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Title: Tales from the X-bar Horse Camp - The Blue-Roan Outlaw and Other Stories
Author: Barnes, Will C.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    Transcriber's Note:

    Every effort has been made to replicate this text as faithfully as
    possible, including non-standard spelling and inconsistent
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Tales From The X-Bar Horse Camp

    Tales From The X-Bar Horse Camp

    _The Blue-Roan "Outlaw" and Other Stories_



    Author of "Western Grazing Grounds"


    Published by
    542 So. Dearborn Street
    Chicago, Illinois

    COPYRIGHT 1920


    _To My Mother_:

     _Who shared with me many of the dangers and hardships of the old
     days on the ranges of the Southwest, these stories are
     affectionately dedicated._

    _Washington, D. C._
    _September 1st, 1919._


    Sunrise on the Desert (poem)                 xi

    The Blue-Roan "Outlaw"                        1

    Campin' Out                                  23

    Popgun Plays Santa Claus                     32

    "Just Regulars"                              45

    The Stampede on the Turkey Track Range       58

    The Navajo Turquoise Ring                    74

    An Arizona Etude                             86

    Stutterin' Andy                              94

    The Passing of Bill Jackson                 104

    The Tenderfoot from Yale                    114

    "Dummy"                                     123

    The Mummy from the Grand Cañon              140

    Jumping at Conclusions                      149

    Lost in the Petrified Forest                163

    "Camel Huntin'"                             174

    The Trinidad Kid                            184

    "Pablo"                                     195

    The Shooting up of Horse Head               206


    The whole herd swam the Pecos in safety                          8

    Say, Dad, did you ever pack a burro?                            23

    Gibson managed to get everything in the two Kyacks carried
    by the mule                                                     36

    "Just Regulars" Apache squaw and baby                           45

    The men on day herd could hold them easily                      58

    Some prehistoric people had carved queer hieroglyphics on it    71

    He was a picture of savage finery                               78

    Now the Navajos are famous silversmiths                         78

    The mess wagon was backed up into the shade                     86

    Andy done built a little log house                              97

    We had a fire lookout station                                  115

    Out on the range 1200 ewes were grazing                        128

    He had a Navajo Squaw weaving blankets                         144

    He knows where there's a bunch of Cliff Dwellings              148

    The sails of the wind mill flashed in the sunlight             153

    We were camped over in the petrified forest                    165

    Hawk met a forest ranger leading a pack mule                   197

    They gave the money to Jackson, the Cross J boss               210


    Towards the east, the God of day,
    Like some great red-eyed dragon, tops the rugged range.
    Before his golden beams, the gray
    Of dawn creeps slowly backward, till the magic change
    Sweeps night away.

    The desert stirs, and wakes.
    Strange-fashioned things come slipping into sight.
    High overhead a buzzard idly wings,
    A lonely raven robed in shades of night
    "Caws" hoarsely to its mates.

    Perched on a nearby stone,
    A lizard, swift as light, and clad in colors gay,
    Pumps slowly up and down.
    A horned toad, with crown of thorns, comes slithering by,
    And then is gone.

    Atop of yonder rocky hill
    A lone coyote, skulker of the desert wastes,
    Greets the first beams with shrill
    And piercing "yips," then hastes
    To find his morning kill.

    A wandering honeybee,
    Drunk with nectar from a Palo Verde's yellow bloom,
    Goes stagg'ring by.
    The air is heavy with the desert's sweet perfume
    From flower and tree.


The Blue-Roan "Outlaw"

_A Tale of the "Hashknife" Range_

By permission _The Breeder's Gazette_, Chicago, Ill.

"Say, Bill, there's that old blue-roan, droop-horned cow that allus runs
over on the Coyote wash. Reckon she ain't got a calf somers' hereabout?"

"Like as not," replied Bill, "an' I'll bet it's a blue-roan, too, for
she's raised a blue calf reg'lar fer these last four or five years.
There's a little hole of water clos't to where she's a-grazin' an' it's
a sure shot the calf's hid away in that tall grass down there clos't to

The two cowboys rode slowly down the gentle slope toward the cow, which
watched them eagerly, but with the cunning of the brute made no sign or
motion to show where her baby was hidden. When, however, one of the boys
played the time-worn trick on her by barking like a dog, it was too much
for her peace of mind. With a mad bellow of defiance she raced toward
the spot where the little fellow was hidden, exactly as the boys knew
she would.

The calf, with the instinct of the brute already working in his little
four-day-old brain, did not move, but lay there as quietly as if he were
dead, and, not until the horsemen rode almost onto him in the deep
grass, did they discover his hiding place.

The mother, with the fear of man too strong in her heart to stand by her
guns, ran off a few yards from the spot and the calf followed, bawling
loudly, the already awakened man-fear strong within him.

"He's a sure blue-roan all right," said Bill. "Say, won't that old
Hashknife iron loom up big on them ribs some day?" he asked, for a brand
on a roan animal shows much more plainly than on a hide of any other

"It sure will," replied his companion; "better leave 'em here till
tomorrow an' we can swing around this a-way an' git 'em."

So the boys rode on across the prairie, and the droop-horned blue with
her baby rested in peace that day and night.

It was here, away out on the "staked plains," those mysterious regions
of the great Southwest, and far back from the thin line of settlements
that fringed the Pecos River, in southeastern New Mexico, that the
"blue-roan outlaw" first saw the light.

Early next morning the leaders of the roundup party, engaged in
gathering up the cattle on the range, swung across the prairie in a
great semicircle, sweeping before them in one huge drive, everything of
the cow kind. As they divided up into couples to work down the country,
the leader said: "Bill, you look out an' catch that ole blue-roan we
seen yistiday. The old man wants all them cows to throw into that
Arizony drive, an' her an' the calf will make it in all right, I

So, as they rode along, Bill swung across a little draw toward the water
hole they had seen the day before. He picked up the blue-roan, who, with
her young son beside her, trotted off, following the rest of the cattle
already working down the trails toward the round-up grounds. The two
animals fell in with more of their kind as the trails converged until,
by the time the roundup ground was reached, there were more than fifteen
hundred cattle of all ages and sexes gathered in one great bunch.

The blue-roan's baby kept close to his mother's side; the dust that
settled over the herd like a pall, choking him, while the constant
bawling of the cattle, fairly deafened him.

Once, when two huge bulls, fighting fiercely, drove through that portion
of the herd where he and his mother were, and separated the little
family, he added to the din by raising his voice in pitiful outcry for
his protector.

Outside of the herd the cowboys rode slowly around, turning back into
the center any stragglers that tried to escape.

Gradually the bunch began to stop "milling" and as cow after cow found
her calf, the bawling stopped. In half an hour the herd was fairly quiet
and the wagon boss dropped off his horse to "cinch up" a little,
preparatory to the work of cutting out.

Having reset his saddle, the boss mounted again and, calling to two
other men near him, said, "Jack, you go out there a ways and hold 'em
up, and Charley and I will get out the cows and the calves." So Jack
rode off about one hundred yards from the herd in readiness to receive
the "cut" as they came out; while the boss and Charley rode slowly into
the mass of cattle.

"What you want out?" he asked of the boss. "The old man wants every
Hashknife cow and calf that will stand the trail trip to Arizony," he
replied. "We got to get two thousand for the first herd if we can, so
cut 'em close."

"There's that ole blue-roan we seen yistiday," the boss remarked, "let's
throw her out first thing, she's a good one to start a bunch on."

Now starting a "cut" is always some little trouble until you get half a
dozen head together, because the instinct of the animal is to endeavor
to either get back into the herd or to run clear off on the range. In
starting a cut, if possible, they pick out some old, sedate cow, and in
this case the blue-roan was known to be a good one for the purpose.

So our youngster found himself being followed up by a great
fierce-looking man mounted on a small wiry "Paint" pony that kept right
at his mother's heels, no matter which way she turned or twisted.

The cow dodged and wound through the herd, while that object behind kept
close to her, never hurrying, never crowding, but always, in some
inexplicable manner, seeming to force her to the outer rim of the herd.

With the dim hope that possibly she could escape his presence by a break
from the herd she worked past half a dozen steers standing idly on the
edge and, with a quick dash, broke from the herd out toward the free
open prairie, the calf racing at her side.

The man who had so persistently hung to her flank made no further
attempt to follow her, but turned his pony and was lost in the mass of
the herd.

As she widened the distance from the edge of the herd Jack, who, up to
this time had been sitting sideways on his pony some distance from the
herd, straightened up, a movement which caught her eye, so she stopped
to inspect him and decide what new danger was about to present itself.

To her surprise Jack seemed satisfied with her stopping and made no
attempt to come near her. The calf ranged along side of her and began
preparations for a lunch, so she, being a sensible animal, decided to
stay where she was for a time.

A moment later a second cow and calf were also shot out of the edge of
the herd. As she charged across the open space Jack again took interest
enough in the proceedings to ride out and turn her over toward the
blue-roan, which received her with a short bawl. The two calves eyed
each other for a second and then busied themselves with their dinner

The second cow, being young, and with her first calf, was inclined to
run off and leave the spot, but in some way every time she did so she
met Jack and his pony, who, the instant she turned toward the blue cow,
seemed satisfied and took no further steps to interfere with her

Soon a third and fourth cow joined them and, now that there was a
nucleus formed, every new animal turned out of the herd chased straight
for the little bunch, which stood quietly for the next three hours,
their calves sleeping at their feet paying little attention to the
uproar that was going on in the main herd.

Having cut out some three hundred cows and calves, the "choppers" rode
out of the herd, and the "cut" was slowly driven off to water at a
near-by windmill, while the main body of cattle was allowed to drift out
onto the range at their own pleasure.

That night the blue-roan and her calf, together with the rest of the
cut, were "bedded down" near the round-up camp. All night long two men
rode around them and any cow which tried to escape was promptly turned
back into the herd by the watchful riders.

The next day this bunch was called the "day herd" and three herders
looked after them all day long. They were allowed to graze over a piece
of open range where the herders could watch them and see that none of
them escaped. At noon they were driven into a great prairie lake to

That evening another large bunch of cows and calves were brought out to
the day herd and turned into it so that they made quite a respectable
herd that night.

At the end of ten days' work they had over the required number to make
up the "trail herd," and the wagon boss announced one evening that he
would send them into the main ranch on the following day to start for
the long trail trip to Arizona.

The blue-roan calf had by this time become a seasoned traveler, and
found little difficulty in taking care of himself in the herd. A day or
two at the ranch and the preparations for the trip were over.

One fine morning about four o'clock the cook, who had been up in the
cool morning air since half-past two, awoke the sleepers about his wagon
with a long "roll out, roll out, r-o-l-l-o-u-t" which brought the
sleepers in the camp beds scattered about the wagon to the campfire in
short order.

By sunrise the herd was strung out on the trail for the West. In the
lead was the old blue-roan with her blue calf marching steadily along,
grazing when the herd was held up for that purpose, resting when the
outfit stopped to rest, and altogether behaving themselves remarkably

One night as the crew sat about the campfire with the herd resting
quietly not far from the wagon, the wagon boss said to one of the boys
near him: "Jim, I wish you'd take your hoss in the mawnin' and go ahead
and see how the river is. We got to cross it before long and I'm afeard
it's going to be pretty high, if all them clouds up toward the head is
good for anything."

Late the next night Jim returned with the information that the river was
indeed high and that it would be necessary to swim the cattle, or wait
for it to run down.

Four days later the herd was bedded down in the valley of the Pecos
River, a mile or two back from the stream. About noon the next day, when
the cattle were thirsty, the whole herd was drifted down to the river at
a place picked out by the wagon boss where the banks were broken down so
the cattle could reach the water. On the opposite side the bank was low,
making a good "coming out" place.

The river here was half a mile wide and running swiftly. It was,
however, not swimming all the way across, and the place was known as a
safe ford because of an underlying rock ledge, which made good footing
for the cattle in a river where quicksand was almost everywhere present.

The water was muddy and red and, as the first cattle, eager for a drink,
waded out into its depths, the old blue in the lead, the men carefully
pointed them out into the stream, keeping them moving.

The others followed, calves bawling, men shouting, the animals plunging
and tearing through the swift waters. Soon the leaders were swimming
and, as the water deepened, the old blue touched her baby on the nose
and told him something in cow language which made him immediately get on
the upstream side of her and stay there as they swam across the river.
The swift water forced the little fellow against her side, where he hung
like a leech, while his mother swam, strong and steadily, for the
opposite bank. If the leaders had any desire to turn downstream they met
a horseman on that side, swinging his slicker, and shouting with all his
might, and keeping just far enough back of the leaders to stop them from
turning downstream, and still not check them in their swimming toward
the other side.

Soon the old blue and her comrades found footing and she and her little
one were among the first to scramble up the muddy bank and stand on dry
land on the western side of the Pecos. The whole herd, including a
thousand calves, crossed safely. After the saddle horses had swum the
river, and the wagon had been floated over, all the beds and plunder
were carried across in a small boat, and the westward journey to Arizona
was continued.

[Illustration: "_The whole herd swam the Pecos in safety_"]

The day after their arrival on the Arizona range the cattle were turned
out to graze early in the morning. When the calves had all found
their mothers and settled down quietly, the boss "cut off" some three
hundred cows, each with her calf. These the boys drove to a great stone
corral about a mile away, which was almost as large inside as a city
block. In one corner a fire of cedar logs was built, into which was
stuck a lot of iron affairs with handles three or four feet long, which
were the branding irons belonging to the outfit. As he watched the irons
in the fire reaching a white heat, the boss remarked that the old man
was going to run the same old Hashknife brand and mark in Arizony as he
did back in Texas. Finally the boss, throwing away his cigarette, said
to the ropers, "Irons hot, fly at 'em boys." Two men on their horses,
rode into the mass of cattle crowded against the far side of the corral
and, with swift, dextrous throws, began catching the calves. As soon as
the rope settled about the neck of one, the horse was turned toward the
fire, and as the rope was short and tied to the saddle horn, the
unwilling, bawling calf was dragged up to the vicinity of the fire.
There two husky cowboys ran out to meet the rider and, following up the
rope to the calf dancing and bawling about at the end of it, one of them
seized him by the ear or head with one hand and the flank with the other
and, with a quick jerk, threw him upon his side. The instant he struck
the ground, the other man seized a hind leg and pulled it straight out
behind the calf, while the first man, throwing off the rope, sat on the
animal's neck and head, and another seared the tender hide with the
famous "Hashknife" brand. Still another man with a knife cut off the
point of the calf's right ear and took out a little V-shaped piece from
the under side of the left ear. This was the company's earmark. In an
instant the operation was over and the calf running back to its mother.

The blue-roan calf was determined he should not be branded. He watched
the riders as they rode into the herd and buried himself deep in the
middle of the mass, worming under the larger cattle and hiding behind
them, until he began to believe he would escape after all.

All morning long the men worked away with the herd until the poor
animals were half mad with fear and hunger. As the blue-roan dodged to
avoid the whirling, snakelike rope that suddenly shot out from the hand
of a man he had not noticed, he felt it draw up on his hind legs. Before
he knew it, he was lying on his side and being dragged across the rough
ground toward the fire, where he was to receive a mark for life.

"I snared that blue-roan that's been so smart," said the rider as he
passed the other man. "Burn him deep Dick," he said, "for he's a roan
and it will show up fine when he gets grown."

Released from his torture, the roan staggered back to his mother, who
gave him all the comfort she could. His side was bruised and sore where
he had been dragged over the rough ground, and the great burn on his
ribs pained him beyond measure.

Soon after that the bunch was turned out to graze and, sick at heart,
the calf crawled miserably under the shade of a small ironwood bush,
while his mother went to water, leaving him alone in his wretchedness.
From this time on, the blue-roan became a hater of men. The object on
horseback was to him the source of all his suffering and pain--a thing
to be avoided, and upon which to wreak vengeance some day, if possible.

The country in Arizona was very unlike the old range upon the staked
plains in Texas, being rough and rocky, with none of those great grassy
stretches they had been accustomed to back in their old home. There were
trees here, too, a thing they had never known on their old range, and
the cows buried themselves deep in the thickets of cedar and piñon.
There they found many tanks or reservoirs of rain water, and unless the
water gave out they seldom left their hiding places.

Here, the blue-roan calf and his mother made their home, until one day,
when he was about a year old, he was accidentally separated from her and
never saw her again. Two years of life in the thickets made him shy and
wild as a deer; he learned to watch for objects upon horseback, which
were his one great fear. Once in the winter before he lost his mother a
trio of wolves followed them through the cedars for a whole day,
sneaking up on them as closely as they dared, even nipping at their
heels. His mother would turn upon them with a bellow of defiance and
charge toward the tormentors, head down, returning quickly to the little
bunch of friends that stood together, heads to the foe, their calves
within the circle.

A two-year-old heifer, with more pluck than judgment, weak from a long
winter of short grass and poor range, made a dart toward the wolves, and
turning to join the circle of cows, stumbled and fell to her knees. In a
moment the wolves were upon her. While they were busy over their feast,
the other cattle slipped away from the fearsome place, and a new danger
crept into the blue-roan's life.

Three years had passed. The blue-roan was beginning to be a noted
character upon the range. He was broad of horn, and the great black
Hashknife, outlined against the blue hide, could be seen for a long
distance. The sight of a horseman, no matter how far away, was
sufficient to send him plunging down the roughest mountainside, into the
depths of the cedar brakes, and over rocks and lava flows, where no
mounted man could follow. He was too fleet of foot for the older cows,
and the roan soon found himself alone in his glory. He then became what
is known to the cowboys of the western ranges as an "outlaw," an animal,
either horse, bovine, or even human, that, deserted by all its friends,
runs alone and has little to do with the rest of his kind; a "cimarron,"
the Mexicans call them. Such animals are seldom forced into the roundups
that take place at regular intervals upon the ranges, and when caught by
that dragnet, are very hard to hold in the herd long enough to get them
to the stockyards and shipped out of the country.

The next spring, when it was time to start on the roundup, the wagon
boss told the men to keep a sharp lookout for that blue-roan outlaw, and
"get him or bust him," if the opportunity offered.

It fell to the lot of the boss and another man to run into the blue-roan
a few days later. They were working down a grassy draw in a thick cedar
country, when out from the trees on one side of it there burst a great
blue animal with a grand spread of horns, and fleet as a deer. In an
instant the two men had their ropes down and were after him in full
pursuit. "Cut him off from the cedars!" shouted the boss to his partner,
who happened to be closest to the cedars, and the boy spurred his pony
toward the steer, which now was doing his best to gain the friendly
shelter and protection of the trees.

It was but a short distance, and the steer had much the best of the
race, but the boy had his pony alongside the animal before he could get
his rope into shape for a throw. The steer, with the keen instinct of
the hunted, crowded the pony over toward the trees and, just as the
rider was ready to drop his rope over the animal's wide-spread horns, an
overhanging branch caught the loop, jerking it from his grip. In a vain
attempt to turn the steer from the trees into the open, he crowded his
pony close up onto the huge bulk of the outlaw. The man's right knee was
fairly touching the animal's shoulder, while he rapidly coiled his rope
for another throw.

Following them came the boss, cursing his rope, a new "Maguey" which had
fouled in his hands and was a mass of snarls and knots, which in his
eager haste he only made worse instead of better. At this instant, the
blue-roan turned suddenly. With a quick upward thrust of his head, he
drove his nearest horn deep into the side of the pony, which was
crowding him so closely, tearing a cruel gash in his side and throwing
horse and rider into a confused, struggling heap on the ground.

In a moment the steer was lost in the trees, while the boss dropped off
his horse to assist his companion, who was working hard to free himself
from the body of the pony, which lay across his leg. The boy cleared
himself from his saddle-rigging, and the pony struggled to his feet. It
was very evident, however, that the animal was wounded to the death; so
the boss, with tears in his eyes, drew his six-shooter and put the poor
animal out of its misery.

From that day the "blue-roan outlaw" became a marked animal upon the
range, and the story of how he killed "Curly Bill's" pony was told
around many a campfire on the round-ups that summer.

Thus the roan outlaw added to his reputation and triumphs until his
capture was the dearest hope of every cowpuncher upon that range. The
word had gone out not to kill him unless absolutely necessary, but
rather to capture him alive just for the satisfaction of the thing.

That fall, when the round-ups were working through the country in which
he was known to be, every man was ambitious to be his captor. Around the
campfires each night plans were laid for the job and stories told of his
prowess and ability to escape from his hunters.

One fine morning, as the riders were working through a country covered
densely with cedar and piñon trees, with occasional open glades and
grassy valleys, the wagon boss and the man with him heard shouts off to
their right. Pulling up their horses they waited to locate the sound,
when suddenly from the thicket of trees along the valley there emerged
two great animals, a black, and a blue-roan steer. It was the famous
blue, together with a black, almost as much an outlaw as himself.

The wagon boss, who had just been lamenting the fact that he was riding
a half-broken horse that day, was nearest to the blue, and professional
etiquette, as well as eagerness to be the one to capture the noted
steer, drove him straight at the big fellow. The pony he rode was a
green one, but he had plenty of speed, and before the steer could reach
the shelter of the cedars the rope, tied hard and fast to the horn of a
new fifty-dollar saddle, was settling over the head of the outlaw.
Unfortunately, however, the rope did not draw up close to the horns, or
even on the neck, but slipped back against the mighty shoulders of the
steer, giving him a pulling power on the rope that no cow-pony could
meet. Then, to quote the words of the man with the boss, "things shore
did begin to pop."

Knowing full well that if he crowded the animal too hard he would turn
on him and probably kill another horse, the boss made a long throw and
consequently had but little rope left in his hand with which to "play"
his steer. The jerk that came, when the steer weighing twelve hundred
pounds, and running slightly down hill, arrived at the end of the rope,
tied to the saddle-horn, was something tremendous. As soon as the strain
came on the cinches the pony threw down his head and began some of the
most scientific and satisfactory bucking that was ever seen on the
Hashknife range, which is compliment enough.

When the boys were gathered about the fire that evening "Windy Bob," who
had been with the boss, related the affair.

"Ye see, fellers, me and Ed was a-driftin' down the wash, not expectin'
anything pertickler, when out from the cedars busts the ole blue, and a
mighty good mate for him.

"'The blue's mine, Windy,' ses Ed, and I, not hankerin' a bit fer the
job, bein' as my shoulder I broke last fall won't stand much funny
business, lets him have the big blue all right, and I takes after his
mate; which was plenty big 'nuf fer me and the hoss I was a-ridin'.

"I made a good throw and, everything going first rate, had my steer on
his side in half a minute, makin' a record throw and tie. Jist as I got
my hoggin' rope onto his feet all safe I heered a big doin's up towards
Ed's vicinity, and lookin' up seen his hoss jist a-pitchin' and
a-sunfishin' like a good feller.

"Ed, he rides him fer about three or four jumps and then, as the saddle
was a crawlin' up onto the pony's neck, from his cinches a-bein too
loose, and it a-tippin' up behind like a old hen-turkey's tail, runnin'
before the wind, Ed, he decides to unload right thar and not go any

"The pony, he keeps up his cavortin' and the steer stripped the saddle
right over his head. Away goes Mr. Blue into the thick timber, draggin'
that new Heiser Ed got up in Denver over the rocks and through the
trees, like as if it want but a picket pin at the end of a stake rope.

"When Ed hit the sod, his Winchester drops out of the scabbard, an' he
grabs it up an' sets there on the ground a pumpin' lead after the blue
as fast as he could pull the trigger. He never stopped the steer at all,
an' when we were trailin' him up, we found the saddle where the rope had
dragged between two rocks. The saddle got hung up, but the steer was a
runnin' so hard that he jist busted the rope and kept on a goin' an' I
reckin is a goin' yet."

"Imagine Ed's shots hit the steer, Windy?" inquired one interested

"Reckon not," was the reply, "but one of them hit the saddle and made a
hole clean through the tree, which didn't help matters much with the
boss, I'm here to tell you. You'd orter heerd Ed talk when he sees that
there new hull of his all skinned up an' a hole shot plumb through the
fork." And Windy grinned at the memory of it.

Not long after this adventure, the blue-roan stood on a high ridge
overlooking a valley. Out in that valley was the salt ground where great
chinks of pure white rocksalt were placed, not only to satisfy the
cravings of the salt-loving brutes, but to coax them out of the cedars
into the open where the wilder ones could be captured.

The roan was salt-hungry and, after a careful survey of the
surroundings, started down the trail for the salt grounds. Away off to
the left, and quite out of his sight, half a dozen cowboys were driving
a bunch of cattle down a draw between two ridges. One of them rode up on
top of the ridge to take a look over the country. Some distance below
him, and well out into the valley, was a single animal. It took but a
short look to satisfy the rider that it was the blue-roan. The boy was
riding his best rope-horse that morning and, with a wave of his hat to
his comrades, he loosened the reins on old "Greyback" and tore off down
the valley toward the steer.

He had not gone fifty yards before the roan saw he was pursued, and
wheeling out of the trail in which he was traveling struck back towards
the sheltering trees on a long swinging trot.

A couple of miles' hard run, and the boy rode his horse out of a
deep wash, to see, across another valley, the blue-roan hurrying
majestically up the ridge, the sheltering trees but a few hundred yards
away. He spurred his horse down the rocky side of the ridge, across a
flat at the bottom, and up the steep side opposite, reaching the top
just as the blue was passing. His horse was winded, but the boy "took a
long chance" and drove after the animal with his rope down ready for a
throw. For an instant the steer hesitated, then plunged off the ridge,
down the steep side, just as the boy's rope dropped over his horns. It
was a fearful risk to rope a steer such as this, with a badly winded
horse; but tenfold more dangerous to do it just as the great animal was
starting down the steep slope. The boy knew his only hope was to keep
the steer from tightening the rope, for if that happened, no horse on
earth could hold the weight of the brute at the end of it, plunging down
hill as they were.

"Turn the rope loose," you say? Oh no; he wasn't that kind of a cow
puncher. Come what might, he meant to hang onto that steer to the bitter

Half way down the hill was a lone piñon tree about twenty feet high, and
true to his nature the steer headed for it. The rider realized his
danger and tried to keep from straddling it with his rope, but, just as
the roan reached the tree, instead of passing it on the same side with
the horse, he dodged around it. This brought the horse and man on one
side, the steer on the other; between them a fifty foot "Tom Horn" rope
fastened firmly; one end to a twelve hundred-pound steer, the other, to
a saddle cinched to a thousand-pound horse.

The tremendous force of the pull, when the rope drew up on the tree,
uprooted it. This prevented the rope from breaking, but there was
sufficient jerk upon it to bring both horse and steer to the ground in a
struggling heap.

The man who was "riding for a fall," with both feet out of the stirrups,
in anticipation of just such a wreck, flew off into space, landing in a
pile of rocks twenty-five feet away by actual measurement. The horse
fell with his head under him in such a way that his neck was instantly

When the other men who were following reached the scene, they found the
man just regaining his senses, badly cut about the head, but otherwise
unhurt. The blue, in falling, had landed flat on his back, his hind feet
down the steep hill, both his long horns buried to the very skull in the
ground. Thus he was absolutely helpless and unable to regain his feet,
no matter how hard he struggled. To "hog-tie" him in this position, was
the work of but a moment, and at last the blue-roan outlaw was a

It was no trouble to roll him down the steep hillside to the level
ground below, and inside of half an hour the rest of the men arrived on
the scene with the bunch of cattle they had been driving.

In the bunch was a large steer which they roped and dragged up to where
the outlaw lay, and, in cowboy parlance "dumped" him on top of the
outlaw. They then proceeded to "neck" the two steers together with a
short rope they cut for the purpose. Having done this to their
satisfaction they untied the hogging ropes and allowed the steers to
gain their feet. As this was done the bunch of cattle they had driven up
was carefully crowded around the two animals. After a few minutes of
pulling and fighting the outlaw sulkily allowed himself to be dragged
along by his unwilling mate, with the rest of the cattle, and was
eventually landed safely in the main herd.

Great was the rejoicing in camp that night over the capture, and the
guards about the herd were cautioned not to let the two escape under any

At the end of the week the herd had been worked down to the river for
shipping. As the country was open and the herd easily handled the
"twins," as the boys called them, came apart when the old rope wore out
and were not necked up again.

That night one of the men, who had a family in town, hired a town kid to
take his place on herd, while he went up and spent the night at home. As
the boy rode his guard around the edge of the herd which lay quietly in
the cool night air, he found a big blue steer standing at the very edge
of the bunch looking off toward the mountains in a dreamy, meditative
mood. Kidlike, he could not withstand the temptation to play the
"smarty," so, instead of passing him by or gently turning him into the
herd, the boy took off his hat and swung it into the steer's face.

It was a distinct challenge to the old warrior, and he rose to the
occasion. Gathering himself for one mighty plunge he struck the pony the
boy was riding with his powerful head, knocking him flat. Away he dashed
over horse and rider, while the herd broke into a mad stampede which
carried them five miles in the opposite direction before they could be
"milled" into a bunch and held up again. Two men were left with them,
the rest returning to camp.

Daylight showed the blue-roan missing, and the wagon boss swore a solemn
oath that, if ever again he was captured, he would be necked and also
have his head tied down to a foot until he was safely inside the

Four weeks later a party of cattle men, gathering steers in the
mountains, ran across the blue outlaw, right on the brink of a deep,
rough cañon. He was seen, with the aid of a glass, across a bend in the
cañon lying under the rim rock in fancied security. Near him were
several other steers, and it was determined to make the attempt to
capture the lot.

Carefully driving their bunch of gentle steers as close to the place
where the outlaw was lying as they could, with the thought that, if he
ran up the trail, he would see the steers and possibly go to them and
stop; three men rode into the cañon some distance below and started up
the trail toward where he was lying.

The instant the blue-roan saw the horsemen he jumped to his feet,
hesitated a moment, and instead of taking the smooth trail out, dove
down the steep, rocky sides of the cañon where neither horse nor man
could follow.

Surefooted as he was, he misjudged his agility and strength, and plunged
into a mass of loose rock, which gave him no foothold. The walls of the
cañon were frightfully steep and in the loose rock, sliding, slipping,
and rolling, he was swiftly hurried towards the edge of a cliff two
hundred feet high, over which he dropped to death and destruction. Tons
of loose rock followed him to the bottom, making a roar like a thousand
cannons. It was the end of the road for the blue-roan.

When the men climbed down the trail to see just what had happened they
found him dead and half buried in the mass of fallen rock.

The cliff was an over-hanging one, smooth and soft enough to show
markings, and one of the men, taking a piece of hard flintrock, spent
half an hour cutting deep into the smooth, white wall the words:

"Here died the Blue-Roan Outlaw. He was a King."




_A Bit of Family Correspondence_

Camp Roosevelt, September 5th.

_Dear Daddy_: I promised to write every day, if I could, while we are on
our vacation; so here goes: My, but we had a hard time getting out here.
Say, Dad, did you ever pack a burro? Haven't they got the slipperiest
backs? Our pack turned over about twenty times and scattered the stuff
all over the country. The sugar spilled out of the bag and wasted. Billy
says that don't matter, though, for we can use molasses in our coffee,
like the miners up in Alaska.

[Illustration: "_Say, Dad, did you ever pack a burro_"]

He kept running into all the open gates along the road (the burro, not
Billy). The way he tramped up some of the gardens was awful. Billy got
so mad he wouldn't chase him out any more, 'cause once they set a dog on
to him as he was chasing the burro out of a frontyard.

Billy says burros is the curiest things ever.

We tried leading him (the burro, not Billy), but he wouldn't lead a
single step. He ran away last night. Billy hopes he never comes back

We are camped under a big fir tree, with branches that come down to the
ground just like an umbrella. The creek is so close to camp that we can
hear it tumbling over the rocks all night. I think it's great, but Billy
says it's so noisy it keeps him awake. Billy makes me tired, he does;
for it takes Jack and me half an hour to wake him up in the morning to
build the fire. That's his job.

We called it "Camp Roosevelt." Billy wanted to name it "Camp Bryan,"
because his father's a democrat, but me and Jack says nothin' doing in
the Bryan name, 'cause this camp's got to have some life to it, and a
camp named Roosevelt was sure to have something lively happening all the

We are sure having a fine time here.

Your affectionate son,


P. S. Tell mother that tea made in a coffee pot tastes just as good as
if it was made in a tea pot. She said it wouldn't.


P. S. Pa, did you ever useto sleep with your boots for a pillow out on
the plains? Cause if you did I don't see how you got the kinks out of
your neck the next day.


Camp Roosevelt, September 7th.

_Dear Pa_: My, but the ground's hard when you sleep on it all night. We
all three sleep in one bed, 'cause that gives us more to put under us.
I'm sorry for soldiers who have to sleep on one blanket. We toss up to
see who sleeps in the middle, for the blankets are so narrow that the
outside fellow gets the worst of it.

The first night the burro ran off, and next morning Jack had to walk two
miles before he found him. Jack's the horse-wrangler. Isn't that what
you said they used to call the fellow who hunted up the horses every
morning on the round-ups?

We staked him out the next night (the burro I mean, not Jack) and we all
woke up half scared to death at the worst racket you ever heard in all
your life. And what do you think it was? Nothing at all but that
miserable burro braying.

Say, Pa, you know that quilt mother let me bring along, the one she said
you and she had when you first got married? Well, do you s'pose she'd
care if it was tore some? You see, on the way out the burro ran along a
barb wire fence and tore it, the quilt I mean. Lots of the stuffing came
out, but it don't show if you turn the tore place down.

This morning I woke up most froze, 'cause Billy crowded me clear off the
bed and out on to the ground. It's sure great to sleep out of doors and
see the stars and things. We put a hair rope in the foot of the bed last
night. Gee, but Jack jumped high when his bare feet hit it. He thought
it was a tarantula.

My, I wish we could stay here a year.



P. S. The little red ants got into our condensed milk and spoiled it;
leastways there's so many ants we can't separate the ants from the
milk. Billy left the hole in the top of the can open.

Camp Roosevelt, September 9th.

_Dear Pa_: You know Billy's dog Spot? Well, Billy said there was a
wildcat about camp, 'cause he saw the tracks. So I went down to a house
below on the creek and borrowed a steel trap they had. It was a big one
with sharp teeth on the jaws.

I wanted to set it on the ground, but Billy he says, "No, sir; set it on
the log acrost the creek, 'cause the cat would walk on the log and
couldn't help getting caught.

Besides, he said if we set it on the log and fastened it, when the
wildcat got caught he'd fall off into the creek and get drownded and
then we wouldn't have to kill him. Billy says that's the way trappers
catch mushrats, so they can't eat their feet off, when they get caught,
and get away.

Well, sir, we set the trap and tied Spot up so he wouldn't get into it.

In the night we heard the awfulest racket ever was and the biggest
splashing going on in the water. It even woke Billy up, and that's going
some, as Uncle Tom says.

