Buffalo Bill and the boy trailer, or, After kidnappers in Kansas

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Buffalo Bill and the boy trailer, or, After kidnappers in Kansas

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Buffalo Bill and the boy trailer, or, After kidnappers in Kansas
Series Title:
Buffalo Bill stories
Buffalo Bill
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New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (31 p.) 28 cm.: ;


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

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University of South Florida
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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:
020821034 ( ALEPH )
367556505 ( OCLC )
B14-00042 ( USFLDC DOI )
b14.42 ( USFLDC Handle )

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l A ,\NEERLY DEVOT.ED eoRDER HI 5TO-RY issued iVeekty. By Subscriptiou $2. o per year. Entered as Second Class Matter at New York Post Office by SrREET & SMITH, 238 William St .. N. Y. No. 42. Price, Five Cents" "e.y "iW&. <:11fau1&F"-... O llJli..Jt.. .. llF.FDR!i: THE YOUXG RANCHERO COULD DRAW HIS WEAPON HE WAS LOOKING INTO THE MUZZLE OF BUFFALO BILL'S REVOLVER



I ; THE BUFF J\LO BILL STORIES. nard belongs to that

q'HE BUFF /\LO B ILL STORIES. 3 before you left the ranch, else that boy would have killed me." "I will kill you yet!" cried Brad, his eyes filling with tears. "Silence, boy! and go your way back to the ranch ere I hold you, too. "Say to Major Buckner that I hold his niece my until our wedding day, when she can return. "Now be off before I attempt to do you harm!" And the eyes of Kent Kennard fairly blazed with anger. "Go, Brad, my dear little cousin, for you can do nothing to save me, and I must meet my fate. "Go, and tell Uncle Dick and mother all. "Good-. by And, as the boy rode near, she grasped his hand, and, bending from her saddle, kissed him. The boy could utter no word; his heart was full, his face writhing with suffering and anger, for he saw that his weapons had all been tampered with; so, with a groan, he wheeled his ho r se and dash e d away like an arrow across the prairie, leaving Belle Bradford in the power of her kidnaper. Straight as the crow flies went Brad Buckner, the frontier boy, to the ranch where he dwelt with his father, aunt and cousin the latter now, to his deep sorrow, in the clutches of a man whom she hated, and whom all appeared to fear. When he should make his story known of the kidnaping of his beautiful cousin, what could be done to save her? His father, an old United States Army officer, retired to a life on a Kansas ranch, h a d but a few cattlemen to aid him in the rescue of the maiden, even if he dared to make the attempt, which the boy be lieved doubtful; for young as he was, he had seen and heard enough to know that Kent Kennard, through some reason, h e ld the winning hand at the Buckner ranch. \ There was some secret; what, little Brad did not know; but it was enough to make Captain Kennard the master, and his father, aunt and cousin the slaves of the holder of the secret. "If father does not take Cousin Belle away from that man, then I will do what I can to save her from him if I have to go to Texas and tell her lover, Captain Reynolds of theR angers, to come and help me, said Brad Buckner, as he urged his mustang homeward at full speed. So o n the sun went down, twilight came and darkness would have followed, but for the moon ri sing into the clear skies and sending her golden light upon all. Speeding along toward a group of dark shadows, with lights glimmering here and there, denoting. a clump of timber and a ranch, the boy's eyes fell sud denly upon a horseman coming over the rise of the prairie not far distant. "Ho, lad! What's ther matter?" called out a fa miliar voice just as the boy, knowing his weapons were useless, was about to dash away in flight, for Reds were filling his mind just then, and he expected to see one behind every bush. "Oh, Jack! It is you?" and Brad dashed up to the horseman. It was Jack, the bearer of the letter to Buffalo Bill from Belle Bradford, and a man whose life from boyhood, almost, h a d been passed upon the prairies and in the Indian camps. He was a perfect trailer, an experienced guide, understood redskin nature, and boLd as a lion, always ready to serve a friend or meet a foe. "It' s me boy and I seen yer coming like a skeert coyote afore sunset, for I was over yonder on ther timber hill; but what are up?" "Jack, that villain Kent K e nnard, has got Cousin Belle a prisoner." "No!" "Yes; we went out for a ride this a fternoon, and on our way back to the ranch I saw a number of horsemen in some timber, so we dodged back and made a circle of mile s as I distinctly saw red masks upon their faces "Reds, sartin, boy." "Yes, and I therefore wished to avoid them; but so o n after Kent Kennard came galloping after us, and he told Cousin Belle that he would take her away with him and make .l1er his wife, as he had heard that she meant to escape him." "No! Then he's got on to my going to Buffalo Bill? " I don't know; but I tried to shoot him and my cap snapped." "Durn ther cap!" growled Jack. "He had some one at the ranch who had drawn


