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When Vengeance is Justified

Novel By: Chuck Smith
Westerns


A brother's loss of two brothers by Indians sends him on a trail of vengeance. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3

Submitted:Mar 17, 2010    Reads: 30    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


The Duncan's were a religious family and two days later they buried Tim and
Walt in the cemetery behind the Methodist Church. Jim still bed ridden had insisted on
being put in the back of a buck board and attending the funeral of his brothers. Jackson
driving the buck board pulled it up to the entrance of the church for Jim to hear the
preacher and then around to the back to allow him to be there when his brothers were
buried. Then it would be two more weeks after that before he was able to get up for short
periods and with a crutch that Doc. Tanner had be able to go out on the wide front porch
and set for a spell. Raymond and Sarah having there own grief could see that it had
affected Jim to the point of not being rational and taking revenge and as he told his Pa;
"An eye for an eye, isn't that what it says?" "Now son, what's done is done and you can't
bring them back". "I know that, Pa".
Time passes and Jim fully recovered from his wound and came back to the
warehouse to help as Raymond had received an order to build three large freight wagons
from Mr. Tinsley's Hauling. The three working together started on the laborious task of
building the three wagons. Jim spent most of the time at the forge in heating and forming
the axles and rims for the three wagons, and Jackson started on the wooden beds and
Raymond was tackling the spoke wheels. But just as they had completed the first wagon
and Jim working at the forge on the second one just stopped and took off his leather
apron and turning toward his Dad said; "Pa, It won't go away, I have to go after them".
Raymond; "I know, son, be careful and come back home when you finish". Then turning
toward Jackson just gave a slight nod and Jackson; "Mr. Jim if'n you set on going after
them Kiowa's I know somebody that might help you some". "Who might that be,
Jackson?" "It's a young black girl that works for Mr. Ginger at the laundry house".
"What could she know?" "Just think you might need to talk to her first". "Ok, I'm ready".
Jackson lays downs his tools and the two walk down to the laundry house and on the way
Jackson tells Jim about Clara. "She was kidnapped from a small wagon train a few years
back by the Kiowa's and they killed everyone but her". "At the time she was carrying for
a couple's young child in that wagon train". "She lived with the Kiowa's for three years
but escaped and came here and I found her huddled up behind the livery stable and took
her to you Pa and then we found her this job with Mr. Ginger". The two go into the
laundry house and find Mr. Ginger. Jackson; "Mr. Ginger, you know Mr. Jim right?"
"Why yes I do". "He would like to have a few words with Clara if that would be ok?"
"Clara, you say, Jackson she has been a godsend to my business as never seen anyone
work as hard and fast as she does". "And yes you may talk to her". "Clara, Clara, can you
come here for a minute?" Clara comes around from the tub of clothes she was washing
and said; "Yes-sir". "Mr. Duncan would like to have a few words with you and I've
agreed". "Words bout whut?" Jackson; "Clara, it's alright, you can trust Mr. Jim and it's
about the Kiowa's and I told him a little bout you living with them". "Can't call thet
living"? "I know Clara but hear Mr. Jim out, ok?" "Alright".
The three go out back of the laundry house and there was one old wooden bench
to set on. Jackson; "Mr. Jim, Clara, I'll leave you two alone to talk", and leaves. Clara;
"Mr. Jim, I hear'd bout you brothers and I'm terrble sorry". "Thank you, Clara" "Now
whut you need from me bout Kiowa's?" "I plan to get those that were responsible for the
death of my two brothers, that's all". "Mr. Jim, thut be a tall order or do you know which
ones they be?" "I have a fairly good idea; did you ever see one that had a large scar down
his face?" "Thut be Black Wolf and a mean and vicious one he be". "He be the one that
broke me and when he done got tired of me just passed me to the other braves". Clara
with two big tears tracing down her face; "Mr. Jim, it be bad time for me I be only
fourteen then". "I'm so sorry, Clara". "Nuttin yu can do and I still be alive and not like
the rest of dem poor souls in the wagons". "Black Wolf was banned from the main camp
a time back as he took another brave's wife and the council threw him out of main
camp". "You mean he is not with all the other Kiowa's?" "No he took about 20 braves
and the ones that had family and left". "Clara, you wouldn't happen to know where he
makes camp do you." "Kiowa's move around a lot during the hunting season so wouldn't
know that, but when it be cold weather they try to find a good shelter place to winter in".
"How did you ever get away from them?" "After Black Wolf and his band left no one
would take me in and I slept outside under an old deer hide but I found an old halter that
someone threw out and re-braided it and part of my job there was to care for there horses,
so one night I sneaked down to the horses and put de halter on and the brave watching
was on the other side so I just led that horse out a ways and mounted him to ride off". "I
rode here and Jackson found me and took me to your Pa and got me the job here".
