The Project Gutenberg EBook of Gunsight Pass, by William MacLeod Raine
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Title: Gunsight Pass How Oil Came to the Cattle Country and Brought a New West
Author: William MacLeod Raine
Release Date: January 3, 2005 [EBook #14574]
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Produced by Suzanne Shell, Beginners Projects, Mary Meehan, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
HOW OIL CAME TO THE CATTLE COUNTRY AND BROUGHT A NEW WEST
BY WILLIAM MACLEOD RAINE
AUTHOR OF THE BIG-TOWN ROUND-UP, A MAN FOUR SQUARE, THE YUKON TRAIL, ETC.
TO JAMES H. LANGLEY
WHO LIVED MANY OF THESE PAGES IN THE DAYS OF HIS HOT-BLOODED YOUTH
I. "CROOKED AS A DOG'S HIND LAIG"
II. THE RACE
III. DAVE RIDES ON HIS SPURS
IV. THE PAINT HOSS DISAPPEARS
V. SUPPER AT DELMONICO'S INTERRUPTED
VI. BY WAY OF A WINDOW
VII. BOB HART TAKES A HAND
VIII. THE D BAR LAZY R BOYS MEET AN ANGEL
IX. GUNSIGHT PASS
X. THE CATTLE TRAIN
XI. THE NIGHT CLERK GETS BUSY PRONTO
XII. THE LAW PUZZLES DAVE
XIII. FOR MURDER
XIV. TEN YEARS
XV. IN DENVER
XVI. DAVE MEETS TWO FRIENDS AND A FOE
XVIII. DOBLE PAYS A VISIT
XIX. AN INVOLUNTARY BATH
XX. THE LITTLE MOTHER FREES HER MIND
XXI. THE HOLD-UP
XXII. NUMBER THREE COMES IN
XXIII. THE GUSHER
XXV. MILLER TALKS
XXVI. DAVE ACCEPTS AN INVITATION
XXVII. AT THE JACKPOT
XXVIII. DAVE MEETS A FINANCIER
XXIX. THREE IN CONSULTATION
XXX. ON THE FLYER
XXXI. TWO ON THE HILLTOPS
XXXII. DAVE BECOMES AN OFFICE MAN
XXXIII. ON THE DODGE
XXXIV. A PLEASANT EVENING
XXXV. FIRE IN THE CHAPARRAL
XXXVI. FIGHTING FIRE
XXXVII. SHORTY ASK A QUESTION
XXXVIII. DUG DOBLE RIDES INTO THE HILLS
XXXIX. THE TUNNEL
XL. A MESSAGE
XLI. HANK BRINGS BAD NEWS
XLII. SHORTY IS AWAKENED
XLIII. JUAN OTERO IS CONSCRIPTED
XLIV. THE BULLDOG BARKS
XLV. JOYCE MAKES PIES
"CROOKED AS A DOG'S HIND LAIG"
It was a land of splintered peaks, of deep, dry gorges, of barren mesas burnt by the suns of a million torrid summers. The normal condition of it was warfare. Life here had to protect itself with a tough, callous rind, to attack with a swift, deadly sting. Only the fit survived.
But moonlight had magically touched the hot, wrinkled earth with a fairy godmother's wand. It was bathed in a weird, mysterious beauty. Into the crotches of the hills lakes of wondrous color had been poured at sunset. The crests had flamed with crowns of glory, the cañons become deep pools of blue and purple shadow. Blurred by kindly darkness, the gaunt ridges had softened to pastels of violet and bony mountains to splendid sentinels keeping watch over a gulf of starlit space.
Around the camp-fire the drivers of the trail herd squatted on their heels or lay sprawled at indolent ease. The glow of the leaping flames from the twisted mesquite lit their lean faces, tanned to bronzed health by the beat of an untempered sun and the sweep of parched winds. Most of them were still young, scarcely out of their boyhood; a few had reached maturity. But all were products of the desert. The high-heeled boots, the leather chaps, the kerchiefs knotted round the neck, were worn at its insistence. Upon every line of their features, every shade of their thought, it had stamped its brand indelibly.
The talk was frank and elemental. It had the crisp crackle that goes with free, unfettered youth. In a parlor some of it would have been offensive, but under the stars of the open desert it was as natural as the life itself. They spoke of the spring rains, of the Crawford-Steelman feud, of how they meant to turn Malapi upside down in their frolic when they reached town. They "rode" each other with jokes that were familiar old friends. Their horse play was rough but good-natured.
Out of the soft shadows of the summer night a boy moved from the remuda toward the camp-fire. He was a lean, sandy-haired young fellow, his figure still lank and unfilled. In another year his shoulders would be broader, his frame would take on twenty pounds. As he sat down on the wagon tongue at the edge of the firelit circle the stringiness of his appearance became more noticeable.
A young man waved a hand toward him by way of introduction. "Gents of the D Bar Lazy R outfit, we now have with us roostin' on the wagon tongue Mr. David Sanders, formerly of Arizona, just returned from makin' love to his paint hoss. Mr. Sanders will make oration on the why, wherefore, and how-come-it of Chiquito's superiority to all other equines whatever."
The youth on the wagon tongue smiled. His blue eyes were gentle and friendly. From his pocket he had taken a knife and was sharpening it on one of his dawn-at-the-heel-boots.
"I'd like right well to make love to that pinto my own se'f, Bob," commented a weather-beaten puncher. "Any old time Dave wants to saw him off onto me at sixty dollars I'm here to do business."
"You're sure an easy mark, Buck," grunted a large fat man leaning against a wheel. His white, expressionless face and soft hands differentiated him from the tough range-riders. He did not belong with the outfit, but had joined it the day before with George Doble, a half-brother of the trail foreman, to travel with it as far as Malapi. In the Southwest he was known as Ad Miller. The two men had brought with them in addition to their own mounts a led pack-horse.
Doble backed up his partner. "Sure are, Buck. I can get cowponies for ten and fifteen dollars—all I want of 'em," he said, and contrived by the lift of his lip to make the remark offensive.
"Not ponies like Chiquito," ventured Sanders amiably.
"That so?" jeered Doble.
He looked at David out of a sly and shifty eye. He had only one. The other had been gouged out