4 ifHE BU Ff ALO BILL STORIES. the loads out of my weapons, and from Cousin Belle's revolver, too, Jack." "The Satan! Did he do that?" "Yes, and so I came away to tell of her capture, for I could do nothing to save her." "I only wish your pistol bed gone off, boy, and thar would hev been one man less on this prairie to-11ight. "But let us see what is ter be did." "Where are you going, Jack?" "I had just concluded a leetle business settlement hereabollts, and were going to the army to jine Buffalo Bill, as he hev engaged me now." "Can't we do something to save Cousin Belle from that wicked man, Jack?" "I'll do what I kin, boy; but yer see no one man and a leetle boy, plucky as a wildcat though he is, can't do nothin' ag'in Captain Kennard." "He is but one man." "He's all that, and a leetle more than most men, boy; but I feel sartin he are cap'n o' ther Reds, and they is not ter be fooled with onless yer has ther grip on 'em. "Now, as I said, I were startin' on ther trail fer Buffalo Bill's army camp, and I is free to believe that the parcls he told me he were to bring here to. help the gal is on ther way, and I'll jist take a trail to meet 'en1." "And I can go with you, Jack?" "No, leetle pard, for you must go to the ranch and tell yer pa and auntie what hev become of your cousin, and I'll talk over the matter with Buffalo Bill." "He will save her if any one can." "Right you are, leetle pard. Bill are a man thet goes to ther encl o' a trail ef he strikes in onc't, be it ever so long-, and ever so red, and ef Kent Kennard hev harmed the lady, then he 'll suffer fer it, or I i s lyin'. "Now, boy pare!, go to th er ranch and rest easy, for I'll make it my biz to find Buffalo Bill and tell him jist what Kent Kennard hev clone, and ef he are one o' ther Red Rangers, I bets all ther pelts I hopes to git thet Buffalo Bill finds it out, and necks will be stretched." "Well, Jack, I will go on to the ranch, and tell father and auntie that you are going to do all you can for Cousin Belle. "Good-by, Jack, and tell Buffalo Bill to look me up, if I can help him, for you know I am acquainted with the trails about here." "I know it, boy, and you bet I'll tell him about you. "Now I'll be off," and the two separated, the boy riding rapidly on toward the ranch in the dista11t timber, and Jack heading his horse northward and jogging along at an easy gait. Suddenly he drew rein, for his practiced ear caught a sound upon the prairie. "It's ther tramp o' hoofs, and iron-shod at that, so they hain't Injuns," he muttered. "They has halted, too, and I guess it's because they heerd ther hoof-falls o' my horse. "They hes sharp ears in thet party, and I wouldn't wonder ef it were Buffalo Bill and his pards. "Leastways, I has ter be partick'ler," and he listened attentively, while he gazed straight ahead of him, to catch sight of any object that might be upon 1 he prairie. In a little while he moved on again, and he had gone but a short distance when very quickly he came t0 a halt, with the uncomplimentary remark: "\i\T ell, I'll be traded off fer a fool afore I dies!" What had brought him to a halt was at suddenly beholding a horse and rider rise out of the grass be fore him, where both had been lying prostrate. was this all, for upon either side others appeared, and, glancing hastily behind him, Jack dis covered that he had calmly ridden into a trap. "Well! I knows I hain't in clanger, fer it are Buf falo Bill and his pards, but ef it wasn't, I'd hev been in fer it, sartin, fer they seen me sooner as I seen them, and I rid straight fer 'em, same as ef I was a born greenhorn o' ther city." Having delivered this soliloquy, and seeing that the horsemen \Vere closing in upon him, he continued: 'There' s nine o' 'em, and jist wait and let 'em corral me." In a short while the nine men, who had stretched out V-shapecl, closed in on the hunter, and as they drew near, Jack called out: "How is yer, pard Bill, and is I ther game you is corralin ?" "Jack, how are you, for I know your voice among a thousand. "\!\Thy didn't you shout out who you vyere ?" and


I \THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. 5 Buffalo Bill rode up to the side of the hunter, who answered: "I were just on ther hunt for yer, Buffalo Bill, and heerd yer hoof-falls; but it seems yer ears was better than mine, so you jist laid for me." "We saw you before we heard you, Jack, so spread out for you to walk into the trap; but you know the boys I have with me, and we have come on a little business, which you are aware of. Have you any news?" "Yas. "Well, out with it." "You is a leetle behind time, Buffalo Bill, fer ther leddy were tuk in some hours ago." "Ah! captured?" "Yas." "By whom?" "Ther king o' satans, Kent Kennard." "Did he force her to marry him?" "Thet are further along, I guesses, but he did not wait until ther time were up." "No, for according to the letter received, we had three days yet before the appointed time; but tell me, Jack, all that you know of this Kent Kennard?" "W aal, Bill, he were a guerrilla in the Southern war, they says and come here to Kansas and went ter ranchin'. "He were a lover of ther gal's, I has hern, long ago, but she wouldn't hev him, and so he's made life unpleasant for her, and somehow her uncle seems ter favor his marryin' her. "Now. he are a howlin' terror; Bill, and don't you make a mistake that he hain't, fer he are grit clean through. "He's got a good ranch, and plenty o' cattle; but they do say as how he is cap'n o' ther ba' nd o' laws known hereabout as the Red Rangers, and ef he are, he should bang, for a more thievin' set o' devils never lived on ther perarer than is thet gang. "They hes ther secret camp in ther hills, and ther way they works is a caution, fer they drifts inter ther ranch country one by one, lays ther traps ter rob, and then, meetin' some night, does ther job slick and gits away with ther plunder, while they all us leaves ther startin' o a new graveyard ahind them!" "vVe have all heard of the Reds, Jack; but how many of them a.re there in the band?" "Some say a dozen, others fifty, but I guesses you I had better divide fifty by two, and you'll git 11ear ther number." "And we are nine." "Yas, Bill, but you is ther durndest nine thet could be picked out fer a leetle scrimmage, and I wouldn't feel uneasy and lose my appetite about yer, ef I heerd as how yer heel tackled ther whole lay-out o' Reds. "But yer knows all I kin tell yer now, 'ceptin' thet Cap'n Kennard's ranch lie s jist ten miles from here over ther hill slope o' ther river, and it are as strong as a young fort. "Ther gal's home are fifteen mile to ther south from this pint, anC:l ther place whar Kent captured her is yonder, five miles as ther crow flies, whar thar is a timber matte known as ther Nine Trees." "A good starting point for our nine, Jack; but I thank you, and if you start us on the trail, we'll go to the end of it." "I'll bet yer does, Bill, fer it's in yer and ther boys yer hes with yer. "Luck, pards," cried Jack, while the scouts dashed off over the moonlit prairie to strike the trail of Kent Kennard at the Nine Trees, that stood like a of hunters at bay in the midst of the plains. CHAPTER II. THE DENIAL. Buckner ranch was one of the pleasantest and most comfortable houses on the Kansas border. It was delightfully located, in some timber-land upon the banks of a stream, and about it were a few sl1'eltering hills, with the prairies stretching around in almost boundless expanse. Maior Buckner had been a brave Union soidier, and had settled at the close of the war in Kansas, on the very spot of \;vild lands where he had built and fortified a fort, to keep at bay the roving bands of Indians, and as a clepot of The fort, being de serted when the war ended, the major had turned it into ranch, homesteading the lands thereabout, and thither had come his sister and her daughter, Bradford, to m a ke their home with him. To the same region soon after l1ad come to settle Kent Kennard, and it was very evident that Belle Bradford had been the star that had guided him to an 'abiding-place in the Janel of .the setting sun.


