Jesse James' exploits

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Jesse James' exploits

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Jesse James' exploits
Series Title:
Jesse James Stories
Lawson, W. B.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
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32 p. ; 26 cm.


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Dime novels ( lcsh )
Criminal investigation ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
028820460 ( ALEPH )
08650894 ( OCLC )
J14-00025 ( USF DOI )
j14.25 ( USF Handle )

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AWEfKLY DEALING W"ITH THE-DETECTIOft Of CRIME issued Weekly. By Subscription $2sof>er year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by STREET & SMITH, 238 William St. N. Y No. 25. Price, Five Cents.


AftC5 A weeKLY DfALlftG WITH DETECTIOft Of CRIME Issue" Weellly. By Subs c ription $2.50 per year. Et1tered a s S e c ond Class Matter a t the N. Y Post O ffiu, by STREET & SMITH, 238 Wilham St. N Y Entere d ac cordi n!f to Act of Congres s i n the y e a r 190 1 i n til e Office of the L i bra r ta n of Con!{1"ess, Washing-Ion. D C. No. 25. N E W YORK, O c tob e r 26, 1901. Price Five Cents. Jesse James' Exploits. By W. B. LAWSON. CHAPTER XLVII. A IN DEAD MUL E "Whoop! Hi tha r Look out, boys! G i v e t h e r critter the r ri ght o' way an' be quick erbout it!" "Some one's been s t irrin' up ther brute! Git out o my way, Jim Snyder! Yer don' t want ther hull road do ye r ?" There wa s a general s catterin g and a s m all army o f m ounte d co wboys that h a d g a there d before Coyote Bill"s saloon in Dead M ul e lined u p on the tw o s ides of the road with g reat a lacrity. A steer w a s ch a r g in g down the street, b ello , in g a t th e top o f it s lun gs, a11d b ehind it cam e anot h e r group of h o r semen a t full gallo p and y ellin g lik e .:t pac k o f Com a n c h e Ind i a n s . Rope him. boys! He"ll s mash m y w inders!'' roared the l a n d l ord of t he sa loon. s ti c kin g his heail o u t o f t h e door and j e r k in g i t b ac k again live l y w hen h e s a w that the beast was h ea d e d in his direc ti o n A d oz en l a ri a t s S\nmg in th e air at t h a t second, but steer ayo i d e d them a ll b y turning like a s h o t and making a wild clas h str a i ght fo r hi s purs u e rs. A y ell of h o ri o r w e n t up instantly, for with that c h a n g e in th e brute's m o v ements t h e entire group became awar e o f fre s h clanger. A young girl h a d cfartea out of one of tlie fram e h o u s e s near b y and h a d starte d acros s the road behind the steer, thinking that she had ample time to run hetv v e e n the brute and its pursuers As the anima l turned and glared at her with it s bloodshot ey e s she lost her nerve completel y a n d dropped in a heap in the roa d the very wors t thing she coul d have clone under the circumstances "At him b o y s Trip him up. Bill ''R9pe him. horns and heel s He' ll kill her!" y elled some o n e 'Ifs Gentlema n J oe's d a u ghter!" The steer h a d lowere d it s horns while thes e rem arks wer e )eing made and was with i n a foo t of the h e lpl ess girl \\ h e n a p i s t o l c r acked sharply. At the same minute a lasso was dropped deftl y around the c reature's head, and the monstrous body swerved to the ri ght and fell in a heap, jus t clearing t h e g i rl's clothing "Hello! wh o ther cleYil be yer. stranger? The t tha r was well clone! Ter hit him square in t h e v ital s ' sa id th e fo r emost of the group of cowboys. The man \ Yho had fired the shot t hat ki lled the s t eer, and w h o was n o w carefully coi ling the loose encl of his lari a t. glanced indifferently at the speaker b efore he a n swered.


THE JE.SSE JAMES S TORiESa "I recko:1 ymt wouldn't know me if I was to give my name," he sai

THE JES S E JAMES STO RIES. 3 I t s e r l ie! Ther marshal don't want Joe, nor ther sheriff nuther !" growled one of the men. "Joe's been er respecterble citizen of Dead Mule fer more'n a year! Thar can't no war.rants tech him, Jess, added the cowboy, decidedly. "So thet's yer errand-to arrest Joe?" said another. "How did ye come by thet paper?" The cowboy's hand dropped to the butt of the Derringer in his belt as he spoke and his swarthy face grew purple with honest indignation. 'Tell 'em how I come by it, Frank, said James, turning to the man of his party who so closely resembled him. Frank James. the brother of the famous outlaw, forced his horse ahead promptly: "\Ve overhauled a couple of Pinkerton men back here a ways and this paper was in the vest pocket of one of 'em," he said briefly. The natives looked at each other for a second and 1.hen the cowboy put his Ov\"n question: ''\ i\fhar be they-thcr detectives?" Every man in the crowd put hi s hand on his gun as he waited for the answer, and even the horses pricked up their ears at the movement. Something wa s about to happen i n Dead l\1ule to disturb the peace of the settlement, but before any one coul d say what i t would be there was a shout of a dozen voices. ''Quick! After 'em. boys! One of ther devils has got her! They've stole Liz Larson right under our noses!" The natives of Dead Mule turned their heads to a man. and as they caught a g limpse of a horse carry ing a man and woman dashing around a bend in the road something very like a panic s eized "It's one of the James gang! Shoot him!" yelleL l the cowboy. "It's Gentleman Joe himself! Let him go, boys! \ Ve'll stand between him and them as tries0to foller," roared another. ''The fell ow was a stranger! He come around ther bend an hou r ago and went inter ther saloon," said a fem inine voice. "Thet boss he was ridin' h as been s tanclin back o ther cistern yonder!" This last news made Jesse Jam es rise suddenly in h is saddle. "It's t hat detective, curse him! He' s outwitted us!" he cried, hoa;sely. "Clear the way, you whelps!" A wild charge by the four outlaws followed, a n d as they dashed through the broken ranks of natives no one moved to stop them. Then the big CO\vboy came to his senses and ros1:: in his stirrups, aiming two businesslike looking weapons at the bunch of riders. "Thar's treachery hyar, boys, but we ain t takin' no chances in firin at thet crew! Pepper 'em, boys!" he shouted, and t\\o sharp reports from his weapons followed. The James gang wheel .ed in their saddles and fired a shot apiece, then in a cloud of d ust and smoke they disappeared like a cyclone. l"'his was by no means their only errand in t h is section, and the reckless crew were used to bullets and curses. Jesse James had been c:utting a wide swath through the \i\ est, and wa s on his way to Nevada when he happened to locate Joe Larson at Dead Mule and remembered something that he had a lmost forgotten. A few mile s from the settlement the outlaw haci' become aware that two detectives were fo .ilov.-in2" him. and had paused long enough on his journey to murder one of them. The paper that he had given the cowboy was found in the dead man's pocket and helped to give him an _excuse to hunt up Larson. The other detective had escapee!, and Jesse had not seen him since he robbed him of a companion imtil he caught the flying glimpse of him making off with Liz Lars on. The action roilecl all of the outla w's bad blood, and a s he dashed around the bend. there was ''blood ir. his eye.'' for the mercil e s s outlaw was planning another murder. CHAPTER XLVIII. JESS E J Ni\IES KEEPS A PROMISE. '.'By thunder! the fe l low ain't in sight, Jess!" "He's took ter ther woods! \tVe'll s ee him on the knoll yonder in a minute, cap' en Thar's nothin' 'twixt hyar an thar but er clump o' bushes!" These comments were made as the outlaw gang clashed on with the kidnapper ahead and the posse behind Jesse James patted his sleek horse, w h i .ch doubl ed its speed at his touch, and then glanced back over his shoulder at his pursuers.