It was 'most daylight and I sat up in bed, and there in the water was
something making a dreadful fuss. Billy he looks at it a minute and
says: "Why, it's Spot. Who let him loose?" Then we all jumped up, and
sure enough there was poor old Spot in the trap by one front-foot. The
chain to the trap was just long enough so he didn't drown, but was
hanging in the water by one leg.

Billy, it being his dog, crawled out on the log, unfastened the chain
and tried to pull Spot up. Some way he lost his balance and fell into
the creek right on top of the dog. Billy was real mad 'cause me and Jack
laughed so hard we couldn't help him a bit, Spot was pretty mad too, for
he grabbed Billy's leg in his teeth and tore a big piece out of
them--out of Billy's pajamas I mean.

Then Billy let go of the chain, and Spot climbed out of the water on to
the bank and tried to run off with the trap. Billy waded ashore too, and
we just laid down on the ground and hollered like real wild Indians.
Billy he said it wasn't any laughing matter and to come and help him get
Spot out of the trap.

Say, Dad, did you ever try to open a big steel trap--especially one with
a spotted dog in it? Spot wouldn't let us come near him. Billy coaxed
and coaxed, but, no siree, he wouldn't do anything but just snap at us
like a sure enough wild cat. Meantime Spot he howls something dreadful.

Then Jack he remembers how once in a storybook a man caught a mad dog,
so he runs to the bed and gets a blanket, and while Billy and me talks
nice to Spot from in front, Jack he sneaks up behind and throws it over
him. Then Jack grabbed the blanket and wrapped it around the dog's head
so he couldn't bite, and we both stood on the trap spring and managed to
get it open wide enough so Billy got his foot out (Spot's foot I mean,
not Billy's).

Has he come home yet? 'Cause he's gone from here. My goodness, but
camping out's sure fun.

Your loving son,


P. S. Billy says he don't care anyhow, for Spot had no right to chew the
rope in two and get loose so as to get into the trap.


P. S. The wasps are thick here. One stung Jack on the neck and he
hollered awful over it. I made a mud poultice for it like you told me
once you used to do on the plains.

Camp Roosevelt, September some time.

We forget what day it is.

_Dear Pa_: It rained last night real hard. We didn't get much wet, and
anyhow Jack says camping out wouldn't be any fun unless you slept in wet
blankets once, like the cowboys and soldiers do on the plains. Billy
says his Uncle John says a wet bed is a warm bed, but I don't believe
him, for we 'most froze.

Pa, what makes the red come out of the quilts where they get rained on?
Jack says we belong to the improved order of Red Men now, and if my face
looks as funny as his does, with red streaks all acrost it, I'd be
afraid to go home.

You'd ought to see the fun we had drownding out a chipmonk what ran into
a hole in the ground. We packed the water in our hats from the creek.
Bimeby, the chipmonk, came out, and I ran after him. He was so wet he
couldn't run fast and I made a grab at him and caught him--no, he caught
me for he bit my finger horrible hard and I couldn't let go, or else he
wouldn't, I'm not sure which.

Billy and Jack laughed at me as if it was a good joke, but I couldn't
see where it was so very funny.

Do chipmonks have hydryfoby? Billy says he bets they do.

Your son, DICK.

P. S. Jack dropped the box of matches out of his shirt pocket into the
creek, and I had to go to a house about a mile away to get some more.

P. S. You can't make a fire with two sticks of wood, for we tried it for
an hour. All we got was blisters on our hands. The Indians must of had
lots of patience if they ever did it.

Camp Roosevelt, Thursday.

The man told us.

_Dear Daddy_: If the burro comes home please shut him up in the lot.
He's gone somewhere and we can't find him. Anyhow it don't make much
difference, for Jack says he'd rather carry his share of the stuff on
his back than bother with a pack burro again. There ain't going to be
much grub to take back anyhow. The man down the creek gave us some more
bacon for what the hogs ate up and said we were welcome to all the green
corn we wanted from his field. We had just corn for supper last night
and breakfast today. The salt all got wet in the rain and melted up, so
we didn't have any, but Billy says lots of times on the plains people
didn't have any salt for weeks at a time. I'll bet they didn't have
nothing but green corn to eat, though.

Please tell mother that I burned a hole in one of my shoes trying to dry
them out by the campfire. Also about six inches off the bottom of one
leg of my pajamas. They were hanging on a stick by the fire drying while
we made the bed. Billy said he smelt cloth a-burning, but we never saw
where it was till the harm was done.

If mother won't mind I'm sure I won't, for Billy says no soldier or
cowboy ever wore pajamas. It was my old pair of shoes anyhow, and they
always hurt my heel when I walked, so they don't matter either.

Camping out's sure lots of fun.

Your loving son,


P. S. The man down the creek says he's going to town pretty soon and if
we want to ride in with him we can. I wonder what made him think of it.

P. S. A wasp stung me on the lip yesterday. He lit on an ear of corn
just as I went to bite. It don't hurt at all, leastways I'd be ashamed
if I made as much fuss about it as Jack did when one bit him. Besides a
wasp bite on the lip's lots worser than one on the neck--that's what the
man down the creek says.

Camp Roosevelt.

_Dear Daddy_: Yesterday we sure had a great time playing "Pirates"
without any shirts on--for Billy says pirates always dress that
way--just their trousers on, "naked to the waist," he says.

I was the pirate chief, and Billy was my crew. Jack he was the captain
of the vessel and stood on the log to defend the gangway of his ship.

We had cutlasses made out of lath and when we told Jack to surrender he
called us cowardly pirates and dared us to step on board his ship.

Then we went for him and was having a great old time when Jack's foot
slipped and he fell off the log into the creek. He got mad at me and
Billy, 'cause we laughed at him when he bumped his head on the log as
he went down.

I wisht we could camp out here forever.


P. S. What's good for a burnt finger where you burnt it trying to pick
the coffee pot off the fire to keep it from boiling over?

Camp Roosevelt.

_Dear Dad_: If there's a funny smell to this letter it's on account of
the skunk. The man down the creek says if we bury our clothes in the
ground for two or three days the smell will all come off.

We are coming home tomorrow in his wagon. We're going to leave the bed
clothes hanging in a tree. The man said he wouldn't take them home if he
was us. Anyhow it don't matter much for a spark blew onto the bed one
day and burnt a hole right through them all clear down to the ground.

We put it out when we smelt it. It didn't hurt very much, for we changed
the blankets 'round so the holes didn't all come together, and let in
the cold, and it was all right.

Please kiss Mother for me and tell her most of the red's come off my
face and arms.

Billy cried last night 'cause he was homesick and wanted his Ma. He's a
sissy girl, Billy is. I'll sure be glad to see you and Ma, but I
wouldn't cry about it. Please kiss Ma for me.

Your affectionate son, RICHARD.

P. S. Say, Pa, do skunks out on the plains look like little kittens? The
one we caught sure did.



By permission of _The National Wool Growers' Magazine_

    "Salute yer pardners, let her go,
    Balance all an' do-se-do.
    Swing yer gal, then run away,
    Right, an' left an' gents sashay."

"Whoa, Mack, there's a letter in the Widow Miller's box."

The pony sidled gingerly toward the mailbox nailed to the trunk of a
pine tree, his eyes and ears watching closely the white sheet of paper
that lay on the bottom of the open box, held by a small stone which
allowed one end to flutter and flap in the wind in a way that excited
his suspicions.

When the Widow Miller wished to mail a letter she placed it, properly
stamped, in her box and the first neighbor passing that way took it out
and mailed it for her, she being some miles off the regular mail route.

    "Gents to right, now swing or cheat,
    On to the next gal an' repeat."

He chanted the old familiar frontier quadrille call as he tried to force
the pony close to the box to reach the paper without dismounting.

"Stand still, you fool," he spurred the animal vigorously, "that there
little piece of paper ain't going to eat you."

But the more he spurred the farther from the box went the animal. "Beats
all what a feller will do to save unloading hisself from a hoss," he
threw the reins over Mack's head, swung to the ground and strode toward
the box.

    "Balance next an' don't be shy;
    Swing yer pards an' swing 'em high."

He sang as he lifted the stone and picked up the paper beneath it, which
proved to be a large-sized sheet of writing paper folded three times. A
one-cent stamp evidently taken from some old letter was stuck in one
corner and beneath it was scrawled in a childish, unlettered hand the

    "Mister Sandy Claws
    The North Pole."

Almost reverently Gibson unfolded the paper, feeling he was about to
have some youthful heart opened to his curious eyes.

"Deer Sandy Claws," it began, "please bring me a train of railroad cars,
an' a pair of spurs an' a 22 rifle to shoot rabits with, an' a big tin
horn. An' Sandy, Mary wants a big Teddy bare an' a real doll what shuts
her eyes when she lays down. An' Minnie she's the baby, Sandy, so pleas
bring her a pictur book an' a doll an' a wolly lam an' bring us all a
lot of candy an' apples an' oranges an' nuts, for since Dady went away,
we ain't had none of them things much. Mother she says you know jist
where we live so don't forgit us for I've tride to be a good boy this

"James Simpson Miller, 7 years old."

Gibson felt a lump rising in his throat, and took refuge in song to hide
his embarrassment.

    "Bunch the gals an' circle round;
    Whack your feet upon the ground.
    Form a basket break away,
    Swing an' kiss, an' all git gay."

He wiped something out of the corner of his eyes with the back of his
buckskin glove, and blew his nose savagely. "Hm, Shucks, seems like I'm
a gittin' a cold in my haid," he remarked sort of confidentially to the

Once more he read the letter.

"Hm, Shucks, wants a railroad train, hey? An' a gunchester to kill
rabbits, an' a tin horn, an' Mary wants a Teddy bear, does she, an'
apples an' oranges an' candy for all of 'em. Say, Bill Gibson, it's up
to you to play Santy Claus for these kids an' if you handle the job
right maybe you can convince their Aunt Nancy that she'd ought to say
'Yes' to a man about your size an' complexion." Again he broke into

    "Aleman left an' balance all.
    Lift yer hoofs an' let 'em fall.
    Swing yer op'sites; swing agin,
    Kiss the darlings--if ye kin."

"Git up, Mack, les git along to camp and let the bunch in on this Santy
Claus game. Hm, Shucks, Nancy said she wanted a watermelon-pink
sweater--whatever color that may be--to wear to the New Year's dance up
on Crow Creek. Reckin the thing won't cost more'n a month's pay. I'll
jist get her one if it takes my whole roll." Once more he dropped into

    "Back yer pardners, do-se-do.
    Ladies break, an' gents you know.
    Crow hop out, an' dove hop in,
    Join yer paddies an' circle again.
    "Salute yer pardner, let her go,
    Balance all an' do-se-do.
    Gents salute yer little sweets,
    Hitch an' promenade to seats."

That night around the table in the bunk house of the Oak Creek Sheep
Company, four or five men watched the foreman write a letter to the
owner, Mr. Barrington, who was wintering on the coast. Briefly he
explained how the letter to Santa Claus fell into their hands and the
desire of the men at the ranch to furnish the children with all the
things they asked for, and more.

Miller, the foreman explained, had been accidentally killed a couple of
years before and his wife was putting up a hard fight to stay on the
piece of land he had homesteaded long enough to get title to it from the

There were three kids, he continued, James, the oldest, seven years, and
two girls, Mary, five, and Minnie, the baby, two.

"The boys ain't a-limiting you in the cost, so please get anything else
you and Mrs. Barrington thinks would please the kids and let me know
the cost and I'll charge it up to the boys' pay accounts.

"Also Bill Gibson wants that Mrs. Barrington should pick out what he
says is to be a 'watermelon-pink' sweater for Mrs. Miller's kid sister,
Nancy. Bill says Nancy is just about Mrs. Barrington's size, and what'd
fit her will fit Nancy all right.

"Bill he says he reckons Mrs. B. will savvy what a watermelon-pink
sweater is, which is more than any of us do."

Three days before Christmas Bill Gibson set forth for the railroad,
twenty-five miles away, to bring back the expected Christmas stuff.
There was two feet of snow on the ground and the roads were impassable
for wheels; so Bill took with him two pack animals, a horse and a mule.

He figured he would be one day going and one coming and that on
Christmas eve, after marking and arranging all the presents, some one
would ride down to the cabin and leave the whole business on the porch
of the widow's cabin where she would be sure to find it early Christmas
morning. At the railroad Gibson found the trains all tied up with snow
to the west, and the packages had not arrived.

"Hm, shucks," was his terse comment. "Now wouldn't it jist be hell if
the plunder didn't come in time for them kids to have their Christmas
tree?" But late that night a train came through which brought the
package he had come for.

By unpacking the stuff from the box in which they were shipped Gibson
managed to get everything in the two kyacks carried by the mule while
upon the horse he packed a load of provisions for the camp.

[Illustration: "_Gibson managed to get everything in the two Kyacks
carried by the mule_"]

Barrington and his wife had added liberally to the list of toys and,
knowing well the conditions at the sheep ranch, had marked or tagged
each article with the name of the child for which it was intended. Even
Mrs. Miller had been remembered generously.

The sweater was there, packed carefully in a fancy box. Bill loosed the
ribbon that fastened it and slipped a card into the box on which he had
laboriously written, "To Miss Nancy, from her true friend, Bill."

But the storm broke out again and it was long after noon the next day
before he dared start, for the wind blew great guns and the air was
filled with icy particles that no one could face.

Leading the pack horse with the mule "tailed up" to him, Gibson started
for home, but made poor progress through the drifted snow. It was almost
two o'clock the next morning when he passed the letterbox at the trail
to the Widow Miller's place. The moon had gone down behind the trees to
the west and it was quite dark, but here the wind had swept the ground
bare of snow, and his progress with his rather jaded animals was much

Sleepy and tired from his long ride Gibson reached the ranch and rode
into the warm stable to unsaddle. There to his great surprise he found
he had but one animal behind him, the rope which had been around the
mule's neck still dragging at the pack horse's tail, a mute evidence of
what had happened.

"Hm, shucks," he commented grimly, "won't them there boys in the bunk
house give me particular hell for this night's work?"

Wearily he unsaddled and unpacked the horses. Still more wearily he
dragged himself up the path to the house, stirred the fire in the
fireplace into a blaze, and when the coffee was hot drank a cup, ate
greedily of the food which the cook had left for him, crawled into his
blankets and in ten seconds was dead to the world.

In his dreams he was swinging a rosy cheeked girl through the steps of
an old-fashioned quadrille, she being attired in a most gorgeous
watermelon-pink sweater.

    "Swing yer pardners, swing agin;
    Kiss the darlings--if you kin."

He essayed the kiss only to be awakened on the verge of its attainment
by a heavy hand on his shoulder, followed by a voice which demanded in
no soft tones, "Where's your Christmas plunder?"

He sat up in bed half dazed by his night's experience.

"Come alive, Bill; come alive, an' tell us about the things for the
kids. We can't find them nowhere."

Gibson yawned and rubbed his eyes in a vain attempt to delay the
castastrophe which he knew would encompass him when he told of the loss
of the pack mule.

Before he dropped off to sleep he had planned to get an early start in
the morning back on his trail to try to find the lost animal. Popgun had
been bought from the widow soon after her husband's demise and he
shrewdly guessed that the tired, hungry mule would most likely strike
direct for his old and nearby home.

He sprang from bed and grabbed his clothes.

"Hm, shucks," he began. "I reckon I done lost the mule coming home. Had
him tailed up to old Paint and just about the time I passed the trail
into Widder Miller's place Paint set back on the lead rope and like to
pulled the saddle offen old Mack, me havin' the rope tied hard and fast
to the nub. He let up in a minute and come along all right and I'm a
figuring 'twere just about there that Popgun gits loose, he probably
havin' been leaning back on the pack hosse's tail a right smart causing
Paint to pull back hisself. Popgun likely stripped the rope over his
head and being about all in turned off down the trail to the widder's
and it's dollars to doughnuts he's a eating hay in her shed right now.
Me being tired and sleepy I never sensed the loss till I gits here with
the mule's rope a dragging along still tied to Paint's tail. Hm, shucks,
I'll find him or bust a shoe string."

"An' to think they have to go all the way back to Afriky to git ivory
when there's such a lot of it to be had nearer home," was the sarcastic
comment of the foreman.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the windows of the Widow Miller's cabin the whole world seemed
wrapped in a mantle of white. Down along the creek in the meadow the
rose bushes and willows poked their heads above the snow. Changing their
skirts for overalls, she and Nancy soon picked a couple of quarts of the
brilliant red berries or fruit of the rose bushes. That night as soon as
the children were safely in bed they started in on their Christmas tree
preparations. Several days before Nancy had slipped out into the timber
and cut a small spruce which she dragged to the stable and hid under
some loose hay, and with an empty canned goods case and some stones
they managed to make a very satisfactory base for it. Over the coals in
the fireplace they popped a huge dish-pan full of corn and worked late
into the night stringing popcorn and the rose berries with which to
festoon the tree.

"I've seen my mother use cranberries for the same thing," she told her
sister, "but these rose berries look quite as well I think."

From the pages of a mail order catalogue they cut figures from the
brilliantly colored fashion plates which, pasted upon stiff cardboard
and hung to the tips of the branches, made famous decorations.

Festooned with the long strings of rose berries and popcorn, with these
gaily painted ladies of fashion dangling from every bough, it made a
very satisfactory Christmas tree. After placing upon it the presents for
the children which they had been able to buy or make, together with a
few apples and oranges, some stick candy, each done up separately in
paper, "just to make it seem more," Nancy said, the two women retired
for the night.

How long she had slept or what awakened her, Mrs. Miller could not tell,
but as she strained her ears for the slightest sound, she imagined she
could hear outside the footfalls of some heavy animal. She knew it could
be no bear, for whatever it was the snow was crunching under its feet,
nor was it a human, for the steps were those of a four-footed object.

The moon, that earlier in the evening had flooded the valley until it
was almost as light as day, was now just dipping behind the mountain to
the west, throwing the stable into deep shadow, from which the sounds
now seemed to come.

There was a bare possibility of its being some range cow, although they
had all long since drifted down into the lower country, but she finally
decided it must be one of the big bull elks which regularly wintered on
the wind-swept sides of the mountain above them and sometimes came down
to the ranch seeking feed during times of heavy snow.

Shivering with the cold she crept back to bed realizing that daylight
would soon come. Rudely her dreams were broken by a sound that at first
froze the very marrow in her bones, but which with immense relief she
instantly realized could come from the throat of but one animal and
that, a mule.

Fortunately the children slept through it all, and dressing as quickly
as they could, she and Nancy started for the stable, Mrs. Miller armed
with her automatic.

No sooner had they stepped from the porch than the mule that had been
hanging about the stable trying to get in spotted them and greeted their
coming with a series of brays and nickerings that showed his joy at
seeing some human being.

It was Popgun, the pack still on his back. Leading him to the cabin the
women quickly loosened the diamond hitch, took off the canvas pack cover
and piled the kyacks upon the porch after which he was placed in a
vacant stall in the stable and fed.

To the women versed in frontier ways and signs the solution of the visit
from their long-eared friend was simple, and they sized up the situation
almost exactly as it had occurred. Therefore they felt certain some one
would be on his trail before very long.

The rattle of the pack rigging on the porch aroused the children, and
when the women returned from the stable the two older ones were
investigating the pack.

Bidding them not to meddle with the things, Mrs. Miller and her sister
went inside the house to get breakfast leaving the kids on the porch.
Childish curiosity could not well be stifled, especially on such a day
as this. They had been told stories of the coming of Santa Claus and
while Jimmie had learned that a reindeer looks very much like a bull elk
he had once seen, he also knew that all sorts of things could be packed
in a pair of kyacks and knew no reason why Santa should not have availed
himself of that means of transporting his gifts under certain

To loosen the straps that held the kyack covers was an easy matter. To
lift up the heavy canvas covers was still easier and the first thing
that met the eager eyes of both children was a long tin horn nested down
in some excelsior. As he pulled at it a fluttering tag caught his eye.
On it he read: "For James--Merry Christmas." One wild shout of delight
and he gave a blast on the toy that brought both women to the door just
in time to see Mary drag from the kyack a huge Teddy Bear. On this was
another tag marked: "To Mary--Merry Christmas."

Before his scandalized mother could collect her senses enough to stop
him Jimmie had dropped his horn and gone on a voyage of exploration into
the depths of the two kyacks. One of his first discoveries was the box
containing the sweater. The tag tied to it cleared up in a measure the
doubts which Mrs. Miller had had as to the propriety of thus making free
with other people's property, and that Santa had been sent by the men at
the sheep camp.

       *       *       *       *       *

An hour later a man rode down the trail back of the house and quite out
of range of its windows. Tying his horse at the side of the stable away
from the house he crept to the corner of the building and cautiously
peeped out.

The smoke was curling briskly from the cabin chimney and in the tense
stillness he could hear noises which indicated very plainly that the
letter to "Sandy Claws" had borne fruit, for the most ear-splitting
sounds were coming from the cabin, sounds which he knew to be the
natural results of three tin horns in the mouths of three delighted

As he stood there a door slammed, and a girl stepped out on the porch
arrayed in the most gorgeous sweater he had ever imagined. On her head
was a jaunty cap of the same color and material as the sweater, while in
her hands she held a tin bucket in which most unquestionably was the
breakfast for the chickens which were making loud demands for release
from their log coop near the stable.

In his inmost heart Bill Gibson knew that if ever a man was blessed by
the Gods with the one opportunity of his life, it was facing him at this
very moment. Nancy came tripping down the snowy path a perfect picture
of girlish beauty and happiness. Gibson drew back so she could not see
him until she had turned the corner of the stable. As she did so and met
his eyes the song turned into a maidenly shriek. Her cheeks were
blazing like two peonies, she tried hard to speak, but the words died on
her lips. Mechanically she set the bucket of feed on a small shelf where
the chickens could not reach it. Bill interpreted the move as meaning
either a fight or complete surrender. He believed it was the latter and
took a step toward her.

"Christmas gift, Nancy," he said. His voice had an odd quaver in it.
"Old Santy seems to have brung you the sort of sweater you wanted." He
was gaining confidence.

"He sure did," she replied, striving in vain to keep her eyes from
meeting his.

"Nancy," he demanded, "ain't you got nothing for me this grand Christmas

"What you wanting mostly?" her eyes fairly dancing with mischief and
telling what her lips dared not.

A look of triumph swept over the man's bronzed face.

"You--an' I'm a-going to take it right here." He took a step toward her;
she turned to run but with one bound he was at her side, caught her in
his arms and fairly smothered her with kisses.

He drew back his head and looked deep into her eyes. "How about it?" he

"About what?" very archly.

He kissed her a dozen times before she replied. Nor did she seem to
object to the action.

"You know the Christmas present I most want, Nancy."

He drew her closer to him, her arms found their way about his neck.
"Bill," she whispered in his ear, "you're an old darling, let's go up to
the house and tell the news to sister."

[Illustration: _Apache Squaw and Baby_]



In the dark depths of an Arizona cañon, with no light but that which
came from the stars, a string of shadowy figures slowly worked its way
through tangles of thorny mesquite and cat claw, over rocks and past
great bunches of cactus which pierced hands and limbs wherever they

If you looked closer, you saw that the figures were those of men, also
horses and mules, most of the men leading their mounts, and here and
there the yellow chevrons on some sergeant's blouse, or the broad yellow
stripe on an officer's trousers showed them to be cavalry.

There was no talking or unnecessary noise. At times they were fairly on
their knees fighting their way up some rocky steep; again they dropped
down into the darkness, the well-trained animals following like goats.

At the head of the line, an officer, young in years but old in this kind
of work, whispered occasionally to the veteran guide at his left.

Just ahead of him an Apache scout, stripped for the fight, a band of red
flannel about his forehead, his body naked except for the white cotton
breechclout ("the G string") about his waist, the peculiar moccasins of
his tribe on his feet, led the way, like some bloodhound on the trail.

Out of the darkness ahead came the weird hoot of an owl. Three times did
it sound. The scout listened till the last echo died away, and then,
with his hands gathered about his mouth, answered the call.

Quietly he slipped away into the night, the command stopping where they
were as the whispered order flew back along the line, each man sinking
down to the ground, glad of the chance for the moment's rest.

The night was cold, although it was midsummer in a region where at noon
the earth is baked and burned with the heat.

An hour passed, and out of the darkness the Apache returned.

The quarry which they sought was not far ahead, and it was best to leave
their animals and go the rest of the way without them.

Turning to the tall Sergeant behind him, the officer gave the orders for
the movement, and back down the shivering, scattered line went the
instructions: "Number fours hold the horses, every one else take all
extra ammunition and their canteens and follow the column on foot."

Then came whispered pleadings from the unfortunate "number four men"
doomed to remain behind to guard the horses and the rear while the
others went on into the darkness to--what? Perhaps death, perhaps a
wound from a poisoned arrow; in any event plenty of hardship and

How those cavalrymen begged for the privilege of getting a hole shot
through them. They urged the officers to cut down the rearguard and
leave but a couple of men to look after the packs and horses.

"Very well, Sergeant," the commanding officer replied, well pleased when
told of the men's desire to go with the fighting force, "leave three or
four men to guard the animals and let the rest come on; God knows we are
very likely to need them."

Then the Sergeant, knowing his men as a schoolmaster his pupils, left
behind: fat Corporal Conn whose asthmatic wheezings and puffings had
already brought forth many a muttered curse upon his head; Private Hill
who couldn't see an inch beyond his nose in the dark and who had fallen
over every bush and rock in the trail since they entered the cañon; and
two other men whose physical condition was such that he doubted their
ability to make the climb which he knew was ahead of them.

Not one of these accepted the detail without as vigorous a protest as
soldierly duty made possible. Bless you no! Each of them felt himself an
object of especial pity, fat Conn even claiming that the higher he
climbed the less the asthma troubled him.

Then the command once more drove into the blackness ahead, following the
lithe Apache up a mountain side which seemed almost perpendicular.

Each man carried two belts of cartridges about his waist with a third
swung from his shoulder. Most of them wore the Apache moccasin which
gave forth no sound as they moved along.

At last they reached the summit of the mountain breathless and tired.
Before them was a mighty cañon, the cañon of the Salt River. To their
left four granite peaks, the "Four Peaks" of the maps, pierced the
skyline like videttes on guard over the cañon.

From its bed, two thousand feet below, the dull murmur of the river, as
it dashed along its rocky way, came softly to the soldiers' ears.

It was the dawning of December 27, 1872. The soldiers were a detachment
of the Fifth United States Cavalry, Major Brown in command.

At a little spring some twenty miles away they had left their supplies
and pack train.

Their Christmas holidays had been spent in pursuit of several bands of
Apaches, and the scouts had reported that a large band of them was
located in a cave on the Salt River cañon.

A pack mule had died in camp that day, and the Indian scouts were
allowed to make a great feast upon its remains that they might set out
on the expedition with full stomachs.

For years efforts had been made to concentrate the Apaches, who had been
the scourge of Arizona and the Southwest, upon one or two reservations
where, under guard, they could be watched and kept in bounds.

In the summer of 1872 General George Crook, after having held numerous
councils with the Apaches, issued an ultimatum to the effect that, if
those who were outside of the reservation did not return by the
fifteenth of the coming November, active operations would begin against
them. After that date every Indian found outside the reservation was to
be treated as a hostile and dealt with accordingly.

The Apaches knew Crook only too well, for the "Old Grey Fox," as they
called him, had always kept his word with them in the past.

Promptly on the day set General Crook took the field against the outlaw
Apaches and hunted them down relentlessly day and night.

The region in which these operations took place is one of the roughest
in the United States. It is located on the western side of the great
"Tonto Basin" in central Arizona, and consists of ragged mountain
ranges, and isolated peaks, while the whole area is cut and seamed with
deep box cañons impassable for miles.

About fifty miles from the city of Phoenix, as the crow flies, and
near the great Roosevelt irrigation reservoir and dam, four granite
peaks pierce the sky.

Here Nature is found in one of her most inhospitable moods, and in the
fastnesses of these "Four Peaks" several bands of the hunted, harassed
Apaches took refuge.

In its mighty cañons the Indians knew of caves and cliffs where they had
lived in safety from their old enemies for many years; there they
believed no white man could possibly reach them.

Crook and his soldiers matched wits with the Indians and beat them at
their own game. Wherever the Indians went there the troops followed
them. They chased them on foot when their horses played out, lived on
the scantiest possible allowance of food, slept in the deep snows with
but a single blanket and without fires lest the telltale smoke give the
Indians warning of their presence.

It was to surprise the occupants of one of these caves that Major Brown
and his men were making this night march.

There the Apaches had fled, carrying into the cave great quantities of
food and other necessary supplies, leaving their ponies behind to shift
for themselves.

The cave itself is not a cave in the strict sense of the word, but
rather a great weather-worn shelf, similar to those used by the ancient
cliff dwellers for their habitations all over the Southwest.

At the outside edge the opening is about fifteen feet high from floor to
roof, and sixty feet wide. The roof slopes back into the cliff for some
thirty feet to a point where the rear wall is not over three feet high.

At the front, the floor of the cave projects some little distance beyond
the overhanging cliff forming a sort of platform. Entirely around this
platform the Apaches had raised a stone-wall several feet high, inside
of which they rested in fancied security.

On top of the mountain Major Brown's command, which numbered but fifty
men and officers, with two civilian guides, waited while the two scouts
wormed their way into the blackness of the cañon's depths in an attempt
to make sure that the Indians did not have any pickets outside the cave
to guard against surprise.

The cool night breeze made the soldiers' teeth chatter. Some dropped off
to sleep, while others huddled together under the lee of the great rocks
whose surface still gave off some slight warmth stored up during the
day. Meantime they cursed, with a soldier's vehemence, the slowness of
the scouts in returning.

Finally they came, dropping into the midst of the men as if from above,
so quietly did they move.

Five minutes of whispering followed between the guide, the Major and the
Indians, and then Lieutenant W. J. Ross and a dozen men crawled away
into the darkness with one of the Indians to guide them.

Again, those soldiers had begged to be taken as one of the party. No use
to call for volunteers, they were all volunteers and envied the
fortunate ones whom the tall First Sergeant named for the trip.

Ross was to endeavor to locate the entrance to the cave in order that
the rest of the command might be posted in the most advantageous
positions. His party dropped into the cañon and was quickly swallowed up
in its sombre shadows. Down they crept, stumbling over rocks, treading
on the "Cholla" cactus balls that covered the ground everywhere, and
whose sharp needles will often pierce the heaviest buckskin gloves,
moccasins or even leather boots. A misstep meant death far below in the
cañon, while every minute they looked for the crash of the Indians'

As they felt their way carefully along, they saw the faint gleam of a
campfire. Ross worked his men up as closely as he could, placing them in
safe positions behind rocks scattered about. By the light of the fire,
they made out some fifteen Indians standing about it while a lot of
squaws were preparing food for them. The fire was but a few feet from
the cave which could be seen dimly in the background, and it was quite
evident the hostiles felt very secure in their retreat.

Scarcely daring to breathe, each picked out a brave for a target and at
a whispered signal, fired. Those of the Indians who were not killed fled
into the cave, while the report of the carbines quickly brought the rest
of the command down into the cañon.

Major Brown placed his men about the cave so as to prevent the escape of
any of the Indians, waiting for daylight before attempting further

One Apache managed to work his way out of the cave and through the
cordon by some means. He was seen after he had passed clear through the
lines, standing for an instant on a great rock, his figure boldly
outlined against the sky. His recklessness in his fancied security was
his undoing, for one of the crack shots in the regiment, Private John
Cahill, took a hasty shot at the form, and it came tumbling down the
steep side of the cañon.

After Major Brown had formed his lines about the cave he called on the
Indians to surrender. This they answered with cries of defiance,
followed by a few scattering shots which did no harm. Later on Brown
again called on them to surrender, or if not that, to send out their
women and children, promising no harm should come to them. Again the
Indians refused to accept the offer. They heaped epithets, dear to the
Apache heart, upon the soldiers, taunting them with cowardice, and
assuring them that they would soon be food for the buzzards and ravens.
"May the coyotes howl over your grave," is a favorite Apache expression
of contempt, which they hurled at their opponents many times during the

Daylight came slowly, and then the siege was on in earnest. Brown again
renewed his offer of protection to the women and children, but to no
purpose. Of arrows and lances, as well as fixed ammunition for their
rifles, the Indians seemed to have an unlimited supply. They showered
arrows upon the soldiers by hundreds, sending them high into the air, so
they would fall upon the men lying behind the rocks scattered about.
Lances were also thrown in the same manner, but they were unable to
inflict any damage upon the besiegers by such tactics. The Indians also
played all the tricks belonging to their style of warfare. War bonnets
and hats were raised upon lances above the wall with the intention of
drawing the fire of some soldier and getting him exposed to a return
shot. But Brown warned his men against all such schemes, and no harm was
done by them.

Twice did small parties of the Indians make bold dashes out of the cave,
evidently with the intention or hope of gaining the rear of the troopers
to harass them from the heights above, or else to secure assistance from
other bands of hostiles known to be in the vicinity. But these sorties
were repulsed by the soldiers with a loss of several Indians.

Whether the trick of the Indians in shooting arrows at such an angle as
to drop on the men behind the rocks suggested retaliation in kind, no
one can say today; but finding direct firing without any great effect,
Brown conceived the idea of having his men aim their carbines so that
the bullets would strike against the roof of the cave; by so doing, he
believed the bullets would be so deflected as to strike amongst the
Indians huddled in the small space below.

For some time the soldiers poured their fire against the rocky roof with
no apparent results, although the shriek of a wounded squaw or the
pitiful cry of some child, struck by the spattering lead, convinced them
that some of the bullets were finding a mark.

The Indians fought with the desperation of trapped animals, but finally
there came a lull in their fire. From the cave came a weird wild chant.
It was the death chant of the Apaches, which the scouts warned the
officers meant a charge.

Soon they came; about twenty picked warriors clambering over the rocky
wall, with the most desperate courage and recklessness. All were armed
with both bow and rifle. Each carried on his back a quiver full of the
slender reed arrows peculiar to the Apaches and, with a volley from
their rifles, charged the soldiers behind their rocky breastworks.

Pandemonium reigned. The death chant was taken up by the squaws in the
cave; the crack of guns in the deep cañon, the shrieks of wounded and
dying squaws and children, the yells of the soldiers as they met this
fierce attack of the desperate savages, the flashing of rifle shots in
the darkness, all made what an officer who was present (the late Captain
John G. Bourke of the 3rd U. S. Cavalry) once told the writer was the
most thrilling as well as the most appalling moment he ever knew during
a lifetime full of exciting incidents.

But the efforts of the despairing Indians were fruitless, and they were
driven back with heavy losses. Thus the fight went on for hours. The sun
rose high in the heavens and beat down on the scene until the soldiers
lying in the hot rocks suffered fearfully for water. Major Brown's
scheme was working, however, with frightful success. The death chant was
ceaseless and the cries of defiance, rage, and despair rang out
constantly from the penned-up savages.

