The boy stage driver of the overland.
After six months longer of Pony Riding over the dangerous trail of seventy-six miles, ridden by day and night in all kinds of weather, Buffalo Billy met with an adventure that was the cause of his again finding another occupation.
The Indians had become very troublesome as fall came on and a number of pony riders had been killed and stations burned along the route until there were few who cared to take the risks.
The stage coaches also were often attacked, and on one occasion the driver and two passengers were killed and several others were wounded.
But Billy did not flinch from his long, lonely and desperate rides, and seemed to even take pleasure in taking the fearful chances against death which he was forced to do on every ride out and in.
One day as he sped along like the wind he saw ahead of him the stage coach going at full speed and no one on the box.
At once he knew there was trouble, and as he drew nearer he discovered some Indians dash out of a ravine and give chase.
As he heard the clatter of hoofs behind him he looked around and saw a dozen red-skins coming in pursuit, and felt confident that he must have dashed by an ambush they were preparing for him, by suddenly changing his course and riding around instead of through a canyon.
The stage coach was now in the open prairie, and dashing along the trail as fast as the horses could go, while the Indians in close pursuit numbered but three.
Billy was well mounted upon a sorrel mare, and urging her with the spur he soon came in range of the red-skin furthest in the rear and hastily fired.
Down went the pony, and the Indian was thrown with such violence that he was evidently stunned, as he lay where he had fallen.
Another shot wounded one of the remaining Indians, and they hastily sped away to the right oblique in flight, while Billy dashed on to the side of the coach.
There were five passengers within, and two of them were women, and all were terribly frightened, though evidently not knowing that their driver lay dead upon the box, the reins still grasped in his nerveless hands.
Riding near, Billy seized his mail bags and dextrously got from his saddle to the stage, and the next instant he held the reins in his firm gripe.
He knew well that Ted Remus, the driver, had carried out a box of gold, and was determined to save it for the company if in his power.
His horse, relieved of his weight and trained to run the trail, kept right on ahead, and he, skillfully handling the reins, for he was a fine driver, drove on at the topmost speed of the six animals drawing the coach.
Behind him came the Indians, steadily gaining; but Billy plied the silk in a style that made his team fairly fly, and they soon reached the hills.