A rest was then called for both horses and men, and once more they started out for the second run, a small herd appearing opportunely in sight.
In this run Buffalo Bill’s tally was eighteen to Comstock’s fourteen, and another halt was made for rest and refreshments.
When called to the scratch for the third run, Buffalo Bill, knowing he had the best buffalo horse in the country, stripped him of saddle and bridle and sprung upon his bare back.
A third herd was looked up, and the two killers began their work with a will, and Buffalo Bill sailed to the front with thirteen, which gave him a list of sixty-nine to Comstock’s forty-six.
The third run closed the match, and Buffalo Bill was proclaimed the winner and the champion buffalo-killer of the prairies.
A game for life and death.
Having concluded his engagement with the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Buffalo Bill once more became a Government scout, and it was while serving on the far border that he won the hatred of a notorious band of desperadoes whom he had several times thwarted in their intended crimes.
Hearing that they had said they would kill him at sight, he boldly rode into the town where they had their haunts, and, true to their word, two of them came out and attacked him.
At the first shot Bill was wounded in the right arm, which destroyed his aim, and, ere he could draw a revolver with his left hand, his horse fell dead beneath him, pinning him to the ground.
Instantly his foes rushed upon him to complete their work, when, rising on his wounded arm, he leveled his revolver with his left hand and shot them down as they were almost upon him.
An army officer who witnessed the affray was so much pleased with the nerve of Buffalo Bill that he presented him with a splendid horse, one of a pair he had just received from the East, and having had his wound dressed the scout rode back to camp delighted with his present.
But the leader of the desperado band still swore to kill Buffalo Bill, and to pick a quarrel with him one night in a saloon, boldly dared him to play him a game of cards.
“Yes, you accursed thief and murderer, I’ll play you a game of cards if you will let me name the stakes,” said Buffalo Bill.
“All right, name what you please, so you play,” was the answer, and the crowd gathered eagerly around, confident that there would be trouble.
“I’ll name life and death as the stakes,” said Buffalo Bill.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that if you win the game I’ll stand ten paces away and give you a shot at me; if I win, you are to give me a shot at you.”
The desperado did not like this arrangement, but having challenged Buffalo Bill to play, and given him the choice of the stakes, he dared not back down, and said: