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The West was founded by cowboys and steam engines, by those bold and brave enough to strike out beyond the great rocky spine of America to scratch their fortunes from the hot desert sand. It was built with dust and sweat and iron, tortured by devils and outlaws. The railroad was the artery that carried blood to the isolated cities; some prospered from ores and oil, others fell to ruin and became the ghost towns whose eerie skeletons still speckle the most forsaken parts of the southwest.

Like any frontier, the West was rich with sin, ripe with greed and corruption. Loyalty was bought and sold, the law of the land being as savage and ruthless as the sun-stained environment in which the settlers lived, clutching onto their hopes. Survivors consisted of those stronger and smarter and faster than the rest. The tears of the meek and the frail saturate the unforgiving soil to this day, shed out of shame. Guns and gold and whiskey were the currency—this was man’s country, and only those fit to endure it had the right to call themselves men.

The ruggedness of the territory was appealing to adventurous souls, but it was the souls which drew the devils out west.

Hells Canyon. Devil’s Peak. Death Valley. These names were hardly coincidental. In this untamed region of America, men confronted evil face to face, walked side by side with their demons, played hands of poker with unholy beings over shots of bourbon. It was a dog-eat-dog world. Justice was dealt in terms of equality: an eye for an eye, a leg for a leg. For surely as men who double-crossed one another faced death, demons who betrayed their own were forced to bear the consequences of their treason. And like men, rank and title did not exempt one from receiving his just deserts . . . not even if he was the son of the Devil himself.

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