Unconscious On The Trail
They had accomplished much that week, days earlier the Masked Man and his silent companion had destroyed the notorious “Hole In The Wall” gang and recovered the banks stolen property. Leaving as the authorities arrived, the Ranger and Tonto headed west, with no thought of what may befall them.
Loping steadily along the open prairie cleared their thoughts. It had been many years since Tonto had found the Lone Ranger unconscious after the Cavendish gang had ambushed the group of Texas Rangers, and mistakenly left one living. Many years of Justice, many years of devotion to the pursuit of Justice, and many years of countless adventures had finally resulted in the Cavendish gangs capture, down to the last man. Most importantly, countless lives had been freed to pursue their dreams and future unhindered in the land of opportunity.
The desert flew by quickly that day. Something made Tonto especially sensitive-something in the wind, something…
“Kemo Sabe” he said. “Up ahead.”
The muscular Masked Man stood tall in his well tooled saddle and gazed towards the rising smoke. His muscles tensed in anticipation of what may lay beneath the curling ring of death.
“Let’s go Tonto” he shouted as he urged Silver onward. His mighty stallion, Silver, exploded with a sudden burst of speed as adventure once again reared its head. As the smoke curled upward, the two companion’s animals ate up the distance between themselves and danger. A silent understanding between partners followed-the Ranger looked at Tonto who patted his healing pouch, and nodded in agreement. Urging their mounts more strongly now, two bodies became more clearly seen through the billowing smoke. The scent of burning burlap and supplies mingled with that of burning flesh-time was of the essence now! As the distance diminished between the Ranger and the bodies-his thoughts raced.
“What caused this?”
“Who did this?”
“Are they still alive?”
Tonto, racing besides the Masked Man, took a mental inventory of his healing pouch. Tightening his lips, determination and concern showed in his face as they neared the burning mound. Scout, seeming to sense his masters thoughts, raced onwards with all of his being.
The Ranger reached the flames first, he drew up close and looked through the fiery curtain. The outline of two bodies wavered as the flame and heat shimmered as in a bubbly lens. The smoke blew in his eyes and filled his lungs but still he went on-lives were on the line!
Dismounting as he drew up besides the bodies, concern showed in his soot darkened face.
Kneeling besides the bodies, Tonto turned the man over and placed his ears next to his mouth. A weak breath escaped his parched lips.
“Margaret” he tried to whisper.
“You no talk, you rest” Tonto advised.
The Lone Ranger handed his canteen and cup to Tonto. Tonto filled the cup with some water.
“Drink” he said to the injured man. A slow trickle of water soothed the man’s dry throat and lips. The excess water flowed over his chin and washed the trail dust away. He breathed more easily then coughed violently. Tonto poured some more water into the mans throat, then proceeded to examine the man more closely.
“Kemo Sabe” Tonto said. “This man alive, but hurt.”
Tonto lifted the man’s shoulders up and gave him some more water. He drank deeply from his canteen, then lay down again.
“Margaret” he said, this time a little more strongly.
Tonto looked over at his masked companion, who had the limp young woman in his arms. Traces of violence marred her pretty face, bruises darkened her delicate cheekbones, and blood reddened her china like forehead. Her simple dress was ripped and torn, blood stained her shoulders and arms. Her rising chest indicated life, but for how long only Tonto could tell!
The Ranger, after dismounting had taken a quick survey of the wreck. Shattered burning pieces of wagon lay everywhere and the horses, still hitched to the main body of the wagon lay smoldering, their odor thankfully being blown away by the prairie wind.
“The dirty owlhoots’ll have to die if she’s hurt” the injured man spoke softly.
“Tonto” the Lone Ranger said “she seems to have passed out. I’ll put her on my blanket here.”
The Ranger gently lifted the injured woman from the ground. Grabbing the Rangers blanket, Tonto slid it beneath the young woman. Tonto and the Lone Ranger then moved the man beside the woman. He then gave the young woman some water as well. She swallowed easily, then coughed a bit. A small drink of water more calmed her cough as she rested easier.
Tonto examined the couple quickly, the man had broken his arm, and the woman was unconscious with no apparent injuries. But only time and observation would tell. The Masked Man knew that, and just as countless times before, Tonto and he would sit, and wait for signs of recovery.
