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Headed for Doomsday — episode #46

Jason rode into a town one day all dusty and dirty.  There was indeed something big going on in the town that day, and Jason was a bit curious as to what it was.  Several men were anxiously waiting for something to begin.  The time was 11:45.  “Well Turner, it looks like Speed Town’s gonna finally have a big day,” one of the men declared to a man in a grey suit.  “Horace Greeley runs the biggest newspaper in this country.”

 

“He may even write his own obituary,” Turner stated.

 

The anxiously awaited stage coach finally came into town.  Everyone hurried down the street to greet it.  Yep, it sure was a bit day.  The coach opened, and the riders got off.  Mayor Johnson welcomed Mr. Greeley to Speed City.  Greeley introduced his secretary, Laureen Macklin.  Greeley thought the town was “fine looking” and “elegant.”

 

They paused with the mayor just outside the stagecoach to get their picture taken.  Jason watched from the sidelines.  Suddenly, a movement in the crowd caught his attention.  Someone drew a gun from their dress and pointed it toward Mr. Greeley.  Jason drew his own gun and shot, surprising the crowd.  The crowd went into chaos.  Jason looked down at the so called “Apache” laying on the ground.  “It’s not an apache,” Jason announced.  Jason bent down and removed the wig.  He unbuttoned the dress to show that it was a white man.

 

“This town just missed being the disgrace of history!” The Mayor declared.  “Greeley is going to run for President…Might make it.  Our thanks to you, sir.  But why would anybody want to kill Mr. Greeley?”

 

“A fanatic can find a reason for anything,” Jason simply answered before walking away.

 

As Jason walked down the street, Laureen stopped Jason and told him Greeley would like to see him.  Laureen introduced Jason to Greeley.  “I’m very grateful to you, sir.  I looked directly at that man and I didn’t see the danger.  Lucky for me, your eye was quicker than mine.”

 

“Well, I aimed for his gun hand, sir.  But he moved at the last second,” Jason apologized.

 

“Well, don’t berate yourself.  He was a mad man and a killer!” Greeley argued.

 

“Yes, but if he had lived, we might have found out why he was trying to kill you.”

 

“Well, a man in my position sir, you see many acts of violence.  And even you might have taken a shot at me.”

 

“What’s that supposed to mean, Mr. Greeley?” Jason asked as he slowly walked up to the older man.

 

“Well sir, a couple years ago, there was a Captain named Jason McCord who made quite a name for himself in a battle known as Bitter Creek?”  Jason peered at Laureen who was occupying herself with flowers. 

 

“So?”

 

“I’m afraid that I’ve printed a great deal about his court martial and subsequent discharge from the army that he paid as a tribute.  Perhaps I more than any other man made his name a household [curse] throughout the land.”

 

“Printing the news is your business, Mr. Greeley.”  Mr. Greeley thanked Jason again.  There’s not many men who would save the life of a man who did more than his share to make their life miserable. 

 

“Anyway, thank you for my head.  I shall try to use it more judicially and honestly in the future.”  Jason nodded.

 

Greeley invited Jason to sit down.  As he seated himself, he informed Greeley that the man who tried to kill him was a white man – not an apache.  “Well, it’s a comfort to know that the Indians, for whom I fought so hard weren’t ungrateful.  But why did he dress like one to kill me?”  Jason figured they were trying to make it look like the apache’s didn’t appreciate what he’d done for them, to give lie to his “red brother” philosophy.  “Well, couldn’t he kill any other white man for the same effect?”

 

Jason gave a small smile.  “It wouldn’t have drawn the same national attention your death would.”

 

“Well it didn’t work!  I came out West to promote my pet theory.  I prophesized in America that the Red Man has equal rights as a brother. And I’m going to promote that proposition throughout the West!”

 

“Your proposition could do the Indians some good,” Jason reasoned.  “And it could get you a lot of votes.”  He admitted that he was going to run for presidency in the next election, and the Indian philosophy is going to be his number one campaign issue.  “Well sir, what you say in the East sounds good to us out here.  I’m sure the things you saw out here in the West will sound good to them back there,” Jason stated.

