Jesse James' close call; or, The outlaw's last rally in southern Wyoming

Jesse James' close call; or, The outlaw's last rally in southern Wyoming

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Jesse James' close call; or, The outlaw's last rally in southern Wyoming
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
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32 p. ; 26 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
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.
Resource Identifier:
028816603 ( ALEPH )
07356650 ( OCLC )
J14-00012 ( USF DOI )
j14.12 ( USF Handle )

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,TORIES fssrmt By Subscription $ per year. Entered as Second C!a

2 THE JESSE JAMES. S T ORIES. As the two men read it, they gazed significantly at each other ai1d then both turned instinctiveiy and took a sharp. lo o k at the rocks and bushes. "That means that he is in this neighborhood,"' said one of them. 'and if such is the case it behooves us to act cau tiously." "S hall we go through his pockets?" "I think not! No doubt Jesse James went through them when he did thi. s foul deed, and you know it would look suspicious if any one should see us. vVe must ieave him as he is. 'Ne can't even bury him. "But he is one of us, Dtmcan !" .urged Dayi.s, .in a lower voice, '"I can't leave a Pinkerton man to be food for panthers!" The young man stepped forward as he spoke and removed the hat from the dead man's head, then deftly slipping his fingers inside of the sweat band he extracted a paper. "It must be done! Live men are worth more than dead ones! That scoundrel, Jesse James, may have his eye on us this minute! Hello! Is it possible he over looked a paper!" muttered the other. "I wish I had my eye on him!" growled Davis, as he replaced the hat and opened the paper. ''He must have been absent-minded this noon when he shot .our brother officer here or he would never haYc left such a document behind him." Once more the two men took a careful survey of the bushes; then, while Duncan stood guard \ .vi th a revoiver in his hand, his friend and partner, Lawrence Davis, read the contents of tJhe paper: To whom it may concern: The. bearer of thi s paper is Ell s worth Barnes, of Chicago, at present in the employ of the Pinkerlc ; m agency of that city. My errand to 'Wyoming is to, nm down Jess e James, the outlaw; also lo trace the of Miss Jennie Colchester, daughter. of Samuel Colchester, of Lara-1i1ie City, who is supposed to have been kidnapped by the J ames gang in 187-, for what evil purpose no one has been able to disco,er. Miss Colchester was t e n years old when abducted, and her father, a poor man, has no reward to offer for her rescue. If I meet with foul play, kindly mail this paper to Mr. Pinkerton, and, if possible, give my body a decent burial. "Poor chap! I wish we could comply with his quest," said Davis, as he finished, "but as you say, Duncan, the thing is impossible! It will be dark in an hour and we must lO{}k for shelter." 1fhey .turned away slowly, Davis wrapping the i:iaper with some others in 1his possession and placing them all in an inner pocket of 'his shooting jacket. "I've h.eard of that kidnapping case before," said Duncan, as they made thir way through the "scrub. "I be lieve l\Ir. Pinkerton adds that to his orders about once in so ofteJ1, but IlO one has )'.Ct been able to trace the girl. I suppose "it would be different if there had been a rewar offered. Jess would have found her h imself!" "Sh! There' s some one behind us!" whispered D vis, sharply, wheeling around at the same time and sca1 ning the bushes. "A cataruount, perhaps! Let's hurry, old There's a farmhouse. or what passes for one, som where in thi section, I'm almost sure." Once more they started forward, and once more small, wiry man who was following them, \\Tiggled hi body through the bushes like a snake, but j tist too fa a\rny to hear what they were saying. He had been sleeping in a tree when the. report of th pistol awoke him and, after waiting until their inspec tion of the dead was over, he sl id down noiselessly an folio\ reel them. '"Who the devil be they?" be muttered to himself, a he moved stealthily along. ''I'd hev given my pocket flask ter hev e 1heercl what they said, but it ain't nowis likely they are detectives. Ef they \\'Uz they'd er mad more fuss at discoverin' one of Jess James' mony men ts.'' He chuckled grimly and his face, which was covere with scars, grew as reel as a lobster with the e:-:ces s o his merriment, but as the d etectives were just vaulting kiw, zig-zag fence that outlined the yard of a tumble clo11 n farmhouse, he was obl iged to calm his mirth anc move a iittle faster. The place was a wide stretch of undulating countr. bet\\ the Big Horn River and the foothills of the Horn :\lountains, in Wyoming. and a wilder, lonelie country could hardly be imagined. and there in the hills a )ittie prospecting hac been done. and a small number of coal and iron miner had come in and forro1ed settlements. One settlement, Coyote Gulch, boasted a fairly wel o rganized mining com!)a n y, but the ore was owned b) every man in the section, according to his own activity To stake off a ciairn, fight for it, murder the orig inal claimant and scare out prospective ones was the fir;; duty to be clone, :ifter which the owner had to stan guard like a watch clog and protect his treasure. specimen of e\ery type of de s pe!ado characteristi c of th Rockies couid be found in Coyote Gulch, and the whisky saloon s. two gambling-houses and various den for other iniquities did a flourishing business. A narrow track for ore cars was equipped '"'ith dummy engine, v;hich could be used for conveying meta to the crude smelting works twenty miles distant. btJt thi was a feat \1hich had to be done under guard, so th habit of secreting any and all precious finds was soo1 acquired by the natives. Davis and Duncan 1Yere in a "case" that would carry


T H E J ESSE Jf\MES STORIES. 3 to th e G u lch but, as it combined the tracking o f Jesse James also, t h i s speciJl detail o f thei r errand need be menticned u n ti l later. When t h e two b rave fello w s reach e d th e door o f t h e rams hackl e o ld farmhou se, they both took another look lehind tl1em, but the fellow who was so interested in their 11ovemcnts had dropped clown the f e n ce, and it lad grmrn so dark that t hey did n o t n o tice him. lt Duncan's k nock the door was opened b y such a lne-looking woman that both o f the detectives s tarted lack in astonis.hment. I Duncan who as somethinP" of a lady s man when off luty, recoYered himself "Pardon m e, madam, but we are a couple of stranded c nderfeet' on the way to Coyote Gulch, he said, Jlibly. "We icft the Dig Fork stage coach at noo n and lave been waik!ng ever s in ce, and now, b e in g footsore 1nse her cheeks, she seem ed to :hesitate a:IJout acceding kl h is request for s h el t e r. 'If yen cannol accommodate tts with rooms, perhaps t o n can let us have a couple of horses and a man to pide u s to t. "Hello! A r c you Mr. James?"' called Duncan, with a wink at frien d. "If you a r e, your wi f.e is looking fo: you inside there! She wants to ask you if you arc 'illing toboard Lb until :norning." little fell o w made a quick m ove mellit and sitood 'bes :-ck 1them : t he n, a s i t "as dark under the wide eaves, he c:::mecl Jiis neo:k to pee r in to their faces. "He! 1he 'flhet thar's rid1 S o ye took m e for J ess, did ye? 1"11 lell him on i t a11 makes, ho\ he'll c11:.s '.\Ie too k fer J ess James! He! he! T b e t th21_.s rid1, str

4 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. They glanced a:bout ra,t'her uneasily at first, lbu. t there was nothing to be seen of their host, and Mrs. James bustled about getting Vhe suppe r on tl1e and talking as gayly as thoug

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 5 I o / mad e it t o disguise his real r e a so n fo r drawing his \\ ea pe n. ha He \\as a s s u s pi cious of hi s g t::::s t s a s i t was p oss ible d i for a "':2.n t o ibc, a1-:d once 'he in s isted o a every o n e ri sing, s o thc.t 1 t h e table could b e o n t of range of the \Ylll{l0\ YS D y th e t i n-:c the meal iYas o v e r h e had sc1..::::eecle d in 111 maL:1g t'L e detective s very tm: crnfor t ab!e, for hi s air o f d istrns t g-re1v : 1 1 ore n o tice a ble ever.v minute. Que s t i o n ati afiter qt; c s t i o;1 as to ttheir 1busine s s i n t h e \ i\!est had be e n : 'hi asked and a:1s11crecl, and i\ hen Dnnca:1 gav e an assumed : h / and glibly o uthvw 1wro te i t upo n a pi ece of and sli{'.' pecl i t into h is p oc ket. Hl '"I reckon y o u might a:> well stay t ere all night, gen :]Jc s aid finally, with a peculiar look in hi s e y e s ':You ca n s m o k e and ganl/blc t o your h earts co nitent. R2tltlesnake, ,here 1,vill play wit 1 h y o u. and 1:1here'll be I some one else i n beiore long. P.o t e Billings is in this 1 J :tj h i nei.;11-:horh c ocl s o m e w 1 her e, and he's a fiend .at p o k er.'' "l though'. P e t e was g o in g with you ? Sj)Ok c up Mrs. Ja::1e s qui c kl y Je s s e gave her a warning lc::ik be fo r e h e ans werc cl. "H e \\as bu t he ohangecl his mind, ,Jic said, grimly. "He ha,d the had t as.te t o g e t s ,Jiot t.hi s n oo n and wibh a bu !let h o l e in hi s arm a man can "t do muc h bu.t play p c!-:er .. e "Theit the r s!e u th-hound doi;e i t I s een ther hull a d thin g !" broke in Rattlesi-:.ak e Bill 11ho had been pulliing vigo r oush a t a b12 c k b o .ttle. "Yes, and Jess s ettled 1 u h e s l eutf'' with him. As the pair entered the room, the detecti ves hardly 0 h knew was most formidaibJ.e, man or dog, f.or they were both red in t!he ey e ba!l s s howing vheir bl oodthirsty c:, n a.tu res. Miss C ollin s gave a lib tle cry as she saw the clog, but the wife of Jesse James only s mil-ecl good-naituredly. ''Yol1 v1;oulcl nev e r d o fo r an o nUa w's wife, Jean," she said, wi t h a q uid-: glance a t .\Iustang :viike one of her 'hu sband's b oo n companio ns. "You'll to s crew up y our courage a little b efo re y o n and Mike get married ... .\Ii ss C o llin s bi t her lips and 'her rosy cheeks pale d instantly, 11i hiie, t o save himself Duncan could not help turning and .staring at the fcll o \\'. .\Iustang .\Iike 11 a s a !ia1f-b rcecl about thint y years old. and. 11"hiJ.c he w a s a fi! 1 e type o f ph ys i cal man h oo d. 'his face w as crue l and r epulsive, bespeaking a vindictive nature. He y;a,s l oo kin g a t the y m m g g irl wit h an evil cxpt'e ssio n in hi s eyes n ow and inv oiuntarily the d etective's han d drnppcd lo bu r t t o f hi s revo lv e r. J e s se James 1yas b u s ily talking wi1 th the newcomer, but he n o ti ce d 't'h e m o vem ent and a m oment late r :he men tioned it cas ually. 'Better look t o y our rig :r t s Mike, whe n otihc r gallants a r e around! I w o u dn" t like t o J.os e you jus t n o11, when l "m o n t h e edge o f a v e n ture!" A sarcas: tic clmc kl e the remark, ttl1e half-, breecl glanced angr ily aronnd until he detec ted.'-Plln can s e x nre.ssi o n. "What air yer t alkin" erbout, J ess? lt"s er cold clay when Mustang Mik e 'hez tcr b e t o ld A:er purtect hi:; own! T iber gars mine w : h c n I want h er! Let : th e m as thinks cliffrent take warnin" .. he growled, savage ly. He glare d a 1 t Duncan as he spok e an.d the n his hand al s o rested lightly upon an ugly-looking weapon. Duncan was about to break out impotuously w ,hen a warning cough from Davis brought hi1111 t o his senses. He turned .and caug;ht tlhe glance of a pair of !hazel eyes turned full upon lhim with such a :terr-ifi.ed expression in tl16r dept11s that ,his lips were silenced i n a moment. "Sorry to leave you, ge'l1tlemen, but business is business!" sa id Jesse Jam es, rising ait that minute. "Bolt the doors my clear, and see tihat your pops are 1 in or.der. Can't ever tell what may happen, you know," he added, with a s : hrewcl glance :at t11e cletectiv 1 es, "hut I reckon I can trust you to look after tlhe women in m y absence!" "You can, indeed, to the death!" said Duncan, with his eyes on Miss Collins. Mllis

