BRANDED
A Taste of Poison — episode #15

Jas was escorting a young woman, Dr. Evelyn Cole, to a medical outpost. He was to take her to join up with a Doctor Mitchell.

Crossing the dessert was a long, hot, tiresome journey. Jas decided to stop and rest just for a while. It would give Dr. Cole a chance to rest and have a drink of water, which they both needed; they still had quite a ways to travel. She told Jas that Dr. Mitchell was an amazing man being able to give up a highly lucrative practice in Boston to come out here. “Tell me Mr. McCord…..how does one go about becoming a professional escort?” “First of all Dr. Cole…..one needs the money and secondly, one believes in Dr. Mitchell.” “And right now my job is to get you to Dr. Mitchell’s hospital,” said Jas. He helped her back onto her horse and they went on their way. Little did they know a band of Apache Indians were watching them.

They traveled a short ways, when in a distance Jas could see there had been some trouble ahead. He handed the rope to their supply horse to Dr. Cole and rode on ahead.

There was an overturned wagon with two men lying on the ground. The one man was dead; it was Dr. Mitchell and the other man who was a cavalry officer. The cavalry officer was hurt and in bad shape. They had been attacked by Apaches. Jas signaled Dr. Cole to come on ahead. He knew the officer needed medical attention. She tended to the officer while Jas buried the doctor and then Jas put the soldier on their supply horse and they started on their way.
 
They traveled for several miles until they came across a broken burned down shack with a well. It was in pretty bad shape. This would be good, they had some water left, but they could fill their canteens and rest before heading on their way again.

When they reached the well there were three men standing by it. “Welcome to Marlow’s…..what’s left of it,” said Howland. Jas asked if the Apache’s had done the damage. The man told them he didn’t know, that they had come across it just that morning. Jas told them that they need to fill their canteens and the man told him there was plenty in the well. What Jas didn’t know was that the three men wasn’t sure if the Apache’s had poisoned the well and was using them as guinea pigs.  
  
Just as Jas started to dink from the bucket, the old man, Luke, stopped him. “Hold on stranger!” Howland turned and looked at him. “If…..if it was Apache’s that burned it……” said Luke. Jas finished his sentence…..“They could have poisoned the water.” “That’s what we don’t know,” said Luke. Jas slammed the bucket down and walked over to Howland and grabbed him by his coat. “You figured to find out from us if that water was safe or not…..huh?” Said Jas. “I’ve been thirsty so long mister,” said Howland. Dr. Cole stopped Jas and said…..”Mr. McCord…..we have to cleanse his wounds…..would you please get him off the horse?” Jas released Howland and went to take the soldier off of the horse. While Jas was taking the soldier off of the horse, Luke approached Jas and asked him if they had any water. Jas told him they did have some. He told Jas he had been there for two days and that he was powerful thirsty, especially after looking at the well bucket, not knowing. Jas nodded and left the man get the canteen. Just as the man lifted the canteen to get a drink, the canteen slipped out of his hands and dropped to the ground, water flowing out. Jas rushed over and picked it up. Luke told him he was sorry. While Jas and Luke were getting the horse out of the hot sun Taeger, Howland’s partner, slowly approached the well with anticipation, but was so thirsty, thought he might give it a try. Before he could decide he was shot in the back by the Apache’s. Everyone took cover as the Indians started to attack. “Are they going to kill us Mr. McCord?” Asked Dr. Cole. “They’re going to try,” said Jas.   
   
As evening fell, things quieted down. The Indians stopped attacking…..for now.  Dr. Cole told Jas that the cavalry officer had a fever and although they couldn’t drink the water, she could use the water to cool his body. Jas checked to see how far it was to the well. He grabbed his saber and headed towards the well. Before Jas could reach the well the Indians started shooting. Jas did manage to get to the well and he used his saber to cut loose the bucket of water and hurried back to the doctor and solider without getting hurt.
 