6 THE BUFF J\LO BlLL STORIES. That there was no love for Kent Kennard in the heart of the young mai den was evident, and yet there was a "skeleton in the closet" of the BucknerBradford househol d, wh i ch t h e young ranchero seemed to have the k ey to unl ock, for he possessed a power over Major Buckner and Mrs. Bradford which seemed to hold them as in chains of iron, and thus did he force from them an unwilling consent that Belle should become his wife upon a given date. In the sitting-room of t h e spacious cabin, known from its army associations as Headquarters Ranch, sat Major Buckner and Mrs. Bradford, his sister. The for mer was a man of fifty, with a military air arn ; l a resolute face, full of kinc4iess, while his sister resembled him close ly, but wore a look of sorrow and anxiety commingled. "Oh i f w e could avert this sorrow from poor Belle I would be happy, brother," said Mrs. Bradford, laying down her sewing and turning to the major, who moved uneasily, f rowned, and the n said: "Alas, Mary, I fear it cannot be done, for to anger Kent Kennard is to precipitate sorrow and trouble upon us. "He seems, withal, a pleasant fellow, yet he is not one I wou l d se lect for Belle's husband, for he threatened at once, when I told him I did not wish her to marry, and I do not like a man who threatens one. "But the stories about his being a Red I cannot believe, and he laughs at the accusation, and is sincere in his denials; but he loves Belle, he has money, and I hope will make he r a good husband." "God grant it; but how late she and Brad' stay out to-night." "The nioo n is up, and they are enjoying their ride -there they come now," and the rattle of hoofs was heard without. "That is but one horse, brother; oh! what if some harm has befallen my child!" As the mother spoke the door opened and in strode the boy, Brad Buckner. His face showed that something had happened, and in breathless suspense Major Buckner and Mrs Bradford listened to the kiclnaping of Belle, and what had followed. "This is an outrage on the part of Kennard, and I will at once hasteri over to his ranch and demand that he give up my niece," and :Major Buckner's face flushed with anger. In a few moments, accornpa1iied by Brad, whc 111-, sisted upon going, an

THE eiJ .FF ALO B ILL S T5 Kent than my eyes, . h 0 '1ne indign:rntly sonage as t e Yerlanc l needed for .i ne "" a huge fellow, armed to the teeth, a. . :1.pable of I Id 1 d I I d111"'' C 10 mg I11S own 111 a crow -1e earne :1at aptam Kennard was then playing cards in the saloon. "How long has he been here, Sands?" h e asked. "All the afternoon, major, and playi11' a winnin' hand, too." "Who is with him?" "N' o one, as I knows about." "Did he not bring a lady here?" "No, major; he didn't." Major Buckner looked troubled, but turned toward the gambling-hall, after telling Brad and the two cowboys to wait for him. He was well knmvn in that country, and respected as a brave man, and a good one, so as he entered the roo1ri many spoke pleasantly to him. It was a large room, and it was crowded with men, some playing ca ls at numerous little tables, and smokin g pipes and drinking, others standing in groups looking on, and a large force ra.nged in front of the bar that > v as at one end of the saloon. Certainly it \\as a strange gathering, for men were there as desperate as \YO!ves at bay, and human life \Yas strangel y at a discount amid that wild, reckles3 crowd. In one corner of the room a larger group than usual surrounded a table, and, a fter a glance about him, Major Buckner walked over to this spot and was face to face with Kent Kennard, who sat playing for large stakes with three others, from whom \\'aS winning with phenomenal good luck. ''Kennard. when you play out your hand I wish to see you," sa id the major, quietly. 'Hallo, major; glad to see you. \Vill you take a hand with us{" sa id Kent Kennard, in his free-and easy way. "N.o, sir, for I have more important business 011 hand than gamblin g, so I wish to se e you at once. Perhaps it was the major's manner that nettled Kennard, for his face Hushed, and he replied coldly: "I am busy, sir, and will be as loug as these gentlemen are willing to continue the game, so what business you have with me make it known here, for, Major Buckner. I liiave no secrets I wish to hide." Major Buckner turned deadly pale, for he felt the all usion to hiding a secret was a hit at the "skele ton in his famiiy closet," of which Kennard knew; hea'" l..ntt he kept down his anger, feeling that he was 111 the man's po\Yer, ancl saicl: "Kennard, as you \Yis h me to speak out. may i qsk ,,. here my niece is?" "Your niece?" aud the gambler dropped his cards in surprise. "Yes, you understand me. "Upon my word, I do not." ."Diel you not meet my niece upon the prairie this afternoon, near sunset, and--" "No, sir, I did not see your niece thi s afternoon,' "as the prompt reply. "Kent Kennard, I do not wish to thrO\v the lie in yonr teeth, but I have proof that you did meet my niece, and more, that you kiclnaped her." A breathless silence was now upon all, for every eye was turned upon Ylajor Buckner and Kent Kennard. The former stood neai the table, upright, white faced and quivering \\'ith inward elnotion, while the latter still kept hi s seat. one han

T THE B 1'<'.l\LO STORIES. child, and others maybe were bitte: recollection:::. ,,j<:tprl n goino-:i-' 6u say that I have met your cousin what might have been to many had not their path-to-clay r 1ch ways them aclown the road to sin, instead of up '.'Becau j1 ... tell the truth; you t:ll a Ji: the l11lls1cle to honor. 'Be ca r etul, boy, for I do not ltke epithets cast 111 Here and there, as the fearl ess-face d boy moved my face; but tell me when a n d where I saw her?" forward, a tear arose into the eyes of stern-faced 'Upon the prairie, not far from the Nine Tree men. apd one said audibly : Motte, just at su n set, when yo u came up with Cousin "God ble ss the handsome boy!" Belle and myself upon the prairie, a nd took her away He had doubtless thought his prayer aloud, for from me!" h e dropped his head w hen his words brought the "Boy, you are mad, for I have not met you for eyes of hi s companions upon him, though not one

THE ALO B ILL S T5RIES 9 "Father he has no better proof. than my eyets, Kent more, Co usin Belle is certainly gone,'' indignantly. said Brad. "My proof, Major Buckner, I might insist .should be simply my word as a gentlemtn; but as my accuser is your son, a boy, and you need more than my word offers, I will ask these gentlemen if I have' not been gambling here since early in the afternoon, and certainly I cannot be in two places at the same time." ''That's what bothers me, for I think the boy means what he says, pard major; but, then, since two o'clock I have sat right here Jasin' money ter Cap n Kennard, and I knows he hain't been away, let alone ten miles off ter ther Nine Tree Timber," said one of .samblers. "Father, this is a game tha t Captain Kennard has arranged to play," urged. Brad. "No, my boy, the cap'n says truly, fer he has been right here, as a dozen and more kin prove, so you are sirnply mistaken,'' remarked a storekeeper who was engaged in the game of cards with Kennard. "Mistaken in that man! vVhy, there's not another like him on the border,'' cried Brad. "Still you are off the trail thi s time, my boy," s

