While on her way to Washington, and old flame of Jas's, Laurette Lansing stopped over in Salt Lake City.
She told the stagecoach driver she would be back for her bags. She then went to the hotel. When she got to the hotel there was
no one at the desk. She started to look for the clerk when she heard a scuffle in the stair well. There were two men fighting. She saw the one man grab the other man by his shirt and said....."Alright.....say it!" The man knew he was beaten, he was out of breathe as he looked at Jas and said....."I apologized for insana....." "Insinuation!" Stated Jas. "Insinuation.....your not a coward!" Said the man. Jas then shoved the man down the steps. The man fell to the landing and then fell against the railing which broke and he landed on the floor. The man then got up off the floor and ran out of the hotel. Laurette recognize Jas and called to him. He turned to look to see who had called to him as Laurette ran up the stairs into Jas's arms. He was pleasantly surprised to see her. They closely embraced and kissed each other passionately. Jas told her he needed to clean up, he then showed her to his room.
She told him she had been looking for him and that it had taken a long time to find him. He told her he kept on the move. She asked him if it was because of men like she had just seen. Jas shook his head and said....."He had a friend killed at Bitter Creek." He told her that sometimes he thinks that half the country had friends or relatives that died there. She didn't quite understand, his picture wasn't on any wanted posters, she insisted his face can't be that well know. "There must be some place we.....you could go for a new start." Said Laurette as she paused and looked at Jas in the mirror. If there was, Jas couldn't seem to find it and he told her that. "At your court martial.....you said you were innocent," said Laurette. Jas told her that every convicted criminal says that. She told Jas she knew he was innocent. He told her there was certain things he couldn't talk about, things that involved a lot of people. She told him all that matters was that she believed him,
not what other people say or think. "I wish it didn't matter" "I'd like nothing better right now then to pick you up and.....head for the nearest minister," said Jas. That was what she had traveled all these miles to hear, she started to embrace him, but he turned away. "But it does matter! I can't ask you to share my kind of life.....I just can't do it Laurette!" She was disappointed. She told Jas that her father, Senator Lansing, wanted Jas to come back to Washington with her. She told him that he wanted to see him on some government business concerning the territory. The senator feels that Jas might be able to supply some important information to a congressional committe he is heading. She didn't know all the details but told Jas that her father believed in him. She told him her father needed him, like she needs him. Jas felt he owed the senator something; he did sponsor his application to the academy. He also felt he owed her something....."Alright darling.....lets go back to Washington," said Jas.
When they arrived at the Senator's mansion they were greeted by the senator's butler, Harold. He told them he would tell the Senator they were there. They waited in the drawing room until Senator Lansing arrived. He kissed his daughter on the cheek and then looked at Jas. "I see your trip was successful," said Senator Lansing as he walked over and shook Jas's hand. He welcomed Jas and thanked him for coming. Jas told him that this was the first invitation he has had in a long time. "You'll always be welcome in this house Jason." "More then that it would please me more if you and Laurette lived here," said Senator Lansing. Jas put aside what the senator had said and asked him about the government business he wanted to talk to him about. He told Jas he was entertaining at his mansion tonight, some congressional collegue's and several men who have considerable influence at the White House. He wanted Jas to meet them and see what they had to say about the matter. "Will you join us?" Asked the senator. Jas hesitated and told him that it might be embarrassing to everybody. He assured Jas it
wouldn't be. He told Jas that his opinion carried considerable amount of weight and had hoped that someday soon he would be able to welcome Jas into the family someday permanently. Jas told him he would be there, he wanted to stop by and see the General.
"Well you finally found time to get around to me." "I've seen our army mules get around faster then that," said General Josh McCord, Jas's grandfather. They were glad to see each other. Grandpa McCord told Jas he was writing his
memoirs, he said that a publisher offered to pay him for them. "That's wonderful!" "I say that calls for a Brandy!" Said Jas. He told Jas that he gave it up, and that it looked like he was going to live to be a hundred and fifty, he has to watch his organs. Jas told him that was too bad and that he had stopped and picked up a bottle of Grandpa's favorite brandy. Grandpa grabbed the bottle from Jas's hand and said....."To tell you the truth boy.....I just gave up buying." He then went and got two glasses from the cabinet.
He asked Jas what he did to make the reporter light into him that way. Jas said he refused to talk to the reporter about Bitter Creek. They toasted silently. He then asked Jas if he would to talk to him about it. Jas knew he had read the transcript of his court martial. Everybody had something to say, but Jas, he wanted to hear what happened from him. Jas told him he pleaded innocent. Jas told him there wasn't anything to tell that would have done anybody any good. Grandpa asked him what he meant by anybody.....was he talking about himself or General Reed. "General Reed was more then a fine solider.....the peace treaty he negotiated with the Indian Nations will establish him as a great statesmen as well," said Jas. "I knew him better then you." "By the time at Bitter Creek he was too old to command under that kind of pressure," said Grandpa. He told Jas that General Reed had wrote him a couple of times and that there was something in his letters that sounded peculiar. Jas asked him if he had told anyone. He said he didn't, he wanted to see what Jas had to tell him. "He should have been retired long before.....it showed up only in small ways until Bitter Creek. Then he broke, completely."