"I see, well you have been a help, Clara and thanks". As Jim stands up to leave; "Mr. Jim,
if'n Mr. Ginger could let me off for a couple of days and I had a good horse just might be
I could find out more where he be but I have to go by myself". "I'll talk to Mr. Ginger
and then you come by the warehouse and I'll have you a good horse". So arrangements
were made and two days later Clara rode off to find out what she could about Black
Wolf.
When Vengeance is Justified V11
Three days passed and Jim trying to work and help out but also gathering all the
equipment he felt he would require for an extended period out alone, checked and
rechecked everything to have it ready to leave. On the fourth day and deciding that Clara
was not coming back he prepared to leave and as he was saddling his horse his father
came to him carrying a Colt 44 with holster on the right side and it had a large knife and
holster on the left side. Raymond; "Took this in trade from a peddler whose wagon broke
down and just figure it would be better than that Volcanic pistol you have strapped on".
"Thanks, Pa". "Still feel you should give Clara more time as she had to travel a great
distance to get the information you are looking for". "Ok, Pa, I'll wait until tomorrow".
Then a few minutes later Jackson who had been to the mercantile store for items needed
for the freight wagons came in leading the horse that Clara had used; "Mr. Jim, Clara at
the laundry house cleaning up but she has what you are needing say she will meet you out
back". "Thanks, Jackson", and Jim walks out to go to the laundry house.
Going around back of the laundry house and Clara was not there so Jim set down
on the bench and waited. Clara comes out and sets down and; "Mr. Jim, this is what I
found out and hope it will help you deal with Black Wolf". "Black Wolf has 15 braves on
one of there raids somewhere in Comanche territory but I don't know where, but he left
three braves to accompany the families to there winter site and it's about 200 miles north-
west from here". She smoothes out a piece of parchment paper and says; "This be a hand
drawn map of there winter camp that he has used for the last three year". Jim takes the
map and looking at the crude drawing said; "What is this that looks like a mound?" "That
be Butte Mountain and how you know you be close as they are somewhere close by".
"From what I were told they use different sites each year but always in sight of the
mountain and among the forests which have water and if no snow some grass for there
horses". "There are antelopes, deer and small game for there food around there too".
"Where did you get this, Clara?" "Mr. Jim, I can't tell you that but you can believe that it
is true". "I thank you, Clara, but wasn't expecting to have to travel so far away as
Autumn is almost on us, but guess it will give me time to travel that distance". "Mr. Jim,
I pray you get that red devil and come home safely". "Again thanks and I'll be back".
That night Jim talks to his father; "Dad, I wasn't planning on being so far from
home but that will not make any difference but I figure I'll need to take a few more things
with me to survive for a long time, do you have any suggestions?" Raymond really
wishing not to lose his last son and also thinking; "I should be the one to go but guess
that can't be". But he had many suggestions for additional things he felt would help Jim
and the last one was; "Why don't you take Jackson with you?" "No I don't want to put
anyone in jeopardy for what I am going to do". "Ok, just thought I would suggest it".
Sarah the next morning knowing that Jim was going to leave that day fixed a large
breakfast and had a large amount of other food stuff for him to take on his journey. They
cut out a pack horse and all the things his father had suggested and what they could
reasonably load on the horse the three men did that. Then ready to leave and shaking
Jackson's hand and then his father but was grabbed in a huge bear hug and with shaky
voice; "Son, you come back home, you hear". "I will, Pa". Then mounting and going by
the house and Sarah standing on the front porch and shading her eyes from the morning
sun; "My son, I know you have to do what you think you must but I wish you would not
do this". "Ma, wish I didn't have to do this but I cannot rest until I do what has to be
done, goodbye, I love you". Jim mounts and turning to riding away and Raymond who
had joined Sarah on the porch watch as there last son rides off with Sarah waving until he
disappeared around the buildings of Red Eagle Station.
When Vengeance Is Justified V111
Leaving Red Eagle Station and Jim takes the map out and now figures the way he
will ride to reach the Butte Mountain area. "First I will head for Doan's Crossing and
after there head more toward the North West and toward the Butte." "Plenty of time and
can replenish supplies along the way". The long ride gives him many chances to
remember his Calvary experiences where the Confederacy was almost always outgunned
and outmanned and only by stealth and learned skills were they able to surprise and
defeat the Union soldiers in not all battles or encounters but many of them. "I only hope I
learned my lessons well". The weather turning chilly toward evening but very pleasant
during the day time and he would bed down for the night with a small fire and eat some
of the food that his Mom had prepared and then rise early and continue toward Doan's
Crossing. Doan's Crossing would become the main cattle route before leaving Texas then
through Oklahoma for the cattle herds that soon would be brought to mostly Dodge City,
Kansas for shipment to the east.