!O THE L No one had seen him enter the Overland ganHJ11 saloon, so occupied \Yere all in the scene betwe('n the boy, Brad Buckner, and the man, Kent Kennard. He had glided into the 1oom as silent as a spectre, edged hi s ,a y toward the center of excitement, ancl had spoken the words that so startled the crowd and causecl a general swaying of thos e nearest to him, when one, who recognized the tall form and stern, daring face, called in a warning Yoice: "Look out, pards that man is Buffalo Bill!" A cry of joy broke from the boy's lips, for he knew the secret of his cousin, Belle; but he at once controlled himself. determined as he was that no one else, through him, should find out that friends were near to save the maiden from the fate that Kent Kennard had forced upon her. "Buffalo Bill! And the ally of my son!" sairl Major Buckner, in a wondering \\"ay. ''Euffalo Bill! and he sides with that boy!" came in a hiss from Kent Kennard's lips. And he dropped his hancls upon his revolver. But, quick as a flash, he was covered with Buffalo Bill's revolver, :incl he knew full well the deadly aim of the man he had to deal with, while stern came the words: "Hold! Hands off that toy, unless you wish to die!" Kent Kennard was no coward, nor was he a fool, and he accepted the situation, and laid his hands before him on the tabl e, while he demanded in his cool way: "\i\Tell, sir, why do you here?" "I dropped in, pard, overheard the boy's story, took the that you lied and he told the truth, so I sided with him and shall see him through; so open the ball if you don't like my chipping into your little game of deviltry." And Buffalo Bill's smile was a grim and dangerous one. "I don't like your chipping in, and I will be willing to prove it when I am not held at a disadvantage, as I am now." "Why, pard, I am a stranger here, looking for a place to hang my hat for the night, and came in to enjoy a little game before saying my prayers and crawling into my little bed; but I won't see the boy harmecl, 1 I assure you. "His father is here with him." "That may be, and the old man's hair is gray, and JRIES. 1Jear to have blinded him with your words; t.lllt the boy can see through you, and I side with him, and am ready to back hin1 with gold, lead or steel." ''Do yo11 play?" There \\as something grancl in the one man stand ing there, his back turned to the wall, hi s hands resting upon his revolvers, and .1is eyes flashing calm defiance oYer every face that met his own. Had his name not been well known, he would have at once been 1:iet upon by those hangers-on of the place, anxious to curry favor with the ranchero', for whatever it might bring them. But. as it was, not a man moved to force the fight, and Buffalo Bi ll held the winning hand by his very boldness. \i\Tho are you?" cleman<.lecl Kent Kennard, in an insolent to11e. "Years ago I was .christened \\. illiam F. Cody, but on the border me11 call me Buffalo Bill. Perhaps you may have heard the name?" There was no bra\ado in the worcls or the tone; he simply answered the question he had been asked. Yes, I have heard of you as a desperado of the frontier," returned Kent Kennard. "Yes. those \YhO do not know me call me so; but men call you 'Captain of the Red Rangers'-are yon ?" ''Curse you! you insult me because you ha\'e the pO\\"er." "I find you in the midst of your friends, while I do not behold one face friendly to me here. "But, come, let us not q uarrel, but decide this matter regarding your kidnaping the youqg lady, as this boy says you have." "Do you mean to force yourself in as a judge on this case?" 'I do !-judge, jury and executioner, if need be!'' vvas the reply, amid a silence that was deathlike. The n, turning to the boy, he continued: "Come, little pa rel. tell yom stor), just as it occurred." Brad was with difficulty suppressing hi s delight, and in a few \\orcls told of hi s ride with his cousin, the discovery of the. 111 en with the rnasled faces of the Reels in the Dead Man's Motte, and what fol10\Yed after Kent Kennard had oYertaken his cousin and himself. There were those present who believed the boy,


THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES 1 1 an.d yet there were those who asserted that Kent Kennard had not been away from the Overland all the c.fternoon. "You say that this boy's story is false?" And Buffalo Bill turned to Kent Kennard. "I most emphatically do." "Why should the boy lie?" "It is a plot against me, because the girl does not wish to be my wife." "Yet you would marry a woman that hates you?" "With my actions you have nothing to do, Buffalo Bill." "I assume the right, sir; but why, instead of a piot against you, is it not your plot to get the girl and prove by false witnesses that the boy has lied?" "Do you accuse 1 these gentlemen of speaking falsely?" asked Kent Kennard, quickly, anxious to bring into the quarrel those who had asserted his innocence, tluct he might have a chance to escape from beneath the fiery eye of his accuser. "I say that it is more likely you have paid men to swear in your favor, than that this boy should be in a plot against you." "Pardon me, sir, but as you do not know some of us who assert Captain Kennard's innocence, let me assure you I am not one to be bribed, nor are others here. Frankly, r do not like Captain Kennard, nor do I trust him; but I know he has not been away from this s:iloon for the past ten hours, and the kidnaping, as I understand it, of Miss Bradford was some four hours ago." The speaker was a man vvhose face and manner carried truth with his words, for he was by no means a border ruffian, as Buffalo Bill saw at a glance. Ever courteous, Buffalo Bill remarked in response: "Your assertion carries weight with it, for I do not belieYe, sir, you are a man to lie to save a rascal." "I am an army officer, sir, spending a short time in town to nurse my brc,ther, who is in the hotel suffering from a severe wound received some weeks ago. "I have seen this man, Kent Kennard, often, and I can assure you, bad as he may be, he is innocent of the charge made against liim by this boy, for, deeply interested in the games played here, I have not been absent from the saloon more than ten minutes at a time all the afternoon. I am Captain Arthur Tayloe, sir, of the Seventh Cavalry, now stationed at Fort Larned." "I have heard of you, Captain Tayloe, and am glad to meet you, sir," said Buffalo Bill, turning toward the tall, fine-looking officer, who wore but a woolen hunting-shirt, corduroy pants and slouch hat in place of his uniform, and whom no one had suspected of being an army officer, though they had regarded him as no ordinary personage. "And I am glad to meet you, Buffalo Bill, for J have often wished to do so; but I am particularly glad in this case to keep Jown trouble where you are_in the wrong, for you are certainly mistaken, my little man," and Captain Tayloe turned to Brad, who promptly answered: "No, sir, I am not mistaken; for it was Kent Kennard, and no other, that kidnapecl my cousin Belle." "\Veil, little pard, since we have the word of Cap tain Tayloe in favor of this man, there is a mystery connected with the whole affair, and I shall clear it up, I promise you. "Your cousin has been captured, you say, by this man, and yet positve proof is given to the contrary; but I have seen worse tangles unraveled, and it shall be done. Gentlemen, one and all, join me in a drink," and Buffalo Bill raised his hat to the crowd, while, turning to Kent he added: "Of course, sir, I include you also." "On one condition, sir," said Kent Kennard, coldly. "'vVell, sir?" "That you pledge yourself to give me satisfaction for the insults yon have heaped upon me at any time I may demand it." "Vii th pleasure, sir; and more. As you seem to be largely a winner to-night at cards, I will give you the opportunity to try your luck against mine, and it may foreshadow which will be the loser in the game of death that one clay must be played between us," and Buffalo Bill spoke :n the easiest manner possible. "As you please, sir; the game of life and death I have often played and won," and a sinister, cruel smile swept over the face of the handsome ranchero, as he stepped up to the bar to take his drink. In the confusion of the moment Major Buckner and Brad slipped out of the saloon, and, mounting their horses, rode rapidly away from Prairie City, accompanied by the two cowboys.


