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    • "We'll have to get on over to the dinning room them. Afraid it's liable to be a bit more like Kalispell than Frisco." He said. "But it'll be good food, just not what we've been used too. Will be up on the hill, for sure.  I was told this is the best hotel because it was a ways out across the river from town, and it was solid built."   "The wealth on the hill is such that all most everything around it is growing at a fast pace. You'll really see that when we visit the Capitol, Carson City. Supposedly discovered by Kit Carson and General John Freemont on their way to Sacramento in. At least Freemont named the river after him back in '43 or '44. Nothin' was there then."   "All that made me hungry too, let's go eat an then take us a walk across the river, or along it, which ever you want." @Bongo
    • That did not take long. Cookie rang the triangle and shouted his best but in the end he sent the kid to roust all but the closest to him. Rance joined young Wheeler in the line, a bit out of the wind, but mostly in it for the moment. It seemed calmer up by the wagon.   "That had ta be bad back there. The wind drivin' the dust an' the smell, but should this wind let up you'll be on flank, left flank, then right, then back to the drag. It'll be me, Dallas, an' Dixie. eatin' dust tomorrow. But at least we got hot grub, won't always be that'a way out here though, every trip is different."   And they moved up steadily. @Bongo
    • "Nothing to discuss? I am surprised, Jonah. Why, if we have time for breakfast, there will be much to discuss regarding the hospital as well as the start of the orphanage. Hopefully that the railroad will be completed, or close to it by then." She smiled brightly. "Things will be different by then."   "My hope is that we get through all of this without my fathers interference causing delays, or real problems with the builders. You know we could get well into October before the snow flies, but I'm not counting on that. The winter will stop construction until the thaw." She stated, but the smile was still there, "But it will be well underway!" @Bongo
    • "Pleased ta meet ya, Rance."  Justus gave the man a nod, then lined up with the others for grub.  Maybe he could get some sleep despite the wind.  He surely was tired enough, and until there was something that concerned him, he didn't need to be concerned.   First, though, a full belly!  As the line progressed, he he nodded to the kid who was the cook's help.  "Times like this, I bet yer glad ya don't have ta be on th' downwind end of a herd'a cows!"   @Flip
    • "It's good to know you'll have the best working on the project, you've come this far, you don't need to risk the quality with less than the best working on it."  Even though he had no doubt that the crew would be excellent, it was reassuring to know that the man hand picked for the job would actually be on site overseeing it.  That way, too, he'd be there if Leah needed to discuss anything with him, and Jonah had a good feeling that was going to happen!   He grinned and took a sip of coffee.  "Just think, this time next year it will all be over!  We'll have a fine hospital with the best equipment...and nothing to discuss over breakfast!"   @Flip  

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Barnabas Pike
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Pronto pushed through the bat wings as stepped out on the boardwalk, stopping and scanning the street, end to end. What came to him was the opportunity to send a wire to an old friend in Austin and maybe the Rangers had some new information on what happened to Rye Everson. Granted, it had been a while back, but the Rangers seldom gave up on crimes of any kind.

 

He walked across the street and headed to the telegraph office midway down the block thinking of how he might have made a difference that night had he been there, but he was riding night herd and some distance from White Settlement. By the time a rider came in with word of what had happened, Pronto was tracking rustlers north.

 

He and the other Double Diamond riders had caught up with the rustlers and a fight ensued. Pike took some lead and that laid him up for some time. Long enough that the hombre who back shot Rye was long gone.

Pronto opened the door and stepped inside.

 

“Help you?” The telegrapher asked.

 

“Need to send a wire to Austin Texas,” Pronto asked.

 

The man slid a piece of paper under the cage opening, “Fill this out, name, where it’s going your message and name.”

 

“Thanks.” Pronto took up the pencil and began printing; ‘Captain Sam Coulter, Ranger Headquarters, Austin, Texas. Sam, need any and all information on the shooting of Rye Evereson in White Settlement two years ago. Thanks, Pronto’ He read it over to make sure it said what he wanted, then slid the paper back.

 

The telegrapher read the message and looked up. “Be two bits.” The silver coin was laid on the wood counter. “Sending it now. Where can you be found?”

