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W J American Hero

W J American Hero

Автором Michael W. Mountain

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W J American Hero

Автором Michael W. Mountain

Длина:
414 pages
6 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Dec 29, 2016
ISBN:
9781483462110
Формат:
Книге

Описание

WJ American Hero is the final book in the Mountain Family trilogy. This action-packed fictional story begins in 1864 as the family moves to their new homestead in Blue Earth County in southern Minnesota. After the Dakota War of 1862, the largest Indian war in American history, the entire Indian population of Minnesota was forced to leave their lands throughout the state. Once the Indian population was exiled from the state, the federal government auctioned the land to the settlers. The Mountain family placed bids at the auction and purchased several parcels of Winnebago Indian land in southern Minnesota.

As the family was attempting to get settled in Blue Earth County, three of its members made the decision to leave the family’s homestead and head west to the new frontier of Wyoming.

The travelers from Minnesota soon realized that they would be facing an increasing amount of danger every day. They could have never been prepared for what was in store for them in the Wild West.
Издатель:
Издано:
Dec 29, 2016
ISBN:
9781483462110
Формат:
Книге

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W J American Hero - Michael W. Mountain

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CAST OF CHARACTERS

1865

1. WJ Mountain – SON OF CHEWOA/MENOMINEE INDIAN/ 17 YEARS OLD/ CIVIL WAR HERO/SHARPSHOOTER/AWARDED MEDAL OF HONOR/ EXPERT WITH KNIVES, PISTOLS & SHARPS RIFLE/ WILLIAM MOUNTAIN WAS MENTOR & ADOPTED FATHER.

2. Jim (Slim) Donahue – BORN IN KERRY, IRELAND/AGE 22/MOVED TO NORTHFIELD, MN AS A CHILD/JOINED THE ARMY AND FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR/CARRIED A WOUNDED WJ TO SAFETY @ THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG/WJ’S BEST FRIEND AND CONSTANT COMPANION SINCE THE WAR.

3. Emma Lewis Mountain – MIXED-RACE-BLACK & NATIVE INDIAN/28 YEAR OLD/DAUGHTER OF DECEASED MOTHER FANNY LEWIS MOUNTAIN OF THE MENOMINEE TRIBE/EXPERT WITH KNIFE & SHARP’S RIFLE.

4. William Mountain – BORN KILLEAGH, IRELAND /46 YEARS OLD/IRISH REBEL/SELF TAUGHT EXPERT WITH KNIFE/FAMILY PROTECTOR & MENTOR.

5. Anne Flynn Mountain – BORN FERMOY, IRELAND/44 YEARS OLD/WILLIAM’S WIFE OF 23 YEARS.

6. Maggie Mountain O’Connor - BORN FERMOY, IRELAND/34 YEARS OLD/ADOPTED DAUGHTER OF WILLIAM &ANNE/WILLIAM RESCUED HER FROM GANGSTERS IN FIVE POINTS NY/LOVE INTEREST OF HARRY DALY.

7. Bridget O’Connor – BORN IN WISCONSIN/13 YEARS OLD/DAUGHTER OF MAGGIE AND DECEASED HUSBAND RUSSELL/LOVE INTEREST OF WJ MOUNTAIN.

8. William & Anne Mountain’s Biological Children – PATRICK (AGE 21)/ BONNIE (AGE 19)/MOLLY (AGE 16).

9. Patrick Mountain - BECOMES PART-OWNER OF MOUNTAIN GENERAL STORE. LOVE INTEREST OF MARCIE DALTON.

10. Bonnie Mountain - BECOMES THE SCHOOL TEACHER IN LYRA/SHE IS THE FUTURE WIFE OF FINNEGAN O’GORMAN.

11. Chewoa – MENOMINEE INDIAN/33 YEARS OLD/ADOPTED BY MOLLY & PATRICK MOUNTAIN/WIFE OF DECEASED HUSBAND LITTLE BEAR/MOTHER OF WJ MOUNTAIN/ALSO EXPERT WITH A KNIFE/WILLIAM’S MOST TRUSTED ALLY. ALSO MOTHER OF BENA.

