Jordan Payne had been looking for Jas for sometime. Payne was a lawyer and had a favor to ask of Jas or I should say for a friend of his, Christina Adams. He needed Jas's testimony. He found Jas at a Saloon in Santa Fe.
Jas wasn't sure he wanted to do this favor;it meant reliving a lot of things he rather forget. Payne told Jas....."I know that!" "I don't know how close you were to the boy, but you were his commanding officer." "When Seth Adams died, he left the ranch to his two children, Clark and his twin sister, Christina." "Clark loved the land but he just wasn't cut out to be a rancher and things got pretty bad." "He took out a loan at the bank and put the ranch up as collateral and had the banker write out an insurance policy out on the loan so if anything happened to him the loan would be cancelled." "He did it to protect his sister." "He also paid the extra premium for it." Jas told him that he knew that Clark worried about his sister a great deal. Jas asked him if Clark had that kind of an agreement, then why wasn't the debt cancelled. Apparently there was some small print. There was a small clause that read Clark's death had to be from natural causes. Payne went on to tell Jas that Teal, the man at the bank, contends that Clark joined the army for the sole purpose of having himself killed. He had been running around town trying to make things hard for Christina. Teal wants Christina's land. Jas felt his testimony would work against the case Payne had built, who would listen to a man with Jas's reputation? "Do you think when they get through with me in court, what I have to say about Clark Adams.....will really make a difference?" Asked Jas. Jordon said that he might be a lawyer, but an old fashion lawyer, he believed that justice will prevail. Jas agreed to go back with Jordan and testify.
When they got to the Adams Ranch, Christina was breaking some horses. Payne made the remark as they looked on....."Wild as a prairie fire!" (meaning Christina) The horse threw her. As the two men walked up to the fence Christina joined them. Jordon started to introduce Jas, but she already knew who he was and left them know in a nasty tone. Jas looked at the horse and made the remark that the horse was a nice looking animal. Christina challenged Jas to ride him. Jordon tried to get Jas off the hook by telling Christina that they had a long ride and he thought Mr. McCord would like some lunch. She said she was just making conversation and just wondered if Jas thought he could ride the horse. Jas told her he thought he could. She then pushed open the gate to the corral and said....."There he is!" Jas took off his coat and mounted the horse. I can't help but think that Christina was trying to break Jas's spirit, not the horses. As Jas sat on the horse,
Christina said in a low voice....."Break his neck." Jas had a good ride and broke the horse. As Jas finished his ride he looked over at Christina with contentment. You could tell Christina was some what disappointed. Jas walked over to her and told her....."Now I am hungry." He looked at here and he could see the hate in her eyes and face. Her brother was dead and Jas was still alive.
The first one to take the stand at the hearing was Teal, he told how Clark and Christina wanted to make some improvements on their ranch. He told of them both having a reputation of being wild and unreliable and they both have lived up to it. "First him and now her," said Teal. Jordan objected. The judge told Teal to stick to the facts. Teal said he gave them the loan because it was a good business deal and felt that he had been taken advantage of. He didn't want people to take him the wrong way, he respected our boys in uniform, but Adam was different. He felt that Adam knew he would never be able to repay that debt, so he joined the army to get himself killed to cancel the debt. Again Jordan objected. Again the judge told Teal to stick to the facts. The next person to the stand was Sergeant Chase. The prosecutor, Alan Winters, called Sergeant Chase to the stand. He told them that Private Adams made more transfers in one year then he had ever seen and more then he had processed in half his life. The sergeant was speculating that every time Private Clark's company was attached to peace in his area, he would request a transfer to a company still under fire. Christina got upset and asked Payne how he could let the sergeant say things like that about Clark. He told her their turn was coming.
Christina was next on the stand. The prosecutor tried to twist Christina's words around. He tried to say that Christina said that her brother was a practical dreamer. But what she really said was that her brother had great plans for the ranch. The prosecutor reminded her that the plans failed to materialize. He said that she said that her brother was extremely unhappy, melancholy and asked her if he had ever wished himself dead. She did say that he was unhappy and melancholy but he never wished he was dead. The prosecutor said that Clark had boasted around town that if he could support Christina while he was alive, he would support her with his death and that Thomas Teal had testified to that. Christina screamed that Teal was liar. The judge told her to control herself. The prosecutor told her that would be all. She looked at him and said....."That'll be all!" "That isn't all.....that isn't anything!" The judge tried to get her attention, but she wouldn't listen. "You just talk and talk and talk and you never listen!" "You never try to understand what people....." The judge kept pounding the gavel trying
to keep order to the court. "Miss Adams.....Miss Adams!" The judge then called Payne to control his client. Payne came and took Christina off the stand. Teal and his lawyer were pleased with what had just transpired. As Payne got Christina back to their table, Payne looked at Jas. Jas nodded, as if to give him the go ahead for him to testify.
