Buffalo Bill and the silent slayers, or, The Arizona crack shot

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Buffalo Bill and the silent slayers, or, The Arizona crack shot

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Title:
Buffalo Bill and the silent slayers, or, The Arizona crack shot
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Creator:
Buffalo Bill
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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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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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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020910139 ( ALEPH )
454439614 ( OCLC )
B14-00093 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.93 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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No. 93. Price, Five Cents. 'l'lllil YOUNG SPOR T lt.&EL EJ) AN D FELL A C ROS S THJil BODY
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" issued Wee k l y No. 93. Trpenn[?[?mCT:i@ ffiDCS[S A WEEKLY PUBLICATION DEV9TED TO BORDER Hl5TORY B v Subscrrphon per v a r E ntered a s Second C1<>s s Ma'ter a t tire N V P os t Offi ce. /Jv STREET & .SMITH, 238 William St., N Y. Ent e r e d a c c ordi ng-t11 Act o j O m ;rre s s ill the y1ar IQO.], i n tile O ffice o.f llte Libr .. ri
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2 THE BUFFALO BILL 'STORIES worst community ori earth as dwells here, as you'll find out." "And yet I find that boy here, for he is nothing more '.than a youth, with a face as handsome and ge.nt!e as a '\VOn1an 's." "\Nell, he kin rough it with the toughest of 'em, when they riles him." "Does he seek trouble?" "You bet he don't. He kinder tries ter slip away from it, Ulltil they pushes him too hard, and then he jumps in with both feet. I tell, yer, pard Bill, he are a queer one-thet qu eer thet I can't make him out, for he 's as gentle as a sister in <;aring for ther sick, mrr s in' 'em so kind-like, and yet I has seen him dress a awful-looking wound for a man that was knifed, and another as was shot, and never flinch no more than a doctor would; but look at him now as he 's playing keerds, thar', with Red Sam, and you'll see that, though he's takin' ther man s bluster talk mighty cool-like, he hes quietly loosened one of the revolvers in his belt." "Why, he is a perfect walking arsenal, Bunco, for I see two revolvers in his belt and three knives." "Yas, Bill, he carries six bowies and two revolvers, not to speak of a derringer or two whar' a Chinaman carries a trump keerd-up his sleeve. "I tell you, he knows how ter use 'em all, too, fer he gave a exhibition one day jist fer fun, of drawing his weapons and using 'em, fer some one stuck up a tin plate on a tree fe:: him, and firing with both hands, he put twelve revolver shots in it at ten paces, two derringer bullets, .and stuck them six knives he carri es in it too , by throwing 'em, and all in the time of just thirty sec onds, and that meant ther drawing time, ter bo9t "I tell yer, pard Bill, the1: foli
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I THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 3 but as long as I am out in this wild land I am what I am, and the same as the rest in looks and conversation." And the man with a coll e g e edu ca ti o n courtly man ners, fine form and handsome face, still y oung, and with life before him, appeared on a par with those him only not a crime ever had been laid at his door, and with his comrades he had be e n a man l y fellow, true as steel, brave and liked by all who kn e w him. Only his inti mates knew that he was acting a part, and they w o ndered what clo.i.td hung over his life what mystery there was about him. The young sport whom the two old friends w e re speaki n g of, and observing so closely sat at a t a ble in Sports' Deli g ht saloon play in g cards with three men, who were as h a rd-l o oking characters as cou l d b e found even in Devil s Can y on. The four w e re playing partne rs, Red Sam and the boy sport a g ainst the other t\v o, an d they were the l ose rs, too, in the g ames thus far pla y ed the other couple having piled up big on th e table b y e ach man. Somehow the losses of Red Sam and the young sport \Vere all laid at the latter s door by his big partn e r, who now and then uttered some sava g e words a g ainst him, cal : ing him names a n d asking him bluntly if he was m league with the others to get his money. The youth took it all qui e tly, thou g h there was a dangerous g leam in his e y e. That he did not resent the words of Red Sam n o one wond er ed at, for the latter was known as one of th e most dan g e rou s men in Devil s Can yon-a bully and d e s perado w ho s e emed to enjoy taking human life, for he was always looking for trouble until he had bec o me a terror ev e n in that wild g a thering of rou g hs and bad men. Larg e raw-boned u g ly-faced, strong as a mountain lion, qui c k as a wildca t with a voice of thunder and a r e cord as a man-killer, Red Sam des e rved his name from )1is as w ell as from his long red hair and beard. The young spo r t was as totall y his opposite as it was possible to be. Sli ght in form, but splendidly built with thick, jet black, wavy hair, a face darkly bronz e d, but perfectly featured, strong, determined, handsome. yet gentle as a woman, and with a low, strangely musical voice, he seemed like one to cower in terror b e fore the man who was his partner in that game of cards. His slouch hat sat jauntil y upon his fine head; his blue wool e n s hirt, black silk scarf, gray corduroy pants, stuck in top boots his weapons, even, were all of the finest material and make-that was his make-up. But boy that he seemed, not yet eighteen, Buffalo Bill thou g ht, he seemed vastly out of place herding with the hard crowd of Devil's Canyon. CHAPTER III. FINE REVOLVERS LE V ELED. Ruffalo Bill and Bunce had been seated at a table apart from the others in the Sports' D elig ht saloon but they cou l d see the young sport distinctly, and heard above the murmur of voices, for there was half a hundred men in the place, the bold words which he had uttered. They saw his lig htning-like act in drawing his revolver, and noted how quickl y he had risen to his feet and cov ered his man before he uttered the bold words : "You are robbing me, Red Sam." The big bully was caught off his guard for once He had roared out his words against the young s port from time to time, had insulted him openly, and had not heard a word in resentment. Those who had seen the sport's behavior upon other occasions wondered at his silence, and supposed that Red Sam had cowed him. But the boy had played calmly on, watching every play like a hawk, and Bunce had said: Yer'll hear su'thin' drap suddenly afore lohg, pard Bill." Buffalo Bill had been watching the boy's fac e. It was pale, p e rhaps. but serene and the burning lig ht in the fine eyes alone showed that he felt what the bully was sa y ing. But suddenly had come the burst of indi g nation, the covering of the man with the revolver, and the charge that he was being robbed. Red Sam knew enough of the hand that held that revolver not to make any effort to grasp his own. He was covered, and the youth was known to be a dead shot. There was not the slightest tremor in the hand that leveled the weapon, either. For once Reel Sam was willing to temporize. At' least until he could get the upper hand or triumph by treachery. So he said, and his voice was no longer a roar: "Yer accuses me, young sport, because I knows you was pla y in' agin' me, yer pa.rd, in this game." "It is a lie!" "You are secretly the partner of these two to roh me for you are their friend, not mine. You asked me to play wi t h you to make up a game, and said we could win big money. "I watched you clear through, and you played into their hands to rob me. "You played against me, and the three of you have\ robbed me of three hundred dollars, and you shall give it back to me, Red Sam. "Come, I mean business, and your life isn"t worth a cent if you refuse to do what I say."

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4 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES Now the boy's voice rang through the large cabin, and every man was upon his feet. Other games ended there and then. All saw that the re was to be a larger game played, where the stakes were human lives. The boy was aroused, he was on his mettle, and about four-fifths of the men in the saloon knew that his charge was doubtless true. rvlany had been surprised tp see him play as a partner of Red Sam, while the e>tlwr two at the table \\ ere of the worst desperado stripe. Buffalo Bill and Bunco had been watching the game . They had seen enough to convince them that the asser tion was right the youth had made. Both had s_eeu that l ooks were passing between the three men, and several times they were sure cards had been slipped under the table from Red Sam to the others to pla:y against his own partner. There was a moment of deep silence atter Red Sam 's words, followed by the b o ld utterance of the youthful sport. His accusation against the other two men fell like a thunderbolt. Then he covered the boss bully, and yet put his life at the mercy of the other two men he accused. Did he trust in his youth protecting him? Did he trust in a love of fair play in the crowd which would not allow him to be attacked while he held Red Sam nuder cover? Whatever it was that prornptecl him to be so utterly reckless, the other two men d ete rmined to take advantage of his having his hands full, and quickly they whipped out their revolvers and leveled them at the youth. There was no move among the crowd as they did so. Emboldened by this1 one of the men blurted forth: "Now draw ye r gun, Red Sam, and squar' it fer yer self an d us, fer we has got him dead to rights with our weapons. "Pardon me if I take a hand in this unequal game, for I have you two cover ed. it was Buffalo Bill who spoke, and he held a revolv e r in each hand. And each weapon was aimed at one of the men who had so suddenly upon the youthful sport. CHAPTER IV. ON THE EVE OF DEATif. I The sport did not move a muscle at the words of Buf-falo Bill. He did not even take his eyes off of Red Sam. His revolver still covered the bully, and he had simply said, with the other two leveled at him: "They may kill me, Red Sam, but you go first." The crowd, however, all looked toward this man who had championed the cause of the sport. They beheld one who was a stranger to them, but yet one who had a look about him that was square and plucky. He had <;chipped in," and he seemed just the man to maintain his hand. The two men who had their weapons upon the youth could not but turn their gaze upon the speaker. They saw a tall, splendidly-formed, ha11dsQme man with a most distinguished air in spite of his border dress. They saw that though he was not crosseyed, he yet seemed to be looking at both at the same time. There they stood, with r e volvers leveled at the youth, eyes turned up o n Buffalo Bill, and his w e apons covering them. The youth's revolver covered Red Sam, who did not dare show a weapon. It was a five-cornered tableau, with death on the instant threatening four of the five. The crowd stood spellbound. It was a grand situation for the lookers-on, if some shots did not come their way. They had never seen its equal before. Fights they had seen in a crowded saloon, when half a dozen men gave up existence, but such a thrilling, fatal appearing tableau was new even to the desperadoes of Devil's Canyon. Buffalo Bill, having stepped in to the aid of the young sport, was not a man to let matter hang fire for want of action. He realized that he had taken his life in his hands by doing he did. He kn6lv that he was a stranger there, hence would be r egarded as a foe by more than half of the men present. Bunco wa s the only one he knew; but he was well aware that he could depend upon him to the death. He had seen him tried too often before when a scout under him. But Bunco had wished to keep him out of this affair. He knew but too weJJ just what Devil's Canyon men were. As a stranger he feared that the men would consider Buffalo Bill an officer of the law and as about four-fifths of the community were dodging justice, he was well aware that they would be only too anxious to have hirtl put out of the way by a bullet fired among others. But Bunco saw it all comi11g. He knew that Buffalo Bill wa.s the last man in the world to seek trouble, that he had always avoided it. But then, too, he was not one to see the weak imposed on by the strong. The boy had seemed at the mercy of the desperadoes,