 

“Boarding house, room three.” Was the reply, even though it went against his better judgment to give his room number, he felt there were no threats in Kalispell. “Thanks.” With that, he walked out of the office and paused a long moment. ‘Sam Coulter was an old friend and if there was anything, he’d let him know.

 

TBC

 

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Boarding House

Room 3

 

Barnabus Pike sat on the bed, the telegram in his hand illuminated by the oil lamp on the dresser, as he read and reread it. It was not just the answers to his original queries. Cap'n Sam was as good a Ranger as most all of them. A man that could lead no matter the circumstances and they'd seen their fair share during the time he'd served as a Minuteman out of Lampasas.

 

He lowered his hand to his lap disregarding his message the memory of his last ride with the Rangers. June of sixty-six, he had taken a shipment from Lapasas to Austin, which would also have given him time to see some old friends from the Eighth, what he didn't realize was that in fact he would be seeing four of them.

 

Seems that the telegrapgh was faster than his Studebaker freight wagon. The sixty-nine miles he would traverse was ten days sweat. He swore it was going to be his last of that distance. Well, he was close on that one. He pulled into Austin near noon of the tenth day out. Right to Waddell's warehouse where all but two crates would be off loaded, those two crates would be delivered to Ranger headquarters. Well, that wasn't new.

 

Once unloaded, Pronto walked into the building which housed the offices with the manifest to be signed. The duty Ranger looked up at him. "Pike, the Commander wants you the moment you arrive." He announced. "Looks like this is it." He whistled and another Ranger led Pike to the small office wher Captain Gutherie  sat and Sam Coulter stood.

 

"Mister Pike, Sir." The younger man said.

 

Part One TBC

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"Barnabus Pike. seems Captain Coulter insists you're the man he needs for this mission." Captain Gutherie greeted. "Does the name Tiburcio Escobar mean anything to you?"

 

"Bandito leader, Sir," Pronto responded, wanting desperately to shake Sam's hand.

 

"Well, he's kidnapped two children and robbed three banks. He's got a two-day jump on you from Seguin. Far north I realize, but he's a bold man with twenty or better men with him." Guthrie explained. "There's a horse. saddled and ready, plus another pistol, anything you need. I'm pressing you into service for this. You and four others. Track 'em down and get those girls back, the money too, if you can."

 

That was how it started.

 

Sam Coulter, Regg Blackmore, Tommy Carslile, Red Hayes and Red Haslet and Pronto after twenty or more desperados. Likely odds for a fight. He noted that aside from the Winchesters in their saddle scabbards, there were twelve gauge sawed down shotguns across the saddle brows. He smiled as he swung into leather. Sort of like the resurgence of the Eighth Texas Cavalry, Company F.

 

On the fifth day, Hayes thundered up to his fellow pursuers. "I've seen the girls. They with half a dozen men two miles from here. My guess is Escobar and the rest are off on a raid."

 

"Hell you say!" Watch yer shots. Cain't be hittin' them girls, but leave none to tell the tale! Clear" Coulter said, fire in his eyes.

 

"Clear!" Came the simultaneous response as men mounted up and thundered after Hayes.

 

It was fast and clean. There had been seven men with the children, none close to them, so the shots were quick and accurate.  The Rangers rushed in, Coulter barking orders, "gather up their guns, canteen and take their animals, get those girls mounted and tie yo hats to the saddle boys! Fogg it north!!"

 

The girls were screaming, animals were sorting, squealing, and roaring in the confusion, but they got the girls mounted and thundered out of there with five horses being led. All of which might be needed as they were under no illusion that they were leaving a very clear trail for Escobar to follow, not so much for the captives, but because they had killed his men.

 

Two or three miles at top speed would be it, all of the distance they could put between them and the bandito camp. They had no idea of where Escobar was, and that was worrisome. The slowed to a trot still eating up country until they slowed to a walk, which they had to do.

They paused to water the animals from the Mexicans canteens, and offer drinks from their own. Rielly and Anna Sommervale were their names and they realized they had been rescued.

 

As he sat there in that room it was like all of it was yesterday, he could still taste that dry Texas dust as they paused on their way north.

