Behind them, as Sultan, straining every nerve and muscle to carry them to safety, galloped ahead of the cattle, the boys rode into the ruck, beating the brutes with their quirts in an endeavor to stop them.
But they went a mile before they began to slow down, and Ted was able to deflect the course of Sultan, who was beginning to tire from the double burden and the terrific pace.
But at last the steers calmed down, and permitted themselves to be driven quietly to where the rest of the herd were grazing.
As soon as Ted had restored the stolen cattle, he and Bud started back into the valley in search of Shan Rhue and Sol Flatbush, but, although they searched everywhere, the renegades could not be found.
In the cave through which they had come from the Hole in the Wall they found a running branding iron, and fastened to the wall the following notice:
“To Ted strong
and others: You win this time, but there
others, and I am a lucky man in the end. You can’t beat me.
Later they discovered that Shan Rhue had recently registered in Colorado the Circle Dollar brand, and evidently it was his purpose to steal nearly all of the Circle S herd.
But although he escaped with his lieutenant, Sol Flatbush, the men of his band, who had been captured by the soldiers, were convicted and sent to prison for long terms, after they had confessed that Shan Rhue’s organization had made a business of rustling cattle all through the Southwest for many years.
Ted received several letters from the authorities in Washington commending his services in averting an uprising of the Indians, and the capture of the white renegades, but while this was gratifying, he felt disappointed that Shan Rhue and Sol Flatbush were not in prison, also. However, Ted believed in the motto, “I bide my time,” and he felt in his bones that some time in the future his path and that of the bully, Shan Rhue, would cross again.
No. 42 of the western
story library, by Edward C. Taylor, is
entitled “Ted Strong in Montana.”