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORL 5 and, reading his former chief's face, Bunco saw that he would go to the rescue of the boy. Having done so, he went in to stay, to see it through. "Come, down with your weapons, both of you, from covering that young man, for I say y-0u were cheats, and I saw you, and that man, slip cards under the table. "You are a trio of rascals, and were robbing the boy." There was no mistaking this utterance, ahd the crowd enjoyed it ''\i \iho is you, and what has yo u got ter do with it, stranger?" It was Red Sam who spoke. He had asked the question with a motive. That mo tive was to have Buffalo Bill turn on him, giving his pards a chance to level at him and kill him. Bunco saw the trap, and his hand crept near the butt of his revolver. Would Buffalo Bill fall into the trap? No, he was not to be caught like that. He saw through the ruse. Vv'ithout taking his eyes off the two men he had cov ered, Buffalo Bill answered : "My name is William Cody, and I am not ashamed of it, while I take it upon me as a right to defend that brave boy, whom you three scoundrels were robbing and then sought to kill. "Come, drop your weapons, or I'll kill you both." The men hesitated, but they obeyed. The crowd was l;iecoming anxious and nervous. "Will some gentl e man who believes in fair pl?Y disarm those two men ? "Boy sport, keep your gun on that fox, or he'll down you yet," and, without taking his eyes off the two men, Buffalo Bill first address e d the crowd artd then the youtli. CHAPTER V. FORCED TO TERMS. "I'll clip their clavvs, for it isn't a square deal see three against the boy, and you did right to chip in, pard." The speaker was Brad Burns, the keeper of the Sports' Delight saloon, and landlord of the Wide Awake Inn. He was a man that was respected, and also feared, and. one who could be as rough as the roughest, any way they pleased, if he was roused to it. All saw when Brad Burns acted that the stranger was gaining ground. He quickly stepped up to the men and disarmed th;:m, remarking: "You two knew better than to try on a sneak game in my saloon. "Now get out, and send a pard for your guns. "If you come in here again you'll have to deal with me, so if you intend coming I advise you to go down to the canyon first and pick out your burial lot .' The crowd laughed. Matters looked better. TJ1e11 son1e one called out: "Now, Brad, go for Red Sam." The one who spoke evidently didn't like the landlord, and supposed he would vent his spite through Red Sam. But the landlord was equal to it, for he said : .. l\o. the sporfs got him covered, and that is not my row. J "But if Red Sam intends to play thief here, he 'll find it can t be done, and I know it." A faint cheer greeted these words. Some felt that honesty should be encouraged. But the first situation remairted unchanged. Buffa l o Bill had l owered his weapons, but the sport still had Red Sam under cover. The latter was white-faced now. The situation was growing very irksome to him. What would the boy do? Then a thought flashed through the mind of Buffalo Bill. He had bnt half done his work, in going to the aid of the youth. 1 the boy had been robbed, and there was no doubt on that score. the two men whoh1 Landlord Burns had bade l eave the saloon had the money. They had not yet gone out 0 the saloon, but with black malignant faces, were slowly moving toward the door. "Hold there! "Come back, both of you." Buffalo Bill's voice rang out. There was no weapon leveled at the men for they had disarmed by Brad Burns. But there was a look in the scout's eyes that meant all he said. The men turned at his command, for instinctively they knew ; that he had addressed them. "What does yer want?., one of them growled. "Boy Sport, how much money did those rob you of?" "Three hundred dollars." "Hold there and I'll s end a bullet through you, for I saw that." Others saw it, too. The two men had attempted to hand to a pard near tliem their money. "Come back here and lay on that table three hundred dollars!" "I won't!" said one. "I won the money," the other replied. "Obey or refuse. ''Which shall it be?"

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6 THE. BUFFALO BILL STORIES Buffalo Bill's revolvers were out now. Again the two men were covered. And they were cowed as well. Slowly they approacheg the table, and each reluctantly threw a roll of bills upon it. "Will you, sir, count that money?" Buffalo Bill spoke to the landlord. Brad Burns did as he was told, and called out: "Sixty in this pile, and seventy-five in this." "Hand out the balance. "I mean it." "I hain 't got no more." "Ther boy lies." But Buffalo Bill did not take these answers. "Come, hand out the rest of that stolen money." There was no getting around it, and the two men sul lenly obeyed, one of them saying: "We'll even up with you, stranger, when you don't hold ther full hand yer is playin' to-night." "All right, any time,'' was the scout's careless reply. The two men then moved again toward the door, while the crowd once more turned its attention to the young sport and Red Sam. But the crowd were awed by the pluck of the stranger, though only Bunco knew him as Buffalo Bill, h.ief of scouts for the department of the Platte. The rest wondered who he was. And all this while, which was only a few moments, though it had seemed so long-an age to some, perhaps -the young sport stood covering Red Sam, the des perado, with his revolver, and his hand was as steady as iron; his look as determined as ever. CHAPTER VI. TWO FATAL SHOTS. All eyes were now upon the young sport and Red Sam. The other affair with Buffalo Bill had thus far passed off without bloodshed. How would this scene end. "There's your money, boy pard, they robbed you of, when you have done with your man before you," said Buffalo Bill. Was this a hint for the youth to end the suspense? What would he do? Before the boy could act, before 1my one could surmise what he would do, there tame four shots. They fired so rapidly and so close together that it seemed that the four reports were but the echo of one. The four shots were fired by four men. The two desperadoes had reached the door, and then turned. That Brad Burns had not done his work well, in dis-/ arming them, was proven by the fact that each had a smaller weapon in an inner pocket of his shirt. These, with mutual consent and determination, they had drawn as each man reached the door, which \.Vas open. They turned together, each man leveled a weapon at the same instant, and each one had selected his game. The man on the right had picked out Buffalo Bill for his victim The man on the left had selected the boy sport as his game. 1\ o one had seemed to notice these two men. They were supposed to be out of the game. So \\"hen they thrust their right hands into their woolen shirts and drew out their concealed weapons, it seemed but two persons saw them One of these two was most deeply interested. It ,, as Buffalo Bill. He saw only that the man had drawn a hidden weapon and was about to kill the boy. So. with lightning-like rapidity for which he has al ways been noted, he raised his weapon and fired. He was just a second too soon for the other man, whose aim was at the boy sport. his aim was quick enough and sure enough1to save the youth. His bullet pierced the brain of the murderous des perado, and the aim of the latter was wild, for the con vulsive clutch of death upon the trigger had exploded his revolver, and the muzzle was jerked upward. At the instant Buffalo Bill saw the act of the desperado to kill the boy, he did not see that the other man also had a concealed weapon. He did not see that he had also drawn it, and, more, that his aim was at him. But he was protecting the young sport. Still, there was one to protect him. There was one who did not see the desperado draw a weapon and aim at the sport, but did see his pal t>hrust his hand into the bosom of his shirt, snatch out a revolver and aim at Buffalo Bill. And he was one who was marvelously quick on the draw, the aim and in pulling a trigger. He was a dead shot, too. So he got his shot in just two seconds ahead of the one who intended to kill Buffalo Bill. But those two seconds counted, for when the man drew trigger he was already dead. His bullet also went up into the roof of the cabin. And both desperadoes went down together, one on each side of the door. The one who had thus saved the life of Buffalo Bill was Bunco, the ex-scout. And Brad Burns, the landlord, had seen the little side