On the fourth day and just getting dark Jim thinking he should be close to Doan's
Crossing and not really wanting to stop another night continues riding. A full moon rises
and lights the way although it begins to turn colder and he pulls his coat off the back of
the saddle and puts it on as the ride continues. Reaching down in the haversack on the
side of the saddle for the food his mom had fixed, but there was only one cold hard
biscuit left but he started munching on it anyway. Then passing a sign around midnight
that proclaimed "Doan's Crossing, 2 miles" he quickened the pace of the horse to cover
the last two miles. Then entering the town the streets were deserted but he did pass one
saloon with lanterns lit and could hear loud voices coming from the saloon. Just down the
street he spotted a light from a lantern hanging on a pole on what he hoped would be the
livery stable. Riding up to the entrance and the big double doors were open so Jim just
rode inside and said; "Hello, anyone here?" With no answer he dismounts and sees a stall
not occupied and proceeds to unsaddle his horse and put him in the stall after giving a
brief rubdown. Then taking the saddle and putting it on the railing he takes the pack off
the other horse and ties him up to a rail. Then Jim spots a pile of hay toward the back of
the stable and walks to it and lies down to grab a little sleep before daylight.
Awaking early and just setting up he adjusts his Stetson when a short stout bald
headed man comes into the stable. Jim gets up and says; "Howdy, I'm Jim Duncan and
took the liberty to use your stable last night as I arrived here pretty late". "Glad to meet
you, I'm Bandy Robertson and you were welcome to stay here, kinda why I always leave
that lantern lit up". "I'd like to leave my horses here a couple of days if you have the
room?" "You bet, always have room for more and I ask two bits a day per horse". Good
grain feed and clean stalls". Jim; "That sounds reasonable, any good place to stay here?"
"Well Maudy Wilson's boarding house is to the left and the grey house and we have one
hotel and Big Iron saloon has rooms to rent, but if'n you want good food and a quite
place to stay then I'd say Maudy Wilson's". "Sounds like the place for me then". Bandy;
"Where you come from, Jim?" "Red Eagle Station". "Hmm, been through there a few
times, you any kin to Raymond Duncan?" "My Pa". "Well I'll be damned, not a better
man in this whole dang country". "What brings you to Doan's Crossing?" "Oh, just a
little hunting to the north of here around the Butte Mountain area". "I see, you don't mind
me asking what kind of hunting do you?" "Nope, Kiowa's" "Kiowa's, why?" "Long
story but was told they winter around the Butte area". "Some do, but not good to mess
with Kiowa's especially going hunting for them". "Something I have to do, Bandy". "No
skin off my nose but if you are set on it then you might want to talk to Loco Johnson an
old prospector and he hangs around the Big Iron saloon most times after 10 in the
morning". "He know much about Kiowa's?" "Yep, just take him a glass of whiskey and
spect you can find out a lot bout them Kiowa's". "Thanks, I'll do just that after I go see
about a room".
When Vengeance Is Justified 1X
Jim takes his saddle bags and the haversack and walks down to the grey house
and up on the porch the sign says; "Open, come on in". Stepping into the foyer and a
short fat lady wearing a full length grey dress with a grey shawl over her shoulders and
her grey hair tied up in a bun at the back comes flying out of a door carrying two trays
and goes into a room just off the side of the foyer. Jim walks to the door and sees three
men setting at a large table eating breakfast. Laying the trays down on the table and then
seeing Jim she turns and walks up and extends her hand and Jim shakes it and notices the
strong grip and firm handshake. "I'm Jim Duncan and just wondering if you have a room
for rent as Bandy said you might". "Names Maudy Johnson and how long you be staying,
Mr. Duncan?" "Just Jim, but two or three days, Mrs. Johnson?" "I'm just Maudy and
have that room; have you eaten breakfast yet Jim?" "As a matter of fact, I have not".
"Then grab a seat and I'll bring you a plate and utensils and then just help yourself". Jim
sets down and the three men nod and one says; "That's Ray there and I'm Bob and the
other guy is Walter, pleased to meet you". "Names Jim Duncan" Ray; "Passing through
the Crossing?" "Yes, just passing through although will be here for a couple of days".
Jim from just having the cold biscuit last night and Maudy placing the plate and utensils
down digs into the ample supply of ham, biscuits, eggs and gravy and Maudy shows up
again with a cup and now hot coffee is poured. "You finish eating, Jim, and then I'll
show you your room". "Ok thanks, any place around here to get a bath?" "You just eat
and I'll have Cecil draw you up some water for a bath". Jim smiling at the other three as
Maudy leaves the room; "Mighty friendly lady". Bob; "Nope, don't come no better than
Maudy".
Later after a bath and Maudy; "Just leave them dirty clothes outside your door and
I'll see they are washed", Jim leaves the house to walk down to the Big Iron saloon to try
and find Loco Johnson. Going through the swinging doors and walking up to the bar and;
"Pardon me; is there a Loco Johnson here?" Max the bartender: "Over by the wall".
