As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
I have a few main stories that I can read over and over again. Some are like the 1873 Buffalo Hunt and others are as this one from Our Wild Indians, by Lt. Col. Washington Irving Dodge.
I share this story, because it is a life lesson for all Americans in what Americans were once, and how choices are made with consequences.
This is the story of an American Rancher in Kansas.
Oh and if you ever read Larry McMurtry in Lonesome Dove. He plagiarized most of the work of Colonel Dodge for the basis of his fortune and left the real Heroes to be unknown who took the chances and created the America now being stolen from Americans, as much as Europe from the Europeans.
A few years ago the beef contractor at one of the military posts in the Indian Territory had an adven- ture which I will let him tell in his own idiom. "Wall, boys, I was mighty nigh onto busted that time, an' I'll tell you about it. You see I'd worked hard an' roughed it, an' got a nice little lot of cattle. The contract for this post was to be let, I bid on it, A HANDSOME OUTFIT. 613 an' got it. Wall, my cattle was none ojf the best, the grass was poor, an' afore long the commandin' officer says to me, says he, f There's complaints agin your beef, you must do better, or I will order the com- missary to buy good beef and charge it to yer.' Says I, f Commandin' officer, I know my beef is none of the best, but give me a little time, and I'll get yer the very best.' All right,' says he, but do it.' So next mornin' I put some money in my belt and started for Texas. I bought a hundred and fifty head of first class beef, and hired a Mexican boy to help me drive 'em. He was only a little chap about twelve years old, but he was powerful bright and handy, and, sand ! lots ! I had a breech-loadin' rifle, and pistols, but the Injuns was bad, so I bought a double-barrelled shot- gun for the boy. Everything went on all right till we'd got into the territory about one hundred miles from here. One mornin' we was movin' along, when a man rode up to me. He was a small-sized man, but the handsomest man I ever seed, an' dressed the handsomest. He had on high boots, big silver spurs, an' buckskin breeches, an' a buckskin huntin'-shirt all over fringes, an' open at the front. He had on a white biled shirt, an' a red silk necktie with long ends a flyin' behind. Around his waist was a red silk sash, an' he wore a regular Mexican sombrero, an' his bridle an' saddle was Mexican, an' covered with silver. He was on a splendid mustang that bucked an' shied all the time, but he rode him like his skin. I tell you, boys, it was a handsome outfit. Good mornin',' says he, a liftin' up his hat mighty polite. *Good mornin',' says I, an' with that we chatted along pleasant like. He told me that he had a big herd of cattle about three miles 614 GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. to the east, an' he was afraid I'd give 'em the fever, an' he wanted me to keep more to the left, off his range. Wall, I was agreeable, an' he kept with me for a mile an* more, showin' me where to go and then thankin' me polite, he said good-bye, an' rode off. Wall now, boys, I had kept on the course he told me for about two hours, when just beyant a little rise I drove right into my gentleman friend an' six other fellers. Ridin' right up to me, my friend says, says he, after thinkin' it over, I have concluded it would be a pity to lose such a extra fine lot of beef cattle as you have got, so I have concluded to take 'em in.' Wall, boys, I saw right through the thing in a minit I knowed it were no use to fight agin so many, so I begged. I told him how I was situate, that if I didn't get them cattle to the post I was ruinated. He listened for a few minutes pretty quiet, an' I thot I had got him, when all at once he drawed a pistol, an' all the other fellers drawed their pistols at the same time. "*My friend,' says he, we don't take no advantage of cattle-men, but them cattle of yours is the same as Government property. They is going to feed soldiers. All such property is as much ours as anybody's, now you git' — and with that he stuck his cocked pistol in my face, an' all the other six stuck their cocked pis- tols at me. Wall, boys, me and that Mexican boy — we left. "Them fellers rounded up my cattle, an' drove 'em back ther own way. Boys, my heart was most broke. I knowed I was ruinated if I lost them cat- tle. Wall, we travelled along for a mile or