Buffalo Bill and the man in blue, or, The volunteer vigilantes of Silver Thread City


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Buffalo Bill and the man in blue, or, The volunteer vigilantes of Silver Thread City

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Title:
Buffalo Bill and the man in blue, or, The volunteer vigilantes of Silver Thread City
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Creator:
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (30 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Western stories. ( lcsh )
Buffalo Bill -- Fiction -- 1846-1917 ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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Original Version:
Volume 1, Number 88

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
020909944 ( ALEPH )
454439569 ( OCLC )
B14-00088 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.88 ( USFLDC Handle )

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PUBLICATJON BORDER HI 5TORY Issued 1'Veek/.) By Sub. r cnption $2.50 per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by Sl'REET & SMITH, 238 Wzllzam St., JV. Y No. 88. Price, Five Cents o THE FIRST SHOT TOLD BY DROPPING AN ,OUTLAW F'ROll4 BIS SADDLE.

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ffiO[S[b . A 'NEEKLY. PUBLICATION DEVOTED -TO BORDER Is sued We e llly. B y Subscri'f>lion $2-50 per year. Entered as Second Class Afatter at tiM N. Y. Post Office, by STREET &: SMITH, 238 WJ1/iam St., N. Y. Entered a c c ordineto Act of Cone-r e s s in the year JQO.J, in tire Office of the Librarian of Cone-ress, Was/tine-ton, .D. C. No. '88. NEW YORK. January q, 190J. Price Five unts. BUFFALO BILL AND THE MAN IN BLUE; OR, I Volunteer Vigilantes of Silver Thread. City. By the author of "BUFFALO Bll.I-" CHAPTER I. A .SCOUTING Buffalo Bill a n d a companion were riding across the rolli ng prairie whic h stre tch e d as far as the eye could reach du e westwa r d f r o m l i ttle mining s ettlement oi Silv e r Thr ead C i ty T he great sco u t's co m pani o n was to s ay the least, a re markab l e l o okin g m a n D resse d f rom h ead to foot in blue velvet, with silver t r immi n g s a broad blue sombr e r o p e rch e d rakishly on his head whic;:h was c overe d w ith a thick g rowth of long yel l o w hair, and mou n t e d upo n a sp l en d i d specimen of horse fles h the m a n was a figu r e to attract atte ntion wherever he wen t. Ford Be lf ont w as his name, and he was the owner of several ranches i n the nei g hb o rhood o f Si lver Thread C ity, where h e was u n i vers all y kno w n as the Man in Bl u e B uffalo Bill h a d arriv ed at Silver Thread City a short ti m e b efo r e wit h t w o young m e n fr es h from the East-Dr. Don o hue. a yo uJ!g and A llan Tremain, the s o n of Judge Tremain the most prominent inhabitant of Sil ver Thread City. H e h a d c om e to the little mining town on a secret mis si o n, a nd had met the y oung men, who had just finished the ir at YaLe and w e re goin g to set tle in Silver Thread Cit y The scout's m is si o n 'vas to break u p a band of robb e rs and d e speradoes who infe sted the nei g hborhood and who from their attire were known as the B o ys in Black. The Boys in Black had lost about ten members in a fight with a band of Volunteer Vigilantes which Buffalo Bill had organized, and a fter that had apparently dis b a nded. Of late, however, several r o bberies and hold-ups had occurred, and it was pretty clear in Buffalo Bill's mind that the Boys in Bl a ck had gotten over their scare and were starting in t o the ir busine ss of robbery and murder once more . Buffalo Bill said nothing about his ideas, however, but in secret he saw that his band of Volunteer numbering twenty-five in all of whici) Dr. Donohue an d Allan Tre o1ain. who w e r e a lread y f a irl y good scouts in