"Thanks, could I have a bottle of whiskey and two glasses?" "Sure, I'll bring them right
over, sir". Proceeding over to the table and sees a man with a grizzly beard wearing a
beat up old raccoon hat and deer hide pants and shirt; "Mr. Johnson, names Jim Duncan
and do you mind if I set an talk with you for a spell?" "Hell no, but I aint no Mr., just call
me Loco everyone thinks I crazy or loco anyway don't want to change that". Max sets the
bottle and two glasses down and; "Hell fire, lookie, here one them glasses be mine, I'm
flat busted and been nursing this last whiskey since 10 this morning?" "Don't say I mind
but anyone wanting to talk with old Loco and brings a full bottle of whiskey has to want
something or me to kill someone but it don't never mind I can do both". Jim pours two
drinks and slides one glass across to Loco; "Bandy tells me you know the Kiowa's pretty
well". "Hell fire, aint no one knows the Kiowa's well but I spent some time round them
and had a falling out with several and still have my scalp, an if that's knowing them guess
I do". Jim spends several minutes explaining why and the reason for his interest in
knowing about the Kiowa's and especially the one called Black Wolf. "Hell fire, Jim, I
knowed that one and he be a mean and vicious killer of women, children and men". "I
understand there winter camp is around Butte Mountain". "It be". "Now lookie here I
have a spot around the butte that I prospect in and have taken some gold out, oh nothing
really big but keeps me mostly in whiskey and a little to eat". "Black Wolf don't always
stay the winter there unless on one of his raids he brings a woman back with him". Jim;
"I was told he along with some braves was on a raiding trip down in Comanche's
country".
"Well that probably be his plan then to snatch a woman for the winter camp, be my
guess". "When you heading toward the butte?" "In a couple of days, why?" "Just
curious". Loco, then spends about one hour and gives Jim a lot of useful information
about the Kiowa's and the location of there winter camps and a lot more that would come
in handy knowing about it. The two had drank about half the bottle or Loco had mostly
and Jim; "Sure do appreciate the information, guess I'll walk down to Bandy's and check
on my horses' just keep the bottle, Loco". "Mighty neighborly of you Jim, and if you
have time come back here tomorrow as I just might have something you can use". "Will
do, Loco".
When Vengeance is Justified X
After checking on the horses, Jim spends most of the day on replenishing his
supplies. Buying flour, meal, bacon, one case of beans and other items he felt would
make his stay as comfortable in living out as possible. Bringing it all back to Bandy's and
his suggestion is to buy another pack horse and an ample supply of grain for the horses;
"You might not find any grass for your horses to feed on as around Butte Mountain the
snow can become quite deep at times". "Better also check your winter clothes that you
brought with you and carry an extra supply too". "Well my plan is to get in and do what I
have to and go home, but I heed your advice, Bandy, and will do just that". The day goes
by fast but after a good evening meal at Maudy's, Jim decides to walk down to the Big
Iron saloon and try to find out what Loco wanted to tell him. But entering the saloon and
Loco was not around but Jim stayed and had a couple of whiskeys before turning in for
the night.
The next morning after breakfast he waited until around 10 and went back to the
saloon just figuring that with Loco having stayed around the butte for a time he might
have more information that he could use. Going in and spotting Loco at his usual table
starts that way but Loco says; "Got some of that bottle left go fetch you a glass". Being a
little early but Jim gets the glass and sets down across from Loco. "Good morning".
"Howdy, hand me your glass". Loco is twisting his glass around and round as Jim takes
his first sip then; "Jim, I don't know how this will turn out for you as you have bitten off
a large mouth full and just hope you can be as mean and vicious as the Kiowa's". Jim
starts to say something but Loco; "Now hear me out". Then reaching down under the
table pulls out a deer hide scabbard and pulls out a rifle and lays it on the table and; "This
be a buffalo rifle, it has a three shot clip and accurate at 1000 yards and if'n you get a
chance to shoot at a distance this here gun will take anything down". "I'll loan it to you
until you get back, now I would go with you but I just can't take the cold and snow
anymore so generally I wait until spring before I go back". "Due east of Butte Mountain
about one mile you come up on a small stand of timber and being so small no one ever
goes in or uses it". But about 100 yards in the ground starts a downward slope and
actually becomes a small canyon about 50 yards wide at the bottom and this is where I
stays when I prospect there". "There are several overhangs that put you out of the wind
and rain or snow for you and your horses". "The first one I stay at while there and over
time it has a few things that can make your stay a little better, like even a stove to cook
on, now that was a bitch getting that up there". "Having had a few scraps with not only
Kiowa's but others you have to be smarter and more cunning than they be". If'n you are
able to take down a few of the Kiowa's they are also smart and cunning and they will
come looking for you which could make your chore harder or easier, just can't say, but
also know they will look for you". "Harper leather shop just the other side of Maudy's
makes an excellent pair of legging moccasins that are mostly water proof and lined with
rabbit fur and are very warm and sure beat the hell out of them boots you be wearing
now". "You can buy some very good deer hide clothing from him that also be better than
most anything else you have to wear". "Lastly, I'd get rid of that Stetson and get me a
nice possum or coon hat from Harper's as they cut down on the outline and be much
warmer than that Stetson". "Now I've said my piece and will try to answer anything else
you think I might know". Jim; "I don't know how to thank you enough, Loco, and I sure
will bring back that rifle to you". "Well, not many folks buy me a whole bottle of whisky
so lets just say we be even". The two new friends set and have another glass of whiskey
together and Jim; "Guess I better go to Harper's and see about the clothes as he may not
have any that would fit me made", and picks up the rifle and puts it back in the
scabbard". Loco holds up his glass and says; "Cheers to you Jim Duncan".
