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The Trail

From: The Last Of The Plainsmen

"Frank, what'll we do about horses?" asked Jones. "Jim'll want the bay,
and of course you'll want to ride Spot. The rest of our nags will only
do to pack the outfit."

"I've been thinkin'," replied the foreman. "You sure will need good
mounts. Now it happens that a friend of mine is just at this time at
House Rock Valley, an outlyin' post of one of the big Utah ranches. He
is gettin' in the horses off the range, an' he has some crackin' good
ones. Let's ooze over there--it's only thirty miles--an' get some
horses from him."

We were all eager to act upon Frank's suggestion. So plans were made
for three of us to ride over and select our mounts. Frank and Jim would
follow with the pack train, and if all went well, on the following
evening we would camp under the shadow of Buckskin.

Early next morning we were on our way. I tried to find a soft place on
Old Baldy, one of Frank's pack horses. He was a horse that would not
have raised up at the trumpet of doom. Nothing under the sun, Frank
said, bothered Old Baldy but the operation of shoeing. We made the
distance to the outpost by noon, and found Frank's friend a genial and
obliging cowboy, who said we could have all the horses we wanted.

While Jones and Wallace strutted round the big corral, which was full
of vicious, dusty, shaggy horses and mustangs, I sat high on the fence.
I heard them talking about points and girth and stride, and a lot of
terms that I could not understand. Wallace selected a heavy sorrel, and
Jones a big bay; very like Jim's. I had observed, way over in the
corner of the corral, a bunch of cayuses, and among them a clean-limbed
black horse. Edging round on the fence I got a closer view, and then
cried out that I had found my horse. I jumped down and caught him, much
to my surprise, for the other horses were wild, and had kicked
viciously. The black was beautifully built, wide-chested and powerful,
but not heavy. His coat glistened like sheeny black satin, and he had a
white face and white feet and a long mane.

"I don't know about giving you Satan--that's his name," said the
cowboy. "The foreman rides him often. He's the fastest, the best
climber, and the best dispositioned horse on the range.

"But I guess I can let you have him," he continued, when he saw my
disappointed face.

"By George!" exclaimed Jones. "You've got it on us this time."

"Would you like to trade?" asked Wallace, as his sorrel tried to bite
him. "That black looks sort of fierce."

I led my prize out of the corral, up to the little cabin nearby, where
I tied him, and proceeded to get acquainted after a fashion of my own.
Though not versed in horse-lore, I knew that half the battle was to win
his confidence. I smoothed his silky coat, and patted him, and then
surreptitiously slipped a lump of sugar from my pocket. This sugar,
which I had purloined in Flagstaff, and carried all the way across the
desert, was somewhat disreputably soiled, and Satan sniffed at it
disdainfully. Evidently he had never smelled or tasted sugar. I pressed
it into his mouth. He munched it, and then looked me over with some
interest. I handed him another lump. He took it and rubbed his nose
against me. Satan was mine!

Frank and Jim came along early in the afternoon. What with packing,
changing saddles and shoeing the horses, we were all busy. Old Baldy
would not be shod, so we let him off till a more opportune time. By
four o'clock we were riding toward the slopes of Buckskin, now only a
few miles away, standing up higher and darker.

"What's that for?" inquired Wallace, pointing to a long, rusty,
wire-wrapped, double-barreled blunderbuss of a shotgun, stuck in the
holster of Jones's saddle.

The Colonel, who had been having a fine time with the impatient and
curious hounds, did not vouchsafe any information on that score. But
very shortly we were destined to learn the use of this incongruous
firearm. I was riding in advance of Wallace, and a little behind Jones.
The dogs--excepting Jude, who had been kicked and lamed--were ranging
along before their master. Suddenly, right before me, I saw an immense
jack-rabbit; and just then Moze and Don caught sight of it. In fact,
Moze bumped his blunt nose into the rabbit. When it leaped into scared
action, Moze yelped, and Don followed suit. Then they were after it in
wild, clamoring pursuit. Jones let out the stentorian blast, now
becoming familiar, and spurred after them. He reached over, pulled the
shotgun out of the holster and fired both barrels at the jumping dogs.

I expressed my amazement in strong language, and Wallace whistled.

Don came sneaking back with his tail between his legs, and Moze, who
had cowered as if stung, circled round ahead of us. Jones finally
succeeded in gettin him back.

"Come in hyah! You measly rabbit dogs! What do you mean chasing off
that way? We're after lions. Lions! understand?"