 

Jason stood, telling Greeley it was a pleasure to meet him.  Before he left, Greeley questioned Jason on why he was in Skid City.  Jason admitted that he had stopped by to hear Greeley speak.  “Well, could it be that you are looking for a job at the moment?”  Jason said it could be.  “Because I cannot hire a body guard here in the Indian Territory.”  It would be bad for the idea he’s trying to make about the “harmless and peace loving” Red man.  “But, I do have an opening for a social security.”

 

“A so…” Jason grinned.  “One that wears a gun?” 

 

“Yeah…if he wishes.  I never tell my employees what to wear.”  Jason said he’d like to apply for that job.  He promised to be back later after he stabled his horse and got something to eat.

 

Laureen listened to the entire conversation with much interest.  An easy smile was on her face, but thoughtfulness was in her eye. 

 

Greeley told Jason he was going to take a ride out to Doomsday Pass at One O’clock.  He’s planning to smoke a peace pipe and speak with the tribe of chiefs.  “It’ll be an historical battle site.  It’ll make good headlines for the Tribune, and I won’t mine if the rival papers pick it up.”

 

While Jason was at eating, some men sat at the bar and watched him sip on his coffee.  Finally a man laid down his money and hastily walked over to Jason’s table.  “Mr. McCord, my name is Satterfield.  My business is cattle. I’ve got a herd of long that’s just about to leave from Butte, Montana.  I’d like for you to join the drive.”  He said this as he sat down.

 

Jason studied him suspiciously before answering.  “Sorry, I just hired on for a good job.”

 

“Pays $500.”  Jason lifted his head from his coffee cup and stared at the man.  “Two fifty an hour, two fifty on delivery.”

 

“That’s a lot of money for just a cow hand,” Jason declared.  That’s when Satterfield admitted he wanted Jason’s surveying skills.  He wanted Jason to map out a trail to Butte. “Another time, maybe,” Jason answered quickly as he threw his money on the table, grabbed his hat, and stood up.

 

Satterfield stood up with Jason, declaring he must be getting a lot of money for his new job.  “We haven’t talked money yet,” Jason stated. 

 

“Well, a man oughta know what he’s being paid!” Satterfield declared.  At the door, he pointed to Jason and said, “Seven fifty!”

 

Jason stared at the man in shock.  “A year’s wages?  One cattle drive?”

 

“Is it a deal?” Satterfield asked as he took out his wallet.

 

Jason laughed.  “It’s a hard one to pass up, but I did give my word, Mr. Satterfield.  Thank you.”  At that, Jason walked out.

 

Jason returned to Greeley.  He was very upset because Jason was fifteen minute late.  “I have one important principle, sir…and that is punctuality!”  Jason admitted that he was cutting the time a little fine, but somebody held him up.  Greeley admitted it was his own fought for waiting around there.  Now the stage coach left without them.  “You know the driver didn’t even know me?  Didn’t know the Tribune!  Stubborn idiot.  One track mind insisted that he pull out of here promptly at one o’clock.”

 

A man came in and told Greeley that the coach would be there shortly.  Greeley was very upset.  He didn’t think anything was going to go right now that he had missed his one o’clock ride!

 

Just then, Laureen hurried in.  She told Greeley that the one o’clock stagecoach was ambushed just outside of town.  “Outlaws?” Jason questioned.

 

“The man didn’t say that, but the driver had an arrow through his back,” Laureen answered worriedly.

 

“An arrow…Indians again!  That’s what a man gets for being punctual!” Jason grumbled as he looked at Greeley.

 

“And stubborn,” Greeley admitted.

 

“The passengers are all dead,” Laureen announced.

 

Jason decided ‘they’ must have thought Greeley was on board.  He was assuming it was the same men who wanted Greeley dead.  This one was well planned and organized.  “By someone who might very well have been on time.”

 

“There are men who are violently against Mr. Greeley running for the Presidency,” Laureen admitted.

 

“Yes, but would they go this far?  Operating as local people, disguised men as apaches…”

 

“No, I doubt it,” Greeley answered.  “I think they’d like to kill me politically, but not actually.  No, this looks to me like the warp of a group that wants to raise national feeling against the Indians…ruin their treaties, grab their land and their territories.  And my murder might be just the tendon that starts such a fire.”  Jason agreed that would do it.  “And they might have gotten away with it too if I had been on that coach without you.  Again, sir, I’m in your debt.”

