“Flawless writing style”
T. R. Harris
“Grabs you from first page”
“What a fun journey”
Kerry A. Giese
“Great crime novel”
On July 12, 1945, a golden palomino was caught in the Red Desert of Wyoming by Frank “Wild Horse” Robbins, who had built a business rounding up the wild mustangs that roamed the region, using airplanes to spot the elusive creatures. Later that same day a photographer out of Rawlins, Wyoming, named Verne Wood snapped a photo of that same horse that he would go on to enter in the Denver Post’s annual photo contest. The photo was the grand prize winner—and it also captured the imagination of people all over the world. Prints found their way to the Wyoming State Capital, the United States Senate chambers, the House of Commons in London, and the Canadian Parliament in Toronto. The likeness of the famous horse could be found in the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, the Double Shot Bar in Rock River, the Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow, the Desert Bar in Wamsutter, and the Saddle Grill Café in Rawlins where the restaurant built a Palomino Room in homage to the horse. On top of that, nearly every postcard sales rack from Omaha, Nebraska, to Reno, Nevada, offered postcards with the horse’s famous image in the late 1940s.
The horse, which would become known as Desert Dust, became the most famous horse in Wyoming. His image was reproduced on leather purses, wallets, and belts by inmates of the Wyoming State Penitentiary and other craftsmen. Desert Dust was the inspiration for poems, prose, oil paintings, and songs, and a Hollywood short that was nominated for an Academy Award. Frank Robbins and Verne Wood would eventually find themselves on opposite sides of many different controversies: the plight of wild horses; using an airplane to capture wild horses, and of course, the ownership of the photo itself, which led to a feud between the two men on the order of the Hatfields and McCoys. Desert Dust would eventually be murdered in his own pasture—a mystery that is unsolved to this day.
Paul W. Papa is a full-time writer and ghostwriter who has lived in Las Vegas for more than thirty years. He developed a fascination with the area, and all its wonders while working for nearly fifteen years at several Las Vegas casinos. In his role as a security officer, Paul was the person who actually shut and locked the doors of the Sands Hotel and Casino for the final time. He eventually became a hotel investigator for a major Strip casino, during which time he developed a love for writing stories about uncommon events. When not at his keyboard, Paul can be found talking to tourists on Fremont Street, investigating some old building, or sitting in a local diner hunting down his next story.