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' THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES 7 game, and would have chipped in, oniy Buffalo Bill and Bunco were too quick. Thus had the four shots been fired, two men were dead, and the crowd stood amazed for it was not so easy to see just what had happened. It took but a moment, however, to discover. Then they saw that Buffalo Bill was a quick and dead shot, and that he had saved the life of the young sport. They saw, too, that Bunco, a man whom all liked. but no one knew well-a man who had kept clear of any trouble in the camps-had suddenly shown himself the friend of the stranger, and had saved his life. He had shown that h e was a dead shot, too, when ne cessity demanded it. Both of the de s peradoes had been fairiy;. and ,; squarely in the forehead. And all this while the young sport was still keeping Red Sam in dread of his life and under cover of his re Yolve;. CHAPTER VII. THE SPORT'S LUCI<:. With the dead Buffalo Bill a:1
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I 8 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. -, "No, I accused you of robbing me, and it was proven. "Your pals lost their Jives, yours I gave to you, and I got my money back. "Let it go at that." "I says no." "What do you wish, Red Sam?'' "A stand-up fight a'tween us, with weapons in our hands." "Yes, that's a squar' deal," cried a number of voices. "Yer can't back down, boy sport, and hang out arter it in Devil's Canyon." l Buffalo Bill seemed about to speak, and, noticing th fact, the young sport cried, quickly: "I will meet you, Red Sam, if you will let me choose the weapons." A perfect yell of admiration at the sport's pluck greeted these words. CHAPTER VIII. THE BOY SPORT AND HIS SECONDS. The pluck of the boy sport, in thus offering to face the huge and terrible desperado, a giant in strength, and as merciless as an adder, won for him a tremendous round of applause. All eyes were upon him now. But he stood wholly unruffled, and waited for Red Sam I to reply. Every eye then turned upon the desperado. He seemed too amazed at first to speak. But the crowd demanded a reply, and at once He saw and said: "See here, it ain't no squar' game ter put a boy ag m a man, and so I says let it go as it are." "No, you were going to kill me, but thought better of it, and then you said I must fight you. "Now you say let it stand as it is, and I say no, for if I was man enough to rob you, I am man enough to fight, unless you confess yourself a coward." A perfect roar burst from the desperado at this. "A coward l "Why, I'd fight yer if you was a baby." "No doubt of that. "The younger the better," was the sport's quick re joinder, and it was well received by most of those present. At the decision of Red Sam all looked pleased, save a few. Among those few were Buffalo Bill, Bunce and Brad Burns, the landlord. Then they exchanged glances, and they read each other aright. They did not intend to allow it. But as Red Sam, having urged what he called a square fight, had now been forced to back up his W!=lr
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 9 the same, sir; and let me tell you that I can take care of myself better than you know." There was a confidence in the look and words of the youth that encouraged Buffalo Bill, who said: ''Let me suggest, as I am a stranger, that I invite two other gentlemen here to also be your seconds." "As you please, sir." "Then I will ask the landlord and this gentleman,'' and he pointed toward Brad Burns and Bunco. "I will aid you, sport," said the landlord. "Count me in, boy pard," added Bunco. Then Buffalo Bill felt that he had the strength of the crowd their side, and, turning to Red Sam, he said, stern l y : "Now, sir, name your seconds, and we will quickly set tle this matter." CHAPTER IX. A SURPRISE. Red Sam was not exactly pleased with the turn matters were taking. He wanted a draw-and-shoot, rough-and-tumble, knock-down and drag-out affair, not one where all was a_rranged. This looked t o o businesslike to ple ase him. Then, if he killed the boy, many would be against him, he well knew, and he would ge t no credit for pluck. He did not like to see Buffalo Bill brought into the af fair as a second. There was a look about the scout he feared, a certain calm carriage and a dignity that impressed him. He did not know who he was. .I Iad he known him as the cel e brated border scout and detective in buckskin, Buffalo Dill, Reel Sam would have gotten out of the Sports Delight saloon in double-quick time. Then. too. he had a secret dread of Bunco, whom he koked upon as a mysterious man too quiet by tar for any good in Devil"s Canyon. Drad Burns, the landlord, he had another wholesome fear of, because he was an honest man. But the facts were before him that the three were the boy sport's seconds, and he determined to square matters by picking out the storekeeper and two other men who stood as not of the lawless class. They would give him standing he felt. So he made the demand upon the three by calling them to his side as seconds 1\ ot one of the three moved, but Bent Tobin, the store keeper, said bluntly: "You make a mistake in calling upon me to serve you, Red Sam, for I am not of your kind, and I don't believe the others you name will serve you. "For what reason?" "Well, I, for one, don't go in your set." "Count those my sentiments," said a second one of the three, while the third called out: "Yes, don't try to mix oil and water, Red Sam, for it don't go. "I'm one of the few in Devil's Canyon for law and or der, and you are dead against both." "You is too blamed good ter suit me," growled Red Sam, while Bent Tobin said: "That's a compliment, Red Sam. "Take men of your stripe to do your dirty work, for to fight that boy is about as mean a thing as even you could do." "Ther boy pushes ther fight upon me, whar I'd jist spank him and be done with it." ''Come, get your seconds, if you can find any one to serve you," sternly said Buffalo Bill. Red Sam calmly1 looked over the crowd. He had failed to get good men to act for him, so he would now pick ot the worst there were in Devil's Can yon. They were all there, good and bad, and the latter pre dominated five to one He soon spotted three men, and simply motioned to them. 1 They stepped out without more ado. "Here's my gang to serve me, stranger, and they is all gents from wayback, and thar's no slouch about 'em or goody-good style nuther. ''Thet one be Pete Dunn, this one are Ben Lucas, and ther third are Doc Stone, all at yer sarvice." Buffalo Dill nodded indifferently to the men at Red Sam s introduction, and said, addressing Doc Stone, as the best of the three where all looked bad: "My young friend here, whom you know as the boy sport, has decided to give Red Sam satisfaction, and we are to arrange for a between them, and, as the challenged party, we have the choice of weapons. I will s e lect revolvers at ten paces." ''Hold on, sir, please, for revolvers are not my choice," cried the boy sport, to the surprise of every one present. "What is, then?" asked Buffalo Bill. "I will fight with no other weapons than those nature has given me-fists." A loud laugh greeted this announcement, and no won der. Red Sam gave a rude chuckle, and all were surprised at the daring of the young sport. Red Sam was considerably over six feet in h eight, with great, broad shoulders, a bull-like neck, arms of great length and corded with muscle, while his hands were of enormous size, and like iron in hardness.

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J O THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES He was well set upon his legs, and weighed some pounds over two hundred, while he was known to strike a blow that would kill a mule. The young sport was as completely his opposite as well could be, weighing seventy-five pounds less, eight inches less in height, and of a slender, yet compact build. His hands and feet were small enough for a woman, and it seemed as though one blow of Red Sam must kill him. "You surely do not mean what you say?., said Buffalo Bill. "Certainly I do." "Why he will crush yon." "It is catching before hanging," was the calm respon se of the youth, upon whom all eyes were turned with sur prise at his temerity. CHAPTER X. THE SPORT AND THE DESPERADO. '"That man has been a prize -fig hter, and it was because he killed a couple of men by his blows that he had to fly, for I've seen him in the prize ring," whispered Doc Stone to the young sport. "Yes, you cannot stand again st him an instant, sport," said Brad Burns "I know what I think I can do," was the confident reply. Buffalo had said no more. He was u sed to the strangest of surprises, and he had said to Bunco : "Science and quickness are better than brute strength." I believe the boy knows what he is about ., 1 "As I does," returned Bunco. So the arrangements were made for the battle with nature's weapons, the youth whispering to Buffalo Bill : "Stick for a big ring, and to begin the fight with each man in his corner I This Buffalo Bill did hold out for, and it was agreed upon, Red Sam seeming hardly interested in the affair any l onger. "I will tackle the stranger when I the kid off, and it won't be in a prize ring," h e muttered so his ad mirers s hould hear him. The crowd was delighted at the prospect of more trouble still. The man and the boy stripped for the fray, or rather the bby did, as Red Sam merely took off his weapons. The sport took off aU of his weapons, his boots, his hat and jacket, and then the comparison between the two seemed ridiculous. 'See that your man strips hims elf of every weapon, for =:i he shows any I shall deal with him in a way he will not like," was Buffalo Bill's threatening remark, and Red Sam was seen to hand something else to Doc Stone, as though the scout's words had frightened hiin Then the two took their stands opposite each other, in a ring that had been fonned of tables put end to end in the saloo n, thus forming a circle. The crowd stood around on the outside, the seconds of the two fighters had a bench to stand on, and the space thus e ncircled was about twenty-five feet in diameter "Ar e you ready? called out Buffalo Bill. 'yes, indeed," glibly said the sport. "Yas, come, kid, an git yer spankin' !" said Red Sam, and his admirers laughed. The did come, and with a rush. Jt startled the "big man, who quickly made a spring toward him then threw h i mself on his guard and made a lunging b l ow. But up into the air went the boy, higher than the head of the desperado, and then with terrible force his bar feet were driven full in the breast of his antagonist, who stag gered backward und e r the blow. But the sport was off from him in an instant, before he could be grasped by the half-dazed bully, and then h e came with another flying leap and landed right in the face of his big foe. This time Red Sam went down, the crimson flying from his nose cut lips and brow. He fell like a log, and the sport stood over him, rea d y for another spring. '"Knocked out, by thunder!" "He's kilt him!" "Yas, he's dead!" "Ther kid fights with his feet." "Never touched him with his fists !" "Ther kid kin out jump a deer!" "Is he dead, Doc?" Such were the comments from all sides by many. Others stood dazed with surprise. Doc Stone, once a physician before he turned des perado had be e n li s tening t o Red Sam's heart beat. "'No, he 's not dead, but that first blow broke his collar bone in two places and knocked him breathless, while the second stunned him and cut him on the brow a11d lips, while it bruised his nose and broke out a couple of teeth. "Boy, yo u are a terror. A yell greett;d th e words, and the friends of Red Sam bore him out of the saloon and off to his cabin for Doc Stone to work upon, while the crowd ranged alongside of t11e bar and began to drink. "Come, kid and take somethin' !" 'vvas an invitation the sport refused scores of times. But he refused all; no one had ever seen him take a