One little Apache boy, possibly not over four years of age, toddled out
of the side of the cave where the wall of rock was open, and stood
gazing with wide-eyed wonder at the sight before him. One of Major
Brown's Indian scouts sprang from his hiding place behind a rock a few
yards away, and running to the child, seized him by the arms, dragging
him into the soldiers' lines before a single shot could be fired at him.

The small detachment, left behind as a rearguard and anxious to take
part in the fighting, worked its way up to the cliff above the caves.
Below them they could hear the roar of carbines and the shrieks of the
Indians. By means of straps, two adventurous soldiers were lowered far
enough over the edge of the cliff to get a clear view of the scene
below. The wall erected by the Apaches was several feet outside of the
line of the cliff or cave, and from their dizzy height they could see
the Indians lying behind their ramparts.

The top of the cliff was covered with boulders of all sizes, and the men
at once conceived the idea of dropping boulders down on to the Indians
beneath. This forced them to take refuge from the flying rocks, by
retiring farther into the cave. When they did this the ricochette fire
from the soldiers became more deadly and the end was not far off.

By noon the firing of the Indians had ceased. No sounds but the cries
of the squaws or groans of wounded came from the interior of the cave.
Brown now prepared for a charge believing that the cave could be stormed
without much if any loss. Corporal Hanlon of G-Troop, 5th Cavalry, was
the first man over the stone-wall, the rest following him as rapidly as
they could.

Inside the cave was a scene that made the roughest soldier among them
shudder. Men, women, and children, either dead or in the agonies of
death, were lying in piles three and four deep. At first it appeared as
if danger was to be expected from some wounded Indian, and while part of
the soldiers worked among the debris on the floor, others watched with
guns in hand for signs of hostile intent. But nothing of the kind

Only one man was alive and he died soon after the soldiers entered the
cave. Some seventy-eight dead bodies were lying in the cave, and of the
living there were but eighteen, all squaws. Many of the wounded squaws
could have been saved had the troops been accompanied by a surgeon or
even provided with the necessary medical supplies.

The few that had lived through that awful hail of lead and rocks, were
saved by screening themselves from the missiles under great slabs of
slate which the squaws had packed into the caves for cooking purposes,
or by hiding under or behind the dead bodies of their comrades.

The fight was over; the dead babies lay in their dead mothers' arms.
Rough men as they were, the sights made the soldiers sick at heart; such
warfare was not to their liking.

As it was impossible to bury the dead, they were left in the cave where
they fell and where they lie today, in great heaps of skulls and bones,
together with clothing and other camp impedimenta which have survived
the years in the dry atmosphere of the region.

After satisfying themselves that no more living were among the bodies
the soldiers tramped wearily back to Fort McDowell with their prisoners
and wounded, and the brief official report of the affair closed the

It was more than a thousand miles over desert and mountain to the
nearest railroad station and civilization. No war correspondent trailed
along in their wake, armed with kodak and typewriter, to tell a waiting
world of their prowess; no flaming headlines in the morrow's paper would
cry out their victory. They were "just regulars," and this was but the
day's work.




By permission _The Cosmopolitan Magazine_

Dark. Well, it was dark, and no mistake. We had been holding a big herd
of steers for a week. It was on the Turkey Track ranch, and they were
mostly Turkey Track steers, that is, they were branded with the Santa
Maria Cattle Company's brand, which is a design ([symbol: Arrow]) on
each side, called Turkey Track by the cowboys, who never think of using
any other means of identifying a cow than by giving the name of the
brand she carries.

And en passant when a cowboy says "cow," he uses the word as a generic
term for everything from a sucking calf up to a ten-year-old bull.

We were in camp in a noble valley some fifteen miles long by ten wide,
dotted here and there by cedar groves, and at that season covered with
splendid grass, where we were holding a bunch of steers that the company
was getting ready to ship; it was a lazy enough life except the
night-work. There was plenty of grass to graze them on in the daytime,
and a big "dry lake" full of water, where three thousand head could
drink at once, and never one bog or give any trouble. Two men on "day
herd" at a time could handle them easily enough, and as there were
nine of us, or enough for three guards of three men each, we didn't have
anything much to complain of.

[Illustration: "_The men on day herd could hold them easily_"]

"Old Dad," the cook, built pies and puddings that were never excelled
anywhere, and occasionally he'd have a plum duff for supper that simply
exhausted the culinary art.

The steers were, as the boys say, "a rolicky lot of oxen." Most every
night they would take a little run, and it usually took all hands an
hour or so to get them back to the bed ground and quieted down, which
didn't tend to make us any better natured when the cook yelled, "Roll
out, roll out," about 4:30 every morning.

The weather had been lovely ever since we started in, but this evening
it had clouded up, and in the west, toward sunset, great "thunder-heads"
had piled up and little detached patches had gone scudding across the
sky, although below on the prairie not a breath of air was stirring. The
muttering roll of heaven's artillery was sounding, and occasionally up
toward the mountains a flame of lightning would shoot through the
rapidly darkening sky.

By eight o'clock, when the first guard rode out to take the herd for
their three hours' watch, it was almost black dark. The foreman or
"wagon boss" of the outfit came out with them, asked how the cattle
acted, and told the boys to be very careful, and if the herd drifted
before the rain, if possible, to try and keep them pointed from the
cedars, for fear of losing them.




    Last night as I lay on the prairie
        And looked at the stars in the sky,
    I wondered if ever a cowboy
        Would drift to that sweet bye and bye?


    Roll on, roll on,
        Roll on little dogies roll on, roll on;
    Roll on, roll on,
        Roll on little dogies roll on.


    The road to that bright mystic region
        Is narrow and dim, so they say,
    But the trail that leads down to perdition
        Is staked and is blazed all the way.


    They say that there'll be a big round-up
        Where the cowboys like dogies will stand,
    To be cut by those riders from Heaven
        Who are posted and know every brand.


    I wonder was there ever a cowboy
        Prepared for that great judgment day
    Who could say to the boss of the riders,
        "I'm all ready to be driven away."


    For they're all like the cows from the "Jimpsons"
        That get scart at the sight of a hand,
    And have to be dragged to the round-up,
        Or get put in some crooked man's brand.


    For they tell of another big owner
        Who is ne'er overstocked, so they say,
    But who always makes room for the sinner
        Who strays from that bright, narrow way.


    And they say He will never forget you,
        That He notes every action and look.
    So for safety, you'd better get branded,
        And have your name in His big tally book.

As we rode back to camp we both agreed that the very first clap of
thunder near at hand would send the whole herd flying, and if it rained
it would be very hard to hold them. He told all hands not to picket
their night horses, but to tie them up to the wagon (much to the cook's
disgust), all ready for instant use.

Perhaps I should explain a little about this business, so that my
readers may understand what a "bed ground" is, and how the cowboy stands

At sunset the day herders work the herd up toward camp slowly, and as
the leaders feed along to about three or four hundred yards from camp,
one of the boys rides out in front and stops them until the whole herd
gradually draws together into a compact body. If they have been well
grazed and watered that day they will soon begin to lie down, and in an
hour probably nine-tenths of them will be lying quietly and chewing
their cuds. All this time the boys are slowly riding around them, each
man riding alone, and in opposite directions; so they meet twice in each
circuit. If any adventurous steer should attempt to graze off, he is
sure to be seen, headed quickly, and sent back into the herd.

The place where the cattle are held at night is called the "bed ground,"
and it is the duty of the day herders, who have cared for them all day,
to have them onto the bed ground and bedded down before dark, when the
first guard comes out and takes them off their hands.

Well, as I said at the beginning, it was dark, and although it was not
raining when they left camp, the boys had put on their slickers, or
oilskin coats, well knowing that they'd have no time to do it when the
rain began to fall.

The three men on first guard were typical Texas boys, almost raised in
the saddle, insensible to hardship and exposure, and the hardest and
most reckless riders in the outfit. One of them, named Tom Flowers, was
a great singer, and usually sang the whole time he was on guard. It's
always a good thing, especially on a dark night, for somehow it seems to
reassure and quiet cattle to hear the human voice at night, and it's
well too that they are not critical, for some of the musical efforts are
extremely crude. Many of the boys confine themselves to hymns, picked up
probably when they were children.

A great favorite with the Texas boys is a song beginning "Sam Bass was
born in Indianer," which consists of about forty verses, devoted to the
deeds of daring of a noted desperado named Sam Bass, who, at the head of
a gang of cut-throats, terrorized the Panhandle and Staked Plains
country, in Western Texas, some years ago.

We used to have a boy in our outfit, a great rough fellow from Montana,
who knew only one song, and that was the hymn "I'm a Pilgrim, and I'm a
Stranger." I have awakened many a night and heard him bawling it at the
top of his voice, as he rode slowly around the herd. He knew three
verses of it and would sing them over and over again. It didn't take the
boys long to name him "The Pilgrim," and by that name he went for
several years. He was killed in a row in town one night, and I'm not
sure then that any one knew his right name, for he was carried on the
books of the cow-outfit he was working for as "The Pilgrim."

I lost no time in rolling out my bed and turning in, only removing my
boots, heavy leather chaps (chaparejos), and hat, and two minutes later
was sound asleep. How long I slept I can't say, but I was awakened by a
row among the night-horses tied to the wagon.

The storm had for the present cleared away just overhead, the full moon
was shining down as it seems to do only in these high altitudes in
Arizona; not a breath of air was stirring, and I could hear the measured
"chug, chug, chug," of the ponies' feet as the men on guard slowly
jogged around the cattle. I was lazily wondering what guard it was, and
how long I had slept, when suddenly the clear, full voice of Tom Flowers
broke the quiet with one of his cowboy songs. It was set to the air of
"My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean," and as I lay there half awake and half
asleep it seemed to me, with all its surroundings, that it was as
charming and musical as the greatest effort of any operatic tenor.

    "Last night as I lay on the prairie,
      And looked at the stars in the sky,
    I wondered if ever a cowboy
      Would drift to that sweet by and by."

The voice would swell and grow louder as he rode round to the campside
of the cattle, and as he reached the far side the words "sweet by and
by," came to me faintly and softly, as if the very night was listening
to his song.

    "The road to that bright, mystic region,
      Is narrow and dim, so they say,
    But the trail that leads down to perdition,
      Is staked and is blazed all the way."

I had never heard Tom sing this song before, nor had I ever heard him
sing so well, and I raised on my elbow to catch every word:

    "They say that there'll be a big round-up,
      Where the cowboys like dogies[A] will stand,
    To be cut by those riders from Heaven,
      Who are posted and know every brand."

    [A] A dogie is a name applied to yearlings, that have lost their
    mothers when very young and just managed to live through the

Here an enterprising steer made a sudden break for liberty, and the song
was stopped, as Tom raced away over the prairie to bring him back, which
being done in a couple of minutes, the song was again taken up:

    "I wonder was there ever a cowboy
      Prepared for that great judgment day,
    Who could say to the boss of the riders,
      I'm all ready to be driven away."

Another interruption which I judged from the sounds was caused by his
pony having stumbled into a prairie-dog hole, and I think Tom was
"waking him up," as the boys say, with his heavy quirt.[B]

[B] Quirt, a short, heavy Mexican riding-whip used by cowboys.

That done, he picked up the thread of his song again

    "And they say, He will never forget you,
      That He notes every action and look,
    So for safety you'd better get branded,
      And have your name in His big 'tally-book.'

    "For they tell of another big owner,
      Who is ne'er overstocked, so they say,
    But who always makes room for the sinner,
      Who strays from that bright, narrow way."

As the closing words floated out on the cool night air, I turned
sleepily in my bed and saw that a huge black cloud had come up rapidly
from the West and bid fair to soon shut out the moon. I snuggled down in
my blankets, wondering if we would have to turn out to help hold the
steers if it rained, when the silence of the night was broken by a peal
of thunder that seemed to fairly split the skies. It brought every man
in camp to his feet, for high above the reverberation of the thunder was
the roar and rattle of a stampede.

It is hard to find words to describe a stampede of a thousand head of
long-horned range steers.

It is a scene never to be forgotten. They crowd together in their mad
fright, hoofs crack and rattle, horns clash against one another, and a
low moan goes through the herd as if they were suffering with pain.
Nothing stands in their way: small trees and bushes are torn down as if
by a tornado, and no fence was ever built that would turn them. Woe
betide the luckless rider who racing recklessly in front of them, waving
his slicker or big hat, or shooting in front of them, trying to turn
them, has his pony stumble or step into a dog-hole and fall, for he is
sure to be trampled to death by their cruel hoofs. And yet they will
suddenly stop, throw up their heads, look at one another as if to say,
"What on earth were you running for?" and in fifteen minutes every one
of them will be lying as quietly as any old, pet milk cow in a country

They bore right down on the camp, and we all ran to the wagon for
safety; but they swung off about a hundred feet from camp and raced by
us like the wind, horns clashing, hoofs rattling, and the earth fairly
shaking with the mighty tread.

Riding well to the front between us and the herd was Tom trying to turn
the leaders. As he flew by he shouted in his daredevil way, "Here's
trouble, cowboys!" and was lost in the dust and night. Of course all
this took but a moment. We quickly recovered ourselves, pulled on boots,
flung ourselves into the saddle, and tore out into the dark with the
wagon boss in the lead. I was neck and neck with him as we caught up
with the end of the herd, and called to him: "Jack, they are headed for
the 'cracks.' If we get into them, some of us will get hurt." Just then,
"Bang, bang, bang," went a revolver ahead of us, and we knew that Tom
had realized where he was going, and was trying to turn the leaders by
shooting in their faces.

These cracks are curious phenomena and very dangerous. The hard adobe
soil has cracked in every direction. Some of them are ten feet wide and
fifty deep, others half a mile long and only six inches or a foot wide.
The grass hides them, so a horse doesn't see them 'til he is fairly into
them, and every cowboy dreaded that part of the valley.

Jack and I soon came to what, in the dust and darkness, we took to be
the leaders. Drawing our revolvers, we began to fire in front of them,
and quickly turned them to the left, and by pressing from that side
crowded them round more and more, until we soon had the whole herd
running round and round in a circle, or "milling," as it's called, and
in the course of fifteen or twenty minutes got them quieted down enough
to be left again in charge of the regular guard.

Jack sent me around the herd to tell the second-guard men to take
charge, as it was their time, and for the rest of us to go to camp,
which was nearly a mile distant and visible only, because "Dad," the
cook, had built up the fire, well knowing we wouldn't be able to find
camp without it.

Before we got there the rain began, and we were all wet to the skin; but
we tied up our ponies again, and five seconds after I lay down I was
sound asleep and heard nothing till the cook started his unearthly yell
of "Roll out, roll out, chuck away." I threw back the heavy canvas, that
I had pulled over my head to keep the rain out of my face, and got up.
The storm was over. In the East the morning star was just beginning to
fade, and the sky was taking that peculiar gray look that precedes the
dawn and sunrise. The night-horse wrangler was working his horses up
toward camp, and the three or four bells in the bunch jingled merrily
and musically in the cool, fresh, morning air.

We were all sleepy and cold, and as we gathered around the fire to eat,
some one said, "Where's Flowers?" The foreman glanced around the circle
of men, set down his plate and cup, and strode over to where Tom had
rolled out his bed the evening before. It was empty, and, what was
more, hadn't been slept in at all. A hasty questioning developed the
fact that none of us had noticed him after we had come in from the

"Well," said Jack, "it's one of two things: either he has run into one
of those blamed cracks and is hurt, or else he has a bunch of steers
that got cut off from the herd in the rain and has had to stay with 'em
all night, because he got so far from camp he couldn't work 'em back
alone." As this was not an unusual thing we all felt sure it was the
case, and after a hasty breakfast, all of us but the men just off guard,
struck out to look for him.

Some way I felt a premonition of trouble as I rode out into the prairie,
and leaving the rest to scatter out in different directions I rode
straight for the cracks. It was an easy matter to trail up the herd, and
as I loped along I couldn't get the song out of my head. As I drew near
the crack country I saw by the trail that we had not been at the leaders
when we thought we were, but had cut in between them and the main herd.
I could see our tracks where we had swung them around, leaving probably
one hundred head out.

I hurried along their trail, and as the daylight got stronger and the
sun began to peep over the hills, I could make out, about a couple of
miles from me, a bunch of cattle feeding. I knew this was the bunch I
was trailing, and already some of the other boys had seen them also and
were hurrying toward them. But, between me and the cattle was, I knew, a
dangerous crack. It was some six feet wide and ten deep, and probably
half a mile long. If Tom had ridden into that he was either dead or
badly hurt. As I neared the crack my heart sank, for I saw the trail
would strike it fairly about the widest place, and my worst fears were
realized when I reached it, for there lying under a dozen head of dead
and dying steers was poor Tom. The trail told the whole story. He had
almost turned them when they reached the crack, and he had ridden into
it sideways or diagonally, and some twenty steers had followed, crushing
him and his horse to death, and killing about a dozen of them. The
balance were wandering about in the bottom of the crack trying to get
out, but its sides were precipitous everywhere.

Drawing my six-shooter, I fired two shots, and rode my pony in circles
from left to right, which in cowboy and frontier sign language means,
"Come to me." The boys quickly rode over to where I was, and we, with
great work, managed to get his body out from under his horse and up on
top. He still held his pearl-handled Colts in his hand, every chamber
empty, and his hat was hanging round his neck by the leather string.
Tenderly we laid his body across a saddle, lashed it on with a rope, and
taking the boy thus dismounted up behind me, we led the horse with its
sad burden back to camp.

I think death, when it strikes among them, always affects rough men more
than it does men of finer sensibilities and breeding. They get over it
more quickly, but for the time the former seem to be fairly overwhelmed
with the mystery of death, and seem dazed and helpless, where the latter
would not for a moment lose their heads.

But Jack quickly pulled himself together. It was fifty miles to the
nearest town. With our heavy mess-wagon and slow team over a sandy
road, it would take two days to get the body there. Packing it on a
horse in that hot Arizona sun was out of the question, and so we decided
to bury him right there.

Tom had no relatives in Arizona, nor any nearer friends than us rough
"punchers," so that no wrong would be done any one by burying him there.

[Illustration: "_Some pre-historic people had carved hieroglyphics on

We laid his crushed form under a cedar tree near by, while Jack and I
went out to find a place to dig a grave. About half a mile from camp was
a big black rock that stood up on end in the prairie as if it had been
dropped from the clouds. Some prehistoric race of people had carved deep
into its smooth face dozens and scores of queer hieroglyphics which no
man today can decipher or understand. Snakes, lizards, deer, and
antelope, turtles, rude imitations of human figures, great suns with
streaming rays, human hands and feet, and odd geometrical designs, all
drawn in a rude, rough way as if the rock had been the gigantic slate of
some Aztec schoolboy which hundreds of years of storm and weather had
not rubbed out. This rock was called the "Aztec Rock." It was a landmark
for miles around, and as Jack remarked: "It was a blamed sight better
headstone than they'd give him if we put him in the little Campo
Santo,[C] in the sand at the foot of the mesa, back of town."

[C] Campo Santo, the Mexican term for graveyard.

So here we dug his grave, and then we wrapped him in a gorgeous Navajo
Indian blanket, and laid poor Tom Flowers away as carefully and tenderly
as in our rough way we knew how.

The day-herders had grazed the herd up close to the rock, so that they
could be at the grave, the cattle were scattered all around us, and the
cook had taken out the mess-box and used the mess-wagon to bring the
body over in.

When the last sods were placed on the mound, Jack with tears running
down his sunburned face, which he vainly tried to stay with the back of
his glove, looked around and said: "Boys, it seems pow'ful hard to plant
poor Tom and not say a word of Gospel over him. Can't some of ye say a
little prayer, or repeat a few lines of Scripter?"

We all looked at one another in a hopeless sort of way, and no one spoke
a word until the youngest there, the "horse-wrangler," a boy from
Indiana, whom we had named the "Hoosier Kid," spoke up and said: "I kin
say the Lord's Prayer, ef that'll be any good."

"Kneel down, fellers, and take off your hats," said Jack; and there in
the bright sunshine of an Arizona day, with a thousand long-horned
steers tossing their heads and looking at us with wondering and
suspicious eyes, with no sound save the occasional hoarse "caw, caw" of
a solitary desert raven idly circling above, that dozen of rough cowboys
knelt down, their heads reverently bared, while the "Hoosier Kid" with
streaming eyes, slowly recited that divinely simple prayer which we had
all learned at our mother's knee, "Our Father who art in Heaven,
hallowed be Thy name."

As we rode slowly back to camp the words of the last song that poor Tom
ever sang would come to me again in spite of all I could do.

Ah, me. Poor Tom. It's little religious training you got on the
prairies, or the trail, or in the cow camp; but if that "Great Owner"
looks into the heart, I am sure He found you worthy to wear His brand,
and to be cut into the herd that goes up the "trail that is narrow and




By permission _The Argonaut_, San Francisco, Cal.

"I tell you, Miss Nell, it's not safe for you to ride over the range so
much all alone. That Navajo's plumb crazy about you now, and he's liable
to do you some mischief."

The speaker, a handsome, blue-eyed young fellow, clad in the rough garb
of a cowboy, with broad sombrero, "chaparejos," his buckskin gloves
thrust through his cartridge belt, stood leaning against the door-post
of a typical Arizona ranch house. In one hand he held the end of a long
hair rope, the other end being fast to his pony, which, all saddled,
stood pawing and restless, eager to be away on the range. Slung on the
near side of the saddle was a Winchester carbine, for, between white and
red thieves, the cowboys had to be ready for all sorts of emergencies,
and besides, the big gray wolves were beginning to show up on the range,
and a wolf scalp was worth twenty dollars at the county seat.

The person to whom these remarks were addressed stood idly switching her
riding-habit with her "quirt," a handsome piece of cowboy work, over
which one of her many admirers had spent hours by the light of a
campfire plaiting and decorating it with "Turk's heads" and other fancy
knots known to cowboy quirt-makers. She was all ready for a ride and
waiting only for her pony to be brought up from the corral, where Juan,
the Mexican, was saddling him.

There was a pleading, pathetic tone in the man's voice that spoke the
lover, even had his eyes shown no sign of passion; but his words seemed
to rouse all the perversity of her sex. Her red lips curled and her
brown eyes snapped. "Oh, pshaw, Mr. Cameron, you're always worrying
about some imaginary danger. Please return me my ring--that is, if you
have finished examining it."

A red wave swept over Cameron's face, like the shadow of a cloud across
the prairie on a bright day, and he stood for a full minute idly turning
the ring in question upon the very tip of the little finger of his own
sun-browned hand. It was a splendid specimen of the Navajo silversmith's
art. Now, the Navajo Indians' blankets have made them famous, but they
deserve quite as much fame for their cunning as workers in silver.

This ring was indeed a gem. It was wide, as most of their rings are, cut
in two on the inner side so that it could be made larger or smaller by
"springing" it to fit any finger, and in the top was set a turquoise as
blue as a summer sky--a stone precious to the Navajos--that among the
tribe would have bought twenty ponies, a hundred sheep, and squaws
galore. Around the ring ran the most intricate and delicate carving, and
the whole effect was at once unique and barbaric.

The girl's hand was outstretched for the ring, and almost mechanically
the man turned and dropped it into the upturned palm. "Well, Miss Nell,
I've warned you, and I'm sure if Mr. Hull were here that he'd feel just
as I do." His voice grew tense. "I can't go with you today, for I've got
to go over the other side of the mountain to see if I can find those
lost horses, and won't be back till dark."

The girl, scarcely heeding his words, took the ring, and in a
mock-heroic sort of way kissed and slipped it on to her engagement
finger, a gleam of mischief in her eyes, at which action Cameron, stung
almost to madness, smothered a groan, and strode across the porch, his
spurs clanking on the floor, gathering up his hair rope as he went. With
one hand on the pommel of the saddle and the other on the pony's mane,
he leaped lightly into his seat without aid of stirrup and, bringing the
coil of rope down on the animal's flank, went off down the line of wire
fence on a dead run, and soon turned out of sight around a low hill in
the valley.

The girl watched him in silence until he was lost to view, and then,
with a gay laugh, turned into the room, saying, "Poor Cam, what fun it
is to tease him!"

A moment later, when Juan appeared at the door with her horse, she
pulled on her pretty buckskin gloves, and with a "Goodbye, Mary, I'll be
home by noon," to the heavy-faced cook, who stood watching her from the
door of the log kitchen, she rode off almost as fast as Cameron, but in
a different direction.

Three months before these happenings George Hull had gone down to the
little railroad station, some thirty miles from the ranch, to meet his
wife's only sister, who was coming to spend the summer with them in
Arizona, and from her first day she had taken to the life like a duck
to water. She was a fearless horsewoman, and never so happy as when out
on the range riding with the cowboys, if they were there, or alone if
they were not. Nell Steele was a warm-hearted, impulsive girl, but she
could no more help making a slave of every man she met than she could
stop breathing.

It was an easy task for her, too, and it mattered not whether it was
some high-bred, educated gentleman, or a rough Texas "puncher" who had
never in all his life spoken a dozen words to a woman of her class. And
naturally with such surroundings, with men unused to women's wiles, she
soon had the whole country at her feet.

Of them all, however, young Cameron had by far the worst case of it, and
the girl, while in her heart greatly pleased with his attentions, seemed
to delight in keeping him in a state of absolute misery by alternately
raising him to the very highest pinnacle of happiness, and again
dropping him into the bottomless pit of despair. Deep in her heart she
knew he was her ideal, but she could not resist the temptation to
coquette with and tease him.

Cameron had come west for his health some years before. Too hard
application at college had seriously impaired his strength, and he had
been ordered to live in the open air for several years. Letters of
introduction to George Hull had brought him to this ranch in the high
mountain country of northern Arizona, and he had taken to the cowboy
life from the very first, until now he was looked upon as one of the
most trusted and satisfactory "boys" on the place.

The ranch to which George Hull brought his pretty sister-in-law was
located near the line of the Navajo Indian Reservation, and, as the
Navajos are great roamers, it was nothing unusual to have them hanging
round. One day a party of them came, bringing in some horses the boys
had missed for some time. It was Miss Steele's first sight of the
Navajo, and she came down to the corral, where they were all gathered,
to see them. Among them was a young chief named Chatto, who had attended
an Indian school at Albuquerque, and could therefore speak fairly good
English. He was a picture of savage finery. Around his waist was buckled
a costly belt made of great plates of solid silver; in his ears hung
huge silver rings; each arm was clasped by bracelets of the same
precious metal; around his neck were yards of the precious silver,
turquoise and shell beads so dear to the Navajo heart; and his moccasins
and leggings were thickly studded with buttons fashioned from dimes,
quarters, and half-dollars. Across his shoulders hung a gaudy Navajo
blanket, and his horse's bridle was fairly weighted down with glittering
trophies of the Indian silversmith's skill.

[Illustration: "_He was a picture of savage finery_"]

[Illustration: "_Now the Navajos are famous silversmiths_"]

It was but a few moments before Miss Steele was bartering with him for a
bracelet; but it was of no avail, he would not sell it at any price.
However, when the other Indians left, he stayed behind, until, as the
dinner-hour was nearing, the boys asked him to eat with them. It was
soon evident that he had eyes only for Miss Steele; and after dinner she
spent an hour talking to him of his school experience and trying to
learn a few words of the Navajo tongue.

The next day he returned, and the next, until it was plainly to be
seen that the gay laugh and brown eyes of the girl had completely
bewitched him.

One day he came bearing the ring I have described, and shyly offered it
to her, insisting that she must place it on her engagement finger, which
she did, never dreaming that the boys, keenly watching from the
bunk-house, had put him up to it, telling him that that was the way
white lovers did, and that once she put on his ring she was his by all
the laws and customs of the white man.

When Cameron, who was away at the time, heard of it, he was furious, and
went straight to Miss Steele and urged her to return the ring and banish
the Indian from the ranch. But she, seeing that back of his lover's
eagerness for her safety was a lover's jealousy as well, affected not to
believe him, and declared her intention of keeping and wearing the ring.
It was this ring that she had kissed so tragically and replaced on her

On leaving the ranch, the girl gave her pony an almost free rein for the
first two or three miles. It was a glorious morning in September, when
the sun had lost its greatest power, and the air was fairly intoxicating
in its freshness. The range never looked finer than it did now, after
the summer rains had covered it with a wonderful growth of grass dotted
with millions of daisies, black-eyed Susans, purple lupines, and dozens
of other varieties of prairie flowers, which, in places, fairly made the
air heavy with their perfume. The trail led her over a wide mesa, and at
its highest point she stopped her pony and drank in the wondrous scene.
Away off to the north the great tablelands, or mesas, where live the
snake-loving Moqui Indians, hung in an almost indescribable grandeur,
blue and misty against the sky, more like a mirage than a reality. A
couple of saucy prairie dogs barked shrilly at her from their adjacent
village; a coyote, disturbed by her coming, skulked hastily away from
where he had been trying to surprise a little calf, left lying under a
sagebush while its mother went on down the trail to water. Above
her, high in the heavens, idly circled half a dozen heavy-winged
turkey-buzzards, those scavengers of the prairies, a sure sign that
somewhere below them an animal lay dead and they were gathering for a
feast. As far as the eye could reach were rolling hills, with here and
there parks of cedars, while scattered over the prairie were hundreds of
cattle and horses, for George Hull was one of the heaviest cattle-owners
in northern Arizona, and this was the heart of his range.

Across the valley below her she could see the figure of a solitary
horseman, which, after a few moments she decided to be Cameron, although
she had thought him miles away from there by this time. Her pony having
recovered his wind, she started down the mesa toward the approaching
figure, glad to see some human being in all that waste of loneliness
around her. As she drew nearer, she saw that it was no white man, but an
Indian, the red sash tied around his head being plainly visible at quite
a distance, but undaunted, she kept on her course, presuming him to be
the Indian mail-carrier who came in from the agency twice a week with
the mail-sack tied behind his saddle.

As the distance between them lessened, she saw with great uneasiness
that it was her admirer, Chatto, and, with a sort of guilty fear in her
heart, she turned off the trail and pushed her pony into a lope toward
a bunch of horses grazing near, as if she wanted to look at them closer.
A glance over her shoulder showed her that the Indian had also turned
and was following her, and the girl, now thoroughly alarmed, urged her
pony to his fullest speed. The Indian called to her to stop, but she
only rode the harder. Chatto, however, was well mounted and slowly
gained on the flying figure; her cowboy hat had blown from her head, but
was held by the string around her neck as she urged her pony with voice
and quirt.

"Stop, I shoot!" called the Navajo, but she rode the faster, expecting
every instant to hear the crack of his Winchester. At last he was within
thirty feet of her, and she felt that her pony had done his utmost and
there was no escape. Another look over her shoulder showed her that the
Indian had taken down his long rawhide reata and was swinging it round
and round his head preparatory for a throw at her. She remembered
hearing Hull tell of Mexican and cowboy fights, where the victim was
roped and pulled off his horse and across the prairie, until every
semblance of human shape was dragged out of it, and her heart sank
within her, for she knew by some woman's instinct that he had realized
she had been fooling him, and was thirsting for revenge.

Faster and faster they rode, and nearer and nearer he drew, till she
could hear the "swish" of the rope through the air; she crouched low
over the saddle to offer as small a mark as possible, meantime praying
for deliverance, which in her heart she little thought would come.

Cameron found his horses but a few miles out from the ranch, and,
quickly rounding them up, started the bunch toward home on a sharp run,
arriving there not long after Miss Steele had left. Questioning Mary as
to the direction she had taken, he struck off again on the range in a
course that he shrewdly judged would enable him, as if by accident, to
meet Miss Steele on her homeward way.

Some three or four miles from the ranch the mesa he was crossing ended
abruptly in a cliff some two hundred feet high, which extended for
several miles in an unbroken line with but one or two places where an
animal could get up or down. The view from the edge of this cliff or
"rim rock," as it was more commonly called, over the wide valley spread
out below it for miles and miles was unexcelled, and Cameron, knowing
that Miss Steele must come up this cliff at one of two places, headed
for the one he felt she would be most likely to take. As he drew near
the edge of the mesa he left the trail and rode over to the cliff; and
thinking perhaps to surprise a bunch of antelope feeding quietly in the
valley below him, as well as to prevent Miss Steele from first seeing
him, should she chance to be below, he left his pony under a cedar and,
taking his Winchester in his hand, carefully walked up to the edge of
the cliff.

The road leading down to the valley ran close under the cliff and was
lost to sight around a point of the mesa but a short distance to his
right. Carefully scanning the prairie, he could see no one, but, from
the way three or four bunches of wild horses were tearing across the
valley below him, he felt satisfied, that either she or some one else
had started them, and concluded to wait a few moments.

Suddenly, from far below, came a sound that for an instant sent his
heart to his throat, for it seemed as if he heard a woman's voice, borne
upward from around the point to his right, and yet it was far more
likely to be the almost human cry of a mountain lion, or even the
childish yell of some lone coyote, either of which could readily be
mistaken for a female voice in distress. As Cameron stood there, fairly
holding his breath in his eagerness to catch the faintest sound from
below, one moment assuring himself that his ears were at fault and the
next so certain that it was a woman's voice that he could scarcely wait
for its repetition in order that he could be sure which way to go, once
again there came faintly and yet more definitely than before the cry of
distress. The voice was Miss Steele's, and before he was really sure
from which quarter it came, there burst into sight around the point of
the mesa, not a quarter of a mile away from him but down in the valley,
the figure of a girl on horseback leaning low over her pony's neck, and
urging him to his utmost speed on the road leading up to the cliff,
while some forty or fifty feet behind her, riding as hard as she was the
Navajo Chatto, his red head-band gone, his long black hair streaming out
in the wind, and whirling over his head in a great loop his rawhide

It took Cameron but an instant to grasp the situation and see that the
Indian had tried to overtake the girl, and failing, meant to rope and
drag her from her horse. He quickly saw also that busied with his reata,
and not having a chance to use the quirt, his pony was falling slightly
behind, for the Navajos seldom wear spurs, and the girl was not sparing
her pony's flanks, but was using her quirt at every jump. Cameron's
first impulse was to spring down the cliff, and run to her aid, but
with a groan he realized that it would take him too long to do this, for
it was only by careful climbing that one could get down the first forty
or fifty feet of the wall, and then the rest would be slow traveling at
the very best. The race below him was in plain view now, and in a few
rods more they would pass out of his sight in the little side cañon
through which the road led up to the top of the cliff. To ride back to
that place would take too long, also, and the man quickly realized that
it was no time to delay.

To kill a Navajo meant trouble for everybody around, for the whole tribe
would take it up, and wreak vengeance upon any white settlers they could
find, hence that was not to be thought of except in the last extremity.
But Cameron knew that he could kill the Navajo's pony and save the girl.
Throwing his Winchester over a rock for a rest, with a mental estimate
of five hundred yards' distance to his mark, he took careful aim at the
shoulder of the Indian's pony and sent a shot which sped fair and true
to its mark, the animal rolling headlong in the dirt, and the rider
sprawling fully twenty feet away, but unharmed.

