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He rode at a hard gallop,the little mustang at full stride.Behind and to the side of him rode
Comanche warriors yipping and yelling,each wanting to get to him first.They were just out of bow
range, if his pony faltered he would be one more white man to disappear on the plain. The wind
whipped the horses mane across his face as Tom leaned forward and whispered in the pony’s
ear,”They’ll eat you and torture me baby!” As if he understood the mustang stretched his gait a
little further. Racing across the plain Tom thought back to what had got
him in this mess.Listening to that damn fool Jessy about all that money they could make buying
horses from the Comanche and reselling them in Texas. Toms eyes watered at the thought of Jessy
lying in the dirt with arrows protruding from his neck and side.Besides, leading a string of ponies
was a lot easier than herding cattle Jessy had said. Tom had liked Jessy so he had partnered with
him on this crazy venture.Now Jessy was dead and Tom would be too if he couldn’t out run these
savages! They had worked together on a
ranch in Texas for four years together.Jessy was older,around thirty with long blond hair and
blue eyes.Slim and supple he was a good all around hand and nobody could bust
a bronc like Jessy! Tom was twenty one and considered himself and old hand.He had been at it
since he could ride at age six. His old man didn’t tolertate no slackards and his kids were no
exception to that rule.He was a hard man scratching out a living in a hard land.His parting words to
Tom when Tom left to work for Triple T Ranch was, ”See you around boy,earn your keep.” He had
shook Tom’s hand and that had been that.In the four years he had been there Tom had done
exactly that. Jessy had taken a liking to Tom right off.He saw quick that the
quiet boy from Wyoming worked hard and didn’t complain.Tom was lanky with shoulder length hair
the color of a beaver’s pelt but in his hazel eyes was a spark of intelligence that Jessy didn’t see in
most of the other hands.Tom pretty well kept to himself,didn’t drink and was dependable as the day
was long.But he had a quick temper and didn’t take to being poked at much.Jessy took Tom under
his wing and taught him everything he knew including how to use a sixgun.Tom was a natural shot
and under Jessy’s tutelage became fast and a force to be reckoned with if it came to
a gunfight.Tom was yet untried and Jessy hoped it would stay that way but he also wanted Tom to
have a fighting chance if it ever came down to it. Jessy had a lot of
experience with gunfights,he had grown up in a town in Texas where you couldn’t cross the street
without seeing one most days.He had killed his share of men by an early age and was getting
a reputation.He had tried being a lawman for a while but the Mayor was a crooked sort and had
almost gotten Jessy hanged over a dispute about some missing cattle.Jessy had done nothing
wrong but the Mayor was powerful and had friends in high places. He had never liked Jessy anyway.
Luckily Frank Gurn who owned the Triple T was driving cattle through town that day
and saved Jessy’s neck.Frank was well known around that part of Texas as the owner of the Triple
T, a man who had started with a dream and carved out an empire.He had a lot of friends in high
places too,including even the senator.One of Franks hands knew Jessy and told Frank that there
was no way this man was a rustler so Frank took Jessy’spart in the matter and the Mayor dared not
go against Frank and the Triple T outfit so they took the noose from around Jessy's neck and untied
him. Frank put Jessy to work as a hand and Jessy had been with him ever since.Jessy proved to be
a valuable asset to the Triple T and all the men thought highly of him except one or two who seemed
to have a beef with everyone. Tom was branding steers when Jessy first came to
him with the idea.Dirty and sweat rolling down his body from the exertion and the heat of the fire,he
had listened to Jessy's plan. Jessy had ran a herd into Old Mexico for Frank and ordinarily Tom
would have been with them but Frank needed him there to break a herd of mustangs he had bought
and help with the branding of the new steers so Tom stayed behind. Jessy had been talking to
some caballero’s on the ranch down there and asking about the herd of prime mustangs they had
for sale.They had told him they were taking the mustangs to middle Texas and the money they had
made rounding up wild ones and buying others dirt cheap from the Comanche.They told him for a
few blankets and some old rifles they had bought most of the herd he was looking at.
They told him where the Comanche camp was,two days ride from there and took him there to meet
Grey Bear,the chief they traded with.That way if Jessy decided to trade with the Indians he could
come back on his own.All the way back to the Triple T Jessy thought about it and about approaching
Tom as apartner.If the venture went well they could own their own ranch soon.Jessy was excited and
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