It was hard for Grandpa to hear what Jas was saying. "He wasn't able to command sir.....I had to forcedably relieve him," said Jas. Jas told him how he was knocked unconscious and when he awoke three days later a farmer was tending to him, miles from the battle. Grandpa said the farmer testified that Jas walked into his place on two good legs, he even testified that Jas seemed perfectly rational. Jas couldn't recall anything for those three days. "Maybe I did run!" Said Jas. His Grandpa did not believe that for one minute. He asked Jas why he didn't testify that he had to take over command from General Reed. "Helped who sir.....it certainly wouldn't have helped me?" "It would have only blacked the name and reputation of a fine old solider." "So you blackened the name of McCord!" Shouted Grandpa. "I made a decision General that may have blackened the name of McCord.....but it preserved the work of a great solider and statesmen." "I stand by my decision!" Stated Jas. Grandpa turned and faced Jas. They just stood there looking at each other. Grandpa then said.....You made the right decision son." "You turned out as good as I had hoped.....better!" "You maybe the best of the McCord line."
While attending the party at Senator Lansing's, Grandpa brought Colonel Snow over to see Jas. They hadn't seen each other since Jas's court martial and they were both glad to see each other. Colonel Snow was the only one who believed Jas at his court martial. Colonel Snow asked Jas if he had a job there in Washington. He told him he didn't and he was on his way to a couple of surveying prospects, but not here in Washington. The Colonel told him that he might just have something for him. He told Jas he would talk to him about it later. "Whatever it is sir.....the answer is yes!" Said Jas. General Snow then excused himself.
Senator Lansing approached Jas and told him he had the other men he had told Jas about in the parlor and asked Jas if they could talk to him now. There were two other men in the parlor. The senator told Jas that congress was putting pressure on them to open up some territories for development and settlement. They knew Jas was familiar with the area, they wanted intelligent first hand advice from him. Jas told them that it didn't take much intelligence or knowledge to know that General Reed secured that land for the Apaches and the treaty he signed with them. Jas was against opening up that land now for settlement, it would
mean tearing up the treaty. Senator Lansing said they could renegotiate the treaty and told Jas that the treaty General Reed signed really wasn't that good of a treaty. Jas reminded them that treaty stopped the war and we were glad enough to sign it then. Jas thought it was important that we honor the treaty we already had made. They didn't want to dishonor the treaty, some articles are good, but some were bad for both parties involved. "A promise on a piece of paper is something new for the Indians." "Showing them it doesn't mean anything a few years later, they'll show you paint and feathers from one end of the territory to the other!" Exclaimed Jas. Senator Lansing told Jas he wanted to work out a new treaty that would hold up and be favorable to all. Jas assured him the Apache's would not understand this, they are satisfied just the way it is. Senator Lansing told him that he wasn't satisfied; he felt that when men are satisfied that would be the end of progress. "Is it progress when men break their word?" "Nobody will explain that to the Apaches and I don't see how you can justify it to the nation either," said Jas. These men had been doing some checking into General Reed and they felt he wasn't competent when he signed the treaty. Jas was the only one left under General Reed's command; they wanted him to testify against his former commander, in order to renegotiate a treaty. "No sir! You have the wrong man and a very bad proposition gentlemen!" Yelled Jas. Senator Lansing assured Jas that the hearing would be closed and the files would be kept confidential. Jas told them there was no real proof to the General's incompetents. They wanted to know what really happened at Bitter Creek and who was really to blame. Senator Lansing told Jas they could subpoena him, they could force him to testify under oath. "Well then you better subpoena me senator!" He looked at the three men and asked....."Isn't it easy for you gentlemen to legislate while you set here safe and smug in your paneled offices? To make bold challenging speeches to congress," laughed Jas. "It's easy to light a stick of dynamite as long as it explodes somewhere else!" Jas then asked if any of them have ever seen an Indian war.....a massacre. "Have you ever seen women run threw with spears or your best friends scalp hanging on a feather stick or the whole country running red with blood? Well that what your asking for and that's what you'll be responsible for.....it you break that
treaty!" "Thanks for the party.....Senator!" Jas then stormed out of the parlor, passed Laurette and out of the senator's mansion.
Jas didn't get very far when three men attacked him. They kept beating him over and over again. Just then two men rode up in a buggy and helped Jas. Jas thanked them. They told Jas they had orders to pick him up.
Jas was surprised to learn they were from the Secret Service.
Jas was surprised when Colonel Snow answered the door. Colonel Snow dismissed the two agents and told Jas to come in. There was a man standing with his back to them. "This is Jason McCord.....Mr. President," said Colonel Snow. The President turned and looked at Jas. He noticed the bruises on Jas's face and asked....."Still fighting the Battle of Bitter Creek McCord?" "I'm afraid so.....Mr. President," answered Jas. "Well McCord.....they think a lot of things about you.....some good.....mostly bad." "But then there is diverse opinion about my fitness as a president too." "I read the transcripts from your trial and as an army man, from the facts in the case I'd say.....the court made the right decision." Colonel Snow told the President that he felt all the facts weren't brought out in the trial. The President said he knew and no matter what the facts are, Bitter Creek doesn't' nullify all his years as a good solider. Colonel Snow told Jas he had been looking a long time for the right man and the president approved his plan. The president stood watching Jas. "I've agreed to it Colonel, I don't necessarily approve!" Said the president. "What is it you want me to do Mr. President?" Asked Jas. The president walked up to Jas, facing him and said....."You've already been marked as a coward.....how would you like to be
branded a traitor as well?"