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. drink or smoke a ci g ar, nor had heard him utter an oath, but he would pla y cards, and m e n called him a terror. As soon as h e drew on his boo ts and jacket, and put his sombrero jauntily upon his head, he turne d to Buffalo Bill, and, thanking him for his servic e s slipped quickly out of the saloon. The scout accompanied Bunco and Landlord Brad Burns to the quarters of the latt e r, and wh e n th e y were seated in what was the best room in Devil s Can y on, Buf falo Bill said : Now, M r. Burns I wish y ou to tell me all that you know about that young sport, all that y o u can tell I" CHAPTER XI. A SECRET A.MONG T U REil:. In answer to the question of Buffalo Bill, Brad Burns took his pipe out of his mouth, and said : "You know about as much as I do l\lr. Cody, regard-ing that strange "Do you know his name?" "I do not. "And more. I do not believe th e re is a man in Devil s Canyon who does. "To every one he is only known as the Kid and the Boy Sport." "'When did he come here?" "A year ago." "Fr.om where?" "No one knows. "He just came quietly into the camp one night, well mounted and armed and set to work." "Doing what?" "First he located himself in a cabin in an obscure spot in the hills, just at the head of a little valley, and where there was a small spring. ''The cabin was built by the Mormons as a stopping place when they foll0wed the trail through here, but it was too far from the camps to suit a11y one here, and the boy's taking it didn't conflict with any one, so he has lived there." "Then what did he do?" he calls himself a gold bunter, prospects for ore, I know, \vhile he comes into the camp every night and often gambles, winning far more than he loses." "He has b een in several difficultie s ?'' "Y cs, C\nd come out on top for he has killed two men to my knowledge, and for just cause. "He is a wonderful young fellow, and utte ly fearless, for it has been said the Silent Sla y er s would nip him in his cabin some time, but h e sh0\'1i S no fear of them what ever." "You have talked to him?" "Often, but he is as silent as a clam about himself. "He pays cash for all he gets, and just appears to enjoy the wild life he leads." / "How old do you think he is?" "I should say, by his looks, seventeen, but by his deeds and experience, twice that." "And will not talk of himself?" "Not one word." "But he is not one to forget a favor, and all like him because he goes the rounds helping the sick and those in distress all he can. "Yon saw him give me that money to-night?" "Yes, and it was a most generous act." "It is his way of doing business, and you may be sure he will never forget the service you rendered him to night." "It was but my duty." "True, but you did it well, and took big chances in doing it. "You must look out for Red Sam, though, and also for his three pards, you know, and he has others you do not know, but I will spot them for you, as will Bunce here also, for he knows them all." "Yes, I think I do," was Bunco's quiet reply. Then Buffalo Bill asked: "Now, landlord, what do you know about the Silent Slayers?" "Nothing." "You mean that you do not know who they are?" "I mean that I know that there is a secret band in Devil's Canyon known as the Silent Slayers, from the fact that they se e m to be avengers, and kill their victim in a most mysterious manner. "A man is found dead with a knife in his ribs, and a slip of paper is pinned on his body, upon which is written in red ink: "'Avenged. THE SILENT SLAYERS.' "'No.-.' "The number or the victim given, and thus far they foot up twenty-one victims. "Our best men and our worst have been among the list of victims, a11d so no one can tell why they are killed, or by whom." "That is strange." "It is, indeed, and it is causing Devil's Canyon to thin out, for men are moving away, for fear of being secretly slain by these assassins, whom no one can place." "Do you think the young sport knows anything about these Silent Slayers?" "How so, Mr. Cody?'' "Could it be possible _shat he can be in any way con nected with them, for Dunce tells me that it has been

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I 2. THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES since his coming to Devil's Canyon the first secret murder by them was committed." "Bunco is right as to that, but I can hardly believe it possible that the boy knows of these murders, or can be in any way interested in them." "Nor can I, but you know I wish to get at bottom of all the facts." "True, and I will tell you all that I can. "As to the Silent Slayers, they are as mysterious as death, ai;id they are w1known to every one, it seems, for we men, not of the lawless kind, can find no clew to them, and' I have been afraid to talk to any on the subject, fearing that I was conversing, perhaps, with one of the secret band Qf assas sins," "Well, yve three know that we are to be trusted. "I have told Bunco I came here for a secret purpose, and brought a letter to you. "He is an old friend of mine, and I would trust him with my Jlfe--yes, you saw him save me from death to. night. "Now, I am determined to find out who these Silent Slayers are, and bring them to justice, as well as discover the fate of the one I came here to find, for that he is dead, I feel assured, and it may be that these assassins are the guilty ones. "I like boy. I don't wish to believe him bad, but I must know just who and what he is, and we three inust work secretly, and I believe we will meet with success in the end. ''Now, you both know me only as a prospector, and-that it is not gold that I am prospecting for." CHAPTER XII. AFTER THE BATTLE. .1e occurrences in the Sports' Delight salo on created a smsation that was not forgotten in a night. Red Sam had met more than his match, not only in the young sport, but in Buffalo Bill, who at once named ''The Man with the Iron Nerve." Bunco had loomed up, too, out of his usually calm and retiring ways, and, altogether, there had been a decided change in affairs iri Devil's Canyon, especially as two desperadoes had been wiped out, the pards of Red Sam. The young sport had gone quickly to his home after the fracas, and his stock had gone up a hundred per cent. Men did not know just how he had done it, but he had made a leap of six feet in height, had dealt two terrible blows with his feet, blows that were bone-breakers, and Red Sam had been most effectually prevented from doing fi1rther harm, at least for some days. When he was able to get about a gain, there was n o t the s )ight est doubt, in the minds of those who knew him, that he would again go on the warpath. That there would be trouble between him and the stranger, Buffalo Bill, no one doubted. Then, too, he would not readily forget or forgive the fact that Bunco had sided with the young sport and the stranger. What Landlord Brad Burns had done all knew would stand, and more he would not be brought to book for it, as he had a hold upon the wild spirits of Devil's Canyon that not even Red Sam dare go against. Such was the s ituation the morning after the affair at the salo o n. T\1e stranger was knowi1 to have taken up his quarters at the Wide Awake Inn, and it was said that he had come to pro s pect for gold, and Bunco WpS reported to have known him before, somewhere farther north, and said he was an all-arounq .good fellow, a skilled prosp\!ctor, and if paying dirt was to be found about the camp he'd un earth it. As gold finds were scarce, he was just the man the workers of Devil's Canyon wanted, and he was welcomed. Those who <;lid nothing in the way of work saw him start out after breakfast, mounted upon a horse he had bought from Brad Burns, to give his own animai he had ridden there a rest, and they reported tJ1at he rode by the cabin of Red Sam. They had seen him halt there and speak to a man who was seated in front of the cabin smoking a pipe. That man afterward came up to the saloon to get some "medicine" for Red Sam and himself, and he reported that the Man of Nerve had asked him about the lay of the land and the prospects of gold finds, that was all, unti! he told him that it was Red Sam' s cabin, and then he had p0litely asked now he was. The man also said that Doc Stone had setthe broken collar-bone, straightened up the mashed nose, dressed the cut lips and brow, and had otherwise fixed Red 'Sam up as best he could, and added : "But he's a wreck to look at. "His face looks as though he'd tackled a wildcat, and with his two teeth knocked out, eyes blackened, face cut and his bad temper, he's terrible, I can tell you. "My! but there will be music when Red Sam gets around again, for he does nothing but look at himself in d I k 1 f a glass an cuss, an you now 1e s an expert m sweann. "Did the Man o' Iron Nerve know 'twas Red Sam's cabin?" was asked "Guess ndt, for he's a stranger in these parts, but thar' was a look in his face that told me thet it wouldn't have scared him a little bit if he had." "Did Red Sam know he was thar ?"

