Coward Dies Many Times — episode
Jason was riding along one day
when he came up on some men in trouble. A man was trying to drive
his wagon out of a mud hole while another man pushed.
was trapped, his leg pinned under the wagon. The horses weren’t
moving at all. Jason hurried forward to see if he could help. The
wagon was on a hill, and they were trying to push the wagon up.
Jason told the man behind the
wagon to take down the keg of nails and 2 X 4’s. The man informed
Jason he wasn’t paying his wages. “What difference does that make?”
Jason asked, surprised the man was behaving this way.
“You heard him, move!” the man
trapped under the wagon declared.
The man and Jason started
unloading the wagon. Jason sat the keg behind the wagon, and then
used the 2 X 4 as a lever. He ordered the driver to get back to
the horses, and lay off the whip.
It worked. Jason went to help
the man up from the mud. “Hope it isn’t broken. I’ll have the doc
check it,” the freed man declared. “You run good and fast when you
have to, which is more than I can say for myself.”
He asked Jason if he was going
into Panamoth. Jason said he was. The man introduced himself as
Ted Evers. He owned the freight line in town. “You looking for
work, I can use you.”
Jason told him he already had a
job, for the railroad. He was going to be surveying the route for
the railroad. The men were not happy to hear Jason’s current job.
Jason made his way to the
newspaper office. Ann was inside laying type, her back to the
door. Jason silently sat on the banister and smiled at her. “Well,
if it isn’t my favorite lady editor.”
Ann knew exactly who it was
without turning. “Jase…” She turned and laughed. “Oh, Jason!” She
threw her arms around Jason and laughed. She made some comment
about looking a mess, but Jason held her close and gave her a long,
lingering kiss that left her breathless.
“You look just fine,”
mumbled hungrily as he continued holding her in his arms.
“How long is it this time,
Jason? One day? Two? Maybe three?”
Jason gave a short laugh. “Maybe
longer if I can find what I’m after.” The whole time they talked,
their eyes never left each other.
She left Jason’s arms and went
back to setting type. “And what might that be?”
“A railroad through Parnoment and
on through Breedlough.” Ann had her doubts about that. She said
they’d already decided it was too expensive to lay track along a
mountain range. “What about through them?” Jason asked.
“Through? Jason…” After washing
her hands, Ann lifted a compact mirror to look at her reflection.
Her words were cut off as Jason grabbed her arm and again pulled her
to him. Jason stared at her face, his arms once again around her.
“…building a town would cost us twice as much.”
“Not if one was already there,”
Jason stated. “And wasn’t there a Silver Strike around these
mountains about fifteen years ago?” Jason asked as he wiped her face
with the cloth for her. She said they closed the vein. The mine
shaft was still open though.
Jason drew his arms around her
and stared into her face. He just couldn’t get enough of her…could
hardly believe she was really in his arms after all this time!
Jason had the idea of using the
mine shaft for a tunnel. Jason sure did hope it would work! “Any
special reason why?” Ann asked.
“Progress,” Jason said, smiling
into her eyes.
“Well, if there’s a way, you’ll
find it. I know that.” They kissed briefly. It was hard to
Jason forced his arms to release
her. “Well, I’ve got to get to work. First thing, I need to take a
look at that mine shaft.” Jason paused after picking up his hat.
“Hey uh….have dinner with me tonight?”
“At home?” Ann smiled.
Jason returned her smile. “At
Jason rode out to the old mine to
check that shaft. He walked
inside to check the sturdiness of the
shaft. It looked pretty steady, he figured.
Ann got back to work on the
printing press. She was still hard at work when Jason returned
later that afternoon. He glanced at the newspaper and looked at the
headline she printed. “Railroad to be Built.”
“Aren’t you jumping the gun a
little?” Jason asked as he picked up the newspaper.
“Why, you said the mine shaft
could be converted into a railroad tunnel,” Ann explained
Jason told her they still had
tests to do. There was two hundred feet of rock that still had to
be tunneled through. “And if that rock is solid core, there won’t
be any railroad.”
Ann promised him she’d hold onto
it. Jason wondered what everyone in town was saying. “That’s all
their talking about. Some are very pleased, and others are not so
“Well, the railroad means
growth…every town on the line. Gains a lot of people.”
“And loses a lot of others,” Ted
Evers stated from the door. Evers asked Ann not to print what he
was about to say. He figured that if the railroad job didn’t pan
out, Jason would be out of a job. “Forget the mine. Send a wire
back saying it’s a bad idea, then come work for me. I’ll pay you
twice as much as you’re getting now.” Jason asked why. “Because
I’m fighting for my life, that’s why!” He hauls freight for
everyone in town and even the army post nearby. “But you send in
your report saying they can lay track through here and I can take my
wagons and chop them up and sell them for kindling! You could ruin
“Look, Mr. Evers, it’s progress
that could ruin you if you don’t adjust to it. More railroads are
coming West, if not this year, then the following year or the foll…”
“Is that your answer?”