12. Davis Lewis Mountain -MIXED-RACE-BLACK & NATIVE INDIAN/ AGE 29 YEAR OLD/SON OF DECEASED MOTHER FANNY LEWIS MOUNTAIN/EXPERT WITH SHARP’S RIFLE.

13. Jacob Lewis Mountain - MIXED-RACE-BLACK & NATIVE INDIAN/AGE 26/YOUNGEST SON OF DECEASED FANNY LEWIS MOUNTAIN/EXPERT WITH SHARP’S RIFLE.

14. Molly McCarthy Mountain- BORN IN KILLEAGH, IRELAND/46 YEARS OLD/MARRIED TO PATRICK MOUNTAIN/ESCAPED LORD WEBB’S COMPOUND WITH WILLIAM/LEFT IRELAND WITH THE THREE MOUNTAIN BROTHERS WILLIAM, PATRICK & SC, ALONG WITH COUSIN MARK.

15. Patrick Mountain -BORN IN KILLEAGH, IRELAND/ 51 YEARS OLD/WILLIAM’S OLDEST BROTHER/ALSO ESCAPED FROM IRELAND/MOLLY & PATRICK ARE BOOKKEEPERS OF THE FAMILY ASSETS.

16. Molly & Patrick Mountain’s Children – ADOPTED DAUGHTER CHEWOA/BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN: JAMES (AGE 21)/LIBBY (AGE 17).

17. James Mountain - PART-OWNER IN MOUNTAIN’S GENERAL STORE.

18. Sean C Mountain (SC) BORN IN KILLEAGH, IRELAND/ 48 YEARS OLD/ WILLIAM’S MIDDLE BROTHER/ MARRIED EMILIA CAMPBELL MOUNTAIN/MANAGER OF THE MOUNTAIN PROPERTIES.

19. Emilia Campbell Mountain – BORN IN COUNTY TYRONE IN NORTHERN IRELAND/ AGE 45/CAME TO AMERICA WITH GRANDPARENTS/MET THE MOUNTAIN FAMILY IN FIVE POINTS, NY.

20. SC & Emilia Mountain’s Biological Children – KATHLEEN ROSE (AGE 18)/ROSEMARY (AGE 15).

21. Margaret Flynn Mountain – BORN IN FERMOY, IRELAND/ AGE 42/ SISTER OF ANNE FLYNN MOUNTAIN/ WIDOW OF THE DECEASED MARK MOUNTAIN & BERT SHANE/NO CHILDREN.

22. Greta & Brother Daniel Acker – BORN IN GERMANY/GRETA AGE 25/DANIEL AGE 26/BOTH RESCUED BY WILLIAM FROM DERANGED FATHER.

23. Sally O’Gorman – BORN IN KILLKENNY, IRELAND/ AGE 29/ RESCUED FROM A RENEGARDE INDIAN TRIBE AFTER EIGHT YEARS AS A CAPTIVE/LOVE INTEREST OF JIM (SLIM) DONAHUE.

24. Finnegan O’Gorman – BORN IN KILLKENNY, IRELAND/AGE 16/SALLY’S YOUNGER BROTHER/ALSO RESCUED FROM RENEGARDE INDIAN TRIBE/MARRIES BONNIE MOUNTAIN.

25. Sargent Gus – DRILL SARGENT @ FORT SNELLING/PREPARED WJ FOR CIVIL WAR/MENTOR TO YOUNG SOLDIERS/RECEIVED FROM WJ HIS MEDAL OF HONOR AWARD/PASSED AWAY @ AGE 60 FROM OLD AGE.

26. Harry Daly – BORN IN COUNTY CORK, IRELAND/RAISED IN FAIRBAULT, MN/ AGE 34/SERVED 10 YEARS IN US ARMY/ OBTAINED RANK OF LIEUTENANT/RETIRED FROM MILITARY AT END OF 1864/MARRIED TO MAGGIE O’CONNOR.

27. Meturato (Black Kettle) – AGE 14/FULL-BLOODED CHEYENNE INDIAN/YOUNGEST SON OF CHIEF VIHO/SAVED BY WJ, SLIM & EMMA FROM THE RR GANG.

28. Hiamovi (Whirlwind) – AGE 28/FULL-BLOODED CHEYENNE INDIAN/TRIBE’S BULLY/MARRIAGE PROPOSAL SNUBBED BY ASHA & HER FATHER/BACKED DOWN BY & EVENTUALLY KILLED BY WJ.