12 THE BUFF J\LO BILL "Ah, Brad, my son, you have made a great mis take, and I only hope it will not cause Kent Kennara to harm us," said the major. "I have made no mistake, father; and how can he harm us more than he has in running off with poor Cousin Belle?" "He has it in his power to do so, Brad; but more I cannot say, other than that you were mistaken in the man who kidnaped Belle." "No, father, I am not mistaken; but it does seem strange that even that army officer, Captain Tayloe, would speak in favor of Kent Kennard." "It is most mysterious, indeed, and I know npt what to do .. "It is a mystery that will be solved, father, and soon, my word for it." "But who will solve it, and who will save poor Belle ?-for wretched indeed must she be!" "Buffalo Bill," was the low response of the boy, as the two rode on over the moonlit prairie, their horses headed for the scene of the capture of Belle Brad ford As the little party of four dropped the lights of Prairie City over a roll in the prairie, they saw a horseman before them, who suddenly came into full relief against the burnished sky. "vVho is that?" whispc"red the major, unconsciously pointing at the lone rider, and evidently startled at the seeming apparition. Horse and rider were stationary as marble statues, and were directly on the trail. The four riders had drawn rein, and silently surveyed the motionless horseman. Was he one of the Reels? Was he a friend? Why was he there, in the night, and alone? "There is only one, father," said the boy, noticing his father's excitement and the cowboys' evident trepidation. "Yes, boy, only one; but it is strange. Why is he waiting there? vVho is he? \Ve must know. Be on your guard, boys. Now, forward!" As they rode on again it was evident that the strange horseman noticed their approach. Still, he did not swerve from his p.osition directly in their path, and remained like one who held no fear of the four men advancing upon him. "Be ready, boys, should he mean trouble," ordered the major, and on they rode, the strange horseman still as motionless as a statue. Nearer and nearer they drew to him, until but a few paces divided them, and in the bright moonlight they saw him distinctly. He sat his horse .splendidly, \Yore a complete suit of buckskin, had a rifle slung at his back, and his hat shaded his face but little, revealing strongly-cut feat ures, and his hair fell upon his broad shoulders. Each hand rested upon a revolver, that was halfdrawn from a holster on either side of the sil\'er studded horn of his Mexican saddle, and it was seen that he was ready for defense or attack, as might be necessary. "Good-evening, gentlemen!" he said, in a pleasant Yoice, as the party drew rein to a halt. "Good-evening, sir, to you; 3.nd let me add that yon are a bold man to let four persons ride upon yon as you did, for we might have been other than we are," answered the major. A light laugh, which showed the white teeth of the stranger, broke from his lips at the reply, and he said: ''My dear sir, I seldom count the odds in meeting men on the prairie. I was waiting here; you were coming on a trail that brought yo u near; so why should I give way until you forced me to do so, or I drove you off your path?" "'vVho are you, for your face is strange in these parts?" "Along the northern border I am called Texas Jack." The major, the cowboys and Brad started at the name. They knew it well, and that the owner had been noted for deeds of daring which seemed strangely like tales of fiction. A short while before they had met a famous man of the border, and now here was one in their path k1Jown to be the frie1}d of Buffalo Bill, and vd10, as Texas Jack, was almost equ:dly dreaded by the out laws of the frontier. "I know you well by name, sir, and from all I have heard of you, I do not wonder that you held your ground against us," said the major. "May I ask, sir, if you are from the town of Prairie City?" "vVe left it a quarter of an hour ago." "Did you meet one there, Buffalo Bill by name?" "vVe did." "Was he in danger?"


BUF F A LO BILL STOR I ES. 13 "Not in any danger, s i r, that s u ch a man cannot extricate himself from:" "I thank you, sir. Good-night, gentlemen!" And Texas Jack bowed in a way that showed he ; wished to end the interview. "Good-night, sir! My ranch lies yonder, ten miles away; and if you care to visit it, you will be wef co1ne." And Major Buckner rode on with his companions, leaving Texas Jack as before, horse and r ider seeming like a statue. "Well, Brad, what do you think of that?" asked the major. "More mystery, father; but do not let us speak of seeing Texas Jack." "\Vhy not, my son?" "I cannot tell you, sir; only it is best not to let it get about that he and Buffalo Bill are here on our prairie." "My son, you have some motive for this, and you do not make me your confidant; but I hope -.all will come right in the end." "Now let us go to Dead Man's Motte and see if ther e is any trace of the Reds having been t here, as you said that you saw them; for, with this moonlight, we can easily tell." ''Yes, sir; their trail will easily show in this light," repl ied Brad. And the horses' heads were turned toward the timber, which Brad and his cousin had avoided that afternoon after the discovery that the Reds were there, apparently lying in ambush for the coming of some one. The Dead Man's Timber bore its name from t h e fact that half-a-dozen me n had been ambushed there by foes, and shot down, their graves being dug under the two-score trees that formed the motte. \iVith the bright moon light, the scattering trees did not form a very sec ure hiding-p lace for hon:e men, and Major Buckner did not fear an ambush, as he kne\Y, after nightfall, few people cared to go there, for t he superstitious among the border men said that the p lace was haunted. He was des irous of seeing if there were any fresh trails in the timber, to carry out the assertion of his son that there had been Reels in hidi n g there. The behavior of t he boy h e could not solve, and he was desirous of seeing for himself j ust what basis t h e r e had b een for Brad's s aying tha t hi s co u s in had been captured by Captai n Kennard. The two cowboys were not des irou s of vis i ti n g Dead Man's Motte, and they kept their ey e s w ell ahead, and when the timber was quite a d istance off they made a discovery This was of a horseman r idi n g slowly befo r e t h em toward the timber. Q uickening their pace, as soon as he saw t h e horseman, Major Buckner saw that the stranger d i d likew i se, holding just suc h a distance between them. Urging thei r horses into a run, t h e an imal a head also began to go at the sa m e pace, and coming down to a-vvalk once more, the stranger did likew i se unti l within rifle range o f t h e t i mber, when he h a lted and faced about. Major Buckner spoke sharply to the two cowboys, who urged that it was an appar ition leadin g t h em on, and rode forward. "Halt! \iVh o are you, and w h a t do yo u want?" came in a dec i sive voice "I am Major Buckner, of Fort Ranch, and would know who you are!" "Have you ever heard the name of Night Hawk?'' was the reply. "Yes, often, as one of t h e best scouts on our fr on tier." 'I am Night Hawk." "The friend of B uffal o Bill?" called out Brad Buckner. "Yes." ''\Ve came here to see if there vvas a trail of horsemen leading away from the t i mber, aud l eft as late as sunset this afternoon," the ma j o r expla i ned. "Yes, there is such a trail-fifteen hoof-ma r ks all told, and they led toward the northward, and the trail is not many hours old "I thank you, sir. Good-night!" and the major turned away, Brad by his side, and the cowboys fol lowing. "Now, Bra