But before leaving the saloon, Jim walks up to the bar and tells Max; "Here is
money to buy Loco another bottle when he finishes the one he has, ok?" "You bet".
At Harper's Jim was able to buy most of the clothing except the deer hide shirts but was
told we can have two of them ready tomorrow if that is soon enough. "Thanks, Mr.
Harper that will be just fine". The next two days passed quickly and then it was time to
leave Doan's Crossing and start toward Butte Mountain. Everything was packed on the
horses and Jim wearing his new clothes first walked down to the Big Iron to say goodbye
to Loco but he was not there; "Oh well, just see him when I return". Then back to
Bandy's and paying him for the new pack horse and for keeping his horses he hands
Bandy a $20 bill and; "Would you give this to Loco when you see him?" "Sure will, Jim,
and you take care out there, you hear". "Thanks for everything, Bandy", and leads the
pack horses out of the stable and starts his journey to an unknown conclusion.
When Vengeance Is Justified X1
The trip to Butte Mountain took Jim six days and although turning colder at night
there was only one night that it dusted snow but melted early the next morning. He
passed one settlement for the entire journey but was able to replenish some supplies and
buy additional bacon, flour and another case of beans while there. Then one day around
mid-day he spotted Butte Mountain in the distance but it was still over 20 miles away.
But now Jim became very cautious as not knowing the terrain and just when or where the
wintering Kiowa's might be he took the Henry out to lie across the saddle as he continued
toward the mountain. There were wooded areas he passed or went through and could see
the area had from low hills to ravines and ridges to travel through also. Jim; "Well, first I
need to set up my camp and then do some serious scouting of all the territory around the
mountain before I do what I came for". Reaching the mountain in late afternoon he tried
to line up the eastern direction from the mountain that Loco had given him and started the
ride to he hoped the small woods that had the little canyon inside. Finding the woods and
starting through he came out on the other side and; "Damn, must have missed the
opening". Turning around and going back through then dismounts and walks back
through and just by chance spots an area where large bushes were growing. Walking to it
and pushing through he knew he had found the slope that led to the canyon. "Loco must
have concealed the entrance some time back with these bushes". Then walking back
through found a twisting trail that would allow you to bring in horses and not disturb the
concealment of the slope by the bushes. Then back for the horses and leading them
through and down the slope to come out in the small canyon floor and the sides were
sloping on one side and steep on the other side and not over 20 feet high. Seeing the first
over hang and some gear stowed inside Jim unloads the pack horses and carries the food
supplies and his gear and rifles inside and then leads the horses further and there were
three overhangs that had a crude fence across the entrance to hold the horses in so Jim put
his horse in one and the two pack horses in the second and then put the grain for the
horses in the third one. Then scouting out the rest of the canyon was surprised to find at
the back a small water fall that poured into a small pool and then noticing a grave marker
walks over and tries to read the engraving in the wood cross but was not able to read the
markings and he goes back and leads each horse down to drink and then gives them a
portion of grain and puts them back in there new stalls. "Hmm, so far so good and is even
better than what Loco led me to believe".
Then back to his new home and taking out one of the lanterns he had brought, lit
it and, set it on a wooden table and surveyed his new surroundings. "Not bad, I can make
do with this". Setting up his bedroll and laying out his clothing, Jim opens a can of beans
and with a spoon eats while setting at the table takes a piece of paper and draws an
outline of the mountain and then quarters the land around it into 4 quarters. His plan was
to scout out each of the quarters individually to about two miles from the mountain to
become familiar with the territory and hopefully find the Kiowa's winter camp without
being spotted while doing his scouting. Thinking out loud; "Probably be best to do my
scouting very early in the morning and then just before dark and hopefully will not run
into any Kiowa's at those times".