Don looked thoroughly convinced of his error, but Moze, being more
thick-headed, appeared mystified rather than hurt or frightened.

"What size shot do you use?" I asked.

"Number ten. They don't hurt much at seventy five yards," replied our
leader. "I use them as sort of a long arm. You see, the dogs must be
made to know what we're after. Ordinary means would never do in a case
like this. My idea is to break them of coyotes, wolves and deer, and
when we cross a lion trail, let them go. I'll teach them sooner than
you'd think. Only we must get where we can see what they're trailing.
Then I can tell whether to call then back or not."

The sun was gilding the rim of the desert rampart when we began the
ascent of the foothills of Buckskin. A steep trail wound zigzag up the
mountain We led our horses, as it was a long, hard climb. From time to
time, as I stopped to catch my breath I gazed away across the growing
void to the gorgeous Pink Cliffs, far above and beyond the red wall
which had seemed so high, and then out toward the desert. The irregular
ragged crack in the plain, apparently only a thread of broken ground,
was the Grand Canyon. How unutterably remote, wild, grand was that
world of red and brown, of purple pall, of vague outline!

Two thousand feet, probably, we mounted to what Frank called Little
Buckskin. In the west a copper glow, ridged with lead-colored clouds,
marked where the sun had set. The air was very thin and icy cold. At
the first clump of pinyon pines, we made dry camp. When I sat down it
was as if I had been anchored. Frank solicitously remarked that I
looked "sort of beat." Jim built a roaring fire and began getting
supper. A snow squall came on the rushing wind. The air grew colder,
and though I hugged the fire, I could not get warm. When I had
satisfied my hunger, I rolled out my sleeping-bag and crept into it. I
stretched my aching limbs and did not move again. Once I awoke,
drowsily feeling the warmth of the fire, and I heard Frank say: "He's
asleep, dead to the world!"

"He's all in," said Jones. "Riding's what did it You know how a horse
tears a man to pieces."

"Will he be able to stand it?" asked Frank, with as much solicitude as
if he were my brother. "When you get out after anythin'--well, you're
hell. An' think of the country we're goin' into. I know you've never
seen the breaks of the Siwash, but I have, an' it's the worst an'
roughest country I ever saw. Breaks after breaks, like the ridges on a
washboard, headin' on the south slope of Buckskin, an' runnin' down,
side by side, miles an' miles, deeper an' deeper, till they run into
that awful hole. It will be a killin' trip on men, horses an' dogs.
Now, Mr. Wallace, he's been campin' an' roughin' with the Navajos for
months; he's in some kind of shape, but--"

Frank concluded his remark with a doubtful pause.

"I'm some worried, too," replied Jones. "But he would come. He stood
the desert well enough; even the Mormons said that."

In the ensuing silence the fire sputtered, the glare fitfully merged
into dark shadows under the weird pinyons, and the wind moaned through
the short branches.

"Wal," drawled a slow, soft voice, "shore I reckon you're hollerin' too
soon. Frank's measly trick puttin' him on Spot showed me. He rode out
on Spot, an' he rode in on Spot. Shore he'll stay."

It was not all the warmth of the blankets that glowed over me then. The
voices died away dreamily, and my eyelids dropped sleepily tight. Late
in the night I sat up suddenly, roused by some unusual disturbance. The
fire was dead; the wind swept with a rush through the pinyons. From the
black darkness came the staccato chorus of coyotes. Don barked his
displeasure; Sounder made the welkin ring, and old Moze growled low and
deep, grumbling like muttered thunder. Then all was quiet, and I slept.

Dawn, rosy red, confronted me when I opened my eyes. Breakfast was
ready; Frank was packing Old Baldy; Jones talked to his horse as he
saddled him; Wallace came stooping his giant figure under the pinyons;
the dogs, eager and soft-eyed, sat around Jim and begged. The sun
peeped over the Pink Cliffs; the desert still lay asleep, tranced in a
purple and golden-streaked mist.

"Come, come!" said Jones, in his big voice. "We're slow; here's the

"Easy, easy," replied Frank, "we've all the time there is."

When Frank threw the saddle over Satan I interrupted him and said I
would care for my horse henceforward. Soon we were under way, the
horses fresh, the dogs scenting the keen, cold air.