\ 4 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "They' re after m;, 'the mayor in the lead! ''They can't get within range at thi s pace Jess Hello! th e le ader i s down! \\I h a t the de vil did it?' Jess e James looked again ancl s aw that the le a d ing rider, whom they kn ew ,, a s the m ayor, wa s i n deed in the dirt wit h his hors e be s ide him. but he did not slacken s p e ed bec a u s e of the accident. "The horse tripped. probably!" \Yas t he outlaw's answer. ''Hello! the detec tive jumped that ditch t o the right ;incl made for the woods! See his tracks ? On, Fleet\ incl, m y g irl! He leaped the ditc h a nd p lunged into a l o w growth of bushes, then ricking hi s wa y at full gall o p a111ong stunted trees a nd rocks gaine d a slight ri s e of ground, where be could command a view of the sit uation. ''The boys are taking it ea s y behind there! Think they'll wind u s probabl y before we strike the woods yonder!" he sa id e x ultin g ly. Jess e James urg e d his hors e o ver the knoll and began the de s cent on the other s ide without his eyes from the ho o fprints that he was following. A moment later they reached a l ev el tract thickly '5tudded with rocks a nd int ersected with ditches vVhat w a s the paper. an y w ay ?" asked Frank Jam e s riding clo s e to hi s brother. Jes se looked o ver his shoulder a nd s aw that the posse was not gaining; then, noticing that the tracks he was following led dir e ctl y ov e r a clump of high bushes, he drove his spurs home and took them at a gallop. "It was a warrant to arrest Lars on but it wasn't because he used to be a hors ethief," was the answer. "The fellow is one of the Wilcox gang and he s wanted for a murder in Tombstone, Arizona." "What's that to you, Jess?" "Nothing! The fellow stole the girl from her mother ten years ago. She' s his daughter, but she belonged to her mother. I promis ed the woma.n to keep an eye out for the gal and I swore I'd fetch her back if I ever found her." "It looks as if thos e two sleuthhounds were on the same lay said Frank, glancing back. "Hang it, yes! I reckon, tho', they're after her dad. That cus s stole the gal for an e x cu s e to get hold of Joe. He didn t expect to s ee u s this morn ing." "No, I reckou he didn t, no more n we expected to s ee him chuckled Frank. Then, in spite of thei1 rapid pace, he managed to get abreas t of his brother ''Who wa s tlie gal' s mother, Jess?" The put hi s hors e o ver another clump ol bu s h es before h e an swered: "She's Belle Buckham-Big Belle. we used to c all her! I thought a good deal of her before she wa s married! Anyhow, I made her a promis e ten years ago that I can j u s t s ee my w ay clear to fulfill but ; t seems she's applied to the marshal to help her find Eliza. '' And the mars hal thought he'd kill two birds w ith une stone," laughed Frank. "Three. He expects thos e two sleuths to kill 111e, arrest Joe and rescue the girl ," wa s the laug h ing answer. "Well, they' ve m a de a good beginning! The fell o w i sn't in sight yet," s aid Fra nk. r eining his horse over a ditch and then standing erect in hi s stirrups to look o ver the landscape. The crack of a re volver a t tha t in stant made him drop like a flash. but as the bullet whiz z ed pas t ht:> head it took his sombrero with it. Confu s ion! roared Jess e James. "the whelp is skulking!" Another bullet passed the outlaw's face so closely that he felt its breath as he was spe a king. Ride for it, bo ys !" roared the out law making anothe r leap o ver a fringe of bus he s Crack! crack t went the revolver again. and the la-;t outlaw reeled in his saddle. As he dropped with his horse on top of him Jes se Jam es did not look behind him. A mad gallop to the cres t of another hill followed, and the.n the outlaws reined in their panting steeds and turned once more to look behind The Dead Mule posse was s till on the level below them, but with the posse stood the thoroughbred stallion, and the fleeing robbers could see upon its back a man and a woman. 'They' ve found him, curse them!" growled Jesse. as he \ v atchecl them. "The fellow must have dropped in the bushes." "They're watching us Jess I reckon they know us the next time they see us." "\Vhich'll be sooner than they think." snapped the outlaw, savagely "That cur holds the first trick, but the game isn't ended." "They're friendly with the cuss!" 1


THE JESSE J J\MES STORIES. "Of course! He's told 'em som e yarn about hi s being ju sl in time t o sa,-e the gi rl from my clntche5, and thcy\e S\\allowecl it whole.'' went on the outlaw kirig, wit h his eyes riveted o n the posse. 'It's exactly what you' d do if yo u was in his place, Jess .' "The fellow i s as s mart as a steel trap!" ''I low he a in't smart enough fer you, Jess!" The words t-vere spoken plea santly from behind a clunip of bushes. Haw! ha w! L y nch me ef it ain t Milt Sharp!" c;ried one of th e James gang, as a sli g ht, agile figure stepped out into the clearing. "Put it thar, Jess! I'm g lad ter see yer went on the stranger. "So yo u ain't cag ed yet, Jess, arter all yer de viltry? Ha! ha No danger of ther government losin' it s ten th o usand! Jess e J am es greeted the newcomer cordially, and then Sharp. w ho wa s the cleverest bandit in Nevada during the seventies joined the outlaw gang on it s ride across t he c ountry. T m still a free man and will never be anything else! sa i d J esse James, proudly. "The man don't live 'that can clra\\' a bead on me, Sharp, and live long to crow over his victory!'' 'Look ahead thar. cap' en!'' broke in one of the men at that minute. "vV hat

