The Bar Sinister — episode #21
Jas had just gotten into town and thought he'd head
over to the saloon for a drink. The road had been a
long and dusty one. He didn't even get inside the
saloon when someone started shooting at him. The
first shot missed him,
but the next shot caught Jas's right wrist. He then
picked up his gun with his left hand and shot the
cowboy, killing him. Somebody was still holding a
grudge on Jas from Bitter Creek.
Some of the men folks helped Jas over to the Doc's
office. The sheriff heard the shots and followed Jas
to the Doc's office. Jas asked him if he was going
to put him in jail. The sheriff reassured him he
wasn't going to arrest him. He felt that Jas had
taken more then was called for and besides Jas shot
the cowboy in self defense. The sheriff told Jas
there were a few others that were itching to start
on Jas where he left off about Bitter Creek. He told
Jas if he were him he wouldn't hang around here for
very long. Jas told him he had no intention of
hanging around, Jas said he had business elsewhere.
While Jas was trying to pull his sleeve down the Doc
told him he was to take it easy, that he almost
severed a tendon. He told him not to use his hand
for at least two weeks.
Jas was on his way to see an old friend, Sam
Whitlaw, he was too late to see Sam. Sam was already
dead. He did make it in time for his funeral though.
After the funeral Jas saw a commotion going on
between some people and a young boy. The boy was
Jimmy, Sam's boy. His Uncle Caleb & Aunt Hannah
wanted him to go home with them, but he refused. He
wanted to go home with Neela, not his aunt and
"No Jimmy.....come with me, come to your own home!"
Yelled Neela as she reached for Jimmy. Jimmy turned
to his aunt and said....."I want to go with Neela!"
"No Jimmy.....your fathers not there anymore," said
his aunt. Caleb turned to Neela and said....."Get in
your wagon. You're only going back to the Whitlaw
farm to get your things together." "The boy will
live with us now!" As Jimmy struggled to get away
from them he was yelling....."But I want to go home!
I want to live with Neela!" Neela told them they had
no right to take Jimmy. "Don't you start questioning
our rights!" Stated Caleb. Hannah was saying that it
was a mistake to let Neela come to the cemetery.
This was the time for families and close friends.
Jas intervened....."This isn't the time or the place
to argue. I'm sure it can wait 'till later!" Just
then Jimmy broke loose from his uncle and ran into
the arms of Neela. Caleb told Jas that he had family
rights to Jimmy. He told Jas that Sam Whitlaw was
his cousin. Caleb asked Jas who he was to step in
and take over. "I'm Jason McCord.....Sam Whitlaw was
my friend." "Well that's easy to say now that Sam
isn't here to.....back it up!" Said Caleb. Jas told
him to let the law decide. "I'm the mayor of Sandy
Creek.....I am the law here," said Caleb. "Obviously
the boy wants to stay with the woman," said Jas.
"Woman? Sam's squaw housekeeper.....that's who she
is!" "We're going to ship her back to the reservation
fast. I always said she was a bad influence on
Jimmy. Hannah and me will give the boy a decent home
now," said Caleb. Jimmy was crying....."I got a
home," yelled Jimmy. Caleb told Jimmy they were only
thinking of his further. Jas convinced Caleb to wait
a few days and let the boy go home with Neela. "Well
I suppose it could wait until tomorrow," said Caleb.
Jas went with Neela back to Sam's ranch. He told
Neela when he surveyed Sam's land a month ago he
looked healthy as a young man. Neela told Jas that
Sam had gotten the fever and in three days he was
gone. They had tried to get the doctor from Elks
Bend but he couldn't come. Neela then started to get
in the back of the wagon. Jas told her she was to
sit up front with him. She was surprised.
Jas told Neela that he was bringing Sam good news.
He told Neela that he checked his survey against
official government maps, he was a lot richer then
he thought. Neela knew it had something to do with
the water. Jas told her that Sam held the riparian
rights to Sandy Creek and he owns the land where the
water flows into Willow creek. Neela told Jas that
Mr. Reymer claims that land. Jas told her that right
now that land belongs to Jimmy. Now things started
to add up. This is why they wanted Jimmy. They
didn't care about anything except the water. "Well
if it's the way Reymer claims and Jimmy is his
relative, the law will probably make him the boy's
guardian," said Jas. Neela got upset....."NO! His
father would never want that," said Neela. "His
fathers not here to say and you can't fight a whole
town!" Stated Jas. Neela grew more upset....."Yes I
can.....if they try to take Jimmy!" Neela grabbed
Jimmy and held him, she then kissed Jimmy. Neela was
not giving Jimmy up with out a fight, not if she
could help it. Jas knew Neela meant what she said,
now he had to try & help her more then ever.