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2 THE .BUFFALO BILL STORIES. spite of their Eastern bringing ftp, were members, were kept ready for action. ,, 'Don't say anything about our prepatations, he said, at a secret meeting of the band, "but give the outlaws an impression that it will be safe for them to ,gather again. If we can only catch them in a bunch we'll wipe them out ( for good." . The following day the scout set out for a httle nde over a section of the prairie in which a man had been held up a short time before. He hoped that he might find some traces that would lead i.;m to the hiding place which he was sure the Boys in Black had somewhere in the vicinity. He was joined by Ford Belfont, the Man in Blue, but said nothing to him about his real object in setting out in that direction, simply saying that he was out for a canter. across the prairie. 'Tm with you, then," said the Man in Blue. "It's a lovely afternoon, and my horse needs exercise." Together the two jogged across the prairie, talking pleasantly. At length they caught sight of a single man approach ing them on foot. "See, there is a man coming to meet us," said the Man in Blue. "Yes, it is old Nemesis Nat, the Hermit of the Range." "You know him, then?" "I have met him in my wanderings, and have heard something of his sad story. "Do you know him?" "I did years ago, when he was on therwarpath as an avenger. His family was massacred by In dians, and ever then he has been on a trail for scalps." On the side of the trail, calmly awaiting their approach, stood old Nemesis Nat, a weather-beaten, hardened old settler, and as they came near Buffalo Bill called out: "Ho, Nemesis Nat, how have you been since I met you last?" "Pretty good, Buffalo, I guesses," and the old man spoke coldly, and, turning to the Man in Blue, said, with considerable sarcasm : "Well, Blue Jay, is you still prowlin' around after gold, and hain't lost your scalp in the hunt for it?" "No, nor do I intend to, Nemesis Nat," was the laughing reply of the Man in Blue, who. did not seem angered at 1.he way he had been spoken to. "Well, I have got to say is that if you goes half a mile further on this trail, you'll run into an ambush that will lay you both out-mark what I says, for I knows that which I tells you," and, shouldering his rifle, Ne mesis Nat walked quickly away up the steep mountain side. CHAPTER II. THE INSULT. The words and manner of the old hermit, Nemesis Nat, seemed a surprise to both Buffalo Bill and the Man in Blue. The latter appeared to be particularly struck by what had been said, and called out : "How do you know that there is an ambush ahead, old man?'' The hermit avenger turned, and halting moment, said with an impressive manner: "I am self-exiled from my fellowmen. I have a stern duty to perform in avenging those I loved; but I arr! ni fugitive from justice, no outlaw, no renegade, and though_'-' I may not care either for your friendship or that of the man with you, I still am of the same race, I am human, and would not see you go into a trap set for you. "Hence I tell you not to continue on along that trail, for death lurks there," and with this Nemesis Nat again swung his rifle over his shoulder and walked on. "I say, old man, what is the danger ahead in our path?'' called out the Man in Blue. But no answer came, and again the Man in Blue called out: "What danger lies ahead of us "Death!" "I will say no more," and the old man was passing on when the Man in Blue cried quickly: "Lend me your rifle, Cody, and I will halt him and force him to tell us more." "I will do nothing of the kind. "He has warned us, and that is sllfficient," replied Buf falo Bill, coldly. "I am sorry, but we will not quarrel. I go back r/.ow," said Bill. "Do you mean that you will turn back on the warning of that old madman?" "It is just what I do mean." "Well, I will not." "I always heed a warning, come from what source it may." "And I disregard them, especially from that old fel Tow. I do not believe there is an Indian ahe ad in am bush." "He did not say they were Indians." "Who can he mean, then?" "Do you forget that there are outlaws in the vicinity." "That is true; but they were badly frightened and have fled to their haunts." "Perhaps, only several might have waited to see if they were followed, and there are some splendid places for an ambush ahead of us." "I thought you were a stranger here?"

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 3 "To the people, yes, but not_ to the country, for I scouted through here some years ago." "Well, I shall go on." "I advise you not to do so." "You know no more about it than what Nemesis Nat told you." "I am a good guesser." "Well, I shall go on." "Better take my warning, Man in Blue." "Why?" "Well, you might meet a Man in Black who will hold you up, and I see that you wear costly jewels, a watch and chain, and may hav e money with you." "I have considerable; but I'll take the chances." "You may lose your life." "I'll risk it." J "Then I'll say no more." "Come, go with me, for two of us need have no fear should me meet any Boys in Black." "No, I shall go back on the trail." "You are afraid to go, then?" "I heed the warning." "Then you admit yourself to be a coward ?" The insulting words had not left the lips of the Man in Blue before he was covered by Buffalo Bill's revolver, the weapon cocked, the finger on the trigger, and he heard the sternly uttered words : "Retract those words, sir, or you are a dead man! "I mean it !" And Buffalo Bill's look showed that he was in deadly earnest. CHAPTER III. THE SILENT COURIER. The Man in Blue did not change countenance at the sudden and hostile act of Buffa1o Bill, but simply looked squarely into the muzzle of the revolver and then into the eyes of the man he had insulted, and said calmly and in a reproachful tone: "My dear Cody, it was a s lip of the tongue to apply the insulting epithet I did to you. "I am so accusto med to dealing with men of a differenU caliber than yours, I spoke generally, and, of course, did not mean it and your record is too well established for me to belie it. Can I say morl'!?" "You but the word coward is as mean an ap pellatio n to apply to a man as that of thief, liar or rene gade, and I for one, will not allow a man to b and me so, for I demand one to choose his words. But your apology i s all I ask for, and it is forgotten." And th e scou t extended his hand but it was very cer tain that the epithet was one than rankled yet in his brave heart. The Man in Blue then said : "Is it useless to ask you to still go on?" "Yes.'1 "You go back, then ?" "I turn back on the trail." "And if I should run into an ambush?" "You will have only yourself to blame for it, for you have been doubly warned." ... "I thought you were going to say that if I was killed or captured you would raise a band of settlers and avenge or rescue me." "You have shown yourself pretty able to take 9are of yourself thus far, Mr. Belfont', but should you get into trouble I will do all in my power for you." "That is some comfort, at least. Good-by," and the Man in Blue rode on along the trail alone. Buffalo Bill watched him for a few mii:utes, and then turned back on the trail. Then he halted, dismounted, and, taking a pencil and notebook from his pocket, tore a sheet from tbe latter and wrote the following to Dr. Donohue, his tenderfoot pard at Silver Thread City: "DEAR DOCTOR:-; 'My horse will bear this to you. 1 "Please stake him out in the little meadow beyond the timber where we fired upon the outlaws. "He will be safe there, and in a good hiding place. 'Met Nemesis Ned, of whom I spoke to you. "He warned us of danger around, but the Man in Blue, whom I met on the prairie, pushed on, while I turned back -for a reason. "Better push your wounded man and the dead one, for Silver Thread, and put guard of Volunteer Vigilantes over the lock-up. "I will return when I have found the clew I am now trailing. B. B." This note was tied securely to the horn of the scout's saddle, the reins were placed over it, and the horse was started on the ba:ck trail. The scout h a d taken his haversack of provisiqns with him, his rifle and blanket, and stood watching the horse as he went along at a canter, the pace that Buffalo Bill had started him off at. Having watched the animal out of sight, Buffalo Bill smiled grimly, and muttered: "You will not find me so much of a coward as you pliecl, my dear Man in tlue, only I will not herald my ap proach by going on horscbaC!k and get yanked out of my saddle b y a lariat, or knocked out by a bullet. "Old Kernesis Nat was playing a double game in some way, for I marked him w ell, a n d th e r e is something ahead on this trail for an honest man to s hun. ''But I'll find out just. what it is, very nearly as soon as the Man in Blue does, but not as ile will, perhaps."

