Cattle Brands eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 256 pages of information about Cattle Brands.

Calling off his men, they let little grass grow under their feet as they rode to town.  The young man roused his father and uncle, who in turn went out and asked their friends to come to their assistance.  Together with the owners of the sixty head, by daybreak they had eighteen mounted and armed men.

The sheriff paid no attention to the advice of young Gray, but when day broke he saw that he had more horses than he wanted, as there was a brand or two there he had no claim on, just or unjust, and they must be cut out or trouble would follow.  One of the men with Ninde knew of a corral where this work could be done, and to this corral, which was at least fifteen miles from the town where the rescue party of Gray had departed at daybreak, they started.  The pursuing posse soon took the trail of the horses from where they left the pasture, and as they headed back toward Texas, it was feared it might take a long, hard ride to overtake them.  The gait was now increased to the gallop, not fast, probably covering ten miles an hour, which was considered better time than the herd could make under any circumstances.

After an hour’s hard riding, it was evident, from the trail left, that they were not far ahead.  The fact that they were carrying off with them horses that were the private property of men in the rescue party did not tend to fortify the sheriff in the good opinion of any of the rescuers.  It was now noticed that the herd had left the trail in the direction of a place where there had formerly been a ranch house, the corrals of which were in good repair, as they were frequently used for branding purposes.  On coming in sight of these corrals, Gray’s party noticed that some kind of work was being carried on, so they approached it cautiously.  The word came back that it was the horses.

Gray said to his party, “Keep a short distance behind me.  I’ll open the ball, if there is any.”  To the others of his party, it seemed that the supreme moment in the old man’s life had come.  Over his determined features there spread a smile of the deepest satisfaction, as though some great object in life was about to be accomplished.  Yet in that determined look it was evident that he would rather be shot down like a dog than yield to what he felt was tyranny and the denial of his rights.  When his party came within a quarter of a mile of the corrals, it was noticed that Ninde and his deputies ceased their work, mounted their horses, and rode out into the open, the sheriff in the lead, and halted to await the meeting.

Gray rode up to within a hundred feet of Ninde’s posse, and dismounting handed the reins of his bridle to his son.  He advanced with a steady, even stride, a double-barreled shotgun held as though he expected to flush a partridge.  At this critical juncture, his party following him up, it seemed that reputations as bad men were due to get action, or suffer a discount at the hands of heretofore peaceable men.  Every man in either party had his arms where they would be instantly available should the occasion demand it.  When Gray came within easy hailing distance, his challenge was clear and audible to every one.  “What in hell are you doing with my horses?”

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Cattle Brands from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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