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
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
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.
took his saber and put it to Howland’s chest and
said…..“Try and bear up Mr. Howland,” and then
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
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.
around The McCain Ranch