Hilario and Reynaldo were riding off from the herd, when Samuel Nungaray rode up next to them. "Patron, there are six men approaching the herd at the far end". Samuel nodded to the east as he spoke. "They have been watching us for more than an hour". Hilario, Reynaldo and samuel rode toward the six men. Samuel said "Patron, the one with the brown hat and silver string around it, his name is Tommy Gates. He works for a man by the name of John Bates, down in Greenfield. He has a big spread, rumor has it that it holds over five thousand head of cattle. He just bought the place about a year ago. The man on his right is Little Jimmy Stone. people say they've never seen anyone faster with a gun. He's killed at least twenty men. All fair fights. I, for one know that this is true. all face to face. He don't shoot nobody in the back. That Gates fellow, he's been making offers for cattle around these parts. no one has turned them down yet. Lester Fuller down by King City refused to sell. They found him hanging from his barn the next day, his wife was found with both her hands burned. Two days later she told the Sheriff that Tommy Gates' got no human feelings". Hilario asked "What do you say Samuel?"
Samuel said smiling "I say that if they leave me be and those I love and care for, they can live". Hilario and Reynaldo just smiled at each other.
The riders reined their mounts in, in front of them. "Howdy? My name's Tommy Gates".
"Hola" said Hilario "My name is Hilario Attila, this here is my cousin, Reynaldo and my mayordomo, Samuel Nungaray. What can I do for your gentlemen?"
Tommy Gates said "We're looking to buy cattle and seein hows you have a healty looking herd we come to make you a good offer. I reckon there must be twelve or fourteen hundred here".
Hilario said "You got a good eye. There's fourteen hundred here".
Tommy Gates said "Well I'm going to take them off your hands. No need driving them off mile after mile and eating their dust when I can take'm off you here".
Hilario smiled at the man named Gates and said "Sorry, but they're sold already. They are not mine any longer. I am just driving them as promised to Los Gatos and some to Los Banos. We won't have any for sale till next year. You're welcome to come back then and we might talk".
Tommy Gates said "Well now, I work for Mr. John Bates down in Greenfield. He's a might big man. Good to have as a friend, he wouldn't take too kindly if he was turned down. No siree, he shor wouldn't like it atall".
Hilario said "Senor, I really don't care what this Mr. Bates likes or does not like. My cattle is sold and that is all there is to it. I think this conversation is over. If you will excuse us we have work to do".
Tommy Gates gave them a wolfish grin and said "I don't think you boys know who I am, or my friend here. I'm. . ." Tommy Gates didn't finish.
Hilario cut in saying "Senor, I know who you think you are and I know what I have heard. But we Attilas do not break our word to no one. We gave our word that we would deliver these cattle and that is what we will do. And yes, you are the well known Tommy Gates, a gunfighter fast on the draw. Many say you are very deadly with your pistola". At these words Tommy Gates straightened a little in his saddle. "Some say youve killed many men, and that your friend there Little Jimmy Stone, is a dangerous man and one to be feared. It is said that all of his gun fights have been fair fights and that he should be left alone. But all of this does not mean much to an Attila. We too like to be left alone and we leave others be. We Attilas do not scare, we don't look for trouble and we do not run from it either".
Tommy Gates said "I hear you talking but I don't know what your friedn thinks about this".
Reynaldo said "Amigo, my primo, Hilario speaks for all of us. I for one do not get scared of reputations. Your reputation and that of yoru friend's means nothing to me. You have a gun. I have a gun. We all have guns. My primo just told you he is not selling. So he will not sell".
Little Jimmy Stone was paying close attention to this Mexican vaquero who called himself Hilario Attila. Something about the way this man carried himself, told him that he had seen him somewhere before. He was trying to recall where he had seen him. Where? Where? He had not really paid much attention to what Gates had been saying. He already knew the words by heart. He was still trying to remember where he had seen this Mexican vaquero. Where had he seen this face?
Gates said to Reynaldo "Well, I guess you want to die chile pepper. The way you talk looks to me like you must think you're pretty good with that iron of yours, big talk seeing as how there are only three of you and six of us. You ain't got a chance in the world. You ain't scared of my reputation, hugh, so I'm gonna show you why some don't live to say they should have done what was asked of them. Guess you'll just have to sell or die".
Reynaldo smiled and said "Senor all I see before me is a bunch of perros and puercos". Gates tensed at the Mexican's words. He turned to look at Little Jimmy Stone but Little Jimmy had not turned to look at him. These men had known who he was and still chose not to sell. He thought his herd would be easy pickings, just like the others but these Mexicans were not budging. They had even challenged them.