6 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. wheeled Fleet wind to right angles and dashed off like tl:e wind. Shots and yells among the trees were the last proofs he received that the natives were trying to flush their quarry, but as he heard it his cruel face lighted \\ i ith a smile of pleasure. "'Now then. Fleetwind, my girl! back to Dead JVIule !" he muttered. gayly. "There' s no one there to stop us now except a handfttl of kids and a few old women!" Keeping well out of sight of the posse and making a circuit of the hills, he was soon cantering easily down the main street of the diggings. During that brief ride he had made several changes in his appeara11ce, throwing off a false beard and mustache and exchanging a dirty white hat for :i rusty black one. There was not a woman in sight, and the only man in the street was a Chinaman with a basket of laundry, so the outlaw made his way to Gentleman Joe's dwelling unmolested. There was a lame horse standing before the door, and exactly as he had ex pected, the yard was full of women who had to talk over Liz Larson's escape from the outlaws. Jesse James reined up before the gate and touched his hat politely. Then he asked the reason of the dearth of men in Dead J \ilule. and was told that they were all on the warpath after Jesse James and his gang of outlaws. "\Vhy, I passed them yonder in the woods," he re marked, in apparent surprise. ''They were five to one. so I did not stop. and, besides, the scoundrel bad just captured a native of Dead Mule, so I hurried here to give the warning!" The vvomen crowded around him and Eliza Larson stared at him nervously. 1 "Oh, stranger! was it my father? A man with one eye and a sandy beard--" she began. "My poor girl, I'm afraid it was!" answered the outlaw. promptly. with a cry Liz dashed for the horse standing at the gate, but Jesse James vvas on the ground in a second. Catching the young girl in his arms he tos s ed her onto his own horse. and before any one could wink he was up beside her. As he clattered down the street he heard imprecations hurled at his head, but as none of the women were armed he did not look behind him. Two miles were ridden before he slackened and, as the girl had tried once to scream, the outlaw's hand cqvered her face in a way that showed he meant business. \!Vhen the settlement had been left behind ancl there was nothing more to be feared the outlaw removed his hand. "You wretch! you infamous monster!" cried the girl, undauntedly, as soon as she could spea}<. "You shall not be harmed, Miss Larson," he said, solemnly. "I promised your mother ten years ago that if I ever found you I would fetch you back her. I m taking you back to your mother!" Eliza Larson stared at this strange explanation, which. under the circumstances, seemed almost in credible. ''Is that true, Jesse James?" she burst out, finally; then, as it was the outlaw's turn to look surprised, she added: "I knew it was you. Jesse James. the minute you touched me! How can 1 trust you? How can I be sure that you mean what you say and that you are not stealing me for some infamous purpose?" A smile of amusement lit the outlaw's face, and the expression in his cold eyes changed in a minute. ''I'm a bad man. my girl; there are robberies and bloodshed at my door. but no one can say I ever warred on women! You are as safe with me as you would be with your own mother." "But can you protect me from others? From your cutthroat crew?" asked the girl, breathlessly. The outiaw drew himself up proudly and shrugged his shoulders . "They da r e not touch you-no, nor look at youif I so command." he said. haughtily. The young girl trembled, but she looked up shyly. 'I will trust you, Jesse James, she said, in a low voice, "and I pray that you will keep your word and take me to my mother!" Five minutes later they were 011 Fleet\Yind's back again, and headed toward N eYada. This time there was no need to stifle the girl to keep her from crying out, but the outlaw's arm en circledJ1er waist tenderlv. There was something. in this man's face that had conquered her fear of him. CHAPTER XLIX. MRS. JAlllES AND LIZ LARSO.i'\. \!\Then Jesse James stopped again it was at the door of a farmhouse which he had reached by a winding path over the roughest kind of country. A handsome woman somewhere near the thirties, wa s at the door and an elderly woman stood just behincl her. "It's Jess! I know Fleet\\ind's step!" called the younger woman : then as she caught sight of Liz Larson she gave a little cry of astonishment. "Ha! ha! You didn t expect me to bring com pany, did you my dear?" called Jes se James, jovially. "Y./ho is she. Jess?" asked the young woman. \

THE JESSE Jf\MES STORIESo "Here I am, moLher he went on, "as sound as a dollar! There's no, I hope!" ''Everything is all 'right for aught we know, Jess," said the elderly woman, coming forward. "But who is thi s girl ancl where did you get her?" "One question at a time, motliei clear!" laughed the outlaw, a s he glanced up and saw his wife was still staring with an angry look on her features. A rouah-looking follow wearin!! two pistols in h is belt arot1nc1 the corner of the house just then, and the outlaw gave him a hearty greeting. Then as the man Jed Fleetwincl away he turned to his wife and caught her in his arms. "Don't be jealous, pet! The girl is Joe Larson's daughter! Joe's a member of the \tVikox gang. and he's wanted for murder at Tombstone!" "Never! l'L isn't true!" cried Liz with a rush of color. "My fa .ther was a horsethief once-at least, so he says, but I'm sure he never committed. a mur! '1 "It don't hurt you if he did. my. girl!" s.aid Mrs. Samuels, the outlaw's mother, kii1dly. "You are not to blame for the sins of your relatives." She looked at her son's wife tenderly as she spoke. ar1d in an instant poor Liz felt that she' had found a friend in this stern-faced mother. "Take the girl in side and give her something to eat! It's been a long ride from Dead Mule to Beauty Villa," said Jesse. The last was adclecl w it h a tender look at his pretty wife and then theoutlaw stalked away around the corner of the farmhouse. leaving Liz Larson at the mercy of hi s ,, ife a11cl mother. "I say, Jess, did ther wimmin folks tell yer any thing?" asked the man who had taken his horse, as he joined him in the stable. "What about, Dick?" "Thar was a fellow hya r at daybreak, skulkin' around ther house; did they t el l yer ?" "No, they didn't have a chance; the gal was with me! Go on. Dick. and be s h ort. \Vho was he?" "That's more'n I know! Thar's hi s mark, Jess." Dick Trelby, one of the James gang, who was staying at the farmho u $ e to protect the ladies, pointed to a piece of board nailed against the wall of the stable. 'Ther feller's feet \\':ls mtHldv. so I was able ter git e1 good one." he 0!1. Jess stared at the footprint outlined on the board. "Ther feller was small; thet thar's erbout er ten-inch sole, I reckon. I sawed it outer th er step by ther well curb yonder!" "There's one toe miss ing-." remarked the outlaw. quickly. "\Vhy the devil didn't he 1wear his shoes? He wasn't trying to steal the family plate. was he?" Dick roared with laughter at this, for there was nothing in the farmhouse but the commonest of tinware . ''J 'Jo wed ther toe was hurt, Jess, an' ther. feller heel took off his s11oe Thar's ther tother foot! Thar's a shoe on that one, cap' en!" . The outlaw gave a sharp look at the second print and uttered an exclanJation. ''Confusion! it's \ Velc h Barrows, the whelp that I kicked out of the gai1g last week!" began the outlaw, when a form darkened the door. "Jess! Mrs. James stood in the.doorway. "Look out, cap'en Thar's, some one comin' warned Dick, in a sharp voice. "I jest caught a glimpse of er shadow across ther door! I'd go fust a11' see who ther mi schief is prowlin' !" He stepped out of the door as he spoke, a11cl then coolly closed it behind him, jus t as. Jesse James caught the sound of a hoofbeat rounding the s hed at the encl of the building. "Sh! not a sound. pet!" whispered the o.utlavv in his wife's ear. ''There's some one outside l Dick will--'' ''Hello. tbar Cussed ef it ain't Dick \V elby Thet thar i s luck, ef I do say it! Put it thar, parclner You a in't forgot Peg Sanders, hev ye1: ?" The words reached the outlaw's ears and cut off his sentence, and at that second Dick clin .ked the rusty padlock on the stable door and locked it se-curely. "Great snakes! is thet you. Peg? Give us yer flipper if yer've got one!" he said. coolly. 'Thar's one left an a leg. too! Haw! haw! Thet thar's more of me than yer ever expected ter see, 1 reckon!" I 'low yer'd orter be in ther grave ef thar '.n.rn't," laughed Dick. "Let's ther last I heerd of yer. Peg, yer was cloin time at Yuma; thet thar was fiv e yea rs ago, an -"A 11' sence then I've reformed r broke in n e\\-. corner. promptly. "Thet stay behind ther bars kinder took tlier spirrit outer me an' I 'lowed thcr proper place fer me was in er sheriff's office!" "The devil yer say! Beyer actin' ii1 thet thar kerpassity now, Peg?" asked Dick, quickly. ''I reckon I be! Got ther job last week an' J'm on my fust lay. pa rein er! Yer couldn't tell me now who lives in thet thar house, could ye?'' Jesse James listened intently at this. question. "I reckon now I can an' will," said Dick, promptly. "They're relatives of mine by ther name of Perkins. Thar's my cousin. Jim Perkins, an' his wife. an' Jim's mother-in-law, Mrs. \tVallace." The outlaw chuckled at the smooth lie while Dick went on with his explanations. "They've jest took ther place. Bought it of old Squire Ferguson, ther one thet used ter own ther stage rot1te from Bernardino ter Aurora. I 'low yer remember him, Peg, bein' as how yer used ter ride with him occasionally! Haw! haw! ther was always


THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. an empty ca shbox when you va s aboard! I recko11 now Milt Sharp was yer only rival! "An' I m arter ther cuss now!" retorted the new sheriff, with a chuckle. "I've jest got er pinter thet ther ras cal w as on ther border! He's been in Californy fer a month gettin' rich, t h ey tel'l me." ''I low Californy 's hed more' n its share then," remarked Dick, moving across the yard. "Twarn 't a week ago that I heercl Jess James was thar Who ther devil he z struck it rich in thet thar section thet all ther bandits in creatio n air arter him." "Do yer believe thet, Dick?" "\ Vhat ?" "Th et Jess is in Californy !" "Hem! I reckon I got thet bit of intelligence purtv straight bein' as how Jess tol d me himself, Peg! I run ercross him in Bernardino an' he was headed fer ther coast then! I reckon thet thar's ther reason why Sharp came back ter Nevada." "By ther guns! I never thought er that! It's as plain as ther no'se on yer face when yer come ter look at it!" "Thar couldn' t n u thin' be plainer! Milt is makin' fer his old route from Aurora ter Pizen Switch, I reckon! So yer artet th er rascal ? Vv aal I wish yer luck, sheriff. tho' I ain't got a cussed thing ag'inst Milt thet I know on!" The voices died away around the house, and Jesse James bega n to grow uneasy-it was not to his liking to be locked in a stable. "Suppose the girl should tell who you are," whi s pered Mrs. James, after they had both listened several minl.1tes Jess glanced at Fleetwind, who was munching he1 oats contentedly, and even put his hand on a saddle near him before he answered. "'vV e could slip out the back way and ride for it he said, grimly. Then he moved toward the door, intending to see if he could force the padlock open. The crack of firearms at that minute made him rip out a curse. The next second his massive shoulder was against the wood and the door was sent flying "Quick, Jess! this way! cried Mrs. Jam es darting toward a rear door. Jesse James caught her up in his arms and bounded across the yard. reaching the step at the kitchen door just as a horseman turned the corner. Crack! A bullet sped past their hea'ds. but Jess e James did not pause a second until he had thrust hi s wife in side and wa s half-wa y over the threshold Then, whipping his revolver from his belt. he faced his enemy, uttering a cry of rage as he recognized Vv elch Barrows. "So, it's you, is it. you whelp? Take that for your treachery !"-yelled the outlaw as he pulled the trigger of his weapon twice in quick succession \Velch Barrows threw up both hands and gave a yell of pain, but, by the_time he was reinforced by the s h eriff, Jess was in the house and the heavy door was locked behind him. CHAPTER L. Jr:sse JA.L\U: S FIGHTS A D U EL. "She did it Jess! She told 'em, I'm sure of it!" cried Mrs. James, pointing to Liz, who wa s crouching in a corner of the kitchen. "The girl didn't mean it, Jess! She let it slip without knowing what would happen. It's lucky Dick wa s here to kicl .;: the fellow out before he could call the sheriff." said Mrs. Samuels, Jess e James took one look at the girl's white face and then turned to Di c k who was guarding a wfn clow with a Vlinche ster r epeater. "How many of 'e m are there. Dick?" A clatter of hoofs seemed to answer the question, and a dozen horsemen galloped around the corner of the building. 'I reckon 'd Peg had hi s poss e with him, but [ 'lowed I could fool him, Jess. The gal gave yer away afore I could help it--" "Never mind the gal! Hold your fire fer a minute! Guard the rear window there, mother, but keep out of ra:nge !" He strode to another vvinclow a s he spoke a nd then dodged cleverly as a bullet crashed through glass and buried itself in the wall _opposite. As quick as lightning the outlaw rai se d hi s weapon and a howl o f pain from one of the sheriff's men s howed that the bullet had found a victim. "Hark! there's horses comin callee! Dick, at that minute; then. as a s hrill whistle sounded in the rear of the house, h e lean ed back against the wall and burs t into a roar of laughter. "Ifs ther rest of ther boys Haw! haw! now there'll be mus ic! I reckon Frank won't leave Peg a pin to stand on. Crack! Crack! Crack! A volley of shots follo\\ed close upon his \o rdc;, and then those inside the farmhouse held their breath to listen. "Quick! It's the s heriff boys!" shouted Frank James, from the rea r "Surround the house and pepper the rascal s \ Vhoop throvY up your hands or you're a dead man. Bob Andrews!" A shot followed, and then a rush was made by th:; outlaw il'ang around the house. for they had jus t in the nick of time to save their captain. Bang! bang! went their r evolve r s and the responded, but as Peg, the sheriff, had turn ed tai l


THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. and b o lt e d at th e fir:,t g-limp se o f F r an k J a m es, th ey d id n o t put muc h spi r it int o the ir fig htin g The b attle w a s sharp a nd d ec i s i v e a nd when t h e la s t unin jured m ember of th e p oss e h a d made for t he woods wi t h bnllets whi s tling after him the outl a\v gan g gave a shout of v ictor y "All over. Jess O pen the door a nd let u s in!" c r ied F r ank J a m es, k nocking wit h the butt of his re vo l ver on the he avy d o o r J esse James o p e n e d the door and too k a l ook over the battlefi e ld "Thre e dead a nd t\YO dying,'' s aid Frank, handin g hi s h o rs e t o Di c k. "Here' s anothe r Frank! H e llo! H ang tne, ef it ain t vVelch B arrows!'' c alle d \ Ving Shot, at that minute. I finished him m ys elf before you came ," said J e ssc James ; the n he sudc le'nl y n o ticed that hi s men had their prisone r \\ ith them. A t the angle o f the hous e s to o d a mus t a n g with "Gentleman Joe" upo n his back, the man's arms be in g pini o ned at his s id e and his b o d y fa s t e n eYi th a determi ne d rin g in hi s voice. O\\. g i v e him a gun! Here m y own po p will clo !" H e extenclecl tw o we a p o ns as h e s poke, each the cotmti;:q)art of the o ther. a nd. a f te r his men had clone his biddin g. th ey stare d at him curi o u s ly. ''I'm an admire r o f pluck w h e r eYer I see it," began th e outlaw a s Gentlema n Joe s t eppe d up calml y ancl cho s e a \ veapon. "So Frank here will measure t wen ty p a ces an d I'll g-ive you a chanc e for your lif e \ V h e n h e c o unts three, yo u ca n pull th e trigger! If t he r e's any tri c k s m y m e n h e r e will know what t o d o. A im at m y heart. J oe Lars on. a s I d o n t care to s uffer H e took his place a s lie s p o ke at a scratch Frank had made in the sand, and after a careful inspection of hi s weapon Gentleman J o e faced him B lack Foot a nd Dick drew back, e ach with a


THE JESSE JAMES STORIES loaded weapon in J 1 is h a n; then s h e h e lp e d h e r m otherin l aw mini s t e r t o _the last m embe r o f the s heriff' s posse, who h a d taken a n i m measurabl y lon g time a b out d y in g. W in g S h o t spent the b a l ance o f the ni ght putting th e dead out of s i ght, a nd Jesse J ames and hi:; b ro t he r took turns in p a trollin g the farmho u se A t daybrea k the entire h o u se h o ld breakfaste d togethe r, but t h e o u t law chief was in an ugly temP,er. B l ac k Foot had not r eturned. a nd there w as no tidi ngs ; f the g i rl. J esse J a m es w atche d hi s w ife keenly, and at la s t h e began to s u spect h e r. A family jar w o uld p 1 :o babl y have -occurred h a d not a so lit a r y horseman appeared unexp ec t e dl y and made every o n e rus h t o t h e door o n the lookout for trouble "'Hu l l o s tranger!" c alled t h e newcot"tir as he. s ingled out th e bandit kin g a nd made a r o u g h salute in his direction "Hello. yourse lf! growl edJesse J a mes. ti ghte n i n g h is gri p o n th e but t of hi s revoll er. "\\'h a t t h e d e uc e do yo u want here, ancl where' d you co m e fr o m : h e went o n g r uffly 'This a i n t a roadhou se m y frie. ncl, a n d we a in' t lookin g foi comp a n y."' He was an o l d m a n and l a m e a t t h a t. The o ld f ellow s lid clum sily t o the ground a nd toward the m leadin g a b ad l y w inded h o r se 'Reckon I d o n't care a c u ss whethe r yo u was ex p e ct in m e o r n o t str a nger h e sa id coolly "My hoss i s clo n e up a n J"ve got t e r stop. a n I lowed tha r d b e so m e o n e hyar t e r g i ve u s e r drink e r water!" "Certainly y o u can h a 1 e wate r, and s o can your


THE JESSE JJ\MES STORIES. 11 horse, mister," spoke up Mrs. James, promptly; then. she added, under her breath: "It's Jim Schuyler, of 'Frisco, Jess. Don't you remember the fellow?" Jesse Jam es opened his eyes wide and then strode forward. "By thar eternals, if it ain t Jim Schuyler! Put it there, partner! \Vhat the deuce has brought you into N e""1.da ?" He extended his hand as he spoke, but before he responded Jim Schuyler tipped his hat back from his brow and gazed at him curiously. "Snakes an crockercliles Changed yer tune all of a sudden, didn't yer !" he muttered, in some astonishment. "How the devil did you know I was Jim Schuy ler? Never sot eyes on me afore, an' I'll bet on it!" You"re wrong there, old man! I knew you ten years ago in 'Frisco, said Jess, promptly. "I was living th e re at the time with my wife and mother.. Reckon you wouldn' t remember my name, but that don't matter." I 'low I d like ter hear it, jest the same," said the old fellow, who had not let go of his mustang':> bridle Jes s winked at his wife, but his voice did not show a tremor. "Anything to be agreeable, Schuyler! I'm Jake Hunter, the Injun trailer. Reckon you remember Jake!" Another wink followed, for Jess had shown hi s usual cleverness by telling a good lie. Jake Hunter had owned a reputation for honesty all over the West, and as Jess knew his history thoroughly he was prepared to back up his statement by any amount of detail. "I low I've heard of you, Jake, but thet thar ain't sayin' I've e ver seen you," said the old fellow slowly, after another look at the outlaw's face. "I reckon I've changed some," remarked Jess, carelessly. Then he beckoned to vVing Shot to take the mustang and water it and was surprised to see his guest grip the a little tighter. ''Reckon I won' t bother you none, pardners I 'll water the horse myself if you'll show me ther trough," said Schuyler, gruffly Jes se Jam es grew curious at once, and in a second his glance wandered to the saddle upon the tang's back. The saddle-bags were well filled and there was a peculiarity about them. They looked as if they might contain gold bars and nuggets. "Then I'll show you myself, he said promptly, leading the way around the house. As the horse was drinkingT esse James moved a step nearer to the horse and put one hand on the saddle-bag. What he felC made his steely blue eyes light up with pleasu11,e. The next second, without a word of warning, he snapped the trigger of his pistol behind his guest's ear, and as Schuyler turned with an oath he found himself looking down the barrel. "Jest drop that bridle and put your hands above your head, Mr. Schuyler," said Jesse James, quietly. "I won t harm you, but I want to satisfy my curios ity! He ran one hand into the saddle-bag as he spoke, but the weapon never wavered, and Jim Schuyler did not hesitate to do as he was ordered. "Gold bars, by thunder! And big ones, too!" chuckled the outlaw. vVhat route are you working? I ain't s een a haul like that since I crossed the Sierras!" "The stuff is mine! I came honestly by it, mut tered Schuyler, doggedly. I reckon I've been er fool 1'er belie v e you was Jake Hunter, stranger! I low I've rnn plumb inter trouble!" "Not a bit of it!'' laughed Jess e James, with his finger caressing the trigger. "I told you I wouldn't harm a hair of your head, and I won' t, but if I was to leave that stuff where it is I'd be going against nature. I 'll just relieve you of your and then you can eat your breakfast in peace!" A cruel laugh accompa nied the words and at the same time Jess e James relieved his guest of a brace of revolvers. Then he took the old fellow by the shoulder and swung him around as he spoke, facing him toward the stable and pushing him as a starter. Schuyler said nothing more. and when he was twenty feet away he obeyed an order to halt obediently. Jesse James gave a sharp whistle and Wing Shot appeared with Dick behind him, and at a word from their master the y removed the saddle. "Snakes! It's hea v v a s lead! I .,low tain't often Jess has a windfall likethis hyar !" grinned Dick. "The old Greaser must er held up ther specie box on its way ter ther mine!" Jesse Jam es snapped the case of a handsome watch, and then gave an order. 'Put the saddle on Fleetwind, boys, and get ready to start! vVe can make the Blue Cut stage by hurrying a little!" "Shall we weigh the stuff Jess?" Frank James put his head out of the door before he could answer, and called excitedly: "Hurry, Jess! There' s a black spot on the hills that looks like the stagecoach!" "Then we've got to ride for it! There's your horse. Jim Schuyler! Make yourself at home, and go where you please, but remember, wherever you go, that Jesse Jam es spared you! It ain't often a stranger can tell that story, especially when his looks are against him, as yours are!"