/ 14 THE BUFF ALO BILL STORIES. scouts on the border!" and, puzzling his brain to solve the mystery, Major Buckner rode on until they came in sight of the scene where Brad had parted with his cousin and. her captor, and the boy said in a whisper: '"There is another silent sentinel, father!" "By g-host you are right, Brad! Is he near where you parted with Belle?" "He seems to be on the very spot, sir; and he is coming toward us!" "'He is, indeed. Well, we have seen the pluckiest men this night I ever met before, for one against four does not seem in the least to disturb them. "I shall hail him;" and raising his voice, as the party halted, Major Buckner called out: "Ho, friend! who are you?" "My name is \Vhite Beaver, if that is what you would know. I am a scout, now on secret service Who are you ?" The voice was strangely musical, and yet it had the ring of commanding courage in it. "I have heard of an army scout known as \i\T hite Beaver." "I am White Beaver; who are you?" came the de mand. "Major Dick Buckner, ranchero, ancl living at Fort Ranch, whither I am now going, and will be glad oi your company." "Thank you, but I must remain here." "Do you know Buffalo Bill? "Yes, and left him an hour ago in Prairie City." "In no trouble, I hope?" "None; but let me ask you if you have observed a trail where you are?" "Yes, of two horses, a third joining them; then one leaving, and the other two branching off northeast." "Father, what did I tell you?" "Who was it, if not Kent Kennard?" asked the boy in a low, triumphant tone. "God only knows; but I am bewildered, so let us go home, and to-morrow we will see what can be done for poor Belle," and they rode on, the solitary horseman still remaining where they had discovered him, and so staying as long as they see him. "Thank Heaven we are near home, for this night has been a bewildering cne to me," and Major Buckner seemed a trifle bnnervecl, and fairly started as one of the cowboys said: "Yonder is another statue-like horseman, major. He pointed to a distant roll of the prairie, where, relieved against the moonlit sky, a horse and rider were distinctly visible. 'He is not in our trait, I am glad to see. "Come, let us hasten home, for this night has been strangely full of mystery to me," and the party dashed on to soon disappear in the timber about the ranch. But, glancing backward, as they rode out of sight among the trees1 they saw the silent horseman still remaining at his post, apparently on duty, yet what duty they could not know. CHAPTER IV. ON TI-IE TRAIL. Buffalo Bill's coming into the gambling saloon of the Overland had been a great surprise to all, for his name was known along the length of the border, and each night around the campfires and at the sa loons, the deeds of the scout had been the theme of conYersation Hardly any one there in the saloon had seen him before; but, rec;:ognized by the one who had called his name, his very name held men in check, who1 with another, would have sought difficulty. V V hy had he come there? Was he on official duty? Did he know more of Kent Kennard than others knew of him, for his business seemed to be with him? Such were the questions asked, and a feverish excitement pervaded all when the two men, Buffalo Bill and Kent Kennard, sat down to play a game of cards Every other game was forgotten, conversation ceased, men drank ql!ietly, nodding a toast to each other as they stood at the bar, and all waited for the beginning of the end that must come between those two. The absence of Major Buckner and his son had been noticed, and commented upon; but Buffalo Bill said, quietly: "Let them go, for there is no work for either to do here.'' So the interest centered in the two men who remained to try their fortune at cards. The table Buffalo Bill chose was against the wall and within a few feet of an open window. He drew the table out a of feet, took a


THE BU ff ALO BILL STORIES chair, and, placing it to himself; sat clown witb h i s back to th e wall and the window clo s e u pon his left hand. Then he coolly lighted a cigar, and said in his q uiet way: I am ready for the game, Kent Kennard. \,\That shall it be, and for how much?" "Name your limit," was the response. "Well, we will begin low, for I put up one hundred on the game." The cards were shnffled the game was played, and Kent Kennard won. Buffalo Bill's showed no sign of disappointment, anC: a second game was play e d through with the same result. "Make the dus t three hundred this time," sug-gested Bl.1ffalo Bill, quietly. "As you like," was the reply And again the ranchero won. Without a change of exp1ession Buffalo Bill said: "Gentlemen, you 11ay know my gambling pard here, but I don' t, so you will excuse me if I say that I don't exactly understand his luck, though I am studying it. "I don't accuse you of cheating, Kermard, but if I should suspect you, the moment I do, I'll shoot and ask no questions. Do you understand?" "It is a game two can play at, Buffalo Bill," was the threatening return. "Yes; it takes two to play a game, but only one can win, and you know my ideas about playing square, and I'm rio blind man, so go ahead, and make five hundred the stakes this time. Kent Kennard nodded, and with bated breath.the crowd looked on For some reason Kent Kennard played more carefully than before, and it was noticed that Buffalo Bill played mechanically, for he never took his eyes off of the hands of his adversary. \i\ Then the last card was thrown down Buffalo Bill had won the game. He smiled in a sardonic way, while Kent Kennard became very pale though he showed no other sign of emotion. "Shall I prescribe for you again?" Buffalo Bill, and Kent Kennard nodded. The same stakes was named, the game was played through in the same way, Buffalo Bill sharply watch ing the hands of the ranchero, and the scout won. "Pard, I have a little work to do, so you must ex cu s e me now; but another time we may meet, and then I'll give you satisfaction at cards, as v vell as in any orher way you wish. "Gentlemen, again join me," and Buffalo Bill arose, bowed, pocketed his winnings, called to the barrnan to set up drinks, and, paying for them, left the saloon. There were those who wished to follow him, but there was that in the manner of the strange man that forbade it, anc:l. when, soon after, Captain Tayl oe, the army officer, went out, expectingto find him in the Overland, he discovered that he had not been there. and searching among the other taver' ns, he could find no trace of him, or any one who had seen him out of the saloon. Return!ng to the Overland, Captain Taylo. e reached there just as he saw Kei1t Kennard mount his horse, held for him by one of his cowboys, who had evidently been waiting outside, and t h e two dashed rapidly away out of the town "That is not the trail to Kennard' s ranch, anCl he is evidently following Buffalo Bill, the cowboy having posted him; but he had better let that man alone," thought Captain Tayloe, as he entered the hotel and sought his room. In the meantime Buffalo Bill had mounted his horse, waiting under a shed near, and had hastily ridden off, as though anxious to avoid being seen. He had taken the trail followed by themajor and his party, and, reaching the open prairie, his prac ticed eye told him that others had traversed it since he had gone that way into the town. Soon he came in sight of the statue-like horseman upon the trail. Then he' raised his hands above his head. The other did likewise. "Well, Jack, what news?" he called out as he drew near. "I have had visitors, Bill," and Texas Jack told of the coming of the Buckner party. "\Veil, call Broncho, and we will hunt a hiding place, as soon as we have collected the other b9ys A s hrill whistle from Texas Jack caused suddenly to rise as from out of the ground, a horse and rider. some half a hundred yards away, where they h