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... THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. So saying, Buffalo Bill swung his haversack to his belt, threw his rifle across his shoulder, and slowly went along the trail taken by the Man in Blue, his field-glass in his hand and hi s eyes searcl;iing every yard of the way ahead. ; ; CHAPTER IV. VIGILANTES IN THE SADDLE. When Judge Tremain, the chief man, heard that Buf falo Bill had started on the trail after the Boys in Black alone, he lost no time in looking up the first -lieutenant of Buffalo Bill's Volulnteer Vigilantes, a daring young bordennan named Kent, and he hailed him quickly with: '"Ho, Kent, yoh are the very man I wish to see." "Yes, judge, I am at your serv ice sir," said the young Sctllcr. You could call out the Vigilantes, could you not?" "If Captain Cody was away, sir, and there was reason for it.'' "Cody is away, and there i's reason for it. "The fact is, Kent, a robbery has been committed re cently which Cody thinks is the work of the Boys in Black, who, he supposes, have gathered again. Cody has taken the trail after them alon e{Wit hout calling out the Volunteer Vigilantes. I ha-,.e beerv growing more and more anxious about him, and I really wish you would sig nal in some of the members and accompany me 4s a re serve to Cody in ca se he should get into trouble and need help." "I will do so, judge, upon your request, for that is sufficient." \ "Then, Kent, you ride on into Silver Thread and get any of your band you may find there, while I, who know your men, will halt any that come along and await you at the Range Trail, a mile back. "In that way we will gain time, and I cannot drive off the feeling that Captain Cody needs aid, starting as he did on that trail." "I will ride on at once, sir, and be back at the Cros Trails within the hour with any of the men I can pick up." The judge dismounted, and began to wait for the com ing cf any of the band who would come by that way, a:s just there three trails met. He had not long to wait before a young man came in sight1 riding at a gallop. "Ho, Houston! looking for Kent I suppose?" "Yes, judge. "The Vigilantes have been called out." ''He has gone on into Silver Thread to find others, and you are to wait with me, for others are to come soon." J The two others came along soon, and wete halted by the judge, w.ho explained the situation. It was n ot long after that three came in a bunch, and as half a dozen had now reporteq, the judge mounted and they rode back to the Cross Trails, a point a little further back on the road. They had not long to wait before they heard the clatter of hoofs coming rapidly along, and soon there dashed into sight Kent and four more of the Volunteer Vigi lantes. "A little late, judge, but we can keep right on, sir." "I an1 glad to see.. you have six of the boys, for now we eleven Vigilantes and the judge. "Boys, the judge says that Captain Cody started on the trail of a party of Boys in Black, more than double their number, so we start to their support, as they may need aid. "Now, forward." Buffalo Bill had not let his identit y become generally known at Silver Thread City, as he feared that if it were known that Buffalo Bill, the scout, were there, the outlaws would be on their guard. He was known to all, save a few., as Captain cOdy, an ex-am1y officer. The young officer leaped into the saddle, his men fol lowed his example, and the Vigilantes were off on the trail. CHAPTER V. THE DUMB MESSENGER. Allan Tremain and Dr. Donohue, knowing nothing of the calling out of the Volunteer Vigilantes, were riding across the prairie that afternoon when they saw a horse riderless-galloping toward them. They both recognized it as Buffalo Bill's horse and their hearts sank within them as they looked at the empty The young men turned pale with dre?-d, for it seemed to indicate that the scout had been killed or wounded. They had become greatly attached to the scout, recog nizing his noble qualitie;S, and realizing all that he had done for them. As though conscious that he bore some news of im portance, the splendid horse came on with arched neck and halted right before Dr. Donohue, whose eyes .at once caught sight of the piece of paper tied to the saddle-horn with a buckskin thong. "Ah a message from Captain Cody! "I sincerely h ope he i s not hurt and unabl e to ride h e r e," ::ind Dallas Donohue hastil y unfold ed the letter and read what the scout had written, Allan Tremain liste 'ning .to every word with the same interest that was felt by the young doctor. "Thank Heaven, he is all right, Doc." ''Yes, Allan, but how long will he be, going elm as he does atone on the trail, and on foot?" "I wonder what clew he is on?" "It is hard to tell; but if the Man in Blue did not heed the warning of Nemesis Nat and Cody did, I would say ..