12._ THE JESSE JJ\MES STORI E S. Schuyler said nothing, but lowered his hands promptly and moved toward his horse. Jesse James strode into the house, the horses were saddled and bridl ed, and in less than five 1minutes the o u t law gang was off, the party consisting of four men and two women. Schuyler watched them ride away, without even looking behind them, and when they were out of hearing he gave a low, shrill whistle. In an instant he was joined by an athletic-looking young felldw, whi l e the mayor of Dead Mule crept out of the b ushes some distance from the farmhouse and approached them. "The girl has gone, Star,'' said the fellow who was supposed to be Jim Schuyl er. "The thing worked like a charm! I saw the whol e fami ly. Five minutes later and we'd have missed them!" "They're making for the stage, which means that they're bound for Aurora! They'll go from there to Pizen Switch, no doubt!" answered the young man, who was none other than \Viii Star, a third Pinkerton detective. "Wait t ill Jess examines the saddle!" chuckled the bogus Schuyler, whose real name was Burt Williams. "There was a gold bar on top worth a couple of h undred, but the rest of the stuff wasn t worth the carrying !" "I'm sorry we lost the girl," said Star, anxiously. "We had our birds all in a bunch yesterday, and now they're farther away than ever. Suppose while we are here we take a look over the premises. "Trier place is a reg'lar graveyard,'' remarked Mayor Jim Burton a few minutes later, when the inspection was completed. "And they're fresh graves, too! Not one on em is more'n a night old! I reckon you've got work ter do hyar, fer it's plain ter be seen Jess has been breakin' his record at murderin' !" "Our lay is to overhaul the stage and hold Jess up," said one of the detectives, promptly. "W e'!l stop at the sheriff's office and learn what we can! Too bad we dicln 't find this ranch a few hours sooner!" They mounted their horses, which were concealetl in the bushes, and as they galloped over the hi lls Williams removed a fa l se beard and eyebrows. "That was a bright idea of yours, Burton," he said, gayly; "Jess thought I was Schuyler sure, and so did the whole outfit!" "I lowed he would. Schuyler's a marked man in t h is section," chuckled the mayor of Dead Mule. "Ther feller allus carries somethin' wuth stealin', but I reckon this was Jess's first hack at him!" He chuckled as he spoke. but there was an anxious look upon his features Mayor J im Burton. the stalwart young cowboy, was in love with Liz Lars on. He knew nothing of Jesse J arnes' promise to take her back to her mother, but he die\ know that Gen t leman Joe was one of the men they were after, and they had hoped to bag the father by means of the daughter. Both had escaped them now. and Jesse James was to blame. This fact made i t more important than ever t hat they shoul d trap the outlaw. CHAPTER LIL THE STAGECOACH. \i\Thil e the detectives \'\'ere inspecting his newl v made graveyard, Jesse James and hi s househoid were galloping over the hills toward the rocky roacl over which the Blue Cut stage was driven to Au rora. "It wasn't the stage after all!" saicl Frank James. "It's a mule team, Jess \\'e'Il have to \\a it a lit tle ." Jesse James glanced at the moving object \\end ing its way aronncl the hills and nodded. ''Let's have a look a t the sadclle-bags Jess! I'm curious to see the swag." laughed Prank, as he dismounted close to the roach vay Jess slipped from the sa ddle and ran his hand into the bag. ' By thunder! The stuff i sn't worth as much as I thought!" he said, gruffly, as he pulled out a small bar; then he uttered a hO\rl of rage. as he emptied the saddle-bags. "Fooled, by h-! Curse the fellow!'' he roared. ''I reckon you've bee1i took in Jess 'Taint gol d at all," said Wing Shot, as he inspec ted it. "Suppose the fellow wasn't Schuyler after all," ventured Frank. Jesse James stamped with rage, and flung all the bars except the first one into the l m s hes. "Ten to one it was a detectiYe. Jess ." went on Frank. "I thought "e got rid o f that Pinkerton fellow almost too easy. He' d naturally follo w when they missed the gal, ancl as like as not the sheriff put him up to dis g uising him s elf like Schuyler!" "There's the stage. Jess I'm right this time!" cried Frank, s uddenly. 'There's two men on the box." Jess e Jam es took a s wift glance across the hills and then whipped a fal se mustache and a pair of b lu e glasses out of his pocket. The rest of hi s party disguised themselves in various wa ys, and then the outlaw king gaye a few sharp orders. "Frank an