THE JESSE JAMES STORI ES. He clenched his hands angrily, but sat doiwn again, and a mocking laug;h fr{)rm the others followed the action. "No1Y, gentlemen, Slhall we dra.w amund the ta:ble and :have .a game of cards?'' asked Davis, coming to the res cue. 'Tm sure t he ladies have 1had e n o ugih of our talk, and a game of p oker is alwa1 ys restful." "We don' t find i 1 t so out hyar. stranger, laughed Rat tlesnake Bil .I. "It all depends o n w1hether ther game is squar', and er squar' game ain't rt:er be depended on in ther sh adder of tiher R ockies." "Then, I'll 1 be o n the safe side," said Davis, drawing J1is pistol and laying i t on the table. 'Tm a tenderfoot myself and don't know muc'h about c heating." He had see n severa l ex:hanged between Ra. t tlcsna:k e Bill .a nd Pete already, as they were drawiag up to :the taible, but thert to the railroad. T!he men would be suspiciou he under.took to use the o re cars." "A dangerous trip, any way Miss Collins. Mrs. James laughed, grimly. "No, it i sn 't. for he will ne\ er take it. Jess \\ill s him t he trouble." "T!hcn you uh ink he will succeed ?" "My !husband never fai.Js !" was the answer. I The cards were dealt again and 1the game went on, b both Du11'can and Davis 'had suddenl y lost i111terest at were wondering how they could call a halt w itihout pr cipitating trouble. !'\early three hours had passed and the pile of gold Rattlesnake's t hand 1r:is slowly growing larger, st i the detectives could see nothing .thait was in any wa Mrs. James v1atd1ed a small clock upon t he mantel a ca,t v.-ou!d wait c r h a mouse, and two or thr ee time s sh rose and went ro the window and looked O'Ut. T wo large bottles of whisky had been dra ined by th ou

TliE JESSE .JAMES 1 time, and his eyes flashed fire a s s ho u ted, like a trumpet : .. Pas'.S me trhat gold, and be qnick about it; then throw up your hands or I'll-bJ.o, w you to blazes!'' At that minute Davis dropped to bhe floor in a dead faint. He had negiected his wound t00 1011g, and the los s of itoo much b lo od had produce d unconsciousness. Crack! CHAPTER III. I N A FALSE POSITION. Duncan's weapon spoke again, and there wa s another howl but n o t until a s bar:p repor-t was followed by a sti nging pain in Davis' left arm. The detec tive knew he hacl been hit, but his eyes v\.hat th e o utlaw wo uld have done und e r different cirnever wavered, and his finzer 1 )ressecl trio-a-er until cumst<\nces cannot be recorded, for he was at that i11in. bb .. the pile of gold cha nged plac e s ute being pursue d b y a mob of men who had caught him A volle y of s < hots followed, for trhe haH-drirnken m en in a bad ni ght's work and were fuming with rage belost t 'heir head completely, but they were the vict ims of cause he h ad escaped fr o m th em. After seeing that the cool nerves and bath went d ow n like Jogs. while the do ors were sec urel y bolted and taking a glanc e at v he detec tives were un l harmecl, exccp t fro m t;be ball of the three dead h1e n. he ru s hed to th e o f Duncan and, hidden outlaw. grabbing him b y the s hould e r fa irly jerked him off his T his had plowed a forrnw thro:ug.h the dete ct ive's arm. feet. but he was sat isfied in an ins lanrt: that the bone was not ''See h ere!" he said, ste rnl y "1'he s h e riff i s after me injured. curse him! Man wind o w yonder and see that yo u I guess w e 'd better get out of here while we can," d o good work s h ooting down the rascal s I 'll spa re your said Duncan, in t his friend's ear, as the noi se of tihe shots life if y ou help m e protec t my own, but a s ign of trcach s ubsid e d. "Are you hurt bad. old man:' If not, we'd cry from yo u will se nd you straight to p e rditi o n !;i better hu stle!" He snatched the pist o l fr o m the detective's be l t as he "There must be more h orses Come!"' was t he anspoke and filiecl ever y chamber: then. forc in g it into hi s swer. han d. h e pushed him toward th e window. :,1r s Jam es had staggered to h e r feet.' hut s he did n o t There \Yere only three windows in the room amJ, Mrs attempt to stop and as they hurr ied toward t h e. James was already at o ne of them with one pistol in h e r rear door Duncan l ooked for :Yliss Collins. hand and another tucked carcfulty t hrough the b e lt of "Oh, please take me '-v-irh you There are o f h e r whit e apron . h o rses and I can ride as \\ell as any one," said a v oice Duncan gave a qui c k lo ok at his fri e nd and saw tihat in bis ear, and i he turned to find Miss Collin s wrapping Mi ss \:ollins ,,as bending over him and, feeling sure a S'carf .around her s.houklers. that she would relieve him of all tell-tale do c uments also, "You s!hall go with us, by all m ea ns and I will prohe was satisfied to go on and obey his ho s t 's orde rs. teot you wi.trh ,my Jifel" began Duncan w'hen suddenly It did not occur to him to doubt the young lady's lo y sorne one a tPemendous kic k 011 the panels. alty. for there was a look in her eyes that had won his "I J and t he had decided that she was a p ris o ner 1 rs. m n cs opened t'he d co r instantly, and her husba nd stro

THE J E SSE JAMES STORIES. and he kno\\ s it! l.'Ye got hot 11or k ahead if .I get that b oodle n o w, but you shail h ear all th e details later! \Ve I)rnst n ot w:is te a minute This fell ow, \Yhoeve;he is, i s b l e eding t o o much! Jean will hav e to try and put on a compress ''I'll do the b es t I can." was the young girl's answer, and as the outl a w s trode to the unguarded windo w, s he drew off the detective's jacket and began rolling up h:s sliirt sleev es The clatter of horses' hoofs could be heard distin c t;y now, and a mom ent later the sheriffs posse came to a halt a little di s tan c e fro:n the farm house. l t wa s a ver y dark night, so those inside couid see nothing, but the yelling of the men s howed that they .,-ere at the rear of the building, where they evicently had gone to get av 1 ay from th e front and side 1vindows. Duncan wa s boiling with indign:iti o n at his unpleasant p os ition for to b e acting as protec tor of the body of Jei:s e J:i.mes wa s n o t to his liking. But if he did not at least appear to prvtect him his life would pay the for feit. "Hello, inside thar !" bawled a loud voice at that minute. "'vVe've g o t you, Jesse James, so you may's well surrender! W e 'll burn down the s.hanty ef you don't give in pea c e'bly 'there was no reply, for the outlaw was blowing out th.e lamps in the roo m so that everything should be in darkness and giving his orde rs to bis wife and Duncan. ''Ef you'l l c o me out and surrender you won't be hurt, J ess Yer head's worth more ter us on er live b o dy than o n e r dead one, went on the sheriff, "but you w3nter speak qui c k, for we ain't in no mood for foolin' 'vVe're byar ter put an end to yer deviltry, and goin' ter do it!" "Ha! ha! ha!" roared Jesse James, through the broken pane of glass in hi s window. "Talk's cheap, Sheriff Johnson! If you want me, come and get me, that's my advice to you!" "Then you won't come out?" "::\ever! what in thunder do you take me for! Go ahead and do your worst, and take that for a starter!" As 1 he spoke he raised a rifle from a shelf near the window and sent a ball from one of its barrels speed ing through the darkness. A yell fr9111 one of the posse followed, then a vo!J.ey of bullets came crashing through the window. "Lie low, Jean Don't raise your head above the sash r warned the outlaiw, as he d re1v hack out of range, and then tJhere was silence both inside and out for a minu te. "He"s all right now. Jess! It was only a flesh \\"ound and I've bandaged it pretty well, I think! Shall I give him a drink out of one of those bottles?" \\"hispe:ed :-L : s Loi: ins oft!y. J cs.:;e Jam cs drew a flask from his pocket. a:1d. stoop ing down, it spinning across. the floor in Iler di: c-.:' tion and, :ifler a swallow or two, Davis opened lJiS cyy s and lo o ked :1round him. An other yell from the sheriff di strac ted th e ontbw's atte ntion, and, just then, Jean managed to get p o s s e ss i o!1 cf the s e cond batch of papers. She s e creted them clev e rly in her dress, after a brid whisp e r in the detective's car; then. as he staggered to his feet, she handed )1im a loaded weapon. A tremendous kicking up : m the panels of tile side door b er;an at that minute, and, obeying an order from the outlaw. Duncan J.eft his window .anid went over to it. h"s ear to a knothole in the wood he listened a then the kicking stopped ai1d he detected a low whistle. The crack of Jess e James weapon sounded at the same time, so the outlaw did not notice it. Putting his lips close to the hole, Duncan softly answered the whistle. I nst:i.ntiy the vil e odor of mingled whisky and to bacco cam e through the hole and, exchanging his ear for his eye, Dt!ncan caught a whisper: "Let me in, Jess! It's me, Mustang :Mike! I've fooled them cursed scoun drels! Let me in qt1ick afore they see me!" Duncan did some rapid thinking, and summed up his conclusion. Mustang Mike was a desperado of the very worst type. and it was plain to be seen that he had some hold on Miss Collins. No one in the room had heard either the whistle or the \Vhispcr except himself and, of course, there was no one to prove that he had heard them. Once more the kick ing on the panels began and a roar from Jesse Jam es as sisted his decision. "Cnrse them! They'll kick the door in! The blood honnds arc eager to get at me, but let them come at their peril!" Duncap set his teeth hard, but he did not hesitate. He knew that some part of Mustang Mike's anatomy was in front of that knothole, and, putting the muzzle oi his pistol close to the op e ning, he pulled the trigger. A ho1d of pain follov1 ed and then Jesse James, thinking it was one of the sheriff's men, burst into a roar of laughter. "Ha! ha! v,ell done. Pi c k 'em off one by one! That's pretty good for a t enderfoot lo shoot through a knothole!" Duncan did not ans11 er, but crept back to his win dow, for the crowds 01.itside showed that the sheriffs men ere dividing their forces and taking up their stands at various points around the Their weapons soon began cracking merrily, and ieaden


THE J ESSE J AMES STORIESo bi! was poured into the three windo\vs at once, until not an inch of glas was ldt i n the sashes Jese James emptied his revolver, and yells of pain follo,,ed each shot, for it seemed as i{ the fellow could actually shoot around a corner. Mrs. James kept up a lively popping. and was as cool as her husband, while Dunca;'." fired occa$ionally, but tock pains to hit nothing. Davis crept close to the side door and cronched. ready to shoot, if it was necessary to d efen d himself from the sheriffs poss .e, in case they managed to get in, for. of course, :it first sight, they would take h i m for an outlaw Miss Collins knelt at his side, with the whisky flask in her hand, and twice she put it to hi s lips j u:;t as he became faint and dizz y. Bmv long the s i ege would last \Yas more than any one could tell. but at last the;-e came a yell of victory. which told Duncan only too plainiy that they had found the \\'Ot mcleq outlaw. He tried to peer through tl:e darkness for a glimpse of his host's face, but the sn-:oke from tl:eir pis'. ols this imposs ible. Another yell and a rus]1 of feet at the side door strengthened hi s convictions. Then he felt rather than s aw the bandit king's ezglc eye upon him. Who was that at the door?" he asked, Duncan tried to frame an indifferent answer, somC" thing to the effect that "it was probably one of the sheiiffs posse." "You lie! J.t was Frank!" fai rly panted the on th w. I pa r ted with him a mile this side of the bend! He got here safe and yon shot him you traitor!'' "It's not trne !" said Dnn::an, stontly. "If it had been your brother. he w ould have said so wouldn't he?" The o u tlaw moved qmtiously across the ro::im. keeping well out of range of the windows, and, as he reached Duncan, he bent and hissed, threateningly: ''I'll find out who it was, and, if it was Frank, your life will pay the penalty! I'll kill you by inches and by the worst of toitmes I ll roast yon alive! I'll set the bloodhound on yon I'll--" Wait till yon find out before you make your threats. Jesse James!" interrupte d Dnncan, coolly. 'This is no time to jump at ccnclnsions. when we are fighting for you l Rem ember, please, that we arc only your guests! This is none of our funeral, anlow, tf:en, come out of yer hole, if yer think yer kin :.av e hiin !" The outlaw lef out a curse and turned upon Da:1 c an with a of rage .. but, befo r e lie could rea h him. l\liss Collins had forced hers e lf between them. 'Hold o n J ess !\ot so fast! How was he to k::ow it w:is .\.like? You thought your_elf that it 1ra3 one ci the posse!'' s he cri ed, sharply. The out law's steely eye:> shot fire in th e darknes s like a tiger's but he drew back slowly and just then his wife gayc :i sharp cry and staggered from the '.dndow. vVithout even clucking hi s head. Jesse Jarr!es strode acro:::s the ro om, and a moment later he was bending over her and holding her in his arms. "it's on l y a scratch! Don't be frightened. dear." s :tia the o;.itlaw, in s11eh a changed voice it did not secn 1 possible it couid come from the same person. ''I'm all right now, Jess! There, that will do nicely l I cbn't know what made me cry out. I must be n ervous," >'aid Iv1rs. James, contritely. He bent to ki s s her gently. and then the kicking began on the panels again. this time at the rear door, which was m11ch lighter than the other. The wood began cracking instantly, and then one of the hinges burst, and, with a chorus of yells. the pounding was redoubled. "vVe're comin', Jess! Thar ain't nothin' kin s top l1S !" bawled the S:heriff, just as the last hinge parted. The posse burst into the room, yelling like a band of Apache lnci:ians, but for just a minute the darkness hampered them. ''At 'em, men! Fire in every direction! The clogs arc skulkin' in th e r corners, most likely!" roared the she riff. Davis jammed himself into a niche between the logs o n;y a few feet from the rear door, w