When they got back to Sam's ranch Neela made them
some supper. Jimmy asked Neela if she owned the farm
now. "No Jimmy.....um.....an Indian is not allowed
to own land, except on a reservation," said Jas.
"You own the farm now.....you're the head of the
house!" "Neela works for me?" Asked Jimmy. Jas told
him that they worked for each other. Neela thought
she heard something outside. She walked over to the
window. Two men were riding in on a buckboard. Jas
walked over to the window and saw that one man was
Reymer and the other Huber Mills, Reymer's heavy. He
told Neela and Jimmy to stay there while he went out
to see what was going on.
Reymer told Jas they came for Jimmy. Jas reminded
him that they would get the boy tomorrow.
"Postponing just makes it hard," said Reymer. "Jimmy
can go with you if that's what he wants, but it's up
to him," said Jas. "You
us to leave him with that squaw if he wants it?"
Questioned Reymer. "Why he's only a boy.....he don't
know." "She'd raise him like a red skin savage!"
"One day he'd have feathers in his hair and his face
painted!" "Maybe you're partial to red skins," said
Mills. Jas called to Jimmy and told him to come
outside. Reymer told Jimmy to get his things
together, that he was going home with him. "This is
my home.....I own it now!" Said Jimmy. "I want to
stay here." Jas told them that was their answer.
Mills told Jimmy he was getting to big for big his
britches as he started for the boy. Before he could
put a hand on Jimmy, Jas hit Mills knocking him to
the grown. Mills started for Jas but Reymer stopped
him and told him there was other ways. Reymer told
Jas that they would have to go to town eventually
and he was going to make sure that no one would sell
them as much as a measly potato. "When Jimmy gets
hungry.....he can always come and sit at my table,"
said Reymer. The whole time Jas held a gun on them.
They turned and headed for town.
Jas told Jimmy that he was big enough to help Neela
with the chores. "She's used to it.....she's a
squaw" said Jimmy as he ran off. Neela was hurt. She
turned and went into the house. Jas followed her.
"That's the way he's been for two days now. He
hardly speaks to me, except when he can't help
himself," said Neela. "His father dying.....that's
what it is," reassured Jas. She turned to Jas as
said....."No.....it's more then that! He knows how
the people feel about me and he's ashamed." Neela
started to cry....."Can I face all of Sandy Creek
and Jimmy too?" Jas walked up to Neela, it was hard
to say what he was thinking, but it had to be said.
"Maybe it would be better for you and Jimmy if
you.....did send him to the Reymer's and you went
back to the reservations." "No I can't do that! You
don't understand.....I can't give up!" "Jimmy's my
son!" Jas was surprised. "Fifteen years ago I fell
in love with Sam Whitlaw and he loved me." "We
wanted to be married in the white world, but we were
turned away everywhere. So we were married in the
Indian way, my village." Nobody knew, they didn't
tell anybody because Sam was afraid of the way he
would treat them. "So after Jimmy was born we moved
here and Sam told everyone that his wife died in
child birth. In a way.....that was true." "I became
nurse to my own son, but Sam and I had our happiness
and that was the only way." Jas asked Neela if she
had any proof to back up her story. She nodded and
then when to the dresser and got out a box. Inside
the box was a deposition sworn by a circuit judge.
This certainly proves Neela was Sam's wife. Neela
looked at Jas with a big smile on her face and
said....."Now tell me to give
the boy up!" "Why haven't you told Jimmy?" "I was
afraid.....I was afraid of how he would face the
truth," said Neela. "He thinks his mother is
dead.....a white woman, not an Indian squaw." "I can
face anything.....but not my son tuning away from
me," as Neela sat there crying.
Jas went looking for Jimmy; he wanted to talk to
him. He found him down by the pond, just setting
there, thinking. Jimmy didn't feel like talking. Jas
asked him if he was ashamed of something. He
reminded Jimmy that he had told Reymer that he
wanted to live there with Neela. Jas asked him why
he was acting funny lately. Jimmy shrugged his
shoulders and said he didn't know. Jas asked Jimmy
if it was because Neela was an Indian. Jimmy
reluctantly agreed. Jas told him that Neela has
always been an Indian, but that didn't stop her from
loving him or caring for him. Jimmy told Jas that
was when he was little and needed tending. Jimmy
started to pour his heart out. "You don't have to
listen to the kids calling you papoose or
redskin.....it ain't fun!" Jas asked him if that
would solve the problem if he sent her to the
reservation. "Well maybe she would be a site happier
living on the reservation with all the other
Indians!" Yelled Jimmy. Jas reminded Jimmy that she
has lived there all her life with him & his father
and this was her home now and he was her people.
