BRANDED
Survival episode #1

Jason McCord was in Furnace Springs when he heard Mission Gap was getting ready to dig a mine shaft and they needed an engineer in a hurry. Jas is skilled as a surveyor, mapmaker, and engineer, and was told the job was his if he could be at Mission Gap within the week. He thought the shortest distance to Mission Gap would be to go through the desert to Granite Wells. That way it would be only a two day ride, leaving him plenty of time to get to Mission Gap. So he filled his canteen & started on his way.

There was no shade from the blistering desert sun. He would take a drink from time to time, but as little as possible if he planned on making it across the desert, he had to make his water last. He made it part way across the desert when he came upon a dead horse lying in the desert with its saddle and all of its gear on it. He wondered whose horse this could be. He noticed the footprints in the sand. He followed them for a short ways when he saw a man ahead, stumbling, and barely standing. As he made his way towards the man he could see him drop to the ground.

He grabbed his canteen & slowly approached the man, then gave him a drink from his canteen. He poured water into his hands and put some water over the man's face. He then started to take a drink, but decided he better wait. Especially now with the two of them, they would need to watch the water supply even more.

The man told him his name was Jed Colbee. He also told him how important it was for his "Survival" and for him to get to Granite Wells before the wagon train pulled out. He told him that his wife, Sally and his daughter Jessie were waiting for him there. He also told him that his daughter's birthday was in three days, she would be five. Colbee told him of how he had gone to get a stake, a real stake, one for a real start for him & his family. And now he was to meet them in Granite Wells. Thanks to Jas, Colbee now had a chance to see his family. He asked Jas his name. He said....."Call me Jas." "When we get to Mission Wells.....I'm gonna have Sally fix the best dinner you ever had and then we'll hoist a real cup of cheer," said Colbee. "Let's not talk about drinking," said Jas as Colbee futilely attempted to wet his lips. Colbee couldn't help but wonder if his daughter even remembered him. Jessie was only two and a half when he left his family in Braddock to come out here. He then showed Jas a picture of Sally & Jessie. Jas told him they had about six hours left to sundown; they better get on their way. Jas insisted on Colbee riding the horse and he would walk, at least until Colbee was feeling better.
 
With almost a full canteen of water & one horse, they headed out for a two day trip to Granite Wells. They traveled about 10 miles when Colbee asked how much water they had left. Jas told him a half of the canteen. Now they were both walking. Colbee asked him if he had any family. He told him he didn't. Colbee then asked him what kind of a town Granite Wells was and if it was as wild as they say. He was worried about Sally not having enough money and was afraid if he didn't make it there in time, the wagon train would leave her there. She was counting on him to be there before the wagon train left. "I said we'd make it!" Said Jas. "Will you stop lying! We're two dead men and we don't have sense enough to admit it! Now don't you think I don't know it.....I'm not blind! This horse will never make it.....not with the two of us!" Screamed Colbee at Jas. Jas yelled at Colbee to shut up. "No! Not this time.....I've gotta live.....I have people I love who love me and need me.....do you hear? They need me! They need me.....do you hear?" He pushed Colbee away and unsaddle his horse. He started on his way.....walking, carrying the saddle with all his gear and leading the horse. With every drop of sweat and with each step of the way Colbee's fear was getting worse. He would tag along behind Jas, in a distant. He found it harder and harder to keep up with him.

That evening when they made camp, Colbee told Jas he was going to look for more wood for the fire. He didn't get very far when he suddenly stopped. Jas asked him what was wrong, but Colbee didn't answer. He thought maybe Colbee saw a rattler. He told Colbee not to move and started towards him with his broken saber and gun in hand. It was a skull of a man. As Colbee sat on the ground starring at the fire he asked....."Why Jas.....why did that poor devil have to end up like that?" Jas told him.....maybe an accident.....or a war.....some men live, some men die. Nobody knows why the choices are made." Colbee felt there must be some sense to it. "I lived through a massacre that took the lives of everybody else in my company.....I've never been able to figure out why," stated Jas. "That must have been some experience.....sounds something like 'Bitter Creek.' Jas was starring into the fire, remembering. He turned and looked at Colbee and said....."It was Bitter Creek." Colbee had heard about Bitter Creek and Captain Jason McCord. He asked Jas why he was trying to keep his name a secret. Jas told him he wasn't. "Most people think you should have been hanged," stated Colbee. "Lucky for you I wasn't,
huh?" said Jas. He apologized to Jas.

Colbee was getting more and more desperate. He feared the two men couldn't make the desert, but one man alone would have a better chance. The two men bedded down for the night. While Jas was sleeping, Colbee took his gun, the canteen of water and mounted Jas's horse. He woke Jas and told him he was sorry, this was something he had to do. "I offered to let you go alone.....now I'm going.....unless you decide to stop me," said Colbee. He then tossed Jas his gun. He caught it and cocked the trigger. Colbee turned with his back to Jas and slowly rode out of camp. As much as he wanted to shoot Colbee, he tried, but couldn't.

Jas had no choice but to go on foot. Now more then ever he was determined to make it to Granite Wells. The sun was hot as it beat down on him. At one point he thought he saw water, only to end up with both handfuls of sand. He walked until he couldn't walk no more. With the combination of the heat & lack of water; he finally collapsed. When he came to, he could feel a wet cloth being patted onto his face. An old Indian found him and told him that no man travels into the desert without a horse or water and alone. He told him that the man who abandoned him was only a day ahead of him. He told him he would give him a burro and guide him so he could see him find the man and repay the man for doing this to him.

With hate and revenge in his heart, he set out for Granite Wells. But would he kill Colbee once he found him? Maybe if he hadn't known about Sally and Jessie? Knowing how he felt, when it came down to it, could he really kill Colbee?

Colbee made it to Granite Wells and met up with his family. Before heading off with the wagon train, Colbee took Jas's horse to the livery stable and told the blacksmith he wanted to board the horse until someone came to claim him. He gave the blacksmith some money and told him that should be enough for a month and if nobody claimed the horse by then, he could keep it.

The first thing Jas did when he got to Granite Wells was to go to the livery stable. Sure enough his horse was there.

Before Colbee could leave town the blacksmith gave Colbee his money back and told him that a man had come to claim his horse.

Colbee put his gun on and started towards the livery stable where he saw Jas talking to the Indian. Jas turned and saw Colbee. They slowly approached each other. With hate in his eyes and heart, Jas was ready to settle this and get his revenge.

Jessie was playing in the street with a hoop when it go away from her and ended up in front of her father. Jessie came up to her father and asked him why he didn't throw back the hoop. He didn't answer her. "Happy Birthday Jessie," said Jas. She asked how he knew it was her birthday. Jas walked closer. He took a good look at Jessie and said sarcastically....."Your Daddy told me all about you!" Seeing Jessie and talking with her made him have a change of heart. He then turned and started to walk away.
He turn around and said.....
"Colbee.....You still owe me a cup of cheer." He then mounted his horse and rode on to Mission Gap. Colbee stood there with his daughter and watched him ride out of town.
His wife walked up to him and asked him who that man was.
Colbee said....."A friend.....a good friend!"


 


Survival ― Cast


Next ― The Vindicator


Episode Guide 1 & 2


the saddlebag..... 1 & 2


Branded ― Music


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