In 1850, the Gold Rush town of Rough & Ready, California, briefly seceded from the United States in order to avoid paying a mining tax. This rollicking, western comedy reimagines the three months when it was a sovereign republic. Sprinkled with the hard-luck tales of pioneers and forgotten tidbits of early American history, this novel shines a light on the quirky characters who fueled the westward expansion.

The town drunkard falls asleep in a cave and wakes up during an earthquake to find a giant gold boulder. To get the motherlode to market, he enlists a ragtag group of failed miners and oddball mountain men, including a priest who tends bar and a sheriff who's afraid of guns. The most dangerous bandits in California are poised to tear Rough & Ready apart. What will be the legacy of a forgotten independent nation inside of the United States?

"A funny, fast-moving romp through the Old West in classic Casey Style! Highly recommended!" 

—Terrence McCauley, Award-Winning Writer of the Aaron Mackey/Billy Sunday series

"A modern milestone of Western fiction. What a joy from start to finish, what a beautifully crafted story about a group of people you’d love to have a drink with."

The San Francisco Review of Books 

“Delightfully distinctive, authentically funny…”

“The balance between scares and humor is perfect.”

“A sensational blend of comedy, tragedy, and grisly death scenes.”

“Fueled by and out-of-this-word imagination.”
Western Fictioneers

“I can’t wait to read the sequel.”
Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews

"A fun, quick, Western-style tale that is worth an entertaining afternoon read."

—The Press Democrat