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. s that he is dogging Belfont to see wh.at he can make out of him." "It would appear so. I could sec that Cody had a suspicion against him that something was wrong." "l noticed that als o ; but the Nlan in Blue is a11 right, and Cody is wrong in that quarter." "Maybe, but I -sh all wait and see. "I only wish we had some of Vigilantes here to go after the scout." "So do I-but hark!" They listened for a minute, and Dr. Donohue said: "That is the sound of horses in a gallop-listen!" They soon h eard the tlmd of a number of hoofs, and at om ; e were on their guard, for who, or what they were who coming they could not tell. "We may have to fight for it, Allan." "Yes; but they are on the trail coming from Silver Thread." '!You are right, so they cannot be foes." "I hope not ; but little did we tlream when at old Yale we would have such adventures as we have met on the frontier. "Why, they call football dangerous at Yale, but here it is dangerous to be alive, and the men who die natural deaths lie few and far between; but here come friends ot foes, so stand ready for a fight or a footrace." "It is neither, for I recognize the judge. "Hurrah! there are a dozen of our Vigilantes with him, and there is Kent also." T.he band of Vigilantes, with the judge and Lieutenant Kent at their head, rode rapidly up to the spot where the young men stood and came to a sudden 1rnlt. "This looks like hot work," said Allan. "Are the Vigi )antes called out?" Judge Tremain told about his fears for Buffalo Bill's safety and his calling out the Vigilantes. Then the letter of Buffalo Bill, sent by his dumb mes was read and commented, upon. The Vigilantes decided that it would be best to push on after their chief, and, if he was in danger, rescue him from it. So on went the band of Vigilantes, ead1 one of them, save the doctor and Allan Tremain, being experienced plainsmet;, and be_ing as well able to follow a trail as an Indian. Judge Tremain had been urged by all to return, and h.e had done so, feeling assured that the Volunteer Vigilantes on the trail, he could return home and feel no further dread regarding Buffalo Bill. They had found the spot where the l\Ian in Blue had parted "ith Buffalo Bill and were making their way th rough a wide canyo11, when from a short distance ahead of them, they heard rapid firing, and Allan Tremain called out : "There is deadly work ahead, men, for that is the ring of Buffalo Bill's CJIAPTER VI. BUFFALO BILL CORNERED \Vb.en Buffalo Bill had sent his horse back with the note to Dr. Donohue, he watched the animal until he was out of sight. Then he turned, and, glancing down the trail, muttered to himself: "I am lik e a Comanche, a great deal braver on horse back than afo ot "I am playing a bold game, but it's to win or and you bet I am .. on this trail to camp, for I cannot drive the kink out of my mind that I am being fooled by some one. "'Veil, shall see," and Buffalo Bill strolled on afong the trail taken by the Man iri Blue. Afoot he could hide himself, when, had he gone on horseback, it would have been impossible for him to do so. He could go on foot in many pfaces when he could not have ridden, and then the fall of a horse's hoofs would have been heard by a keen ear quite a distance off. ..Creeping from rocks to rocks, timber to timber, yet holding generally the course taken by the Man in Blue, Buffalo Bill continued on his way for a couple of miles and had seen no sign of danger lurking in his path. Coming through a wide canyon, with a stream flowing through it, and precipitous sides, the scout said to himself: "If they are lying in wait it is at the head of this can yon. "But the trail of the Man in Blue goes on, and so will I," and he swung down into the canyon with a step that quick and untiring He came to a meadow in the canyon that was nearly a mile in length, and he halted and looked long and ear nestly ahead with his glass There was no going around, unless he went many miles out of his way, aud the canyon's sides where the meadow was '"Nere steep and would not afford a hiding place. One third of the way across there was a group of rocks, the only shelter the scout could find all the way. "'Veil, I must risk it, trusting to luck that the outlaws are not camping in the pass just beyond the meadow," he said, ancl he kept on his way. It was an unpleasant fcelihg that crept over him, the thought that he was watched, ancl at one moment he was about to turn and go back. But overcame the intention and pressed on, at last coming to the pile of' rocks one-third of the way across.