Rising early the next morning and saddling his horse he starts his scouting around
the area he is staying in and times just riding and other times walking and leading his
horse he covers the area thoroughly before heading back to the canyon and satisfied that
he will be able to move around that part in the future if occasions warrant it. The rest of
the day Jim spends making his dwelling more comfortable and took time to strengthen
the fencing across the horses overhang sturdier and just before dark eats a bite and again
goes out scouting the second quarter to study the lay of the land. The next morning he
decided to scout the south side of the mountain and this is where he expected to find the
Kiowa's winter camp and was not disappointed coming to a large wooded area and
leaving his horse in as secure place he could find begin to walk through the timber and
found evidence that someone was using this particular timber. The land was not all flat
as there were rises and hills that he had to climb in going through and it was on one of the
hills that smelling smoke he spotted the winter camp set down in a glade along side of a
running stream. He counted 15 tee-pees and at least 20 horses tied to a long rope at the
far side of the stream. As it was still early he left the hill and walked back to his horse
and started scouting along and then around the timber and when he felt it was getting to
late to do more made his way back to the canyon to wait till dusk to scout out the last
quarter. "Guess I've been lucky so far and not run into any Kiowa's but in another day or
so, I'll be the hunter". But during the day the clouds gathered and a cold rain set in
around mid-day and continued through the afternoon. Jim spent the afternoon making
corrections on his drawing and mapping out areas that he could move to and possible not
be observed.
Then sometimes plans have to change or be adapted to the conditions at the time
for the next morning it started to snow but determined to scout out the last quarter Jim
left to look over the western side of the Butte. There he found the terrain contained more
ravines and ridges and gulleys than any place he had scouted. In between, however, it had
a lot of grassy areas but not much timber. But coming up to the top of a ridge he spotted
movement about 300 yards ahead and dismounting and staying below the ridge line took
out his looking glass and saw three braves apparently skinning out a deer they had just
killed. Two were knelling down and the third was holding the horse hair halters of there
three ponies. "Well as good a time as any" and pulling the buffalo rifle out knells down
and sights in on the Kiowa holding the horses. Gently squeezing the trigger and the big
gun fires and the Kiowa holding the horses is flung sideways and the horses bolt and run
away from the other two. Jim levers another round in the rifle and the two braves not
knowing what had really happened just stood up and were looking at the fallen brave.
Kaa-blam and the second round strikes the second Kiowa in the chest and he too is flung
backwards. The third brave grabs his rifle and starts shooting in the direction he felt the
shots were coming from and then starts running away from the shots. Jim fires again at
the running Kiowa but misses and levering his last shell tries the last shot just
before the running Kiowa could make it over a hill and could not tell if he hit him or not
as he just disappeared behind the hill. The snow now was coming down harder and the
wind had really picked up but Jim mounts his horse and goes to see about the third
Kiowa. Reaching the hill and dismounting carrying his Henry now there was no third
Kiowa but he did find a blood trail in the snow but decided not to pursue it and remounts
and rides back and recovers the deer and puts it across the back of his horse and starts
back toward the canyon. "Figure with this snow it will cover my tracks but I'll have to be
careful in any movement and leaving tracks while it is on the ground". "Might as well
have some fresh meat to eat though". But when he reached his timber he dismounts and
taking a pine bough walks out several hundred yards and then smoothes the snow from
the tracks his horse had made all the way into the timber. "Probably be covered anyway
but don't need to take any chances".
When Vengeance Is Justified X11
The next morning dawned clear but chilly and by mid-day the snow had for the
most part melted. Jim setting at the table and cleaning the rifles had just finished
quartering of the deer meat and planned on have a nice mess for supper that night. "Guess
the fat is in the fire now, as they are bound to know there is someone here". "Well so be
it, I'll just have to be extra careful from here on". "If there were 18 braves and I got two
just leaves 16 to go as I don't know if the third one was hit bad enough but would figure
he would not be in action very soon from the large bullet the rifle fired". "Probably need
to do more traveling on foot now and use the landscape to avoid detection so better make
up a haversack with food and things to carry with me". "Think I'll stay in today and get
an early start in the morning". Feeding and watering the horses before daybreak and then
lifting the haversack Jim walks out of the canyon and toward the Kiowa's camp. Staying
in gullies or behind hills and ridges he made his way to the edge of the timber just as it
was breaking daylight. "Let's see if I can get close to there camp". Staying off any trails
and moving slowly he made his way to a vantage point where the camp was visible.