For an instant the Indian was stunned, then, evidently thinking his pony
had fallen by accident, arose and started toward him. Cameron, however,
was ready for this move. Presuming the Navajo would try to get his
rifle, which was slung in its holster underneath the dead horse, he sent
a second shot, before Chatto could get half way to the body, striking
the ground close enough to him to convince him as to the cause of the
pony's fall. With true Indian instinct he turned and, to disconcert
Cameron's aim, ran in a zig-zag way to a deep ditch, or wash, near the
road, into which he threw himself and crawled and wormed his way down to
where the sides were high enough to shelter his body.

Meantime Cameron, not daring to leave his place until he knew the girl
was safely up the cliff, forced the Navajo to keep to cover by firing an
occasional shot in his direction, until, with a sigh of relief, he saw
the girl "raise the hill" at his left, and stood up and waved his hat to
her. Up to this time she had scarcely known to what cause she owed her
deliverance. All she knew was that a shot had been fired, and she heard
no more thunder of horse's hoofs behind her, but not being too sure of
what it all meant, she never drew rein nor spared her pony until she saw
Cameron's figure on the cliff and knew that she was safe.

A few moments later an hysterical, sobbing girl threw herself from her
saddle straight into the arms of the man who loved her, and whom, she
now knew, she loved.




"Las' time I was in Fo't Worth," drawled Peg Leg Russel who was
industriously working away, with marlin spike and leather strings, on a
new quirt, "I seen a circus band there a-ridin' hosses an' a-playin' at
the same time."

"Makin' sure enuff music?" queried one of the boys.

"They sure was," replied Peg Leg; "an' what's more, them ole white
hosses they was a-ridin' never batted an eye, but jist tromped along
like a bunch of hearse horses.

"I'd sure love to see 'em try any such funny business with these yere
little ole diggers we're a-ridin'," he continued, "Lordy, but wouldn't
they git up an' rag when the first toot come off."

"If ye'd been wid me in the good old 'gallopin' Sixth Cavalry,' ye'd
sure had a chanst to observe jist such a performance," said Pat the
cook, who was busy at the mess box with supper preparations.

The mess wagon was backed up into the shade of a great, wide-spreading
juniper, and the outfit was waiting there a few days for a bunch of
fresh saddle horses from the horse camp. Ten or a dozen punchers were
lying about in the shade, some asleep, some overhauling "war bags,"
sunning bedding, and others like Russel making quirts or hair ropes.

[Illustration: "_The mess wagon was backed up into the shade_"]

The old red-headed cook's army experiences were the butt of a great many
sly jokes among the men, but he always had something new to relate, and
the intimation, that he had seen a band mounted on western horses, was
enough to excite their curiosity.

"Tell us about it, Pat," said Tex, "them Sixth Cavalry fellers sure rode
the outpitchenest lot of bronks I ever see outside of a cow-outfit. I
reckin' I'd oughter know, fer I were a workin' fer old man White down in
the San Simon Valley clost to Fort Bowie in them days."

Any reference to the old man's former regiment warmed the cockles of the
cook's heart, and he needed no urging to start him off on the story.

"We was all a-layin' up at old Fort Tonto," he said rolling out, with an
empty beer bottle, what Russel said was the "lid" of a dried apple pie,
"the whole regiment being there after two years spent chasin' over them
hills and deserts trying to catch those divils of Apaches.

"'Twere the first time in three years we'd seen the band, an' when the
General sent word for them bandsmen to come up from Camp Lowell we sure
felt mighty pleased, for, barrin' a couple of fiddles an' Danny Hogan's
concertina, there wasn't any music worth mentioning in the whole post.

"The old general had been over in Europe the year before an' picked up a
lot of cranky idees about soldiering which didn't set well on the old
Sixth, them bein' a bunch of rough ridin' _hombres_, very divils for
fightin', but wid mighty little love for drills an' garrison duty.

"Wan day, I was the gineral's orderly, an' a standin' outside the door
to his quarters, I could hear him an' the adjutant a-wranglin' about
dress parade for next Sunday.

"The old man he was insistin' that them bandsmen could play mounted
instead of afoot. 'Why,' ses he, 'didn't I see wid me own eyes in Paris,
a army band all mounted an' a-ridin' an' a-playin' like good fellies?'

"'But, gineral,' says the adjutant, 'them there bandsmen of ours, bein'
enlisted solely for musicians, not wan of them knows anything about
ridin', an' as for ridin' an' a-playin' at the same time, on top of them
there horses of ours, sure every wan of them will git thrown off an'

"'So much the worse for them,' snorted the gineral, 'let them learn to
ride--that's what they've got horses for. This is no bunch of doughboys
I'm commandin', 'tis a regiment of cavalry-men, and cavalry-men we'll
make of them or kill them a-tryin'.'

"'Sure,' he ses, ses he 'didn't Custer's band use to play mounted, an'
why can't my band do the same?'

"The adjutant he tried to argufy wid the old man, tellin' him them there
furrin' mounts were jist like a bunch of old dray hosses, an' edicated
like trained pigs. But nothin' would suit the gineral but a mounted
dress parade for all hands, includin' the band.

"So the adjutant he calls to me an he ses, 'Orderly,' ses he, 'my
compliments to Mr. Schwartz, the band leader, an' ask him to report to
the office immediately.'

"Now Schwartz, he was a little old fat Dutchman, about five feet six,
an' weighin' over two hundred pounds. When I gave him me message he ses,
ses he,

"'What's up,' ses he.

"'Mounted dress parade for the band,' ses I.

"'Mein Gott, me for sick report,' ses he.

"'Mr. Schwartz,' ses the adjutant when he waddles up to the office,
''tis the orders of the commanding officer that the band attend dress
parade next Sunday afternoon, mounted an' wid their instruments ready to

"Schwartz he gasps an' tried hard to say a word, but the adjutant he
ses, ses he: 'Git your men out an' drill them every day till they can
handle their hosses an' instruments at the same time. An' mind ye,' ses
he, 'them there band instruments costs money, an' we want none of thim
unnecsarily injured.'

"Schwartz he mumbled somethin' as he went out about them bein' a sight
more anxious over not injurin' the instruments than they were the men,
men bein' a matter for the recruitin' service, while instruments must be
paid for out of the regimental funds.

"For the next four or five days the bandsmen was mighty busy a-drillin'
their hosses an' a-gettin' them usened to the sound of the instruments
by standin' on the ground in front of them an' a-playin.'

"Comes Saturday, the word goes about the post, that the band would make
the first try at playin' on the backs of their hosses that afternoon.

"When they led their steeds out of the corral an' formed on the cavalry
prade ground, every soul in the post, officers, sogers, apache injins,
dog robbers an' laundresses was there to see the doin's.

"They led them bronks out an' played one chune, a-standin' at their
heads, an' barrin' a few of them what pulled back an' got loose from the
men, they stood the racket all right.

"Then the drum major, a-ridin' a white hoss, trots out to the front of
them, waves his baton, an' gives the command, 'Prepare to mount.'

"Ivery man, accordin' to the latest tactics, grabs a handful of mane, in
his left hand, an' his reins an' the saddle pommel wid his right, his
instruments a-hangin' to his anatemy by straps or slings.

"When they gits the word 'mount,' they all swings up into their saddles
somehow, some of them fat old musicians clamberin' up more like loadin'
a sack of bran than anything else in all the world.

"The chap what played the bass drum, he bowed up when it come to tryin'
to use his big drum, an' so they compromised on a pair of kittle drums,
wan strapped to each side of the saddle horn.

"Them kittle drums looked for all the world like a pair of twenty-gallon
water kaigs on a pack saddle.

"The horse, he eyed the load on his back sort of suspicious-like, an'
lets the drummer git settled down into his saddle wid a drumstick in
each wan of his two hands, but keepin' his ears a-workin' like a couple
of wig-wag signal flags.

"Finally, when every wan was safely on top, an' the horses standin'
fairly quiet, the drum major he waves his stick, an' wid a sweep of his
arms, gives the signal to play.

"An' right there the fun began. The first rap the drummer give wid his
drumsticks was too much for his horse, an' wid wan wild look at them
two great soup kittles a-hangin' onto his back, an' wid the roar of them
in his ears, he jist hung his head down, an' began some of the
scientifickest buckin' an' pitchin' you ever seen.

"Bustin' through the band, wid them two kittles a-wavin' an' a-thumpin'
on his back, the drummer's horse had little trouble in incitin' several
more of them to the same line of conduct, an' in about two minutes half
the horses in the outfit were a-buckin' an' a-cavortin' around like very

"The kittle drummer an' the Swiss gent, what played the tubey--an' him
a-settin' there in the middle of them great silvery coils like some
prehistoric monster--they went through that bunch of wild-eyed Dutch
musicians, like two shooting stars.

"The drummer tried hard to stay on top of his load, but what wid them
two great copper tubs a-knockin' an' a-thumpin' away on his horse's
withers, a-barkin' his shins an' knees wid every jump, an' a-floppin'
like two big buzzards' wings, 'twas no disgrace that he couldn't stay
there, him bein' no bronco buster, but jist a Dutch bandsman.

"He went up into the air wid them two drumsticks, wan in each hand,
describin' a lovely circle, an' a comin' down head first in the soft
dirt, while the hoss wid them two drums, beatin' a very divil's tattoo
on his ribs, tored off down the road an' out of sight.

"As for the tubey player, he tried hard to stay in the middle of his
bucker. But, bein' handicapped as it were, wid some thirty odd feet of
German silver tubin' wrapped about his anatemy, an' it a-bumpin' an'
a-bangin' agin his head every time the hoss struck the sod, he made
hard work of it.

"After makin' some desperate efforts to find somethin' solid to hold
onto, an' a-clawin' all the leather offen his saddle pommel in the
effort, the wind jammer gives it up for a bad job, turned all holds
loose, an' went up into the air like a musical sky rocket. The saddler
sergint of G-troop sed he was a Dutch meteor.

"Ony how, he went up, an', encircled wid them great silvery pipes, made
a fine landin' in the soft dirt, drivin' the bell of his tubey deep into

"The next minute his hoss was a-folerin' the kittle drums like Tam
O'Shanter's ghost.

"Then there was a tall hungry Irishman--though what a dacent Irisher was
a-doin' in that bunch of Dutchies I dunno--but there he was. He played a
clarinet about a yard long, an' when his hoss decided 'twas time for him
to do a little stunt of his own, in the buckin' line, he made a wild
grab for his reins. But 'twas no good. Ivery time he comes down, he
jabbed the sharp pint of that clarinet mouthpiece into the horse's
withers, which didn't help matters a little bit.

"He was a-doin' some elegant reachin' for something to hold onto, but
some way he couldn't connect wid anything at all. Wan jump an' he lost
his cap, the next he landed behind the saddle, which gives his horse an
opporchunity for lettin' out a few extry holes in his performance. Back
into the saddle he goes, but not findin' conditions there to his likin',
he continued on wid a forward movement finally landin' in front of the
saddle, then a little furder forward, workin' out on the horse's neck
like some sailor lad a-climbin' out on the bowsprit of a ship.

"Finally, the hoss took time enough to lift his nose from scrapin' the
ground bechune his two front feet, an' have a look about him; in doin'
which he turned the clarinet player end for end like a tumbler in a
circus. Down he comes, wid his precious clarinet grabbed in his hand
like a black-thorn shillalah, and when he lit, he bored a place in the
dirt deep enough for a post hole.

"Over on the porch of the adjutant's office, a-takin' it all in, was the
old gineral wid a bunch of ladies. When the last of the twenty or more
riderless bronks disappeared over the brow of the hill down the road
toward the creek, the old man turned to his orderly standin' near by an'
ses, ses he, 'Orderly, prisint me compliments to the adjutant an' tell
him that the band's excused from attindin' dress parade mounted till
furder orders.'"




"Oyez, oyez, o-y-e-z, the Honorable Court of the Third Judicial District
of the State of New Mexico is now in session," cried the one-armed
bailiff, and the district court in Alamo came to order for the afternoon

The judge settled back in his easy chair; the twelve jurymen at his left
idly watched the crowd pour into the little courtroom. By the time the
prisoner had been escorted in by the sheriff, every inch of space was
occupied by eager spectators, both men and women; for the case of Andy
Morrow, locally known as "Stutterin' Andy," charged by the grand jury
with stealing one red yearling branded X V from Joseph Barker, had
attracted the attention of the entire community.

During the morning session, the prosecution had given their side of the
case. Old man Barker and a detective from Denver had each testified to
finding the hide of a yearling bearing Barker's well-known brand, buried
beneath a pile of brush on Morrow's "dry farm" claim.

The resurrected hide was also placed before the jury, the X V on the
left ribs being plainly visible and when court adjourned for the noon
recess, Barker was jubilant.

"We'll git him, we'll git him," he said to his foreman as they tramped
down the narrow staircase leading from the courtroom. "I'll make a
shinin' example of Mister Stutterin' Andy, what'll put the fear o' God
into a lot of them cow thieves, an' last this here community for some

"I reckin' so," replied the foreman who felt that the reputation of the
X V outfit was at stake. After lunch, court having been duly opened, the
young lawyer, who owing to Morrow's poverty, had been appointed by the
court to defend him, addressed the jury with a short statement of the

The poverty of the prisoner, his struggles to make a home, the
iniquitous "fence law" which forced the little farmer to fence his crops
against the wandering herds of the cattlemen, the wealth and standing of
Barker, the complaining witness, and his use of a hired detective to
hunt up evidence, was all pictured to the jury in his strongest

"Say, Barker," whispered a man at his side, nudging him with the point
of his elbow, "don't you feel sort of ornery like, to be made out such a
consarned old renegade?"

"Don't you be a-feelin' sorry for me," he snapped back, "them what
laughs last laughs best, an' I reckon' we got a big ole laugh a-comin'
when this here performance is concluded."

"I swear," muttered a man in the audience to his neighbor, "ef that
there lawyer chap hopes to make anything out of Andy's testimony that
will help him, I miss my guess. Why the pore devil stutters so that
nobody kin git a word outa him scarcely, when there's nothin' excitin'
goin' on, let alone with all these here people a-settin' there
a-listenin'. I'm a-bettin' he won't be able to tell his own name to say
nothin' about explainin' how he didn't kill that there yearlin'."

But the attorney knew his business and Morrow remained quietly in his
seat beside the sheriff. Having finished his preliminary statement, the
young lawyer whispered to the bailiff, who walked across to a small jury
room opening off the main courtroom, and opened a door.

A low-spoken word, and there stepped from the room a woman--the wife of
the prisoner.

She was tall, slim and about twenty-five years of age. From the corner
of her mouth protruded the "dip-stick," that ever present solace of the
sex among her class, and without which she probably never could have
faced the crowd.

A faded blue calico dress over which she wore a small shawl, and on her
head a bedraggled hat with a few tousled roses stuck on one side, made
up a costume which only accentuated her drawn face and sorrowful eyes.

After a few moments of whispered conversation with the lawyer, she took
the witness chair.

At first her answers to his questions as to her name, age, etc., were
given in a low, scarcely audible voice, and the room was so still it was
fairly oppressive.

"You understand, do you," he asked her, "that your husband is charged
with killing a yearling belonging to Mr. Barker?"

"I shore do," was the reply.

"Will you, please, tell the jury in your own words, just what you know
about this matter," the lawyer said.

"Mought I tell it jist as I want to, jist as I done tole it to you down
to the hotel?" she asked.

"Yes," he replied very kindly, "tell the jury your story just as you
told it to me."

She carefully removed the "dip stick" from her mouth, placing it in a
little wooden box which she carried in a battered leather hand bag.
Then, turning to the jury, she began her story in a clear firm voice, as
if she realized that upon her testimony hung the fate of her husband.

"I want to tell you-all men, the truth about this here thing," she said
looking into their faces with unflinching eye, "jist how it happened,
an' don't mean to hide narry part of it from nobody.

"Andy an' me's been married now nigh onto six year. We moved into this
country about a year ago, comin' from Arkin-saw in a wagon. We had two
chillen, a boy an' a gal.

"When we gits here, Andy located down there on the claim an' tried dry
farmin'; 'kaffir korners' I reckin' some of them calls us. It tuck
mighty nigh every cent we had to git the seed an' some farmin' tools,
an' after the crap were in, Andy he gits work in a sawmill up into the
mountings, leavin' me an' the kids to make the crap.

"Andy he done built a little loghouse an' a corral, an' puts a brush
fence around the land we broke up to keep the critters out, we not
havin' any money fer to buy barbed wire fer the fence.

[Illustration: "_Andy done built a little ole log house_"]

"We had a heap o' trouble with the range stock all summer an' it kep' me
a-steppin' pretty lively to keep 'em out, but I managed to fight 'em
off, an' we done pretty well that year.

"Andy worked all winter in the sawmill and jist about spring the man
closed down, an' tole the boys a-workin' fer him that he couldn't pay
'em anything he was a-owin' 'em. Most of 'em he owed a right smart to,
because he kep' a-promisin' he'd pay every month, an' when he done
busted up he owed my man 'bout two hundred dollars.

"So Andy he come home to put in the crap, an' we both worked powerful
hard to git it in, an' as we owed the store up thar so much, we couldn't
git anything more on our account.

"So, 'bout all we had to eat was taters what we raised the year before.
Then the little gal took sick, an' we nussed her fer a time till she got
powerful weak, an' then Andy he goes to town fer a doctor, tellin' him
we ain't got no money to pay him, but fer God's sake to come an' see

"'Twas twenty-five miles fer the doctor to ride, but he come along with
Andy all right, an' when he sees the little gal he ses, 'Scarlet fever,
an' a bad case too.'

"The doctor done give her some medicine he brung with him, an' said
she'd orter be carried to town where he could see her, kase he couldn't
come out that way very often, even if we done paid him fer it.

"So me an' Andy hooked up the hosses an' brung her in here, an' bein' as
it was what the doc calls a contagious disease, we couldn't git no house
to live in; so we had to camp down below town in the creek bottom under
a big cottonwood. 'Twere powerful hard to take keer of the little gal
there, an' Andy had hard work gittin' grub an' medicine, an' 'cept fer
Frank Walton, the man what keeps the 'Bucket of Blood' saloon, we'd
never a-pulled her through.

"Frank he sends down a lot of stuff fer us an' tells Andy to git all the
medicine he needed at the drug store an' he'd pay fer it hisself.

"Bimeby, the little gal gits better, an' Andy he bein' anxious to git
back an' look after the crap, we packs our traps an' goes back to the

"The doc he ses the little gal's all rite if we git her plenty good
strengthnin' stuff, an' Frank he gits us considerable to take home.

"When we left the place we done turned the ole milk cow out on the range
till we comes back. Andy he rode three days a-lookin' fer her an'
finally meets up with her where she lays daid in a little medder up on
the mounting. Andy ses he reckoned she was pizened eatin' wild pasnip.
She had a big long-eared calf along with her, but 'twan't nowhere about,
an', as the round-up passed that-away a few days afore, Andy he 'lowed
they done picked it up fer a dogie an' put ole man Barker's brand on it.

"Andy he couldn't git no work, fer he couldn't leave me alone with the
two chillen, an' we tried to save the little handful of grub we brung
out fer the gal, an' lived mighty nigh on straight taters an' water. One
day, the little boy he come sick too an' Andy he gits on a hoss an'
rides to town to see the doctor agin'.

"The doctor he ses he reckined 'twas scarlet fever too, 'cause the
simptons was about the same an' he give him some medicine to take out
an' sed he'd come out hisself soon as he could, but he had a lot of sick
folks to look after, an' didn't like to leave 'em to make the trip, he
bein' a lunger hisself, an' not fitten to work very hard.

"Somehow the little feller didn't seem to do very well, an' Andy he goes
in after the doctor agin', an' he come out to see him. He looks mighty
serous when he gits thar an' he sed: 'I reckin' this little chap's
mighty porely; what be ye a-feedin' him?' Andy he busted out a-cryin'
an' ses; 'Doc,' ses he, 'we ain't got nothin' but taters an' a little
hawg meat what Frank Walton sent out when we brung the little gal back,
an' we been a-savin' that fer her, not thinkin' that the boy was gittin'
sick too.'

"'Ain't ye got no cow,' ses the doc, an' Andy tole him how she done died
while we was all in town before.

"The doc he ses fer Andy to git ready an' come on to town with him that
night, an' he'd git him some more grub, an' so 'bout a hour afore sun
Andy an' the doc sets off fer town leavin' me with the two chillen."

The courtroom was so still excepting for the low, spiritless voice of
the woman, that one could hear the muffled sobs of one or two of the
women in the room whose hearts were touched with the sorrowful story she
was unfolding.

She stopped for a moment to choke back her own tears, and the attorney,
leaning towards her as she faced the jury, said almost in a whisper,
"What happened that night?"

"The pore little feller died in my arms jist about a hour before sun up
next mornin'," she replied without a quaver in her voice, but with both
hands clinched in an agony which could find no tongue in her
disheartened, hopeless condition of mind.

"Please continue, if you can," said the lawyer kindly, knowing that in
her homely recital of their grief and misfortunes lay the open road to
her husband's acquittal.

"Well, that mornin' Andy he come home with the grub, but 'twas too late
fer the boy.

"He was shore all broke up over it an' sat all day long without sayin' a
word 'ceptin' he guessed the Lord 'sort of had it in fer us pore folks
an' only looked after the rich ones like ole man Barker an' his kind.

"'Twas fifteen miles to the nearest neighbors, an' anyhow they was all
a-skeered of the fever, they havin' a lot of kids of their own, so me
an' Andy we reckoned the best thing we could do was to bury him rite in
our field whar we could take keer of his little grave.

"'Bout this time, the range stock began to bother us a-gittin' in the
field an' a-damagin' the crap. Andy he sent word to Barker to send some
of his men down thar an' carry off the worst ones, but the foreman he
said 'twan't none of his business, thar was a fence law in this here
state, an' we must fence our land ef we wanted to raise a crap.

"Then the grub what we brung down from town done give out an' the little
gal she sort of seemed to be a pinin' away right afore our eyes.

"One evenin' some of the cattle broke into the field agin', an' Andy was
a-drivin' 'em out, a yearlin' calf breaks back an' dodged into the
little pole corral we done made fer a milk pen.

"Andy he vowed he'd put a 'yoke' onto him, he bein' the wust one of em
all for breakin' through the fence; so he puts up the bars intendin' to
fix him as soon as we got the rest out.

"Bimeby, we goes to the corral meanin' to fix him with a yoke an' turn
him out, but when I seed that there brand of Barker's onto him, an' we
ain't nothin' to eat but taters, an' Barker's stock a-ruinin' our crap
faster than it could grow; I just got that bitter I didn't much care
what did happen.

"Andy he sets down the axe he done brung out to the corral to make the
yoke with, an' goes into the cabin fer a piece of balin' wire to tie the
yoke on with, an' while he's gone all the bad in me come to the top, an'
I drives the yearlin' into the little calf pen where we shuts up the
milk calves, an' taken the axe an' hit him a lick on the haid with it as
he made a sort of pass at me, which brung him to the ground.

"When Andy come back with the balin' wire, the calf was daid. He were
terribly cut up about it but I ses, 'We can't be much wuss off, an' I'm
that hongry fer somethin' besides taters, that I don't care what happens
to us.'

"As fer the rest of it, I reckin what the detective feller said is about
right. We done butchered the calf the best we could, an' buried the hide
what was found, an' so I reckin you all men knows now jist who killed
that thar yearling of Barker's, fer 'twere me what did it an' not Andy
Morrow a-tall."

Her voice was raised as she spoke the last few words, and she threw her
head back, and swept a look of defiance around the courtroom.

Directly before her sat old man Barker, his eyes staring straight into
hers, his great hairy hands gripping a red bandana until the cords and
veins stood out like ropes, while down his face the tears were making
their way through the rough stubbly beard that covered it without any
effort on his part to stay their course. Barker moved uneasily in his
chair; in the tense stillness of the room its creaking smote the silence
like a shot and drew every eye in the room to him. He grasped the back
of the chair in front of him, struggled partly to his feet, and then
sank back again. His mouth opened; he licked his parched lips like some
hunted wild animal.

"The, the--gal," he gasped, never taking his eyes from the woman's face,
"the little gal, wh--what come of her?" he demanded hoarsely, a great
something in his throat almost choking him, "did-did-sh-he," and his
voice failed him completely.

The woman smiled scornfully. "She did not," she said, realizing the
drift of his unspoken question, "we done made a pot of soup out of some
of that there yearlin' an' fed her some of the meat, an' she perked up
an' come through all right." Then--daughter of Eve that she was--she
broke down and burst into tears.

Over the face of the old cattleman swept a look of joy and relief that
words cannot portray. He mopped his flushed face and streaming eyes with
the handkerchief, utterly unconscious that every eye in the courtroom
was upon him, then, turning, brought his great hand down upon the back
of his foreman beside him with force enough to have almost broken it.
His face was wreathed in smiles. "Glory be," he almost shouted, "glory
be--thank God for that."

       *       *       *       *       *

Five minutes later Stutterin' Andy walked out of the courtroom a free



By permission _The Argonaut_, San Francisco, Cal.

"I tell you fellows, 'tain't no fun to swim a bunch of steers when the
water is as cold as it is now." The speaker was a short, thick-set
cowboy, whose fiery red hair had gained for him the sobriquet of
"Colorado," the Mexican name for red, which was frequently shortened to
"Colly" among the "punchers."

Colorado, who was carefully rolling a cigarette, glanced around the
circle of listeners, as if challenging some one to contradict him. The
balance of the boys evidently agreed with him, for no one said a word
except the "Kid," and he, after taking his pipe from his lips and
carefully knocking out the ashes on the heel of his boot, said:

"'Jever have any 'sperience at it, Colly?"

Colorado by this time had finished rolling his cigarette and was waiting
for the cook's pot-hook, which he had thrust into the campfire, to get
red-hot, to light it. Having done this and taken a few preliminary
puffs, he answered:

"Yes, I hev, and a mighty tough one it was, too."

"Tell us about it, Colorado," said the cook. "Whar was it, an' how did
it happen?"

"Yes, Colly, le's hear the story," chimed in the Kid.

It was just the time for a story. We had come down to the railroad with
a bunch of steers, and found the Little Colorado River, which ran
between us and the railroad, swollen to a mighty torrent by the rains in
the mountains.

We had waited four days for it to go down, but it seemed rather to rise
a little each day. As the feed was poor and we had lots of work to do,
the boss was in a hurry to get them shipped and off his hands, and so
had just announced, that at daylight the next morning he meant to try to
swim the herd across. It was late in October and the weather was snappy
cold. Overcoats and heavy clothes were an absolute necessity in the
night on guard around the herd, and the idea of going into that cold
water was not a pleasant one. But the cow-puncher is much like the
sailor, in that he never stops to think of getting wet, or cold, or
going into any danger as long as the boss himself will lead the way; so
we were all prepared to get a soaking the next day.

It was that pleasant time in the evening between sunset and dark. The
herd was bedded down near camp, and the first guard were making their
rounds, with never a steer to turn back. The balance of us were lying
about the campfire, smoking and talking "hoss," a subject which is never
worn threadbare in a cow-camp. Colorado, who had been idly marking out
brands in the sand in front of him with the end of his fingers, said:

"Well, boys, 'taint much of a story, but ef you want to hear it, I'll
tell you how it was. Dick, gimme a bite of your navy," and having stowed
away a huge chunk of Dick's "navy," Colly settled back on the ground and

"I was workin' fer the Diamond outfit up in Utah, 'bout three years ago,
an' the old man he come off down here into Arizona an' bought a bunch of
steers to take up thar. He done written his wagon-boss to come down with
an outfit big enough to handle two thousand head, an' we struck the
Little Colorado River 'bout the mouth of the Cañon Diablo wash, where we
was to receive the herd 'long in June. We didn' have no partickler
hap'nin's comin' down, and we got the herd turned over all right, an'
built a 'squeeze chute' an' branded 'em all before we started back; so
as, if any got lost, the outfit could claim 'em on the brand: an' about
the last of June we pushed 'em off the bed-ground one mornin', before
daylight, an' pulled our freight for the home ranch.

"The cattle were all good to handle, an' didn't give us no trouble to
hold nights, barrin' one or two little stampedes, an' we drifted on down
toward Lee's Ferry without any mishaps, 'ceptin' one night it were
a-rainin' like all possessed, an' I wakes up a feller named Peck to go
on guard. Peck got up an' put on his slicker, walked over to where his
pony was tied, an' mounted. We was camped on the banks of a wash called
Cottonwood Creek, an' along there the wash had cut down into the 'dobe
flat, some ten or fifteen feet deep. Peck he's 'bout half asleep, an'
gets off wrong for the herd, an' rides straight up to the edge of the
creek, thinkin' all the time he's a-goin' out on the prairie to the
herd. His pony sort of balked on him an' give a snort, but Peck bein' a
cross-grained sort of cuss, an' only half awake, just bathed him with
his quirt, an' jabbed his spurs into him. The pony give a jump an'
landed in the middle of the creek, with six or eight feet of muddy water
runnin' in it. Lord, didn't Peck wake up suddenlike, an' squall for
help? We all turned out in a hurry, but he swam across, an' the opposite
side bein' sort of slopin'like, the pony scrambled out. Then Peck was
afeered to cross back in the dark, an' stayed over thar all night,
a-shiverin' an' a-shakin' an' a-cursin' like a crazy man. When we got up
for breakfast that mornin' at four o'clock it was clear, an' cold, an'
dark. The cook he goes down to the creek an' hollers to Peck sort of
sarcastic-like, 'Come to breakfast, Peck!' an' Peck he gets mad an'
swears at the _cocinero_ pretty plenty, an' said ef he didn't go back
he'd turn loose on him with his six-shooter, an' the cook, bein' pretty
rollicky hisself, he goes back to the wagon an' pulls his Winchester an'
starts fer the creek agin, but Jackson stops him an' turns him back.
When it comes daylight Peck went down the creek a mile and finds a place
to cross whar it wa'n't so deep, an' so gits back to camp jist as we was
pullin' out.

"The Big Colorado were a powerful stream when we reached it, bein' all
swollen by heavy rains up in the mountains an' we all kinder hated to
tackle it. Before he left, the old man told the wagon-boss to ferry the
outfit an' horses over in the boat, but to swim the steers.

"You know how Lee's Ferry is; the river comes out of a box cañon above,
an' the sides break away a little, an' then a mile below it goes into
the box agin, where the walls is three thousand feet high an' the
current runs like a mill-race.

"It was shore a nasty place to swim a bunch of steers, an' Jackson, he
knowed we had a big job on hand when we got there. Jackson was the best
wagon-boss I ever see or worked under. He was a tall, slim chap, could
outwork any two men in the outfit, wasn't afeerd of nothin', an' though
he couldn't read or write, I tell you, boys, he savvyed cows a heap.
What he didn't know 'bout cows wa'n't worth knowin'. He didn't let the
steers water the day before, so's they'd be powerful dry an' take to the
river easier.

"We fust got the wagon over on the ferry boat, which was a big concern,
long enuff to drive a four-hoss team onto, an' which was rowed by four
men. The cook he was mighty skerry 'bout goin' onto this here boat,
'cause he said 'bout a year afore that he'd been a-punching cows in
southern Arizony, an' a feller there shipped a lot of cattle up inter
Californey to put on an island in the ocean near Los Angeles. They
loaded 'em onto flat scows with a high railin' round 'em, an' put 'bout
fifty head on each scow an' a puncher on it to look out fer 'em. Goin'
over to the island the tug what was a-towin' 'em by the horn of the
saddle, so to speak, busted the string, an' thar bein' quite a wind
blowin', an' big ole waves a-floppin' round, the four scows began to
butt an' bump up agin' one another like a lot of muley bulls a-fightin',
an' the cattle got to runnin' back an' forth an' a-bellerin' an'
a-bawlin', an' them punchers, they shore thought their very last day had
come. The cook he never expected to see dry land agin', an' he jist
vowed if he ever got back to the prairie that he'd punch no more cows on

"Well, bimeby, the tug got a new lariat onto 'em agin' an' corraled 'em
all safe enuff at the wharf, but the cook 'lowed he war a dry-land
terrapin an' wouldn't ever agin get into no such scrape, not ef he
knowed hisself. However, he did get up 'nuff spunk to tackle the ferry,
an' went over safely. After we got the wagon acrost, we went back an'
started the cattle down the side cañon what leads into the crossin'.

"Jackson's idee was to git the hosses ahead of the steers an' let 'em
follow. You know hosses swim anywheres, an' the cattle will allers
foller 'em. So he puts three men in a little boat, two to row an' one to
lead a hoss knowin' the balance would foller him right across.

"The hoss-wrangler hed the 'cavvy' all ready, an' jist as the leaders of
the herd come down to the water's edge the boys in the boat pulled out,
a-leadin' a hoss, an' the other hosses follered right in an' was soon
a-swimmin'. Then when they was all strung out an' doin' fine, we crowded
the steers into the water after 'em. They was all powerful dry an' took
to the water easy 'nuff, an' afore the leaders knowed it they was
a-swimmin' in fine shape. Jackson wouldn't let us holler or shoot till
we got 'em all inter the water, an' then we jerked our six-shooters an'
began to fog 'em an' yell like a bunch of Comanches.

"You all know thar's one thing to be afeered of in swimmin' a lot of
cattle, and that's when they gets to millin'. Jackson had swum cattle
across the Pecos in Texas, an' the Yellowstone in Montana, an' saveyed
'xactly what to do. But this here Colorado at Lee's Ferry is a bad place
to tackle, fer you're bound to get out on the other side afore you get
into the box cañon, or your name's Dennis, 'cause once a feller gits
into the cañon he's got to go on clean down about a hundred miles afore
he can strike a level place big enuff to crawl out on.

"Soon as the cattle got well strung out, Jackson began to undress
hisself. He took off all his clothes but his pants, an' then buckled his
six-shooter belt around him, an' pulled the saddle off'n his hoss.

"I says, 'Bill, you ain't a-goin' to try to swim it, are you?' an' he
says, 'No, not 'less I have to; but if they gets to millin' out thar
we'll lose the whole herd, an' the only way to break it up is to ride
out an' shoot among 'em an' skeer 'em.' He knowed it were risky, for if
anything went wrong he was shore to be carried into the cañon an'
drowned. But Bill Jackson wa'n't the sort of a wagon-boss to stop at
anything to save the herd, an' sure 'nuff, 'bout the time the leaders
got fairly into the middle of the river, 'long comes a big cottonwood
tree a-driftin' an' whirlin' down stream right into 'em. That skeert 'em
an' turned 'em, an' 'fore we knowed it they was doubled back on the
balance an' swimmin' round an' round, for all the world like driftwood
in a big eddy in a creek. This was what Jackson was afeerd of, an' he
pushed his hoss into the river an' takes his six-shooter in his hand. He
was ridin' a little Pinto pony they called 'Blue Jay,' one of the best
all-around cow-ponies I ever see.

