The Ghost of Murrieta — episode #43

Jason was in Los Angeles waiting for the stage to come in.  As people stood on the street, they watched the stage make its way down the road.  Jason slowly walked up to the stage and waited for the travelers to exit the coach.  A Mexican man all dressed up stepped out.  “Senor Ramirez?”  Jason questioned politely.  The man confirmed his guess correctly.  Jason introduced himself to the man.  He assured the man that Senor Hartley would meet them later.


The plan was for them to leave the following day.  As they made their way toward the hotel, they heard a man yelling outside his gunsmith shop.  He told the Sheriff that the town had had all they could take.  An ‘M’ was painted on the front of his window.  The gunsmith declared that this was the sixth robbery in two weeks – all they took from him were two derringers.  “Worth about two hundred dollars…Would have taken everything else if it hadn’t been chained down!” the gunsmith complained.


Senor Ramirez questioned about the situation.  Jason explained to him that the gunsmith had been robbed the night before.  Still, Ramirez thought it was strange that an ‘M’ appeared on the window.  “The thieves did that,” Jason explained.  “They call it the mark of Murietta.”


“King Murietta?  But he’s dead.”


“Some people say he’s still alive,” Jason explained.


“Oh, he can’t be!  Not after twenty years!”


A woman standing in the crowd made her way down the street.  She peaked in at a woman inside the building the made her way to a room in the back.  The woman came out of the side of the building and stood by the door to listen.


Inside, the young lady joined a man and teenage boy.  They looked at the two derringers that had been stolen from the gunsmith shop.  The young lady stated that the shopkeeper thinks the robber was Murietta.  “Good,” the boy stated with a smile.  “Did you hear that Vega?”


“One day they will know it was Molinera!” Vega declared.


“Not until I have many followers…like Murietta.”


Other boys gathered around the older man as the boy, Juan, questioned how many men he had.  The older man stated there must have been at least twenty-five when he was with him. 


“Then I will have fifty,” Juan declared.


“You have four already,” Rosita stated with a smile.


“Three, my little sister,” one of the boys turned and announced to her.  “We do not include you.”


“Juan does,” Rosita stated.  “Don’t you, Juan?”  Juan told her he’d decide on that when the time comes.


“When we have big money to buy horses and supplies,” Juan clarified proudly.


“It will be soon,” Rosita commented.  “Look all those guns…they will bring much money.” 


Vega stated it would be difficult to sale the guns.  Vega told the teenagers that they could probably get ten dollars out of them.  This upset the teenagers very much.  “I heard the shop keeper state those derringers are worth two hundred dollars!” Rosita declared angrily.


“My job involves a little more risk than his,” Vega explained.  One of the boys argued that ten dollars was NOT enough!  “Ten dollars is not bad for one night’s work,” Vega said evenly.


“He’s right, Luis,” Juan stated.  “Vega has always been fair.”


Vega put an arm around Juan.  “Someday, your name will be far more famous than Murietta’s!”


“He will be nothing as long as he sales to you!” Rosita declared angrily.  Juan gave her a warning.  “It’s true!”


“And what have you contributed, young lady?” Vega questioned her.


“Nothing,” Luis answered for her.  “Yet she wants to be one of us,” he teased her.


Vega, though, thought she had many opportunities to help at the hotel she worked at.  “If I did, I’d never sale to you!” Rosita declared before leaving.


Vega told the three teenage boys to come to him when he had a little bit of business.  They agreed to do just that.


Antonia Molinera was waiting outside when Vega came out with a bag.  She didn’t say a word, but crossed her arms and looked sideways at him.  He quickly greeted her than made his way down the alley.  She stopped him, questioning what he had in the bag.  “No matter,” he answered.  Then he turned and yelled at her.  “Do I ask you what you have behind your bar?”


“No,” she answered.  “But you know what’s in my storage room.  My son.  And you’re stealing him away from me with your lies and your treachery!”  Vega couldn’t believe she would say such a thing.  After all, they’d known each other many years.  “Many years…” Antonia grumbled.  “Long enough to know you lie.”  She took steps toward him.  “You never rode with Murietta.  You never knew Murietta!”