As Tonto and the Ranger waited, they examined the wreckage more closely. The wagon was shattered, broken into virtually unrecognizable bits of wood and metal. The fire had claimed most of the flammable goods-clothes, books, bedding. What wasn’t burnt, was broken, the plates. the cups, the trinkets. Much had been destroyed, and what wasn’t destroyed filled only a small wash basin. The horses, now charred and burnt to a crisp by the flames, were buried. The remains of the animals were sure to have attracted wolves-the last thing needed right now.
Soon, the woman began to stir. Tonto, noticing this, moistened the cloth he drew out of his saddlebags earlier. Wiping away the blood mingled dirt from her face, he too noticed her beauty. Silently, he ministered to the injured couple. Within a few minutes, they both began to speak.
“Jim, faster. They’re going to…” she murmured.
“No No No.”
“Jim, we’re going to crash” she carried on.
The Ranger looked at Tonto.
“We’ll stay here tonight Tonto-then tomorrow we head to town, there’s trouble afoot!”
The young lady became coherent first, she looked at Tonto, then at the Ranger. Her eyes focused, then she spoke excitedly.
“You! You’ve got a mask!”
“We’ve got nothing left-all burnt in the fire” she whispered quickly. “Take what you want.”
Tonto brought his canteen to her trembling lips.
“Drink” he said as he tipped the canteen slightly.
“Take it all-take it” she said as she began to drink.
“Jim, they’re outlaws. Jim, wake up” she said.
Jim, now stirred at the mention of his name. His eyes flickered open, and then he too stared at the Masked man. A look of fear took hold of him as he spoke.
“Don’t kill Margaret, please.”
The Lone Ranger spoke soothingly.
“Don’t worry Jim, and Margaret. We’re friends. We found you here beside your smoldering wagon. We’ve gathered the unbroken goods together, and buried the dead horses.”
“You-you’re one of the outlaws. THEY HAD MASKS TOO! “ Jim exclaimed.
“No, we’re here to help. My mask stands for justice- not murder and thievery. Tonto and I will take you to Kievers Creek tomorrow, to see the Doctor. What happened here?” the Ranger asked.
Jim looked up into the darkening sky, then began to speak.
“We were traveling towards Kievers Creek when they began to follow us. We tried to outrun them, but they caught up. One of them shot the horses, and the wagon flipped. Thankfully we weren’t killed. We got a couple of shots off before they started burning the wagon. I must’ve passed out. Is Margaret okay?”
“Young lady okay. Bruises, but no breaks.”
“Thank God for that-I don’t know what I’d do without her. What didn’t burn?”
“Not much” the Ranger added. “ A rifle, a frying pan, two cups, and a wash basin. Are you thirsty?”
“Please-I think I can sit up.” Jim said as he reached up. His arm, set by Tonto, finally began to hurt in earnest. “Oww. What happened to my arm?” he asked.
“Probably broken” Tonto replied. “Should be bruised pretty good by now. Doctor can set arm in town tomorrow. After you rest tonight.”
Jim rubbed his arm.
“So much for homesteading-Uncle Rex will have to put us up for a while.”
“Uncle Rex, do you mean Rex Allen, the head of the cattleman’s association?” the Ranger asked.
“Yes, my name is Jim Allen, and this here is Margaret. We were supposed to start a new life with fifty acres and one hundred head of cattle. My arm really hurts. I guess we should’ve listened to the telegrams warning. “
The Rangers’ eyes burnt with curiosity.
“You received a telegram warning not to come?”
“Yes, we did. Jim and I got the telegram a couple of days before we left. We also heard rumours of trouble here, but we hoped they were false” Margaret added.
“It seems Tonto, that we’re needed here. Tomorrow, we talk to Rex Allen. “ the Ranger replied.
“You rest Jim. Ranger and I take care of you two tonight. Tomorrow, Doctor’s turn.” Tonto advised.
“You’re right Tonto” Margaret said. “Rest is all we should do, so much to think about. So much to do. So much…” and sleep claimed her.