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6 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. Here he halted, and, taking up his glass while he lay in hiding, he began to searchingly regard the trail ahead. Nothing met his view, not a coyote or bird being visible. "vVell, I must go on, for I do not bele.ve that I am seen," he said. He was gathering his things together to rr;ove on, when his ears, possessing the sensitive hearing of a hound's, caught the sound of distant hoofs. At first he could not catch just the direction the sound I Came from, whether from behind Of before him, the rock walls of the canyon resounding so; but at last the sound grew louder, and he suddenly said: "Well, I'll have to run for it, or.stand at bay here. "They are coming back over the trail, and are outlaws, for they can be no one else. "Ha! there they come into view. "I might make a run for it, and reach the cover of the hills, but I'll stand at bay and trust that they will go by and not see me-Ah! that will be impossible, for there are a dozen of them, and they will surely see me. "Yes, Buffalo Bill, you are cornered this time, and it is a fight for life." The face of the scout grew stern as he spoke, his eyes glittered with an angry light, and he placed himself in the best position he could to, escape observation and at the same time be rtady to fight to the death. The scout seemed to fully realize that a desperate strug gle was before him, and as he need expect no merc)i. from the outlaws, he meant to give none, to fight them in their own merciless way. As he crouched there among the rocks at bay, his face did not move a muscle as he beheld one after the other a dozen outlaws come into view, all dressed in black, masked, and riding horses the hue of jet. Buffalo Bill had been right. The Boys in Black were again on the trail. CHAPTER VII. THE VIGILANTES AT WORK. Buffalo Bill watched the outlaws closely as they came on at a rush, riding in compact mass. "I do not believe they have seen me, or know that i am here. "They will find it out very suddenly, for I cannot expect to escape being seen, as the trail passes each side of the rocks. "I guess I'll begin in tiine to let them know that I am here." On came the outlaws at a r!ln, coming straight along the trail toward the scout's position, and riding in close order. "I could shut my eyes and pick them o ff out of tha t bunch," grimly muttered the scout. Neare r and ne a r e r they came until Buffalo Bill felt that he would sQon be discovered and that he must act. The eyes of Buffalo Bill brightened with a determined menacing light as he glanced along the barrel of his re peating rifle and pulled trigger. "One, two, three, four, five!" the shots were counte d by the scout as they were fired upon the advancing out laws. The first shot told by dropping an outlaw from his sad dle, the second wounded another, the third kill e d a hcirse and the fourth and fifth brought down another man and horse, while the wild cry of Buffalo Bill rang out with defiance to his foes. That the Boys in Black had not seen Buffalo Bill was certain, that they had been taken by surprise was equally so. They saw those deadly puffs of smoke coming from among the rocks, and they drew rein in hot haste. Several started to fly, but the voice of their leader checked them. 'It is but one man, the same we tried to ambush thi s morning. "He has tracked us, so now fuke him alive The surprised and partly demoralized outlaws seem e d to realize that their leader spoke truly, that there was but one man. ''Charge, and take him alive!" yelled the leader and he got his men together once more and they spurred for ward toward the -rocks. :nut Buffalo Bill had not been idle during the tempo rary panic of the outlaws, for he had thrown cartridge s into the place of those he had fired. drawn his revolvers, and, placing them on the rocks by his side, was ready again to face the terrible odds against him. But ere the outlaws had gotten fairly under way again there was heard a loud cheering back on the trail and the Volunteer Vigilantes into view. Buffalo Bill was astounded. He heard the cheer and turned. "They are my own Vigilantes," he cri e d and in his astonishment he forgot to fire on the outlaws. The death-struggle had ended in victory for the scout, just as he had given up all hope of life and intended to die game. The outlaws had again quickly drawn rein at hearing the cheer. They were not sure that there was not more than one man in their front. They supposed it was a trap a;id that he had planned it with his comrades then coming.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 7 There was but one thing to do, and that was to fly for life. "We outnumber them, men; stand and fight them!" cried their leader. But the Boys in Black did not stand. They saw a force equal to their own in spite of the words of their leader, and they fired a volley at the scout, another at the advancing Vigilantes, and fled. But not all of them, for Buffalo Bill opened fire again, and the long-range rifles of the Vigilantes answered the fire they had sent at them. Several men and horses dropped, and then the flight became a running fight with rapid shots exchanged on both sides, for the Volunteer Vigilantes had gotten down to work; they were striking a blow for revenge. The horses of the outlaws seemed the fleeter, or were not tired for they gained well upon their pursuers, and, once they gained the beyond the pass, they scattered in all directions, and the Vigilantes were at fault and could not follow them. But Buffalo Bill's Vigilantes had begun to hit back. CHAPTER VIII. STICKlNG TO THE TRAIL. When the Volunteer Vigilantes dashed up they gave their chief thr' ee cheers, but he called out : "On after them, pards, and don't mind me, for I'll fol low soon." His horse was being led by a Vigilante, who soon came up, and, mounting, Buffalo Bill pressed forward rapidly. But he came up with the Vigilantes at fault, as the out l a ws had scattered, as has been said. There was nothil)g to do but return over the trail, and a covple of good horses with their saddles and bridles on picked up, and a wounded animal was put out of his misfry. reminds me that I saw the chief, as he fled, draw rein over the wounded men and fir e his reyolver down upon them. "He was determined to l et n o one fall into our hands who might b.e b ought to tell 'ecrets. "\Vhen they kill their own wounded, to prevent their falling into our hands, you can understand, men, the kind of desperadoe s we are fighting, said Buffalo Bill. F i ve of the outlavvs were found dead upon the field, and, being searc h ed, they were found to be well supplied wit h money, and this all went into the treasury for the common we lfare of the Vigilantes. The bodies were buried, aml a couple of wounded Vigi lantes were sent right back to Silver Thread under the care of Dr. Donohue. \Vhen the outlaws were buried, the Vigilantes were congratulated by their chief upon their success, and the scout asked Allan Tremain to thank the judge for having done what he did and helped him out of a serious situ ation. "And I owe you thanks, too, Pard Kent, for you did just right to collect the men "We have hit the outlaws a return blow, have made them feel that we can strike back and that they shall not feel that it is all their way. "Mr. Kent, I_,. would camp the men back where you found Dr. Donohue waiting, and signal the rest of the band to come together also, as I shall go on from here on a scout and return to you there with what information I can get." "Yes, sir, but you will not go alone?" "Oh, yes, I can do better alone in scouting and will call on you and the men when I need you to act. "I must get some provisions from some one who has them, and you had better order supplies out to the camp from Silver Thread." \ "How about my going with you, Captain Cody?" asked Allan Tremain in a whisper. "You did not come out here to be buried, Allan, but to enjoy life. "This making a Vigilante out of you i s because circumstances demanded it. "Scouting is dangerous work, especially after those out laws. as I came yery near discovering to my cost. "I s hall not go mounted, but on foot, arnl I r ea lly be lieve I wiil be able to make some discovery of impor tance, at least I hope so." ''And the Man in Blue left you?" :yes, he went on alone. "And where is he?" "The Lord only knows, for i don 't, 1Jnt I am going to find out." ''You hold s uspicion against him, I sec. "I still am determined t o know alJ about him .. \!Ian: hut I wish yon to your father for sending the \'igilautes to my suppor t. and tell him that if he had not d one so, he would have had to write to Colonel Royall that his chief of sco ut s sent 011 a special miss ion, was lost, strayed or stolen." "l do not exactly like your going alone now.: "'.\Iy dear pard, 1 have scouted tw o-thirds of my life alone. "Did I have three of my parcls with me that I could name. I would u nde rtake the contract that the four o{ us would run the Boys in Black to ruin." \nd \vho arc those three, if I 111ay ,.-"One is \Vild Bill, another is Surgeon Frank Powell of