“You do not know everything,” Vega stated as he turned away from her.


“I know that…I know!” she declared angrily.


Vega explained that the boy admires Murietta, he just agreed with the boy.  “Then don’t agree!  Isn’t it bad enough that one is a theif?”  Vega played dumb.  “Yes, I know my son is a thief.”  She ordered Vega to get away and stay away. 


Jason, Senor Ravirez, and Hartley were all in the hotel room talking.  Rosita was just coming to knock on the door, delivering fresh linens, when she stopped to listen.  Hartley was telling Ramirez that his San Francisco office was against the purchase.  He needed to look over the papers carefully before signing.  “There is one clause which I don’t understand,” Ramirez admitted.  “That senor McCord would have all autonomy in the disbursement of all monies.”  He wondered if that should be the job of the Murietta wives. 


Hartley told Ramirez that there was no guarantee he’d be president when the railroad is completed.  Ramirez decided he would be elected in three more years.  “I…hear his health is not so good,” Hartley pointed out.  Ramirez thought those were only rumors.  “Well…to me, that’s an important clause.  Jason McCord is a close friend you can trust.  I wouldn’t let him carry my twenty five thousand dollars in gold to a foreign country if I didn’t.”


Those words got Rosita to thinking.  Ramirez decided to sign, not knowing Rosita was on the other side of the door listening.  The railroad would bring Mexico much prosperity.


Jason told him the plan.  The stage would leave the next afternoon at two.  He and Ramirez will pick up the gold before they leave.  “No armed guards?” Ramirez questioned.


“That’s part of my job,” Jason explained.  “Besides, we don’t want to attract attention.”  Jason stood up.  Jason went to the door and started to open it.  Rosita suddenly realized someone was coming out.  She immediately started knocking on the door as Jason opened it, stating she’d come to replace the towels. 


The next afternoon, Rosita and the three teenage boys were outside, disguised as orphaned kids in a mission.  When Jason and Ramirez stepped out of the hotel, Juan stepped in front of them, asking for a donation to the mission school.  But as they reached into their pockets for change, the boys attacked Jason and Ramirez.  Jason punched one of the boys out while the other took off with the satchel of money.  Another boy took off running, and Jason chased him.  Ramirez had been stabbed, but managed to pull out his gun and shoot the boy running away.


Rosita, watching from the porch when she saw Pablo fall to the ground.  She ran to Pablo and lifted him onto her lap.  She cried as Jason, who had run after the other boy, came back to her.  Rosita lifted her frightened eyes to Jason.  Jason just stared.


Luis ran inside Vega’s building.  Vega was there.  “We need your help,” Luis declared as he looked out the window.  “Juan wants you to get us some horses…four, and some ammunition and some guns!”  Vega got upset with Luis told him today.  “That would take a lot of money!”


“We’ve got twenty-five thousand dollars in gold.”  Luis put a bag down on the desk.  “See?”  Vega wanted to know where they got it, but Luis asked him for the horses.


“Not so quick, boy.  This isn’t twenty-five thousand dollars worth of gold.”


Luis grabbed the bag out of Vega’s hand and assured him there was a lot more bags.  Juan would pay him when he delilvered.  He told Vega that Juan was waiting in town.  Rosita would meet Vega for the horses.  “As soon as possible,” Luis reminded him.


Vega suddenly stopped him, telling Luis he couldn’t go out on the street.  “Because you have the evidence!  What if the sheriff stopped you?  They will hang you, Luis!”  Luis told him Rosita was waiting for him.  “Why don’t you leave the pouch with me?”


“Because it belongs to Juan’s mother and he wants her to have it.”  Vega tried again, promising that he’d make sure Antonia got it.  But Luis firmly said no.  Vega walked away from him and turned his back on Luis.  “How soon can we have those horses?”


“In an hour,” he said as he pulled a knife from inside his jacket.  “Go ahead, I will join you.”  He waited until Luis was outside the door, then stabbed him in the back.  Vega grabbed Luis and pulled him back inside.  Vega forced the pouch from Luis’ hand as he fought weakly.  Vega muttered that money like that shouldn’t be wasted on a lot of children.  The whole time, Luis fought him, but he was in a lot of pain from the stabbing.  Finally, he shoved Luis to the ground and ran out.


