Turning at a shout he saw Flett and Edgar walking toward him, and he went with them to the fallen horse. A man lay, gray in face, among the grass, held down by the body of the animal which partly rested upon him.
“Get me out,” he begged hoarsely. “Leg’s broke.”
George felt incapable of helping. He sat down while the other two extricated the man; then Flett placed his carbine against the horse’s head, and after the report it ceased its struggling.
“She came down on me sudden; couldn’t get my foot clear in time,” the rustler explained.
“You had to be stopped. I sighted at a hundred; a quick shot,” Flett remarked. “Is there anything else the matter except your leg?”
“I guess it’s enough,” said the helpless man.
Flett turned to George.
“Walk into the bluff and you’ll strike our camp. West must stay with me until we put on some fixing that will hold this fellow’s leg together.”
George did as he was bidden, and sat down again limply when he reached an opening in the wood where a pile of branches, with a kettle suspended over them, had been laid ready for lighting. Presently the others rejoined him.
“The fellow can’t be moved until we get a wagon,” said Flett. “We’ve been looking for you all over the country, but it was quite a while before we got a hint that sent us down this way. We had stopped in the bluff when we saw a fellow running with three mounted men after him, and we lay close, expecting to get the bunch. It’s unfortunate they got too near you and I had to shoot, but I guess the boys will bring them back.”
Edgar looked at his comrade reproachfully.
“If you could only have sprinted a little and kept ahead, we would either have outflanked them or have had the finest imaginable ride with every chance of running the fellows down. As things turned out, I couldn’t go off with the troopers until I found that you had got through unhurt.”
“I’m sorry,” George told him, with a little dry laugh. “But I don’t think I spared any effort during the last quarter of a mile.”
Then he related his adventures, and answered a number of questions.
“You’ll take my horse,” said Flett, “and start for the railroad as soon as you feel able. Get on to Regina by the first train; judging by the last wire I got, you’ll still be in time. West had better go with you to the station, and he can send a wagon for the man who’s hurt. Now I guess we’ll get you something to eat.”
“I shouldn’t mind,” said George. “It’s twenty-four hours since my last meal, and that one was remarkably small.”
He drank a canful of cold tea, and then went suddenly to sleep while the others lighted the fire.
The trial at Regina proved sensational. Crimes attended with violence were not unknown in the vicinity, and cattle were now and then stolen in the neighboring province of Alberta; but that such things as the prosecutor’s tale revealed should happen aroused wide-spread astonishment and virtuous indignation. Nevertheless, they were proved, for Flett had procured a number of witnesses and, what was more, had secured their attendance.