"Well there's a heap of difference.....she's an
Indian and I'm not! Yelled Jimmy. "Come on back to
the house Jimmy.....I want Neela to tell you
something that just might change your mind.....come
When they got back to the house Neela was gone. It
looked like Reymer had taken her. Jas told Jimmy
that he was the only one who could help her now.
"How can I help her? We already know she is a no
account Indian." Jimmy turned and looked at Jas and
told him it was up to Jas. "Jimmy.....you should
have been told this a long time ago.....but now your
gonna have to hear it from me." "Neela's your
mother." Jimmy just stood there looking at Jas. Jimmy
insisted that his mother was dead. Jimmy didn't want
to believe Jas. He accused Jas of lying.
"Jimmy.....you know I have no reason to lie to you."
"That makes me a.....half breed! Even worse!"
"Son.....you're what you have always been." "Your
mother and father were married in an Indian
village." "Because he was ashamed!" accused Jimmy.
Jas told Jimmy that his father loved his mother and
there was no other place they could be married.
Jimmy wished Jas never had told him. Jas told him
they had to get to town and keep them from sending
his mother to a reservation. "You mean.....tell
everybody?" Asked Jimmy. "No son.....I'll leave that
up to you," said Jas. "I can't! I'm not going!"
Shouted Jimmy! "I don't need her anymore." "This is
my land, I own it now. "Alright Jimmy.....you live
with your land!" And when the first hurt
comes.....you let the land hold you and comfort
you!" "You let the land feed you and dress you!"
"Land! Will the land love you Jimmy?" "Will the land
nurse your bruises?" "Will it mend your torn
shirts.....will the land listen to your problems?"
They stood there looking at each other.
"Son.....your father was a good man.....but he made
a mistake in not telling you and the whole world how
much Neela meant to him." "Don't you make the same
mistake!" Jimmy started to cry.
Jas rode into town. Hannah Reymer was telling
everyone that Indians just wasn't a human breed and
they were best kept penned up on the reservation.
Reymer made it known that Huber was taking Neela
back to the reservation right now, it's only fifty
miles. She'd be put away safe in just a couple of
days. "She's not going anywhere, not yet Reymer!"
"I'm going to tell you why," said Jas. "Oh no you
won't! You're all through meddling!" "Before God and
man, I'm doing what's right!" "That squaw's getting
in that buckboard and she's going now!" Said Reymer.
"She's not going anywhere!" Said Jas. Huber yelled
something about the reservation was too good for
her. "The filthy red devils killed my brother!" "My
people were killed too!" Shouted Neela. Jas yelled
to Neela to come to his side. Huber jumped out of
the buckboard and yelled that he would take care of
Jas and her too. He started for Jas. Jas hit Huber
and knocked him to the ground. Jas turned his back
on Huber, just as Huber started to pull his pistol
out of his holster. Neela warned Jas. Jas then
pulled his broken saber out of his gear and threw it
at Huber pinning his arm to the ground with it.
"I think it's about time people around here knew the
truth Reymer!" Said Jas. "The only reason you want
to send Neela away is because you can grab that
boy.....because he owns the rights to the water in
this territory! The rights you told everybody you
controlled! Isn't that right
Reymer?" "Don't listen to him!" "You all know me!"
"And I found out about Mr. McCord!" "He's that
coward that deserted his men in the battle at Bitter
Creek!" "What does his word mean?" "You don't have
to take my word.....this is....." Just as Jas
started to take the deposition out of his sling,
Jimmy rode up in the buckboard. He jumped off the
buckboard and ran toward Reymer yelling....."Leave
her alone! Leave her alone!" The he looked up at
Reymer and said....."She's my mother!" The town was
buzzing'. Reymer grabbed the boy by the arm and
said....."You're mother's dead boy!" "This squaw was
your nurse!" Jimmy still looking Reymer straight in
the eyes said....."She's my mother!" Jas told Reymer
that the boy was telling the truth. He then handed
the deposition to Reymer to read. "That's a sworn
deposition by Sam Whitlaw." "Neela was his wife and
she's Jimmy's mother!" Reymer was angry, he scheme
didn't work. "Wait.....then this boy is a half
breed!" Said Reymer. "That's right Reymer, but he
can still own land, legally!" Reymer had no choice
but to let them stay. "Now isn't that
generous.....I'm sure Jimmy's mother will be just as
generous as you!" It will be up to her to decide who
Jimmy shares that water with. "Too bad isn't
it.....too many people are accepted for what they
have and not what they are," said Jas.
Neela wanted to thank Jas, but couldn't find the
words. "No need to say anything Mrs. Whitlaw," as he
handed her the deposition. "Nobody ever called me
that before." "Son.....your father would have been
mighty proud of you today too," said Jas. "Thank you
Mr. McCord, for a lot of things," said Jimmy. "Come
on mom, I'll drive ya' home!"
around The McCain Ranch