He had passed through innumerable dangers, but had at last come back in safety, and brought with him an ox-team.
Never in his life had Buffalo Billy felt the joy of that moment, and, though not a boy given to showing his feelings, he burst into tears of delight.
As it was impossible to at once return, on account of the very great depth of the snow, Dave told Billy they would wait until spring, as he had plenty of provisions, and that fur animals were plenty.
As soon as the snow began to melt Dave got his traps in, collected his pelts, which numbered a thousand, and putting them on the wagon, so as to serve as a bed for Billy, started his oxen homeward.
After twelve days they reached the ranch where Dave had purchased the oxen, paid in furs for the team, and started on to Junction City. Arriving there they sold their team, wagon and furs, the latter bringing them about two hundred and fifty dollars, a handsome sum for each when divided, and which made Billy’s heart glad to take home with him, for it paid off a mortgage on his mother’s farm.
Buffalo Billy strikes it rich.
It was months before Billy obtained perfect use of his broken leg and was able to throw his crutches aside; but when he did do so it was with a glad heart, for once more he longed to be upon the plains.
Hearing of a rich discovery of gold in Colorado, he joined a party of miners that were bound there, and, reaching the mining camps, staked out a claim and began work.
He was the youngest person in the mines, in fact the only boy there, and with many he was a great favorite; but there were a few men there who sought to impose upon him on account of his youth.
This treatment Buffalo Billy was not the person to stand, and the result was one of his foes struck him one night without the slightest cause.
The result was a general row, for Billy’s friends at once backed him in resenting the blow, and, though the fracas lasted but a few minutes, there were several burials next day as the result.
Of course this made Billy more disliked by those who, without reason, had become his foes, and to add to their dislike, he one day struck a rich vein that promised to pan out well in ore.
A few days he toiled in his lead, laying up considerable sums by his work, and one morning, as he went to his mine, he found it occupied by two rough-looking men whom he did not remember to have ever seen before.
“Well, pards, I guess you’re up the wrong tree,” he said, pleasantly.
“I guesses not; this are our lead,” said one, rudely.
“How do you make that out?”
“We staked it months ago, and was called away, and now we has returned to it.”
“Well, I believe you both to be lying, and until you prove it’s your claim you can’t have it,” was the bold reply.