Old saddlebagger Will Henry writes the kind of gritty, dry-wash, tongue-parching, painted sunset prose that makes a sparse Western wordster like Louis L'Amour sound like a San Francisco dude with a whistling mouthful of store teeth. It's 1861, and the West Texas McCalister ranch lies beyond 30 miles of buffalo grass ""west of nowhere""--where the McCalisters don't have to fret about sinning townfolks back in Red Hawk. What they do worry about is Tabebekat--Sun Killer--the Comanche who once beheaded Papa McCalister and is now out for the scalps of Mama and her boisterous sons--Lon, Junior, and Bubba--and daughter Sissy, who is a cornflower in bloom. This is also the story of a fabled 1847 Walker Colt revolver: a giant, four-pound, 15-inch, .44-calibre, six-shot Texas Ranger fighting pistol called ""The Redeemer."" Mama goes loony but manages to blow off Sun Killer's head during the raid. The family moves into Red Hawk, away from reprisals, and Lon and Junior go off to fight for the South. After two years, Sissy, Bubba, and Mama start back for their ranch. Junior and Lon, wounded and discharged, set out for home too, but Junior dies on the way. Meanwhile, some snake-mean renegade Confederate guerrillas kidnap Mama and Sissy, though Bubba escapes with The Redeemer and vows vengeance. A familiar tale, perhaps, but how that juniper moon shines over the howling coyote by Mesquite Well, the poetry pining upward. . . .