10 THE JESSE JAMES STORmES. private exit ter ther regions below! Bring er lantern, somebody! I'm er goin' arter him!'' This distracted t'he attention of the w hole, and during t!he ex c item e nt that follo 11ed the b1rn detecfives were active D.avis made a dash for t he door, stooping and darting between rhe leg s of a 1 brawny miner and then ran plump into tihe arms of another of the sJ1eriffs a ss i s tan ts. There was no time for explanati o ns a s the fellow's weapon was all oocked, so he swung his rigiht and hit him a clip under t'he ear se111t him sprawling and gave the cle.tect1ve time to bolrt into a convenient th_ickeit. Meanwihile, Dunca n had raised ).!Iiss Collins b odily and dropped : her tfurough t he windOIY, but as he attempted to follow her he was yanked bac k vigorously., and a yell 1tlhe posse told him that 1 they took.him to be one of. the rasicals they were He kept his "its abou.t him, however, in spite of the fact it.ha t several cold muzzles rested close to his head, and his first words delayed the pulling of a trigger. "Hold on! I'm a Pinkerton detective! I've killed three of tJhe outlaiw already! Look around the room, if you don't believe it! "Give the scame ther benefit of ther doubt,., 11as the sheriff's answiet, as he pinioned Jtihe deteotive's aI11TIS. Duncan ttq.lked fast, and in a minute t he posse stum bled over ithe tlhree 1 bodies and, by holding lig

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES .. 11 Now, wh o ther devil is t!her gal y e r talkin' ei'bout, ennyhQlw ?'' "Her r.ame is Collins-Jean Colhns," said Dunc: rn coming out o n the "\Ve found her h ere when we got here, s i he:iff, and if she's n ot a prisone r I'll eait my s l h irt. If the s c.oundrels have got her again we must hurry to tile rescue." "One at er time, young man. We tend ter Jesse James fust. 'T1 c:in't likely rh:er 11orbbers will hurt ther gal.' "But itha t brnte, Musitang Mike, is going t o marry her against her will,'' continued Duncan, as :the posse divided and began scouring tihe premises, leaving Davis and him self in company wi th the s.heriff. No, he ain't! He's done fer!'' chu c kl e d uhe sheriff. as be swung his lantern over 1 the bushes. 'He's out yender in Hier stable with er bullet in his 1 hip, and Perkins is er kee pin him company.'' "T1hen h:e isn't d ead,'' began Dunc an, when a s h o u : t from the rear of the farmho u se interrupte d him. "Whoop! Hi. ofhar, siheriff '0/e've found ther well! Ther scamp hez 1 rnade tracks ther ye nder. T:har' s ther print of two critters' hoofs as clear as clay." "Now, ho\\' ther d e uce chd he git them beasts around hyar ?'' exclaimed uhe she riff wh e n rtJhe y reached the well and the light fr om his lantern showed U1im fhe fresh tracks o f rtwo horses. 'J.t was pro bably rh e fell ow that s tole tJhe girl. I don't remember of seeing 'hjm in t lhie 1 house so he must have b ee n lurking outside," said Da.vis, anx i ousl-y. "One of Jesse 's sco uts. H e s got n o end of 'em," s-aid on e o f the m e n. Then. after a care ful l ook at the h oo f prin ts. h e added: "Thct tha r pr-int wt1z made by his hos s FleetW

12. THE JESS E JAME S STORIES. der to reach the l o w sheds m rhe rear that did duty as sta:bles. Half way around tJhe building tlhey !heard the lQlw 1 whinniying of a horse. and as quick as a flash Dunca n purt: his 1 hancl on llis ICllmm's s 1 hi0ulcler. "See 1herie, old, this won't do," he said, soft ly. "Jesse Jaimes has es'Caped, and no clouiht Miss Collins is wit!h him \ Mhat the deuce do we ca r e about the rest of t>he outla w -gang? I move 1 rhat we steal !horses, if we can find them, and get after the robber. The sheriff can it:ake care of whoever may be skulking in this vicinity." ''I'm with you, and the first horse," was fhe quiet answer. "Shall I mount and 1waiit for you at tihat high tree yonder?" He poi111ted toward a gi.ant poplar, wlmse topmost branches .wer e faintly outlin ed aga:i nst rt:he sky a t a little distance from the farmhouse, and a second later he was dashing away in that direction. Durncan 1sta11tecl on again after the s11eriff, but as he turned the corner of tlJ1e ibuilcling he paused in amaze ment. The roof.s of the row of sheds were blazing, and around them was drawn up a formidable array of horse men, who were a11med to the teetlh r wit h knives and re volvers. The two sections of the sheriff's men were directly in their range, and 1 were so taken by surprise that not one had pulled a trigger. Dull!can had just S ense enough to dant back arou nd t h e c orner of t he !building :be fore !he was seen, and from here he listened breathlessly for w 1 hat was to follow. "Good-evening, sheriff," called a voice that he recog nized at once as belonging to Frank James. "Sorry to surprise you, 'but we were obliged t'O move easy. So you've run Jess out of this own house, have you? Well, you wouldn't have -done iit if I could hav:e got my men to gether sooner." "Curse you! Yer've got i too quick as it stands, Frank }a.mes!" answered 1tlhe she riff, savage l y "Now, what deuce is yer game, :anyway? Don't yer know thet Mustang Mike iis 1bumin' 1 ter deatlh iin them stables?" "Yes, we know it, but there's two of your men -in there, sU1eriff," la'llg1hed Frank, "so yo u see the odds are in our favor." "An' Mike's done 11p, ainyhow," called another coarse voice, he won' t be much of a loss, no matter how yer look .at it." The slheriff groaned, buit he oou ld see 110 rw.ay of sav ing !his 1men, for a m overrnent forwafeman merdy rais e ibis h, and the next minute the voice of J esse James came to his ears like the blast of a trumpet. ''Hal, t T hrow up your hands! Abtcmpt to pass me and I'll blow a hole t'hrough you !" Duncan set !his teeth and gripped his revolver a little tighter, but instead oif slowing 1 his speed lhe only

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES 13 followed b y a snort o f pain, and t he horse he was riding plunge d forward and threw him h eadlon g. Once more he 1vas afrthe mercy of the outlaw. CHAPTER V. THE INDIAN WOM:\N. "Ha! ha! That"s what you get fo r not obeying orders!'' roared J esse J ames, as he d i smounted from his I horse and benit over tlhe detective. The outlaw who had been pursuing came up just then and two continue d to ohuckle over the fallen man for s ome minu te Dunoan had landecl o n alis head in s.ome bushes and was cnly a little dazed, but when he attempted to ri se to !his feet he felt a firm hand on hi s collar. "Bind the fell ow's wris:ts, Clell, and set him o n you r l :o rse.'' ordered J esse J ames. "'vVe must make tracks from here or that cursed posse will be after us." '')Jo twon't there and he"s got a dozen of the gang with him," was i'11e prompt ans1\ cr, as the fellow calle d Oell drew a stout piece of t1Yine fro m pod

14 T H E JESSE J A M E S STORIES. them roared witfh -laughter, : which led the detective to Qnfer tihat they did l10t credit his story. "I giuess I'd fare as well in t heir hands as in yours," he saiod, "Y1 ou are all a lot of cutthroats and roblbers." There was no reply to tihis speech, lbu.t Jess e James urged his 'horse a .J.iititle faster, and a few minutes later they 1struck tlhe main road aigain and Dum:an saw at a glance :that tlhey lrnd bee n going arnund in a circle. "Hello! Wihat the deuce does this mean?'' he de manded, coolly. "Are you .two fellows training for a circus?" "Shuit your mouth or you'll find aut more'n you want to, I'm tthinking," s.aid Jesse James, gruffly. Then he put hi s fingers to lips and gave a s.hrill W'h1sHe. "Great !:makes! 'Tain'.t possible they' re all on 'em done fe1, is it, Jess?" asked Gell, after H1ey had waited a minute and r eceived no ans1wer. "It looks very mudh lik e fr. Come! \Ve'll go back to the : house .and see what has happened. wait! Tie that fellow t o a tree and leave him .t ill we come back. You oan gag him now, Clell, and see you make a good job of i t ., CleJI dropped from the saddle, dragging Duncan \>,:ith him, and five minutes later the detective was bound to a small trt:'e some .distance from the roadway and a gag put in his nmuitlh to prevent his helbing. "Go 'through 1 his pockets, Clell," ordered the bandit dhief a-gain, and just at that minute the detective blessed Miss Collins. So far Jesse Jam es ha:d no proof as to w ho he was, but it rema,ined to be seen 1how long it would be before he got O know," said Duncan, 11 .. i bh a yawn of relief. "And if yon'll my 'hands an:cl feet I'll do even be:tt-er. I'll give you every cent J have in my pocket." The 1 woman ne eded no urging, and in a minute he free and emptying the contents of his pnrse into the 11om an's pocket. "Gome! Let's get