The acrid smoke from the final pyre of wagon blew into the air as the prairie breeze carried it eastward. The remnants soon burnt to ashes, and then to glowing embers. Like an ill omen, the sun tarried for what seemed an eternity, then quickly dipped over the horizon, leaving long shadows as evidence of its passage.
The Town Doctor
After a restless night of slumber, Jim and Margaret awoke to the sizzling of bacon and the refreshing odour of boiling coffee. Jim, careful not to lean on his set arm, cautiously ate a full breakfast.
Tonto looked at Jim.
“Me see broken arm not slow down eating.”
“Well, I figure if it’s there, eat it!”
Margaret, after surveying the crash scene, sat down near Jim.
“It’s all gone Jim. The dishes, the bedding, the tools, I only hope Uncle Rex will stake us.” she said as she stared at Jim.
“Eat Margaret. I’m sure Rex will help us out. He was going to give us land and cattle wasn’t he?” Jim offered.
“Yes, he was. I guess you’re right. Let’s take one day at a time. Where’s the Lone Ranger Tonto?”
Tonto looked up from his plate.
“Lone Ranger head out at sunrise to track badmen. Should be here soon.”
Some miles away, the Lone Ranger had tracked the hurried horsemen to a grassy knoll. He found where the men had dismounted in wait. Examining the ground carefully …
“Hmm-four men Silver. These boots are custom made, larger and wider heel on left boot, regular on other” the Ranger talked out loud.
Silver whinnied in warning, and moved his head to the left.
“What’s wrong big fellow?” the Ranger asked. “I see what you mean-let’s hide in the bushes until we see what he’s doing.”
The Lone Ranger watched the stranger walk slowly along the top of the hill. A flash of metal tipped boots caught the Rangers eyes. The tall man found his horse, then mounted and quickly reined away.
“Did he see us Silver? I wonder?”
The Rangers gaze averted momentarily downward. Another glint of metal caught his attention-he stooped to pick up the shiny object-a bullet. Holding it between thumb and forefinger, he examined it closely.
Turning it around a couple of times, he spoke to Silver.
“Bent firing pin” he observed.
Pocketing the spent shell, he turned around and mounted Silver.
“To camp, Hi Yo Silver away!”
The Ranger and Silver covered the miles back to camp effortlessly. Arriving just in time to finish the last of the bacon and the steaming hot coffee, the Ranger ate quietly and then helped clean up the dishes.
“By the way Jim. You mentioned a telegram” the Ranger queried.
“Oh yeah, just before we left. We received a telegram warning us not to stake a claim-real strange though, it wasn’t signed” he answered.
“Did it say whom it was from at least?” the masked man asked.
“No, not even that. Do you want to see it? It’s here in my pocket.”
Jim fished around his pockets-front, back, shirt, then front again.
“It’s gone! I must’ve lost it in the excitement” he exclaimed.
The Ranger looked sternly at Jim.
“ Jim, it may have burnt in the fire. Not much was left as you have discovered already” the Ranger answered.
Turning to Tonto, he continued to speak.
“Tonto, let’s break camp-later we’ll take Jim and Margaret to see Doc Mix in town. Maybe it’s time to talk to the sheriff as well” the Ranger said.
Moving in perfect unison, the masked man and Tonto broke camp quickly and efficiently. Long years of trail experience showed as bed rolls, utensils, and various sundries were packed away on Scout and Silver with a minimum of wasted space. Jim and Margaret’s belongings were loaded on Scout. Silver easily carried the Ranger and Jim.
Along the way to Kiever Creek, Jim and the Ranger talked much. The ten miles passed quickly as Jim told the masked man about his Uncle Rex, and the rumblings of trouble in the area. By the time they arrived in town, Jim and Margaret had complete faith in the Ranger and Tonto.
The town of Kiever Creek was a typical western town, large ranches dotted the hills and landscape around the town, and their cattle herds moved on the pasture land as clouds in the sky. North of the town, Kiever Creek started up in the hills gathering momentum and fresh water to bring to the thirsty soil and the towns residents. Main street, on this particular day, was filled with life-the towns people teemed through the dusty streets. Entering from the west end, the travelers passed by Kiever Creek School (which doubled as the Kiever Creek Community Church), Jones Livery Stable, the Golden Palomino Saloon, the Kiever Creek Sentinel, Hodgsons store, the Sheriffs office, the land titles office, and finally, nestled between the veterinarian’s office Doc Farnsworth and the Dentists practice, Doc Mix’s office.