"Old Blue Jay he jist seemed to savey what was wanted of him, an' swam
'long without any fuss. When Jackson gits out close to the millin'
steers he begin to holler an' shoot, an' he called to the fellers in the
boat to come back an' try to stop 'em. Now, you all know what a risky
thing it is to go near a steer a-swimmin' in the water, for he's sure
to try to climb up on you. Jackson knowed this, but he swam Blue Jay
right slap-dab inter the bunch an' tried to scatter 'em an' stop 'em
from millin'.

"Just how it happened we couldn't tell; but first thing we seen Jackson
was right in the middle of the millin' critters, an' in a minute they
had crowded pore old Blue Jay under, an' all we seen of Jackson was his
hands went up an' then he was lost in the whirlin' mass of horns that
was goin' round and round. A man had no chance at all to swim, 'cause
their hoofs kep' him under all the time, an' they was packed so close a
feller couldn't come up between 'em, anyway. The boys in the boat tried
to do something, but 'twan't no use, fer he never come up, an' when they
got too close one big steer throwed his head over the side of the boat
an' purty nigh upset 'em, so they had to keep away to save theirselves.
But they kep' up a-shootin' an' a-hollerin' 'till the leaders finally
struck out for shore, an' in a few minutes the whole herd was strung out
for the opposite side an' sooner than I kin tell it they was all
standin' on dry land, an' not a single one missin'.

"Meantime the boys in the boat had watched everywhere for pore Jackson's
body, but they never got sight of it, though they went 'most down to the
mouth of the box cañon. Thar was lots of big trees an' drift a-runnin',
an' we guessed his body had been caught in the branches of a tree an'
carried down with it. Pore old Blue Jay come floating past 'em, an' they
tried to catch him, but the current was so swift they couldn't do it.
All they wanted was to get Jackson's silver-mounted bridle off'n him,
'cause 'twas easy 'nuff to see that the pony was quite dead.

"Well, the rest of us crossed in the big ferry-boat an' rounded up the
steers, which was grazin' up the cañon on the other side, an' moved 'em
out a couple of miles to camp. Shorty, bein' the oldest hand in the
outfit, took charge, an' sent two of us back to the ferry, to try an'
see ef Jackson's body could be found, but the feller what runs the ferry
said 'tain't no use lookin' fer him, 'cause the swift current would
carry him miles and miles down the cañon without ever lodgin' anywhere.
So we went back, an' Shorty gave it up an' decided to push the herd on
next day. We was a blue ole crowd that night around the campfire, I tell
you. All the boys liked Jackson, an' besides, they was a-thinkin' of his
wife an' two kids what was a-waitin' for him at the headquarter ranch up
in Utah.

"Shorty sent a letter from the ferry settlement to the old man,
a-tellin' him what had happened, an' we come along up with the cattle,
arrivin' safely at the ranch without any more misfortunes."

"An' didn't they never find Jackson's body, Colly?" queried the Kid.

"Wal," said Colly, "that's a singular thing, too. When we gets back to
the ranch the old man he was orful cut up about it, an' hated to think
that the body wasn't found. He'd been down in the Grand Cañon the summer
afore with a lot of fellers, an' he said he believed he could find it
'bout a hundred miles below the ferry, 'cause thar were a place down
thar in the cañon whar the walls widened out fer some twenty miles, an'
thar was quite a valley with grassy meadows an' trees. So he takes one
of the boys an' a pack outfit an' goes off down thar. They had to leave
everything on top of the cañon an' climb down a-foot an' pack their
stuff on their backs. The walls was six thousand feet high thar, an'
they had a hard time gettin' down. Course, it was jist a scratch, but
I'm blest if after four or five days' hunt they didn't find it lodged in
a pile of drift along the river. 'Twas easy 'enuff to tell Jackson's
body, fer he'd had two fingers of his left hand shot off in a fight
once; so they takes it off to a place in the valley whar it was safe
from flood, an' buries it as well as they could, an' next year, he went
back an' packed the remains out of the cañon an' took them clean to the
ranch an' buried 'em jist as if it was his own brother. I tell you, the
boys was ready to swear by old man Saunders after that."

Colorado's story was finished, and as it was about ten-thirty the second
guard-men began putting on overcoats and heavy gloves preparatory to two
hours and a half of watching the herd.

The stars were shining clear and bright, the bells of the horse-herd
came softly over the prairie, making a tuneful chime on the frosty night
air, and as I untied the rope that bound my roll of bedding and kicked
it out on the ground, I could not keep from thinking of poor Jackson's
death and wondering if the morrow held a like fate in store for any of




By permission _American Forestry Magazine_.

"The trouble with this here forest service business nowadays is, that
they're sendin' out, from the effete and luxurious East, a lot of
half-baked kids, what never seen a mountain in all their lives, don't
know whether beans is picked from trees or made in a factory at Battle
Creek, an' generally ain't got savvy enough to find their way home after

"Now here's this kid we've drawed in the last deal; nice enough boy, I
reckon, but who's goin' to play nursey to him up in these here hills?"
The speaker glared at his companion as if defying him to meet his
charges against the newcomer and his kind.

"But he's got eddication, Jack," replied his listener, "an' that's what
counts in these days. We got into the service in them good old days when
it was a case of ability to ride a pitchin' bronc, rope a maverick,
chase sheep herders off the earth, shoot the eyes out of a wildcat at
forty yards an' all them things. Nowadays they picks 'em out by their
brand of learnin' an' not by their high-heeled boots."

"Howsomever," he continued, "there's some of them that makes good in
spite of their eddicational handicap. Over on the Sierra last fall we
was all a-settin' in camp one Sunday afternoon when the phone rings like
they was trying to wake the dead with it. The old man gits up to answer
it. When he says, sort of startled-like, 'Fire, where?' we all pricks up
our ears. 'Twas a mighty dry time an' every one was a-prayin' for rain,
for we'd been fightin' fire for the last month and was all in.

"We had a fire lookout station up on top of a high peak an' a man, with
the best glasses money could buy, a-sittin' there who could see all over
the range for fifty miles.

[Illustration: "_We had a fire lookout station on top of a high peak_"]

"Say, people got so they was afraid to make a campfire anywheres in them
hills, an' the rangers swore they had to go behind a tree to light their
pipes, lest he'd see the smoke an' send in a fire call.

"'Shut-eye,' said the old man, meaning the lookout, 'Shut-eye says
there's a big smoke a-comin' out of the cañon below Gold Gulch to the
left of Greyback Peak, an' I reckon we'd better be a-movin' that way.'

"It didn't take us long to saddle up, slap a pack onto a couple of
mules, an' hit the trail. 'Twas a good ten-mile over a rough country,
an' it was mighty nigh dark afore we gets to where we could see smoke
a-boiling out of the cañon over a ridge ahead of us.

"We was all old-timers at the work, 'ceptin' a young feller fresh from
the Yale Forestry School, what had come out for a sort of post-graduate
course in forestry, an' some of them boys was seein' to it he got it all

"He had all the fixin's them fellers bring along with them, fancy ridin'
panties, a muley saddle, a wind bed an' a automatic six-pistol, one of
them things what, after she once gits to shootin', you jist got to throw
her into the creek to stop her goin'.

"'Bout two miles from the ridge where we reckoned we'd git our first
view of the fire we meets up with Hank Strong an' his wife. You know,
Hank's woman is just about as crazy to go to a fire as a boy to the
circus, an' she always comes in mighty handy to start a camp, take care
of the boys' horses an' the packs while we're a-workin'.

"Generally she'd make up a big pot of coffee and fetch it out to the
line. Once she comes a-ridin' along carryin' a pot full an' a bear
skeered her hoss--but that's nothin' to do with this yarn.

"Hank says that there's also a big smoke comin' up from the vicinity of
Granite Basin, an' the old man he says some one better go over there an'
see what's goin' on. Thar's a chap named Brown a-livin' in the Basin,
an' the Super, he's afraid, mebbe so he'd get caught in the fire an' be
singed some, the Basin bein' in the allfiredest lot of chapparal brush
you ever see.

"This feller Brown, he's a sort of pet of them boys over that a-way, him
bein' a lunger an' not able to do much but draw funny pictures for the
Sunday supplements. Seems he broke down back East an' comes West to try
an' git over it.

"There he sets a-drawin' pictures for them funny papers an' sendin' 'em
in regular, while he ses he's jist a-walkin' around to beat the

"Nobody else is a-livin' in the basin, there bein' nothin' but a little
old cabin, what a bee-man put up once, an' a few hives of bees Brown
bought along with the cabin. 'Them bees is jist to teach me habits of
industry,' ses Brown, when some of the boys asked him if he calculated
to git rich on the output of them hives.

"The old man he reckons he can't spare any of us old hands to go over
there, an' so he says to the young tenderfoot: 'Son,' he says, 'do you
reckon you can make it over there in the dark and find out what's doin'
in Granite Basin an' come back an' let us know?'

"The boy he ses he reckoned he could, only he didn't know the trail all
the way. Then Hank's wife she speaks up an' says she can go along as far
as the top of the mountain, an' show him the trail down into the basin.

"It sort of hacked the kid to have a woman show him the trail, but the
old man said it were the very idee, an' so she an' the boy struck off,
leavin' us to take care of the fire ahead.

"There wa'n't but one way into the basin an' that was down a graded
trail about two miles long from top to bottom that the bee man had made
to git in and out on.

"The lower part of this basin was one great mass of brush, an' as thick
as the hair on a dog's back, so you couldn't git through it only where
the brush had been cut out.

"When they gits to the top an' could see over the basin there wa'n't any
doubt but there was a fire all right an' it was mighty plain that if
Brown wa'n't already out of there it was time he was startin'.

"Hank's wife were a-dyin' to go down with him, but the kid he ses, 'This
here's my job, please,' and bluffed her out.

"'You look out you don't get cut off on the trail,' she warns him, 'the
way that fire's a-eatin' along the side of the basin, it's a-goin' to
reach the trail inside of an hour, an' there ain't no other way out
'ceptin' a foot path what goes up the side of the basin back of the
cabin, but it's more like a ladder than a trail an' you can't take your
hoss there a-tall.'

"Down into the basin goes the boy, while instead of goin' back to the
outfit the woman stopped there on a little point of rock where she could
look all over the basin an' waited to see what'd happen.

"Brown slep' out under a big ole oak-tree, an' as he gits near the cabin
the kid he lets out a yell or two to wake him an' finds Brown settin' up
in bed sort of half-dazed, what with the yellin' an' onnatural
brightness of the skies all abouts.

"Inside of five minutes they was a-ridin' for the trail up the mountain
with Brown a-settin' behind on the kid's horse. But it were too late.
When they reached the foot of the trail they could see where 'bout half
way up the whole blamed mountain was afire. Nothin' could pass through
it an' live, so there wa'n't nothin' to do but go back an' try to get
out on the foot trail.

"Brown he begs the kid to go an' leave him an' save hisself. 'I'm only a
worn-out shell, anyhow,' he ses, 'an' it's jist a question of time till
it's all over for me an' I cash in, but you got something to live for
ahead of you.'

"But the kid wouldn't stand for it.

"'Don't you talk to me 'bout leavin' you here like a rat in a trap,' ses
he, 'we'll make it up that trail all right; jist you hang onto me and
we'll make the hoss pack us as far as he can go, an' then we'll take it
afoot. If it comes to a showdown I can carry you easy enough.'

"So they rides the hoss up the trail till where it runs into a cliff
'bout twenty feet high. Here thar was a ladder to git up the cliff, an'
the kid he strips off the saddle, takes his water bag, an' turns his
hoss to shift fer hisself. Time they gits up that ladder pore Brown he
were all in an' had to lie down on the ground a-coughin' fit to kill

"This trail was jist a foot trail cut through the chapparal, an' the
smoke an' heat was already a-rollin' down onto 'em where they was like a
blast from a furnace. The kid he wets their handkerchiefs from his water
bag an' they each tied 'em about their faces to sort of protect 'em a

"The boy, he looks mighty anxiouslike at them big high walls of flames
a-comin' down toward 'em, an' fairly forced Brown to git on his back
'pick-a-back' like you'd take a little kid, an' started slowly up the

"Foot by foot he climbed to'rd the top. Sometimes the smoke got so thick
they had to lie down a minute clost to the ground to git their breath,
sometimes the wind dropped big blazin' brands onto 'em an' set their
clothes afire, an' he'd have to stop an' rub it out with his hands.

"Every time he took a look up to'rds the top, he'd see the fire a-comin'
closter an' closter to the trail. Pore Brown he tried to help him some
by walkin', but between the excitement an' the smoke gittin' into his
lungs, it were too much for him, an' he dropped down helpless as a
newborn baby.

"The kid, he takes a survey of things an', little as he knowed 'bout
fires in the chapparal, he seen mighty plain, that they were at the
critical pint, an' if they didn't git past the next hundred feet mighty
soon, the fire would cut 'em off, an' it would be good-bye gay world to
'em both.

"Then he hears a moan from Brown an', lookin' round, sees him lyin' flat
on the ground with one hand clapped over his mouth, an' tricklin'
between his fingers was a stream of blood. Didn't take him but a second
to know it were a hemorrhage; beats all what them fellers do learn at
them colleges, don't it?

"Brown were a-workin' away with one hand at the little pocket in his
shirt an', in his eagerness an' excitement, the button wouldn't come
open. The boy jumped to his side, tore the button loose, an' pulled from
the pocket a little tobacco sack with something in it. Brown he holds
out one hand palm up, an' nodded to the boy to open the sack, which he
did, an' then poured out into his hand a little pile of common table
salt. You know them lunger-fellers most of 'em carries a little sack of
salt agin' jist such emergencies. Brown he throwed his head back an'
swallowed every grain of it an', bimeby, the blood stopped running so
hard. He struggled to his feet, then waved his hand to'rd the top an',
with a beseechin' look in his eyes, tried to git the kid to savvy that
he was to go on an' leave him to die.

"But the boy he wa'n't made of that sort of stuff. He's jist about
skeered to death at the sight of the blood, but he pulls hisself
together, grabs Brown in his arms agin, an' grits his teeth for another
fight for their lives.

"Finally, he comes to a place where, about ten feet ahead, the fire was
clean acrost the trail. He puts Brown down for a minute, pulls off his
coat, lays it on the ground, an' pours over it what water was left in
his water bag. Then he wraps Brown's head an' shoulders in the coat an',
grabbing him up in his arms, agin makes a last dash through the smoke
an' fire.

"Seems like he hears a woman's voice above the roar of the fire an' he
sort of wonders is he gittin' a little loco with it all. Next he knows
he's a-drawin' in big gulps of air that ain't full of smoke, an' there's
a woman a-walkin' longside of him, steadyin' him as he staggers under
his load an' a-rubbin' out, with a wet gunny sack, the places where his
an' Brown's clothes are a-smokin'.

"It all appears as a horrible dream to him, an' fust thing he knows, he
don't know nothin', for he's gone an' keeled over in a dead faint. Don't
laugh, you fool; didn't you ever work at a fire till it seemed as if
your lungs was a-goin' to bust an' your heart was a-beatin' like a cock
patridge on a log?

"Then he gits a quart or more of cold water slap in the face, opens his
eyes, an' there's Hank's wife a-standin' over him. Clost by was Brown,
alive an' apparently uninjured. She knowed if he got through a-tall he's
bound to come out right about there and was a-watchin' for him.

"When we comes along 'bout three hours later, we finds the boy and the
woman hard at work, back-firin' along the old stage road an' the fire
pretty well under control on that side.

"Say, that kid were a sight to look at. He ain't got no more eyebrows or
lashes than a rabbit, an' that there curly mop of his was singed an'
scorched like the rats had been a chawin' onto it."

"And Brown?" asked Jack.

"Oh, Brown, why he come through all right. Saw a lot of his funny
pictures in the Sunday supplement last week. 'Peared like the fire done
him good."




By permission _National Wool Growers' Magazine_

"Take him, Bob; take him, boy." The woman pointed to a coyote skulking
in the sage brush a hundred yards from the camp wagon beside which she
stood. The dog raced toward the animal which turned and stopped, a nasty
snarl coming from its lips, teeth bared, every hair of its mane erect.
Almost as large as a full grown wolf it outweighed the dog by many

Surprised at the coyote's hostile attitude the Airedale stopped for a
moment, then advanced cautiously, realizing that this coyote differed
somewhat from those he had met before.

Instantly the coyote flew at the dog, burying its keen teeth deep in his
left leg, leaping quickly back to avoid a clinch, its jaws snapping like
castanets. The dog, though taken by surprise, fought with all the fury
of his breed, but being only a pup was manifestly overmatched. Realizing
the dangerous character of the coyote, the woman seized the camp axe
standing at the front wheel of the wagon and ran to the aid of her

The coyote tore loose from the dog's grip and jumped at her as she came
nearer. She swung the axe as the animal raised in the air, missed its
head by six inches, and, before she could gather herself for another
blow, it sank its fangs deep into her bare arm. Encouraged by her
presence the dog fastened himself to the animal's hindquarters, but
shaking him loose it lunged at her again. She stood her ground,
thrusting the axe at the brute in an endeavor to keep it at bay.
Meantime the door to the camp wagon opened, a boy about fifteen jumped
to the ground, in his hand a heavy automatic pistol. As the coyote
sprang at the woman's body he thrust the weapon under her arm almost in
the animal's face, and the shot that followed blew half its ugly head

As the beast sank to the ground the woman dropped the axe, ran to the
wagon, picked up a rope hobble that lay on the tongue, tied it around
her arm above the wound and, with a short piece of stick, twisted the
improvised tourniquet until it sank deep into the white flesh. The boy,
the while uttering those strange inarticulate sounds of the deaf and
dumb, wrote a few words upon the slate that hung from his neck by a
leather thong and handed it to the woman. "The signal--shoot the
signal," she read.

She seized the automatic the boy had used, raised it above her head,
fired two quick shots, waited a moment, and fired two more. As she
listened there came through the still cold air an answer, sharp and
staccato as the spark from a wireless.

Then, and not until then, did the woman relax and sink to the ground as
if dead.

The physical disabilities of the boy had given him a keenness and
comprehension far beyond his years. He clambered into the wagon, drew
from its scabbard a heavy rifle, jumped to the ground and repeated the
signal three times. Could his ears have served him he would have heard
the answering shots, this time much nearer.

No rider in a Wild West relay race ever quit his pony with greater speed
than did Jim Stanley as he reached his camp, where with one quick glance
he realized what had happened. As he dropped beside his wife she opened
her eyes, grasped his hand and struggled to rise. The boy ran to the
wagon returning quickly with a small box, the well known red cross on
its black shining side proving it to be a "first aid kit." The woman
smiled faintly. Away back in the mountains the forest ranger's wife had
once showed her the box the government furnished all its rangers, and
when the lambs were shipped in August she coaxed Stanley to bring one
back. He rather laughed at the idea, but to please her, bought one and,
with a woman's foresight, it had always been kept in the camp wagon.

The prevalence of rabies among the coyotes was the one live topic in
every sheep and cattle camp all over the range country and, realizing
the serious nature of the wound, the man took the box from the boy,
opened it and seized the booklet which told briefly what to do in such
an emergency.

The pressure of the tourniquet was lessened, causing the wound to bleed
freely, a most valuable aid to its cleansing, and in a few minutes it
had been well washed with hot water, flooded with a strong solution of
carbolic acid and bound tightly with one of the bandages from the box.

In the meantime, the man had decided on his course. At a sign from him
the boy mounted the horse Stanley had ridden into camp and rode rapidly
off across the range. While he was gone, Stanley outlined his plans to
his wife. With good luck they could intercept the auto stage, that
passed down the road every day, at a point some thirty miles distant.
From there it was seventy-five miles to town which they would reach that
night in time to catch the midnight train to the nearest Pasteur

"But the sheep, Jim?" and the woman looked anxiously out on the range.
"We can't leave them all alone, you better let me make the ride by
myself and you stay here, for I can get through all right."

Stanley shook his head. "Not for all the sheep in the world would I let
you go alone." He kissed her cheeks.

"But Jim," she pleaded, "it's too much to risk and I'll make it without
a bit of trouble."

The boy was just turning the point of a little hill near camp driving
before him the two horses hobbled out the night before. Stanley pointed
to him. "Dummy can turn the trick all right enough, he's the best herder
in this whole range for his age, and he'll get 'em through if any one
can. He's only a boy, but he has a lot of good horse-sense and if the
weather holds out he'll work the herd from here to the winter range and
not lose a sheep."

"But we'll take the team with us; how can he move camp?" and she glanced
at the big roomy camp wagon.

"That saddle pony of mine will carry all the grub and bedding he'll need
and the wagon can stand right here till some of us can get back and haul
it away."

The man hung a nose bag full of oats on each horse, saddling them as
they ate, and while he was getting out the pack outfit, food, and other
supplies for the boy, she was writing his instructions on the slate,
supplemented by many signs and motions which he read as easily as the
written words. He was to stay in this camp two or three days longer,
then pack the pony with his camp outfit and drift the sheep slowly
toward the winter range seventy-five miles below.

"Take plenty of food," she wrote, "for it may be ten days before some
one gets out to relieve you. You know the way, don't you?"

Dummy nodded eagerly. He had come up with the sheep in the spring and
knew every camp and bed-ground on the trail.

"Don't you worry about him," Stanley told his wife, when she again spoke
of the danger of leaving the boy all alone. "He's short two good ears,
that's sure, but he more than makes up for them in gumption and
common-sense. If it don't come on to storm, he'll make it through all
right and by the time he gets there I'll have a man ready to relieve
him, if I'm not there myself."

"And if it does storm," he continued, "he'll probably do just about as
well as any one else, for out here, if it comes on a blizzard, all the
best man in the world could do would be to let the sheep drift before it
till they strike shelter."

Fifteen minutes later, the boy watched them ride out of sight, over a
ridge near camp. As the two figures were lost to view he turned toward
the wagon and took a short survey of his surroundings. Out on the range
twelve hundred ewes were peacefully grazing with no hand but his to
guide and protect them; what a chance to show the stuff in him! Deep
down in his heart he hoped that the man who was to come out from the
railroad to relieve him would be delayed for many days. It would give
him a chance to make good and show his worth.

[Illustration: "_Out on the range 1200 ewes were grazing_"]

For three days Dummy led an uneventful life. The dog was recovering from
his wounds, the sheep were doing well, and he had shot another rascally
coyote that came skulking about the camp one evening.

On the fourth day the sky was overcast with heavy clouds that seemed
threatening and, as the feed near camp was about gone, he decided it was
time to be moving. In two hours he was off, the dog limping along by his
side, the herd slowly grazing their way across the range.

As a precautionary measure he led the pack horse lest old "Slippers"
take it into his head to desert him. That night Dummy made camp under
the lee of some small hills where a few scattered cedars offered
fire-wood and shelter. The sun had set in an angry sky, there was a
strange feeling in the air, and the sheep seemed to sense an approaching

He bedded them down in the most sheltered spot he could find, set up his
little miner's tent close to a cedar and, after cooking his supper, took
the dog into the tent, tied the flaps and slept as only a tired boy of
his age can sleep.

The tent was lit with the dim gray of early dawn, when the dog's cold
nose on his face awoke him, and he was soon outside, opening up the fire
hole he had carefully covered the night before. The wind was blowing
a gale while overhead the sky was that dull leaden color that in the
range country means snow.

Late that afternoon he worked the sheep toward a line of low cliffs that
cut across the prairie and bedded them down in their lee, finding for
himself a snug overhanging shelf of rock, under which he placed his camp
outfit, and cooked his first meal since daylight.

Dummy dared not hobble out his horse in such a night, but after giving
him a small feed of grain he had brought from the wagon, staked the
animal in a little grassy wash near camp.

By dark the snow began to fall heavily and he knew that for him and his
woolly companions the morrow would be full of new troubles.

Lost to all sounds of the storm, the lad sat before the little campfire
under the overhanging rock and watched the snow drive before the wind.
With the confidence of one born and raised amid such conditions, Dummy
rather enjoyed the prospect of a struggle against the elements. His
parents were Basques from the Spanish Pyrenees, a sturdy dependable race
that for centuries have been sheepherders in their own land. Every
winter, from the open ranges of the West, come tales of "basco"
sheepherders facing death in the storms, rather than desert their herds.
Their devotion to their woolly charges, good judgment in handling them
and loyalty to their employers' interests, even unto death, is
recognized all over the western range country, until the name "basco"
stands for the best in sheepherders.

From such as these sprang this boy, deaf and dumb from his birth. His
father and his uncle were among the best herders in the state, and from
a child he had been used to the rough life of a sheep camp. Deficient as
he was in two vital senses, the remaining ones had been developed until
his ability to grasp and understand things about him seemed almost
uncanny. It was this knowledge of the boy's breeding and peculiarities
that made Stanley feel he would take the best possible care of the sheep
left in his charge.

When Dummy opened his eyes the next morning, the air was so full of snow
driving before a fifty-mile gale that he could not see a hundred feet
from camp. He cooked his breakfast, fed Slippers the last of the grain,
and waited for the storm to break, realizing that until it did it would
be folly to leave the shelter of the cliffs.

The sheep were getting restless and hungry and occasionally small
bunches drifted out into the storm in search of feed, but after
buffeting with the wind for a few moments were glad to come back. About
noon there came a lull in the gale and the snow came straight down
almost in clouds. The sheep were uneasy over the change, and even
Slippers seemed to sense some new danger.

Suddenly with a roar the wind swept upon them from a new direction so
that they were now exposed to its full fury, whereas, before, they had
been sheltered by the cliffs.

The sheep tried to face it, but the fierce wind was too much for them,
and they slowly drifted before the gale across the snow-covered range.

All that day Dummy struggled along behind the herd tired, cold, hungry,
and almost blinded by the frozen tears, leading the pack horse lest he
lose him. As for controlling the movements of the sheep, he did nothing
for they could travel in but one direction, and that was away from the
arctic blast which grew in strength as the day wore on. Wherever there
was a sign of anything eatable upon which the hungry animals could feed,
they ate even the woody stems of the sage or the dry yellow fibre-like
leaves of the Yuccas that here and there showed above the snow.

The short winter day began to wane, and darkness was slowly creeping
across the white cover that lay over the land. All sense of direction
and time had long since left the lad, but he struggled on, the dog
limping along at his side.

Just as the last signs of daylight faded away the sheep stopped moving,
and he was unable to start them again. He wrapped the lead rope of his
horse about a sage bush as best he could, then worked his way through
the herd looking for the cause of their stopping. Stumbling and falling
over snow-hidden rocks and bushes, he found himself almost stepping off
into empty space over a cliff, where the snow had built out from its
edge in such a manner as to conceal its presence, and, even as he threw
himself back from the step he was about to take, he saw several sheep
walk blindly out into the semi-darkness and disappear into the depth

The loss of these roused into action every drop of his basco blood. In
the dim light he could just make out where the edge of the cliff lay
and, carefully working his way along it, beat the stolid mass of animals
back from the danger. By this time it was almost dark and he turned back
to find his horse, but after half an hour's search gave it up and
returned to the herd, hoping the animal might be with them somewhere.
He stumbled around in the snow for some time before he came up with the
tail enders of the herd slowly working their way through a break in the
cliff down which the leaders had evidently gone. He found the herd
huddled up in the shelter of the cliff and eagerly looked through them
for the pack horse with its precious burden of food and bedding, but
without success.

Once he stumbled over several soft objects in the dark which he made out
to be some of the sheep that had fallen over the cliff. When he finally
realized that the pack horse was gone, he knew where he could at least
get his supper and breakfast, and after starting a fire skinned out a
hind quarter of one of the fallen sheep and soon had some of it
roasting. Fortunately for the boy, he found piled against the cliff a
lot of poles that had evidently been part of an old corral, which made
it possible for him to keep the fire going all night and over which he
huddled dropping off to sleep only to be awakened by his numbed limbs
and body.

Eagerly Dummy peered through the falling snow the next day as the gray
dawn came slowly into the east. The snow sweeping over the cliff from
above had formed a drift that almost completely shut the sheep in as if
with a fence and he knew there was no possibility of leaving the shelter
where he was until the sky cleared off enough for him to get his
bearings. Even then he doubted if it would be possible for the sheep to
travel, so deep was the snow.

About noon the snow stopped falling, and Dummy worked his way up to the
top of the cliff from which as far as he could see there was but a broad
expanse of snow-covered range.

To his left the view was cut off by a small hill that stood close to the
cliff. He went over to it and from its top saw below him in the open
plain a small board shack with a rough shed stable near it.

Instantly he remembered that, as they passed up with the sheep in the
spring, a man and his wife were busy building the shack preparatory to
taking up the land about it for dry farming purposes. Eagerly he watched
the house for signs of occupancy, but as there was no smoke coming from
the chimney, he decided it was empty. Two things interested him,
however. One, the fact that the plowed field near the house, being on a
slight elevation, was blown almost clear of snow, and the other, there
was something half hidden by the house which looked mightily like a
stack of hay, although it scarcely seemed that this could be true.

In the field, which covered perhaps forty acres, he saw the possibility
of finding a little feed for the sheep until the snow should settle
enough to allow them to travel and, if the stack really was hay or any
rough feed, his troubles were over for the present at least.

As the lad turned back to camp he realized only too well the difficulty
of moving the herd until the snow settled, it being fully eighteen
inches deep on the level, and everywhere there were drifts many feet
high through which the sheep in their weakened condition could not make
their way.

But it was less than half a mile at the most from the camp to the shack,
and he was sure he could work the sheep to the field where there would
be some pickings that would keep them from starving.

As he suspected, he found the place deserted, and the stack proved to
be fodder of some description surrounded by a strong fence. The shed,
which had a small door hanging on one hinge and about half open, was as
dark as a cellar and, as he stepped inside, the nose of his lost horse
was fairly pushed into his face, and but for his infirmity he could have
heard the most gladsome nickering and whinnying to which a lone hungry
horse ever gave tongue. A few threads of canvas on the door post told
the story of the trap the animal had walked into. Looking for food and
shelter, he had squeezed through the half open door, but, once inside,
the wide pack striking it on one side and the door post on the other,
held him a prisoner.

Quickly the boy removed the pack, then, armed with the camp shovel and
axe, went to investigate the stack. It looked more like weeds than
anything else and when he grabbed a handful it was rough and harsh and
pricked his hands. It was green, however, and the horse ate it greedily.

With the finding of his horse the lad's spirit rose and he set to work
to move the sheep over. Between the camp and the house there was a deep
wash which the drifting snow had almost filled, while elsewhere there
was fully eighteen inches. With the pack-saddle on the horse, the lash
rope for traces, and an old sled, evidently used by the farmer to haul
water, he started to break a trail through which the sheep could make
their way, the shovel being used on the drifts. With a little coaxing he
got them started through this narrow lane, and eventually the whole
bunch was inside the field eagerly gnawing every eatable thing in sight.

About half an hour before dark that evening a long string of pack
horses, with a rider in the lead and another following, came ploughing
through the snow up to the cliff above where the sheep had been bedded.
Two of the horses carried ordinary camp packs, the rest were loaded with
hay, three bales to the horse. At the edge of the cliff the leader
pulled up while every animal stopped in its tracks.

"If we can't see anything of the sheep from here we might just as well
give it up for the night," he called back to his companion. "Come on up
and have a look."

For a few minutes they both sat gazing out into the plain below, across
which the evening shadows were slowly trailing. As far as they could see
there was but a white unbroken sheet of snow, the only living thing
visible being half a dozen ravens cawing hoarsely as they drifted into
the distance.

The second man pulled out his pipe, loaded, and lit it.

"Jim," he queried, "do you know what night this is?"

"I reckon I do," and Stanley's voice choked. "It's Christmas eve, an' I
been a-thinkin' an' a-thinkin' all afternoon of that poor little chap
out here a-fightin' his way through a storm, the like of which this
range ain't seen in twenty years. Don't seem possible he's pulled
through, although I'd back Dummy to make it and save his herd if any kid

Suddenly he turned his head and sniffed.

"Seems like I smell smoke, and cedar smoke at that," he said eagerly.
"Don't you git it, Bob?"

"Which way's the wind?" and Bob blew a cloud of smoke into the frosty

"What there is comes from the direction of that there little hill,"
pointing to the very hill on which Dummy had stood.

The instant they topped it, each caught sight of the dry farmer's place,
the haystack, the sheep in the field and knew they had found that for
which they sought.

"You know the place?" asked Bob, as they hurried down.

"I do for a fact," Stanley grinned, "last time I passed this-a-way the
old digger what built that shack an' taken up the dry farm was cuttin'
an' stackin' Russian thistles. When I laughed at him for a fool he said
he ain't raised nothing' else, an' up North Dakota way they used to put
'em up for roughness when the crops failed, an' he's seen many an old
Nellie pulled through a hard winter on 'em."

Ten minutes later the two rode up to the shack. A line of scattered
fodder from the stack to the shed showed what the boy had been doing.
Bob picked up a handful of the stuff: "Roosian thistles by all that's
holy," was his comment, "an' whoever before heerd tell of them tumble
weeds a-bein' good for anything to eat."

As he spoke the lad came round the corner of the shed in which
"Slippers" had been comfortably stabled and fed.

What with smoke from campfires, and the charcoal he had smeared over it
to save his eyes, his face was as black as Toby's hat, but to Stanley it
was the face of a hero. Uttering those strange guttural sounds, waving
his arms towards the sheep, his dark eyes shining with pride and joy the
boy ran to Stanley as a child to its father.

The man, too overwhelmed and happy to speak, grabbed the lad close to
his heart, stroking the tousled head and patting tenderly the dirty
cheeks down which the child's tears were now cutting deep trails in
their extra covering while, as he realized the boy could hear not a word
of the praise and thanks he was showering on him for his pluck and
fidelity the tears came to his own eyes nor did he try to stop them.

In the shack that night the boy, worn out by his exposure and the
reaction, dropped into his bed the instant supper had been eaten and was
fast asleep in ten seconds.

The two men smoked in silence before the little fireplace in the corner.

"Do you reckon we could make a stab at some sort of a Christmas tree an'
kinda s'prise the kid in the morning?" Stanley glanced toward the figure
asleep on the floor.

"Jest what I was a studyin' over," was Bob's reply. "These here bascos
make a heap of such holidays an' Dummy he'd be the tickledest kid ever,
if he was to find something like Christmas time a settin' by his bed
when he wakes up in the morning."

Bob knocked the ashes from his pipe and put it away.

"There's a bunch of piñons and cedars down along the wash," he said,
"sposin' I take the axe an' git a little branch, or the tip of a piñon
an' we set her up here by his bed? What kin we dig up to put onto it
that's fittin' for such a thing?"

"For a starter I got them nine silver cart wheels the store keeper give
me in change," was Stanley's quick response. Bob was already going
through his pockets.

