The three-roomed cabin is built of round wood, adobe, and oak, and floored with adobe. A big bark kitchen standing at one end is larger than the house itself, veranda included.
Badlands all around – badlands with no horizon, for the country is flat. No mountains in the distance. The badlands consist of stunted, rotten sequoias. No underbrush. Nothing to relieve the eyes except the darker green of a few willows which are sighing above the narrow, almost waterless river. Fifty miles to the nearest sign of civilisation – a whorehouse on the main road.
The cowboy, an ex-gambler, is away with his steers. His wife and children are left here alone.
Six ragged, wet looking children are playing about the house. Suddenly one of them hollers: "Rattler! Ma, here's a rattler!"
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