The Lonesome Road (Henry)

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The Lonesome Road
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Roads of Destiny»
Microsummary: Two old friends reunited, one married and the other single, spent an afternoon playing checkers and reminiscing, only to be interrupted by a dangerous gang, forcing them to fight their way out.

Buck Caperton, a rugged deputy-marshal, stumbled into a courthouse and began talking about his old friend, Perry Rountree. Perry used to be a wild and reckless man, but after marrying Mariana Goodnight, he became a domesticated and well-behaved husband.

Buck Caperton — narrator; rugged, skilled with guns, and critical of married life.
Perry Rountree — Buck's married friend; once wild, now domesticated and devoted to his wife, Mariana.
Mariana Rountree — Perry's wife; concerned for her husband's safety and responsible for his transformation.

One day, Buck met Perry, who was watering his garden, and they decided to spend the afternoon together. Perry insisted that he had to be home by seven o'clock, as he and Mariana had a strict rule about being home on time.

‘I got to be home by seven, Buck,’ repeats this hen-pecked thing of little wisdom, like an unthinking poll parrot.

They went to the Gray Mule saloon, where Perry surprisingly ordered sarsaparilla and suggested they play checkers. As they played, a dangerous gang called the Trimble gang entered the saloon and began causing chaos. Buck and Perry hid in the back room, but Perry insisted on leaving to be home by seven. They armed themselves with table legs and fought their way out of the saloon, with Buck even shooting one of the gang members.

‘We’ll get home by seven,’ says I, ‘whether it’s the heavenly one or the other. May I see you home?’

They arrived at Perry's house five minutes late, and Mariana was waiting at the gate. She gave Perry a look of relief and love when she saw him safe, which made Buck question his own beliefs about marriage and happiness.