THE BUFFALO BILL STORIES. proud of, black as night, and a face strongly stamped with manhood. "Well, Broncho, we will be off." said Buffalo Bill, and then set off at a gallop over the plain. Following the same trail that Major Buckner had, Night Hawk and Dandy Dick, having been hiding near, were picked up at Dead Man's Motte, and the v isit of the ranchero's party was made known to Buffalo Bill. Pursuing the trail, they reached white Beaver seated s ilently upon his horse, on the spot where Belle Bradford had been kidnaped, and a whistle from him brought Dashing Dan and his horse up of the prairie grass, where they had been in hidmg. ''Now for Frank and Buck," called ou( Buffalo Bill, an:es down upon the ridge to wait. Half-an-hour thus passed, when Buffalu Bill said: "Hark!" All listened and heard the fall of hoofs, the sound growing louder and l ouder, which showed they were approaching. "They are coming and in some force," said Beaver. "We will be ready for them, pards, so form your line," was the quiet response of Buffalo Bill, who T:'en took his position at the right end, and the others ranged alongside. Kneeling on one knee, they unslung their rifles and brought them round, without an order, and in perfec t silence. Nearer and nearer came the horse men, and they were now distinctly seen by the Nine, whose heads just peered over the hilltop. "There are some twenty of them," said Beaver. "Yes, and they wear masks, as my glass distinctly reveals . said Buffalo Bill. EYery man carried a glass, (U!,(l it was raised to his eyes, a murmur of assent following, after which the rifles were grasped, ready for work. Nearer and nearer came the horsemen, and arriving within a few rods of the kneeling line, stern and startling rung out the command of Buffalo Bill: "Halt! Hands up, all of you!" when Buffalo Bill gave the order to the coming horsemen, as they rode up over the brow of the prairie rise, he was prepared for a charge down upon his lin e They outnumbered him tvvo to one, if not more, they appeared well-mounted, and their arms glistened in the moonlight. They wer e not a body of cavalry, that was certain, and in the moonlight there was visible no white faces, oniy the same hue rested upon all, revealing the fact that they were either Indians, in the garb of palefaces, or whites masked.The latter was the idea the scout took of it, and they were prepared, therefore, to meet face to face, as they belieYed, in a hand-to-hand struggle, the famous marauders of the prairie, known as the Red H.angers. It was, therefore, a matter of intense surprise to Buffalo Bill, as also his comrades, to see the horsemen wheel, as one man, without a word that was heard b y them, and fly away like arrows from a bow. A sco re in number, they took as many different trails across the prairie, urging their horses to full speed, and seemingly bent on the motto of: "Every man for himself, and Satan take the hind most." At this sudden and surprising act on the part of the horsemen, the scouts glanced at Buffalo Bill. To have emptied nine saddles they knew it was in the ir power to do. But no order came to fire, and the fingers touching the triggers did not move. Thoroughly disciplined, the scouts acted without excitement, and hence no shot was fired, for Buffalo Bill gave no order to do so. "Well, that beats all that I ever saw; but let them go, for we will yet reach the encl of their trail s, and I would not make a mistake and fire on a wrong party for a great deal," said Buffalo Bill. "We might catch one of them," said Beaver, quietly. "Do so then, Beaver, but do not fire unless you have to. "If any one can be caught you can do it with that horse of yours,\' and the words had harmy left the lips of Buffalo B)ll, when \Vhite Beaver had bounded toward his thrown him:;elf into the saddle, an

