By Johnston McCulley (1883-1958).
First appearance: Texas Rangers, January 1949.
Reprinted in Texas Rangers (Canada), January 1949
and Texas Rangers (U.K.), July 1949.
Short short story (8 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).
"The celebration included the firing of sixguns, which somehow got pointed in the wrong direction."Keeping just one man alive during the New Year's celebration in a small Border town is hard enough, but for Ranger Pat Malloy that's nothing compared to trying to prevent an all-out war between two groups of men who make no secret of hating each other . . .
Summary comments: Johnston McCulley seemed to favor putting his protagonists into seemingly hopeless situations, but giving them the ability to think their way out of their dire dilemmas. He also reused the plot element of a professional (policeman, ranger, wagon train scout, etc.) on the verge of resigning in order to get married. And, if you've been with us for most of the past twenty-four postings, you might have noticed that he was fond of setting many of his stories on or near Christmas and New Year's.
Typo: "gestured far them to do so"