Smoldering fires smoking from last night fires and several dogs were all he could see but
then slipping around to cross the stream and trying not to alert the dogs or horses made
his way where one lone brave was leaning against a tree, apparently guarding the horse's
but it must have been a long night as Jim could now see him nodding and trying to keep
awake. Slipping off the haversack and leaving his rifle Jim with the tree between him and
the brave eased up behind and taking the large knife from the scabbard he quickly
grabbed the brave with one hand across his mouth while plunging the knife deeply in his
side and twisting until he could just lay the brave down. Then walking back and getting
his rifle and sack he made his way back out and started for the canyon, hoping to reach
there before the camp completely came alive for the morning. Continually looking over
his shoulder for any signs of pursuit and was almost three quarters of the way back when
he spotted six riders approaching off to his left. Believing they had not spotted him he
knelt down in the shallow ravine he had been using and waited to see if they continued on
the same direction or changed to come closer to where he was hiding. But taking a look
see and saw they were heading toward him and had broken there ponies into a gallop to
reach the ravine. "Well here goes nothing", and raising up and with the Henry firing as
they continued toward him saw his aim was accurate and deadly as three Kiowa's fell off
there ponies and the other three started to veer away although trying to fire there rifles
toward the ravine and Jim. Jim took that opportunity to move further down the ravine and
when he stopped and looked again could see the three remaining Kiowa's apparently
having a talk and were just barely visible from the rolling terrain that he was going
through. Looking toward the direction to reach the trees and canyon there would not be
much cover to conceal his movements and knowing he could not stay where he was and
certainly not able to outrun the ponies decided to fire several times and try to at least hit
one or two of the Indian ponies. Rising up he fired six times as fast as he could lever in a
bullet and elevating his aim each time was gratified to finally see one pony falter and then
go down. Then the Kiowa's disappeared from his view and hoping they had left he
waited for about 20 minutes before striking out for the tree line still at least one mile
away. But taking a long about route back and finding a tree limb with branches uses it to
try and brush out any foot prints for knowing the Kiowa's were excellent trackers tried to
make the place he was heading as difficult as he could. Coming in on the side of the
small wooded area and then to the opening Jim made it back but there was something
wrong as he approached the first overhang. Not knowing what it might be he pulled out
the colt and slowly approached against the steep side of the canyon to find out what was
not as it should be. "Have they found this place and waiting for me to return?" Silently
cocking the pistol he moved to the opening and then just stepped around and there;
"Damn good venison, did you kill it?" "Damn you Loco, you scared the hell out of me".
For setting at the table and eating some of the deer meat was Loco Johnson and he said;
"Thought bout now you might need some help and if'n I'm wrong just say so and I'll
leave; don't know why I made this dern trip in cold weather anyway".
Jim; "Really good to see you, Loco". Then setting down he begins to tell Loco
what had happened since he had arrived and upon finishing set and waited for a reply.
Loco looks at Jim for several moments before saying; "Jim, you still set on vengeance
toward the Kiowa's?" Jim; It don't seem as important now as it did, but I still have hatred
for Black Wolf". Loco; "Listen to my words then, I arrived here two days ago and have
been staying at the winter camp". Jim; "What?" "There camp and yesterday, Black Wolf
showed up as he has not been there". "How could you stay in a Kiowa village and not be
harmed?" "Told you that I have had a few run in's with Kiowa's and still have my scalp".
"Yea but to stay with them means you are not telling me all". "Getting to that part, bout
ten years ago I was married in the Kiowa way to a Kiowa squaw (Bright Moon) and she
happened to be the sister of Black Wolf". "Part time we stayed with them and during my
prospecting we went off on our own". "Back then Black Wolf was a rising brave among
the Kiowa's and probably would have become a sub chief or maybe even the main one,
but something changed when I married Bright Moon and although he tolerated us he
would not have much to do with his sister but he and I got along ok". "After awhile
Bright Moon and I decided to leave and not return and this area was where I was
prospecting and we came here to stay". "Bright Moon was the one to find this little
canyon and we moved in and were very happy, but". Jim; "But what?" "We were here
about three years and one hard winter she caught the fever and I couldn't save her and
lost my Bright Moon". "I buried her back by the pool and went back to civilization and
drank myself silly and everyone started calling me Loco and guess I was then". "When I
finally came to my senses I went to the Kiowa village and told Black Wolf about Bright
Moon, and it wasn't anything but to bring him here to show where Bright Moon was
buried". Jim; "That's why the Kiowa's won't come into these woods then". "That's right
it is hallowed ground to them". "Now as I see it you have exacted a sizeable amount of
vengeance or revenge for your brothers against the Kiowa's and nothing is going to bring
them back, but if you are still set on more then I will go to Black Wolf and make your
challenge to meet one on one to finalize this for both sides". "Loco, I have to do what I
have to do". "Then I'll make the arrangements for you two to meet". "Ok".
When Vengeance Is Justified X111
That evening as the two were eating Jim asks; "How did Black Wolf get that scar
on his face?" "I gave it to him". "You Loco? how, when?" "When we came here for him
to observe Bright Moon's grave, he just went off on me and it be touch or go which one
was going come out alive, but I cut him with my knife and it were a bad cut and we quit
fighting then". "You have to know that Black Wolf is a brave warrior and him being
banned from the main village don't change that in my opinion". "There are only about
3000 Kiowa's left from the many that use to walk this land and for the most part they just
try to survive but I don't understand there need to just slaughter innocent folks but maybe
it's not for me to say". "Enough talk for now, I'm going to bed and will probably go early
to pow wow with Black Wolf". "Ok, I'll clean up the plates".