The town’s solid wooden sidewalks and clean streets spoke volumes of the pride of the citizens. Painted signs greeted the eye, and the auction mart bustled with activity. Yes, Kiever Creek was fill of life!
The Ranger, after Jim and he dismounted Silver, looped the reins around the weathered post. Silver whinnied in protest, but was soon calmed by the masked man. Tonto and Margaret, drew in besides the mighty stallion, and dismounted. Securing Scouts reins to the post, they stepped up to the sidewalk.
“We’ll go in and see Doc Mix” Jim said as he and Margaret opened the door to Doc Mix’s office. “If we’re lucky, we’ll see Uncle Rex in town.”
“Jim, Tonto and I will stay in the office here. Later tonight we’ll do some investigating of our own” the Ranger added.
Doc Mix’s office was modest, but complete. Two overstuffed chairs sat in the corner and a couple of Docs’ pictures hung on the walls. They sat down and looked at each other, each immersed in their own thoughts. The Ranger and Tonto too were lost in thought-busily planning their evening, busily planning the pursuit of the raiders!
“Jim-did we make a mistake in coming here?” Margaret asked.
“Don’t know yet, all I know is that we are going to finish what we started. Land and cattle we came for, and land and cattle I’m gonna get. With the Ranger here, I think we are going to do it!”
Doc Mix poked his head out of the door-”Thought I heard voices. Come on in. Doc’s door is always open.”
Jim and Margaret went in. The Ranger and Tonto, hidden by the early afternoon shadows, became active as soon as the door closed.
“Tonto, not much time. We must leave some messages for Rex Allen to come here, if he’s in town. Go and listen at the Saloon. Maybe we’ll find some more information out before we talk to the sheriff.”
Tonto stealthily left the doctors office and headed towards the Saloon. The Ranger, less mask and familiar shirt, followed, seeking out the Lucky Dollar Cafe and information about the raids.
Outside, a group of men gathered. Conversing in low tones, they nodded in agreement and split up. A glint of silver tipped boots caught the sun as the ‘leader’ walked towards the sheriffs office. He stopped and looked at Silver, smiled quickly, then carried on.
Inside, Doc Mix was standing by the window. Clad in well worn denim with a white medic’s tunic, he beamed friendliness. Waving them to a chair, he too sat down.
Offering his hand to Jim and Margaret, he spoke
“Doc Mix is the name-medicine’s my game. How can I help the two of you? “
“Well, my name is Jim and this here is Margaret, and we’re right pleased to meet you. You know my Uncle Rex I think, Rex Allen.”
Doc Mix’s eyes lit up.
“Well you’re darn tooting I do! So if he’s your uncle, you must be his nephew, and you young lady must be his niece. As a matter of fact-I saw him not an hour ago at the bank, if you’re lucky we can catch him.”
The doctor stood up to leave, Margaret spoke up.
“Aren’t you going to ask us why we’re here?”
Doc Mix turned around with a look of laughter in his eyes, “You’re right-darn near forgot my doctorin’. What brings you here anyway apart from your bandaged arm? That’s a pretty good job of wrapping that arm there-who did it anyway?”
“Tonto did-it’s still real sore though.” Jim replied.
Doc Mix, Tom, asked Jim to take his shirt off. Doing so caused him some pain.
Bruises were starting to form over his body where the previous days rough treatment had taken its toll. His arm, free of the bandage now, looked worse than Jim thought.
“Pretty ugly Doc, isn’t it?” Jim commented.
Tom Mix went over to his medicine chest and pulled out some jars, dabbing some cloths, he walked over to Jim and wiped the remaining dirt and dust off. The break point on his arm was starting to swell.
“I’m going to have to set this arm again Jim, you have a severely broken arm, probably going to be casted up for a couple of months. Well, let’s get down to fixing your arm Jim. Then I’ll check out the rest of your aches and pains “ Doc mix got right to work, his experience showing in his quiet efficiency. Soon, the arm was set again, and the splint was in place. Concern filled his face as the seriousness of the injuries set in.