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. "Anything special fer us ter do on ther way, cap'n ?" asked Wing Shot. "No; onl y keep a watch out for the gal and keep shady of the s heriff. There'll be work enough 0:1 hand by thi s t ime to-morrow." The stage lumbered up after a little. with the two men upon the box looking like indi v idual arsenals. One, the s hotgun for the express coin pany, was h o lding a ''sawed-off" carefully in both hands. while the drive r gripped a Derringer, which he promptly flourished at the party. "Hi, thar \ \! hat 's wanted?" roared the messenger. pulling a bead on the disguised outlaws. Jesse James turned hi s back on the coach and shook hands cordially with h is men; then he helped the women to alight from their horses as coolly as if no one h ad spoken. ''I reckon they're passengers, but thi s hyar's ruther onusual," remarked the driver, as he looked on. Then he said aloud: \!\That's ther matter with yer own beasts?" See here. Them horses belong at the farmhouse yonder, where we've been visitin'. You don't reckon they kin tote us clar ter Aurora, do ye?" broke in Frank J ames, angrily. "What' s the matter with you?" added. Jesse ''You have only one passenger, so there's plenty of room. '.'I reckon you've got ter take 'em, Pete,'' sa id the messenger in a low tone. Jesse James threw open the stage door as he spoke, and Pete Perkins finally brought his team to a standstill. In a second there was a yell, a nd a man who had been asleep in side the coach grew greatly 'excited. "Whoop! Hi thar Hold on, driver! What ther devil are you about?" he called out, lustily "They're all right, Mr. Schuyler!" answered the driver promptly. ''They're g-oin ter Aurora, an' thar's plenty of room inside thar. If yer want ter ye kin crawl up on top." "Get out, if yo u want to, but be quick about it!" ordered Jesse James, who was standing with his h ancl upon the door. The o ld fellow whose counterpart they had just left behind them at the farmhouse. scrambled out, hugging two heavy leather hags, and as he crawlecl t o the top of the coach the outlaw managed to feel of them. A wink at hi s brother followed. and then the four got in s ide and Pete Perkins lowered his Derringer and started hi s horses. \iVhen the coach stopped at the first relay-house the two ladi es were asleep. but the James boys got out and loafed a round the stati o n. The man with the leather bags never left his sea t o n the top of the coach. and. so far as any one could see. n either of the outlaws looked at him. when they l eft the station a n ew dri \ 'er was on the box and another passenger occ upied the seat b esi de Mr. Schuy ler. Jesse J a m es gave them each a keen look and a s c ow l di sfigured his face. \ V h en it came time for him t o aboard he kicked up something of a row. "\iVhat's the matter with that oicl duffer?" he growled. ''It's h o t te r t h a n hades i nside there, and I've h ad m y turn at being cooped up. I reckon it would unly be fai-r for the fell ow to change places." The new clrive r a nd pas se nger exchanged g lance s at this. but neither moved a musc le. as they waited for the answer. J esse James let his glance wander to the faces of the othe r three m en on the top of the coach. and in a seco nd the clever-\vittecl outlaw had come t o a conclusion. A dangerous light sparkl e d in the new driver's eyes. while the n ew passenger had se t hi s te eth in a determined manner. "Sleuths, and I'll bet on it," thought the bandit as h e r ea d their looks : then he tnrnecl t o Schuyler as coolly as eve r Sc hu yler grumbled ancl growl ed, but he passed hi s bags over to the man with th e 'sawe d-off for safekeeping and then crawled into the coach be side Frank J a me s and t h e wo m e n No sooner was h e seated th a n the crack o f a pis tol sounded over his heacl. and in a flas h his head was out of the window. He gave one cry of terror, when Frank James l eaned toward him like a shadow, and the next second his hands were jerked behind him and a bandana \.Vas tied over his mouth to keep him from telling what h ad happened A roar of laughter from the roo f of the coac h showed that nothing se riou s had occurred. Jesse James had fired a shot a t somethin g or other just t o give Frank this opportunity, and was now joking with hi s companions over th e b id fellow's excitement. "I wouldn't do thet tha r ag'in, stranger," warned the shotgun me ssenger, dryly. ''Ther thing ain't right in this h ya r sect i o n of ther country. It keeps yours truly on ther anxious seat, with his finger on ther trigger. Put up thet pop no w or thar'll be er dead man hy a r in a minute. He wheeled around as he spoke so that he could face the ontlaw. and the muzzle of the old "sawed off" wa s aimed directly at Jesse's temple. Crack! The outlaw's pi s tol spoke so sharply that no one breathed for a second; then as the m esse11ger rolled off of the box onto the bac k s o f the rear horses there was a plunge of the frightened animals that nea rl y tnrnecl the ve hicle o\ er. At that seco nd another weapon cracked and a h o l e \\"as macle throngh tlie n ew passenger's coat pocket.


THE JESSE JJ\MES STO RIES. Only the sudCien jolt of the stage saved the outlaw's life, but as it was he knew that he was seri ously vvounclecl. Crack! Crack! Crack! The weapons talked so fast that there was no time for conjecture, and by the time the team was stopped and Frank James was in the road there was no one on the top of the stage but the driver ancl his brother. These two were engaged in a hand to-hal'ld struggie, and Frank sprang ahead of the team ;: nd stood by the leaders Mrs. James and Mrs. Samuels followed Frank to the road, and then both women showed their nerve by looking on without a word at the terrible struggle. At last the driver went clown and Jesse James was victorious. F'r;rnk James left the leaders when he saw Jesse gather th.e lines in his hands. and went back and pitched Schuyler out into the roadway. Then he attempted to rifle the pockets of the others, but Jesse's wound \\as bleeding so profusely that he called to him to hurry. The women scram bled inside and Frank mounted the box. taking the lines from his brother's lrnnds and \ vhipping up the horses. .A,s they rattled out of sight. the two living men who had been left behind sat up in the road and looked at each other. "Whipped again, by thunder! Star, that fellow is tile devil !" The man who had acted as driver for the stage shook his head disgustedly. "Curse him! This is the worst trick he has served me! The secret of it is he' s always got his finger on a trigger. If I had been sure he was Jesse James I would no': have waited." "That's it! Nobody wants to send the wrong man to c:eernity. I reckon I'll know him tho' the next time I see him.'' "I've thought that before and li\'ed to learn my mistake, old man, but are you badly hurt?" ''I've got a flesh wound or two, but I don't believe they're serious. The old cart saved us by bumping around, but, hello there's somebody! It's a man and a woman!'' Two riders came in sight as he spoke, and as Sta; crawled to his feet he gave a cry of pleasure. "It' s Miss Larson! Clap your eyes on that fellow. Burt! Hanged if it ain't one of Jess' s own men with her!" The two detectives stood up and at that second Black Foot spied them, and a forty-two caliber bulldog was aimed in their direction. "Stop! Don't shoot!" cried Liz Laison. piomptly. "They've been hurt! \Ve must stop and help them!" "You bet they'll stop!" muttered Star, as he cocked his revolver. l3lack Foot leaned low in the saddle, and a good look at the trio; then, as he noticed two more bodies lying by the road, he knew about what had happened. ''That's "right, stranger! Put up your gun and be civil!" called Star, without, however, putting away his own weapon. "I'm ther driver of ther stage, an' I've been held up! This hyar was the messenger, an' them two was passengers! I reckon you'll try ter helo us!" Williams turned Schuyler over with his foot while Star was speaking, and, finding that he was more scared than hurt, he unbound his hands and removed the bandana. 'Can't do it nowhow I've got this hyar gal in tow,'' began the half-breed, sullenly. "You rnusf do something for them! Poor man! Is he dead?" cried Miss Larson, pointing to Schuy ler. "No. miss; I'm er livin', I reckon! Cuss ther robbers! They can't kill me!" growled Schuyler, sitting up. 'Ther devils hev gone through me a dozen times apiece an' hyar I be without er scratch' on n1e "That's more'n I can say!'' remarked \Villiams, with his eye on Black Foot. Star crept around to Mi:>s Larson s and whispered something, and as the half-breed shook his head in reply to a question that \tVilliams had asked him the young girl shut her pale lips with a grim determination. "Thar'smy flask, gents! Thet thar's all I kin do," went on Black Foot. stolidly. ''Thars only these two hors es, an' I recko n we need 'em! Come along, mi ss! \Ve're losin time. Thar's folk s waitin' fer ye at Aurora!'' ''You can go without me! I'm going to stay here!" said the girl, in a ringing voice. "Go .and tell Jesse James that Liz Larson will let him off from his promise. He murdered my father, and I'll ac cept no further help from him." "What?'' Star sprang forward instantly, and stood by her side, for the tears had welled up to her eyes, and were tre111bling on her lashes. "He shot him last night! I was there and heard it! Oh, you men! Save me!'' She held out her hands appealingly as she spoke, and \Villiams took one of them and held it. "Throw up your hands, you scoundrel!" roared Star, leveling his weapon at Black Foot. "I'll give you your choice. you can leave us. unarmed, or IT bury vou in the bushes to keep the messenger com pany !" The outlaw's black face was li,id, but he put hls


