The train men tried to dissuade Billy from this determination, for they saw the Danite was anxious to take him at his word, and to kill him; but he had made the offer and the Mormon urged it on, and the arrangements were made to fight with pistols at fifty paces, walking on each other and firing until one fell.
They at once took their stands and Joe Smith gave the word, saying in a low tone before doing so:
“He’s a boy in years; but he must be got rid of.”
At the word the Danite advanced at a rapid walk firing; but Buffalo Billy stood still, and waited until he had received four shots, all coming dangerously near, when he suddenly threw his revolver to a level and drew trigger.
At the flash the man fell, shot in the leg, and the duel ended.
But the Danites would not give up the horse, saying that a wounded man could not continue the fight, and as Billy had not killed his foe, the animal could not be claimed by them.
Wild Bill and Lew Simpson roundly cursed Joe Smith and his Danites for a set of thieves, while Billy said sadly:
“Good-by, Sable, old fellow, good-by.”
As he spoke he went up to his splendid horse, that stood saddled near, and throwing himself upon his back, with a defiant yell, bounded away like an arrow from the bow.
The Danites opened a perfect fusilade of pistol-shots upon the boy, but they flew harmlessly by him, and a number mounted and gave pursuit in hot haste.
But Sable Satan left them far behind and they gave up the chase, while Billy hung about until the train-men came along, and joined them, receiving from one and all the highest praise for his daring escape.
Some days after the disconsolate train-men reached Fort Bridger, to find that other trains than theirs had been robbed by the Danites.
A hot Indian fight.
As it was late in the fall Lew Simpson and his men were compelled to winter at the fort, where there were a number of troops and train employees of Russell, Majors and Waddell, who were formed into military companies, officered by wagon-masters.
As Wild Bill was placed in command of the battalion of train-men, he made Buffalo Billy an aide-de camp and the boy devoted himself assiduously to the duties devolving upon him, and before the long and tedious winter passed was forced to experience hardships of the severest kind, as the garrison had to live on mule meat, and haul wood from the distant mountains themselves, their animals having been served up as food.
In the spring Simpson started east with a train, and Buffalo Bill accompanied him as hunter for the men, his well known marksmanship and skill in securing game readily getting for him that position.
One day Lew Simpson and an “extra hand” accompanied him on one of his hunting expeditions, and to their surprise they came upon a band of Indians coming out of a canyon not far from them.