“You’re lucky you’re still moving-you took a good beating didn’t you?” he commented.
“It was awful Doc, we were taken totally by surprise. Jim and I were coming towards Kiever Creek, talking away the hours, enjoying the beautiful scenery, when off in the distance we saw a group of men galloping towards us. They caught up in a few minutes, and when they were fifty feet from us, they began to shoot. First the horses sped up, and then the bumpy ride began-
“Margaret-get back in the wagon-NOW!” Jim shouted.
“No buts-get in the wagon and lie down, we’ll try to outrun them.”
Their wagon bounced violently over the terrain as Margaret tried to hang on. Belongings, once dearly packed for a new life , came to ricochet status inside the back. Glass broke, and pots clanged as the wagon sped onward in escape.
“Jim-we’re not going to make it” Margaret screamed.
“Margaret-take my rifle-SHOOT!” Jim commanded.
Margaret, raised in the east, quickly shed her fear and shot towards the group of men. Scattering them slightly, she reloaded and shot again and again. Jim Autry pushed the horses further and further, but soon their pursuers overtook them.
The lead horseman was alongside the wagon, raising his gun towards the horses, he took two shots, and down the noble beasts went. The wagon followed. Tumbling once onto it’s side, the violence of the roll sent Margaret and Jim through the air. Loose boxes scattered wildly in the air and landed haphazardly on the unbroken ground. Jim and Margaret landed painfully.
The rest of the men came quickly to the wagon and set fire to it-Jim tried to send off a few shots, but the armed bandits replied many-fold quickly forcing him to inaction.
“Thet’ll teach you-cattle farmer” the leader growled.
Margaret, on the ground, remained still as the bandits finished their ransacking. Jim’s arm, now bent in an unnatural angle, began to pulsate with pain.
“Don’t” was all he could muster as unconsciousness overtook him, his good arm, outstretched in one final plea.
“The next thing we knew Doc, the masked man and his Indian friend were beside us. They made sure we were comfortable, and the Indian Tonto, set Jim’s arm. We stayed the night while Jim rested. And here we are-” Margaret finished.
“Well, you are lucky you survived that” Doc commented. “You should tell the sheriff-maybe he can get a posse up and try and track them nasty owlhoots down.”
Jim looked at Margaret.
“After we see Uncle Rex we will. I feel a little better already” Jim added.
“Margaret, your turn for Doc to examine you. I’ll wait in the office.”
Jim sat down carefully.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto came into the office while Jim was resting.
“Jim, we found out that your uncle is in town today. We left word at a couple of places for him to meet you here. If he’s still in town, he’ll be here soon. How’s your arm?” the Masked man queried.
“The Doc says it’ll be casted for quite a while-thank you for helping us.” Jim responded.
“Our job here is not done yet Jim. There are a lot of unanswered questions. Tonto here will…” the Ranger said.
The door opened to Doc Mix’s office and Rex Allen rushed in. His tall muscular frame bespoke of hardship and endurance, and his eyes and gentle voice expressed concern and genuine caring. Right now, they seethed urgency!
“Jim” he shouted as he swept past the Masked Man and Tonto.
“Jim, are you all right? What happened?”
Rex Allen turned around and stepped back.
“Hands up-outlaw!” he said as his hand reached for his gunbelt.
The Ranger and Tonto stood there. The Lone Ranger reached into his gunbelt cautiously, and pulled out a silver bullet. Handing it to Rex he smiled.
“You may recognize this-” he said.
Rex took the bullet from the Rangers hand. He seemed to think for a moment.
“It’s silver, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is-and my mask stands for justice, not deceit and villainy”
Rex looked at the bullet and then back at the Ranger. He too smiled.
“My name is Rex Allen, and you must be the Lone Ranger, and Tonto” he offered his hand after replacing his pistol. “Mighty glad to know you, mighty glad indeed.”
Turning back to Jim he continued.
“Jim, are you all right?”
“We took quite a tumble with the wagon, but thanks to the masked man and Tonto and Doc Mix, we’re fine. My arms gonna lay me up for a couple of months though.”
