(Rick Steber with cover artist KC Snider of Redmond and her cover artwork | Photos courtesy of Rick Steber)
The Last Outlaw is the true story of Tobe Skiens, a 23-year-old Texas buckaroo, who rides into Eastern Oregon in 1906. He soon takes up the outlaw trail, stealing horses and running them across a 2,000-mile swath of desert country. This is a no-man’s land of fractured escarpments, dry lakebeds, nearly impenetrable mountains, hidden passes and vast alkaline deserts; a land that remained wild and outside the fringe of civilization long after the remainder of the country has been settled and gentrified. Tobe sells his stolen horses in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, and then turns around, steals more horses and drives them north to Oregon. Stealing horses is the most dangerous and exciting of all occupations. It is played for the highest of all possible stakes — a man’s life.
The crimes Tobe is accused of quickly escalate from rustling cattle and horses to kidnapping a young girl and keeping her for more than two years — even fathering a child with her — and finally the killing of an unarmed man in a cold-blooded shootout, followed by a posse giving chase for ten long weeks. Out West here, any of these indiscretions, if a man is caught, will have him dancing at the end of a short rope.
Author Rick Steber, considered the voice of High Desert country, has over 40 titles under his belt and more than two million books in print. He has won many national and international awards, five of his books have been optioned for movies and he is the only Oregon author to have been presented with the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award — Best Western Novel. He is a keen observer of the evolving American West, and articulates these changes in prose that is boldly descriptive, invigorating and spectacularly creative.