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 13 "Y cs, after he had rode on, and he wanted to take his rifle and go gunning for him, but Doc Stone told him if he'd look at himself in the glass he'd think better of it, and he' did ; but he would not have let any other man tell him that but Doc, for he knows he depends upon him to fetch him around all tight. "Put me up a pint, Jerry, fer internal use," and the man turned to the bartender, who did as r eq u este d. Am1ed with the flask, he r eturned to the cabin, and there sat Red Sam, black as a thundercloud. ''I s"pose all ther fellers hes ther laugh me, he growled. "No, the y said no man c'u'd fig ht a feller that had wings, like that b oy has, and the y h oped you would be about soon." "I will, and then there will be a few funerals in Devil's Canyon." "When is ther boys to be buried who were killed last night?" "Yas, the y has got ter be planted, and it's my treat to 'em, I s'pose. "Jist fix 'em up a good send off, git all ther boys ter go who will, and tell them as is curious ter know th e t I'll be on hand afore long and give a picnic sich as Devil 's Canyon hain't yit seen." And the man went off to obey instructions and bury the two dead desperadoes. CHAPTER XIII. A WITNESS TO A DUEL. Buffalo Bill rode on his way beyond the cabin of Red Sam, then struck out across the canyon, which was a wide valle:, in fact, and made his way toward the lonely hom e of the youth in whom he had taken such an interest. He wished to see him and have a long talk with him. The sport's cabin was situated al! of two miles from any bther house and, having been told how to get there by Bunco, Buffalo Bill found no difficulty in finding his way where others could never have done so. Be did not care to have outsiders know of his visit to the youth, and so, when aware that he was not far from the cabin, he dismounted, hid his horse in the brush, and, with his_-rifle slung at his back, started on foot. He had not gone very far, and was making his wa y up the little vale leading to the lone cabin of the sport, when he heard several shots fired in qu i ck succession. At once he bounded forward into a rapid run. He felt sure that some of Red Sam's gang had gone to even up matters with the boy sport. As he asu,ended a rise out of the vale he came upon a strange and thrilling sight. He saw the boy sport, and he saw a bearded man, whom he recognized as Pete Dunn, one of Red Sam's se(;<;>ndsof the night before. The man was bacl}ing off horn the cabin, revolver in hand, and threaten ing the yquth, who was boldly advan cing upon him also grasping a weapon. Who had fired the s hot s he had heard, Buffalo Bill could not tell. The s port's back was toward Buffalo Bill, but the des perado saw him, and at once level ed at the youth and fired. Ins tantly the youth r e turn ed the shot, and down upon his knees fell the man, but as he did so he showed that he was game by firing a last shot. And that shot hit its human target, for the young sport reeled and fell across the body of his foe . jnst as Buffalo B ill came up on the scene. A glance showed the scout that Pete Dunn was dead, and, fearing al s o that the youug sport might be, he dropped down b y his side. No, he was breathing. As he raised him in his arms, to bear him to the cabin, the hat of the youth dropped off, and Buffalo Bill saw that he had been wounded in the head. J nst above the for e head the bullet had struck, and quickly, and with considerable skill, from expe r ience with wounds, the scout made an examinatio11, -and was de lighted to find that the bullet had cut along under the scalp for several inches, and then made its exit, passing out through the crown of the sombrero. "No bone is broken, and I hope is only a stunning blow. "But I will soon know." So on to the cabin he bore the youth, and, placing him by the spring, began to bathe the wound and the head and face, to revi.ve him. To his joy he saw soon that the youth was returning to consciousness, and before long he opened his eyes, fixed them upon the and, after a moment, said: "It is you, sir?" "Yes, your friend of last night." "But Pete Dunn came here to kill me." "Yes." ''He fired three shots at me as I went out of the cabin and ran, supposing he had killed me, but he did not hit me, thou g h he came very near it." "And then?" ''l sprang for shelter, and then ran out with my re volver to fight him, for I was unarmed at first, and going with a bucket to get water from the spring." "He had evidently been lying in wait for you to com. out." "That was just it, sir." "And you went himi."

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14 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "I called out to him to halt and have it out, and he seemed frightened, supposing I was dead." ''But he halted?" "Yes, and we had \t out, for I am sure I killed him, and when on his falling, he gave me this wound. "It came pretty near finishing me, too." ) "It did indeed." "But how did you get here, sir, and in the nick of time to help me?" "I rode out here to see you." "To see me?" "Yes." "Can I do anything for you, sir, for I most gladly will?" "'vVell, yes, I guess so. "But we \Vill talk of that later. "Now, if you have a handkerchief I will dress your wound, as I have some arnica with me in my saddle. "I will go and fetch my horse." This the scout did, and when he came back the youth handed him a clean and fine cambric handkerchief, on one corner of which his quick eye detected the initials: "L. L." But Buffalo Bill said nothing about the letters, and set to work to dress the wound with a skill pa,st had given him. CHAPTER XIV. GETTING ACQUAINTED. When he had finished dressing the wound, Buffalo Bill I said: "Now, how do you feel, pard-by the way, what is your name?" "Call me Sport, if you will," was the quiet answer. "All right, Sport." "Does your wound pain yoti ?" "It feels sore, but I don't mind that, for I have been accustomed to hard knocks." "You don't look it." "Appearances are deceitful often, you know." "Why, I half suspected you of being a girl," and Buf falo Bill look<."d the young sport fixedly in the eye. "But I am not, and God pity the girl who would have to do what I do," was the sad reply. "You certainly know how to take care of yourself." '\Ve,11, I have had to do so from force of circum stances." "Where did you learn that leap and blow with your ft:et ?" ''I have been an athelte from babyhood, I may say." "You used Red Sam up pretty badly." "I had to, for he had a knife in his shirt, as I knl'w, and he had threatened to cut my ears off to mark me, as a man whispered to me he had overheard him say so. "I was therefore harder with him than I intended to be, though he certainly deserved no mercy, for he's a very bad man, Mr. -, Mr. -. I forget the name you called your self by last night; in fact, hardly heard it." "Cody; but call me simply Bill." "Cody, and Bill. "See here, I have heard of a man by the name of \\Til liam Cody, who was known as Buffalo Bill, and is a famous scout and Indian fighter. "I have much admired him." "Yes?" "Yes, I have. "Do you know him ?" "I have met him." "\i\There ?" "Up in the Northwest." "Are you Buffalo Bill?" "Why, do you suspect me of being Buffalo Bill simply because my name is .Cody?" _;, "Well, many people bear the same name, it is true, but you have another claim to the title of Buffalo Bill other than your name." "What is that?" "Your pluck, your looks, your face being stamped with hernism." "You are so complimentary I must acknowledge my identity." "Then you are Buffalo Bill?" "I a1n." 'I am glad to meet you." I "I have often hoped i would do so. "But if you Buffalo Bill and here in Devil's Can yon, you are not here, as I heard last night, as a gold hunter." "You don't think so?" "No." "Why not?" "\Vell, that is not your calling, and, knowing you now as I do, I feel sure you are here for some Secret work, such as hunting deserters from the army, or other bad men who have been guilty of some' crime." Buffalo Bill laughed and replied: "Well. you are a pretty clever youth, I may say." "Thank you." "Suppose I tell you that I am not to be known here as Buffalo Bill, as I am here on Secret Service?" "\.Yell I'll not betray you, sir." "I believe that." "But now, as you have identified me, let me see if I cannot find you out." "That will be impossible."

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. 'l A l ."Whv?;' "I no to find out, in the first place." I r beg to differ with you." "I am but a boy, for I am not yet twenty though near it, but look younger than I am "Yes, I supposed you were about seventeen. '':'.\l'o, I am nineteen, though I have gone through enough to make me look much older." Y ou will tell me about yourself?" "'No, not now." 'When?" ''Perhaps some day. "But I can help you here, for I know country perfectly." "You may; but what is your calling?" "I am a hunter." "What ::lre you hunting for?" "Well, gold, say." "That. is not all." "Why do you think so?" "Some other motive than to find gold you here to this wild land." .. You think so? "I know it." "\i\'ell I am like you, on a trail I do not wish known." ;'You are prospecting for gold and something else in particular, and so am I, l et me admit, and if I can help you I will gladly do so, for you have already helped me more than I can ever r epay .' "V-./ e'll let that go . "Bpt tell me, why did th.at man, Pete Dunn, seek to kill you?" 'Ah. I had forgotten him. "It was because he was one of Red Sam's pards, l suppose; but do you know we must look after that body, as it would cause some trouble if found there, and I am not lo oking for more trouble just now. as I have plenty on my hands.'' and the sport's face wore an anxious look, the scout noticed. CHAPTER XV. .. A TELLTALE :MAUK. Going out of the cabin with the scout, the sport led the way to where the body of Pete Dunn lay, just as it had fallen. While in the cabin, Buffalo Bill had n oticed almost every object. It had two rooms, o ne used as combined kitchen and the other to sleep in. There was a cot bed there, and the blankets were good ones and clean. Some clothin!l and a hat or two hunenoon the wall. ,.. and there were a rifle and shotgun in addition to the weapons the youth carried. There were also extra revolvers and knives, a saddle, bridle, ax, hatchet and pick and shovel. The cooking utensils were plentiful and well burnished up, and the table was white and clean. / In fact, all abc; mt the cabin indicated a neat inmate. Without the cabin, in the rear was a s hed for a horse, the animal, a wiry roan P\)ny, being staked out near, feeding. ;'You live here all a lone?" suggested the scout. "Yes, with Whalebone, my pony:" "Don't you get lonesome?" '"\h,TelJ, no; I am more contended alone in r11y cabin than with such company as I find at :Qevil's Canyon. 'There arc a bad lot, ain't they?" 'About as tough as I ever saw "But here is your enemy." "Yes." You shot him through the heart, from this wound:" "I aimed to do so. \i\That was he?" "Gambler and hard citizen in general, and that's say-ing nothing of the dead victim." .J "You play cards yourself, a little?" "Yes, when I have a motive for doing so." To win money?" "No, I care nothing for the money; in fact, I give all I win at cards away to those who need it more than I do. "But see here." The young sport had taken a slip of paper from a pocket of the dead desperado, and held it up. ''What is it?" "This slip of paper." 'vVhat does that ?" 'Here is a pin, you see, and on the paper is written : 'Avenged l "'THE SILENT SLAYERS.' "Bunco told me something of a sec ret band of mur derers.'' ''Yes, they have done a great deal of deadly work, and this is the badge they pin on their victims. "'Yes, here is the number, twenty-two, and that was intended for me, I am sure "I have suspected Pete Dunn of being one of the band, and this i s proof, for see, here is the knife that' was to go with it, and it bears the number also, you see, twenty two ... "You are right, and you took it from his pocket?" ';Yes; with this slip of paper." "That tells the story." "It does to me..

