I decide to drive to the Lazy K. For the duration of my stay, Mary has loaned me Keller’s truck. I walk the length of the hotel parking lot, get in the cab, and start the engine. The air-conditioning vents blast hot air in my face, and I wait for the cool to kick in. I throw the truck in gear, back out of the parking slot, and roar toward the highway.

On Saturday, we drove past the ranch access road. I have no trouble finding it—a wide, open gate. “Lazy K” worked in wrought iron across the top.

I turn onto the dirt road and race toward the ranch house. The truck throws up a plume of dust, visible in the rearview mirror. On either side of the road lie brown, rolling hills covered with mesquite and creosote. The terrain looks earthier than the rocky land fifteen miles south. The mesquite grows taller.

Movement atop a hill catches my eye. A pack of wild dogs are fighting over something. I take my foot off the gas, and the speedometer drops to twenty miles an hour.

The dogs are worrying an object. Like a soccer ball, their plaything rolls this way and that.

I allow the truck to roll to a stop. Pop open the glove compartment and fish out Keller’s sixteen-power binoculars. I twist in my seat and raise the optics to my eyes. Looking through the side window, I focus and adjust the diopter. Survey the strange competition.

The dogs snarl and snap at each other. The animals are frothing at the mouth. My stomach flutters.

I lay the binoculars on the seat next to me and take a five-shot stripper clip from the glove compartment. I get out of the truck and reach for Keller’s Mauser. I unlock the Ernst Apel and swing the scope ninety degrees. Lift the handle and draw back the bolt. I squeeze five rounds into the magazine, pocket the stripper clip, and lock the scope in place. In the heat, the smell of gun oil floods my nose. In my hands, the rifle feels heavy and familiar. I close the bolt, chamber a round, and turn to the hill.