unconventional tactics.
  • Bill: A young member of the Warren family who guides Breckinridge to the Barlow’s gathering place.

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