 

Jason knew somebody was trying really hard to make sure Greeley went without him.  He had a feeling he knew he knew who that ‘somebody’ was.  Jason told Greeley to stay there until he got back.

 

Jason went looking for Satterfield.  He was told he’d be at the livery.  Satterfield stood at the top of some steps leading into a small office and looked down at Jason.  “Out of a job already?  Looking for some work?”  Jason was ready to discuss the offer now.  Satterfield announced that Jason was a little late – that job had been taken.  “But I’ll be happy to work out something new with ya.”

 

“That’s what I figured,” Jason said.

 

Suddenly, Laureen Macklin came into the livery.  “Ms Macklin, what are you…” Jason stopped when she held a derringer on him.  She motioned Jason up the steps.  She and Satterfield followed him inside.  Then a man hit Jason from behind.

 

After Jason came to, he started to sit down in a chair at the table, but he was quick as lightening and grabbed the man holding the gun on him.  He grabbed the man in a choke hold.  “Drop the gun,” he warned Satterfield and Turner.  They did as he told them.  “Mine too.  Throw it down!” Jason ordered.  They did as told.

 

Suddenly, the man Jason was holding on to twisted really hard.  Jason punched him.  The other two ran for the guns, and Jason shoved him through the door.  Both men toppled down the steps.  Jason suddenly found himself fighting three men.  They punched him over and over.  Jason, though, was stronger and bigger than all three and managed to escape.

 

Jason hurried into the sheriff’s office, but the deputy told Jason the sheriff was gone.  Jason told the deputy to get over to the livery stable right away – he had three men tied up over there.  “Slap them behind bars until the Sheriff gets back.”

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Greeley made his way to the Indian camp as he said he would.  He greeted one of the chiefs.  He put all the chiefs in a pose to take their picture.

 

Little did he know there was danger waiting for him.  Men were in hiding, waiting to kill him.

 

Jason hurried toward the reservation as fast as he could. 

 

Laureen watched Greeley from up on a hill.  She approached one of the men who was holding a bow and arrow.  “This is our last chance, make it true,”
 she advised.

 

“When?” the man asked.

 

“When they pass the peace pipe between them,” Laureen answered with a satisfied smile.  She said Greeley would take a picture and there’d be a flash – that’s when.

 

Jason rode as fast as he could through the bluffs.  It took him quite awhile.  When he was on the outskirts of the camp, he saw Laureen walking higher up the rocky hill.  Jason grabbed his sword and started toward her.  Then she came down the bluff.  Jason came face-to-face with her.  “You!” She was startled to see him.

 

Jason nodded.  “You missed your third try, too.”  Jason glanced up to see the man with the bow.  He was getting ready to shoot Greeley in the back.  Laureen lifted her derringer up to shoot Jason, but Jason grabbed her by the wrist and took the derringer from her.  “There’s a first time for everything,” Jason mumbled.  Then he punched her, knocking her out.

 

Greeley sat among the Indians and passed the peace pipe.  The men snapped the picture.  The man with the bow aimed when suddenly Jason was behind him.  Jason punched him.  They fought and struggled.  Jason finally knocked the man out.

 

Greeley was able to get his shot and meet the Indians.  He stood and turned to Jason who was hurrying toward him with his horse.  “So, you decided to stay with me after all.”

 

“I never left,” Jason stated.

 

“Well, there’s a difference of opinion about that,” Greeley stated.  “Anyway, the whole business went off without a hitch.”

 

Jason had news for him!  “Well, the ‘hitch’ comes now, sir.  I’m turning Miss Macklin and your would-be assassin over to the law.  You can dig her out of the hill up there…”

 

“I…I…I…What are you talking about?”  Greeley stuttered in confusion.

 

Jason grinned.  Oh, how he was going to love this!  “You HIRED a female assassin.  Now Mr. Greeley, you are a wise and influential man, but your judgment of employees…especially women…leaves a lot to be desired.”

 

“Well…are you trying to tell me that that sweet little girl Laureen was involved in a murder attempt?”

 

“That’s right, sir” Jason answered.  “Mr. Greeley, I’ll still read your newspaper, but if you don’t mind, I think I’ll vote for Grant.”

 

Greeley sure did give him a shocked look!



Headed for Doomsday ― Cast


Next ―
Coward Dies Many Times


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*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!

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