THE JESSE J/\MES STORIES. 15 The w oman wheeled around and back a few -t11ac k s w here t he h ootheel s h a d happe n e d t o pres s a p::ic es : the n astonished him b y pulling a magnificent C o lt' s rc v.olv e r fr m unde r h e r blank et and as s h e for c ed it in:o h:s hand he s t o w e d him a notlh e r. B y Jove! \.Vhc r e in thunde r did yon g e t that?" as k e d curio u s ly. "Who are y o u, an y\\:ay, and \\'hat are y o u doing in t his vi cini-ty ?" Wit h o u t replying t he 11'ninan suddenly duc k e d her a nd made a di v e for a clump of bushes, and Duncan, takin g pro m 1 ptly followed her example. Jesse J s an : d Oell were c oming back, both riding J.ike d e mons and in a second the dete c tive was able to di scern the r e ason of their haste, for three m e mb e r s o f the siheriffs p os se :were pursuing the m The he blank l o ok upon their face s when t hey saw rhat he was not rt'here would hiave him g o od if ihe could have seen it, but, even as it was, h e chuckled at what he knew must have been rheir disappointment. "Tlhe ruffiarns meant to fin ish me witih a flying s h ot," lhe muttered under his breath, an: d then the other three riders dasihed by like a whirl wi nd. Tobe moment they wer e out of s 'ight the woman crept out of the buslhes, aind, wirt'.h a : series of grunts for him to fol 1 low, she made straight for the farmhouse. 'Dhere was not a sign of life visible when they reaohed there, and the row of sheds were only a heap of s mold e r ing as:hes. Tlhe Indian woman searched ever yw l here, ibath qnside and ou 'tsi.cJe of :t11e bui lding, and w'hen s.he finally discovered a. scarf that belonged to Miss Collins she hugged and kissed i 1 t in .a perf.ect iof agony. "Now, rt:'hen, madam, What w 1 ill w e do next?" aisked Duncan when itjheir 1searc11 ; was ended. "There's no one here that needs rour 1 assistance, and as the, sheriff was in this scrap himself we ar e under no oblligations !f:o bury 1JYodies. Tlhe thing is 'bo find Miss Colli.ns and my par. t n er, Mr. and we can't do eibhe r by staying her-e, thait's certain. Tihe woman. s eemed to see iehe sense fo :his remarks, and once more tlaki ng tJhe l ead she left 'lihe side door of itlhe bu i1'd1 in g a n d began followling 1the tracks around a large dump of bushes. Duncan warched 1 he r carefully w l hen 'Vhey passed t h e old r well, but after a quick .Jook at the hoof prints she turned in aniOleher direction and he !Could see :tlha:t iit wa s tJhe tracks rri:ade by a mantis iboothee ls tihat she w:as fol lowing. Suddenly she gave a s1hanper grunt and p oi111ted to the b i t o f ::la y near a g ull y "\Y ell. \\'h a t do rnu mak e of i t ? ask e d Dunca n "Is thi.s th e ra sca i th a t r a n a way with th e girl? B y Jove! I beli eve i t i s The r e 's 1 w h er e h e m ounte d hi s h orse yond er." H e had rn u g h t a g limp s e o f ho r s e s hc-0fs o n the otlh e r s i de o f t!1c lmie gull y and t h e b efor e him SJh o \\'ed t h a t a man ha d b ; aced hims e lf to jum p a cross the p e cu liar b a c k \\'a rd t ip t o th e he e l s sh owing !:!hat h e carrie d a burden. T 1 1 e Ind i1:111 \\'-Om a n' s fa c e \\'a s g rowing a s h e n wi 1 b h rage, and her e y es s.h o t fire a s s h e an swere d hi s que3ti o n s "He's got her! Reel Fox got her! C o m e Me kncws d e n w : h e re h e Q1i de m y baby. Yie steal her ba ck. Curse t1111! Corne!" Duncat') need e d n o urging to g o to !!!h e re sc n e o f M iss C o llins, but i t was a wild unde11taking 'Whid1 t he crea : ture set for 11i111. He f e l t v e ry sure n o w t hat 'rhe o ld Indian w o man had been in charge of Mis s C o liin s wh e n the o utlaw s st o le h e r, and for m o nths, e\l'Cn year s th e wretched c r eature may have been trying to rescu e h e r. He decided he r efforts s!h.o uld be rewarded i f it was in th e power of man, tbut the bull et scrat c h on h i s l e g 1\vi as beginning to g e t uncomfort able and he was o bliged to and take a look at i1. The w oman bound it up for h'im in a skillful manner, but it was plai11ly to be seen that she was impati e nt eve n at 1such a nece ssary dela y and Duncan was sufficiently fasoinated wit h Miss CuUins l himself 1:0 tlhoroughly appre ciate her in tense anxiety. Lt was bmad daylighit now, and it.he country over whi , h they were hurrying was 1becoming mor e densely woode:d, a fact which Duncan obse1rved with some trepidiation, for ihe had-nio compas s and' was entirely unacquainted wit h tlhe loaaJ.ity. However, as 'tihe woman seemed to knlow 1her way, h e follow ed 'S'iJ.entl y, and an ihour .Ji ater, when they seemed in the very solitude of a fore.Sit of pines and hemlocks, t'hey came suddenly upon a small log cail>in. W ithou't once pauS'ing :to see if any one was about, the woman cocked /her pisrol and strode tio the door, stood open. Dt11ncan iw;a:s dose :heihind'. lhie1r, ia:ndl as he 1 glanced shatiply over ther shoulder he gave a cry. of delight. Davi1 s was iins1 ide, hi s ihainids and feet bound tightly 1 w .itlh 1 bult dtiherwh S e uninjured, ito judge from ap peamnces.


16 T H E JESSE Jf\MES STORIES. CHAPTER VI. THE IDENTITY OF MISS COLLINS. "Hello, old man! By rthe Lord! I'm glad to see yon aga1 in I wlas dead sure t'hat some of those rascals had k111ed yon." "Same here, Duncan. I never expected to see you again. Cut me 1'oose quick, ol'd chap, and I'll tell you something." Davis was eying the Indian woman curiously as he spoke, and as Duncan cut his ibonds he explained rapidly how he met a1er. just the guide we are in need of, I'm think ing, he went on, as the Indian woman, after seeing that they were fri e nds, searching the cabin. "She is evidently an old nurse of'Miss Jean's a11'd loves her >Clevotecll'J, and, say, perhaps she doesn't hate t.hat fellow Red Fox! By the .way, have you oome across such an indiviclnal, Davis?" 'On bhe contrary, he came across me," growled DaVli s, shaking himself free. 'I was wai ting for you under that tree w : hen the wret.oh la-ssoed me and jerked me out of the saddle. The next I kne w I was lying here in this cabin and the fellow was tying my feet t oge!Jher." "Then he can't have been the one t'hia1 t stole :!\1iss Col lins." "l 'm not so sure. I caught a glimpse of 1 horse as he rode away and there was something huddled up on it that lo o ked like a woman." T l he I nc1ian woman s eyes gleamed savagely as she listen ed to qiis words, bu't Duncan noticed that the name of Collins" did not seem to irnterest her, and it oc curred to him that there was even more mystery in this matter than he ihad imagined. ''I was too dazed to no'tice much," went on Davtoi;e, and at a glance Dun.can I savv that there '\Vriting on it. Taking it to the

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 17 There was a l ow c ra ck ling of hushes whi

THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. No 'doubt it was a relic of early days! Let me : . At la st her anxiety to go on made her rustle the see it, madam!" bushes, and, as Duncan awoke with a start. he fatmd The woman pulled the scarf out of her bosom and h er looking down at him. allowed them to look at it, but she would not release h e r "Now go on! Three men Red Fox, Humpty Dave hold of it for a second. and Jes se James have passed," she whisper ed, softly. "It's silk, and very thin .and worn. No doubt she had "We go now and save her, my baby J ennic !" it on when she was stolen. I hope you realize the im"Jesse James has passed! Is that possibl e ?" answered portance of guarding it safely," said Duncan, turning to Duncan, spri nging to his feet. the woman. "Sh! Listen!" said the woma11. putting her hand on The woman's 'beady eyes gleamed with a crafty look his sho ulder. and she folded the scarf carefully and put it back in her Sounds of rude laughter, ribald songs and co:irse pro-bosom. fanity were issuing from the tavern, and the place in"We are on the right track! The girl first and the stead of b e ing in darkness, as it was an hour before, \\"as gold afterward!" exclaimed Davis, as they l eft the cabin. now as light ed as kerosene lamp s co uld light W ith the Indian woman in her short skirt, a loose it. waist and the detective 's shoes, acting as guide, "Ha! J ess must have been expec ted! \i\1110 is the the three made their way slowly through the woods until landlord yonder?" asked the detective, touching Davis they were obliged to halt and look around for some to wake h im. break fast. An ugly sco\vl darkened the woman's face, and she They had succeeded in convincing the woman that raised the ugly weapon that s he carried and fondled it M as sht answrrrd : iss Collins and her J ennie" were one and the same girl, although they were not altogether su re of it them"Jess runs it! The ; tavern his! Horses his! Fire-water his! Bad man! Bad place!" selves, and 1 he r eagerness go o n made her proof against weariness, and no inducem ent of the tired detectives could make her stop and rest. It was near'ly dusk w hen they finally emerged upon a fairly good road and saw the cut between the rocks known as "Red Cut," just a little ahead, and the dim outlines of a ramshackle old tavern backing up against the boulders. Thf; Indian woman had guided them over a route that kept them we'll out of sight of the few houses in that locality, but between them and the tavern were a coupile of huts, and, before they ventured to pass them, the de tectives h e ld a short consultation behind some bu s hes. "There's no use going as we are, for we're all three done up," was Duncan's comment. ""vVe wouldn't be one, tw o, three in a scrimmage now ; so I move that we lie and r est u.ntil dark, and then take a chance at the tavern barroom." "A wise proceeding, old man! My arm aches badly! An hour later we can move around in these togs and be comparative l y safe, but if any of the natives s.hould see u s now they d lynch us as s ure as shooting, and I can't say that I would blame them!" The woman now agreed with her u s ual stolidity, a n d then th e three chose hiding-pla ces in t h e bus hes, a few yards from the road and about t en paces apart from each other. A storm was brooding and darkness f ell rapidly, but, for over an hour, the detectives s i lept soundly while the woman n ever closed her eyes o r took her finger from th e trigger of her weapon. CHAPTER VII. THE RED CUT TAVERN. "Which of the cutthroats is Jess? I can't make liim out," whispered Davis, a little later, as .he and Duncan stood close together peering through the shutters o f one of the windows of the tavern. "Hanged if I can tell! They a11 1 look alike to me!" The two detectives put their ears to the shutters and a volley of Rocky Mountain profanity greeted them. Then a voice that they knew belonged to Jesse James began calling out the 11ames of men as though he wished to be sure they were all together. "Hello, there, Nick Gibson Let up on that booze or it 'll be the worse for you Here you, Bones, sh ut up that gawp and listen will you? \i\T here's Bill and Ari zona Jim? They said they'd be h ere this evening!" "Hyar we are, cap'n Neve r knowl'I ter fail ye r yet, wuz we! I r eckc m with er prize like thet thar gold in sight, thar won't none of ye r men go back on yer, Jess but yer ain't made us no promise yet about ther divvy!" 'That's so, Jes s W 'hat are we goin' ter get out of it?" bawled another voice. "\i\T e know yer sq u are and fair, but ifs good to know what's comin It's be' tter'n a pocket flask to keep the fightin' edge on a feller 'You 'II get your share, every one of you, but we hav en't won the game yet, and, besides, the r e's anothe r deal on to-night that you haven't heard of! It's a chance to add a couple of h undred apiece to your shar e this evening!"