Margaret walked out then from the doctors examination room. She smiled in recognition of her Uncle Rex.
“Margaret-so good to see you” Rex said as he embraced her.
“Uncle Rex, it’s good to be here.”
Jim looked at Margaret-”How did the Doc say you are?”
Doc Mix came out of the door and replied for her.
“Well, shaken up but not half as bad as you are. A little bit of rest and a few hot baths will do her wonders. Lucky to be alive with the fall you two took, lucky indeed.”
“Well Margaret, that’s good news. What happened to you two anyway?’ Rex queried.
Sparing no detail, Jim and Margaret told Rex the story of their run in with the group of men. The Ranger and Tonto filled in the rest. All the while , Rex Allen was deep in thought and concern wrinkled the handsome face.
“Well” Rex said “I guess that makes 11 raids now on settlers and cattle farmers.”
“Eleven?” the masked man repeated.
“Yeah, eleven, all in about a three month span. No clues, no eye witnesses who could recognize anyone, and worst of all-I’ve lost a few good friends in those raids.” Rex returned.
“What about the local law-hasn’t the Sheriff done anything about them?” the Masked Man asked.
“Sheriff Stockton, Bill, has come up dry on every occasion. No matter how many possess he rounds up, no clues. You could say the population of Kievers Creek hasn’t exactly put much confidence in him recently. I have a feeling this is going to be a clueless raid as well” Rex commented.
“Do you have any ideas Rex” the Ranger asked?
Rex shook his head, and frowned.
“Well we have had some ideas, but each one has proven false. “
The Lone Ranger looked at Tonto-communicating seemingly without words. Tonto nodded in understanding.
“Mebbe Tonto help posse” he added.
Rex looked at Tonto, and then at the Ranger.
“Say, you wouldn’t be thinking of helping us would you? I do have a couple of suspicions that I can’t prove. Being the Head of the Cattleman’s Association does have its disadvantages sometimes.”
The Ranger replied.
“Mr Allen-you can count on us!”
Rex exploded with excitement.
“You’re just what the Doctor ordered-right Doc!”
Doc Mix mirrored Rex’s enthusiasm.
“I feel like justice has just arrived in Kiever Creek, yes sir, things are looking up already!”
New hand-made “Parlour” guitar features rare pre-1950’s Brazilian Rosewood
For Red Deer luthier David Gilmore, it’s really all about the wood. So he was pretty damned jazzed when fate brought him a rare piece of Brazilian Rosewood.
Gilmore has many friends in the small and exclusive world of guitar-builders. And they tend to help each other out, swap pieces of wood, and give each other advice and encouragement. This special piece of Brazilian Rosewood came into Gilmore’s life as a result of one of these friendships.
“I obtained this wood from Jake Peters who is an amazing luthier. Jake obtained the board back in the 80’s from an old guy who was retiring who had it in his stash for decades. According to Jake, this wood was harvested pre 1950.”
Pre-1950! Well before the Cites treaty, which in 1992 added Brazilian Rosewood to the list and banned its export, greatly restricting the supply of this rare and coveted wood. In the case of this beautiful handmade Parlour guitar, the back, sides, fretboard, bridge, headstock, veneer and binding are all made from this one rare piece of wood.
“I was able to cut 3 complete back and side sets out of this board, and this is my last of the stash.”
This stunning guitar features a Sitka spruce top from a board that David has had squirreled for several years.
“When going through the boards, when I tapped the board, the hairs on the back of my neck stood. That was it!”
To complement the look of the iron acetate finish, Gilmore commissioned MJS Pickups out of Mississauga Ontario to make a one of a kind sound hole pick up that has a very vintage look and feel.
If you want to learn more Gilmore Guitars and this rare and beautiful instrument, click here.
Watch candlelight vigil to honour Dr. Walter Reynolds
Our community honoured Dr. Walter Reynolds with a Candlelight vigil on Friday August 14th.
You can watch it here.
If you want to donate go to the Dr. Walter Reynolds Memorial Fund, organized by Dr. Johan Myburgh – go to the RDPCN website www.reddeerpcn.com or click on this link (we have ensured this is the official link)
Read more on Todayville.com.
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