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Lighting was the faithful canine companion of the western hero Tex Dawson, known as the Western Kid and the Gun-Slinger. Lightning was a brilliant dog who frequently came to the aid of his master, helping defend him from attackers or freeing him and those in danger from tight spots[1].

The wolf-dog was originally owned by a sheep-herder named Sally Benson as a gift from her grandfather to protect her herds. However she came to believe that the dog was a sheep killer when some of her sheep turned up dead and the dog gone missing. Hunting down the dog with a shotgun she ran into Tex Dawson who was at the time on the lamb from the law after being framed for robbing the payroll at the Bar-T ranch. Tex had made Sally hold her fire long enough for the dog to come out of the bushes with the real killer -- a wolf, which the dog had slain. Grateful for having been rescued by Tex, the dog was adamant about following him and Sally consenting to it, leaving a note tied to the dog giving Tex his blessing. Tex named the dog Lightning and was convinced to clear his own name. With the help of Lightning, and his newly acquired horse Whirlwind, Tex captured Jonas -- the real thief -- and forced a confession out of him. After clearing his name, Tex and his animal pals began travelling the west helping those in need, earning him the name the Western Kid[2].

Lightning was not merely a pet to the hero, the dog was highly intelligent and often came to his master's aid in battle, or often helped him break free from captivity by chewing through his bonds often working with the aid of Whirlwind. Whirlwind and Lightning helped their master capture the likes of the trigger happy Lawkins[3], Ridge Blackwell, Brand Krug[4], and Diamond Dave Harper. When Tex was captured by the female outlaw known as "The Boss" in the so-called Bad Lands, Whirlwind and Lightning fled the scene and returns with officers of the law that captured the Boss, her minions and freed Tex. Later Lightning assisted the Western Kid in his clash with ruthless outlaw Hank Morgan[5].

Lightning also played a part in the capture of Bart Carter, stopping a range war between Bud Wayne and Jake Turner, capturing outlaws Vera Carter and recovering her stolen loot[6], and Bo Powers. When Whirlwind left to clash with the White King, a horse which killed his sire, and seemed to go rogue, the Western Kid and Lightning joined the posse to hunt down the herd of renegade horses. Lightning appeared to abandon Tex during the hunt, however Lightning distracted the White King long enough for Whirlwind to attack and defeat him. After the White King's defeat both animals returned to their master as faithful as ever[7]. Lightning also assisted the Western Kid in apprehending Gar Phillips, Black Bart Dongan, Hal North, the Waynes brothers, and in the town of Long Horn helped stop Bull Mason[8].

when Whirlwind was in the territory of his old rival White Fury -- aka the White King -- Tex ordered Whirlwind not to go after him. In order to help his friend, Lightning lured White Fury close enough to their camp so that Whirlwind could avenge himself against the wild horse. When hired by Lucy May to bring back her father Panhandle Pete from the Texas Panhandle, Tex found him less than willing to give up his search for gold, sicking a pack of trained wolves against the hero. Lightning came to his master's aid, fighting off the wolves their defeat was integral in convincing Pete to return home to his family[9]. When the trio entered the town of Tombstone they came upon a stand-off between the law and Bard Rand's gang. Tex sent Lighting to where Rand and his men holed up to keep an eye out for them, unaware that the sheriff had rigged explosives to blow them up if they did not surrender. Not willing to let his trusty sidekick die in the explosion, Tex convinced the sheriff to hold off detonating the explosives for 5 minutes, more than enough time for Tex to save Lightning and capture the entire gang[10]. When clashing with the Bo Newton gang, Lightning was sent to keep an eye on Linx Porter, a gang member who Tex saved earlier to ensure he would not cause trouble. Sensing that Linx wanted to reform, Lightning did not attack convincing Linx that he could redeem himself and surrendered to the authorities[11]. Not long after this, Lightning was integral in defending an elderly prospector from a pack of wolves[12].

When the end of a range war separated Farley Warner from his family, he believed them dead and went to "avenge" them by trying to kill those he held responsible. Lightning was used to track his movement, and often disarm him in the nick of time before he killed anybody, one time suffering a boot to the head trying to stop Farley from escaping. Lightning's intervention prevented Farley from crossing that line until his family turned up alive and well[13]. After losing all his money betting against the Western Kid in a horse race and begrudging the hero for a previous arrest, Mick Connors plotted to get back at the Kid by stealing his horse Whirlwind, unaware that Lightning overheard this. Waiting until night, Mick went to steal the horse when only Lightning was awake to stop him. Lightning was too slow to stop Connors, who drew a gun and threatened to shoot Whirlwind and left. When the Kid woke up to find his horse gone, and Lightning unable to explain himself, the Kid angrily blamed Lightning for failing on the job and sent the dog away. However Lightning didn't stray too far from his master, and when the Kid confronted Connors and he confessed to how he stole the horse, Lightning came to his master's aid helping him capture Mick and free Whirlwind[2].

Abilities

Lightning was highly intelligent dog who could follow specific and complex orders from his master.



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