THE JESS E JAME S STOR IES. 19 "vVhoop Thet's ther talk! Jess allus hez some thin' new up hi s sleeve! Let's hev it, capn !"' bawled a chorus of voices. ''One thing at a time! Hello," where's Frank? Get a m o ve on there, Bob Snyder, and see if yo u can find my brother!" "I'm here! \i\ T here"d you spose I'd be, J ess?"' an swered Frank James' voice from a distant corner. of the barroom, and the rattle of dice followed as an accompaniment. 'Put up the dice then. and attend to business," was the answer, and then something slammed :igainst the wall as though the outlaw had kicked a chair across the barroom. "A nice lot! I can see our finish laughed Davis, the det e ctive, outside the window during the momentary lu11, then he moved an inch or two from the s 1hutter and peered through the darkness. "Now, where the devil did that woman go?" he asked, n a whisper. "She wouldn't be such a fool as to go in here, would she?" "I should hope not! Go and find 1her, Davis, while I isten There'll be scouts out before long, so we must eep together." Davis moved away softly and Duncan again put his ye to the shutter. He counted the outlaws, for the lamps were so aranged that he could see almost the entire room, and the en themselves were grouped around small tables, and und to his relief that no one was missing. Then he put his ear back to the broken slat "that h e ad found in the shutter and discovered that he had 1issed a bit of important inform atio n. ''The Gulch is all right, I tell you," Jesse J ames \\"as ying. "I gave Bilkes and Reel Fox orders to buy hisky for every cuss in tha1 t vicinity, and they're c!oin' yet, I reckon, or they'd be here thi s evening.''. ''They'd orter be hyar now, drunk o r so ber," s poke up e of the men, ''but p'rap them mules of ther Foxes r oncommon stubborn this evenin !" The re was a roar at this, but Jesse James replied unsily: "Reel Fox can u s ually be clepenclecl on when you ras ls can't," h e said, with a steely glance at one of his 1mber. "There"s Nick, for in stance, h e's a traitor, He'd cut my throat in a minute if h e dared come, Jess! It's time to be moving!" called Frank nes at that minute. "If we stay here any 10:1ger, these O\\"S ill be too drunk to budge. \i\f.ho is going for sheriff's body?" 'I told the Fox to have a team at the dugout at mid ht. The sheriff was from St. Loais, and it's only ural his friends should want his body!"' was the coldbfoocled answer, and then Jesse Jam es could be heard thumping with his pistol butt on one of the tables to call the men to order. "See here Jim! put up those bottles! Not another drink goes into one of those tanks Shut up the bar and close th e tavern; then, Frank, you look after things while I go upstairs a minute!" "Haw! ha w Ther bird's upstairs! Jess has .had her caged up there all clay. It's a wonder he gave us his company this evenin '," roared l\'ick Gibson, coarsely. The sound of a bottle whirling through th e air alild cracking against a human s.kt1ll came distinctly to Duncan's ears. th e n Jesse James gave vent to a roar like thunder. "Take that back, you cur, or I'll wring your neck! The young lady upstairs is not to be insult"!cl by any one. She's the ward of my wife and I am h e r protector!" "I'm sure I meant nothing," groaned Nick, who was thornughly frightened. "How was I ter know t her gal was a relation!" 'Then shut your mouth till yo u do know!" ma.reel the outlaw. "You'll let off your mouth once too tilften, Nick Gibson, and the n I'll tattoo you with lead!" "Jess is on ther rampage ter-night Look out for him!" said one of the other men, daringly, as the bandit king started for a door that l e d to an uprer chamber. "Better be a bit careful yourself, Bob Snyder, .as I'm not .at a ll pa11 ticu'1ar whom 1 shoot,"' warned the outlaw. I kin match yer at er trigger, if it comes ter thet thar." went on Dob, who was much the worse f o r liquor. There was th e crack of a revolv er and a howl of pain fo llowecl, and Duncan put his eye to the shutter quick enough to see the fellow clap his hanr;l to his ear, where a bull et had pier ced it. "Better not ril e the capt'n ag'in, Bob! Ain't ye learned better'n that?" asked another voice. Jesse James l!acl turned his back up o n his men and was striding for the door, and, instead of changing, Duncan kept his eye to the shutter. Something, he did not know v.l hat, induced him to turn his glance toward the outer door of th e barroom, and, a second later, ,!Je saw it open. A low cry of horror burst from his lips as saw the Indian woman burst into the room and reel across the floor, as if she were as drunk as any of them. '"What on earth will come now?" was the thought that flashed tihroug;'.1 hi-s mind, and then he did not wait to see more, but left his post and darted around to the front door of the tavern. He was for bolting in after h er, but, just at tl1e steps, Davi s grabbed him and fairly yanked him back into the shadow of a stunted h em lock. "Sh! L et her alone! She knows what she's about!" warned Davis "Here,


0 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. tain your face with tihis and pull down the corner s of "Better not touch h im He's hot st uff!'' on:> our mouth a little! It may not help muoh, but it m::iy of tbe ontlaws, and th e n they :.ill pounced on the deet 'em guessfog !" tective and tore off his skirt and bla n ket. He !handed him a rag t h at seemed to be wet in somewhen he first entered the room, the atte ntion of all hing, and the detective Jost no tim e in mopping it over the ruffians had bee n centered on the Indian woman, b ut, is features. upon Duncan's appearance, t"hry had turne d from 1her They had! both sacrificed their mu'Stache s on one of and the strange creature made good us e of h e r o pporheir last cases, so, when t.heir skin was darkened and tunities. aubed, tlhey did not look unlike !half-breeds. Darting across tbe room, she picked up a brace of "Now, come on! We must go in and see the old lady l oaded pistols that lay on a table and taking care n ot afelly through! She's d ete rmin ed to get a look at that to hit Duncan, she blazed away at the outlaws. iTl, and we must help her do it!" "Whoop! Let up, thar Stop it! We can t s hoot er "I won't be sorry to ge t another g.Iimps e of her myw9man, ef she is e r redskin!" bawled o ne. elf," mutit:ered DunCiln, under his breath. A yd! of agon y followed, and one of the men went "Oh, I saw you were badly hit! I wish yo u success, down, while three or four made a dive to get und e r the I Id man, but unfortunately at present your case does not tabl es. ook very propitious." Duncan was free i n a seco nd, but he dared not move "Sh! There's some one coming! It's that fellow, for fear the exc i ted woman would put a bullet through Iick Gibson!" him Almost before he c o uld collect his wits. the one-"Scou.ting, I 'Dhe In jun woman 1 has scared sided battle was over. hem! Wait till he comes ten feet nearer! Now! A:.t Two of the m e n had rushed forward at the risk of their im, Dunc an 1 d bb I I b 1 b b f h 1ves an gra ec ier y t 1e arms, m not e ore s e The two sprang forward simultaneously, without a had winged two more of their number. ound, and, before the fellow could pull a trigger, they ''Now, wl"Xtr is J ess C:il! him down, some o n yer !" ad their hands on his mouth and a grip o n his throat. ci;ecJ one of t h e woman s captors. It was something of a struggle, for neither of the de-"Thar's somethin' wrong up thar. If tha r wasn t. he'd ectives were in good condition, but they finally sue er been down at ther fust pop of t h er pistol! Go up, in c h oking th e fellow into a condition of inse nsome on yer. and sec what s ter pay! ?de and Bob kin ibility that they h oped would be lasting. take care of this hyar crazy c ritter!" Not a sound had been made tihat could be 'heard inside Duncan h ad pulled himself together by this time but of the tavern, and, tucking their revolvers under their he \\"aS a so rry-l oo king sp ecimen, for the men had torn lankets, they opened the door and entered. not only the blank e t, but his shooting jacket, to fragThe door opened directly into a wide hall, with a low ments and he now stood before them clad only in a flight of stairs at one end and the door leading to the flannel shirt and trousers. barroom on the right, and, as they saw the stai r s th e 'The stain on h i s face disfigured him completely, and d e tectives Wlhisper ed together a minute. Then D:i.vis eve n Frank James looked him over without a sig11 o f quietly mounted the sfa irs to in spect the chamber s above rec ogni-t i cn. and Duncan stepped boldly into the barroo m. As one of th e men started up the st airs in sea rch of His appearance was greeted with a howl o f surprise, J es;.e James. he droppe d into a chair and relapsed into a and, in lc:ss than a minute, the outlaws surrounded him. trne lncli a n silence, while the m e n c r::iwlecl out from "Hello! Vho in thund e r is this?" was the first exunder the t:ibles and once more s urrounded him. clamation The Colt's revolver that he was carrying in his belt had "'i\lhat's N i ck

THE J ESSE JAMES STORIES. 21 1e \tVest from Mexico to Canada. and who w e re u s uall y ccompanie d by one or m o re o f their women. He decided to ke e p up the s ull e n aspect which he had opted, not only b ecause it s hO\ved the natural Indian aracteristics, but b ecaus e it would obviate the necesty of talking, a thing \'> h ich 11e kne w would s ooner or ter betra y him. \tVhile he was doing his thinking, a tremendo us ra cket uld b e heard upstairs, then the man who had gone er the outlaw pitched headlong d o wn th e stairs and ded full length in the barroom. "Haw! ha.w Jess kicked him d own! Now, what thunder is kcepin' tl1er cap'n !" laughed some one. I he thinks we was havin' e r little scrap among rselves and didn't want ter interfere! 'Taint nowise usual fer Jess ter hear pi s tols crackia !" said Bob der. '] e s s ought to come clown if he expects to get to the !ch on time," remarked Frank James. "I'll call him self!" e glanced at the fellow who had landed s o precipit"Goel knows I tried to kill you, Jesse James!" she said, bitterly. "I could not he1p it when you touched the papers, and oh, I would kill you if I could, as w icked as it is if I could only l(eep those two men from your clutches !" 'you 'II not g e t the chanoe again, for I shall keep your pistol now," wa s the outlaw' s answer; then followed some words in a lower tone, and then the girl's voice rose again in fr:rntic expos tulation. I will not. Jesse Jam es! I wiiJI not Jive beneath your roof another day! It is wicked? It is outrageous! I am a g e ntl eman's daughter and not the companion of outlaws! I wiH kill myself before I will do what you wis : h Oh, if those two i:>rave men were only here I I am sure they would save me! "They'll have all they can do to save themselves without bothering about you when they cross my. path again," roared the outlaw, savagely; then a door slamme d, a rus ty key grated in tJhe lock and Jesse James strode down the stairs into th e barroom, carrying two small packets of papers. ly on the barroom floor after coming in contact with , outlaw's foot and the others set up a laugh whic h .. .. CHAPTER VIII. eel as suddenly as it began. he two pistol s'hot s sounded rrom tq1e room directly e their heads, anc!J at the same tim e, Duncan sprang is feet and made a clash for the stairway. _,.et back, thar Another step and yer a deader!" ted one of the marksmen, at the sa\11e time snapping rigger on an empty chambe r of his weapon. ncan unwillingly returned to hi s chai r. felt sure that Davis was in mortal c ombat wi t11 the ere was a silence like death in the barroom for a te, and then the voice of ;\1 iss Collins, or Jennie eSlter, \d1 ichever she was rang o ut from the room with cutting clearness. ou are a monster, Jesse James, to maltreat a r Those papers are mine, and you shall not It's too late now, my pretty Jean!" came bandit's wickedest voice. "You had your chance, idn' t you kill me! Now, what do you want of ai1yway ?" can grated his teeth and clenched fists, but he t would be fatal to move a muscle. could only sit helplessly within the sound of her ncl hear the brave girl defend him. n her voice sounded again, !:'here was a ring of in it, as if the strain she was undergoing wa s fast ing her sen s es. COYOTE GULCH. Duncan steeled himself to be prepared for what fol lol\Ve d, and in reality his chief concern was for the brave young girl whom he feared might be de sperate enoug, h to put her suicidal threat into execution. :Y:e could not imagine w hart: had become of Davis, but as th e thought popped into his head that perhaps his chum had also heard wha1 t took place in the chamber ab9ve and might even now be planning to release the girl, a grea t feeling of relief s wept over him. Jesse James paused in the doorway as he caught sight of the two strangers in the barroom, and Frank James hurried to make full e xplanations 'This squaw drifted in just after you went wpstairs," he began. "She appeared to be drunk, but she sQlb erecl up all of a sudden w 1 h e n she saw a brace of pis i tols on the table "Didn't any one go outside and stand guard?" roared the outlaw. "I sent out as soon as this woman came in, and that nukes me think. Vv e ain t seen hide nor hair of him since, and yet this fellow came in five minutes la 1ter." "He was rigged out in petticoats too, Jess, when he came in," broke in Bob Snyder, "but it didn' t take us long to ketch on ter his sex an' thar' s his pop !yin' on the r bar yonder!" J e ss e Jam es took a s tep forward and glared angrily at Duncan. but the detective drew a lreath of relief as he saw .that. in spite of his eagle glance, the o u t law did not know him. .