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I 16 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "He came here to kill me, and ran off, thinking he had wound e d me, and intending to come back after I died and fasten this telltale badge on me to have it known how I met my death. "Now, what shall I do with this body, for I do not wish it known that I killed him, as it will cause trouble, h h I / d w 1c am anxious to av01 JUSt now. The youth looked puzzled, and Buffalo Bill, after a moment of thought said : "Let us put it upon the Silent Slayers." "How?" "Where does he live?" "Over in the range, two miles from here, by a claim he pretends to work though I do not believe he has dug out of it an ounce c:lf gold in all." ''Does he work the mine alone?" "Yes. "And live s alo ne in his cabin?" "No, a pard live:; With him, but he runs a saloon over in camps. "And where is that pard now?" "At his saloon, I think." "Very well leave it to me and I 'll relieve you of all re sponsibility about this body." "But that will not be right in m e ." "Oh, yes. I'll carry the body to mine and place it there and put this paper and knife on it, so it wiil look as though he had been knifed, where your bullet cut its way. The body will be fonnd by his pard, and the Silent Slayers will get a setback that will surprise an
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. "It's a you know, but I wish y ou to ke e p about your saloon as much as you can and watch all hands when the r e port comes in that Pete Dunn has been kill e d by the Silent Slayers?" ? "Do you mean JI)" "Well, call it so, anyhow, for he 'il have their badge on him, knife and "Where is he ? "In his cabin 3' "And dead?" "He couldn't be more so.' "vVhere was his pard ?" "In the camo. I "Yes, this is his day on duty, and h e'll find him when he goes out to supp e r, and then report it, an d it will cre ate a stir." "I wish to be on hand to see just how much of a stir, and Bunco must also for y ou know a great d e al can be learned som e times by just w atching the fac e s of men when taken by surprise, and I feel sure that the Silent Sla y ers will be surprised when the y know, or t11ink they do, how Pete Dunn died." "Well, Mr. Cod y y ou know yo ur bu s in e ss and just what you are about and I will be guided by y ou, for I have confidence in you. "But I have something to tell you." "Y cs?" "The boy hurt Red Sam more than at fir s t app e ared." "Yes, a pard of his told me he was a wreck .'' "And he seems to bear mo r e ill will toward vou than against the boy.'' "That is all right.'' "I have it from good authority that he intends to ke e p quiet until he gets p e rfectly well, and then come out boldl y against y ou." "I shall meet him as he may desire; but will not be idle meanwhile for perhaps I ma y be on the warpath after him before he fully recovers. "Then you have some cle w b y which you can ensnare him?" / "Not as much as I could wish, but if h e is not one of the Silent Slayers, then i am very much mistaken." J "vVell, you may be right, but have you seen the 5oy sport?" "I have, and he 'll be on hand to-night thou g h I must not be too friendly with him in public. "Now, I'll go to Bunco s claim and look him up and post him." CHAPTER XVII. DUFFALO BILL'S PLAN OF ACTION. The claim of Bunco was down the canyon. He worked it by himself, and now and then was rewarde d by finding a handful of paying dirt. If he got more he did not make it known to any one, or at least to the public of Devil s Canyon. He worked hard, and was trying to build up a fortune a g ain. Buffalo Bill walked fhrough the camp this time, leaving his horse at the 1 Wide Awake Inn. The men who saw him pass eyed him with considerable interest, and there was much talk about him. With a number of men in the camp he had already rend e red hims e lf popu lar by his acts. ,,, With others he was a cause of dread. As a stt'angei:;, he was suspected of being there for no goo d to man y who dwelt in Devil's Can yo n. A few, in fact, decided to lie low until it was found out just what his game "Some body will bring him up with a sudden turn," said one "He must show his hand soon," was the comment of an o ther. S9 it went around the camp, the wonder increasing to just why that good-looking stranger had put in an ap pearance at that time at that hard ho1e. Buffalo Bill found Bunco hard at work with pick and shovel. "Ho, Pard Bill, glad to see you." f Come in and have a pipe, for you know I keep nothing strong to give you." "Thank y ou, Bunco, I just dropped in for a minute for a little talk." ' How is luck?" "Better than I let it be known, pard, for this hole is not so nearly worked out as the lazy fellow I bought it from tho ught. "No, it pans out fairl y well with a ste ady improvement and I may g et another fortune ; but next time I'll be less a fool than I was b e fore. "Why, Bill, I des e rve all I suffered for being such a gree nhorn as to squander m y fortune on others.'' "\Ve l e arn by experience Bunco; but I want you up at Sports Delight early to-night. ''I'll be there; but is there to be more trouble?" I h o pe not. "Still, one cannot always tell in a country like this just what to expect. "You see, Pete Dunn will be found dead in his cabin by his pard, Hal Hastings, when he goes home for sup per.''

