BRANDED
Leap Upon Mountains episode #6

While on his way to Abilene, Jas's horse threw a shoe. As he walked past a cemetery; Jas noticed a Quaker lady kneeling over a grave. He approached the lady. She said her name was Mrs. Cooper, and asked Jas if there was someone he knew buried in the cemetery. He said there wasn't and then he introduced himself. She told him that her husband, Warren had died a month ago. He then told her that the reason he was walking by was that his horse had thrown a shoe, and that he had been on foot for the last 10 or 12 miles and wondered if she was going to Abilene. She said she was going to Abilene and would gladly give him a ride. It looked like it was going to storm as they headed on their way. She said they better hurry, the thunder was getting closer. Jas told her he didn't think it was thunder. It was four riders approaching the cemetery. They rode up to Jas and Mrs. Cooper. "Well ain't this romantic? Right in the middle of a bone orchard!" Said Renger. Just then one of Renger's men stepped on Warren Cooper's grave. "Please Mr. Renger!" Exclaimed Mrs. Cooper as she pointed to Karp, one of Renger's hired hands, stepping on her husband's grave. He told Karp to keep his six bit boots off of the grave. He looked at Jas and said....."You.....What are you called?" "By my name.....McCord." He asked Jas if he had signed on with Mrs. Cooper. "I don't know that.....that's any of your business," said Jas as he yelled to Karp to keep away from his things. Renger told Jas it was his business and that he had lost an arm fighting for the union, he didn't hold much for those that stayed behind and profited. He was referring to Warren Cooper. Mrs. Cooper had the water rights and told him he was more then welcome to all the water he wanted. But that wasn't good enough for him, he wanted it all, he wanted to buy her out. Just then Karp pulled Jas's broken saber out of it scabbard. Laughing and yelling....."Charge!" Jas told him to put it back. Karp laughed and asked him if he was going to make him. Jas walked up to him and told him that was his choice. As Jas took his hat off he hit Karp in the face with it, then hit him with his fist and knocked him to the ground. Jas then drew his gun on Karp and told him to pick up the saber. Karp walked over and picked up the saber and placed it back in it's scabbard. "Hey you!" Yelled Renger. "Wanna work for me.....you can have Karp's job?" "Not interested Mr. Renger!" Said Jas. "Alright Karp.....you still have a job.....get on your animal!" Said Renger. "Is that an army saber?" Asked Renger. "It was," said Jas. Renger asked if it was dipped in blue or grey. Jas asked....."What's the difference? That wars over!" "Maybe it's easier for some people to forget then it is for others," said Renger as he rode off. Karp rode over to the grave and made his horse go back and forth over Warren Cooper's grave, and then he rode off. Mrs. Cooper quickly started to smooth the dirt over her husband's grave. Jas just stood there as he watched these men ride away.

As Mrs. Cooper and Jas went on their way.....Mrs. Cooper told him that she was a member of the Society of Friends and that they don't believe in violence, most people know them as Quakers. She said when she and her husband bought the farm during the war. It was his dream that someday they would be able to start a community there someday. Before Warren died he made arrangements for six more Quaker families from Pennsylvania to move out here and share the farm. In about two months they would be coming here. She hoped she could manage until then. She told Jas that since her husband had died she hadn't been able to keep a hired man. They would all get scared off. "I know that Quaker's don't believe in violence Mrs. Cooper, but your husband Warren, wouldn't he fight a man like Renger?" "Yes.....he would fight.....in a different way," said Mrs. Cooper. "You mean.....turn the other cheek?" "Look Mrs. Cooper.....I have a job waiting for me in Kansas City.....but it can wait." "I don't know much about farming, but I can sure split a rail or hammer a nail." She was pleased and thanked him for staying.

Renger and his men headed into town and then the saloon. Jas headed for the blacksmith. Karp was watching and waiting for Jas. He told Renger that he saw Jas go into the blacksmiths. While Renger was standing at the bar, Buckrum walked up to Renger and asked him if he changed his mind about giving him and his brothers, Chet, and Lathe a job. Renger told him....."I'll make it plain and simple.....I don't like you!" "Not just 'cause ya' run off from the war and not 'cause your a bushwackin' cheatin' gunny.....just that I plain don't like ya'!" Buckrum told him they didn't take that job from the widow. Renger told him that was the best judgment he ever showed. "I don't cotton looking at the likes of you.....so get away from me!" Said Renger.