The trail rolled over the ridges of pinyon and scrubby pine.
Occasionally we could see the black, ragged crest of Buckskin above us.
From one of these ridges I took my last long look back at the desert,
and engraved on my mind a picture of the red wall, and the many-hued
ocean of sand. The trail, narrow and indistinct, mounted the last
slow-rising slope; the pinyons failed, and the scrubby pines became
abundant. At length we reached the top, and entered the great arched
aisles of Buckskin Forest. The ground was flat as a table. Magnificent
pine trees, far apart, with branches high and spreading, gave the eye
glad welcome. Some of these monarchs were eight feet thick at the base
and two hundred feet high. Here and there one lay, gaunt and prostrate,
a victim of the wind. The smell of pitch pine was sweetly overpowering.

"When I went through here two weeks ago, the snow was a foot deep, an'
I bogged in places," said Frank. "The sun has been oozin' round here
some. I'm afraid Jones won't find any snow on this end of Buckskin."

Thirty miles of winding trail, brown and springy from its thick mat of
pine needles, shaded always by the massive, seamy-barked trees, took us
over the extremity of Buckskin. Then we faced down into the head of a
ravine that ever grew deeper, stonier and rougher. I shifted from side
to side, from leg to leg in my saddle, dismounted and hobbled before
Satan, mounted again, and rode on. Jones called the dogs and complained
to them of the lack of snow. Wallace sat his horse comfortably, taking
long pulls at his pipe and long gazes at the shaggy sides of the
ravine. Frank, energetic and tireless, kept the pack-horses in the
trail. Jim jogged on silently. And so we rode down to Oak Spring.

The spring was pleasantly situated in a grove of oaks and Pinyons,
under the shadow of three cliffs. Three ravines opened here into an
oval valley. A rude cabin of rough-hewn logs stood near the spring.

"Get down, get down," sang out Frank. "We'll hang up here. Beyond Oak
is No-Man's-Land. We take our chances on water after we leave here."

When we had unsaddled, unpacked, and got a fire roaring on the wide
stone hearth of the cabin, it was once again night.

"Boys," said Jones after supper, "we're now on the edge of the lion
country. Frank saw lion sign in here only two weeks ago; and though the
snow is gone, we stand a show of finding tracks in the sand and dust.
To-morrow morning, before the sun gets a chance at the bottom of these
ravines, we'll be up and doing. We'll each take a dog and search in
different directions. Keep the dog in leash, and when he opens up,
examine the ground carefully for tracks. If a dog opens on any track
that you are sure isn't lion's, punish him. And when a lion-track is
found, hold the dog in, wait and signal. We'll use a signal I have
tried and found far-reaching and easy to yell. Waa-hoo! That's it. Once
yelled it means come. Twice means comes quickly. Three times means

In one corner of the cabin was a platform of poles, covered with straw.
I threw the sleeping-bag on this, and was soon stretched out.
Misgivings as to my strength worried me before I closed my eyes. Once
on my back, I felt I could not rise; my chest was sore; my cough deep
and rasping. It seemed I had scarcely closed my eyes when Jones's
impatient voice recalled me from sweet oblivion.

"Frank, Frank, it's daylight. Jim--boys!" he called.

I tumbled out in a gray, wan twilight. It was cold enough to make the
fire acceptable, but nothing like the morning before on Buckskin.

"Come to the festal board," drawled Jim, almost before I had my boots

"Jones," said Frank, "Jim an' I'll ooze round here to-day. There's lots
to do, an' we want to have things hitched right before we strike for
the Siwash. We've got to shoe Old Baldy, an' if we can't get him
locoed, it'll take all of us to do it."

The light was still gray when Jones led off with Don, Wallace with
Sounder and I with Moze. Jones directed us to separate, follow the dry
stream beds in the ravines, and remember his instructions given the
night before.

The ravine to the right, which I entered, was choked with huge stones
fallen from the cliff above, and pinyons growing thick; and I wondered
apprehensively how a man could evade a wild animal in such a place,
much less chase it. Old Moze pulled on his chain and sniffed at coyote
and deer tracks. And every time he evinced interest in such, I cut him
with a switch, which, to tell the truth, he did not notice. I thought I
heard a shout, and holding Moze tight, I waited and listened.

"Waa-hoo--waa-hoo!" floated on the air, rather deadened as if it had
come from round the triangular cliff that faced into the valley. Urging
and dragging Moze, I ran down the ravine as fast as I could, and soon
encountered Wallace coming from the middle ravine. "Jones," he said
excitedly, "this way--there's the signal again." We dashed in haste
for the mouth of the third ravine, and came suddenly upon Jones,
kneeling under a pinyon tree. "Boys, look!" he exclaimed, as he pointed
to the ground. There, clearly defined in the dust, was a cat track as
big as my spread hand, and the mere sight of it sent a chill up my
spine. "There's a lion track for you; made by a female, a two-year-old;
but can't say if she passed here last night. Don won't take the trail.
Try Moze."