 

Part Two ~ TBC

 

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Maybe the pauses to let the girls and the animals rest and water was the deciding factor, maybe Escobar and his men were able to steal enough fresh mounts along the way, no matter Pronto reflected, they could see the dust from the pursuers rising in the sky making them maybe three or four miles back and coming hard!

 

“You two redheads, them girls and the spare mounts and run ‘em til they drop, but you get the girls to Austin, and to be lollygaggin’ along the way!” Coulter demanded. “Ride like the wind, we’ll hold ‘em best we can right here. Git!”

 

He remembered the looks from Hayes and Haslet, neither liked it, but he’d never forget how they stormed out of that coulee with a rebel yell! He remembered that it fell to, Blackmore, Coulter, Carslile, and him to give them time to put distance between their friends and the oncoming horde. Time they had to buy at whatever cost.

 

They loaded all of the weapons the had, theirs and the Mexicans.  Then the found spots to hide as best as the sparse cover would allow, creosote bushes were all that big, and sparse rocks weren’t all the impregnable, but they were going to have to do. Each man laid out the assorted weapons however he deemed most appropriate for his use. There would be little time to reload if any at all. If, and it was a big if, they could hold the banditos to the tight walls of that coulee then there was a chance, slim, but a chance.

 

Now they could hear them, but the drumming of the hooves dropped to nearly nothing, they were in the coolie and moving in on the Rangers precarious position and four men with a life’s worth of fighting experience with far less lethal weapons. Not a word had passed between them since the others had ridden out, but what was there to say. That part of this hung with him as he sat there. The quiet, except for the enemy horses plodding through the coolie, the deafening quiet.

 

The Mexicans came out of the Coulee two or three abreast and bunched up wanting to get free of the arroyo and after their prey, what they got was four Winchesters pouring lead into the narrow opening. Two horses went down in the first volley, their riders dead or wounded. The riders immediately behind tumble to the sand, Horse screaming, men shouting, cursing, and themselves screaming as sixty rounds of forty-fours filled the air in the confines of the arroyo.

 

The commands to turn back could be heard as the Mexicans tried to control their mounts and Coulter and his men took up second rifles and fired as fast as they could lever the actions.

 

Part three TBC

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“RIDE!” Coulter screamed and his men raced to their horses, leaving most of the captured weapons, as well as their own where they lay. Most did grab a rifle, had their pistols and they swung into leather and raced off out of the devastation.  

Ride, and that’s what they did, spurring their animals on desperate to get to some kind of cover, knowing Escobar, if he lived, would be following in a murderous rage.

 

Yeah, Pike thought and they almost made it to cover when Pronto turned to look back and saw Captain Coulter's horse stumble and go down. Reigned around and galloped back as Sam got away from the mount and stretched out an arm, which Pronto gabbed as the horse all but sat down sliding to a halt. He saw them then, not three hundred yards off, and spun the mount and made for the boulders ahead as bullets whizzed past.

 

They made cover and joined the fray, fighting as only the resigned could. Playing against hope that they would prevail even though they had taken down a good half of Escobar’s men in the arroyo, they were still outgunned maybe four to one, and them with only those weapons they had managed to escape with.

 

Carslile slumped over, then forced himself upright, emptying his gun before another bullet took him in the chest, felling him. Pike recalled the burn of the Bullet that slammed into and through his left shoulder spinning him around and dropping him to his knees. He too fought to regain his position using both pistols, when a bullet burned his scalp pushing him backward. That was when lady luck stepped in. With likely his last rifle round Captain Coulter drilled the bandito leader, Escobar, in the head, and the firing ceased. Moments later they could hear fading hoof beats of the banditos who were able to escape.

 

He sat there a long moment reflecting, Carslile and Blackmore were dead. He and Sam were wounded, with two of the mounts down as well, but they had done it. The girls had been recovered and were well on their way to safety. They would find only part of the money. They bandaged each other wounds, drank water greedily, then took their two mounts and recovered six of the outlaws' horses. Next, they gathered up all of the outlaw's guns and ammunition, plus they rode back and recovered the Ranger equipment before the long ride to Austin.

 

He had received a letter that began "Texas is Proud." It was wrapped in oilskin in his saddlebags, along with his other scant valuables. He smiled, Sam Coulter, a good man. He simply toppled sideways on the bed and dropped off to sleep, the telegram floating to the floor.

