Even as Rance spoke he saw that it was a girl. He released her with a sternly impressive scowl, but his ears, he was sure, were flaming like torches in the gloom. The least of his varied accomplishments was any claim to expertness in the business of appraising "gals on the hoof" yet it was plain that his captive was an exceedingly wholesome and engaging example of femininity.
"Mr. Craig," she said, "you're between the devil and the deep sea."
"You can call me Rance, long as we're going to be neighbors this a'way. You mean that the Scroggins and the Cottonblooms ain't friendly?"
She looked at him wide-eyed, almost as if doubting her ears. Then she smiled, her white teeth flashing in the half light, "Don't you know a THING about the valley?"
Rance's education makes a swift, hard-shooting romance of the cattle lands.