29. Tahkeome (Little Robe) - AGE 13/FULL BLOODED CHEYENNE INDIAN/WHIPPED BY RR GANG AND ALMOST DIED.

30. Lona (Beautiful) – AGE 35/CAUCASIAN/MARRIED TO CHIEF VIHO/MOTHER OF TAHKEOME, CHAMELL, &ASHA/SPEAKS BOTH CHEYENNE & ENGLISH.

31. Viho (Chief) – PEACE CHIEF OF CHEYENNE & ELDER/MARRIED TO LONA.

32. Asha (Hope) – YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF CHIEF VIHO & LONA/ MIXED-RACE INDIAN & CAUCASIAN/MARRIED TO WJ.

33. Elina -WJ & ASHA’S DAUGHTER/BORN IN 1865.

34. Jaya (Victory) – BEST FRIEND OF ASHA/BETROTHED TO HIAMOVI//DRIVEN FROM CHEYENNE TRIBE AS THE RESULT OF A SEXUAL AFFAIR WITH SLIM/SLIM’S LOVE INTEREST.

35. Chameli -CHEYENNE INDIAN/ LONA’S OLDEST DAUGHTER.

36. Avonalo-CHAMELI’S HUSBAND

37. Laurence Podobinski (Larry) -WIFE VIRGINA/ CHILDREN JACOB, MATTHEW & LISA/OWNER OF THE MANKATO SAVING & LOAN BANK. /GOOD FRIEND & BANKER OF THE MOUNTAIN FAMILY/ HELPED WITH THE PURCHASE OF THE GENERAL STORE IN MANKATO.

38. Algernon C. Bonneville – ORGINIAL GENERAL STORE OWNER IN MANKATO/ATTEMPTED TO FRAUDULENTLY STEAL FUNDS FROM THE MANKATO BANK.

39. Colin Flanagan- MIXED-RACE WINNEBAGO INDIAN CAUCASIAN/ WORKED FOR BONNEVILLE @ GENERAL STORE/MARRIED TO CHEWOA FATHER OF BENA.

40. Samuel Hearthstone 111 – NE ‘ ER-DO-WELL MISSISSIPPI SLAVE OWNER/WIFE EVELYN/CHILDREN ABBY & SAMUEL IV.

41. Linden- 26 -YEAR OLD MULATTO SLAVE OF HEARTHSTONE/LARGE MAN & WAS TRAINED AS A FIGHTER/TWIN SISTER’S GWEN & CALLIE/BOTH MULATTO SLAVES/ MARRIED TO GERTA ACKER.

42. Chuck Beale – FOREMAN FOR HEARTHSTONE.

43. Spud- HIRED HAND & FIGHT TRAINER FOR HEARTHSTONE.

44. Haley Randell -POOR MISSISSIPPI LAND OWNER/FATHER OF RANDELL BOYS.

45. Reggie Randell – ALBINO LEADER OF RANDELL’S RAIDERS/SADISTIC KILLER.

46. Robbie Randell -REGGIE’S YOUNGER BROTHER/MEMBER OF RANDELL’S RAIDERS/ KILLER RAPIST/KILLED BY WJ.

47. Dan Sand- BOSSMAN OF RANDELL’S RAIDERS/ BEAT & WHIPPED WJ ALMOST TO DEATH/ KILLED BY WJ.

48. Frank Johnston -MANAGER OF THE OVERLAND STAGECOACH CO IN CHEYENNE, WYOMING/DOUBLE CROSSED WJ.

49. Leonard Hamper (Lenny) – MANAGER OF THE HOME STATION IN LARAMIE, WYOMING. GOOD FRIEND OF WJ/ EVENTUALLY MARRIED TO EMMA.

50. Tom Wiggins Sr.– US MARSHALL IN WYOMING & FRIEND OF WJ.

51. Pam Dalton - TOM WIGGIN’S WIFE/RESCUED FROM RR GANG BY TOM & WJ

52. Marcie Dalton LOVE INTEREST OF PATRICK MOUNTAIN/RESCUED FROM RR GANG BY TOM WIGGINS & WJ.

53. Tom Wiggins Jr. -TOM’S SON/BANKER/LOVE INTEREST OF ELINA.

54. Butch Norderan – STUDENT AT LYRA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL/ASSAULTED TEACHER, BONNIE MOUNTAIN.