"Here's a handful of chicken feed, that'll help some," handing the
change to Stanley, "yep, an' a paper dollar the postmaster gimme.
Reckon the kid'll know what it is? I been skeert I'd use it fer a
cigarette paper."

Stanley started for the two kyacks lying in the corner.

"You hustle out an' git the tree," said he, "an' I'll see what else I
can scare up in the packs. I know there's a couple of apples an' a
orange I throwed in with the grub when we was packin'."

An hour later the two men stood by the boy's bed, their faces fairly
shining with the true Christmas spirit over their efforts to make an
acceptable Christmas tree out of such scanty material. On the floor at
his head stood a small piñon tree top held erect by several stones. Both
men had exhausted their ingenuity to find things with which to decorate
it and on its branches hung the oddest lot of plunder that ever old
"Santy" left on his rounds.

"I'll never miss them spurs," said Bob pointing to an almost new pair he
had recently bought, "an' Dummy, he's been just daffy about 'em."

"Same with that new knife," said Stanley. "I jist bought it to be a
doin' somethin' an' I know Dummy ain't got one that'll cut cold butter."

In nine separate little packages wrapped in newspaper the silver dollars
were swinging at the end of pieces of thread from a spool in Bob's "war
bag," the loose silver had been placed in two empty tobacco sacks each
hanging pendant from the tip of a limb, while three unbroken packages of
chewing gum, two apples and one rather dilapidated orange swung from
other branches.

Stanley picked up the boy's slate. "Less' see," he asked, "what's
Dummy's real name?"

"Pedro," answered Bob, busy making down their bed on the floor.

Painstaking and slowly, he wrote:

            TO PEDRO



Then he propped the slate against the tree in plain sight of the lad's
eyes when he woke.

"Beats hell how a man's eyes gits to waterin' this cold weather."
Stanley wiped his eyes rather furtively as he turned toward their bed.

"Same here," replied Bob, blowing his nose with more than usual vigor.
"Somethin' sure does act onto 'em."




"Bang, bang, bang!" went three shots in the night air. Sounds like some
feller's a huntin' a warm place to sleep," said Little Bob Morris, one
of three men who were sitting in front of the fireplace in the snug
little dugout at the winter horse camp of the X bar outfit.

"Open the door, Bob, and show 'em a light," said one of the others. In a
few minutes, with a wild "whoo-pee," a mounted figure rode out of the
darkness and the boys were shaking hands with "Hog-eye" Jackson, who had
a pair of eyes that, as one man put it, "didn't track," one being blue,
the other black, and both so badly crossed that he looked both ways at

After supper had been cooked and the dishes put away, the boys gathered
about the fireplace for a smoke.

"I hain't been out this a-way since the time me and Little Bob here was
a huntin' for a dead Chinee," said Jackson, with a look about the room.

"Huntin' for a dead Chink?" said Grimes. "What ye mean by that?"

"Ain't you never heard tell about the Chinee what died over in Williams
and was stoled away from the joss house where the other Chinks had him
laid out?" said Jackson, with a look of surprise.

"Nary a hear," replied the two boys, "le's have it."

"'Bout two years ago, along in the fall," Jackson began, "after we had
shipped the last steers from Williams, a Chinese laundryman there died
one night, and was laid out in the little room where the Chinamen of the
town kept their joss. The day following there was a tremendous squalling
among the heathen, for during the night Ah Yen had disappeared from the
coffin, and not a trace of him could be found. The coffin was there all
right; it stood just where they left it the night before, surrounded by
paper prayers, burning punk sticks, and all the other things used by the
heathens to frighten away the devils which are supposed to be lyin' in
wait for the spirit of a diseased celestial. But punk or no punk, devils
or no devils, Ah Yen was gone, of that there was no doubt. The city
marshal and the sheriff both came to investigate and question, the town
was scoured, old stables and lofts searched, but still, 'no catch 'em.'
After a couple of days' work the sheriff said: 'I'm danged if I'm not
clear stumped. The Chink was plum dead, that's a sure thing, so he
didn't git up and walk away, and if he was hauled off by some one, they
didn't leave any sign that I can find, and, anyhow (which to him was the
most convincing thing of all), what'd any one want for to steal a dead
Chinaman, I'd like to know?'

"There was a doctor livin' over on Cataract cañon that fall, a sort of
lunger chap, and when some one suggested that perhaps he had packed the
Chink off for dissectin' purposes (Ah Yen bein' six feet tall and the
best specimen of a Chinaman I'd ever seen), the sheriff, just to make a
sort of showin' to the other Chinks, sent me--I bein' a deputy sheriff
at that time--to make a sort of scout round and see what I could pick

"We dropped into his camp, but nothin' doin', and after prowling around
for a day or two I went back to town. The next day Scotty Jones got on a
tear and shot up the burg pretty plenty, and in tryin' to ride his horse
into a Front Street saloon got a load of buckshot into his countenance.
This made so much excitement that by the time the coroner's jury got
done with the inquest the loss of Ah Yen's remains had become a matter
of past history.

"Meantime the Chinks raised a powerful rookus over the loss of the body
of Ah Yen, he bein' a sort of high muck-a-muck among them, but even the
offer of a $100 reward for the body didn't get any clews to the

"I remember hearin' something about it," said Grimes, "but I was down in
the Tonto basin that fall a-huntin' some hosses we lost on the spring
work, and never before did hear jist what happened."

"An' didn't they never find out what went with the Chink?" queried
Russel, who was a newcomer in the country.

"Well," said Jackson rather evasively, "so fur as I know nobody's ever
yit claimed the reward."

"Le's change the subject," said Grimes, lighting his pipe with a long
pine sliver. "Hog-eye, where you been sence I seen you last fall a year
ago over on the Tonto steer round up?" he asked of the newcomer.

"Me?" said Jackson, with a start, blowing a cloud of smoke skyward. "Oh,
I been a driftin' about pretty promiscous like sence then. When we come
to ship the last of the steers that fall, old Mose, the Spur boss, axed
me if I wanted to go back to Kansas and help take care of 'em where the
outfit was going to winter 'em. Well, me not being sure of a winter's
job here, and likely to have to ride the chuck line before spring, I
reckons I'd best nab the job whilst it was open, so I took it."

"How long did you last on the cornstalk job?" asked Russel.

"Oh, I hung and rattled with it till about April, and then I begins to
git oneasy and sort of hankering for the range agin. One day I was in
town for some grub and other plunder and goes down to the depot to see
the train come through, and me a wishin' to God I was a goin' off in
her, no matter which-a-way she was pointed. When number two comes along,
who should drop off but old Pickerell, who used to live out here on the
cañon and take tourists out and show 'em the sights. Pick were powerful
glad to see me and he sed, ses he, 'What be ye a doin' here, Jackson?'

"'I'm a doin' of the prodigal son act,' ses I.

"'Come again,' ses he, lookin' sort of mystified like.

"'I'm a-feedin' a bunch of hawgs and steers out here on a farm,' ses I,
'where I ain't seen the sun shine but twicet in four months.'

"Pickerell, he laughed sort of tickled like, an' ses to me, 'Why don't
you quit and go back to Arizony, where the sun shines all the time?'

"'I'm a goin' to,' ses I, 'just as shore as next pay day comes.' I
didn't like to tell him that I was flat busted count of goin' into K. C.
with a load of hawgs an' meetin' up with a bunch of _amigos_ what worked
me for a sure enough sucker. They gits all my _dinero_ an' leaves me
locked up in a little old room where we went to git a drink."

Hog-eye sighed and sucked vigorously at his pipe, while the boys grinned
at each other and waited to hear the rest of the story, which was
evidently hanging on his lips.

"Well, go on Hog-eye, tell us the rest. Might as well 'fess up and feel
better," said High-pockets encouragingly.

"I reckon so," replied Jackson with a chuckle, as if there was some
pleasure in the memories of the past. "You see, after talkin' a few
minutes with Pick he up and makes me an offer to go back east, where he
was a runnin' a show what were a part of a street carnival outfit and
a-makin' all kinds of money. He wanted me to rig up in a 'Montgomery
Ward outfit,' big hat, goatskin chaps, spurs an' gloves, with stars and
fringe like them fellers in the movie outfits gits onto 'em, an' sort of
loaf round the door and git people excited an' toll 'em into the show.
So I hits the high places back to the farm, and tells the granger feller
to git him a new cornstalk pusher to take my place pretty _pronto_. When
he comes I strikes out for the place back in Illinoy where Pick sed he'd
be showin' an' waitin' for my arrival.

"Pick he pays me forty beans a month, an we sleeps on our round-up beds
in one of the tents. He shore had a mess of plunder inside the big tent.
They was a Navajo squaw weavin' blankets, a couple of loafer wolves,
some coyotes, wildcats, badgers, a lot of rattlers, centipedes and
tarantulas, and a whole box full of them heely monsters. Besides this,
he had a lot of glass cases in which he had a bunch of them stone axes,
_metates_, _mano_ stones, arrow-heads, and all that sort of plunder
which they digs up from them prehistoric ruins all over this country out

[Illustration: "_He had a Navajo Squaw weaving blankets_"]

"But the main drawin' card he had was the mummy which he sed he dug up
somewheres out here in the Grand Cañon. He had all sorts of certificates
and letters to prove its genuineness, as well as photographs taken when
they dug it up in the cave.

"One day a odd-lookin' four-eyed feller comes along, and he ses to Pick,
'Mought I inspect this mummy of your'n?' and Pick he ses, 'Shore,
pardner, jist as much as you like. You come round to-morrow mornin' fore
the show begins and I'll be glad to have you look the gent over.'

"The old boy ses he'll shore be on hand, for he's powerful interested in
them prehistoric things out West. So that evening, after the show
closed, Pick ses to me, 'Jackson, you git a screwdriver and take them
screws outen the lower lid of that there mummy case.' So I loosens up
the screws, and havin' nothin' particular to do, I takes off the lid to
get a better look at his Nibs. I ain't never seen a mummy before, an'
was sort of curious to know what a shore enuff mummy did look like. He
was naked down to his waist, and the skin was as dry and leathery as an
old cowhide that's been laying out in the weather for ten years. His
eyes were shut tight and his teeth showed through his thin lips with a
grin that give me a cold chill for a month afterwards. But, say, boys,
talk about a surprise. One look was all I wanted to show me that this
here mummy of old Pick's was nothin' else but the remains of old Ah
Yen, the Chink what died in Williams and was stole out of the joss
house. Then I remembered the reward offered for it, but old Pick were
too square a feller to soak that-a-way. I never said nothin' to nobody
about what I'd seen, but slipped the lid back on the case and went off
to bed in the other tent.

"Long about midnight I was woke up by somebody a hollerin' fire, and
when I busted out of the tent the whole row of shacks was a blazin'. Our
big tent was too far gone to save anything, but we drug out our beds and
what little baggage we had in the small tent and did well to git that
much out. Inside an hour there wasn't nothin' left but a pile of ashes
to show where the whole outfit stood.

"Old man Pick, he took on considerable, but 'twan't no use cryin' over
spilt milk, an' so we hit the trail for Arizony an' a little sunshine."

"But how did Pickerell git holt of that there Chink's body?" asked
Morris, who had listened with amazement at the story.

Jackson grinned as he slowly knocked the ashes from his pipe. "It sort
of hacked the old man when he found I was wise to his little game with
the Chink," he said. "Over in Albuquerque he met up with a feller who
was a-goin' down into Central America on a sort of bug huntin'
expedition and he talked Pick into goin' with him. The night before we
split at Albuquerque he gits fuller than a goat, an' seein' as how he
wasn't comin' back to these parts agin, he give me a great old
confidential an' tole me how he turned the trick.

"I disremember all that Pickerell done tole me of the way the job was
worked," continued Jackson, "but, howsomever, the day the Chink died the
one-lunged doctor was in town. Pickerell he's been a tellin' him about
the mummies they occasionally found out in them cliff dwellers' ruins in
the cañon, and when the Doc meets Pick hangin' about town that afternoon
he suggests carryin' off the Chink's body and makin' a mummy out of it.
That hits Pick all right and he didn't let no grass grow under his feet
gittin' ready to do it.

"The night of the body snatchin', he gits up about midnight, slips
uptown, finds the door of the joss house open and no one watchin' it.
Hurryin' back to his cabin, he saddles up one mule and slaps a
packsaddle on the other, an' an hour later drifted out of town with a
pack on his mule lookin' for all the world like a long roll of bedding.
By noon the next day he reached his den in the cañon, where he and the
doctor went to work, and between 'em did a mighty good job of embalmin',
endin' it all up with a three months' smokin' of the body with green
cedar wood.

"Pick ses that then come the tickledest part of the hull job, fer whilst
he's got a mummy all right, he's got to git it sort of discovered like
to make it of any scientific value, an' he studies the matter aplenty.
He knows a bunch of fellers what was a-coming out to the Grand Cañon
from the East to poke about an' try an' discover prehistoric things, and
he knows them's the very chaps to help him out. So when they shows up he
tells 'em sort of accidental like that he knows where they's a bunch of
them there clift dwellings what nobody'd ever yit seen, and they grabs
at his bait like hungry trout. They just can't skeercely wait to git out
there, and Pick ses the rest were plumb easy, for the whole place looked
like it had never been disturbed before, and when they digs out the
mummy all buried in the dirt and rubbish in one of the cliff dwellings,
the thing was done.

"Them fellers jist nachelly never suspicioned a thing and was perfectly
willin' to sign a statement testifyin' to the genuineness of the mummy.
Then they took photographs of the cliff dwellings and the mummy as it
lay in the room, and all the surroundin's, with all these here
scientific chaps a-standin' around, which clinched the thing. Pick ses
he'll take the mummy fer his share, and he gits the fellers to take it
on east with their plunder when they goes, so no one won't never
suspicion him and connect him up with the deal."

"I reckon you and him would have been chasin' 'bout the country back
thar to this very yit, if the fire hadn't cleaned up the outfit,
wouldn't you?" inquired Russel.

"Sure," replied the ex-showman; "we was makin' all kinds of money at it
and makin' of it easier than I ever did in all my life before. But, say,
when it comes to makin' mummies, old Pickerell and that there one-lung
doctor had 'em old Pharaoh fellers beaten a whole mile."


[Illustration: "_He knows where there's a bunch of them there Cliff



It certainly seemed good to be back on the old range again after a six
months' absence. As we "topped" the last hill I pulled up the team. Down
in the Valley below us the white adobe walls of the ranch house, like
some desert light house, blazed through the glorious green of the
cottonwoods that hovered about it. To its right a brown circle marked
the big stockade corral. A smooth mirror-like spot out in the flat in
front of the house was the stock-watering reservoir, into which the
windmill, seconded by an asthmatic little gas engine, pumped water from
the depths. Above it the galvanized iron sails of the great mill
glittered and flickered and winked in the bright sunlight as if to
welcome us home. A cloud of dust stringing off into the distance marked
the trail where a bunch of "broom tails" were scurrying out onto the
range after filling themselves at the tank with water and salt.

Suddenly, a gleam of color caught our eyes. It was "Old Glory" at the
top of the tall pole, stirred by a little gust of wind that shook out
its folds, the green of the trees making a splendid background.
Evidently the boys were expecting us, for the flag was only run up on
holidays, Sundays, and when guests were due to arrive.

A soft hand slipped quietly into mine. "Be it ever so humble, there's no
place like home," she sang, and as the words of the homesick,
world-tired Payne came from her lips, there came into my throat a great
lump, my eyes filled with tears, and to us both, the sage brush plain
shimmering and baking in the bright Arizona sunshine, those brown rugged
mountains in the distance and that desert oasis in the foreground were
by far the loveliest thing we had seen in all our travels. The team,
too, seemed to sense our feelings, for they freshened up and took us
across the intervening distance as if they had not already made a good
forty miles from the railroad.

Old Dad, the ranch cook, was at the "snorting post" to greet us as we
pulled up, and we soon were sitting on the broad veranda plying the old
rascal with questions about the work, the men, and all the happenings
while we had been away; for of all forlorn, unsatisfactory things on
earth the worst are the letters written by the average cow-puncher ranch
foreman concerning matters upon which his absent boss has requested full
and frequent information.

One of the first anxious inquiries on the part of the madam was as to
the whereabouts of her Boston terrier, a bench show prize winner sent
out to her shortly before we left. The letter accompanying the dog
advised us that, barring accidents, the animal should in a few months
bring into the world some offspring, which, considering its parentage,
ought to bring fancy prices on the dog market.

"Where's Beauty?" she asked.

"I reckon she done went off with the boys this morning. They's down to
Walnut Spring, buildin' a new corral."

"But didn't she--er--hasn't she--" She looked at me appealingly.

"Where are her pups?" was my blunt inquiry.

"Them pups?" The old man took his pipe from his jaws. A queer look
flashed across his brown face; he chuckled as if the words brought up
some rather amusing recollection. Now, old Dad was one of the worst
practical jokers in the West. Nor did he count the cost or think of the
results as long as he could carry his point, and fool some one with one
of his wildly improbable yarns. To "pick a load" into some innocent
tenderfoot was his most joyous occupation. I waited patiently for him to
recover from the fit of mirth into which my innocent question seemed to
have plunged him. There was a look of extreme disgust on the face of the
lady sitting nearby.

"Ye 'member that there young kid-like chap what drifted in here last
spring after the steer gatherin'?" Again that witless chuckle.

Yes, I remembered. We both did--the madam nodded.

"Well, along about the time them there pups came into this here state of
Arizony"--the madam's face lighted; there were some pups after all--"the
kid and I was here at the ranch all alone, the whole outfit bein' out on
the _rodeo_, an' we havin' been left behind to watch the pasture fence,
where a bunch of yearlin's was bein' weaned. One mornin' the kid busted
into the kitchen. 'The mut's got four purps! Come an' look at em; they's
all de-formed!' ses he, almost breathless with the news."

(Business of surprise and horror on part of listening lady.)

"'De-formed?'" ses I.

"'That's what I sed,' he snaps back at me."

(More business of S. and H. on part of lady; also friend husband.)

"I follers the kid out to the shed back of the house, where the dog had
a pile of ole saddle blankets for a bed, and sure enough she had four
white faced brindle purps all right, whinin' an' sniffin' just as purps
allers does.

"'What's wrong with 'em?' says I, me not seein' anything de-formed about

"'Hell' ses he, 'can't you see they's all de-formed?'

"'Search me,' ses I, lookin' 'em all over carefully.

"The kid picked up two of 'em. 'Lookit them tails then.' He turned one
of 'em around. Now Beauty ain't got no great shakes of a tail herself,
but what she has is straight. 'By Heck!' ses I, seein' a chanst to have
some fun with him, 'sure enough, they is sort of de-formed in their
little ole _colas_. Reckon they's no use botherin' to raise 'em, is
they--what with their tails all as crooked as a gimlet. Too bad, too
bad,' ses I, 'fer the missus will be monstrously disapp'inted over it.'

"'They's every dad burned one of 'em got a watch eye too, jist like that
there ole Pinto hoss I rides.' The kid's sure worried.

"'Wuss an' more of it,' I comes back at him.

"'What we goin' to do with 'em?' droppin' the animiles back into the

"'Nothin', I reckon,' lookin' straight down my nose, 'less'n we drownds
'em--said job not bein' one I'm actually hankerin' fer.'"

[Illustration: "_The galvanized iron sails of the windmill flashed in
the sunlight_"]

(Business of fury, anger and indignation, with signs of approaching
tears on part of listening lady.)

"You blithering old idiot!" I shrieked, "do you mean to say that you
loaded the kid with that sort of a story till he went off and drowned
those valuable pups under the mistaken impression that they were
deformed and therefore worthless?" I glared at him as if to wither his
old carcass with one look. (More of above mentioned business by
lady--with real tears.)

"Well"--and the old renegade emitted that infernal chuckle again--"well,
how should I sense that he didn't savvy that crooked tails and a glass
eye were sure enough signs of birth an' breedin' with them there Boston
terriers?" He looked away; we felt sure he dared not face the wrath in
both our eyes.

I stormed up and down the porch for a few moments, speechless. The lady
was registering every known phase of indignation. Her voice, however,
was silent. Evidently there are times in her life when words fail her.
This was one of them.

"Where's that kid?" I finally demanded. "I want to have a little heart
to heart talk with that _hombre_! As for you"--and I tried to look the
indignation I knew the madam felt--"it seems to me your fondness for
picking loads into idiots green enough to be fooled by such a gabbling
old ass as you are has gone just about far enough. After I've seen the
kid, I'll talk to you further."

Old Dad was slowly and carefully reloading his pipe. From his shirt
pocket he dug a match. With most aggravating deliberation he struck it
on the door-post against which he leaned, held it over the bowl, gave
several long pulls at the pipe to assure himself it was well lit before
he even deigned to raise his keen gray eyes to mine. The madam's face
was a study in expression. "Where's the kid?" I really thought he had
not heard my first inquiry as to the whereabouts of that individual.

"Where's he at?" with the grandest look of innocent inquiry on his
weather beaten face that could possibly be imagined. For mere facial
expression he should be a star performer in some big movie company.

"Yes!" I snapped out the words as if to annihilate him. "I want to hold
sweet converse with him, _muy pronto, sabe_?"

"Well, he's _vamosed_--drifted yonderly" and he waved his pipe towards
the eastern horizon.

"Ahead of the sheriff?" I never did have much faith in the young
gentleman from Missouri.

"Yep--in a way he was." Once more that devilish chuckle.

I saw the old man evidently had a story concealed about his person and
that, with his usual contrariness the more we crowded him the longer he
would be in getting it out of his system. I dropped angrily into the
porch swing, where I could watch his face, while the madam sat herself
down on the steps of the porch apparently utterly oblivious of
everything but the sage-dotted prairie spread out before us. Finally the
aged provision spoiler began to emit words.

"The last time the outfit shipped steers over at the railroad," he said
slowly, "the kid he tanked up pretty consid'able till he's a feeling his
oats, an' imaginin' hisself a reg'lar wild man from Borneo, and
everything leading up to his gittin' into trouble before he was many
hours older. Comes trotting down the sidewalk old man Kates, the Justice
of the Peace who, on account of his gittin' the fees in all cases
brought up before him, was allers on the lookout for biz. Also he done
set into a poker game the night before and lose his whole pile, which
didn't tend to make him view this here world through no very rosy specs.
The kid comes swaggering along and the two meets up jist in front of the
'Bucket of Blood' saloon. You know Kates he allers wears a plug hat, one
of them there old timers of the vintage of '73 or thereabouts, an' the
kid he bein' a comparative stranger in these parts, and not knowin' who
the judge was nor havin' seen any such headgear for some time, he ses to
hisself, 'Right here's where I gits action on that _sombrero grande_,'
and he manages to bump into the judge in such a way as to knock off the
tile, and before it hits the ground the kid was filling it so full of
holes that it looked like some black colander.

"Every one came pouring out of the saloon and nearby stores to see what
was up, and the judge he takes advantage of the kid's having to stop and
reload his six pistol, to relieve hisself of some of the most expressive
and profane language ever heard in the burg before or since, windin' up
by informin' the gent from ole Missou that he was goin' straight to his
office and swear out a warrant for him and send him down to Yuma by the
next train.

"When the boys tells the kid who he's been tamperin' with he gits onto
his hoss and tears outa town like hell a-beatin' tanbark, he havin' no
particular likin' for court proceedin's, owing to several little
happenin's in that line down on the Pecos in Texas. About a week later
the sheriff he gits a tip that the kid's probably hangin' out at Deafy
Morris's sheep camp up on Wild Cat, so he saunters up that a-way and
nabs the young gent as he's a helpin' Deafy fix up his shearin' pens.
Sheriff he sort of throws a skeer into the kid, tellin' him Kates is
liable to send him up for ten years for assaultin' the honor and dignity
of a J. P., but the kid's mighty foxy and also plumb sober by that time,
and he tells the sheriff he's willing to go back to town and take his

"Next morning Deafy he ses as how he's a-goin' down to town, and the
sheriff, havin' got track of somebody else he's a wantin' up on the
mountain, and believin' the kid's story about bein' willing to go to
town, he deputizes Deafy to take him in and deliver him at the

[D] Jusgado--The prisoner's dock in a Spanish criminal court.

"Deafy he tells the sheriff he's not a goin' clean through to town that
day, but is a-goin' to camp at the Jacob's Well, a place about half way
down, on the edge of the pines, where he's arranged to meet up with the
camp rustler of one of his bands of sheep grazin' in that section. Ever
been at that there Jacob's Well?" And the old man looked at me
inquiringly. I nodded affirmatively.

The Jacob's Well was located in the center of a very large level mass of
sandstone covering perhaps three or four acres, with a dense thicket of
cedar and piñon trees all about it. It was a fairly round hole about
five feet wide and perhaps ten deep, bored down into the sandstone
formation either by human agency or some peculiar action of nature. The
lay of the rocks all about it was such as to form a regular watershed,
so that the natural drainage from the rain and snow kept it nearly
filled almost all the year round.

Just what made this well was a moot question in the country. A
scientific investigator promptly put it down to the action of hard flint
rocks lying in a small depression and rolled about by the wind until
they dug a little basin in the rock, then the water collecting in it
continued the attrition until, finally, after what may have been ages,
the well was the result. My private opinion was that it was the work of
prehistoric or even modern Indians who, wishing to secure a supply of
water at this particular point, possibly for hunting purposes, formed
the hole by fire. A large fire was built upon the rock, then when at a
white heat water was thrown upon it, causing the stone to flake and
crack so it could easily be removed. This was a slow process, of course,
but having myself once seen a party of Apache squaws by the same
primitive means remove over half of a huge boulder that lay directly in
the line of an irrigating ditch they were digging, and which they
otherwise could not get around, I am convinced the scientific person
missed the true methods employed to excavate the hole.

However, without regard to its origin, the well was a fine camping
place, for water was scarce in that region and there was always good
grass for the horses near it. The old man rambled on.

"Deafy he gits a poor start next mornin' 'count of a pack mule what
insisted on buckin' the pack off a couple of times and scatterin' the
load rather promisc'ous-like over the landscape, an' by the time they
reached the well it was plumb dark. They unsaddles and hobbles their
hosses out, and then Deafy he sets to work buildin' a fire, tellin' the
kid to take his saddle rope and the coffee pot and git some water. The
kid he's never been there afore, but Deafy tells him the well's only
about a hundred feet from where they unpacked, so he moseys out into the
dark lookin' for the well, his rope in one hand, the camp coffee pot in
'tother, the idee bein' to let the pot down into the well with the rope.

"It were sure dark in them trees, and the kid he's a blunderin' and
stumblin' along, a-cursin' the world by sections, when all to once he
stepped off into fresh air, and the next thing he knows he's a standin'
at the bottom of the well in about four or five feet of ice-cold water,
and him a-still hangin' onto the rope and pot with a death grip. Took
him about five minutes to git his breath and realize he done found the
well all rightee, and then he sets up a squall like a trapped wildcat.
He ain't forgot, neither, that Deafy ain't likely to hear him, the ole
man bein' deafer than a rock; so after hollerin' a while and gittin' no
results he stops it and begins cussin' jist to relieve his mind and help
keep him from shakin' all his teeth outen his head account o' shiverin'
so blamed hard.

"Up on top Deafy he's busy startin' a fire and openin' up the packs
gittin' ready to cook supper. The kid not bein' back with the water yit,
and he bein' obliged to have water fer bread makin' purposes, Deafy
finally decides the kid's gone and got hisself lost out there in the
dark, and so he takes a _pasear_ out that a-way huntin' fer him. The
ole man's a hollerin' and a trompin' through the cedars an' rocks,
thinkin' more how much his wool's a-goin' to fetch than anything else,
when he thinks he hears someone a-callin'. He turns to listen, gits a
little more sound in his ears, takes a step or two in its direction,
and, kerslop, he's into that there well hole, square on top of the young
gent from 'ole Missou'. Say, the things them two fellers sed to each
other, an' both at the same time, most cracked the walls of the hole."

Dad wiped his eyes with the heel of his fat hand.

"Talk about your Kilkenny cats," he continued, "they wan't in it with
them two pore devils down in that cold water. Finally, they both run out
of mouth ammunition an' set to work to figger out how they was goin' to
git outen the well. It was too wide to climb out of by puttin' a foot on
each side and coonin' up the walls like a straddle bug, an' it was
mostly too deep for either of 'em to reach the top with their hands. So
they mighty soon agrees between 'em that there's but one way to git out,
an' that's fer one of 'em to stand on 'tother's shoulder so's to git a
grip on the edge, pull hisself out, an' then help his shiverin', shakin'
_amigo_ what's down in the hole onto terry firmy. Bein' a foot taller
than Deafy, Bob agrees that the old man can climb onto his shoulders an'
git out first. But Deafy, he's heavy on his feet, an' bein' sixty years
old an' none too spry, he cain't seem to make the riffle to git onto the
kid's back, so he finally gives it up, an' lets the kid have a try at
it. The kid he's soon on Deafy's shoulders, an' one jump an' he's on

"Meantime the kid he's been doin' some powerful hard thinkin'. He ain't
hankerin' after a close-up view of that there indignant judge down in
town. The sheep man he's got a monstrous fine hoss, a new Heiser saddle,
an' a jim dandy pack mule and outfit, while his own hoss an' saddle
ain't nothin' much to brag on. He knows the sheep man's dead safe where
he's at till some one comes to help him out, which will be when his camp
rustler arrives on the scene, which may be in an hour an' may be in ten
minutes. Meantime, bein' a cow-puncher bred and born on the Pecos, he
ain't lovin' a sheep person any too well, so he makes up his mind he
jist as well die for an 'ole sheep as a lamb, and within ten minutes
he's hittin' the trail for New Mexico a straddle of Deafy's hoss an'
saddle, leadin' his pack mule, with a bully good pack rig onto his back.

"Also the pore old feller down in the well is a holdin' up his hands
expectin' every minute the kid will reach down an' help him out;
incidentally, as far as his chatterin' teeth will let him, doin' some
mighty fancy cussin' along broad an' liberal lines."

Dad stopped a moment to light his pipe. My curiosity could wait no

"What happened to Deafy and how did he get out?" burst from my eager

Once again that chuckle. "Seems he tole the camp rustler to meet him
there that night, but the _paisano_ was late gittin' his sheep bedded
down on account of a bear skeerin' of 'em just about sundown, so he
didn't git round till the kid had done been gone for two hours. Even
then he might not 'a' found him, for the fire was all out an' it was too
dark to see much, but the ole man he had his six shooter with him when
he started in to bathe, also about forty beans in his catridge belt.
Knowin' mighty well his only hope was in drawin' some one's attention
with his shootin', he was mighty economical with his beans, only
shootin' about onc't every five minutes. The herder he hears him, runs
the sound down, an' finds his ole boss a soakin' in the well, him bein'
jist about ready to cash in his chips, he's that numbed and chilled."

"And the kid?" gasped the lady listener.

"Oh, he done got clean away over the line into New Mexico and they ain't
never got no track of him to this very yit."

We heard a raucous squeak from the corral back of the house, indicating
the opening of one of the heavy pole gates. Evidently the boys had come
in. I was just rising from my seat in the swing, when from around the
corner of the house dashed a brindle Boston terrier, followed by four
crazy pups about two months old. The mother barked a joyous welcome to
the madam, to whom she flew and in whose arms she found a warm
reception. I turned to the cook. That same aggravating chuckle again.

"But you told us they were drowned" was the only thing the amazed and
perplexed woman could find words to utter.

The old reprobate was gazing into the bowl of his pipe as if in its
depths he had found something extremely interesting. I began to see a

"You miserable old hot air artist!" I said. "You picked a load into us
the very first hour after we landed on the ranch, didn't you? You've
been humbugging us all this time, haven't you?" I tried hard to be
fiercely indignant.

"You fooled your own selves," he snickered, "fer I never tole you them
there pups was drownded; you jist nachelly jumped at it of your own
accord, an' seein' as how you'd find it out anyhow when the boys came
in, I jist let it run along."




By permission _Overland Monthly_, San Francisco, Calif.

When the stockholders of the "Lazy H" outfit met annually in solemn
conclave to receive the report of their range manager and find out how
much more the expenses for the year had been than the receipts, they
called it the "Montezuma Cattle Company," but as their brand was an H
lying down on the sides of their cattle thus, ([symbol: H]) everyone on
the range called it the "Lazy H" outfit.

We were in the Lazy H winter horse camp looking after a hundred and
seventy-five cow-ponies that had seen a hard summer's work, and the job
was a snap. Two men rode out every morning and saw that none of the
animals strayed too far, bringing them all in for water down the trail
in the cañon, salting them once a week, and keeping a sharp lookout for
horse thieves, both white and Indian.

The camp was a dugout in the side of a hill, part logs, part hill, with
a dirt roof a foot thick. A grand fireplace in one end served alike for
heating and cooking purposes, and at night with a fire of pine knots you
could lie in the "double decker" bunks and read as if the place was
lighted with an arc lamp. There was a heavy door in the end, while half
a dozen loopholes cut in the logs served for windows and for defense if

Two of the boys were playing a solemn game of "seven-up" to decide which
of them should build the fire in the morning, and the balance were
smoking or reading some two-weeks-old newspapers that had come out from
town with the last load of grub.

Outside the wind was whistling around the corner, and the coyotes,
attracted by the scent of a freshly killed yearling hanging in a
cedar near the dugout, were howling and shrieking like a lot of
school-children at play.

"Just about such a night outside as the night old man Hart's wife and
kids got lost two years ago," remarked Peg Leg Russel, who was busy with
leather strings and an awl plaiting a fancy quirt.

"Didn't you help hunt for 'em?" queried a voice from one of the bunks.

"Sure thing I did," answered the quirt maker, "and, what's more," he
continued, "I hope I never get another such job as long as I live."

"Tell us about it Peg Leg. You know I was over in Kansas looking after a
bunch of company steers that fall and never did get the straight of it."
The speaker turned from his game of solitaire toward the one-legged
cow-puncher. With his knife Russel clipped the end of a leather string
from the finished "Turk's head," laid the quirt on the floor and rolled
it back and forth under the sole of his boot to give it the proper "set"
and finish, finally hanging it on the wall. Then he filled and lighted
his pipe, and after a few preliminary puffs, began his story.

[Illustration: "_We was camped over in the petrified forest_"]

"Well, boys, that was one of the toughest nights I've seen in Arizony.
We was camped up near the 'Peterified' Forest on our way back to the
headquarter ranch. We'd been down to the railroad with a bunch of
steers, and expected to bust the outfit up for the winter when we got
back to the ranch. It were late in November, an' you all know how
everlastin' cold it gits 'long in November an' December.