THE JESSE STORaES. hands above his head, and Schuyler, who had braced up wonderfully, relieved him of his pistols. ''Get down!" ordered Star, when this had been accomplished. The fellow dropped to the ground, and Star and Schuyler promptly mounted the horse, while Miss Larson motioned blushingly for \!Villiams to share her saddle "Now, go!" Star sai(l the words and the outlaw obeyed them, heading his steps toward the relay station, which was nearly seven miles behind them. ''It was not all a mi sfortune that the stage was held up,., whispered Williams, in Miss Larson's ear. ''For once Tesse Tames has clone u s a favor. He has made it possible for us to rescue the prettiest girl in the West." CHAPTER LIII. TI-IE OUTLAW0S DEAD. Schuyler and Star took turns in walking now and then to relieve the horses. and at sundown they had left the stage route and struck into the mountains. Schuyler was a better walker, rider and talker than he was fighter, ancl it was hi s plan to make a short cut and reach Aurora before the stage, if possible. .t\. sharp turn in the narrow trail that he had chosen .brought them into a camp of prospectors, who were just eating their supper, and in a second the entire camp was thrown into a commotion. "By thunder! It's bandits, boys! \!Ve' re going to be robbed!" yelled a good-looking chap in tweeds as he.caught sight of the party. "\fl/ e'll rob you of some grub if you have any tr) spare, and a bed for this lad y!" replied Star, promptly The prospectors gathered around at this mention of a lady, and by talking fast the detectives managed to keep theri1 from getting too suspicious. Then Schuyler happened to find a man from 'Frisco in the crowd that he knew, and after that the hosp itality Qf the camp was offered them. Larson reigned ql.1een of the camp fr o m that minute. and after she had retired in one of the tents the entire party formed a guard to protect her. Star had to go over his various experiences as a clef tective on the track of Jesse James many times that night, and the gray of morning approached before any one thought of sleeping. \Villiam s found a doctor in the camp and some pretty' fair liniment, so when the party was ready to start the next day both he and Star had made considerable improvement. The prospector had no horses, so the journey had to encl as it had begun, ai1d by the time Aurora was in sight Burt \!Villiams land Liz had become pretty 'Nell acquainted. They vve1'e rapicll y approaching .the settlement. when Star suddenly callee! out: '"Whoop! Look out, Williams!" The detective turned in hi s saddle in time to see .t figure dart into the bushes behind him, ancl the next second he had dropped the g irl in the path and darted after the fellow. The crackle of the bushes smmclecl plainly, but hi s horse, being a poor jumper, refused to follow. "It was an Indian, said Star. who had dis:mounted and ran back. "l looked over my shoulder just in time to see him sneak out, but I can't' say for sure that he meant any harm." After a short wait, the party remounted and went on. the detectives looking back oYer their shoulders at intervals "Sh! What was that?" said Star. softl y, as they were making their \ vay through a gorge between the hills . A halt was made and every one listened. In a minute they hea;cl it again, a peculiar sound, between a cry and a whistle . A signal! \\ e arc being watched!'' muttered Star under his breath. ';Curse the bloody rascals! I belie\'e they are after u s!" Mi:;s Larson clutched the detective's arm at the words. and the young man smiled at her bravely as he ans. werecl: "They'll find us ready when they come! My arm is sore, but I reckon I can pull a trigger. It must be some of the James gang; there's no one else that would be interested in our movements." '.'It's the Injun r: cried Schuyler, as a shrill wat whoop scitmclecl, and the next mi nute they saw two horsemen coming toward the. m on the brow of the hill. "Ride for it \Villiams \Ve must save the girl!" cried Star, as both he and Schuyler dropped from their saddle. Liz was transferred to the other horse in a second, and as she and \Villiams gallopecl away the other two men hid in the bushes. The Indians caught sight of the and their yells increased. This proved to the men in ambush that they had sighted their quarry. "They're after the girl, a11 right!" muttered Schuyler. \ Vhich proves they belong to the James gang. First time I knew Jesse had redskins in his crew," was the detective' s answer. The clatter of horses' hoofs was coming nearer now, ai1d as Star peered out between the bushes he made a discovery. "They' ve got to come clown the gorge! .. The gulley beyond is too big a jump," he said, hopefully. "That means that we can get a shot at the rascals!" "Sh! They're slowin' up. I reckon ther Grease-rs smell us!" warned Schuyler. The horsemen had pulled up just around the rocks,


16 THE JESSE JAMES STORIES anG;l while they were out of range. the ambush: mcn could hear their conversation. "Ther was four on em, Black Foot! I reckon two on 'em dropped off! Go eas y or you'll get a bullet in yer back from behind ther bovvl

THE JESSE JAMES STORIES. 17 detective hacl swung hi s ri ght with a straight blow from the shoulder. Black Foot went down in a heap and Star made a grab for his pis tol. As he did so Schuyler saw his chance, and began fighting like a tiger. Jesse James gave a sharp look at them all and took in the situation. The next second a bullet from his pistol whistled in Star's direction, and the outlaw sprang to the back of one of the horses and was off like a whirl >vind. Star had flattened him self against the rock in time to escape the bullet; then he returned the fire, hut the outlavv rode on without so much as glancing be hind him Schuyler had put up a stiff fight, but he went clown at last under a sledge-hammer blow and Star, taking deliberate aim, put the last bullet in his weapon into \Vin g Shot's heart. The fello\\ dropped dead without a groan. "That settles yon!" hissed the detective. who was white with r

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