The next morning they both rise at the same time and have the remaining deer
meat that was cooked for breakfast and Loco; "Probably be best you stay here until I
return if that sounds alright for you". "That's ok, I'll keep busy". But Loco was gone for
two days and Jim getting edgy was about to leave the canyon and go look for him but
Loco finally showed up just at dusk. The two put his horse away after watering and
feeding it and go back to set at the table. "It be set for tomorrow morning at sunrise next
to that little stand of timber at the base of the Butte on this side". "Know this that Black
Wolf speaks pretty good English and whether he will talk or just fight I don't rightly
know, but you might want to hear him out if he does, just my suggestion". "Don't know
if I want to listen to anything he might have to say". "Said it was just my suggestion". "I
have an axe you might want to carry for it will be tomahawk, knife fighting to the death".
"Just be you and him and no other weapons or anyone to watch the battle". "I thought
you might go along, Loco?" "Nope gave him my word just be him and you". "Guess
we'll get this settled one way or the other in the morning then".
The next morning before sunrise Jim leaves the canyon and heads for the site
selected and as he approached with it just breaking day his thoughts were on Loco's
words of if Black Wolf decides to talk you might want to hear him out. Before the sun
has started its relentless journey across the sky he spotted a figure setting a white horse
just on the out side of the timber. Riding on up to about 20 feet away and could see it was
Black Wolf and Jim dismounted and waited. Black Wolf then dismounts and walks to
about ten feet away and says; "Why have you came to my winter camp and attacked us?"
"Loco did not tell you?" "No". "Do you remember then a time back in High Ridge
Canyon and you and your braves killing two men coming through and then shooting my
horse out from under me and trying to kill me?" "Hump, we call that Snake Canyon but
yes I remember". "That was my two brothers you killed and is why I am here".
"Remember that man killed two of my braves that day". Black Wolf moved closer and
then; "Now I know you as once I tried to kill you with my lance but you moved to
quickly". "You have killed four of my braves and wounded 3 others and one will never
walk this land again". One you killed was my younger brother and has been with me
since my own father, Chief of the Kiowa's and the other elders banned me from there
village". "You fight bravely for a white man and where did you learn that?" Jim; "My
brothers and I fought in the big war to the east of here for about four years and I lost one
brother there". Then you killed the other two as we were heading for our home at Red
Eagle Station and just ten miles from there". "Then you know death". "Yes I have seen
too much". "Then why we fight for I too have seen too much, but if that's your wish then
we shall fight to the death here and now". "But know this as Black Wolf can see you are
a brave man and while we both have reasons to fight each other I would rather we shake
arms and both go our way and that are our choices". Jim knells down for several
moments and then rises up and says; "Black Wolf, I too can see you are a brave man and
maybe you are right that we both have reasons to fight but I now believe in letting the
past be the past and live for the future for neither of us can bring back what we have
already lost". Black Wolf drops his knife and tomahawk and says; "Then we shall be
friends", and walks up to Jim and extends his arm out and Jim also drops his knife and
axe and they both grab each others arm and the quest for Vengeance is over. But then
Black Wolf says; "Wait for I have something to give you" and walks into the woods a
short distance and comes back leading a horse with a young girl tied to it and says; "This
be a young girl I took on our last raid but I nor no one else has harmed her and I would be
glad that you take her and hands Jim the halter of the horse.
The two then mount there horses and as they both turn to go there own way,
Black Wolf raises his arm in salute and Jim also waves back. The ride back to the canyon
was a time for much thinking but the closer Jim got the more his thoughts were; "I did the
right thing". The girl was silent for a little while but then said; "My name is Rita and they
killed my family what is to happen to me". Jim; "Rita, I'm Jim Duncan and I will see you
are safely taken to a place where you will be welcomed". Loco was waiting on the edge
of the timber and did a little jig on seeing Jim come riding up; "Hot damn, you won but
where did she come from"? Jim; "No Loco, I listened to his words and Black Wolf
brought her to me". "That be even better, but I still have a couple of bottles of whiskey
and let's go drink it afore we leave here". "Sounds like a good deal for me". But before
starting drinking Jim made sure that Rita was given food and water and a chance to
freshen up at the pool and then brought into the overhang to rest. That day and into the
night before a roaring fire they built the two finished off the two bottles of whiskey that
Loco had and then they both passed out and slept on the ground in the little canyon and
Rita given the bed of Jim's slept during the whole time. Then both up at daylight and
while Jim gathered up his gear and made ready to leave, Loco went to say his goodbyes
to Bright Moon.
When Vengeance Is Justified X1V
Then the three starts the long journey to first Doan's Crossing. Jim had placed
two more blankets on Rita's Indian pony as they did not have an extra saddle. Loco was
riding with the pack horses and Jim and Rita were just a little ways in front. Jim; "Rita
what is your last name?" "Bostic". "How old are you?" "17". Then asking how Black
Wolf had captured her and the fate of her family, Rita broke down and started to cry so
Jim did not question her anymore that day. But he did say; "Its 5 or 6 days to Doan's
Crossing and there you can decide to stay or come with me to Red Eagle Station as I
know my mother would welcome you with open arms". Rita was about 5ft. 8in. with




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