Jas and Mrs. Cooper were at the General Store and Jas was loading her buggy. Karp couldn't keep himself from watching Jas. The longer he watched him, the madder he got. Karp called to Renger and told him that the drifter was helping the widow load her buggy. Renger walked out of the saloon and everyone followed. Karp told Renger he wanted a piece of Jas. Renger told him to help himself to all he wanted of him.

Karp started for the General Store. Jas was inside and Mrs. Cooper was standing by the buggy. She was feeling uneasy and knew there would be trouble. Jas came out of the store carry a large sack of flour over his shoulder. Jas saw Karp. As he stepped down from the porch, Karp took a swing at him. Jas spun around hitting the sack of flour. The sack fell to the ground. Jas swung at Karp, hitting him and knocking him to the ground. Everyone stood outside the saloon watching. Jas picked up the sack and put it into the wagon. While Jas's back was turned, Karp slowly pulled his gun. Jas acted quickly. He grabbed his saber and swung it around, throwing it at Karp, pinning his coat sleeve and Karp to the ground. Jas didn't hurt Karp, just his pride. Everyone walked over to the front of the store. The sheriff came running out of his office and asked what was going on. Mrs. Cooper told the sheriff that Karp attacked Jas. Renger agreed with her. The sheriff said he had a mind to run in Jas anyway. Jas asked him....."What for?" "How's vagrancy for openers?" Asked the Sheriff. Renger told him that Jas wasn't a vagrant, and that he had himself a job with Mrs. Cooper.....
"On the farm!" "Yeah.....well then git to farmin'," said the sheriff. Jas then threw Karp his gun and helped Mrs. Cooper into the buggy. For some reason Renger stuck up for Jas, what could be his motive?

"Karp.....don't you ever get tired of meeting your shadow in the ground?" Asked Renger. He didn't give Karp a chance to answer. Renger told him to get himself a bath. This was the chance Buckrum was waiting for. "Mr. Renger.....you ought to think about hiring yourself some good men," said Buckrum. "Your boy can't even handle that coward from Bitter Creek."

Mrs. Cooper and Jas got to the ranch before it started to storm. She prepared them a nice meal and some hot coffee. By this time it was raining really hard. Jas said it was time to turn in for the night and he would stay in the barn. Mrs. Cooper wouldn't hear of it. She told Jas the roof leaked like a sieve and he could stay the night on the coach in the living room. He agreed and told her he would fix the barn roof first thing in the morning. Jas then went to get his bed roll. They didn't know that Renger was out amongst the trees, in all this rain, thunder and lightening watching the house. Renger watched the house until the lights went out.

    Jas bedded down on the coach, he wondered if he would be able to sleep with the thunder and lightening, it seemed to have gotten worse. He did manage to get to sleep, but it didn't take long for him to start dreaming. He dreamed of Bitter Creek, the battle. He dreamed of General Reed and the men who died. Everything kept flashing back to Bitter Creek in his dream. He also dreamed of the time he relieved him of his command and the fiery arrow that hit the ammunition wagon. The explosion woke him up.
 
The thunder also woke up Mrs. Cooper. She came out to the living room to check on Jas. He looked upset, disturbed. She asked him if he was alright. "It's a dream I have.....every now and them." She told him she knew what it was like to wake up like that and it might help to talk about it. She said she'd make some coffee.

He told her about Bitter Creek and how there was even a song about it. "I guess you can say.....I even live with a battalion of ghosts," said Jas.

Jas fixed the roof on the barn and told her after he took his gear out in the barn he'd get to work on tightening the wagon wheel. She told him he had been doing the work of three men and that it was Sunday, the Lord's day and told him to do the chores on Monday. Just then someone knocked on the door, it was Renger. She had invited him in. He saw Jas standing there with his bedroll and the two of them just stood there looking at each other. Jas then went out to the barn to fix the wagon wheel.