Antonia was working at the bar when Rosita ran in, asking her forgiveness as she cried.  “He said he was going to put me in jail if I didn’t tell him!”


“Tell him what?”


“I’m looking for a boy she calls Juan,” Jason stated.


“What do you want with him?”


“He has some money that belongs to me,” Jason explained.


Rosita cried that Pablo was dead. 


“I was robbed,” Jason stated.  “My friend was knifed by three boys.”


Several men in the bar stood up, but Antonia told them to go back to their beer.  Rosita ran to the back office looking for Luis.  Antonia ran after her, demanding to know what was going on.  Rosita wanted to know where Luis was.  “He was supposed to meet me here.”


“Rosita, you’re such a ninny!” Antonia declared.  She turned back to Jason.  “Senor, if I give you back your gold, will you leave us alone?”


“Twenty-five thousand dollars?” Jason asked.  Antonia was shocked.


Suddenly, they heard someone behind a crate.  Rosita ran over to Luis, who was in a bad way.  “What happened?” Antonia asked.


“Vega…he tried to kill me!” Luis cried.  “I am afraid for Juan.”


Jason asked Luis where Juan was.  Antonia told Jason she’d take him to the hide out.  She told Rosita to go for the doctor.  Jason told her to tell the Sheriff where they were going.


Juan was waiting on the cliff of rocks when Vega rode up.  “Where are the horses?”  Vega assured him Luis was brining them – he’d ridden on ahead.  “Wait until you see all the gold.  You won’t believe it!  Come!”  As Juan brought out the case of gold, Vega climbed up the rocks.  He felt like now he’d account for something.  Vega stared at all the gold lustifully.  “For you, a gift,” Juan said as Vega held one of the pouches of gold.


“So generous…”  Juan thought that would pay for the horses.  “No, Juan. ..For all your trouble…For listening to all your wining,  I will need all of your gold!” Vega held a gun on Juan.  He assured Juan this was NO joke!


Juan refused to give him the pouches of gold.  Juan threw the gold in his face and turned to run up the bluff, but Vega shot him.  Juan fell to the ground as Jason and Antonia rode up.  Vega turned and tried to shoot them, but they got away.  Jason jumped off his horse and sent Antonia for cover.  Vega shot towards Jason again.  Jason jumped behind some bushes.


Vega stood on top of the bluff and shot at Jason.  Jason shot back and Vega tumbled off the bluff, still holding the suitcase full of gold.  Juan was still alive and tried to crawl down the bluff.  Antonia ran to him.  “Juan!”


“Mama…”  She told him she was there.  “Vega…he took my gold!”


“He was never to be trusted,” Antonia stated.


“But I thought he was my friend.  We wanted him to ride with us…like he did with Murietta.”


“Vega lied!”  Jan didn’t believe her.  “I know very well, my son…Some day I will tell you the truth of Murietta.  Juan closed his eyes and slumped his face away.  She pushed on his face, only to realize he was dead.


“I’m sorry,” Jason said softly. 


“My son steals your gold, and you are sorry he is dead.”


Jason explained.  “My sympathy is for you, Senora. “


“He can no longer use Juan to hurt me.  I wonder what new way he’ll devise.” 


“Who?” Jason asked, confused.


“Twenty years ago, my moved to this…this beautiful place with a man I loved very much, but he did not love me so I ran away.  The eagle that lost a feather, so he sent one of his men to kill me.  But Antonia was not ready to die.  When the ranger asked me to lead him to his nest, I did willingly to suit my bitterness.  They cut his head off, but even so he would never let me rest.. He has left his blood on his cold, dark eyes with my own born child.”  She said he couldn’t help being the son of Murietta.


She had never told Juan Murietta was his father.  She wanted to protect him.  “Now, Senior McCord…will you help me take my son home?”


Jason did.  He picked up Juan’s body and carried him to the horse.

The Ghost of Murrieta ― Cast

Next ―
The Assassins - part 1

Episode Guide 1 & 2

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*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!

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