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8 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES the army and the other is Texas Jack but now I must b e off b efore the trail s get cold," and B uffalo Bill still c o n tinued on in the trail he had b e en foll o wing. ... CHAPTE R IX. A DISAPP E A RANCE. Buffalo Bill starte d on the trail o f th e ouilaws alone and on foot, wh ile the Vigilantes w e re s till engage d in burying the dead at t he rocks ner which they had fallen. The sco u t m ov e d o n up to the s p o t wh e r e th e y had di vid e d and then b egan to examin e the trails with the de ep est int e re s t. Re becam'e. in fact so much inter e sted in one of th e trai l s that he went back a s far a s th e outlaws had be e n wh e n he fired upon them. Then he hastened on once m o re, reaching the hills just at twilight and camping on th e trail. He found a g oo d ca mpin g pla ce, built a small fire, had his supp e r and, wrapping himself in his blan ke t s lay do w n for a goor l ni g ht 's r e st. for h e was tire d out with hi s hard work o f the pa st f ew d a y s He did not h; w e the slight est dread of an at tack or of my dangtr, and s l e p t throug h th e n1ght u ndisturbe d wak ing up just in ti me tu be on the trail with the first glimmer of light. He had evidently made up his mind what trail he would take, for he went straight off on it without hesitation. Over the range he wept, keeping up a brisk and steady w alk, still pressing on along the trail h e h a d starte d out t o follow, and toward noon he reached the plains beyond a ro lling fertile, well-watered country where the ranchers c l i the Silver Thread settlement had establi s hed cattle ra nches. They were perhaps a dozen in nu m b e r, and widely s cat :e red being many miles apart. In a fine timber grove upon a rise was a ranch toward which Buffalo Bill was making his w ay. There was a big cabin upon it o f sev e ral rooms, a cow l o y's cabin do w n on the stream, a corral for cattle, horses ; > n d s t e ers, and the herds were scattered in the meadow ia nd, with sever a l horsemen watchin g them. These Buffa\o Bill eluded and went straight to the cabin. A man saw him approaching and r a n i n to th e cabin, re turning soon after with a rifle. "Is it peace or war, pard, that you want?" cried the scout as the man came out. "Who are you ? "My name is Cody, and I am a settler over in the val ley. "Is this the ranch of Ford Bel font, the Man in Blue?" "It is." "I would lik e to s ee hi m ." H e i s n ot h e r e " D o y ou m ean it?" "I do es." I am for he started for hi s h o m e yes terday, ..and I fear h e has met with troubl e." "Oh, th e Ma n in B lue can tak e care o f hi m s e lf. " o d o ubt of th at, i f h e i s n o t trappe d ; but h e i s h u n1an. "He' s a da ndy for taking care o f hi m s e lf, t oo." "I b elie ve you; bu t I am an x i ou s ab out hi m and ho p e d I w o uld find hi m h e r e, but I fear that th e o u t l aws h ave got h im." "Wha t o utlaws?" "The Boys in Black." N o f e ar, for he slee"ps with b oth eyes op en. "Weil, he l ef t me to c o me on to his ranc h. I saw the o u t laws, and plent y of th e m and t hey were rig h t on the trail h e had to follow and they h ad a brush with a p a r ty of s e ttler s a n d got badl y wo r s t e d to o." "Good! "I w i s h t h a t w e c o ul d wipe t h e m out; but it has been t he o t h e r way in the s et tle m ent. "The Man in Blu e has h ad pl enty of tim e t o get her e, s h o ul d h ave arri ve d last ni g h t in fa ct. "But ho w ab out getti n g d i nne r ?" The man steptJed b a ck nea r e r t o t he cab i n a n d a f te r a moment s a id : "All r ight, you can g e t di n n e r. I'm all alone, and I don't l i k e taking stra n g e rs in." "'i\That's the matte r with calli n g up the cowb o ys i f yo u are afrai d?" "I hain't. afraid so co me and I'll get dinner and call up th e b oy s when it i s r eady." Buffalo Bill r e fresh ed hi m self w ith a good was h t ook a scat in front of th e c ab in. and looked s e archingly at t h e p lac e and its s urrou n di ngs. He sa' w that th e ca b in was well fitt e d up in s ide The r e was a cot wit h mattre ss .and s ilk b e d spre ad upon it some paintings and engravin gs u po n the walls a shelf of b ooks, a table and of we a p ol'.s scatter ed a b out, with a g ui t a r and vi o lin hanging up n ea r the d oo r The tabl e w a s set ou ts i d e a nd t h e m a n s h owed that h e was certainl y a go o d co o k w hate ve r fa ul t s h e migh t p os sess. He took a horn from a peg and gave half a d oze n b l as t s upon it, and soon after thre e cowb oys cam e up at a g all o p. They leaped from their horse s at the stream, has ti l y washed and combed their long hair, and then came for ward and nodd e d to the scout.