He had brought Mrs. Cooper flowers. He told her that he had come calling on her. She thanked him for the flowers. "Now look ma'am.....I'm not much for pussy footin'.....so do you mind if I just speak plain?" She told him she was sure they would both feel more comfortable if he did. He came to offer her a proposition. "Well.....I've got maybe fifty time the land you have.....but.....you've got more water and any kind of drought, my streams would dry out." She reminded him that he would always be welcome to all the water he wanted. "There are two things wrong with that ma'am.....one.....you might not always be here or you might take on a new husband who could change your mind." "Two.....you want to farm this land.....this is Kansas.....cattle country. That's always been our crop and always will be." "But I've got another idea and that's why I'm here." "I know I've been pretty rough on you and your hired hands and I know your man ain't been dead long but.....dead is dead." "I thought maybe if I started to come to call.....after a respectable time.....say a month.....you and I could go down to the court house....(he could tell by the look on her face, court house wasn't the word he should use) or church." "I'm a rich man by some standards and with your land we could have an empire, like a duke and duchess." She was surprised. She didn't know what to say to him, she just stood there looking at him. "Well.....that's it!" Said Renger. She was stunned some and had to sit down. She told him that she didn't want to seem ungrateful with his offer, but there were six families coming here to live. He told her he would buy them out. She explained to them that they expected to make their home there on her land. Renger felt he didn't have enough to offer her. She assured him that wasn't it at all. "Maybe I know what it is.....or who!" "And maybe you ought to know just who your new friend is!" She told him she did know. He said he wasn't much good at fixing wagon wheels, and maybe that was because he never run from a fight. "I lost this arm fighting for my country and I'm willing to loose the other one fighting for this ranch!"

He left the house slamming the door behind him and headed straight for Jas. He called Jas a rotten poacher and he knew what was going on here. "I've seen you in her cabin at night!" He then hit Jas and he fell to the ground. Jas got up and started for Renger, he remembered this man with a missing an arm. Jas couldn't fight him. He told Jas if he wanted to make it even he was to use one hand.....or was he still a coward. He then hit Jas again and again and again until he fell to the ground. That was enough, Jas got on his feet and with one hand he hit Renger again and again across the face. The men kept fighting. Finally Renger landed on the ground. Mrs. Cooper was on her porch watching. Jas grabbed Renger by the coat and pulled him up. Renger took a swing at Jas. Jas hit him again, knocking Renger to the ground. Again Jas grabbed him by his coat and said....."Come to your senses Renger, and stop acting like a fool!" "You lost an arm! So what!" "If you force all the people in the territory to give up their land to you, will that make you a whole man again?" "You better take a good look at yourself before you loose what little humanity you have left!" "You should have killed me poacher!" Said Renger. Mrs. Cooper walked over to the two of them. She wanted Renger to come inside so she could help him, but he refused. "Help him!" "But there is no help.....he's a dead man!" "There's nothing left but the burying!" Said Renger as he walked away.

Renger was true to his word. That evening Emily Cooper and Jas were inside her home when a shot rang out and broke the window in her living room. It was Buckrum and his two brothers, Renger had hired them. Buckrum yelled to Jas to come out and that Mrs. Cooper wouldn't get hurt. He went for his gun and told her to stay back no matter what. Jas slowly opened the door with his gun belt. Buckrum yelled for him to come out. While all of the men were watching the front door, Jas snuck out a window in the back. He went over by the corral and got off a few shots. So did Buckrum and his brothers. Jas shot Chet, who was behind the wood pile getting ready to take a shot at Jas.
 
Renger was on his way to the Cooper farm. The closer he got, the more shooting he could hear. He had a change of heart and had hoped to get there before any blood was shed. Renger rode in with his gun drawn and yelled to Buckrum to forget the job and get out.  
"Too late now Renger.....he got Chet and now I'm getting him!" Renger yelled again....."I said get out!" Just them Buckrum turned his gun on Renger to shoot him, but Renger shot first and killed Buckrum. When Lathe turned to shoot Renger, Jas shot him.

Renger rode up to Jas and said....."I took that look like you said and I didn't like what I saw." The two men shook hands.

The next day Jas was all saddled up and ready to go. Emily came over to see Jas before he pulled out. With Renger not threatening anyone, Emily was able to hire plenty of help. Jas told her that she and Renger might even get to be good neighbors. She started to say something to Jas, but couldn't finish it. They stood there looking at each other. Jas said to her....."I could see how a man might.....leap upon mountains.....and skip over hills." Jas knew that she was a special lady. The two of them had formed a special bond. "Jason.....I shall not forget thee....." Jas took his hand and touched her cheek. He then mounted his horse and rode off.


Leap Upon Mountains ― Cast


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