55. Barney Norderan – BROTHER OF BUTCH/ALSO ATTENDED LYRA SCHOOL.

56. Van Norderan- FATHER OF BUTCH & BARNEY.

CHAPTER 1

WJ & Slim Leave The Homestead

William Mountain Jr. (WJ) and his best friend Jim (Slim) Donahue left WJ’s family’s homestead in southern Minnesota for the western frontier of Wyoming. The boys had fought in the Civil War for the Union Army. Both had been severely wounded in the Battle of Gettysburg and were honorably discharged after six months of convalescence. However, both boys carried the mental and physical scars of the war. Seeing their comrades and their enemies die horrible deaths in battle was something neither could get over or forget. They both needed time to mentally escape the horrors and the atrocities of what they experienced on the battlefields in the South. They thought the western frontier would provide them the much needed escape and adventure.

The two companions left the State of Minnesota on July 20, 1864 and headed in the direction of the Territory of Dakota. They were told that in order to reach the western frontier they must travel through the hostile Dakota Territory. The Dakota Indians were a branch of the Sioux and were at war with the white settlers as well as the US Army. Travel through this territory was very dangerous for everyone. The white settlers were their easy targets.

Three weeks into their trip Slim halted his horse, looked around and behind him and said to WJ, I feel we are being followed. I’ve felt this way for a couple of days now.

WJ responded, Yes, we are being followed. I think it’s a lone Indian and he’s staying well behind us. He’s been there for several days. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure and I also didn’t want to spook you. Now I’m sure.

Slim smiled and said in a condescending way, I’m so happy you are worried about my feelings. Maybe I should start calling you daddy, you ass.

Don’t be pissed off, I just wanted to make sure before telling you. Sometimes you react poorly when there is a threat.

Don’t you remember that I’m five years older than you?

Yes, I remember now, so why don’t you start acting your age. We have a small problem we need to deal with and arguing will not solve the problem.

Slim laughed and said, I can always get you pissed off when I tell you I’m older and more mature than you. Being a seventeen year old snot-nosed child must make you want to go home and have some warm milk.

WJ just stared with an expressionless look on his face and replied, Yes, I’m a young seventeen year old boy. But, I’m also the youngster that can and will knock the shit out of you if you keep this bullshit up. Now, after dark I’m going to take my young butt back there and I’ll find out who’s been following us.

Late that afternoon the boys found a suitable campsite by a meandering creek, surrounded by a stand of poplar trees. WJ started a small fire while Slim unsaddled the horses, brushed and then tethered them. WJ fetched water from the creek and filled the canteens. They both laid out their bedrolls and sat down to the evening meal of venison jerky and a cold baked potato from the previous night’s meal.

WJ said quietly, Slim, I can faintly hear our intruder making his camp. He’s far off but the sound must carry on this prairie.

Slim agreed, Yes, I can hear something too, it sounds like he’s slamming rocks together. It can’t be an Indian, an Indian would know better.

Yes, it must be a white man. But why would a white man be following us for so long a time? It makes no sense.

Let’s the both of us go after him when our fire dies down. We can slip away from here and have him in a matter of minutes. What do you say?

Slim, if both of us leave at the same time our sound will carry as his did. I suggest that I go first and if I need you I’ll fire a shot. I won’t take a horse, I’ll just walk back slowly. What do you say?

Well it appears you’re in charge and since you’re the old Indian veteran here, I say go for it.

You can go instead if that will make you happy you dumb Irishman.

Slim laughed and said, I’m a dumb Irishman, but you always tell anyone that will listen that you were brought up by an Irish family. Now you’re a loyal tribal member. Make up your mind. WJ, you are more white than me and you know it.

That brought loud laughter from both friends. This type of banter had lightened their moods through so much difficulty during and after the Civil War. It was their way of calming each other down when a threat or danger was imminent.

Slim looked seriously at WJ and said, You go. You can handle yourself better than me in close combat, just be damn careful. If you need help scream, shoot or run, I’ll find you.

Thanks Slim, I’ll be careful.

