“It’s pretty bad; quite impossible to get after them. They’ll head for Montana as fast as they can ride.”
“Did you see any of them clearly?”
“One fellow looked like Langside, though I couldn’t swear to him; but I’d know the man who knifed my horse. Remembered that would be desirable, in case he escaped me; and I got a good look at him. Now, if you feel able shall we make a start? I’m afraid the horse is too lame to carry you.”
He picked up the knife. Grant rose, and they set off, leading the horse, which moved slowly and painfully. It had grown dark and the trail was rough, but the farmer plodded homeward, stopping a few moments now and then. The path, however, grew smoother when they had left the sandy ridges behind, and by and by the lights of the homestead commenced to twinkle on the vast shadowy plain. Soon after they reached it, George rode away, mounted on a fresh horse, in search of Constable Flett.
George was tired and sleepy when he reached the settlement early in the morning, and found Flett at Hardie’s house. It transpired from their conversation that there had been a disturbance at the Sachem on the return of a party which had driven out to the sale, and one man, who accused a companion of depriving him of a bargain, had attacked and badly injured him with a decanter. Flett, being sent for, had arrested the fellow, and afterward called upon the clergyman for information about his antecedents and character. He listened with close attention while George told his tale; and then examined the knife he produced.
“This is about the limit!” he exclaimed. “You wouldn’t have persuaded me that the thing was possible when I was first sent into the district. It isn’t what one expects in the wheat-belt, and it certainly has to be stopped.”
“Of course,” said George, with some impatience. “But wouldn’t it be wiser to consider the ways and means? At present the fellows are no doubt pushing on for the frontier with two valuable teams and a wad of stolen bills.”
Flett smiled at him indulgently.
“This isn’t a job that can be put through in a hurry. If they’re heading for the boundary—and I guess they are—they’ll be in Dakota or Montana long before any of the boys I’ll wire to could come up with them. Our authority doesn’t hold on American soil.”
“Is that to be the end of it?”
“Why, no,” Flett answered dryly. “As I guess you have heard, they have had trouble of this kind in Alberta for a while; and most every time the boys were able to send back any American mavericks and beef-cattle that were run into Canada. As the result of it, our chiefs at Regina are pretty good friends with the sheriffs and deputies on the other side. They’re generally willing to help us where they can.”