22 THE JESSE JAMES STORDES o "Hold on to him, bo ys, till I place him," he said, after looking him over carefully. "One of those cursed detectives is loose in these d ig gings, and there's never any telling what kind of dis guises they r e wearing!" Tihere was two on 'em, wara' t thar ?"asked one of the men. Yes, but Red Fox has got one of 'em safe and sound ---1the one who cut l oose from me this morning, when tihO'se three Gulch fellows were after m e I reckon he's on his way to the Gulch by this time, and it's nowi se un l ikely that he'd stop at the tavern." "SpeciaHy if he knew you was ;hyar, Jess !" "The more fool he!" muttered the outlaw, giving Duncan an'other hawklike look. "Where in thunder did th:s giante$ come from?" He t \ m1ed toward vhe Indian woman, who rose as ihe spoke, and, as the air was thick with smoke, she b ent forward to scan his features. "So you don' t knOIW me Jesse James! W ell, that ain't strange, seeing you never saw me before!" she remarked, in exc ellent Englis1h. "Perhaps you'll r

THE JESSE Jl\ME S STORIES. 23 'I.Cd Fox hacl rep o rt ed that the outbw's fri e n ds ait the '.c h \\ei-e i n dulging i n t '.1e wildest kine\ of a carousal, I > thus far, wer e i n i g n o r a n ce of the treasure that hidd e n in the dugout. th e she rifi nip pe d J esse James' sc h e me in the 1 at mid night. r 1 c t oo k with him nea r l y every h o n est in t'he Gulch, so r :1at now J o hn vVatt s was h aving a t im e to secc1re a guard for his tre asu re. By pro m g thrn1 s tuns, h e finall y inveigled a doz e n clis1table 'Charac t ers in::o guarding t he dugou't, but \\ing their treacherous natures, the p oo r m a n was ''be t\ \ee n two fire s Jesse J a mes a nd his gang and \ \ n u nsc rupul o us n eighbo rs. h e s her iff's b ody h a d b ee n found near th e c ros s roads 1e ea rly m orning and .had be e n carried to the cabin 1 b y \.Vatts as a dwelling for the min e r ; was a r e laof. the sheriff's a n cl wa s determined tha t the offic i a l lei r ecei\'e a decent burial. nt this clay of drunkenn ess and caro u s ing among ::t.tives of t h e G ulch was the work of J esse Jam e s eyide1;t l y not occurred to him, but in r ea lit y 'it was ump ca r d which th e outlaw w as pla yii1g t o k eep the es from g etting t h e trea sure bef6re him. had l aid hi s pbns \veH, and they had all been car .u:t. sQ his departure ir o m th e tav e rn was made with of conscious victory. / ring that f ello w along and mak e him of us e h e 1and ed, as he p1,1t his h ea d in at the doorway at the l as t minute. Duncan hated to go and l e ave Miss s, but t here wa s n o h e lp for it. minutes th ey had left the tavern behind them rer e galloping o v e r the hill s, Dunca n on a mustang en Jes se James and Bob Snyder. fellow h o w to rid e all rig1ht," laughed James, as Duncan b ent l o w in the saddle in true fashion and e ven allowed his bridle to dangle 1 e neck of the mu s tang. 's either a bang-up rider o r e l s e he' s reckles s," some one in the rear. "Th et thar mustang is full 1 s He's likely ter bolt at any min nte, an' if he n these h ya r 'hiils it's all da y with ther In jun!" save us the troubl e of killing him ,'' lau ghe d am es, 'bL1t there ain't a:ny fear Dick! Youcan't recl s kin 'n't so sure o f his co lor as a ll that, wa s tlhe re I'd b e a t arna l sight surer if so m e 'ucl j est l ocate r tother slcu thhouncl !" 1 s how up at the Gulch, if this ain't him1," was th e carcless answer. "Tim e e nou g h to bother im when we 're s ur e o f him Just at present I m eel about getting that money If thi s deal don't 1 g'h, n1 quit wyoming t o morrnw r mayn't hev ther chance, Jess!" laughed Bob Snyder, dryly. "Tlhar is sech er thing as gettin' sh' ot, yo u know! You've done purty well so far, but yer time i s com in' I "Ba1h I I ain't worrying about tfiat, Bob Sny der l No man has ever got a b ead on Jesse James yet I IJ:'!Q live t o see yo u all hung, and don t you forget it!" Diel ye r leav e so me one t e r guard ther ga1, J ess?" asked another voice, s uddenly. "Sure! Jim ha s charge o f the tavern an:d Red Fox is l ooking after the outside. No fear but what we'H find the w o men w'hen we 1\vant ibh e m Now, il!he'n.1 Bob, you tak e t'he cross cut around the Gulch, while I go up the main road," h e continued. "There's four of the men to go with you, while I take the other three and this mongrel!" He turne d almost ait right ang1es as he spoke and da s hed clown a stee p hill vvith thre e of his men and Dunca 1 1 rollo wing. The night w as as black as ink, but, in 'the-d'isfanc:e, an occasionaQ light was twinkling and here a:ncl itihere among th e rocks glowed reel lanterns. They were nearing Coyote Gulch, and, just at the. trance to the wide gorge between two hills, in which 'the s hanti es of bhe miners were located, Jesse Jattnets turned in his sa ddl e and gave his fina l orders:. "Take a look in at Murphy's safoon, anld 1 see what's goin' on! You sneak around to the side window of Ye1'low Jack s gambling den and find out who's there, Bill! You can patrol the street the dugout, Ike, and if there's any l o itering about give me thre e slhort whi stles Let's see, what time doe's the dummy leav e Coyote station?" "TJ1ere 's a s hipment of ore going over the track at tw p o'clock and it s nearly one no\v," was the answer. "Wart:ts has fixed it up with the engiineer to take f he sheriff s coffin t o the s melting works, and they're ter send it on to ther railroar\ ter-morrer. T11e thing now is ter g it it ter ther dugout and I reckon th e t thar'll be easy wh e n ye r plan's se t goin', cap'n !" "There's n o o n e will prevent the r e moval of the siheriff's coffin," chuc kl e d J esse Jam es, "anicl, if vve load the s tuff right, no o ne will guess what's in it! O n ce get it out safe and t l ;e rest is easy Come on, yo u mon grel He turned t o Duncan as he s poke and th e d etec tive promptly rai se d up in the saddle and away th ey went dowu the Gulch toward the dugout, which was kno wn to 0Je th e hiding-pla ce o f somethi n g like fifty thousand dollar s worth of gold du s t. The d e t ect ive was a l itt l e s urprised to note how imiif ferent the na t ive s of the Gulch were to the a ppearance of strangers, but LIJ1e r epo rts of the three men who joined them a gain in o n e of the narrow paths leading toivvard


24 1 'HE. JESSE J AMES STOR I E S .. the footihil:ls, him a dearer insight in't'O this indif ference. Nineteen natives, principally Itali'ans, Indians and cowboys, we r e in the salhe small number of fourteen protecting the treasure. .There' s a report that you've been kir!ed, Jess Some one must h:ave startefl. it this morning and R e d Fox has kept it up a l day," sai

THE JESSE JAMES STORI ES. 25 the track! n1 double your m .oney, if you get it there s2feiy .. "Ji: c;:nt hr de ne. Ices!" muttered one of the men who had been peering qut oi the door. "Thar's monn1:ecl men tw;xt us an' ther engine! Bob's right, ther rasca ls hev rnme an' wc"re cang'ht like rats in er trap!" Jamei let out a volley of oaths. and, catching Bob Snyder by the shoulders, he fairly forced h im out of the dugou ''l'Jl see fc)i-1:1yself '.vhether they lie or not!" he growled. and. a second later, a buliet passed two, just grazing Bcb's elbow. A howl oi rage followed. and Bob turned like a tiger up.on his only" to be struck square'ly in the face bv a blow from the fist of the o utlaw. Another'bu!let settled the question, for Bob fell dead in his tracks and Jesse J;;mcs. with a livid face, drew back i!llto the dugout ''Quick! Out there1 every_ one of you! The game 1s up!" he howled; then, seizing a f eilow b y the name of We11es who ha .cl only recently joined the gang, he stopped 'him by main force :md drew a bead on him,. Here! Ta.kc my coat and hat! You l oo k enougi1 like me to pass for me easy!" h:e commanded, .at t.he same time pulling himself out of his coat and forcing 1t on the fel low. The new recrmt s teeth chattered, but he dared not disobey, and a minute later, ,d:cn he passed out with the others in the rancre of the detective's fire, he looked for "' all the world like the king of bandits. Both Duncan and Davis gritted their teeth when they saw him, b11t Davis fired first, and the fellow dropped i nstv her." "The poor old creature has been searchirig for her ever since I guess. That s hows the devotion of the Indian nature,'' said the other, sobe rly. "I guess it' s safe to venture out now, old man," said Davis. after a minute. ''The smoke seems rolfing away and tileres no fir e leit at tthis encl of the gully. No\"1 t !:-:: que-: ,tion i s, \t\/hat had we better do next? Shall we l ea \'C Lhis gold as it i s, or pack it in the c o ffin? It looks pretty h eavy for two n1en, both rnaimccl to handle. "I fancv we had better leave it as it i s, and my plan be to get out of this place. I'll feel safer outside than r do in here. inasmuch as those cutthroats are liable to come back any minute."' ":-\11 right. Lead the horse out, old. man, and I follow you."


-; 26 THE JESSE JAM ES STORIES. Five minutes later, when they were safely outside, Jesse James ra.ised his head up ou t of the sheriff's coffin. He had on his n ew r ecruit's jacket and hat, and. rhere was one pisto l in his belt, but he shook his head angrily, for the weapon was empty, and there was not a cartridge left with which to reload it. "Cornered!" he muttered, with a savage oatJh. "Tr' apped by a couple of white-livered detect ives. Curse them! I'll outwit them yet !" He swung his legs ov er the side of the coffin as he spoke, and sat for a moment in profound meditation. Then he rose to his feet and, taking hold of one of the bags of gold dust, he d 1ragged it to the door of the dugout. The coffin followed, and to these were added the rest of the bags and considerable old rubbish that he found stowed away in one corner of the dugout. He had guessed that the detectives would sta tion them se'lves at quite a dist ance from the door, and, as bhe night wasa very dark one, they could not see what he was doing. When it was aJI done, h e had quite a formidable barricade. Then be began searching the dugout for something in the shape of ammunition. At last he found 9rifle and a box of bullets in a crevice of nhe rocks, and, armed : with these, he took up his station at a small hole in bis barricad r prepa r e d to pick off any one and every one who attempted to enter the dugout. He intend ed to fight game, and one charge of ammuni tion was carefully set aside to use on himself, in case his enemies overpowered him. Meanwhile the smoke and flame had rolled on down the Gulch, sweeping everything before it and l eaving the little settlement on! y a black stretch of ruins. The dete c tive s seated them se l ves b e hind a rock, where they could command a view both of the dugout and what was once rhe principal thoroughfare, and, tethering their horsts near them. they prepared to await the coming of the mule team and the guard which had be e n d ep uted lo transport the gold to Cheyenne Citv That John \Vatts should not have r ema ined by his treasure was a mystery to the two de tec tives. but when morning broke it was a mystery no longer. for his dead bo dy lay i11 the bushes, not forty f eet from the dugout. Fortunatelv for them, neither Dav1s nor bis chum ven ture d to J>'1.SS in front of the dugout door, but Duncan, glancing ti,at way, ruLbecl his eyes a littl e when he saw that the ooor h ad been carefully bl ocked up during the last two h.mrs of darkness. "Thun;:ier and l ightning! Look there!" he whispered, unde r his breath. "As sure as shooting, some one was in that coffin, Davi s! The othe r detective looked, and a whistle brok e from his lips, for the sky whad s ince we started. I'll bet Mrss ,-'"llchest e r will be glad when sh_ e knows we've got en.1 uack.'' ''It proves conclusively that this is Jesse Jaq1cs' The ra scal I'd give a thousand dollars if he was 111 1t at this minute!" "On the contrary, h e is in th e dugout yo nder, lis tenin to our conversation. no doubt! 'vVell, we've at least go one chance to tell him wh:::t we think of him." "Much goocl will it do us!" muttered Davis, "but I'l take your advice and not get reckless again, partner!'' Duncan l a ugh eel, and then they both pricked up -thei ears eniteclly. for th ey could hear the little engine com ing back. puffing and snorting like a p orpoise "\Ve're in for it. old man] We're between the dev1 and the deep sea! sai d D avis. quickly. "What' s the play partner? Do we go or s tay? Y./e can hide behind thi rock, but the horse vvill betray us!" ''Stay, b y all means!" said Duncan, firmly. "One hors would not carry the two of ns very far. and, be.twee n yo and me, oM man, I'm anxious to see what's coming!"


THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 27 "And I'll be in at the death! Count on me every time! Loo k to your pistols, Dunkey !" As they spo ke, they both backed up against th e rock and rai sed their weapons. J l1St tht>n the engine came s l ow ly into view from around a curve in the hi"ll, and the voice of Frank James called out. lustily: "Hold on th ere, Bones! Bac k her a littl e Now, th en, all hands to the dugout, and a thousand dollars in gold to the 1nan who finds Jess alive! I'll never believe that the curs !Jave kill e d him!" .. Discr etio n i s the better part of valor! T hey're six to one! B::>lt, Davis!" whispered Duncan. wh e n be sa'N six form.s l eap fro m the tender of the engine. The next second they were flying dow n the blackened street. with four out o f the six o utlaws in hot pursuit, and 11 yelling like so man y Apache Indians. CHAPTER, X. A MOUNT .\l)f Rm:fANCE. It was a hot race, but a short one, for Davis, happen ng t o se e a pile of ruins that were emitting a clo ud of mpenetrable s moke. shut his lips and eyes tightly and Jolted through it \Nith Duncan close at his hec'.s. \Vhe11 th ey finally emerged on the other side they were ]most stifled and th e ir fe e t and l egs were covered with urns, but they staggered on, fea rin g that the outlaws vere behind them. And th ey would have b een had not t heir horses balked t the smoke, refusing absolute l y to b e dri ven through With a curse. Frank James slipped from his saddie and ried to follow, but several minutes had been los t. and the round was so h o t he \.Vas glad to take the advice f :his companions and ab a ndo n the proj cct. The two detectiv es bad stumbled int o a path that led irectl y into the hi lls. and, b y foilowing i t th ey came a pile of ore and later to a shaft that had been stmk me fift y feet below the s u rface. Davi s who \.v-as still in the lead, did not hesirtate an inant. dropped into the s haft, whi ch was fitted with wocdcn ladcier and was s oo n in a drift of i ro n pyrites. '"They can't come down h e r e !" he muttered, as he opped from sheer exhaustion. Duncan glanced ba ck up at th e opening of th e s haft, 1d voice gre \\. a husky a s lte answered: .. Still "e must get out ci.S soon as we can, or they'll o ck up the sbaft. Tl: cy've got us dead t o rights, if c' onlv knew it." .:Bathe vour sl: in s in thi s cool water,''. said Davis, as discoveied a nuddie in th e floo! of the drift. .. Ifs not tbe proper treat:11ent for b:1rns, but it certainly soothing. Gee I feel like o n e of those fel\YS w i' O was put in the ii.ery furnace! I can taste t 1'11 be t those were th e ruins of a Chi!1ese l aundry !" ,;It tasted worse than that! I think it was an opiu m int; laughed Duncan. and 1 then they d evo ted them-ves to dressing th eir in j uriec. Ther. e was nothing to do but fo; o ne o f them to ce 1 his shirt. so, after flipping up a cent, Davis peeled a coti-nn g arment, whic h left him arrayed in o nl y a n nel shirt ;:nd his leather breeches. "\Ve won't be able to make many more shifts," he said, dubiously. "Wonder what the folks at home would say if they should see u s now, Duncan?" "They'd say a detective 's lot was not a ihappy one, I guess," was the "But I'll be happy, man, if we eve r bag Jesse James I can't get over our haviJ.<1g h i m bagged in that dugout yonder!" "It was a close call for Jess, all right," was the answ-er, "and it would have b ee n a l

28 THE J ES S E JAMES STORIES. we can't lose our way. Besides, that's the way Miss Col chester has gone. She should be at the smelting works long before now." "Did sihe tell you where you would be likely to find her?" "Yes, at a plase called Coe's. It's a bake shop, I be lieve. She says there's a woman there who will give her protection. I am to ask at Coe's for Mi s Abbie Milnor." His companion was aibout to reply, when Duncan grabbed him by the arm and exclaimed : "Good God, old man! If there isn't that engine! She's jumped the track! Quick! Shall we bolt, or go forward?" Tihey had been round ing a curve of the track as they spoke, and now stopped short, for, not thirty feet ahead of them, stood what was left of the engine. She had evidently been handled carelessly, for she had jumped the track, and, turning over on her side, had spilled the coal fron1 1her tender. Duncan took a sharp glance ahead, and then went limping along, with Davis at his heels, and not waiting for an answer. "Hello! One of 'em has got his deserts!"' cried Davis a minute later, is he saw one of the outlaws lying, face down under the engine, with one of the wheels re sting directly across 'his body. "He must have jumped and tripped in some way. Well, he's as dead as they make 'em, so he can't tell any secrets. Now the thing to find out is what they have done with the treasure." They glanced up and down the track, and even scouted around in the bushes, but the coffin, with its load of gold dust, was among the missing. After wa&ting an hour, they decided to go on, at one o'clock in the morning, the tall chimneys of the smelting works were just visible in the cut between two moun tains. Realizing that they were near their journey's end. the two detectives crept into the bushes and dropped clown exhausted, and, in spite of their burns, both slept soundly until morning. When they finally reached the "works," the natives were just beginning to stir, and this story of the fire at the Gulch and Jesse James' daring deed seemed to come upon them like a clap of thunder. "Thet thar engine should er been hyar at sunrise," said the manager of the "works," as h e eyed them sharply. "So you"re detectives, air yer, an' J ess is yer quarry?" "That's right, but he has escape d us," said Davis, glumly, "and the worst of it is. we came here on purpose to help \ i \Tatts protect hi s money. His brother, who liv es in Ohicago, paid the agency a big sum for sending us out." "\tVaal, now, I wouldn't worry none," said the man, sympathetically. "There"s better'n you who hcv tried ter outwit Jess an' failed. Great snakes! Ter think of thcr Gulch bein' wiped out completely! An' yer say Jess sot fire to it jest ter cover his deviltry!" This portion of the story seemed to interest him more than the other, but he did not forget to t::i1-e the detectives to his hut, where they were promptlv ,iJlied with both comforts and necessaries. (fhe doctor at the "works" ,. :1.lled in, and, irn spite of the fact that his patients wer e mostly horses, he suc ceeded in improving the condition of their feet and legs considerably. It was out of the question to ca!! 0:1 l\liss Coichester tbat clay. but the manager informed them that a young lady had come there on horseback at daybreak the clay before, and had gone directly t o Coe s, where s he wa s warmly welcomed. This relieved their mind s greatly, and they were able to rest a little, but, as the night drew near, Duncan began to grow un easy Not a word was heard either of the James gang or the guard \Yith the mule team, and as there "as n o telegraph at the "'\\'orks,"' they could not communicate with the Governor. Finally Duncan had gotten himself into such a state of anxiety that his friend suggested something which caused a g-low of happin ess to promptly spread over his face. It was nothing les s than to inform Miss Colchester by nott of the ar; ival of the two detectives. Five minutes later the d oor flew open, and i\Iiss Colchester and her friend, Abbie 11 ilnor, rushed in. Duncan forgot himself so completely that he rose and took a step fonyard, when a twinge in his ankle made him turn as paic as <:shes. In an in stant Miss Colche s ter flew t o his s ide. and, siezing his hand in hers, pushed him back, gentiy. on to the wo o den settee. "Yo u are hurt! I see ,ou ha,e hoth suffered!'" she cried with eye s up on f1is face. "Oh, I thought that night you had come to your doom! I could have screamed in agony "hen I first saw you in the home of that !" "'But you have bc('n in his home for ten years,"' mur mured Duncan, drawing he: down beside him. ""Oh, but I have not been there all that time!"' rried the young girl, "hilc her check. reddened prettily. '"Jess sent me to a convent in Canada, and I have lived there all the time. I had o nly b;;:cn with J\'Irs. James a month when yon met me that evening." '"Thank c;ocl Still. in that little time. lhat ruffian, Mustang Mike, dared to make l ove to you!'" The young g ir l's head drooped, and she blushed harder than ever, as she answered: Yes, and Jes cncouragecl him, as you saw yourself. Oh. I will bless yo u all my life if you will restore me to n1v oarents !" "'if the thing i s possibie it shallbe done. I shall communicate beth with the Governor and Your father as soon as possible, but, meanwhile, my frien-cl here, Mr. Davis Hello! \i\There is he anyway? He was here when you came in, but--" "But, as the young lady didn't sec him. he uhought he might as well bolt, called a merry voice through the cloo1-, a11d then the two young people discovered to their surprise, tha t 1they were i the sole occupa11'ts of >the manager"s parlor. '"Don't go, l\f i ss ColC'hester Please,. don't go!" whis pered Duncan, holding the girl"s other hand and pressing it tenderly. "Davis.always was a considerate fellow, and-well, you see, he knew I had something that I wished to say to yon, so you will tay, won t you?" The young girl's face was scarlet now, but she did not attempt to withdraw her hand, and her bended head seemed to droop nearer toi his shoulder.


THE JES SE JAME S STORIES. 29 "Li sten, little girl! I fell in l ove with you the minut e I saw yo'..1,'' whispered Duncan, putting one arm around her. "And, of course, I am going to restore you to your pa rents, and afte r that, darling, I wan t yo u t o marry There was no answer in the room, in sp it e of the fact that three peopl e just outside of the rude board partition were waiting breathlessly for it, but at la s t there came a sound that seemed to be perfectly satisfacto ry. T het thar sett les ther hull biz! Ther gal's kis se d him!" chuckled the manager, and the n ex t minute Dav is let out a war whoop and then went in to congratulate them. CHAPTER XI. AN EXClTING KIGHT. During the following clay the n ews from v ari o u s quar ters began to a rrive, and the people at the "works" became thoroughly convinced of the veracity of t he two d etect iv es. This was a great r elief, inasmuch as it left th e m free to act according to their own judgment The fugitives from Coyote Gulc h had gone back one by one and, being fully aware now of the mrning which Jesse James had used in order to stea l the gold dust from under their ve r y no ses, their indignation knew n o bounds, and there were dire threats of vengea n ce made again s t the outlaw. The gulch was in a s hes, but the men set about rebuild ing, for t h e fire 1 had been stopped by one of the tributaries of th e Big Horn, o nl y two miles away, and there wa s plenty of timber up on the oppo site bank of t'he narrow stream, which cou ld be floate d across and carried t o the Gulc h Further news was that the guard of United Sta!tes sold i ers, on its way to the Gulch, h ad met and baJt tled with the o utlaw gang in t he m ountains and discov ered th e coffin full of gold dust, w11ich they promptly co11. fiscatecl. Only two of the ruffians were shot clown Jesse James escaping unhurt, and making straight for the h eart of the mountains on a horse whi c h even hi s own men found trouble in following. "That wa.s F lc etwincl, of course," was prom p t comme nt. "That is t h e finest specime n of hor sefles h that I ever clapped my eyes on. I wonder w here he got her?" "Stole him in Missouri from a man named Pears all," was the manager's answer. You kin bet h e n eve r come b y er critter lik e thet thar honestly." "Then th ere'd be no harm in giving him the same game. I won't rest until I have that horse," said Davis, enthusiastically. "She's bee n sto l e n b efore but he always gits her back," was the an swer. "I woulcln 't b otil1er about the r horse, gentl emen, but, ef ye r ever g it th e r c hance, steal ther outlaw an bring hi m to ther 'wo rk s!' I'd take a hand m yse lf in s tringin' him up t e r ther hig h est chimney." "Jess bears a charme d life. He'll never be taken alive," spoke up th e 1v1iln o r woman, who was present during tihe co nver saition. ''I've known the o utlaw for years, and I believe he's proof against bullets." The manager had gone out while the y spoke, but he now returned wit h an air about him that be spok e un usual activity "How soon do yo u cha p s want to go back t o the R e d Cut Tavern for thet thar squaw?" he asked. The 'manager referred to the Indian woman who had r e nd e red the detectives such good service. Davis and Dunca n consulted, and1 decided they could go the ne x t morning. "Then I'll have h orses and six men to escort you," was the r e ply. "And the Lord help Jesse James ef he fall s inter th e ir clutches, fer six better men never pulled a trigger." M i ss C o lchester watched them d epart nex:t morning with con s iderable fear at h e r h ea rt, but she was cour a geous enough not to show it in her features Two days elapsed b efore she heard from the m again, but at the encl of that time something happ e ned that made her rapturously h appy, for she rec eived a message from her parents at Larami e City. They could hardly b e li eve that t h e ir daughter was alive, but were waiting with open arms to receive her whenever her brave deliverers should r estore her to them. Right on t o p of this good n ews came the detectives with the Indian woman, whom they had found in the cellar of the tavern, where she had been kept on bread and water. R ed Fox was not there, having, pr esumab ly, join ed the outl aw band in the mountains, but the detectives had killed the f e llow Jim after making him revea l a few of the o utlaw s' sec r e ts a nd then they had set fire to the to w n and watched it burn to ashes. Twenty-fou r h ours later the little party set out for the railroad, the two women riding bronco s as well as the men, and all armed to th e t eet h with knives and pistols. Not a whispe r of J esse J ames' wh ereabo ut s had r eached the "wor k s," but the detectiv es seemed to "fee l it in their b o n es'' that he would not allow Miss Colchester to escape him so easily, so, as they rode alo ng, their eyes scann e d every rock and bush for some sign that would bespeak the robber's presence . The dusk o f the first day was fa llin g w h e n they dis mounted from thei r ti1! ed b eas ts, and th e eight me n who composed the party started to find suitable sleeping places. They h ad chosen a lit t l e h ollow betwe en two bills, wher e the soil was dry and the trees gre w in c lust e rs, whi c h would afford protection from an ene my. For an h ou r b efo r e the men had been taking a shot here and there, bringing d own small animals and birds which they kn ew to b e eatable, and now they built a fire of sticks and prepared to r oas t them, while the two women arranged a table, with o nl y dead leaves for dishes. Suddenly o ne of the men who was plucking a bird, bent his head and listened and in a second the r es t of the party followed hi s examp l e Away back in th e hill s t h ey could h ea r a stran ge bird call ing It was a peculiar n oise, half warble and half whi st le. ''I'll b e ji ggered ef that ain't the queerest noi se I eve r h eerd," said one "Kow what c rit te r in these hyar moun tain s makes e r yip l ike thet thar? ''Bain't n eithe r bird nor beast, accordii n' ter m y j ud gin'." I r ecko n ye' r e right, Beade Slice r ," said one o f the others. ''Thar ain't no bird with er whistle like thet, an ', as fer er four-legged critter er tryin' ter warble-


