Sheriff Clayt: Stories by James F Schnabel

goodlife guide

By Gary A Schnabel

Clayt is not a large man. He is the Sheriff of Wallowa County, Oregon in 1892. Wallowa County is an isolated, idyllic and peaceful corner of Northeastern Oregon, and Clayt aims to keep it that way. This soft spoken, pint sized, two fisted lawman manages his corner of the world with an iron will, a cool head and an eagerness to engage the toughest challenge head-on.

While camping on the shores of Wallowa Lake with his wife Elnora (Norey) and two daughters, Clayt encounters a young boy emerging from the forested hillside, exhausted, hungry and on the run from a pair of hired killers. The Sheriff decides he should protect the boy from these would-be assassins and find out why they are after him. Young Philip Ainsley tells a story of riches, religion, debauchery and death from his early years in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast to his recent life on the Portland, Oregon water front.

Thirteen year old Philip’s wealthy father was killed by his ruthless business partner, now using his hired thugs to find and kill Philip, who had witnessed the murder. If Philip lives to tell the story, Gus Dekker’s accumulated fortune is history, and so is Gus Dekker.

A series of hired guns shows up in the Wallowa Valley via rail, river boat, stage coach and horseback looking for Philip. Unfortunately for them, they run head first into Sheriff James Clayton Shackelford. The sparks and the bullets fly as Clayt, with his father-in-law and his two deputies, and with the aid of a large Nez Perce Indian preacher whose name translates in English to “Great Bear Who Runs Fast”, confronts each threat with his considerable bag of old west law enforcement tools. And Philip, a city boy, learns the ways of the west.

Meanwhile, a federal investigation has opened into the disappearance of the son of a well-known San Francisco politician and Augustus Dekker is a suspect. Young Phillip, the son of Dekker’s deceased partner, was given a box of documents and other artifacts by his father the day he was killed. The box is securely stashed in a pawn shop with the only ticket being held in the possession of his father’s trusted friend Annie Laurie McGregor. U.S. Marshal Sweeny is looking for any piece of evidence he can find.

Could the box contain the evidence the Marshal needs? Where is the box? Can the Sheriff protect young Philip from the would-be killers? Where is Philip? Can the Marshal connect San Francisco with Portland with Wallowa County and Sheriff Clayt before hired assassins get to young Philip Ainsley?

All this adds up to a unique, entertaining, semi-whimsical, semi-historical romp through the Old West, as it really was.

You can purchase the book online from Smashwords and/or Amazon at

eBook formatting and cover design by Shelley Glasow at

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