"Your honor.....the man who was Clark Adams commanding officer is in court.....I'd like to call him as a witness," said Payne. Jas was sworn in and then took the stand. When asked to state his name, you could hear the mumblings throughout the court room. It seemed like everyone had heard of Jason McCord. Jas told the court that Clark Adams served under him for six months. He told of the first time he had seen him in battle and that he was reckless, exposed his position unnecessarily, invited attack. Jas told how lucky Clark was to come out of that attack, but he did. Then something happened, he came to realize that his recklessness was endangering the lives of the other men. In war time men shun recklessness.....they gravitate towards men whose courage they can trust. One by one the men gravitated towards Clark Adams. The courtroom was quiet and all eyes on Jas. Even Christina saw Jas in a different light, not with hate, but respect. "When he died at Bitter Creek it was no way a senseless death," said Jas. Jas told them that Clark was one of the last men standing on his feet, protecting a wounded man. He told how Clark fought desperately trying to save both of their lives. Payne was finished but now it was the prosecutors turn. He walked up to Jas and said....."Jason McCord." With a smirk on his face. "I must say you are the last person I ever expected to present himself as an expert on courage!" "I was trying to point out Mr. Winters, that men do change, even though it might not be convenient for you and Mr. Teal," said Jas. Winters told Jas and the court that a man like Jason McCord wouldn't be able to distinguish the difference between recklessness and heroism. Jas told him that was his opinion, a prejusticed opinion. "But getting back to recklessness and heroism, suppose I told Mr. Teal I don't like the way he's treating Miss Adams, and if he didn't change his tactics I would personally give him a beating." "Now if he knew I meant it and didn't listen, that would be recklessness." "On the other hand if he firmly believed what he was doing was right.....and was willing to defend that right, man to man.....that would be heroism," said Jas. "There are very few heroes in the world, Mr. Winters!" Jas turned and looked at Christina and said....."Clark Adams was one of them!" Winters asked Jas how would he know when he put his tail between his legs and ran like a jackal.....tell us the truth." "When Clark Adams died at Bitter Creek.....you weren't even there!" Jas laughed and said....."Right now Mr. Winters I would say you are being reckless." The judge hit his gavel on the bench and said....."Mr. Winters.....let me remind you that Mr. McCord is not on trial here." "Please rephrase your remarks to the case at hand. The judge knew exactly what Winters was trying to do. The judge then recessed until the next day in the morning. As Jas started to leave the courtroom, Christina stopped Jas and asked him if what he had said about her brother was true or was he told to say that. Jas assured her it was true.
Teal was upset with Jas's testimony. He felt that Jas made then both look bad. No one was going to get away with that, not if he could help it.
Jas had gone back to the Adams Ranch. Christina wanted to hear more about her brother. Jas told her that her brother was writing her a letter just before they moved to Bitter Creek. At that time his attitude on life, his desire for the future was at it's peak, if that letter indicates that it would certainly strengthen her case. Christina said she never got any letter, and asked Jas if he was sure it was for her. Jas was sure, he even remembered Clark asked him how to spell a word. She thought maybe it got lost in the battle. Jason wondered if it was never finished. He asked her if his things were sent to her. She said they were. Jas asked if his kepi was among the things returned. She didn't know what Jas was talking about. Jas told her the little cavalry cap. She said it was. Jas told her that the soldiers had a habit of putting unfinished letters inside their kepi's. She then went to fetch her brother's kepi.
While Christina was looking for her brother's kepi, some men with Teal rode up. Ensor said they heard he was leaving town and the citizens came to give him just what he deserve, tar and feathers. The one man dumped a kettle of hot tar onto the ground and another man lassoed Jas. Jas grabbed the lasso and pulled the man from his horse. Another man went for Jas, Jas hit him and he went down. Then another man came at Jas, Jas took a tub that was on the porch and threw it at him. They all ganged up on Jas. Christina heard the commotion and went to the window to look out. Suddenly they heard shots ring out. It was Christina, she had fired shots into the air and yelled for them to let Jas go. She walked over to Teal and said....."Well hello Mr. Teal.....I'm awful glad you came! I've got something I want you to hear!" "Only this time your gonna listen.....this is a letter from my brother." As she handed Jas the shotgun. She told Teal it was the last one he ever written and that she just found it.