After the fire died down, WJ slipped out of his bedroll, grabbed his guns and holster and headed east. He looped around the direction that they had come from and crawled toward the small fire he could see in the distance. He was now sure it was not an Indian, no self-respecting Indian would light a fire and expose himself to his enemies. It had to be a stupid white man."

As WJ crept closer to the small fire, he couldn’t see the intruder. He crawled within twenty feet of the little campsite with his revolver in hand when he heard an authoritative voice say, I wouldn’t go any further redskin, if you savor your life. Stand up so I can see the look on your face after you’ve been done in by a woman.

He stood up and laughed out loud before embracing his adopted sister Emma Mountain. Emma was the daughter of Fanny Lewis Mountain, a full blooded Menominee Indian. Emma’s father was an escaped Negro slave from the south, named just Lewis. He was an abusive man to both Fanny and their children. He was killed in a conflict with the Mountain family after having given away the family’s whereabouts to some English assassins.

Emma was a twenty-seven year old young woman. She was darker skinned than WJ and had coal black hair and dark brown eyes. She was five-feet-seven-inches tall and was slim, not frail, and was very muscular. She had a braided ponytail that reached her waist in length. She had dimples in both cheeks. Emma wore traditional Indian garb: a deerskin shirt with beaded collar and deerskin pants with moccasins on her feet. She was not beautiful but was a strikingly pretty young woman.

Emma was trained in the art of knife throwing by the same family members that had trained WJ so well. WJ’s mother Chewoa and his adopted father William Mountain, taught all the Mountain children the skills needed to protect themselves. Emma and WJ were the two that took it most seriously. Emma possessed skills with a knife that only a few could accomplish. She also had a calm demeanor and was not afraid to use her skills to protect herself or her family. She was at WJ’s level with a knife, but not as efficient with the Sharp’s rifle. She carried three knives, the same as WJ did: one attached just below the nape of her neck with the handle protruding just enough to easily grip, another in a sheaf attached under her sleeve to her right arm and a third one in her waist band.

After the two had finished their embrace WJ yelled for Slim, Slim, it’s just Emma, get your butt over here.

As Slim approached he smiled at Emma and said, What in the hell are you doing here all alone?

Emma replied, If I had told you two that I wanted to come with you, you both would have just laughed at me. I thought following you would be the easiest way. Now I knew you saw me a few days ago, so I thought one of you, likely WJ, would backtrack to find me. So here I am and I’m going with you.

WJ responded, Does our family know you followed us?

They will by now. I told Chewoa and Maggie to explain to them after I left and why I left. I also asked the girls to insist that no one follows me.

Slim asked, Just why did you follow us? You had a nice life and home in Minnesota. Why would you leave it to follow a couple of confused guys like WJ and me?

You may be confused, but you both knew you weren’t ready to settle down on a farm in Minnesota just yet. Well, neither am I. I’d like to find a man and when I say a man, I mean one who wants to marry me and love me. I want that so much.

WJ sympathetically said, Emma, my dear, that’s what Slim and I both want too. Someone to love us and will want to share a life with us. We also knew we weren’t ready for that just now. The war took too much out of us and we needed time to heal.

WJ, you don’t understand my dilemma, I’m a half-breed, half Negro and half Indian. What man in their right mind would want me? I’m destined to be alone, so why not see the rest of this vast country with my little brother and his friend."

Slim said, Emma, you are a lovely woman and I can tell you for certainty that most men would be happy with someone like you. Now, if you were my age, I’d be on you like a duck on a June-bug. Now, that’s the truth.

What a nice compliment Slim. First you say that I’m too old for you. Thank you for that. Then you suggest that if I was only a bit younger you’d like to bed me. You’re just the type of man I’m not looking for.

Slim replied, Emma, please, I’m only joking. You’re like a sister to me, an older, wiser sister.

WJ broke in, Let’s cut this out right now. Emma, Slim and I would be happy to have you come along. We don’t know exactly where we’re going yet, but we assume it could be dangerous. I know you can handle most things that will come our way but just know there will be challenges.

That, WJ, is what I’m hoping for. Some excitement that has nothing to do with farming.

WJ smiled at Emma and hugged her again and quietly said to both her and Slim, Our adventure begins tomorrow at daybreak.