THE BUFF /\L O BILL STORIESo 11 away, his superb black stallion, Mephisto, going like the very wind. ''Now, pards, it is best that we hunt cover, an:l the creek lies yonder, three mile s away, and we must hunt it by different trails, so as to throw any one off the scent that might be curious. "There is a water was h near a large tree that ri ses high above the surrounding timber, ci. nd you can see it as you get nea r the creek, and there will be our camp. "Now, I off this way, and we 'll scatte r the trails as did that b an d of h o rsemen whoeYer they are," and Buffalo Bill mounted and rode off, the others follo\\ing his example, and each one verging away from each other as far as possible, and yet having the same objective point in view In the meant ime Beaver had disappeared from sight over the rolling prairie, and he was riding hot on the heels of a flying horseman. He was gaining rapidly also, his black stallio11 going at a speed that was wonderful, and yet not urge d by spur or voice. The intelligent ani mal seemed to fully understand just what was expected of him, and h e meant to do it. So lightly did he run, that his hoof-falls were drowned by the thud of the horse ridden by the fugitive, and after having gone a mile the horseman drew up and glanced about him. His comrades had scattered so far that he could not see them, and he sat for a moment pondering, as it were, upon just wh a t c ourse to pursue. Beaver's quick eye had detected the halt, and quick a s a flash he drew rein, sprung to the ground, and said: "Down, sir!" Into the grass dropped the horse like dead, and his master lay be s ide him, so that when the fugitive glanced behind him he saw no pursuer. Having decided upon his course, he turned off to the left, and rode on at a slow p a ce Then Beaver arose from the grass, his horse sprung up, and mounting, he started off at a course almost parallel with the fugitive and yet circling a little from him and out.of sight. After going at a rapid run for a mile or more, he drew rein to the left, ascended a prairie rise, and glanced over the l eve l plain. There, as he had expected to find, was the fugitive, not two hundred yards away. He was coming on at a canter, directl y for the spot, and he did not see the scout until within long istol r ange of him Quickly he drew re i n, and, after a moment's in pection, called out: "Is that you Frank?" "It i s pa rd," called back Beaver, most truthfully, is real name being Frank. At this the fugit i ve rode on once more at a canter, directly for the sco ut, w ho m o ved toward him. Coyotes of Kansas! but what a surprise we had, Black Frank." "\Vho were they?" c alled out the purs ued, as he clrev,; near. "Bu ffa l o Bill's scouts, pare!," was the quick response of Beaver, as he cast his l ariat over the he a d of the man's horse, and at t h e same time leveled his r epea tin g rifle full at the breast of the rider. The start led h o r se b ounded away, but was brought up sh2 r p by the and the surprised and alarmed rider. cau ght \ \ holly at a disadvantage, obeyed with alacrity the stern command: "Hands up, o r die!" Leaving his horse still a t a stand, holding the ani mal o f hi s foe, Beaver sprun g to the ground, and rap i d l y approaching his captive, still covering him \Yith his r ifle \ Vel l s ir, you are my game, and I'll trouble you for your toys," and Beaver ha s til y d isarmed the man, a fter which he took the lariat from about the neck of the horse, and threw the no os e about the body of the rider, binding his arms b y his side. Mounting then, he s tarted across the prairie, his captive ridin g in silence by his s ide Not a word was spoken by one or the other, on the rid e to the rendezvous a nd just as he reached the timber on the creek banks, Texas Jack called out: 'Ho, pard, I was waiting for you, for the boys are all at the retreat, and a nice one it is, too," a nd he j oined Beaver a nd his prisoner, addin g : "You got your m an, I see?" "Oh, yes, Jack, and nobod y hurt; but this is a snug place for a retreat, i s it not?" and he g l a nc e d at:the ravine, h ea ily fringed with thickets, in to which they rode. Up the water-wash, or ravine, the scouts were v i sible. cooking breakfast, for d awn was just beginning to pale the moonlight, and their horses were stake d o u t near, enjoying a feast of rich grass. All glan ce d up as the two sco u ts rode up wit h t h e pri sone r, and Buffalo Bill called out: "Bravo, Beaver! you got your bird, and, as I live, it's a Red Ranger! CHAPTER V THE RED. The m a n who was brought info the camp l:iy Beaver was an odd-looking being, at a cursory glance. He was well mounted upon a je t-blac k horse, equipped wi t h a Mexican sad dle and bridle, and he was dressed in buckskin, even to moc ass in s At the back of his sa ddle he carried a roll o f n eces sa_ry baggage, a c o uple of serapes an oilskin blanket,


,.J 18 THE SUFF /\LO BBLL STORIES. leggins, and a ramcap, or helmet of the same m a terial. A pair of boots and a slouch hat, with a haversack of provisions, hung at one side of the saddle, and a lariat, pistol-holster, and a small hatchet we r e upon the other, showing that the individual was well fixed for camping, fighting or disguising himself. He was a large man, broad-shouldered, and carried a knife and revolvers in his belt. But strangest of all was that his head and face were wholly concealed from view, and by a covering, or mask. It was a covering of red. This headdress fell to the shoulders, and gave to the man a most startling appearance, and which had called fori!i remark of Buffalo Bill to Beaver, that he had caught a Red. "Now, sir, you can dismount," said Beaver, as he halted with his prisoner, and Dashing Dan led their horses away, the Red having quietly obeyed. "Who are yo u pard ?" asked Buffalo Bill, as he led the man to the campfire. But the prisoner made no reply. "Are you deaf, pard ?" asked Buffalo Bill. Still no reply. "Are yo u dumb also?" Yet no response. "He can talk, and he is not deaf." "What did you find out from him?" a sked Buffalo Bill. "I asked him no questions, but simply brought him in," was the reply. "He mistook me for one of his pards, who, I now recall, all rode black horses, or dark ones, for he called out: 'Is that you, Frank?' "Of course it was, and I rode nearer, and he obeyed my order to hands up, so I know he is neither deaf or dumb." \i\T ell, a bird that can sing and won't sing, mus t be made to sing, so just take off his headgear, Dandy Dick." The scout stepped forward, carefully raised the mask, or helmet, and the face was revealed was cer tainly a disagreeable one. Red-headed, the hair cut short, with a cropped sandy beard, bloated face and small, evil, gray eye s he looked like one who would be guilty of any crime, and possessed no conscience to reproach him for it. But the man o nl y stared at his captors in a clogged kind of way. "Now, my man, you must answer the questions I put to you," said Buffalo Bill. "In the first place," he continued, "are you not one of the band known as the Reds?" The man appeared not to have heard the question. "You refuse to answer, do you?" Silence alone gave assent. "Now p anl, y o u have been taken \\ i t h your colo r s on. and, therefore, w e know yo u to be o ne o f the Reds but a s you a r e our fir s t capture, and w e 'Nish to make a quick ending of our work in t hi s part of the country I am willin g t o make terms vvith y ou. Still the sil ence and the dogg e d stare;. ''Now, if I offer you your lif e will you answer m y questions truthfully?" No response. "You seem determined not to reply, and you may fear that we will put you to death; but let me tell you that you are mistaken, for I bear an official order from the general commanding this dis t rict, to put all of the Reels to death, as I may capture them, for yon have all been guilty of the basest of crimes, and. not one of you is there but deserves hanging." "But I make an exception of you, to save time, and accompli s h my ends, and offer you your life and your pardon, if you will tell me what I would know and aid us to capture your evil comrades N ow, what do you say?" The man a p p eared like one who did not think h e was the one addressed, an '

THE BUFF .l\LO BILL STORIESo 19 "vVhat say you, pards, to the sentence?" and Buffalo Bill glanced over the faces of his comrades. "It is just, for the Reds deserve no mercy," responded Frank, and the others nodded their approval. "Once more, my man, will you acept your life on the terms offered?" The captive

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