I led Moze to the big, round imprint, and put his nose down into it.
The old hound sniffed and sniffed, then lost interest.

"Cold!" ejaculated Jones. "No go. Try Sounder. Come, old boy, you've
the nose for it."

He urged the reluctant hound forward. Sounder needed not to be shown
the trail; he stuck his nose in it, and stood very quiet for a long
moment; then he quivered slightly, raised his nose and sought the next
track. Step by step he went slowly, doubtfully. All at once his tail
wagged stiffly.

"Look at that!" cried Jones in delight. "He's caught a scent when the
others couldn't. Hyah, Moze, get back. Keep Moze and Don back; give him

Slowly Sounder paced up the ravine, as carefully as if he were
traveling on thin ice. He passed the dusty, open trail to a scaly
ground with little bits of grass, and he kept on.

We were electrified to hear him give vent to a deep bugle-blast note of

"By George, he's got it, boys!" exclaimed Jones, as he lifted the
stubborn, struggling hound off the trail. "I know that bay. It means a
lion passed here this morning. And we'll get him up as sure as you're
alive. Come, Sounder. Now for the horses."

As we ran pell-mell into the little glade, where Jim sat mending some
saddle trapping, Frank rode up the trail with the horses.

"Well, I heard Sounder," he said with his genial smile. "Somethin's
comin' off, eh? You'll have to ooze round some to keep up with that

I saddled Satan with fingers that trembled in excitement, and pushed my
little Remington automatic into the rifle holster.

"Boys, listen," said our leader. "We're off now in the beginning of a
hunt new to you. Remember no shooting, no blood-letting, except in
self-defense. Keep as close to me as you can. Listen for the dogs, and
when you fall behind or separate, yell out the signal cry. Don't forget
this. We're bound to lose each other. Look out for the spikes and
branches on the trees. If the dogs split, whoever follows the one that
trees the lion must wait there till the rest come up. Off now! Come,
Sounder; Moze, you rascal, hyah! Come, Don, come, Puppy, and take your

Except Moze, the hounds were all trembling and running eagerly to and
fro. When Sounder was loosed, he led them in a bee-line to the trail,
with us cantering after. Sounder worked exactly as before, only he
followed the lion tracks a little farther up the ravine before he
bayed. He kept going faster and faster, occasionally letting out one
deep, short yelp. The other hounds did not give tongue, but eager,
excited, baffled, kept at his heels. The ravine was long, and the wash
at the bottom, up which the lion had proceeded, turned and twisted
round boulders large as houses, and led through dense growths of some
short, rough shrub. Now and then the lion tracks showed plainly in the
sand. For five miles or more Sounder led us up the ravine, which began
to contract and grow steep. The dry stream bed got to be full of
thickets of branchless saplings, about the poplar--tall, straight, size
of a man's arm, and growing so close we had to press them aside to let
our horses through.

Presently Sounder slowed up and appeared at fault. We found him
puzzling over an open, grassy patch, and after nosing it for a little
while, he began skirting the edge.

"Cute dog!" declared Jones. "That Sounder will make a lion chaser. Our
game has gone up here somewhere."

Sure enough, Sounder directly gave tongue from the side of the ravine.
It was climb for us now. Broken shale, rocks of all dimensions, pinyons
down and pinyons up made ascending no easy problem. We had to dismount
and lead the horses, thus losing ground. Jones forged ahead and reached
the top of the ravine first. When Wallace and I got up, breathing
heavily, Jones and the hounds were out of sight. But Sounder kept
voicing his clear call, giving us our direction. Off we flew, over
ground that was still rough, but enjoyable going compared to the ravine
slopes. The ridge was sparsely covered with cedar and pinyon, through
which, far ahead, we pretty soon spied Jones. Wallace signaled, and our
leader answered twice. We caught up with him on the brink of another
ravine deeper and craggier than the first, full of dead, gnarled pinyon
and splintered rocks.

"This gulch is the largest of the three that head in at Oak Spring,"
said Jones. "Boys, don't forget your direction. Always keep a feeling
where camp is, always sense it every time you turn. The dogs have gone
down. That lion is in here somewhere. Maybe he lives down in the high
cliffs near the spring and came up here last night for a kill he's
buried somewhere. Lions never travel far. Hark! Hark! There's Sounder
and the rest of them! They've got the scent; they've all got it! Down,
boys, down, and ride!"