THE JESSE JAMES STORHESo waal it's lik e e r jackass er tryin' ter singthey can't none on 'em do it!" "Sh! Thar it goes ag'in', an' it's comin' by thunder! I move thet one on us goes up o n ther two hills andl hez er look at t'het thar unnatural critter." "A good idea! Give us a signal if anything is wrong," said Duncan, quiekly. Two men mounted their horses promptly and started for tht summit:s of the two hills, while Miss Colchester and the Indian woman crept behind the trees and drew their pistols in order to be in readiness. Five minutoo later the men -came back. They hacl neither seen nor heard anything more of the extraordinary creature, and the surJper was eaten with great enjoyment. they were finally quiet for the night, with Beade Sliver acting as sentry, oltbe r curi ous noises greeted their ears, but, as they occasioned no comnTent, the detectives concluded that they w0ere not out of the ordinary. A fire was kept burning to keep off trouhlesome ani mals, but, being in the J..ollow between the hills, the men concluded that it could not s .erve as a signal to the outlaws unless they fairly stumbl ed upon them, in which case that would discover them, anyway. Midnight passe

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 8i :tly. the so vas ide nal 're ck "They're bosses, Jess! 'f'har's eight on 'em in all. I un ercros er stranger jest back tQ1ward ther Pike ,ev e!." This last statcmeqt seemed more convincing than an)'.-hingth a t had. it, for J.e se J am e s urged his 1orse f orward 1mmechate l y, and 111s m en seeme d to fol ow hin: while,.. t1:e l i t tl e party behind the trees clutched .he ir weapo n s and wai l ed. CHAPTER XII. AT CLOSE RANGE. Once more the outlaws halted just out of sight o f the an:bu s hecl party, and a brief parley between Jesse James and his men followed. c The det ec tives list ened eagerly, but t hey cou ld not m, catch a word and, after a minute, a solitary rider could d b e seen peer ing through the darkness. .. Air 1e1 stoppin ', or o-oin on, J esiS ?" asked Duncan, still in the as sumed of Red Fox. ''l'm pesky leg weary, but I'll go on ef so, I'd lik e er leetle s h elp ll'ith these hyar buckm critters. "Bring 'em out and let's have a look at 'em," said another voic e which for some reason or other, was sub stitu.ted for' the firnt speaker's. \ Vhe n th e r c ap 'n s e z so, I will," grunted Duncan, stolidly. ''I ain't takin' nD orders from unclerstrappers !" He moved slig:htly as h e spoke, so that he cou ld get a clearer view of the for e mo s t rider, and th e next second, giving a s harp he a i med point blank at the fellow and snapped the trigge r. A volle y o f shots foll o wed, for the hors emen were now in range of those hidin g behi1:cl the trees and, as Duncan slipp e d behind a the wilde s t s ort of s t;unpecle fol l owed Yells. curs es and groans showed that the ws had been hit, ancl it also s h o wed that they were m ignoranc e of the force of the i r e n emy. After firing one volley, th e y turned their hors e s h ead s and duO' the spurs into their sides, and as the y galloped back up th e hill, Duncan i ssued a loud order: After them, men D o n t let the ruffi an es c a pe 11s this time! Hunt him to th e death, and hi s whole gang with him!" The1 were o ff in a minute b o th men and women, and, the ir lio r ses b eing somewhat re s tcu, the y gained rapidly on th e ir alter e d their position, and, as their figures were dimly outline

32 T H E JESSE JArv'iES StORRES o and this .. in their ranks inade the t.wo sides equal: e:>ecept that of the flve on one side two wqmen. "Now, let them. have it!" yelled Duncan agaim, <}S his horse fma lly struck the level. A volley followed, and three of the outlaw s fell, but they were back on their horses in a second and making a : wild rush for cover.' Jesse James antd 11is brot41er stood a m1nute longer, ead1 with a weapon in hoeh hands, which they emptied coolly and calmly. Four times Duncan felt the w'hiz of a bullet passing his ear, :bnt at last J1is own : horse went down and he was knocked insens i ble l by being rhrown !head first against a stunted tree truRk. W 1 ha 1 t happened no one could ever really tell, but Frank J011111es pitched from his sa ddle and was caug cht by Q-iis 1 broeher before he fell; then 1 the lefit iarm of t'he famous outlaw dropped 1heavily by :his side, and, turning like a flas l h, 1the two dash e d into a grove of Gedars . No one foll o wed outlaws, beoausie there seemed no one able to do s o irnammch :as not a loa ded weapon re mained in the pa1-.ty. D.av'is and Mi s s G(')lchester were both at Duncan's side 1n a minu1te, w hile tihe India.n W<(S)rrian busied : herself look ing after the others. It was a sorry party that finally reached the littl e sta tion on the Korthern Pacific and t o ok pa ssage by the first train for Laramie City. Beade Sli cer a1Td two of his c o mpaai ons returned to it'he "works" alone after being well rewa t ded for their service3 by tJhe two detectives, bu.t of the other three two remained at the station tto recov e r oheir wounds, one had been buried near the s p o t where the out l aw s 1 bullet rea<:1hed him. Duncan's head was so troubl e s o me af.ter his fall that U1e dared not oontinue his w o ,rk, wihile the wound in his friend's arm had become so .inflamed that he was obliged rt. o rest to avoid emput ation. ?lfiss Colchester's parernts rne:t them at the s t ati on, anr\ !half of Laramie Cit y c ame a litti e later to wekome her T : he cletecbves were lo o l-ed upon as hero e s . and the paper w 1 hid1 ipc or Barnes harl lef t cau s ed them bitter grief, whi c h prompted tbe erection o f a m o num e nt. to his later. Taie :'."t>cn of h o w Jesse J arnes c am e t o k i d n ap a po o r man's daughter taJ.d to the det e ctives later, and Jen nie in rturn told how t'he outlaw ha .cl treiated her. It se e med vhat t l he O'lltlaw 1had mistaken her for the clrild of a in Lar:a:mie City when she was ten years okl, picking ( her out of a bunoh of school children and running a wa'Y wit'.h : her. Me hid her for a while, and, a:s no rew 1 ard offered, he i1westigated and learned his error, after whic he did no: dare res t oie the c hil d so i he put her in a con ve .nt .an d defrayecCthe expen se s of her edu c ation. -, W ihwt he intended :to d o \':i t h her later no ont: could gu ess, but his .approval o f Mustang l\tiike ; s suit it could easily be guessed that he intended to get rid of her by any means except murd er. T i he Indian nurse was also heaped with honors, for she was 1'.eJCOg1nized fl111 med 1 iately h y parents and neig : hbors. S : hortly after the 'Child's a:bduc.ti o n she st.anted off alone t o find her, and for s e ven l ong year s "Sihe lud wanderC'd frcm place to place w1 herever she had rea s on to think uh:a:t Jesse James wa s carrying on nefario us busi ness. JO:hn 'VVatts' gold dust reached hi s br. other at last, and the pari t tha;t the detectives took in its capture was told ito Mr. Piinkerton by Davis. Dunrnn did not go back to Ohi.cag o for manv rnoarhs, and w hcn he did it was oniy for a vi?it ;:i,;1cl toshow his bride 1 to : his relatives. As for Jes se J ;:i,mes, he quitted W >oming after that, but \\as soon heard of again in a different part o f the country. His wifr was nex.t seen with s ome friend s in Miss o uri, so it \\'' as evident that s : he had b ee n well pro tec ted by her i hu s b:and. Coy ote Guloh was rebuilt and mor e g o ld wa s found in its mountains, l;lUt among its tradi1 tions is Hie memory of 1that night \\1 hen Jesse James and his g ang ?wep t it ou t of exi s tence THE END. N ext week's Jsss c J ,\nl.\s SrnRU: s (Ne 13) will con tain the sto ry of one of Nie noted oll'tla v/s most daring exploits. The story will be enti t led "Jes se James in Chicago; or, The Bandit :K:ing's Boid Play." LA,.I:'EST ISSUES. 9-Je:;s c James at the Throttle; or, The Hold-Up at Dead Il1an s 8 J e ss e J a m e s' D a ring Deed; or, The Raid on the Pine Ridge Jail. 7-J ess e James Rt!bc Burro\\'s & C o 6-]ecse ]Jmes in \!\'yoming: e r The Den in the Bla c k Hills. James O ath: or. Tracked to De a th. 4 Jes s e James' Black Agents; or, The Wild Raid on Bullioi1 City. 3-Je s s e James Dare-19evil Dance; or, Betrayed b y One of 1 Them. I 2-Jess e James Legacy ; or, The Border Cyclcne. 1-Jess e James the Outlaw. A Narrative of the James Boys. Back numbers always on hand. If you cannot get our publications fro)TI your newsdealer, five cents a copy will bring them to y ou, by mail postpaid. 0 \ -


J e!>se James. t ; l U I r W E wer e the first publi s hers in the world to pri11t famo u s sto rie s f the J a m es Boys, w1 it e u b y that remarkablc.: 11 : : rn \V. B. L a wson, w l io::.e nam e i s a w a t c h w ord with oar boys We h a \ e h a d many i m itators a n d i11 order th:i t 110 oue Lt' de c eiv, : d i;1 hi n g the st o ri e s of the J arnes B o ys, by 1fr. Lawson, i n a New e n ti t l ed(; The Jess e James S tori es," one of our b i g fiv e -cent weeklies, and a s u r e winne1 wi t h the b o y s A num ber of i ssues h ave already appeared, and these whi c h foll o w will be equa ll y good; i n fact, the b e s t of their k ind in the world. Tht> n n ty i 11hlirntfon authorized by the H or.. \ 'm f. Coc1y ( B uff a l o Bill). W E were the pn bl i s hers of the fir s t story ever written of the famous and w orld-renowned Buffa l o B ill, the great hem w hose life h a s bee n on e s \lc ccssi o11 of cxcitBufforo Gill. rng a11d thr illin g in cidents c o mb i 1ied with great s u c cesses and accomplislime u .s, all of whic h will b e t o 1d in n sc:1 ics of grnn d stories wl1i cli w e a r e n o w p1acingb for e the A111c rir:111 T h e po} n l n.rity t h e y h a v e already obt H incd wl1:tt the b o y s w::rnt, a11 d i s y e r y iug to the rinblishcr s. & S:\l!'l' H Pnhlishcrs, Ne:w York 'THE b e : t known dttc c-1.,.,, "' ;v-" tive i n t h e world i s '/ : N . _. / 1 JC'k C arte r. ::itoncs by l 1) t h i s note


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