"Well boy," the rider said looking down at him from the back of his horse. "Just what are you up too?" It was Dallas, and he was one to ask questions first, rather than just shoot a fellow. "You might oughtta ride on in like a man. There'll be plenty of grub, and you'll be welcome to it." He smiled.
Dallas, had been sitting his horse between the stranger and the herd in the fading light, and though he has a hand close to his Colt, he had not seen the need to draw it. "You out here on yer own? Mount up an' I'll ride in with ya jest so's you don't get shot er nuthin'!" The he laughed.
The first day had gone without incident, either human or weather, if they were lucky, and their good fortune continued, making good time would be easy, yet every man knew that one day does not make a drive. They had a long way to go yet to deliver the herd and the horses.
"Say boss, this Montana country, you ever been up thata way?" Laredo asked.
"Can't say as I have, but I hear it's real pretty country." Frank replied. "Part of the reason I took this job, man says we can stay on if we like, he'll be looking for hands once there's cows on the place."
"You know this hombre?" Was the next question as others gathered around.
"Know of him. Was a Ranger once. Done some movin' about, much the same as most of us. He's said to be a square shooter, not given to slippery deals, and bad promises. Frank explained, he had heard about Pronto Pike and his reputation was good. "A fair man, an honest man, one they said to ride the river with. So that got me to thinking that this here drive mind end where a man could set down roots, quit wanderin' around."
"Well then, glad I signed on, like the sound of that!" Laredo said. "A fresh start in new country. Sounds good, real good.
The the triangle was sounded and Cooke shouted, "Come an git afore I throw it out!" Not that he ever had.
Frank had given out assignments before the start, and promised that positions would rotate. Generally the drag riders were new hands, but the men he had were all experienced, the drive was too far in through questionable country to be training youngsters. The men he had knew how to handle most things they might encounter, stampedes, herd cutters, Indians and just plain bad weather.
The sun was out and bright, not a cloud in the sky, and they were making good time, though the would cross into Oklahoma within the hour, The would then make their first camp that night in the territories. If they pushed hard which Frank Teal just might, they could get close to ten miles in that first day and just about cross out of the strip known by several names, 'No Man's Land,' 'The Cimarron Strip are just two. But a dangerous place. The could cut over to New Mexico Territory but that would invite the Apaches to raid them, so they would give the lawless town of Cimarron a wide birth and lose perhaps a day.
They were moving a a good steady clip. So far, so good!
The idea of moving seven hundred and fifty cows with fifteen men might seem like overkill, but Frank's reasoning was, that if he lost men along the way, or whatever reason, replacing them would be next to impossible, so better too any than not enough.
Granted, seven hundred fifty was a small herd compared to hears of a thousand to twenty-five hundred driven to Kansas, most times there were ten cowboys for those herds, not counting the cook and his helper. Frank counted them all. Long before the Pikes had left for their trip, Pronto had contacted Frank about what he wanted, and how he wanted it done.
So, as they moved out from Coldwater Texas, it was just as the owner had stated. Frank was a stickler for instructions. Though his main concern was the Indian territory they would pass through, not just for Indians, but outlaws as well. This patch of land that was called Oklahoma would not be recognized as a state for some years yet, so it would be wide open.
Cookie and Little Mary, Danny Barker, led out, and behind them came the herd, the drive was on!
"Godamn! Here we go boys!" Dallas said watching Frank, Dixie, and Weezer coming toward them at a canter. A clear sing that it was time to head north for this Montana country to deliver the herds, not that any of them had seen that country, even though this would not be the first herd driven up there.
"Mount up! We're movin' out!" Pythias Modeen shouted to the others, but Cookie and the kid were already hitching the team to the chuck wagon, which had been kept close by, as they'd be moving out ahead of the heard. "Get them doggies together!"
Dallas Hardin leaped into the saddle and began herding the cattle together, while Virgil and Lorado began getting the remuda organized to move. It was not a simple thing, just throwing the gates open and letting them run, it was all calculated. Everything in it's turn and ever man had a job insuring neither horse, man, nor cow was injured. That would make for a bad start.
The remuda would get out first and they would run after being penned up, and it would be the job of several of the hands to chase after and slow them down. Excitement raced through man and animal as the preparations were made to open the gates and head out.
Mature Content: language
With: Frank Teal, Wheezer, Dixie, Location: Coldwater, Texas Sazerac Saloon When: Mid-summer 1876 Time of Day: Afternoon
A day after being sent the telegram reached the agent in the town of Coldwater Texas where the herd belonging to Barnabas Pike was standing in the holding pens. Seven hundred fifty mixed, longhorns, Herefords and a dozen Angus. Three bulls were being sent by rail to Montana which would take just about as long as the planned ninety days for the thirteen hundred mile drive, if they managed fifteen miles a day, the average speed for a drive. That took into account nooning to rest and graze.
Frank Teale read the brief message, folded the paper and stuffed it in his vest pocket, then drew out his pocket watch checked the time and got to his feet. He kicked the chair where Dixie Brick was alseep. "'mon get up, we're movin out." He sided up with Weezer Walcot. "Time to take it on the trail, Weezer."
"Yes sir," and he hurried outside,leaped into the saddle and galloped to the pens at the other side of town where most of the boys were waiting just such news. Now the herd had been held in Hardeman, Texas, but Teale and the boys drove them to Coldwater, giving them mover of a straight shot north, northeast to Montana. The riders from the XIT, a new outfit had made the delivery genitally, but Teale and his cowboys finished the move.
With Dixie in tow they went to the hitch rail and mounted up, it would be a while before they bellied up to the bar again, but that was the life of a cowboy on a drive. It was about to get hot and nasty! Teal had the route planned, waterholes and rivers marked, hoping the waterholes would not be dry by the time they got to them. Waiting at the holding pens were the best men he could find, not just to drive the cattle, but to fight if and when it was necessary. Fifteen top hands ready to head out on one more drive where things were unknown, hostilities were probable, hard going assured. And they couldn't wait!
Dixie Brick Weezer Frank Teal
Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.
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