Cattle Brands eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 256 pages of information about Cattle Brands.
hurling death into the circle about the fire.  There was no cessation of the rain of lead until every gun was emptied, when the men sprang back, each to his window or door, where a carbine, carefully left, awaited his hand to complete the work of death.  In the few moments that elapsed, the smoke arose and the fire burned afresh, revealing the accuracy of their aim.  As they reentered to review their work, two of the bandits were found alive and untouched, having thrown themselves in a corner amid the confusion of smoke in the onslaught.  Thus they were spared the fate of the others, though the ghastly sight of seven of their number, translated from life into death, met their terrorized gaze.  Human blood streamed across the once peaceful hearth, while brains bespattered life-sized figures in bas-relief of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child which adorned the broad columns on either side of the ample fireplace.  In the throes of death, one bandit had floundered about until his hand rested in the fire, producing a sickening smell from the burning flesh.

As Don Ramon was released, he stood for a few moments half dazed, looking in bewilderment at the awful spectacle before him.  Then as the truth gradually dawned upon him,—­that this sacrifice of blood meant liberty to himself,—­he fell upon his knees among the still warm bodies of his tormentors, his face raised to the Virgin in exultation of joy and thanksgiving.



In the early part of September, ’91, the eastern overland express on the Denver and Rio Grande was held up and robbed at Texas Creek.  The place is little more than a watering-station on that line, but it was an inviting place for hold-ups.

Surrounded by the fastnesses of the front range of the Rockies, Peg-Leg Eldridge and his band selected this lonely station as best fitted for the transaction in hand.  To the southwest lay the Sangre de Cristo range, in which the band had rendezvoused and planned this robbery.  Farther to the southwest arose the snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide, in whose silent solitude an army might have taken refuge and hidden.

It was an inviting country to the robber.  These mountains offered retreats that had never known the tread of human footsteps.  Emboldened by the thought that pursuit would be almost a matter of impossibility, they laid their plans and executed them without a single hitch.

About ten o’clock at night, as the train slowed up as usual to take water, the engineer and fireman were covered by two of the robbers.  The other two—­there were only four—­cut the express car from the train, and the engineer and fireman were ordered to decamp.  The robbers ran the engine and express car out nearly two miles, where, by the aid of dynamite, they made short work of a through safe that the messenger could not open.  The express company concealed the amount of money lost to the robbers, but smelters, who were aware of certain retorts in transit by this train, were not so silent.  These smelter products were in gold retorts of such a size that they could be made away with as easily as though they had reached the mint and been coined.

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Cattle Brands from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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