Sand and gravel slithered and slid under the heels of Old Pie Face as Skinny Rawlins whirled the broncho into the open space in front of the low-built, sprawling, adobe ranch house of the Quarter Circle KT and reined the pinto to a sudden stop. Skinny had been to Eagle Butte and with other things brought back the mail. It was hot, late June, the time between cutting the first crop of alfalfa and gathering, from the open range, the beef steers ready for the summer market. Regardless of the heat Skinny had ridden hard and his horse was a lather of sweat. A number of cowboys lounged, indolently, in the shade of the bunk-house, smoking cigarettes and contentedly enjoying the hour of rest after the noon-day dinner. Another, lean-built, slender, boyish in appearance and with strangely black, inscrutable eyes, stepped from around the corner of the house as Skinny jerked Old Pie Face to a standstill.