more, when I made up my mind. * Domingo,' says I to the little Mexican, * are you afeared to stay and take GETTING IK HIS WORK. 615 care of the hosses, while I settle with them chaps?' No,' says he, an' Til help you ef you want me.' The country was about half 4 prairie, an' t'other half the thickest kind of black jack, and scrub-oak thickets. I hid that boy an' them hosses wher a hound couldn't ev found 'em, and when it got towards evenin', I started on foot to hunt up my friends' cattle camp, an' as I knowed I had to get in my work in the dark an' at close range, I took the boy's double-bar- rel shot-gun, each barrel loaded with sixteen buck- shot, an' big size at that. " About midnight I found the herd. The cattle was held in a prairie with thickets all around it. I poked around, keepin' in the thickets. They had about a thousand head not countin' mine. I found ther * dug out.' Ther was two men on herd. I poked around till I found wher my cattle was. They knowed me, an didn't make no fuss when I went among 'em. Thar I laid down in the grass. In about an hour one of the herders rode right close on to me, an' I let him have one barrel. In a minit the other herder hollered out, *what the h — 1 is that,' an' gettin no answer he galloped right over ther, and I give him the other barrel. I got back to the thicket and went to my camp, an' to sleep. Next mornin' when the sun was way up, that boy he woke me, an' says, says he, * ther havin a high time in that camp, you had better be looking after 'em.' Wall, I got my breakfast an went to look after 'em. They wus in a big commo- tion, all of 'em together, huntin' everywhere for my trail. I had wored mocassins, an' I knowed none of 'em fellows could follow my trail. I had another big advantage of 'em. They couldn't go nowhere unless they wus on hossback, and the brush wus so thick they 616 THE CAREFUL CAPTAIN. had to ride in the open prairie whar I could see 'em. I poked round in the thicket wher they couldn't see me. Next night 1 tried it agin, but they wus all on herd and held the cattle out in the prairie so fur from the woods that I had no show. I changed my plan, an' went back to my camp. Next mornin' I was out early pokin' in the thickets and watchin\ A lot of cattle grazed up towards a pint of woods. I knowed they would stop that soon, so I hid in that pint. Pretty soon a feller came chargin' round on a full run after them cattle. He was a likely chap, an' 1 felt a little oneasy until I recognized him as having stuck a pistol in my face two days before. I got him. Wall, boys, thar's no use in stringin' this thing out. Them chaps wus scared from the start, and would have got out of thar, if they hadn't had to go through thickets. I knowed that, an' took it easy. In three days I had gradually got away with them. They wus so few that they couldn't herd ther cattle. On the mornin' of the fourth day I noticed a lot of cattle feedin' off. They wus nigh two miles from the dug-out — I laid with 'em, but in the thicket. To- wards afternoon a feller came dashin' in at full speed an' rounded up within twenty feet of me. When he fell he was so tied up in his lariat that he stopped the hoss. I caught an' tied that hoss in a thicket, so that the others at the dug-out wouldn't know this man was dead. After the second day I had never seed my fine cap- tain. He had made the others take chances, but he had stayed in the dug-out, an' run no risk himself. I thought if I could get him I'd be all right. So, afore day next mornin' I hid in a break about twenty yards from the door of the dug-out, an just at day- COMPLICATIONS. 617 break I covered that door with my shot-gun, an' fired off my pistol with the other hand. As I expected, he jumped out of the door with his gun in his hand, but he had no chance an' no time, I doubled him up right in the door. In a few minits a white rag was stuck out of the door on a stick. I called to the man to come out, and put up his hands, an' he did. I walked up an' said to him, I ought to kill you, but I won't if you will do as I tell yer. Get your hoss, cut out my cattle, and drive 'em over to that hill. He said, says he, * I never saw you before, an' I don't know your cattle ; I am the cook of this outfit, an' I am the only man left.' So I made him get me a hoss, an' he an me cut out my cattle, an' drove 'em over near my camp, an' me an' the boy took 'em, and by hard drivin' got to the post in time. It were a tight fit, boys; an' now, what '11 yer have to drink."