 

End Part Four (Inspired by the Garth Brooks song "Cowboy Bill" 1989
TBC

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pronto came awake slowly sitting up, rubbing his jaw. He exhaled and swung to a sitting position, running both hands through his hair as his mind cleared from the sleep. The sun was cresting and a new day was beginning.

There was a task at hand, well, perhaps two. He would need to face Linda Everson, the telegram had not been good news. He bent down and picked up the message from Texas;


“Pronto, Case Steelgrave was implicated and there were two witnesses, both dead, so no case. Sam”

 

He washed up, thinking all the while that there had been witnesses to the killing, but they too were dead and that left no way to prove Case Steelgrave the murderer. But he knew for a fact that such things happened, witnesses were found dead or never found, or backed out entirely. They weren’t cowards that was certain. Most men had served in the war and had fought Indians, outlaws, and banditos. Texas was a hard place.

 

Well, short of murder, there was little Pronto could do on the matter. But these things generally had a way of working out for the best in the end, however long that might take. There was always someone faster coming at them, or perhaps a careless moment and a concealed gunman. He didn’t take into account a hanging in this case as Steelgrave was the law in his town.

 

Once cleaned up, Pronto made his way downstairs, he did not see Missus Everson so breakfast was next on the list. Off to the cafe.

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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As Pronto sat at the plank table eating his beef steak and eggs his mind wandered through his past. He had been on both sides of the law to this point. Not that he was a killer, though he had killed his share of men. Men who had deserved what they got, no matter their intent. There were no notches on his pistols, that was a braggarts trick. Pronto Pike could say that his shootings were legal, meaning the men he had downed were all armed and facing him at the time of their demise.


He’d been involved with some youngsters back from the war, rustled a few head of beef to sell for ‘Saturday night money’, which could have led to a rope, but Sam Coulter had put a stop to that


He was not wanted, at least he was not aware of anything down his back trail that would have the law looking for him. Sam would have included anything of that sort in his response, and he would certainly know.


This matter with Steelgrave did not sit well with him. A man implicated was a man presumed guilty and could and would be taken dead or alive, though as he saw it, taking him dead would be murder. And, Steelgrave was law, no matter how corrupt. That would be a rope or a hail of bullets. So, unless the man crossed him and forced the play, Pronto Pike had to live and let live.


He would need to let Missus Everson know what he had learned, and where that put him in so far as resolving the matter. Not the best of starts to a day.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pronto stepped out of the café into the morning light, pulling on his hat and setting it to his liking. The beef and eggs were good and the coffee hot and strong. He was now more than ready to face the day, he had made a decision over the meal.

 

He strode down the boardwalk to the boarding house and stepped inside, closing the door behind him and removing his hat as the bell tinkled above him. Missus Everson was behind the desk looking at him. He fiddled with his hat as he stepped toward her. “Mornin’ Ma’am, heard back from Texas alright as I knew I would.” there was no pause, he got right to it, “Case Steelgrave is suspected of murdering your son, there were ‘spose to be a pair of witnesses but they turned up dead, not much the Rangers could do after that. Sorry Ma’am.”

 

She looked drawn and a bit pale. “Thank you for trying Mister Pike. I do appreciate the effort. I suppose I’ll never know what happened, or why.”

 

“Happens that way out here. Might well have been someone else whot shot him, but sure as I’m standin’ here, Steelgrave’s in it somewhares an’ I just ain’t done with this just yet.”

 

“Now Mister Pike, don’t you go doing anything rash.” Linda Everson said.

 

“Rash Ma’am, no siree, not atall what I had in mind,” Pike responded. “Now you have a pleasant day I’ve things to see about.” And without waiting for a reply, Pronto pike strode to the door, opened it and stepped outside, closing it as he again set the hat on his head to his liking. He hitched up his guns and stepped off the walk and crossed the street, headed for the livery.

large.551114201_LindaEverson.jpg.7c14de4534c2df751ed7bfdef5fc11f4.jpg

TBC

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rash he thought, now that was not anything one Pronto Pike would do. Though he had garnered the nic-name Pronto for a reason. A quick pause at the stables and hed be on his way.

TBC

Edited by Flip
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