“’Colonel! we’ve slept on the same blanket, we’ve et the same grub, we’ve made and lost together, and I had to give him a show, that’s all. I’m into this here trouble now. Tell me how I’m going to get out. What would you do?’
“He turns to the open window and says: ’Partners are partners! That’s my horse out there at that post. If I were you I’d run like hell.’
“That was the willingest horse I ever rode, and I hated to sell him, but he was tolable used up when I got across the line.”
THE COLONEL AND THE HORSE-THIEF
Those marks on my arm? Oh! I got ’em playin’ horse-thief. Yes, playin’. I wasn’t a real one, you know—Well, I s’pose it was sort of a queer game. Came near bein’ my last too, and if Black Hawk hadn’t been the best horse in Texas the old Colonel would’ve killed me sure. He chased me six miles as it was—me with one arm full of his buckshot and anxious to explain, and him strainin’ to get in range again and not wishin’ any further particulars.
That was way back in the sixties, when I was as wild a lad as ever straddled a pony.
You see five of us had gone over into the Crow Nation to race horses with the Indians, and it was on the way back that the old man and the bullet holes figger in the story.
At the beginnin’ it was Jim Barrett’s plan, and it had jest enough risk and devilment in it to suit a harum-scarum young feller like me; so we got five of the boys who had good horses, lumped together all of our money, and rode out to invade the reservation.
You know how an Indian loves to run horses? Well, the Crows had a good deal of money then, and our scheme was to go over there, get up a big race, back our horses with all we had, and take down the wealth.
Takin’ chances? Don’t you believe it. That’s where the beauty of Jim’s plan commenced to sort of shine through.
You see, as soon as the money was up and the horses started, every Indian would be watchin’ the race and yellin’ at the nags, then, in the confusion, our boys was to grab the whole pot, Indian’s money and ours too, and we’d make our get away across the river back into Texas.
We figured that we could get a few minutes start of ’em, and, with the horses we had under us, there wasn’t much danger of their gettin’ in range before we crossed back to where they couldn’t follow us.
Well, sir! I never see anything work out like that scheme did. Them Crows was dead anxious to run their ponies and seemed skeered that we wouldn’t let ’em get all their money up.
As we was eatin’ supper the night before the race, Donnelly says: “Boys, I’m sore that we didn’t have more coin. If we’d worked ’em right they’d ‘a’ give us odds. We could ‘a’ got five to three anyhow, and maybe more.”
“They shore have got a heap of confidence in them skates of their’n,” says Kink Martin. “I never see anybody so anxious to play a race in my life. If it wasn’t all planned out the way it is, I’d like to stick and see which hoss is the best. I’d back Black Hawk agin any hunk of meat in the Territory, with the Kid here in the saddle.”