As she patted the solider with water he came to. He turned and saw Jas. He recognized him and called to him…..“Captain? Captain McCord?” The doctor asked Jas if the solider knew him. “Captain…..I was with you at fort Crook, I was the drummer, remember?” “Of course I do son; you better take it easy now,” said Jas. The old man and Howland wanted to hear more. Jas told the old man that he better save his strength too, then walked away. The old man followed Jas and said…..“When you get to be my age…..talkin' is one of the few pleasures left in life. Besides…..it might have been a mighty interesting story if you’re who he says you are.” “Promising young captain and a great general…..Ahhhhh one of the greatest.” Howland then approached the two men and asked Jas if he was Jas McCord. Jas told him he was. “Oh…..if that ain’t the luck!” “Injuns all around…..here I am with a woman, an old man and the biggest turn coat since Judas,” said Howland. Jas took his saber and put it to Howland’s chest and said…..“Try and bear up Mr. Howland,” and then walked away.       
 As morning broke Howland couldn’t take not having a drink any longer. He picked up the bucket of water and grabbed the old man and tried to force him to take a drink. “Jas knocked the bucket of water out of his hands, it landed in the dirt. “Get a hold of yourself Howland,” said Jas as the water spilled to the ground. Howland picked up the bucket of water and ran towards the well to fill the bucket up. He was half out of his mind. He didn’t make it to the well; he was shot twice by the Indians. This prompted an attack. As the Indians charged, Jas shot one Indian, then another. They kept coming at them full force. While Jas was reloading his gun, an Indian rode up from behind and grabbed Dr. Cole. She screamed as the Indian tried to put his hand over her mouth. Jas then took his saber and threw it at the Indian, and caught him in the back with it. She was upset. Jas went to her and comforted her. He told her to get the soldier ready, they were leaving. He then went to saddle the horses.

As she approached the soldier he looked at her and said…..“I never believed what they said about him at West Point…..he doesn’t run away.” “No he doesn’t.” said Dr. Cole. “He loved that general…..covered for him until the day he died,” said the soldier. She asked him why. He couldn’t give her that answer; a lot of people wondered the same thing. “But it cost him…..it cost him his career as an officer,” said the soldier. She helped the solder to his feet and started to find Jas and the horses.

After Jas got the soldier on his horse, Jas happen to notice the old man at the well. He was lowering the bucket into the well. Jas watched the old man as he pulled the bucket ups and filled his canteen and then drank from the canteen. “When the old man turned around he saw Jas watching him. “Just filling my canteen…..I aim to make it back to town.” “I figured if it looked like I couldn’t make it, it would be a quick way to end it, said the old man. Jas grabbed a hold of the sacks the old man had on his shoulder. The old man told him they were Howland’s, but he wouldn’t need them now. He told Jas that there was gold in the sacks and that Howland and Taeger struck it rich at the Assay Office in Casterbell. “That water wasn’t poisoned…..was it?” Asked Jas. “I seen them steal it…..so I came out here to wait for ‘em.” “I figured with their imagination and the desert, I could get the gold for me,” said the old man. Jas looked him straight in the eyes and said…..“That gold is going back to Casterbell!” The old man then drew his rifle on Jas. “That’s not likely…..for forty years I scratched this desert from one end to the other…..and now I struck the mother load…..it’s mine…..all mine!” When Jas started for him he cocked the rifle and said…..“I’ll kill to keep it Mr. McCord…..I swear I will!” “I don’t think you will old timer,” said Jas as he started for him again. Jas took the rifle and the sacks of gold from the old man. Jas walked over to the well, laid down the rifle and took the bucket of water to fill his canteens.

Dr. Cole and the solder were confused. Dr. Cole asked Jas what he was doing and if the water was alright. Jas told her the water was alright. They all took a drink and Jas filled their canteens before heading on their way.



Jas told them, first they had to take a side trip to Casterbell and then he would put Carol on a train back to Boston.
   


A Taste of Poison ― Cast


Next ― Price of a Name


Episode Guide 1 & 2


the saddlebag..... 1 & 2


Branded


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