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THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "He's no loss-just the kind that we called in last night." "But Hastings will find that there is a knife on hi s breast, a wound, and a slip of paper saymg as much as that the Silent Slayers did the work." "Well, you surp rise me. for my id ea has b een that he was one of that gang." "Well, he mav be, and ihs just to watch the surprise or the men when they hear of it that I want you at the Sports' Delight. "I'll be on hand. "Landlord Brad Burns will be there, and so will the b oy sport." "You have seen the boy, then? ' ''Yes, and had a long talk with him." "WeII, I remember now you were wont to u s su r pris es, pard, when I was a scout und er yofl at Fort Hays, and it is just l ike you to call in Pete Dunn's chips when h e gave yo u cause. "Yes, it, is just like you, pard." "But I did not kill him, Bunco." "Then who did?" "I'll tell you all later ; but I have seen the boy, and I b e lieve matters are shaping to get my work thrdugh here much quicker than I thought." "I hope so, for as long as you remain in Devil's Can yon I shall b e anxious about yo u." "And how about yourself, Bunco ?" "Oh, l don't count., I just go on in the even tenor of my way, and have no trouble with any one,.whi l e you are already suspected as having come here with a slipknot around somebody's neck." "'V{ell; I was the cause of bringin g you out last night in a way that may cause yo u trouble." "No, it was the boy sport, Bill, and I did but my duty iii killing the fellow before he could draw trigger on ydu." "You know I appreciate it, Bunco." "Oh, know that, as I do that you have saved my scalp half a dozen times ; but h ere I am talking in the old way, because I am with you, an' it don't go here, pard, so I must drop inter ther border lingo .agin," and Bunco went on to speak in the frontier dialect the few minutes more that Buffalo Bill was at his cabin. Leaving Bunco, !he scout sauntered through the camp, spoken politely to now and then by a denizen, and again scowled at with a malignant look by some one whose crimes camed him t6 dread him J?ack to the \ V ide Awake Inn for an early s upper went Bu,ffalo Bill, and soon after he 1was in Sports' Delight saloon, where he discovered that the boy sport and Bunco had arrived before him. CHAPTER 2tvnr. ; '' THE NEWS !SHEARD. The Sports' Delight saloon began to fill up early, for after supper the men commenced to congregate there, to gossip, drink, gamble and to idle away the early hours of the night. The young sport soon found a man to play cards with, and they were deep in a game, while Bunco sat at a table alone, smoking his pipe, as was his wont. Landlord Brad Burns was there, with an eye upon all, and Buffalo Bill was seated at a table talking to two very hard looking customers : Suddenly there was heard without v o ices raised in an excited way, and the next instant Hal Hastings, the saloon-keeper, sprang into the saloon, his face white and manner un nerved as he called out : "Pards, my friend, Pete Dunn, has be en kilt dead in our cabin. "I found hiin thar' when I vvent home ter supper, and ther shock nearly u pset im!. ''But, pards, who does ye r think
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I. THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. many here didn t like him, I did, and I shared my cabin I with him. "We wai good friends and always talked at supper time when we wasn t busy. "Well, I goes to my c a bin after knocking off work, and, though Pete always has supper ready, I didn't think nothing at seeing the door clos e d, and no smoke coming out of ther chimney, for I th ought as how he were with his pard, Red Sam, ther sport done up so bad last ni g ht, fer I heerd all about it, and they do say it was beautiful, a n d how he just done it. Ther fellers I heerd talk--" "But to Pete Dunn s death, pard, and never mind the sport and Red Sam !" broke in Brad B urns. "Oh, yes, as I was a telling ye, I opened the door, and yer c'u d hev' knocked e down with a foather, for thar' lay Pete, dead. 'And more, he had been murdered, for la ying on him was a knife and slip of paper, ther latter tellin how ther Silent Slayers hed done ther work." A perfect yell went up at this startling information. Men here and there sprang to their feet and exclama tions broke from many lips, while half a dozen voices broke out with: "It ain t so. "Ther Silent Slayers didn't do it I" The eyes of Buffalo Bill ) Brad Burns, Bunco and the sport were busy. They were taking in the whole situation. Their eyes were upon the men who asserted the inno cence of the Silent Slayers. "I, tell yer they di
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20 THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. contents that they dared not attempt to leave the saloon, unawares, and that, to our minds, proved that he held no and the jury departed led by saloon-keeper. dread of harm against the man w ho murdered him. Then the. games were resumed and all went on as "Th e re was no trail near the cabin, sir and the whole before for a while. affair was as mysterious as the twenty-one other murBelieving himself unnoticed, Ben Lucas, one of Red ders of the Silent Slayers of Devil's Sam's seconds of the night before, quietly slipped out of ---, i! , )),"lo I t't"f>-.V, the saloon. CHAP':t'E / "Hands up, there!" : He found himself covered by a man who stood just A PL o T o v E rt' R EAR D outside the door, and he quickly obeyed, for a rifle was All had listened with the deepest attention to the releveled at him. port of the jury of six, and when the had "I was going to the Golden Nugget saloon, landlord, finished Brad Burns said: for I has a engagement to play a game thar'," he said, "Pards you have heard what your comrades say, and recognizing Brad Burns. the d e ath of Pete Dunn makes the twenty-second man "I could report you to that crowd within as a suswho has b ee n kill e d by the Silent Slayers. picious character, one who might belong to the Silent "It now is for us to keep our eyes open to discover .but I will not this time. just who these men are, for I tell you frankly that. thhe "Get back into that saloon, quick!" are members of that band of murderers now listening Ben Lucas obeyed with an alacrity that was amazing, to me, now in our midst. and when he had dropped into the first seat he came "If they were no! those we deem our friends they to, he looked over toward Doc Stone and several others, could not do the work they do. i;!nd strange glances passed between them. 1 "They have a purpose, too ; in their red deeds which There were three in that saloon who saw tho;;e sigwe do not know, cannot fathom, but it is for us to get nificant looks, had seen the man hold a f ew whispered at the bott o m of deviltry, .and when we find one of words with several others, and then slip out. them, hang him, and so on to the end. They were Buffalo Bill, the boy sport and Bunco. "I have no more to say to-night, except that I de-But the three knew that Ben Lucas would find Brad sire a few words with the juryn;ien my office. Burns just outside ,' and the way in which he returned "If I have demanded that ydu remain here until the white-faced into the cabin a ssu red them. jury it was for the good of all. In an hour's time the jury returned. They had left the Now you are at liberty to go and come at will." saloon-keeper at his cabin with the body of his friend, and The words of Brad Burns were generallx re teived others were to be sent over to keep vigil du'ring the with applause, for th. e of the Silent Slayers were night. beginning to come home to all of those who were not The spokesman of the six made his report, when Brad really members of the band. Burns came into the saloon fron1 the little room bad: of "All I have to say to you, pards, said the landlord, the bar. heartily, as the jury filed into his office, "is that you pass "Well, Pard Wooten, what is your report?" asked out of that door, as ,YOU can ar,range it, follow Brad Burns, quietly. those who go to the cabin of Pete J?unn, ,and report ts> "We found allas was reported by Jerry, sir, and there me who they are. had not been a thing taken from the cabin, and Pete "Do not let them suspect you are watching them." Dunn' s belt of gold was about his waist, also his weapons. The six men passed quickly out of the office, and soon "Upon his breast lay a knife and this slip of paper. after Brad Burns entered the saloon once more. Here they are." He walked over to where Buffalo Bill sat, and the He handed over the things named, which Brad Burns--two in to ordinary conversation. held up to the view of all and then placed on the table Bunco had left the cabin, and the boy sport was just by him. ending up his game with the har. d citizen with whom he "The wound was in Dunn's breast, and that the Silent had been playing and frorn whom he had won quite Slayers had done the work was our unanimous opinion, little sum of money. for it is just as they have done twenty-one times before. Tossing it on the table before Burns, he said: ,.. "Whoever dealt the blow must have been an "Put that with the other, landlord, for the benefit 0 pected friend of Dunn, for his weapons had not been those i111 need. 6ood-night, for I am going home.' drawn, no charge was missing from his revolver, and He passed out of the do or, while Buffalo Bill attise it looked to us as though he had been taken wholly and accompanied Brad Burns into his office.

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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES,. 21 The moment he entered, however, he said: "I'll join you later in the hotel," and with this he slipped out of the office and disappeared. Once outside the boy sport .walked quic.1o dark to have seen th'e horse and his rider Up the little valley came the pony at a walk, and soon drew in sight of the three watchers, for there were that number. earer and near er came the decoy rider, and the pony vyalked strnight up to the cabin door and came to a hait. I But the rider did not dismount. The assassins decided from the bowed head and silence that the rider was asleep, so with one accord they leaped out from the dark shadow of the cabin and seized, the boy sport, but the decoy I