With that he crashed into the cedar in a way that showed me how
impervious he was to slashing branches, sharp as thorns, and steep
descent and peril.

Wallace's big sorrel plunged after him and the rolling stones cracked.
Suffering as I was by this time, with cramp in my legs, and torturing
pain, I had to choose between holding my horse in or falling off; so I
chose the former and accordingly got behind.

Dead cedar and pinyon trees lay everywhere, with their contorted limbs
reaching out like the arms of a devil-fish. Stones blocked every
opening. Making the bottom of the ravine after what seemed an
interminable time, I found the tracks of Jones and Wallace. A long
"Waa-hoo!" drew me on; then the mellow bay of a hound floated up the
ravine. Satan made up time in the sandy stream bed, but kept me busily
dodging overhanging branches. I became aware, after a succession of
efforts to keep from being strung on pinyons, that the sand before me
was clean and trackless. Hauling Satan up sharply, I waited
irresolutely and listened. Then from high up the ravine side wafted
down a medley of yelps and barks.

"Waa-hoo, waa-hoo!" ringing down the slope, pealed against the cliff
behind me, and sent the wild echoes flying. Satan, of his own accord,
headed up the incline. Surprised at this, I gave him free rein. How he
did climb! Not long did it take me to discover that he picked out
easier going than I had. Once I saw Jones crossing a ledge far above
me, and I yelled our signal cry. The answer returned clear and sharp;
then its echo cracked under the hollow cliff, and crossing and
recrossing the ravine, it died at last far away, like the muffled peal
of a bell-buoy. Again I heard the blended yelping of the hounds, and
closer at hand. I saw a long, low cliff above, and decided that the
hounds were running at the base of it. Another chorus of yelps,
quicker, wilder than the others, drew a yell from me. Instinctively I
knew the dogs had jumped game of some kind. Satan knew it as well as I,
for he quickened his pace and sent the stones clattering behind him.

I gained the base of the yellow cliff, but found no tracks in the dust
of ages that had crumbled in its shadow, nor did I hear the dogs.
Considering how close they had seemed, this was strange. I halted and
listened. Silence reigned supreme. The ragged cracks in the cliff walls
could have harbored many a watching lion, and I cast an apprehensive
glance into their dark confines. Then I turned my horse to get round
the cliff and over the ridge. When I again stopped, all I could hear
was the thumping of my heart and the labored panting of Satan. I came
to a break in the cliff, a steep place of weathered rock, and I put
Satan to it. He went up with a will. From the narrow saddle of the
ridge-crest I tried to take my bearings. Below me slanted the green of
pinyon, with the bleached treetops standing like spears, and uprising
yellow stones. Fancying I heard a gunshot, I leaned a straining ear
against the soft breeze. The proof came presently in the unmistakable
report of Jones's blunderbuss. It was repeated almost instantly, giving
reality to the direction, which was down the slope of what I concluded
must be the third ravine. Wondering what was the meaning of the shots,
and chagrined because I was out of the race, but calmer in mind, I let
Satan stand.

Hardly a moment elapsed before a sharp bark tingled in my ears. It
belonged to old Moze. Soon I distinguished a rattling of stones and the
sharp, metallic clicks of hoofs striking rocks. Then into a space below
me loped a beautiful deer, so large that at first I took it for an elk.
Another sharp bark, nearer this time, told the tale of Moze's
dereliction. In a few moments he came in sight, running with his tongue
out and his head high.

"Hyah, you old gladiator! hyah! hyah!" I yelled and yelled again. Moze
passed over the saddle on the trail of the deer, and his short bark
floated back to remind me how far he was from a lion dog.

Then I divined the meaning of the shotgun reports. The hounds had
crossed a fresher trail than that of the lion, and our leader had
discovered it. Despite a keen appreciation of Jones's task, I gave way
to amusement, and repeated Wallace's paradoxical formula: "Pet the
lions and shoot the hounds."

So I headed down the ravine, looking for a blunt, bold crag, which I
had descried from camp. I found it before long, and profiting by past
failures to judge of distance, gave my first impression a great
stretch, and then decided that I was more than two miles from Oak.

Long after two miles had been covered, and I had begun to associate
Jim's biscuits with a certain soft seat near a ruddy fire, I was
apparently still the same distance from my landmark crag. Suddenly a
slight noise brought me to a halt. I listened intently. Only an
indistinct rattling of small rocks disturbed the impressive stillness.
It might have been the weathering that goes on constantly, and it might
have been an animal. I inclined to the former idea till I saw Satan's
ears go up. Jones had told me to watch the ears of my horse, and short
as had been my acquaintance with Satan, I had learned that he always
discovered things more quickly than I. So I waited patiently.