CHAPTER 2

Travel Westward

The travelers broke camp at daybreak as planned, and their spirits ran high. Both boys were happy to have Emma with them on their adventure. Emma was good company; she had a cheerful disposition, was a good conversationalist and most importantly, she could handle herself if a conflict arose, without panicking.

The travel was uneventful until the the tenth day. That morning while going up a small sand dune, Emma reined in her horse and said to both boys, What is that awful stench?

WJ replied, That my dear sister is the stench of decaying bodies. Slim and I have smelled it for the last few miles. It’s a smell that you never forget.

Slim said, God, I hate that smell. That’s all I smelled everyday when I was in the army. Someone is dead or is dying just over this hill.

They came over the hill to what was left of a small wagon train. The wagon tracks indicated that there had been three wagons originally, however, there was only one burned out wagon left. There were dead bodies lying all around the campsite. Most had been half devoured by the vultures and coyotes. WJ got off his horse first and walked around the little campsite and began to shoot his revolver in the air to frighten the scavengers away. He looked at the footprints and then at the remains.

After a few minutes of examination, he said, It was not Indians, it was white men. My guess is that there were about eight to ten of them. It looks to me that they left with two of the settlers’ wagons and headed west.

Slim said, Why not Indians?

The prints are all made by boots. These poor folk all died from gunshot wounds; there are no arrows. Also, notice there are no female bodies here, just men and children. The women won’t last long. They’ll rape them and kill them.

Emma had a sad look on her face. She said quietly, Why rape and kill them. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep them as slaves?

WJ answered, No. If the Army finds these killers with the women it would be their undoing. Also, if the women escape they could identify them. No, they’ll use them soon and then kill them.

Emma said, Can we at least bury their remains?

WJ quickly responded, No, they lay where they are. Say a prayer for them, but maybe we can find these killers before the women die. Let’s get out of here now!

Emma was distraught and could not get the campsite out of her mind, she said, What causes men to do this type of thing? William always said it was inferior men that lack confidence and were likely beat up as children. I can’t believe that. They must be mentally deranged as well.

Slim replied, We don’t know what goes through their minds, but to me it’s all about power. They have control over the weaker folks and they get great pleasure in hurting them, because they can.

WJ was following the wagon tracks intently and never spoke. He realized when they found the killers they were tracking, they would be outnumbered by at least three to one. Not very good odds. They had a few things in their favor, however; surprise would be on their side, as well as the Sharp’s rifles. If they could find them at a distance of two hundred yards or more away, they could likely kill all of them from long range. That would be the easiest way they could take them.

WJ turned back to look in the direction of Slim and Emma and said, I can hear them; I think they’re over the next hill.

Slim replied, WJ, I don’t hear anything but the wind.

WJ said That’s good, that means they haven’t heard us yet. Here’s my plan: we’ll leave our horses half way up the hill and we’ll walk the rest of the way. We’ll bring our rifles and hope they are a significant distance away. After we reach the top we’ll decide what we’ll do. No talking and move as quietly as possible.

Both Emma and Slim nodded in unison. They dismounted their horses and started a slow crawl up the hill. Half way up the hill the three of them tethered their horses, including the pack horses. As they walked further up the hill they could hear loud laughter echoing in the distance. After reaching the top of the hill, the three crawled closer and quietly looked over. There on the other side, approximately one hundred yards away, were the men they were looking for. Their campsite was by a small pond that was surrounded by a stand of trees. It looked to WJ that the pond was the water source for the trees and other vegetation in the area and was also used for drinking water. It was clearly a good place to camp. There were three wagons lined up to the right of the pond with the horses unhitched. Their riding horses were also unsaddled and all the horses were placed in a makeshift roped pen.

Directly in front of the pond WJ counted eight men that were drinking whiskey and were making all the ruckus. Two were standing, while the rest were sitting. There was one man on the other side of the wagons that appeared to be their sentry. In front of the two men that were standing and laughing was a young Indian boy. The outlaws had his hands tied in front of him and they were strung up over his head. They attached another rope to his hands and had it strung over a tree limb. As they pulled the rope, his outstretched arms lifted his feet off the ground. The boy was naked and had been whipped mercilessly until he was unconscious. Sitting to the left of the tree were five more young Indian boys. WJ estimated their ages around twelve to fourteen years old. There were Indian ponies tied up to some trees about fifty yards from where this torture was taking place. Hanging from another tree was a half butchered deer. WJ realized what had happened; the Indian boys had likely killed the deer and were finished skinning it and were about to butcher it, when the men came upon them.