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22 THE BUFFALO IlILL STORIES. There was a dull thud as a sharp knife was driven with force into what was supposed to be the body of the boy sport Then two bright flashes revealed the scene for an instant, and before the reports had died away, two men lay prostrate upon the ground. With a yell of terror the third had bounded away in flight, when there came a swishing sound in the air, a lariat noose settled over his head and he was dragged violently to the jus t as Buffalo Bill came bounding after him like a deer. The boy sport had caught the man in his Aight most cleverly l "\,Yell done boy pard. I almost feared he would g-et away," and the scout had the man by the throat now, as he knelt over him, and his revolver muzzle was in his face. "It is Doc Stone!" said the boy sport. "Yes, just the man we want, for he will be better than any of the rest for the work we need him for ," declared the scout. The man was silent, feigning to be stunned by the fall. But the prick "'Of a pin in Buffalo Bill's hand quickly brought a yell of surprise and pain from him. "See here! No playing 'possum with me. "Get up and come on, for we want you. "Boy sport, just light up in your cabin, and we'll see what game is l ying yonder under Bunco s care." The weapons of the man were taken from him, and then the scout led his p,risoner to the cabin, where the sport soon had a light. The other two were brought in both dead, and placed upon the Aoor, and Bunco said quietly: "Ben Lucas and Barney. "Two' of a kind and pards of Red Sam. "Doc Stone, you have gotten into pickle." "What has I done?" asked the prisoner, who was ter ribly scared, as could be seen. "Nothing, for we were too quick for you. "But we wish to havs a ta)k with you, and unless you wish to hang before daylight, you had best do some quick talking," said the scout. "I don't know nuthin' !" "See here; you were once a different man from what you are now. You received an education, were a physic.ian by profession and s o me crime you committed sent you a fugitive to this country.'" "New. you are here to save y<.:>ur neck from the gal and being an outcast, a fugitive from justice, you wish to make what you can out of it." "That's about so," growled the prisoner. "Now, these two dead men came here with you tcr:;kill this youth. "You are all members of the Silent Slayers' band, as is also Red Sam; and of late no less five of them have been wiped out-two in the saloon, Pete Dunn in his cabin, then two here, and Red Sam is used up and you are a prisoner, so you se e we have got facts down fine against you, and if you care to talk we are willing to listen. "If not, then you go back to the Sports' Delight saloon this night and hang," and Buffalo Bill spoke in a tone that showed he was in deadly earnest. CHAPTER XXTI. TIJE PIUSONER. Doc Stone was in a very bad fix, and he had the good sense to perceive it. He was above the men with whom he h e rded, or had been, that w as evident, for he i;till had the bearing of a gentleman at times. He now looked from Buffalo Bill to the boy sport, then at Bunco, and back again at the sco ut. At last he said, in a he i pless sort of way : "\Vhat do you want?" 'Tll t ell you, and then by your own feel ings wholly. ''I came down here to prospect, it is true, but not for gold exactly. ''It has come to the ears of the commanda nt of the fort, where I am an office r. that Devil's Canyon is as black a place as could be found. "The deeds of you lawless men here have given it a very bad name, and I was sent here for a specific pur pose. ''I supposrd that it would take me months to shadow to the gallows t h e men 1 was after. but I discover, throug h meeting the boy sport here. and my olcl friend Bunco, I will accomplish what I came for in a very short while. "Now, the acts of the Silent Slayers are known away from Devil"s Canyon. '"It is also known that they kill for some purpose un known to us. "They have a motive that 1 can only guess at. and when r hear from you, l will know if my guess was right. "The members of that secret band of murderers may rumber twenty, perhaps more, perhaps less, but I sef them
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THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. He seemed to feel that he had been caught in a trap from which there was no escape. 'He had heard the scout unravel the secret of the m ys terious murders, and felt that he was wholly at his mercy After a mom en t of thougltt, he cried out in a tone of ple ading that was most pitiful: "'What do you wan t me to do?" "Confess." "Confess what?" "Everythin g ." "About what?" "I see that you do not appreciate the danger you are in." "You'll hang me?" ''No, I think we had better play the Silent Slayers act, knife you and leave yon at your h ome to be thought to have been kill ed b y that band. ''Then we can go 011 in our own way and find out who the others are, but I'll take good care that Red Sam whom we know, does not escape." "You w isb me to confess my guilt?" "Oh, no. 'Do as you please about it." "If I confess?" "Vv. ell ?" :' \Vhat terms do you grant me('' "Ah! now you are talking like a sensible man." "Yon will give me my teq:ns ?'" "No." "What then?" "I'll give you my terms," was the stern rejoinder. I must know what they are before I utter a word." "You shall." ''My terms are that you shall answer every question I ask you truthfully. "In return your life shall be spared, you shall not be known as one of the Silent Slayers, thoc1gh I would ad vise you to dig out from camp, as some of your parcls might give you away. as soon as we have found out whether vou have deceived us or not. "Those are my terms." CHAPTER XXIII. THE DESPER.ADO'S TERMS. Doc Stone heard what the terms of the scant were, and then asked: "vVhat will you do with me while you are waiting to find out?'' "'vVe will leave you here a prisoner under the care of the boy sport." "That won't do." "It must." ''It will not do, then." "Why?" "If you do as you say with those bodies there, the real Silent Slayers will be puzzled as to how they died, and it will be l aid upon the band." "Well?" "If I am missing they V1ill at once suspect that I have sold out, betrayed them, and they will skip, and you will be thwarted." "There i s reaso n in that/' said Buffalo Bill. "Now, I alone of all the band will know the game s up, and I will not attempt to escape. ''Let me go back to Red Sam's cabin. I'll give him a quieting medicine to keep him there all right, and pre tend he is not so well. "Then you can go on with your work of catching the res t of the band and when you feel sure I have been square with you, then you can set me free. "Now listen to the terms I have to propose." "Yo u wish us to play the decoy game again-use you as a decoy to catch the rest of the band of Silent $lay ers?" "That is just it." "But you have terms to propose? "Let us hear them." "I will." "In the first place, I can give you information that will not allow another member of the Silent Slayers to escape. ''Remember, I am selling out." "Yes:" "I know that I have got valuable goods to sell, and I am aware of their full value." 'Go ahead . "Those two bodies there have both got belts of gold., on them "Well?" "Now I have, say, some twelve hundred laid up, and they have not as much. 'B ut Reel Sam can treble my amount, and I want what they have and he has." "You will want a. gold mine next, and have us work it for you." ''I've got the gold mine, or at l east the means of getting it, and I am high-priced, for I won't reap from it, and you will, when I have told my secret." "Go ahead." "For that reason I am going d> make a money de mand of you." "You already have done so." Oh, no; I get that as an inheritance, as it were, from my parcls." ''Well?" .. ''You see I am to start out in the world a.gain to ma!
PAGE 25

THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. "As I said, my secret is valuable. It is of a gold mine, and I want for it just five thousand dollars." "You will never get it." "Then you'll have to hang me, for I'd as soon die as go from here without money to dodge about these Western camps. "I t ell you that by my capture you have destroyed me, and ruined my prospects on the very eve of success as it were, and I will die before I tell what I know unless I get my terms. "I ask for a paltry five thousand dollars and you refuse. "So be it. I can die, for I'd be worse off than dead if I lived." There was that about the man that Buffalo Bill read aright. He was desperate, driven to despair, and would do just as he had said. So the scout said, for he felt certain that the man must have some valuable secret: "Do you avow that your secret is worth five thousand dollars?" "Yes, many, many times over. "I am so convinced of it that I will take your promi s e to send me the sum named, when you discover that I tell the truth." "That is square certainly; but I neither have the money nor can I get it." "I have it and will hand you the amount to send him, Mr. Cody, if he tells the truth," said the boy sport, speak ing for the first time, while Bunco added: I can also raise the money, Pard Bill." CHAPTER XXIV. THE PLEDGE. "I guess I've struck a nest of milli ona ires," said Buffalo Bill,. in his dry, humorous way, when both the sport and Bunco offered to put up the five thousand dollars de manded by Doc Stone. "Well. I lpppen to have the money. and rJJ risk it on what Doc Stone says, upon your pledge to pay him if his secret is worth it," said the sport. "Me, too, pards; or I'll gJ in halves with you, boy sport," Bunco replied. This was satisfactory to the scout, if so to those who we.re to take the risk. and Doc Stone said all that he asked was Buffalo Bill's pledge to send it to him in a certain way if all was as he said it was. "I'll give the pledge," said the scout. "Then it's s e ttled, pards. and I'll talk. "Now, l e t me tell you when I decides on a tl11-rlg l goes through with it--' "You talk good English, Stone, so drop your dialect," said Bu:falo Bill. "All right, I will. "What do you wish to know?" ."You a re a Silent Slayer?" "Yes." "And so is Red Sam?" "He is." "And the two men killed in the saloon, the two lying dead there and Pete Dunn were all menibers of the band?" "All." "How many members were there?" '"Before this late epidemic of death struck them, there were thirteen." lf that was the original number, besides the five dead, yourself and Red Sam, it leaves six more to account for?" '"Yes." "Where are they?" ''In the camp." Bunco, you and sport call out the ones you suspect and l e t him answer as vou name them." nm Wirt," called 'out Dunco. '"Yes." "Jerry, the saloon man," suagested the sport. 'Ko, thoug-h Dunn, his was one of the band." 'Duck Adams." 'Yes, Sport." "Tom Hazel." "Yes, Sport." "Da11 Drake." "Yes, Bunco." "Lanky Bob." 'Yes, Bunco." .. That is the last one I suspect, 1\fr. Cody," remarked the .. I can name no one e lse for a c er tainty, Pard Bill thou g h th ere are a hundred men 1 know in the camp bad enour. h to belong to the band." Bun co assumed. "Then rll name one more, and it's Wallace. the store Both the young sport and 13unco seemed surprised at this assertion of th e despernclo, for the man spoken of was supposed to be one of the "g-oocl citizens." 'You are not givi ngthe name of \Vallace because you han a grnclge agains t him Doc Stone?" No, Dun co, f a m not. I could add half a dozen if I wanted to. on that score, but I'm on a square trail now. \h/allace is one of t he lead ers. :rncl the worst devil of all." .. All right: w en put him down. and then consid<.>r the whole band all present or accounted for," said Buffalo Bill. .. \Veli. vou \\'i'h to hear more?'' 'Yes. tell what you know, for, as the ,:port he1e and/. Bunco knew the men named we can readily get them when wanted. ''Now. what was the motive of vonr band in commit ting the murders which you have perpetrated?" asked Buffalo Bill. G old." "Explain." "You see, \Vallace, the storekeeper, was one of the first men in this part of th e country: but when he came. there was one man here before him and one who had struck it rich. "Just where this man's gold was, \Vallace could not find out. so the miner was safe until the storekeeper, then a gold hunter himself, could discover his secret. .. I next came along with a gang of miners: then others followed, until the camps were established in Devil's Can yon. "Still Wallace made no headway with the solitary miner whose secret he wanted to ascertain, but who lived far away from here-that is, some dozen miles or more.

PAGE 26

THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. l "VVallace opened his store, miners went to work, and some gold was found ; a few w e nt down the valley to raise cattle and thus a settlement gre w up. Wallace got scared at l a st, for h e did not wish t o o many her e so he decided that all except those to go in with him in his plot must be scared off. "There was but one way to do it and that was to try and convince all there was no g o ld h ere in paying qu a n tity, and to make Devil's Can y on so bad, men would get out of it "He tried bo t h ways, and finally decided upon a secret band of men-killers. "The result was the forming of the band of twelve Silent Slayers, for Wallac e was to be a silent partner, as it were. known to the captain and his lie utenant only. In that way h e could aid th o s e who go t into trouble, for no one ev e r suspected him of b eing a villain ''But he was the real lead e r, and w e beg a n the work of th e Sli ent Sla ye rs to sca r e men out of the camp and lea v e the fie ld for ourselves alone." I CHAPTER XXV. TIIE LIVING V I CTIM OF THE B AND. B u ffalo Rill and his two comrades list e ned most at tentiveh to the storv o f Doc Stone. an
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