From time to time a rattling roll of pebbles, almost musical, caught my
ear. It came from the base of the wall of yellow cliff that barred the
summit of all those ridges. Satan threw up his head and nosed the
breeze. The delicate, almost stealthy sounds, the action of my horse,
the waiting drove my heart to extra work. The breeze quickened and
fanned my cheek, and borne upon it came the faint and far-away bay of a
hound. It came again and again, each time nearer. Then on a stronger
puff of wind rang the clear, deep, mellow call that had given Sounder
his beautiful name. Never it seemed had I heard music so
blood-stirring. Sounder was on the trail of something, and he had it
headed my way. Satan heard, shot up his long ears, and tried to go
ahead; but I restrained and soothed him into quiet.

Long moments I sat there, with the poignant consciousness of the
wildness of the scene, of the significant rattling of the stones and of
the bell-tongued hound baying incessantly, sending warm joy through my
veins, the absorption in sensations new, yielding only to the hunting
instinct when Satan snorted and quivered. Again the deep-toned bay rang
into the silence with its stirring thrill of life. And a sharp rattling
of stones just above brought another snort from Satan.

Across an open space in the pinyons a gray form flashed. I leaped off
Satan and knelt to get a better view under the trees. I soon made out
another deer passing along the base of the cliff. Mounting again, I
rode up to the cliff to wait for Sounder.

A long time I had to wait for the hound. It proved that the atmosphere
was as deceiving in regard to sound as to sight. Finally Sounder came
running along the wall. I got off to intercept him. The crazy
fellow--he had never responded to my overtures of friendship--uttered
short, sharp yelps of delight, and actually leaped into my arms. But I
could not hold him. He darted upon the trail again and paid no heed to
my angry shouts. With a resolve to overhaul him, I jumped on Satan and
whirled after the hound.

The black stretched out with such a stride that I was at pains to keep
my seat. I dodged the jutting rocks and projecting snags; felt stinging
branches in my face and the rush of sweet, dry wind. Under the
crumbling walls, over slopes of weathered stone and droppings of
shelving rock, round protruding noses of cliff, over and under pinyons
Satan thundered. He came out on the top of the ridge, at the narrow
back I had called a saddle. Here I caught a glimpse of Sounder far
below, going down into the ravine from which I had ascended some time
before. I called to him, but I might as well have called to the wind.

Weary to the point of exhaustion, I once more turned Satan toward camp.
I lay forward on his neck and let him have his will. Far down the
ravine I awoke to strange sounds, and soon recognized the cracking of
iron-shod hoofs against stone; then voices. Turning an abrupt bend in
the sandy wash, I ran into Jones and Wallace.

"Fall in! Line up in the sad procession!" said Jones. "Tige and the pup
are faithful. The rest of the dogs are somewhere between the Grand
Canyon and the Utah desert."

I related my adventures, and tried to spare Moze and Sounder as much as
conscience would permit.

"Hard luck!" commented Jones. "Just as the hounds jumped the
cougar--Oh! they bounced him out of the rocks all right--don't you
remember, just under that cliff wall where you and Wallace came up to
me? Well, just as they jumped him, they ran right into fresh deer
tracks. I saw one of the deer. Now that's too much for any hounds,
except those trained for lions. I shot at Moze twice, but couldn't turn
him. He has to be hurt, they've all got to be hurt to make them

Wallace told of a wild ride somewhere in Jones's wake, and of sundry
knocks and bruises he had sustained, of pieces of corduroy he had left
decorating the cedars and of a most humiliating event, where a gaunt
and bare pinyon snag had penetrated under his belt and lifted him, mad
and kicking, off his horse.

"These Western nags will hang you on a line every chance they get,"
declared Jones, "and don't you overlook that. Well, there's the cabin.
We'd better stay here a few days or a week and break in the dogs and
horses, for this day's work was apple pie to what we'll get in the

I groaned inwardly, and was remorselessly glad to see Wallace fall off
his horse and walk on one leg to the cabin. When I got my saddle off
Satan, had given him a drink and hobbled him, I crept into the cabin
and dropped like a log. I felt as if every bone in my body was broken
and my flesh was raw. I got gleeful gratification from Wallace's
complaints, and Jones's remark that he had a stitch in his back. So
ended the first chase after cougars.

Next: Oak Spring

Previous: The Last Herd

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