The man with the whip yelled, Rusty, get me another one of these little fuckin Injuns. We’ll show-um what they get for killin our deer, these little thieving bastards.

Rusty cut down the whipped Indian boy. He fell to the ground with a thud. He dragged the boy out of the way and went for the next one. WJ realized they had whipped the first boy hard. His back, legs, neck, face and private parts were all bleeding. He would likely die from his beating. They had to stop this travesty now.

WJ said to Emma, Take your two Sharps and go to our left and set up by those rocks, but hurry. Slim, you take your carbine and go to the right. Emma, when I shoot the fella with the whip you take out the other bastard that’s standing. Slim, you take out the sentry and anyone one else you get a bead on. We’ll keep shooting until they’re all down. When no one is moving we’ll move in. Anyone alive dies where they lay. Understand? This is war, not one of these bastard’s lives!

Emma slowly worked her way down to the rocks. She could have run down the hill and shouted loudly, ‘I’m here, I’m here,’ but the killers were so engrossed in their drinking and whipping the young boys that she was all but invisible." It was the same for Slim, not one of the drunken outlaws looked his way.

When all were in their assigned places, the second boy was being strung up by his hands and the man with the whip was ready to go after him. As he raised the whip over his shoulder to strike the young Indian boy, a shot rang out and the top of the killer’s head was blown off. A second shot hit the man called Rusty in the throat and he dropped like a stone. The carnage was on. Slim hit the sentry in the chest and fired two more shots in succession killing two more of the outlaws. WJ grabbed his second Sharps and hit a man in the back that was running for the cover of the wagons. Emma also hit another in the back of the head while he was trying to run away in the direction of the horses.

After the original gunfire had ceased, Emma, Slim and WJ just laid and waited. They knew some of the killers were injured but were not dead. WJ also figured there were two that were not injured but were hiding somewhere in the camp. The Indian boys had a look of panic on their faces, wondering if they would be the next targets.

WJ motioned to both Slim and Emma to stay put, he was going down. He set down his Sharps’ rifles, pulled both his Colt revolvers out of his holsters and slowly began his descent. He glanced in the direction of the Indian boys and saw they had smiles and relieved looks on their faces. WJ assumed it was because he was also an Indian.

As WJ crept into the camp, one of the boys shouted something in his native dialect that WJ immediately assumed was a warning. It was. A drunken gunman came around the corner of a wagon firing his revolver randomly. The shots missed WJ and the gunman died in his tracks from a shot fired by Emma. Emma, thinking all the gunmen were accounted for, left her position behind the rocks and headed in the direction of the camp. As she came into the camp just to the right of the Indian boys, a gunman appeared and fired a shot that hit her in her right side. She immediately fell to the ground. The gunman turned to face WJ and Slim; he died with three bullet wounds to the chest.

Both WJ and Slim rushed to Emma. She sat up holding her side and said, I think this is a bad wound, now I know what a wounded deer feels like.

Slim said, WJ, check and see if we got all of them, I’ll try and help Emma and the Indian boys.

WJ responded, I’ll make this quick, we’ll need to get Emma and that one boy to someone that can patch them both up.

WJ walked around the camp to check on the bodies. He found only one still alive. WJ shot him in the head. After shooting the last outlaw, he stopped and looked at the bodies. They all had something in common, but at first he couldn’t figure out what. It finally dawned on him; they all wore chaps over their dungarees and on the bottom of the right leg of the chaps the initials RR was burned in. All nine of the gunmen had those initials on their chaps.

WJ shouted at Slim, Untie the boys, we’ll need their assistance to get Emma and their friend some help. I’ll get two wagons hitched up and we’ll put Emma and the injured boy in one.

WJ walked toward the wagons and noticed the work-horses had different brands. The gunman’s brands were all the same, RR. He thought, what the hell is this all about? Are they part of a large gang?’ He wished he’d have kept one of them alive just to find out what RR meant.