"Well, 'long comes one of them tearin' howlin' sandstorms 'bout two
o'clock in the afternoon, and the wagon boss camped us under the lee of
a hill and wouldn't go any furder. And 'twas well he did, too, fer the
wind blowed a gale, snow begin to fall, and ag'in sunset it was as
ornery a piece of weather as I ever seen anywheres. You all know wood's
pow'ful skeerce up thar, too, and all the cook had was sage brush an'

"We put in a mis'able night. The wind blowed every way, an' drifted sand
an' snow into our beds in spite of all a feller could do. Me and Sandy,
the horse-wrangler, slep' together, an' Sandy he lowed, he did, that the
Lord mus' have it in fer us pore ignorant cow-punchers that night,
shore. About daylight I heard a shot, then another, an' another.
Everybody 'most in camp waked up, an' Wilson, the wagon boss, he takes
his six-shooter an' fires a few shots to answer 'em.

"We all speculated as to what it meant at such a time, an' Wilson he
says he'd bet a yearlin' ag'in a sack of terbaccer that it were some
derned tenderfoot bug-hunter who'd been out to the Petrified Forest an'
gone an' lost hisself, an' now was a bellerin' around like a dogie
calf. The cook he lowed 'twan't no bug-hunter, 'cause that was the
crack of a forty-five, an' them bug-hunter fellers ginerally packed a
little short twenty-two to stand off the Injuns, an' we all laughed at
this, fer the night we got the steers shipped the cook went up town an'
got full as a goat, an' tried to run a 'sandy' over a meek-looking
tenderfoot, who wan't a harmin' nobody; but he wan't near so meek as he
looked, an' fust thing the _cocinero_ knowed he war a gazin' in to one
of them same little twenty-twos, an' I'm blessed if the stranger didn't
take his forty-five away from him an' turned him over to the sheriff to
cool off--but I guess you all know about that.

"We could soon hear the 'chug chug' of a pony's feet, an' then a voice a
hollerin'. We all gave a yell, and in a few minutes a man named Hart
rode into camp. We all knowed him. He was a sheep man with a ranch over
on the 'tother side of the Petrified Forest. He was nearly froze an'
half crazy with excitment, an' 'twas some minutes afore we could git him
to tell what was a hurtin' him.

"'Boys,' he says, 'for God's sake git up an' help me find my wife an'

"An' then he told us he had been away from his ranch all the day before,
at one of his sheep camps over on the Milky Holler. When he left in the
mornin' his wife tole him she'd hitch up the hosses to the buckboard
after dinner an' take the kids an' drive down to the railroad station
an' git the mail, an' git back in time for supper. You know it's 'bout
eight miles down to the station at Carrizo.

"Comin' home at night in the wust of the storm, Hart had found the shack
empty, his wife not home yit an' the hosses gone. Thinkin' that the
storm had kept 'em, he waited an hour or two, when he got so blamed
oneasy he couldn't wait no longer, but saddled up his hoss an' drug it
for the station. When he got there they told him his wife had left 'bout
an hour by sun, an' they hadn't seen nothin' of her sence, although they
had begged her not to start back, an' the wind a-blowin' like it was.
'Twas then about as dark as the inside of a cow, and leavin' the men at
the station to foller him, Hart struck out across the prairie, ridin' in
big circles, and tryin', but without no luck, to cut some 'sign' of the
buckboard and hosses. You know, fellers, how them sandy mesas are about
there, and, between the driftin' sand and the snow, every mark had been
wiped out slick and clean. Then he pulled his freight for the ranch,
thinkin' mebbeso she'd got back while he were away; but nary a sign of
them was there about the place. He struck out agin, makin' big circles,
and firin' his six-shooter and hollerin' like an Apache Injin, all the
time a-listenin' an' a-prayin' fer some answer. Then he heerd our shots
and thought sure he'd found her, fer she always carried a gun when she
went out alone, and he jist hit the high places till he ran onto our
camp and he war sure disappointed when he seen us an' not her.

"'Tain't no use for to tell you that we got a move onto ourselves.
You've all seen the Cimarron Kid git a move on an' tear round and just
bust hisself to get out to the herd in the mornin' to relieve the last
guard, along in the fall when the boss was pickin' out men for the
winter work. Well, that was the way we all tore round, an' as everybody
kep' up a night hoss (you all know what a crank that feller Wilson was
'bout night hosses; he'd make every man keep one up if he had the whole
cavyyard in a ten-acre field), we soon had a cup of coffee into us an'
was ready to ride slantin'. Pore Hart was so nigh crazy that he couldn't
say nothin', an' 'twas hard to see a big, strong feller as he was all
broke up like.

"By this time 'twas gettin' daylight in the east an' we struck out,
scatterin' every way, but keepin' in sight an' hearin' of each other.
'Bout two miles from camp I ran slap dab onto the buckboard, with one of
the hosses tied up to the wheel, an' 'tother gone. The harness of the
other hoss laid on the ground, an' from the sign, she had evidently
unharnessed the gentlest hoss of the two, an' got on him, with the kids,
an' tried to ride him bareback. I fired a couple of shots, which brought
some of the other boys to me, an' we follered up the trail, step by
step, 'cause 'twas a hard trail to pick out, owin', as I said, to the
sand an' snow.

"Pretty soon we come to where she had got off the hoss an' led him for a
ways; then we found the tracks of the kids; an' we judged they'd all got
so cold they had to walk to git warm; an' all that time my fingers an'
ears was tinglin' an achin', they was so cold, an' what was them pore
kids an' that little woman goin' to do, when a big, stout puncher like
me was shiverin' an' shakin' like a old cow under a cedar in a norther?

"Bimeby we struck the hoss standin' there all humped up with the cold,
the reins hooked over a little sage bush. I sent one of the boys back
with the hoss, an' tole him to hitch up to the buckboard an' foller on,
fer I knowed shore we'd need it to put their pore frozen bodies on when
we found 'em.

"Here we saw signs where she'd tried to build a fire, but, Lord
A'mighty, you know how hard it is to find anything to burn round that
there Petrified Forest country, an' she only had three or four matches,
an' nothin' to make a fire catch with. Then she started on ag'in, an' I
judged she'd got a star to go by, 'cause she kep' almost straight north
to'ds the railroad. By the trail, she was a-carryin' the youngest kid, a
boy 'bout two years old, an' leadin' the other, which was a little gal
'bout five.

"Right here, fellers, she showed she was fit to be the wife of a man
livin' in such a country. She knowed mighty well that she'd be follered,
an' that her trail would be hard to find, so what does she do but tear
pieces out of the gingham skirt she had on, an' hang 'em along on a sage
brush here, an' a Spanish bayonet there, so's we could foller faster.
When we struck this sign an' seed what sh'd done, one of the boys says,
says he, 'Fellers, ain't she a trump, an' no mistake?' An' so she shore

"We jist turned our hosses loose along here, an' one of us would lope
ahead an' cut for sign, an' as soon as he found it, another would cut in
ahead of him, an' in that way we trailed her up, right peart. We soon
ran the trail down to the edge of the big mesa back of the Carrizo

"If you remember, it's quite a cliff there, mebbeso two hundred feet
down; sort of in steps, from two to six feet high. We seen where she
jumped over the fust ledge an' helped the young ones down. She worked
her way down the rocky cliff that way, step by step, an' it must 'a'
been a job, too, in the dark, an' as cold as she was. Two of us went on
down the cliff, an' I sent the other boys around with the hosses, to a
break, where there was a good trail.

"Right here I began to think that p'raps she's been saved, after all.
'Twas only a mile from the foot of the mesa to the station at Carrizo,
an' in plain sight from where we were.

"Me an' Little Bob, who was with me, was so sure that she was all right
that we quit follerin' the trail an' jist got down the cliff anywhere we
could. When we got to the bottom an' clear of the rocks, we set out to
cut for her trail ag'in, when Little Bob says, says he, 'There she is,

"Lord, how my heart jumped into my mouth. Seemed as if I could most
taste it. I looks where Bob was a-p'intin', and shore enough, there she
were a-sittin' on a rock with the little boy in her lap, an' the little
girl a-leanin' up ag'in her an' a-lookin' into her face.

"We both gave a yell an' started to'ds her, but she never paid no
'tention to us, which seemed to me mighty queer like. But we were a
little to one side of her, an' I thought mebbe she were so tired she
didn't notice us. Bob he got up to her fust, an' walked up an' put his
hand on her shoulder to shake her, but, fellers, you all know how 'twas,
the pore little woman an' the two young ones were dead.

"Little Bob was so skeert that he couldn't do nothin', but I fired all
the shots in my six-shooter, an' the balance of the outfit soon came up
to us.

"Wilson he had a little more savvy than the rest of us, an' rode back
an' met pore Hart, who had got off to one side, an' tells him sort o'
kindly like, what we'd found; an' I reckon that Jim never had no harder
job in all his life.

"Hart says, says he, 'Jim, old man, you take 'em inter town as tenderly
as you kin, an' make all the arrangements for the funeral, an' I'll
follow you in tonight.'

"'Course Jim swore we'd all do everything we could, an' Hart rode off
to'ds his ranch without comin' nigh the place where his little family
was a restin' so peaceful an' quiet.

"Say, fellers, that was the pitifullest sight I ever seed, an' I've seed
some sad work in the days when old Geronimo an' his murderin' gang of
government pets used to range all over the country.

"'Twas easy enuff to read the whole thing now. She'd come to the edge of
the mesa an' seen the lights in the station house, for they get up 'bout
four o'clock every mornin' to get breakfast for the section men.
Climbin' down the cliff had used her up, an' knowin' she was so clost to
help, she had set down on a big flat rock at the bottom to rest a minute
before starting to walk the mile from the foot of the mesa to the
station. To set down, as cold and tired as she was, meant sleep, an' to
sleep was shore death that night, an' she went to sleep an' never woke
up no more.

"The little boy was cuddled up ag'in her under her shawl, with the
peacefullest look on his little face you ever see, an' the little girl
was a-leanin' on her lap an' a-lookin' up into her face, with the big
tears frozen on her cheeks, an' so natural that it was hard to believe
she was dead.

"One of the boys went over to the station an' got two wagon sheets and
some blankets, an' when the buckboard came we rolled 'em up as carefully
an' softly as we could. They was so stiff we had to leave the little
feller where he was, but the girl we rolled up separate.

"Now, say, boys, that was a hard thing to do, for a bunch of rough
cow-punchers, if you hear me. Hookey Jim he'd been through a yellow
fever year down in Memphis once, an' he was more used to such things, so
he sort of bossed the job.

"I ain't ashamed to say I bawled like a baby, fellers. Mrs. Hart was
awful good to us boys, even if her husband was a sheep man. No puncher
ever went there without gettin' a good square meal, no matter when it
was; an' when Curly Joe got sick over at the 'Rail N' ranch, she jist
made the boys fetch him over to her place, an' she nussed him like his
own mammy would have done.

"After we got 'em packed on the buckboard, Wilson sent the rest of the
outfit back to camp, an' him an' me rode on into town, leavin' Shorty
French to drive the team in. We met everybody in town out on the road to
hunt for Mrs. Hart, for the word had got round that she had got lost;
an' everyone that could leave had turned out on the search.

"'Twas a sorrowful place that day, an' the next. Everybody in town knew
an' loved the little woman, an' her awful death made it seem more
pitiful an' sad. They made one coffin an' put her an' the two chillun
into it, one on each arm, an' they looked so sweet an' peaceful, like
they was only asleep--an', anyway, that's what he read from the book at
the grave--that they was only asleep.

"You fellers all know how everybody in town was at the funeral, an' how
one of the men in town had to say a little prayer at the grave, 'cause
there wasn't no parson, they all bein' away off in Afriky an' Chiney
a-prayin' an' a-singin' with niggers an' Chinees, an' not havin' no time
to tend to their own kind of people to home, who p'raps needed prayin'
for jist as much as the heathen in Chiney.

"Then two sweet little girls sung a hymn 'bout 'Nearer my God to Thee,'
an' when they got to the second verse everybody was a-cryin' an' the
little girls jist busted out too, an' couldn't finish the song for a
long time.

"An', boys, that's about all there is to tell."

I glanced around the dugout. The fire had burned low and I guess the
most of them were glad; for, in the uncertain light, I could see
moisture on more than one sunburned cowboy cheek, and my own eyes were,
as one of them quaintly put it, "jist a-spillin' clean over with tears."




By permission _The Breeder's Gazette_, Chicago, Ill.

"Did any of yez ever go camel huntin'?" asked the cook, who had been
listening to some tales of bear and lion hunting that had been going the
rounds of the men about the chuck wagon.

"Camel hunting?" cried the horse-wrangler, a look of astonishment on his
face. "What on earth do you mean by camel hunting? We ain't none of us
ever been to Afriky."

"Camel huntin' is jest what I said," replied the knight of the dish-rag,
flourishing that useful article in the air as he mopped off the lid of
the chuck box.

"Do you mean sure enough camels, camels with humps on 'em like what we
seen at the circus in Albuquerque las' fall?" queried another doubting

"Faith an' I do that," answered the cook; "an' what's more, I didn't
have to go to no Afriky to hunt 'em neither."

"Whar did ye find any camels hereabouts, 'ceptin in a circus?" asked
"Tex," an old-time puncher who had followed the chuck wagon for thirty

"Right here in Arizony, me lads," said the cook, with an affirmative nod
of his red head.

"Gee!" and the wagon boss looked incredulous. "Camels in Arizony! Who
ever heard tell of any of them critters down this-a-way?"

Pat by this time had finished his after-dinner work, and while the team
horses were eating their grain, he sat down to peel a panful of potatoes
in readiness for the evening meal.

"Tell us about them there camels, Pat," begged one of the boys.

"Sure," with a grin, "I don't mind givin' yez a little bit of
enlightenment on the subject of camels, seein' as none of yez ever heern
tell of thim before now. When I first came to Arizony, ye know I was a
sojer in the regular army, in the Sixth Cavalry, the gallopin' Sixth,
they called it in them days."

"Aw, give us a rest, Pat, about your army days, an' tell us about them
camels," for the Galloping Sixth and its adventures was an old story to
the boys.

"Well," he resumed, "we was scoutin' down the Santy Cruz valley, west of
Too-sawn, a lookin' for old Geronimo and his murderin' gang. One night
we was camped in a little openin' in the mesquites, wid guards out on
all sides ag'in a surprise, when somethin' stampeded every hoss in the
herd an' left us plumb afoot, exceptin' them the guards was a-ridin'.
Next morning when the captain asked the sargint of the guard what made
'em stampede, he sort of grinned an' looked sheepish like.

"'Captain,' ses he, 'ye'll not be after thinkin' me a dirty liar, but,
sor, by the blissid Saint Patrick I'd be willin' to swear that the
animiles that set them there crazy hosses off like a bunch of skeered
sheep were nothin' less nor camels--camels, sor, with two humps an' long
necks on 'em; the same as I be seein' in the maynageries whin I were a

"'Camels, sargint?' sez the captain, lookin' sort o' puzzled like. 'Do
ye surely mean what ye be a-sayin'?'

"'That I do, sor,' sez the sargint, 'an' the men on guard with me will
bear me out--at least them that glimpsed them.'

"Then the captain he sort of grins an' sez, 'That's all right, sargint;
I'd plumb forgot there used to be a lot of camels herabouts on these
deserts, an' 'twas probably some of thim.'

"Then the captain, he bein' a fine old sojer man, with no frills or
grand airs with the men when out on a scout, tells the sargint that
before the war Jeff Davis (that same Jeff, by the way, what was
Prisident of the Confideracy, he bein' then Secretary of War) gits a
fancy that camels was the very trick for usin' out West, for packin'
stuff for the troops. So old Jeff he gets Uncle Sam to send 'way off to
Afriky an' import a lot of thim an' sint them out to Texas an' Arizony
on the deserts.

"But the packers couldn't get used to them, an' besides, they stampeded
ev'ry horse an' mule in the entire southwest with their queer ways an'
ungainly looks. So one day the quartermaster at Yuma he turns out a lot
of thim with a 'Good-bye to yez, an' God bless yez, an' here's hopin' we
niver meet ag'in,' slappin' the nearest one with a halter shank to sort
of hasten him on his way. They took to the deserts like a duck to water,
an' the captain said 'twas doubtless one of thim that the sargint

"How about huntin' of 'em, Pat?" asked an interested listener. "You sure
didn't stop to hunt camels then, did you?"

"Hunt camels thin!" snorted the cook with disgust. "By the powers 'twas
precious little opportunity we had for camel huntin' thim days, with old
Geronimo onto his job ev'ry day from sun-up to dark. No, my son, 'twas
ten years or more later whin I went camel huntin'. I was workin' for the
M. C. outfit, up to Williams, an' they had a contract to deliver some
beef steers to the Injun agent at the Moharvey reservation down below
the Needles on the Big Colorado. We'd had an elegant summer for rain,
an' the desert was covered with grass an' water. So the old man decides
to trail them across the country, an' we takes the herd an' struck off
down the mountain towards the head of the big Chino Valley an' then on
west till we struck the Bill William's fork of the Big Colorado down
which we was to drift till we reached the main river.

"We started with a young moon, an' by the time we hit the Bill William's
fork the job of night herding was a plumb picnic, so far as the steers
went. We had them all as do-cile as a bunch of trained pigs; an' what
with the grand feed to handle them on we'd never yet lost a single one
of them nor had a stampoodle of any kind.

"We bedded them oxen down one night in a great open valley after an easy
day's drive. There was only five of us, four with the steers, an' me,
cook an' horse-wrangler, we havin' everything on four pack mules, which
I drove with the remuda.

"That night Billy St. Joe asked me if I wouldn't take his guard for
him, he bein' about sick all day with nuralgy. So when I was called
along about midnight to spoon them for two hours I jumps an' was soon
joggin' around the bunch, which was all a-lyin' down as decent as one
could wish fer. 'Twere hard to keep awake, an' I reckon I must 'a' been
a-noddin' in the saddle, for, the first thing I knowed there was a snort
an' a cracklin' of horns an' hocks, an' away went me steers like the
very old divil himself was behind them.

"I pulled meself together, slapped old Shoestring down the hind leg with
me quirt, an' put spurs after them, hopin' to turn them. Old Shoestring
snorted an' kept them sharp ears of his workin' an' looking' back over
his shoulder like, as if he was a-feered too. I hadn't been sidin' them
fer more than a hundred yards when, hearin' a snortin' an' a gruntin'
behind me, I takes a look meself over me shoulder, an' such a sight as
me eyes did get.

"'Twas sure no wonder them steers was a-runnin away, fer right behind us
was three great figures with long necks an' humps on their backs like
two water kegs a-settin' up there. They wasn't gallopin', nayther was
they trottin', but jist a-shufflin' along over the ground like ghosties,
an' every once in a little while one of them gives a grunt an' a gurgle
which sent them oxen wild with terror. Hangin' to these creatures was
long strings of somethin' more like a lot of ragged clothes than
anything else, an' what with the flutterin' an' wavin' they resembled a
lot of animated scarecrows.

"When we first set out on our race with thim ugly divils a-follerin' of
us, the three night horses tied up in camp, takin' wan look an' sniff
of them teeterin' figgers a-puffin' an' a-gruntin' in our rear, jist
quit the flats wid the rest of the live stock, an' as we tore along we
picked up every mother's son of the other horses, them all bein'
foot-loose, an' a-hangin' round with the pack mules.

"By the blissed saints, but me an' that Shoestring horse was havin' a
lovely ole time of it all by ourselves, for, with the night horses gone,
thim lads back in camp had nothin' to do but set there an' lave it to me
to hang an' rattle with them. Thim shufflin' monsters behind didn't seem
to want to git past us, but jist kep' at the heels of the drags, an'
it's mesilf's a-tellin' ye that every toime I'd take wan hasty glimpse
of thim 'twould be the cold chills I'd be after havin', an' me a-cursin'
the night I ever took Billy St. Joe's guard fer him.

"What wid the fear in his heart, an' good work wid me 'pet makers', I
makes out to git old Shoestring up clost to the leaders. I'd also
managed to get me slicker untied from the back of me saddle an' was
wavin' it in their faces, hopin' by thim means to git the bunch turned
an' millin', an' maybe thim lost sowls that was a-follerin' us wud leave
us in peace an' quiet.

"Thim three saddle horses a-runnin' an' rompin' an' snortin' in the
midst of the steers wasn't helpin' matters, ayther. Iv'ry toime wan of
the stake ropes what was a-draggin' after thim struck the hocks of a
steer he'd give a wild beller of fright, and thin the entire bunch wud
put on a few extra bursts of speed, an' thim preambulatin' scarecrows
behind wud do a little more gruntin' an' gurglin' an' make matters all
the worse.

"'Bout this time old Shoestring, bein' occupied principally wid lookin'
over his shoulder an' takin' stock of those wanderin' hoboes behind,
failed to notice a big ole badger hole like an open coal hole in a city
sidewalk, an' steps wan of his front legs square into it an' turns a
hand-spring, landin' in a bunch of _cholla_ cactus, wid me under him.
Whin I come to my sinsis, which was some minutes after, I finds meself
afoot on the desert an' it just a-gittin' gray in the east.

"Barrin' a big gash across me cheek, where I digs me face into the
ground as me old Shoestring lit, I was none the worse for the fall,
'ceptin' of coorse a large an' illigant assortment of _cholla_ barbs in
me anatemy. Comes daylight I limps back to camp, for I were in no fix
for ridin' till I'd lain fer two mortal hours flat on me stummick on a
saddle blanket--an' me as naked as a Yuma Indian kid in July--whilst
Billy St. Joe done a grand job of pullin' them divilish cactus barbs
from various an' prominent portions of me system. Thim infernal things
stuck out of me carcas till, as one of the byes remarked, 'I was more
porcupine than human.'

"'What skeered your cows, Pat?' says Jim, the boss, as I come cripplin'
into camp. 'Sure an' if I knowed I'd tell ye,' sez I. They was all
a-lyin' that ca'm an' peaceful as wan could well wish fer. Thin up they
hops an' immigrates. Me an' old Shoestring we busted out after 'em, an'
as we tore along I glimpsed a bunch of hairy, wobbly-legged monsters
a-follerin' us, a-groanin' an' a-gurglin' like a lot of hobgoblins from
hell,' sez I.

"'Git out' sez Jim; ''twas aslape ye were, ye an' old Shoestring both,
an' he had a bad dream an' bucked ye off into a cholla'.

"'Not on yer life,' sez I, mad enough to fight a grizzly between the
grin on his face an' the stingin' of the cactus barbs in me back.

"The boys managed to get the horses rounded up, an' all the steers
together by noon, but too late to move camp that day. That afternoon Jim
sez, 'Git yer gun, Pat, an' come wid me.' So I saddles up me pony, slips
me Winchester into me scabbard, an' him an' me rides off from camp.

"'What's up?' sez I.

"'Nothin', sez he, 'only over here a ways I struck the curiousest tracks
I ever seen in all me life; an' me a-knowin' the sign of every critter
that ever walks on legs in this here country.' We soon struck the trail
Jim had seen an' it sure were a new one on both of us. So we follows it
up, feelin' it was our juty, as law-abidin' citizens, to run down an'
kill all such disorderly, outlandish creatures that was a-runnin' at
large. 'Twan't long before we comes to a ridge a-lookin' out over a
little valley, an' leadin' our horses we footed it fer the top of the
ridge, an' peekin' over we seed down in the middle of the flat three
hungry lookin' yaller divils. ''Tis me wanderin' rag-bags what skeered
the herd last night,' sez I, triumphant like--after Jim accusin' me of
goin' to sleep on guard an' dreamin' things.

"'I reckon you're right,' sez Jim, with a grin on his mug.

"They was a dirty yaller color, an' what wid the bare spots all over
thim, like sheep wid the scab, Jim sez they looked more like a lot of
mangy coyotes than anythin' he iver seen in all his life. ''Twas sure no
fault wid thim steers that they all gits up an' stampoodles whin such a
bad-smellin', evil-lookin' lot of monsters come a-driftin' down on top
of them,' sez he.

"'Twere not so hard to git closer to thim, an' whin we finally gits as
near as we thought we could, an' not skeer thim, we each picks out wan
an' let him have it where we believed it would do the most good. Mine
never ran ten feet; Jim's fell down within a quarter; the third wan
struck off down the valley at a great rate, an' Jim, bein' hell-bent fer
ropin' things, hollered, 'Le's rope it, le's rope it!' an' jabbed his
spurs into his pony an' tore off, takin' down his rope an' makin a loop
as he wint.

"'Rope him if ye will,' sez I, lammin' me old digger wid me quirt, 'but
it's meself that ropes no outlandish heathin thing lookin' more like it
come out of old Noah's ark than a daycent, respectable range critter'.
But I follered along as fast as I could git me pony to move, him bein'
none too anxious to git close to the slobberin' cross between a
step-ladder an' a hayrack, that was lumberin' along ahead of us.

"Jim's pony was a darlin' to run, an' as he was a-gittin' closer for a
throw I sez to meself, 'If iver that crazy lad ahead puts his line on to
that there travelin' maynagerie he's a-follerin' he's a-goin' to need
help to turn it loose, sure.' So I waits fer the outcome, feelin'
certain I'd be needed before long.

"Bimeby Jim he gits a good chanst fer a throw an' drops his line over
the long, ungainly head in front of him; but the rope, instid of
grippin' the critter's throat, slipped back an' drew up ag'in its
breast, an' whin Jim tried to check him up the pony couldn't hold him.
Whin the hard jerk come Jim's flank cinch busted, the pony begins to
pitch, an' between the pitchin' an' the saddle drawin' up on the pony's
neck, poor Jim lost out an' went up into the air like a shootin' star,
landin' on his head in a pile of rocks. The saddle stripped over the
pony's head, an' away went the whole outfit, through brush, over rocks,
across washes, like hell a-beatin' tanbark. The rope bein' tied hard an'
fast to the horn, Jim's new $50 saddle wint danglin' along behind, like
a tin can tied to a dog's tail. When Jim come to, a few minutes later
on, he wiped his hand across his face, looked at the blood on it, an'
sez to me, sort of foolish like, 'What struck me, Pat?'

"'I reckon 'twas wan of Jeff Davis's camels,' sez I."




    There's a girl I'd love to see,
    She's a waiting there for me,
    'Way down yonder in the southwest land.

    She has eyes of dreamy blue,
    And her heart is always true,
    'Way down yonder on the Rio Grande.

The singer was riding slowly around a herd of steers "bedded down" on an
open flat about a quarter of a mile from the western, or Mexican bank of
the river of which he sang.

It was the first guard, from eight to ten, and the steers, having had a
fine day's grazing, were all lying down chewing their cuds as
comfortably as a bunch of milk cows in a dairy barn.

Across the herd his "side partner" on the guard was riding toward him,
so that twice in each circle of the herd they met for an instant and
then each jogged on into the darkness.

As they met this time the singer finished the verse, and his pony
acknowledged the slight shifting of his rider's body in the saddle by
coming to a stop.

"Gimme a match," demanded the singer as he felt in his vest pocket for
the "makings." "Here 'tis," replied the other, "and I reckon I'll just
build a smoke myself."

"Let's jog along together," suggested the second man, "and you sing, for
if we stand here and strike a match this herd of oxen will just about
get up and quit the flats."

Down along the river bank the dim spark of the cook's fire showed where
the outfit was camped, while a short distance beyond it the Rio Grande
at full flood roared like a sullen yellow monster.

The fringe of cottonwoods and _Tornillos_ along its bank were outlined
against the background of the sky like shadow pictures, while an
occasional dull crash told of the loss of another slice of the Republic
of Mexico where, undermined by the swift flood, a piece of the bank had
dropped into the river and was on its way to the gulf.

"Do you reckon we'll have much trouble swimmin' these steers tomorrow?"
asked the singer, as, contrary to the rules of night-herding of all cow
outfits, they rode along together.

"No, I don't believe we will," was the reply. "Uncle John savvys this
river like a native, an' if he looks at it tomorrow an' says 'Cross
'em,' they'll make it all right."

"Well, she's sure high, and 'tain't the water I'm afraid of half so much
as the infernal quicksand. I never did like the water, nohow." He shook
his head: "Once I got into the quicksand in the Little Colorado over in
Arizony and like to ended up in the _Campo Santo_ fer sure."

"Say" and his companion handed him a flaming match--"you smoke up a
little an' fergit all that. We got troubles aplenty without huntin' up
imaginary things to git skeered of. Did you hear the yarn that stray man
was a-tellin' in camp tonight?" he remarked, with the evident intention
of drawing his friend from so gloomy an outlook.

"Never a word; I was shoeing my horse when he was talkin' an' didn't
hear what he was sayin'. What was he talkin' about?" the singer queried.

"Well," said the other, "it 'pears like he was workin' fer the Turkey
Track outfit in Arizony and him an' another Turkey Track screw comes
over the line to git a little touch of high life among the _paisanos_ on
this side. Well, they gits it all right, for between half a dozen
Mexican women, two or three _hombres_, an' a kaig of mescal, 'tain't
hard to start something; an' when the dust settled down this stray gent
finds hisself with a dead man on his hands an' him over here where it's
the eagle an' the snake instead of the Stars an' Stripes a-flyin'
overhead. I was busy makin' down my bed an' never heerd how he come out
'ceptin' he says there was some fool law these Mexicans has which don't
allow the body of any one what dies on Mexican soil to be taken out of
the country for five years. So he had to leave his friend there instead
of gittin' him acrost an' plantin' him up in the Pan Handle where his
folks lived."

"What for don't they let any dead body be taken out of this here
country?" And the boy turned uneasily in his saddle.

"Damfino," replied the other; "reckon it's just some cranky notion these
Greasers got; maybeso they likes your sassiety an' hates to part with
you, but, anyhow, that's the law all right, all right, an' if you dies
here, you stays here, for five years, if no longer."

"Say, Jim," the kid's voice was full of awe; "My old mammy's up yonder
in Trinidad, an' by hooky, if I was to die down here an' she couldn't
git hold of me to bury me up there where she laid the old man an' my
sister, she's like to go plum loco, fer sure."

"Well, you better make your plans to die on 'tother side the line or
else so close to it that somebody can haze you across without any of
them there _Rurales_ gittin' on to your game," was Jim's reply, as he
returned from chasing a steer back into the herd. "So far as I'm
concerned," he continued, "I don't reckon it makes much difference where
I'm stuck away, for I'm a drifter an' ain't got no kin that I knows of,
an' I guess when a feller's dead he kin hear ole Gabe blow his horn on
this side the Rio Grande jist as easy as on 'tother."

The next morning the sun was just peeping over the sand hills away to
the east when Uncle John, who had been down along the river since the
first gray streak in the sky announced the coming of day, rode into camp
as the boys were catching out their horses. As the wagon boss glanced at
him, he nodded and said, "All right, George, we'll try it this morning;
the river has fallen a lot since last night."

"Which means that I turns this here mule loose an' gits me a horse,"
remarked one of the riders who had just roped a little black saddle
mule, "fer a mule ain't no earthly good in water. If they gits their
ears wet, they jist lays down on you, an' quits right there."

    "On her hand I placed a ring,
    When I left her in the spring,
    'Way down yonder in the southwest land."

The singer's voice rose above the shouts of the other boys as they
pushed the cattle along toward the river.

    "An' she said she'd not forget me,
    Oh, she'll be there to meet me,
    'Way down yonder on the Rio Grande."

"That's right, Kid, sing to 'em. Time you've got through with this here
muddy water job she won't know you if she is there to meet you," laughed
the horse-wrangler.

As the herd swung down to the river, the horse-wrangler had his entire
_remuda_ at the water's edge, and with two men to help him he slowly
forced the horses out into the stream, with old Bennie, the crack
"cutting horse" of the outfit, in the lead. The old rascal had been used
for this work for ten years and well knew that there was a nose bag full
of oats waiting for him on the further bank of the river.

As the steers on the O. T. ranch had always been handled by placing the
horse herd ahead of them when corraling or taking a narrow trail down
some cañon, they followed the horses with little delay.

On the upper side of the lead cattle rode the Trinidad Kid on his best

    "Oh I know a shady spot,
    Where we'll build a little cot,
    'Way down yonder in the southwest land.

    "And the mocking birds will sing,
    And the wedding bells will ring,
    'Way down yonder on the Rio Grande,"

he sang loudly as his pony plowed through the muddy water.

"Say Dick," shouted the man behind him, "ain't you going to ask us to
all the doings when them wedding bells cut loose?"

"I reckon so," was the answer, "and what's more, if I gets me onto the
yonderly side of this streak of mud, I'm a going to stay there. I've
seen all I want to of this 'mañana land.'"

Just at the critical time, when everything seemed to be working out all
right, a great wave of water swept down the stream and broke with a
crash right in front of the leading steers. They hesitated for a moment,
then another wave broke, and still another, and in an instant the
leaders were swinging back on to each other in their senseless panic. In
less than a minute a hundred of them were swimming round and round in
the muddy waters, a whirling, struggling mass of horns and bodies. They
jumped upon one another, bearing the under ones down into the water,
until it was boiling with the fighting, maddened animals.

The kid did not wait for orders. Well he knew that it was up to him to
break up that milling mighty quick or the whole day's work was lost.
Heading his pony toward the struggling mass of animals, he drove at them
without an instant's hesitation.

    "Oh the mocking birds will sing,
    And the wedding bells will ring,
    'Way down yonder on the Rio Grande."

Singing at the top of his voice and swinging his slicker over his head,
he swept down on the outside steers, being crowded on to them by the
swift current against which his plucky pony struggled hard. Had he
abandoned the effort and turned the animal up stream, facing the
current, he might have breasted it and held his own, but the kid
resolutely kept his place as well as he could.

    "'Way down yonder on the Rio Grande,
    'Way down yonder in that southwest land,"

he sang valiantly as he thrashed the steers with his yellow slicker,
trying to turn them from their course. He was rapidly accomplishing his
purpose, and a few of the leaders were already turned and about to
string out for the shore, when one broad-horned fellow right behind him
raised in the water like some huge sea monster, and lunged upon his
horse's hips with both front feet.

The weight of the steer drove the horse down into the water, the swift
current swept him on to his side, and in a second he was under the mass
of steers, his rider hanging to him.

A few minutes later the horse came into view from below the cattle but
the boy was missing. Uncle John, at the first sign of trouble had dashed
toward the spot, and as the horse came into sight leaned from his
saddle, grabbed the bridle rein and pulled the half-drowned animal on
to his feet in the shallower water. Spurring into the deep water again,
he and the men with him swung up and down the line of cattle, watching
with eager, anxious eyes for the slightest sign of a human form, but
they could see nothing.

Meantime the steers were rapidly crossing, and the leaders had already
climbed out on to the opposite bank and were working back from the
river, coughing and shaking their dripping bodies.

Two other men joined Uncle John in the search for the lost singer, but
though they watched every spot, riding up and down the stream for a
mile, they were unable to discover any sign of the boy.

Leaving Jim and another man to watch the river, the rest of the outfit
pushed the steers out on to the open range to graze.

Up and down the bank all that day the two men rode, reinforced by all
the others who could be spared from the herd. Across the seat of the
saddle on the horse ridden by the boy was a deep scar where the rowels
of his spur had cut the leather, done probably as he slipped from the
horse as he went under.

