The Gun Fight

Richard Matheson

Forge Books

John Benton was one of the toughest men ever to wear a Texas Ranger badge.  But eight years ago, in August 1871, he hung up his guns for good.


Or so he hoped.


Then young Robby Coles challenged him to a fight over some imagined slight to the boy’s sixteen-year-old girlfriend.  At first Benton tried to laugh off the affair.  Why, the boy was little more than a child.  But rumors and gossip spread like wildfire through their dusty frontier town and soon enough the entire community seems to be goading both men towards a fatal confrontation neither one truly wants.


Benton doesn’t want to kill again.  Robby is secretly terrified of facing the legendary gunfighter.  Yet, with both men’s honor on the line, is there any way to avoid a duel to the death?


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
The chaparral bird was running a .erce race with the black roan as it pounded across the hard earth. The long legs of the bird .ashed wildly in a swirl of alkali dust, ten yards ahead of the roan’s battering hooves.
Off the wide trail, a jackrabbit bounded into the brush with great, erratic leaps. Awakened by the muf­.ed thunder in the earth, a coiled rattlesnake writhed sluggishly and lifted its .at head, dead eyes searching.
The tall roan galloped along the trail, its broad legs drawing high, then driving down quickly at the  dust-clouded earth. The spur


Praise for The Gun Fight

Praise for The Gun Fight:

“He is legend, Richard Matheson, and The Gun Fight is the kind of story that made it happen.  Here is a deceptively simple premise–how a lie can kill–and an unforgettable character, ex-Ranger John Benton.  Matheson makes everything work just as he did in Journal of the Gun Years, which won the Golden Spur Award from the Western Writers of America.”
--Dale Walker, Rocky Mountain News

“Matheson has crafted an engrossing account of the frequently deadly consequences of mistaking vanity for honor.”
--Publishers Weekly

“With the possible exception of the modern woman’s romance, Richard Matheson has conquered every category of fiction in our time.  With The Gun Fight, he has marked the American Western in its newest and most important phase with his brand.  Raw, rough, and real, the book resonates with the long sure role of history.”
--Loren D. Estleman, author of Frames

“Written in the traditional Western style, this substantive story addresses several moral issues, and the rather illusive term ‘honor’ is made crystal clear . . . An action-packed, suspenseful tale.”
--School Library Journal

The Gun Fight is another western triumph for Richard Matheson, to add to his Spur-winning Journal of the Gun Years.
--Norman Zollinger, author of The Road to Santa Fe

“In just three days, gossip leaves a trail of wrecked lives, death, and life-long remorse.  By the author of Journal of the Gun Years, this is a superbly written suspense story with a moral.”
--Library Journal

“Richard Matheson packs The Gun Fight with enough real people, plot twists and authentic western color to make this the equal of his Spur-winning Journal of the Gun Years.  This is a very, very good book.”
--Ed Gorman, author of Fools Rush In

“Any novel bearing the name Richard Matheson is going to be breathtakingly good.  No one writes better.”
--Richard Wheeler, author of North Star

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Richard Matheson

  • Richard Matheson was The New York Times bestselling author of I Am Legend, Hell House, Somewhere in Time, The Incredible Shrinking Man, A Stir of Echoes, The Beardless Warriors, The Path, Seven Steps to Midnight, Now You See It…, and What Dreams May Come, among others. He was named a Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention, and received the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has also won the Edgar, the Spur, and the Writer's Guild awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. In addition to his novels Matheson wrote several screenplays for movies and TV, including “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” based on his short story, along with several other Twilight Zone episodes. He was born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, and fought in the infantry in World War II. He earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. Matheson died in June, 2013, at the age of eighty-seven.
  • Richard Matheson Beth Gwinn


Available Formats and Book Details

The Gun Fight

Richard Matheson



Forge Books