WJ continued to the first wagon, he looked inside and found it loaded with food. Sacks of corn, oats and wheat and bags of jerky and jars of canned fruit and vegetables. Clearly, these boys did not can or dry the jerky. WJ guessed it all came from the carnage they found earlier in the day. He looked into the second wagon and it was loaded with antiquated weaponry: many flintlock rifles, percussion muzzle loaders and flintlock and percussion pistols, powder and cartridges and some newer Colt revolvers. WJ guessed again that these were from settlers that the gunmen had killed. The third wagon contained the unexpected: four dead bodies, all women. Their bodies were naked and they all had been shot in the head. It was the most disgusting sight WJ had ever seen and he had seen many disgusting sights in the war. He knew these poor young women had been abused and used, and were just killed to get rid of them. He thought, who in hell does this sort of thing?

WJ walked quickly back to where Emma was laying and said, We need to get moving now. Maybe these young kids can take us to their camp? Indian women know how to stop bleeding and if necessary remove the slug. I’m going to try and communicate with these kids and see if I can get them to understand me.

WJ tried to communicate using his native language of the Menominee people, but the young boys only appeared perplexed and clearly didn’t understand what he was saying. He then switched to hand gestures, which seemed to work better. He pointed to the injured boy and to Emma and pointed south, assuming that was the direction they came from. The one boy that was saved from the whipping seemed to be their leader. He nodded his head and motioned for them to follow. Before leaving, WJ went to the last wagon and found a new burning liquid called kerosene. He poured it all over the wagon and the dead bodies. He then lit it on fire. No one knew what he was doing, they just looked on in stunned amazement. The kerosene burned into an inferno and engulfed the wagon immediately.

Slim asked, What the hell is that all about? What was in that wagon that had to be burned up? And, what the hell did you use to start that enormous fire. Have you lost your mind?

WJ said, No, I’m not losing my mind or anything else. I used kerosene to start the fire, don’t you remember, we used it in the war for our lamps. Those bastards raped and abused four women, then they shot them in the head and left them in that wagon. I thought cremating them would be the most proper way to bury them under the circumstances.

Slim was clearly upset with WJ’s comments, he said, My God, who are these fools? I wonder, are they a part of a bigger gang? They have no respect for anyone’s life, white or Indian.

WJ replied, Slim, we need to get going and get Emma and that boy some medical care. We’ll both drive a wagon team and hopefully the Indian kids will understand to drive all the horses along with us. With our six horses, the six work horses and the killers nine horses it will make a pretty large herd. I think these boys can handle it though.

They carried Emma and the injured boy and placed them in the back of the wagon that Slim was driving. The Indian boys knew enough to round up all the horses and start moving them south.

Before their trek began, WJ and Slim went through all the saddle bags and pockets of the gunmen. There were large sums of silver coins in all the bags but no gold. Every man had a silver watch, rings and even women’s jewelry, likely compliments of the poor settlers they killed. WJ also removed all the chaps from the dead killers with the RR brand on them. He wanted them as evidence in case they ran into any army soldiers.

The Indians’ tribe was a slow two hour’s ride away over some rough terrain. They stopped often because the injured Indian boy was in extreme pain and was crying hysterically when the wagon hit a bump or rut. His friends tried to calm him but to no avail. Emma lay close to him but she was also in so much pain that she was only concerned with herself. Before reaching the tribe’s campsite a war party of fifteen warriors came across the group. It was led by a very angry warrior named Hiamovi (Whirlwind). Seeing the young Indians with the white man (Slim) and WJ whom they did not recognize, fired them into a frenzy. As they were about to attack, the young Indian named Meturato (Black Kettle) the leader of the younger boys, screamed in the Cheyenne tongue, Stop! These are our friends. They saved our lives. My father will be very angry if anything happens to them.

Hiamovi screamed back, You are a child, you do not ever tell a warrior what to do, you should know your place by now.

Meturato replied softly, My father is our Chief and if any harm comes to these people it will be on your shoulders. Stand away and let us get to our camp, Tahkeome (Little Robe) needs the healers as does our new friend in the wagon.

Hiamovi jumped off his horse and ran at Slim with a tomahawk in his hand. As he approached Slim, WJ tripped him with his foot. Hiamovi fell to the ground but got

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