The steers could not be held there long, so the next morning Uncle John,
with a heavy heart, started the outfit at daybreak for the railroad
loading pens, thirty miles away, leaving Jim, who had asked for the job,
behind to keep a lookout for the body of the drowned cowboy. All day
long he rode the banks of the river. Every eddy as well as the great
rafts of driftwood, was carefully searched. Just a short time before
sunset he noticed a couple of buzzards a little lower down on the river
slowly circling overhead. He knew their keen eyes saw something, and
both hoping and dreading that it was what he sought, he worked his way
down towards the point over which the great birds were hovering. Here
the river had cut into the sandy bank and a thicket of willows hung over
the yellow water. Getting down onto one knee, Jim peered under them.

Yes, there was "something" there. His heart came into his mouth, he
gasped for breath, and the cold sweat stood on his face in great drops.
A long, lance like pole from a nearby pile of drift wood, furnished him
with a tool to sound the depth of water along the bank. It was not over
waist deep, the bottom was firm, and, dropping off the bank, he waded
down under the overhanging brush. There, floating in the stream, was the
body of the Kid. A bough had caught in the belt of his leather "chaps"
and held it firmly. It was the work of a moment for Jim to attach one
end of his saddle rope to the belt and carry the other back with him to
the open spot above the willows. His first intention was to tow the body
up to a place where it could be taken out and then go for help.

Wading up the stream, he climbed out on the bank and sat down to rest
for a moment. It was second nature for him to get out his pipe and
tobacco, and as he sat there the talk between himself and the singer
around the herd the night before the crossing came to his mind. What
could he do? The body was found on Mexican soil. About a hundred yards
from the bank behind his was a little Mexican _jacal_, or hut, where he
had noticed half a dozen children--even now he could hear their shouts
as they played. To get it away from there was seemingly impossible.

The twilight was nearly over and in the east the sky was glowing with
the light of the moon, which almost at the full would soon rise. For
half an hour he sat there thinking, the pipe smoked out and dead between
his teeth. Then he rose, knocked the ashes out on his boot heel, slipped
the pipe into his pocket, and worked his way carefully up to the top of
the bank behind him. Peering through the fringe of trees, he saw in the
moonlight the mud daubed _jacal_. A dog barked, in the distance a coyote
answered with its shrill "yip, yip," and from the limbs of a
mesquite--the family chicken coop--a rooster saluted the rising of the
moon with a cheerful crow. In front of the _jacal_ a bright spark glowed
where the fire of mesquite limbs over which the evening supper had been
cooked, was dying away, and he could dimly make out the forms of the
family asleep on the ground near the hut.

Then, satisfied with the condition of things, he carefully worked his
way back to the edge of the river, and, having looked to the rope, which
he had fastened to a sharp piece of drift driven into the sand, lay down
by it and in ten seconds was fast asleep.

About three o'clock the next morning, just as the moon dropped behind
the cottonwoods along the river, throwing deep shadows over its sullen
tide, four steers, probably lost from the herd the day before, came down
to the river to drink. As they reached the edge of the water one raised
his head quickly and snuffed the air. The others also threw up their
heads and tested the air with their keen noses, their great ears cocked
forward to catch the slightest sound. High headed and suspicious, they
all stood for an instant, and then as if with one impulse ran back a few
steps and stopped to look again.

Out there in the deep shadow something moved slowly and heavily. Now and
then a splash came from the object as the water struck against it.

The steers snuffed and licked their lips as do such animals where fear
and curiosity is struggling in them for the mastery. Then as the
something moved more distinctly, with terror in their eyes they all
turned and burst into the darkness behind them, crashing through the
young cottonwoods and over piles of loose driftwood in their mad haste
to escape--they knew not what. Still, the "something" came on; slowly it
moved through the muddy waters until the form of a man could be
distinguished in the uncertain light, carrying some heavy load.

At the edge of the river the man placed his burden on the soft sand and
dropped down, panting for breath.

       *       *       *       *       *

At noon that day, a single horseman rode a tired, sweat-covered animal
into a little town on the railroad some thirty miles from the river. Two
hours later, away to the north, under the snow-capped Rockies, where the
city of Trinidad nestles below the Raton Pass, a lone woman received
this brief message:

    "Dick was accidentally drowned yesterday crossing the river. Wagon
    will be here tomorrow with body, Please wire instructions.




By permission _The Breeder's Gazette_, Chicago, Ill.

"And Pablo."

"Señor?" And the boy looked inquiringly at the speaker. "You stay right
here around this meadow. Here's plenty of feed and water for your band
till I come back from town. Savvey?"

"Si, Señor."

"I won't be gone but three days, Pablo," continued the man, shifting
uneasily in his saddle, "an' it's a tough deal to give you, but there's
nothing else to do. That misable, onery Mack is drunk down in town an'
won't never git out till his money's all gone an' somebody takes him by
the scruff of the neck an' kicks him out of the saloon an' loads him
onto his horse. You've got twelve hundred ewes an' 'leven hundred of the
best lambs that this here range has ever seen. There's ten _negros_,
_tres campanas_, an' _cinco chivos_; reckon you can keep track of 'em

"Si, Señor," assented the boy, in whose veins flowed the blood of almost
three centuries of sheepherders, "_tres_ bells-_campanas_," and three
fingers indicated the number of belled ewes in the bunch, "_cinco_
goats," and one outspread hand showed the number of goats with the ewes,
"_diez_ black-a markers," holding up all ten fingers.

"That's right, _muchacho_," answered the man; "you keep track of your
markers an' bells an' goats, an' you won't lose any sheep. There's
plenty of water here for your camp, and the sheep won't need any for
some days. There's a lot of poison weeds lower down on the mountain, an'
it won't do to graze the band that-a-way. Take 'em up toward the top if
you go anywhere; but keep your camp here an' stay with it till I come
back, savvey?"

"Si, Señor," with a quick nod of the head.

The man dropped off his horse, gave the curly black mop on the boy's
head a hasty pat, picked up the lead rope of a pack mule standing near
and, mounting, rode off down the trail.

The little meadow was located on a small bench high on the breast of a
mountain whose bare granite peaks rose rough and ragged far above the
timber line. At one side of the meadow, under a mighty fir tree, stood
the herder's tent, a white pyramid among the green foliage. If there was
another human being nearer than the little railroad town forty-five
miles away, the boy knew it not. He watched the man ride slowly down the
trail until he disappeared behind a mass of trees. The dog at his side
whined as the man was lost to view and poked his cold muzzle into the
boy's hand.

"Ah, _perrito mio_," and he hugged the fawning animal close to his body,
"the _patron_ has gone and left us here all alone to care for the sheep.
Think of it, I, Pablo, to be trusted with so much. Shall we not care for
them as for our own? Didst hear him say we were not to leave this camp
while he was away? Ten black ones for markers, three bells and five
great _chivos_. Aha, we shall count them each a hundred times a day, and
sly indeed will be the ewe that shall escape from us. Is it not so, my
brave Pancho?" And for answer the dog barked and romped about the lad as
if to show he also appreciated the honor and responsibility thrust upon
the two.

Down the trail the sheepman, Hawk, jogged along toward the town where
Mac, the recreant herder, was doubtless wasting his substance in riotous
living. "If ever I git holt of that there rascal, I'll wear out the
ground with him," he soliloquized. "To go off and leave me with a band
of ewes on my hands at such a time and not come back as he promised.
Serves me right for letting him go, for I might 'a' known he'd not come
back in time. That there Pablo's a good kid all right, but it's a pretty
big risk to turn over to a twelve-year-old boy that many ewes and lambs.
Lucky for me he happened to stay in camp after the lambing was over; his
father's about the best sheepherder on the whole range, and them Mexican
kids would rather herd a bunch of sheep than ride on a merry-go-round.
Well," and he slapped his horse with the end of his rope, "he's got a
good dog, the best in the mountains, an' if he keeps track of his bells
an' markers 'tain't likely he'll lose any sheep. However, there ain't no
use worrying over it, for I couldn't stay there myself any longer, an'
the sooner I gits to town an' hustles that there red headed Mac out to
camp, the better."

[Illustration: "_Hawk met a forest ranger leading a pack mule_"]

Down at the foot of the mountain he met a forest ranger leading a pack

"What's doing?" asked Hawk of the government man.

"Big fire over on 'tother side of the mountain," answered the ranger.
"Old man phoned me to get over there as soon as ever I could and lend a
hand. Mighty dry season now, and if fire ever gets started it'll take a
lot more men to stop it than we got in this forest. I been riding now
night and day for the last thirty days patroling my district, to lookout
for fires, and I hate to have to go clear over on the other side and
leave it all uncovered."

"How big a district you got, anyhow?" queried the sheepman.

"Little over six townships and a half; that's over a hundred and fifty
thousand acres, and it's all a-standing on edge too"--he waved his
gloved hand toward the range about them--"so there's twice as much, if
you count the mountain sides. The Super, he asked for six more rangers
last fall when he sent in his annual report, but the high collars back
there in Washington said Congress was cutting down expenses and so we'd
have to spread ourselves out and cover the ground, and do the best we
could. That's why the boss rustled the boys out in such a hurry, for we
can't afford to take any chances on a fire getting a start. If it ever
does, it's good-bye trees, for once a fire gets under good headway in
these mountains, with conditions just right, all the fire fighters in
hell couldn't stop it. So long, old man, I've got to be a-drifting."

As the ranger moved off up the cañon, the sheepman turned and glanced up
at the sky toward the spot where he had left Pablo and his charges.
There were no signs of smoke in the clear blue above, so he touched the
horse with his spurs and resumed his journey, content to leave the fire
fighting to the ranger force until he was called on for aid. Anyhow, it
was clear over on the other side of the mountain and he wasn't
interested there, and it would be time enough to worry when it got over
on to his side. Meanwhile, there was that miserable Mac drunk in town
and another band of lambs and ewes somewhere on the range, that he ought
to look in on before long.

Back on the mountain meadow Pablo and his ewes and lambs got on
famously. The boy pushed the band out on to the mountainside, away from
camp, telling Pancho to care for them while he went to find the two pack
burros and drive them back to camp. All day long the boy watched the
herd as a hen watches her chicks. Over and over again he counted the ten
black "markers," those black sheep that come in every flock and without
which no herder would work. If all ten of them were there in the herd it
was safe to presume that none of the ewes had been lost, for, as they
grazed back and forth through the timber, "cuts" might happen to the
best of herders. Once he counted but nine. Yes, surely there were but
nine. He called the dog to his side, pointed to a ridge beyond them and
told the animal to go over there and look for the missing ones.

Away Pancho bounded, stopping often to look back at his master for
orders. The boy waved his arm and the dog went on until he stood a black
speck at the top of the ridge. With foot upraised and ears cocked, he
watched again for commands. Another wave of the arm and the dog dashed
over the ridge and out of sight. Half an hour later an eager bark came
from the ridge, and there, slowly toiling through the trees, came the
lost sheep, followed by the faithful dog, keeping them moving toward
the herd and yet not hurrying them beyond the speed of the lambs. In
their lead was the black marker. Once more his ten _negros_ were all

The next night from over the mountain-top rolled a great wave of black
smoke. The sheep, "bedded down" near the camp, were uneasy and kept
sniffing at the heavy air. At daylight the boy pushed them from the bed
ground and worked them up toward the mountain-top, where the trees
stopped growing and there was little danger of fire reaching them.
Leaving the dog to care for the sheep, the boy climbed up higher until
he could see about him. On every side was a sea of smoke. Great black
billows rolled up from below him and the wind blew a gale from the
direction of the other side of the mountain. The _patron_ would be back
that night, but until then Pablo must stay where he was, for had he not
been told to do so? All day he watched the smoke boiling up about him.
The sheep were restless and bunched up in spite of his efforts to get
them to scatter out and graze as they should.

In the afternoon he worked his way down the mountainside, below the
meadow and, perched on a huge boulder, watched the fire licking its way
slowly through the forest. As far as he could see the red line stretched
like a fiery snake, but unless the wind changed it would not reach his
camp for some time yet.

If only the _patron_ would come and relieve him of this responsibility!
All those ewes with their fine lambs grazing there, and depending on
him, Pablo, for protection and care. What should he do? He must not
leave the camp, and still, if he kept the sheep there and the fire
really came to the meadow, they might all die.

Late that evening the wind changed and blew up the cañon like a gale,
carrying with it clouds of smoke and burning brands which started fires
far in advance of the main line. But the boy stayed with the sheep, wide
awake and watchful, hardly taking time to eat his simple meals of
_frijoles_, mutton and bread. Below him, the sky was alight with the
flames. Now and then a thunderous crash told where some giant of the
forest had given up the fight--three hundred and fifty years' work
undone in an hour. Half a dozen coyotes and a wildcat skulked out of the
timber that fringed the meadow and buried themselves in the little clump
of willows that grew about the spring. By midnight he realized that to
stay where he was meant death for himself and his woolly charges. The
sheep were restless, constantly moving about on the bed ground, the
lambs running and bleating through the herd as if they, too, realized
the danger. The dog whined and looked anxiously toward the coming light,
which now made the night almost as bright as noonday.

"What would'st thou do, Panchito?" said the boy. "Did not the _patron_
tell us to remain here until he came, and yet, shall we stay and die
when the fire comes?" Then the thought came to him that up higher on the
mountain the sheep would be safe if once there.

At the first sign of coming day he set about his preparations for
leaving. First, he tore from its pins the light tent, spread it out on
the ground, swept into it the small supply of food which the camp
contained, and rolled the tent about it. Then, with a short-handled
camp shovel he dug a shallow hole in the soft mountain soil into which
he placed, first, the sheepskins and blankets which formed his bed and
then the bundle of the tent, covering it all with the dirt, thus
securing it from the fire.

Having thus protected his food supply, he sent the dog around the sheep
to bunch them up and started them up the mountainside. The sheep,
frightened by the smoke and approaching fire, moved rapidly, and inside
of half an hour the boy had them all bedded down on a great bare granite
field in the middle of a little boulder-strewn valley where, ages ago,
some slipping, sliding glacier had smoothed and polished the surface of
the rocks until they were like some gigantic table top. The valley was
far above timber and the sheep safe from fire.

Leaving the dog to watch the sheep, he hastened back to the meadow,
there to await the coming of the _patron_ as he had been bidden. Once
upon the prairie, where his father lived, he had seen the men go out to
meet an approaching fire and by means of back firing keep it away from
the houses and fields.

In the camp was a stick of pitch pine which some one had brought for
starting fires. Taking the ax, he quickly split off a handful of
splinters, which he bound together with a handy piece of baling wire.
Going to the lower end of the meadow toward the fire with his improvised
torch, he started a line of small fires, hoping they would spread and
thus be some slight protection to the meadow.

The wind favored him, and in a short time he had a wide swath burned
clear along one side of the meadow and his fire was eating out into the
forest and would keep the flames back some distance.

As the main fire line came along he was smothered with the clouds of
smoke and waves of heat which swept down as from a furnace. He stood it
as long as he could, fighting back the fire at every point where the
flames were eating out into the meadow. Burning brands ate holes in his
cotton shirt, and the soles of his "teguas," or rawhide moccasins, were
burned through and through. As the mass of fire reached his back-fire
line he ran to the little spring in the middle of the meadow and threw
himself into it, rolling over and over in the mud and water about it.
The coyotes and wildcat that had taken refuge there hardly noticed his
presence in the face of the coming danger.

Half an hour or more of stifling smoke and burning heat and he dared to
leave his place in the spring. About the meadow some of the trees were
burning clear to their tops, and great logs were blazing everywhere, but
the force of the fire was spent and had gone on past him and he was left
as on an island in midocean.

It was far past noon. Perhaps the _patron_ would come today. He found
the shovel and dug up the buried tent with its precious contents and
made a hasty meal of bread and meat. Then, taking a piece of the meat
for the faithful Pancho, he struck out into the blackened area about him
to find the sheep which he had left to the dog's care that morning.

He was very tired and his almost bare feet were badly cut and burned,
causing him to stop and rest frequently, but he finally reached the
granite ledge, and there found the sheep, with the dog watching their
every movement, and woe unto the ewe or venturesome lamb that attempted
to wander too far into the valley, for he was at its heels in a minute
to drive it back.

That evening, about dark, two men rode into the upper end of the meadow.
The face of each was black and grimy with smoke and sweat. Their eyes
were red and swollen and their horses so tired they stumbled as they
moved. As they came out of the blackened area about the meadow and were
able to see across it the man in advance stopped his horse.

"Lord, I do hate to think of leaving that poor little devil up here all
alone with them sheep," he said to his companion. "Naturally I hate to
think of losing the sheep, but to have him burnt up too is awful."

Suddenly he straightened up in his saddle and rubbed his eyes. "Say,
Bill," he called, "is that a bunch of sheep there, or are my eyes
fooling me?" Before Bill could reply a dog barked and came racing toward

"Well, if it ain't Pancho as I'm a sinner," was the man's delighted cry.

Then the tinkle of a sheep bell reached their ears. They spurred their
tired horses into a trot and soon reached the spot where once stood the
camp tent. In the dim light they saw a freshly dug hole with a tent
lying beside it, upon which was piled a miscellaneous assortment of food
and camping utensils, mutely telling the story of how the camp outfit
had been saved.

Nearby on a pile of sheep skins and under an old blanket lay a boy
sleeping soundly. The eager barking of the dog and the heavy tread of
the horses awoke him, and with a start he sprang to his feet. His
clothing was a mass of mud, his face so black and tear-stained that it
was almost unrecognizable, but the sheepman sprang from his horse and
grabbed him in his arms with a strange choking in his throat he could
hardly conquer.

"Why, Pablo boy, _muchacho mio_, how did you pull through this hell fire
and save yourself and the sheep too?" he asked, patting the dirty cheeks
and mud-filled hair.

"The _patron_ told me to stay here till he returned," said the boy,
"there are all the sheep, the ten markers, the three _campanas_, and the
five _chivos_, that the _patron_ left with me. All are there." The
child's eyes glowed with the pride of accomplishment.

"Bill," said the sheepman, "what's that little feller's name what we
used to recite about in school, him that did the stunt about standing on
the burning deck?"

"You mean Casabianca?"

"That's him, that's the chap. Say, Pablo"--his voice choked and he
swallowed hard before the words would come to his lips--"Pablo, you're
Casabianca all righty, and then some, for that little feller didn't save
his bacon by stayin' where he was tole to. You not only saved yours but
twelve hundred of the best ewes and lambs in the state besides. I'll
promise you that ole Santa Claus'll bring you somethin' mighty fine next
Christmas to pay you for this here job."



By permission _The Argonaut_, San Francisco, Cal.

The town of Horse Head had turned over a new leaf. There was to be no
more "shooting up" of the village. Patience ceased to be a virtue when
the "Cross J" outfit shipped their last train of steers, and everybody
in the gang came into town for a big time, which culminated in a general
"shooting up" of the place.

The lights in all the saloons were bored full of holes, the solitary
street lamp-post, standing in front of the "Apache House"--and the pride
of the heart of the old woman who kept the place--was riddled over and
over again, and every woman in town scared into a fit of hysterics. Then
the town people rose up in their wrath and called on the marshal to put
a stop to it, or resign his office.

Now Jenkins, the marshal, who held the position by virtue of his ability
to shoot quick and true, was something of a diplomat. He was not anxious
to have a row with any of the boys, if it could be avoided, and he was
still further anxious not to lose the confidence of the townspeople, a
nominating convention being due before long. Jenkins was a candidate for
sheriff on the Democratic ticket, and in Colorado County, a nomination
on that ticket was equivalent to an election. Accordingly, being of a
diplomatic turn of mind, as aforesaid, he decided that a little scheming
on his part might work to his advantage. To this end, he rode down to
the little cottonwood "bosque" a few miles below town, where the Cross J
outfit was camped, busily engaged in shoeing horses for another trip
into the mountains, and overhauling the wagon generally.

The result of his visit was that he was authorized by the guilty
"punchers" to enter into negotiations with the town justice, and make
some sort of terms with him, based upon their pleading guilty and
promising good behavior for the future. All this Jenkins successfully
accomplished, and about three o'clock the next afternoon the wily
marshal rode into town accompanied by eight or ten of the boys.

Being arraigned before the town barber, who upheld the dignity of the
law as justice of the peace, they gravely plead guilty to disturbing the
peace and dignity of the place, were fined one dollar and costs each,
which they promptly paid, with many promises of future good conduct.

But alas for such promises! "Cow punchers is pore weak critters, shore,"
old Dad, the cook, used to say; and before sunset that day every last
one of them, unmindful of promises or pledges, was again full of
enthusiasm and cheap whiskey.

"Tex," the bartender at the "Bucket of Blood," had all their
six-shooters behind the bar, and for safety had slyly removed all the
cartridges and inserted empty shells in their place.

About sunset the gang started for camp, their weapons returned to them
with many warnings from Tex not to shoot until clear out of town. They
mounted their ponies and struck out on a dead run down the main street,
whooping and yelling like a bunch of coyotes, but carefully refraining
from firing a shot. About half a mile below town, however, the white
"Yard Limit" sign of the railroad company was too good a mark for the
crowd to pass unchallenged. True, the heavy piece of boiler iron, some
thirty inches across, was pierced in a hundred places from previous
attacks, but a few more wouldn't hurt it, and Baldy Peters, the crack
shot of the camp, drew his revolver and, spurring his pony into a dead
run, took quick aim at the black spot in the center and pulled the
trigger. No answering shot came, and, although he tried all five of the
chambers (no true cowboy or frontiersman ever carries six cartridges in
his revolver) they were all silent.

Baldy jerked his pony up on its haunches, and carefully examined the
cylinder. Sure enough every shell was there, but empty. Jack Gibson, who
had followed Baldy, had the same luck, and when the rest came up a
general investigation followed. It did not take them long to see that
they had been tricked by some one. Their indignation knew no bounds.
"Jes to think," said Big Pete, "s'posin' one of us ud a got inter a row,
and some blame town galoot had a drawed a gun on him, wouldn't he 'a'
been in a fine ole fix to 'a' jerked his 'hog-leg,' and nary a bean in
the wheel?"

The more they thought about it the madder they got. Revenge they must
have. What its form, they scarcely knew, nor cared. Without more talk,
they all reloaded the weapons from their well-filled belts and turned
their horses' heads toward town, speculating as they rode along as to
just what they would do to show the town of Horse Head the danger of
monkeying with a cow puncher's weapons. As they rode, they hatched up a
plan, suggested from the fertile brain of Mac, the horse-wrangler,
which, they thought, if successfully carried out, would give them the
requisite amount of satisfaction for their wounded dignity.

It was on Tex, the bartender, and Jenkins, the town marshal, that they
poured out the vials of their wrath. Who else than they would have
removed the cartridges from all those cylinders and replaced them with
empty shells?

Now, they knew that Tex was the marshal's right-hand man when it came to
any trouble, and that, during the shipping season, when the outfits were
around town a good deal, each of them kept a horse in the corral back of
the "Bucket of Blood," ready for any emergency. Arriving in town, they
proceeded to get gloriously full again, while Tex and Jenkins, secure in
the knowledge of those empty shells they had placed in their revolvers,
enjoyed the fun and allowed them full play.

Along toward ten o'clock the boys drifted down to the only restaurant in
Horse Head that kept open all night as well as all day. It was kept by
"Chinese Louie," an almond-eyed celestial who ran a store, restaurant,
wash-house, and the village photograph gallery, all under one long roof.

Now, when a puncher gets into a restaurant, the only thing he craves is
ham and eggs. Of beef he has a surfeit. The menu of the round-up wagon
is coffee, bread, and meat three times a day, with awful regularity.
Therefore, the gang was soon busy, seated on high stools at the long
counter. After they had eaten their fill each wadded up his paper napkin
and fired it at the cook, lit a cigar from the case at the end of the
counter, and paid his bill.

Then the fun opened by some one pulling a revolver and taking a shot at
the big kerosene lamp that hung from the ceiling. In an instant twenty
shots were fired; every lamp in the place was out and bored full of
holes; the fancy water cooler that sat in the corner was riddled; and
the coffee and tea pots on the big range behind the counter, as well as
a lot more tempting marks in the way of copper cooking utensils that
hung overhead on a rack, were turned into sieves.

Poor Chinese Louie and his assistant lost no time in making themselves
scarce; and, after it got too dark, for want of lamp-light, to see to
shoot anything more, the now hilarious punchers swaggered out to their
ponies, standing quietly at the "snorting post" in front of the
restaurant, and with a parting volley up the main street toward the
"Bucket of Blood," rode furiously out of town.

Instead of going straight on down the railroad track they turned sharp
to the left, at the first corner, and headed for the county bridge which
spanned the river at Horse Head, a wooden structure with huge beams
overhead, and some six or seven spans long.

Just as they turned the corner out of the main street a couple of shots
whistled past the bunch, proving that Tex and the marshal were alive
and in pursuit. This was what the boys wanted, and they gave shrill
yells of defiance as they pounded through the heavy sand that covered
the road to the bridge. They slowed down a little along here to give
their pursuers a chance to catch up a little; and when the officers
announced their coming, by more shots, some of which came rather close
to the bunch of riders, they fired a few in reply, and thundered across
the bridge at full speed, in spite of the warning sign that promised all
sorts of fines and imprisonment for any one "riding across the bridge
faster than a walk."

Along about the center span four of the boys, Baldy Peters, Jack Gibson,
Dutch Henry, and Long Jim, dropped from their saddles, their ropes in
their hands, and two on each side of the roadway, in the shelter of the
huge beams, hastily made loops in their ropes, and awaited the coming of
the two men. The rest of the gang clattered across the bridge with
shrill whoops, and out on to the hard rocky road beyond, with the four
loose horses following them, as if their riders were still on their

Now, the four men on the bridge were the most skillful rope-tossers in
all that range. Rope-tossers, instead of swinging the rope around their
heads before throwing, spread it out behind and to one side of them, and
with a quick, graceful throw, or toss, launch it with unerring aim over
the head of the animal at which they throw. This method is used almost
entirely in catching horses out of the "cavyyard," and also in catching
calves out of a herd, as it is done so quietly and easily that the
animal is snared before it has a chance to dodge or move.

Tex and the marshal were not quite so foolhardy or ignorant as to feel
that they could capture and arrest the crowd they were after, but the
marshal wanted that nomination in the fall, and felt it was a good
chance to make a "rep" for himself. Tex was to be his chief deputy, if
elected, so he was also eager to do something to prove his valor. Their
idea, therefore, was to make a sort of grandstand play, follow the boys
out a ways, fire a few shots after them at parting, and come back to
town. Hearing them rattle across the bridge and out over the rocky road
beyond, they feared no trap or ambush, and so kept riding in their wake,
firing a shot every few seconds, as much to show the townspeople what
they were up to, as anything else.

As they passed the spot where the four boys were awaiting them, four
silent ropes settled down over the heads and shoulders of the luckless
officers of the law. Going at full speed as they were, there was no
chance to throw off those snakelike coils, and the two riders were
jerked backward over their horses' hips and landed heavily upon the hard
plank flooring of the bridge.

The marshal's six-shooter went off into the air as he wildly threw up
his arms to clear his body of that python-like embrace, while the one
Tex held in his hands flew off into space and dropped into the muddy
waters below. Both men were stunned by the force of the fall, and lay as
if dead on the bridge; but no sooner had they struck than they were
promptly covered by the four men.

The avengers first took their small "hogging ropes" (a short piece of
rope about six feet long, which every well regulated puncher carries,
either in his saddle pocket, or around his waist, to be used in tying
together the feet of any cow or steer he might have to tie down on the
ranges), and secured their prisoners' wrists firmly behind their backs;
then they took a lariat rope and wound it round and round the men's
bodies from shoulders to heels, so that moving their feet or arms was an
impossibility. To do this was not hard, for both men were stunned from
their fearful fall, and lay like logs, while the boys worked on them.

The end of another lariat was passed through under their arms, around
the body, and tied in a "bow-line hitch" behind the back. The two
luckless officers were by this time regaining consciousness, and began
to curse and struggle, but to no avail. At first they feared they were
to be hung, and begged for their lives like good fellows; but as they
were swung off the edge of the bridge and found how they were lashed
with ropes, they pleaded even more fervently, for it looked as if the
boys meant to drown them like rats in a cage. All to no avail. The boys
never answered a word, but went ahead with their work, in the most
matter-of-fact way imaginable. The ropes, tied as they were, suspended
the men by the arms in such a way that they hung fairly upright, and
without any particular pain or suffering from them.

Now, the water of the Puerco is about as vile-smelling and oleaginous
stuff as any one ever saw, tasted, or smelled; indeed, the offensiveness
of the water suggested the name of the river--"Nasty." Especially in
time of floods does it deserve its name. The water then is more like
thin gruel of a yellowish red color, and smells to Heaven. Into this
mess the conspirators slowly lowered the two officers of the law,
regardless of their prayers, entreaties, threats, or curses, of which
each of the two men poured out a liberal supply in tones to wake the

A turn of the rope about one of the bridge rods served to check the
speed of their descent, and while Baldy Peters got over the railing and
down on to the stone abutment, that he might the better see how far to
lower the men, the rest held onto the ropes and let them down.

Baldy, crouching low on the abutment, peered down into the darkness and
gave orders for the work, so that when the two ropes were tied to a rod,
each man was swinging in the water breast deep. He clambered back onto
the bridge, and the four punchers hastened out into the darkness after
the rest of the gang, who were waiting for them not far off.

The next morning about daybreak, four horsemen rode out of the camp and
headed for the New Mexico line, across which they felt themselves
reasonably safe; for they well knew that the marshal would never follow
and bring them back to relate in court the way they outwitted him and
Tex. All they feared was that he would take a shot at them the first
time he got sight of them, as he certainly would have done had he ever
"met up with" either of the guilty four.

The boys were "drifters," anyhow, as much at home in one place as
another, and good hands were always in demand on the ranches in those
days, so it mattered little where they brought up.

As for the marshal and Tex, their first impression was that they were to
be lynched; then they thought that they were to drown, which was even
worse; finally, however, when they realized what the boys really meant
to do, their rage knew no bounds. The marshal would almost have
preferred to be hung, for he quickly foresaw that when they were
rescued, the ridicule the affair would cause throughout the county would
everlastingly kill his chances for any office. Had they been hung, or
even drowned, they would have been heroes, even though dead ones; but
this trick would turn a laugh against them as long as they lived.

Luckily for the two unfortunates, right below the place from which they
were lowered, instead of the river running in its regular channel, there
was a great eddy, or swirl, where the water had cut a deep hole in the
sandy river bed. Here the water was quite deep and had but little
movement, except a slow circling motion. In this they swung at anchor,
from midnight until broad daylight. The water caused the ropes to shrink
and draw until they suffered a great deal where they cut into their
wrists, making it an utter impossibility for them to untie the knots,
although they worked diligently trying to get them loose in some way.
The water was cold and their limbs soon became so numb that they could
hardly move either hands or legs. They wore their voices out calling for

The boys, in lowering them down, had been cunning enough to fasten them
far enough apart so they could not aid each other to get loose, and
while from the motion of the water they occasionally bumped against one
another, they quickly drifted apart, as helpless as if in two

About sunrise, a Mormon boy, belonging to a freighter outfit, which was
camped over in town, going out after the horses which had been taken
across the river the night before to graze, came whistling down the road
to the bridge, and started to cross. As soon as his footfalls were heard
on the flooring of the structure, the almost helpless men below roused
and began to call as loudly as they were able with their numb lips and
jaws chattering like castanets. It took him a minute or two to locate
the voices.

The lad took one hasty look over the railing of the bridge, and, with a
shriek of horror, fled toward town as fast as his feet could carry him.
Here he told the first man he met that he had seen two bodies hanging to
the bridge, and a crowd was soon on the way to the river, expecting to
find the results of a vigilance committee suspended from the stringers.

The two men were quickly pulled up on to the bridge and the ropes that
bound them like steel bands were cut from their bodies. Both men were so
stiff that they had to be carried to town, and the doctor and several
men worked over them for more than an hour trying to restore the
circulation in their stiffened limbs and almost frozen bodies. The story
of their capture set the whole town to laughing, and the more people
laughed, the more ridiculous the happening grew. Nor did it lose
anything in the telling and soon the entire county was also laughing
over the misfortunes of the two peace officers. Jenkins' chief political
opponent naturally made the most of it and under such conditions that
gentleman was literally laughed into political obscurity.

About that time the Wells-Fargo Express Company feared a hold-up on the
railroad, and Jenkins and Tex, glad to leave the scene of their
water-cure adventure, secured positions as guards and soon dropped out
of polite society in Horse Head as represented by the gang around the
"Bucket of Blood" and its immediate vicinity.

[Illustration: "_They gave the money to Jackson, the Cross J wagon

The next time they came to town the "Cross J" boys chipped in a dollar
each and gave it to old "Dad," the cook, counted the luckiest "wheel"
player in the bunch, who took the coin and with a burst of good luck
soon ran it up to something over a hundred dollars at the roulette
wheel. This entire amount he gave to Jackson the wagon boss, who went
down to Chinese Louie's place, and poured it out on the counter before
the heathen's astonished eyes, as a peace offering from the "shoot 'em
up" crowd that had wrecked his place.

That night about midnight Louie and his assistant set out to the boys
the very swellest "feed" his culinary abilities could prepare, and the
affair of the shooting up of Horse Head and the putting of the marshal
and his aid-de-camp to soak under the bridge in the cold nasty waters of
the Rio Puerco was thus amicably settled over the viands that the
Chinaman furnished.



    Transcriber's notes:

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    she's a-grazin' and' it's a sure shot the calf's hid away in
    she's a-grazin' an' it's a sure shot the calf's hid away in

    It was the end of the road for the blue roan.
    It was the end of the road for the blue-roan.

    like videttes on guard over the canon.
    like videttes on guard over the cañon.

    deep box canons impassable for miles.
    deep box cañons impassable for miles.

    It brought very man in camp to his feet, for high above
    It brought every man in camp to his feet, for high above

    the Little Colorado River 'bout the mouth of the Canon
    the Little Colorado River 'bout the mouth of the Cañon

    "I'll never miss them spurs, said Bob pointing to an
    "I'll never miss them spurs," said Bob pointing to an

    steer round up" he asked of the new comer.
    steer round up?" he asked of the newcomer.

    burst from my eager lips."
    burst from my eager lips.

    I sent one of the boys back with the hoss, an tole him to
    I sent one of the boys back with the hoss, an' tole him to

    "Then the captain he sort of grins an' sez. 'That's
    "Then the captain he sort of grins an' sez, 'That's

    Then the captain, he bein' a fine old sojer man, with
    "Then the captain, he bein' a fine old sojer man, with

    iver seen in all his life. 'Twas sure no fault wid thim steers
    iver seen in all his life. ''Twas sure no fault wid thim steers

    of the Stars and' Stripes a-flyin' overhead. I was busy
    of the Stars an' Stripes a-flyin' overhead. I was busy

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