PAGE 10

I THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 9 CHAPTER X. A DESERTED HORSE. Buffalo Bill gree ted the cowboys pleasantly, when the man at the cabin introduced him with: "Pards, this be a friend o' the boss. "Ef yer wants ter know his ask him, for I has forg o t. "But he fears ther Boys in Black has got ther Man in Blu e .'' The cowboys burst into a lau gh, and one said: "You bet yott is away off, stranger, for the :'.Vfan 111 I' Blue hain't built that way." "He w1as yesterday, for I rescued him myfelf from th e outlaws." The men all laughed heartily, and one of them said: "\Veil, he'd 'a' got away if you hadn't rescued him, for he's that kind o' a man, nothin' holds ther Man in Bl11e when he gits ready to scoot." ''I hope he is so fortunate this time, but his not coming liome canses me to fear for his safety." 1 D on't y ot:1 lose no res t fearin' for ther pard. for he'll be along 0. K. when he come in. "Won't he, fellers ?" 'You bet !" Man in Blue, gits re.ady to Buffalo El li said'no more, but closelv watched the men without appear ing to do so, while he 'en joyed his dinne; as w e ll. the cowboys had returned to their duty, the scout asked the man if he could leave a note for the l\T an in Blue. After a moment of hesitation h e said: "Yes, c o me in and write it thar. He p o inted to the desk of the Man 111 Blue, and, sitting down, Buffalo Bill wrote: "DEAR BELFONT :-''I got anxious about you and came on to follow vou up but had a brush with the outlaws, and a party of set tlers got me out of the trouble. ' Decided to come and see if you reached your ranch in safety. "Am fearful yo u are in trouble. \ Vill trust, however, to see you soon in Silver Thread. "Yours, Coov." "Now, pard, I will leave the letter right here, and I wish to know if I can buy a horse from you, for I've got a little money with me." "I don t knbw." "\Vho does know if you don't." "Just wait a minute and I'll see if my horse is in the corral." Buffalo Bill noticed that he passed through the cabin to go to the corral, and hesitated in there all of two min utes. Then he came out, glanced toward the corral and said: "Yes, my horse is there." "You will sell him?" "I guess so." "What do you want for him?" "I gave forty dollars for him, and he's a good one." "I'll give you fifty dollars for'horse, saddle and bridle, if the beast is of any account.'' "You bet he's a dandy to go." "Is h e "Yes, I shod him yesterday." "Trot him out, and give me the best rig you can for the money, while I wish you would throw in a couple of days' grub for me." 'All right," and the horse was soon brought up and a good saddle and bridle put on him. The man then gave the scout some provisions, receiverl his money, and said : "I'll tell the boss you war scared for him." I hav'n't entirely gotten over my scare for him yet." "\Vhich way now?" "I'll strike for the settlements by a lower trail, for I don't wish to ru11 upon any more outlaws," and Buffalo Bill mounted, and with a noel to the man rode away, mut tering to himself: 'This is a pretty fair horse, and I'm sorry I have got to give him up. ''But 1 guess it is worth it to do so." He rode on at a rapid gallop, the moment he got out of sight of the ranch, but did not take the trail that he had indicated to the man at the cabin that he would. He turned off on the trail he had come, going back through the where he would be more than likely to run upon some of the outlaws. But though Buffalo Bill rode hard across the level country, when h e came to the mountains he halted where the trail divid e d, one following along the base of the range. the other passing over it. 'Here we part, old horse," he said, and, dismounting, he fastened the reins tight around the saddle, started the horse along the base of the mountains, and sent him off on it in a gallop. Then, shoulderi1ig his rifle, he started on foot up the mountain trail, muttering to himself; "I must fight the devil with fire." CHAPTER XI. IN SEARCH OF INFORMATION. Rested by his halt at the ranch of the Man iii Blue, and refreshed by his good dinner, Buffalo Bill climbed the ipount ain t-ail with guick ;;,n(} '!;te;.dy steps He seemed anxious to sea."Ch a certain point before

PAGE 11

IO THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. night, though his haste did not keep him from being cau tious. and he reconnoitered well ahead of him with his glass. for he knew that he was in a very dangerous neigh borhood. At la s t the summit of the range was reached, and while halting for rest he looked about him. Behind him, twenty nfites away, was the speck that marked the ranch of the 1\Ian in Blue, for he had pressed the horse he bQught very hard the fifteen or sixteen mile ride to the mountain. upon the other side, beyond the great hiils, near Sil ver Tllt"ead \"alley. and he could just pick out the little group of cabins that marked the village of the settlement. "Xow to strike for the home of T emesis Nat, mean while keeping a bright lookout that some outlaw don't call me with a gun," and so saying Buffalo Bill followed along the ridge, but where there was no trail. The sun was yet a couple of hours high, and he kept up his long stride, for he knew that he had all of eighteen miles to cover before nightfall and some of the way would be rough. Afar off there was a group of peaks, and there he knew was the cabin home of Nemesis Nat, the fiennit Avenger, the man the Xavahoes feared as an evil spirit. The sun sunk Yery rapidly to Buffalo Bill, but he kept up his steady pace, and it was just growing twilight when he had descended to the canyon among tlre peaks and took the trail to the cavern of Nemesis Nat. He remembered the way that the old hermit had shown him, and at last climbed to th shelf that the large cave opened upon, sheltered by the dwarf pines that grew about it. ''Ho, old pard, I am just in time." The hermit turned quickly, his dropping upon his revolvers, as he rose from before tbe fire where he had heen cooking supper. "Lordy, Buffalo Bill, you gave me a start, for I riever heard you coming, and you are the only man who knows the way to my den." "It would have served you right if I had dropped the supper into the fire." ''\Veil, I'd hav e rescued it, for I am very hungry, very tired, and come to stay all night with you, if you don't mind." ''I'll be glad to have you. "1 was thinking of you just now." "Yes, think of Old Nick and his imp appears. "D11t how arc you, old man?" .. \11 right; am! I've got another scalp since I saw you. But go to the brook and wash up, and I'll put more supper on an
PAGE 12

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. I I "What can you tell me about him?" "Nothing." "Does that mean that you cannot or will not." I can tell you nothing about the Man in Blue, Bill, but as you were with him you must know something about him." I know so little that I am anxious to learn more. "Let me tell you how I met him and the times I have s ince seen him." 'I should be glad to hear, Bill." "'Now, Pard Nat, I have jtist come from his ranch, and he is not there, or, if he is, the man there lied to me. I w ill tell you frankly that when I strike a trail in earnest I like to sec the end of it." "You surely do, Bill." "The warning you gave us was intended for me, Nemesis Nat." "For you?" "Yes.' I know you." "Yes, and yo u know the Man in Blue." "Why do you sa y so ? I saw a l ook pass between you and the Man in Blue. "I read it that he was surprised at your warning, and T felt that th e warning was for me, and I took it." "It was for you, Bill." "There were no Indians in ambush?" "Not one." They were outlaws?" "Yes." "In ambush beyond the pass?" "Yes." "I thank you Pard Nat, for yob me out of trouble 'But I did see the l ook pass b etween you, and the Man in Blue went on, after trying to force me to go with him ; in fact, I resented his words about being afraid to go. "You afraid, Bill ? "He don't know you." "Oh, yes, he knows me, but he was trying to browbeat me into going. "I turned back on horseback sent my horse back to the -:amp and went on the trail of the Man in Blue on foot. I made a discovery, too." "Well?" I found that the track of the h orse ridden by the Man in Blue came back to the meadow where I opened on them. "It turned there and went back with the crowd of horsemen." "The horse of the Man in Blue did?" "Yes." "And the rid e r?" "Was masked and dressed m black, so, of course, I could not see him. I then decided to let the Vigilantes return to camp, as I might need them ; you see I place confidence in you, Ne mesis Nat." "That is right; I will never betray you." I went on my way then on foot, and reach.ed the ranch of the Man in Blue." "Well? "I went there, guided by the track of the same horse, the one ridden by the Man in Blue." "But you say he was not there?" "If he was, he did not show himself; b u t I noticed sev eral times that the man in charge, before answering my questions, evidently held conversation with some one hid den in the cabin." "You are a close observer, Bill." 'J\Iy life too often depends upon close observation for me not to be. " Well, what do yo u make out of all this?" "You will not tell me?" "I cannot." "Then I will tell you later, for I am camping on the trail n ow, pard. let us turn in, for I make an early start." CHAPTER XIII. UNDER FALSE COLORS. Buffalo Bill is a man who does his work well and thor oughly, and that was said of him when he was scouting for the army. He would n e v e r leave a trail until he had gotten to the end of it, and r1sking lif e with him was a minor mat ter if he accomplished what he set out to do. When h e left the cabin home of the hermit the next morning the sun was rising, but the two had risen ear1y enough to have a good breakfast before the scout de parted upon the trail. The avenger accompanied \lim to the canyon where he had the Indian pony and Buffalo Bill found him to be a fine roan with excellent points. "He will do very well, and I will buy him from you, Pard Nat." "No you won't, for I'm not a trader. "I go t the Injun's scalp, and that was all I wanted. "The horse I do not want or need so take him." "I certainly am obliged to you; but say, Nat?" "Yes, Bill ?" "You have Injun toggery enough to fit out a camp hav en't you?" "Yes." "War-bonnets, clothing-, weapons, and such?"

PAGE 13

12 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "Oh, yes ." "Any paint?" "Pl enty ." "Well, here is an Indian pony, saddle and bridle." 'Yes "Take me back to the cavern, Nemesis Nat, and rig me up as an out-and-out redskin." "What about your mustache, Bill?" "I cut my imperial off to come here on a mission to Sil ver Thread Valley, and I whack off the mustache to play In jun." "It will spoil your looks Bill." "Looks don't go in this game, Pard Nat. "Don't play it ." "Why?" "You are goin g to take big chances I know." "No, indeed, I am going to keep from getting shot from a n ambush, unless you head me off somewhere on the trail and kill me for my scalp." I'll know you, Bill." Well, the Navahoes and outlaws ar
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