“Yes, that’s my answer,” Jason
“I owed you a favor, McCord. No
Evers’ men came to pay Jason a
visit. They were going to do some busting up while he stood by and
watched. When he went to ax the water barrel, Jason warned him that
there was nitro in it. “One bump, and there won’t be enough left of
you to scoop up with a shovel.” Deke wanted what he meant, but
Hogan knew exactly what he meant – that’s the way they hauled the
stuff so it wouldn’t blow up.
Deke sat down the ax, but walked
up to Jason. “Tomorrow, you be gone, McCord…and stay gone! If you
don’t…” Deke went to punch him, but Jason was ready. He punched
Deke. He fought both Deke and Hogan, sending them to the ground.
Than he picked up a gun and held it on the two men while he gave the
“Alright, now go back and tell
evers I’m still here…and I’m staying here!”
Jason went back to work on the
mine. Evers came to visit him there. “You about finished?” Evers
asked Jason. “I should have known those two couldn’t handle you. I
should have done it myself.”
“Is that why you came here?”
Evers shook his head. “I don’t
want to go up against you, so I’m cutting you in for ten percent of
“I don’t want it,” Jason stated
“Well then what do you want,
McCord?” Evers yelled. “Thirty percent? Fifty percent? My right
arm? Or haven’t you got a price?”
“Yes, Mr. Evers, I have got a
price. It’s my future,” Jason answered.
“Your future…What about my
future? If this thing goes through, I have no future! But I have a
past. It goes back to when I first started with one beat up wagon,
one beat up mule and an ache in my guts to be somebody…hauling
freight fifteen hours a day every day …I fought man, animal,
weather, anything…everything that tried to pull me down! And if
your going to try to take away what I built up, you’re going to have
to build more than a tunnel…”
Suddenly, Evers picked up an ax
nearby and tried to swing it toward Jason. Jason punched him.
Evers took another swing with it and Jason punched him again, this
time sending Evers to the ground. Before Evers could do anything
else, Jason had his gun pulled and cocked. Evers knew he was beat.
Jason went back to work. Evers
walked out as dust fell around him. He looked at the rifle on his
horse, then pulled it out. Going back to the mine, he fired some
shots up into the shaft. Jason pulled his gun and ran for the
But he didn’t get out in time. A
cave in happened, blocking Jason inside. Jason was TRAPPED!!!
The cave in was bad. He didn’t
see any way out. Evers ran to the opening, realizing what his anger
had done. He called out to Jason. Jason answered him. “I didn’t
know what I was doing! I’ll try to get you out if I can,” Evers
“Well, you better hurry!” Jason
Ann had just arrived at the mine
to see Jason. She hurried to the opening that was now trapped with
debris. “What happened?”
But Jason was telling Evers about
the nitro in the water barrel. Ann and Evers turned and stared at
the barrel. “You set off nitro around here, and the whole mine is
going to cave in!”
“Well that’s the only chance you
left me!” Jason accused. Evers had no choice.
Ann covered her face with her
hands, afraid for the man she loved.
Evers carefully tied the nitro
around his neck and climbed up the side of the mine. He fell, but
was thankful it didn’t blow. Carefully, he put the nitro through
some rocks deep into the cave. Ann climbed up and gave Evers the
rope for him to tie to the end. He slowly continued lowering it
down. Jason told Evers to tie it off. Evers slowly began climbing
down, trying to find some place to tie it off. He tied the end to
another piece of rope and hurried away from the mine. Ann went
behind a rock to protect herself from the blow. Jason told Evers to
count to three slowly, then let go of the rope.
Evers got behind the rock with
Ann, then counted to three. He let go of the rope, but nothing
happened. The rope was hung up! He tried again, but it was
caught. “Maybe I didn’t hang it right,” Evers said.
“Try it again,” Ann begged.
An explosion happened this time.
Ann watched the opening anxiously, waiting for her man to appear.
She heard coughing, then saw the most beautiful sight she’d ever
seen…Jason slowly walked from the mine and sat down on a rock. Ann
smiled and ran to Jason. She clung to him, Jason hugging her
closer, and wept tears of joy that Jason was alright.
Jason gave Evers a cold stare.
Evers looked guilty.
Ann was in her office when Jason
hurried inside, crying her name. He held up two telegraphs and
declared, “They are going to let me blast a tunnel right through the
mountain! Jason hugged her tightly as the rejoiced on the news.
The other telegraph was from Jason’s grandfather, The General. He
would be out in a couple weeks. Ann figured The General must be
quite a man, and Jason proudly declared he was!
“McCord, you busy?” Evers asked
as he walked into Ann’s office.
“Well…” Jason looked at Ann, a
bit annoyed that they had been interrupted. Ann motioned for him to
go talk to Evers. Jason walked up to him. He figured Jason would
still need wagons to freight in his supplies until the track was
down. “Well, I’m in the freighting business, you know. I’ve got
twenty wagons and teams; and I guarantee delivery. You interested?”
“Yes. I’m interested,” Jason
Evers was happy. He left Ann and
Jason alone. “Hey McCord, you busy?” Ann asked in a husky voice.
“Huh?” Jason asked, puzzled.
“Commere,” she ordered.
Jason walked up and bent down
beside her as she turned around. His face was close to the side of
“You know, I’m a newspaper editor, right?”
“Well, I got a couple presses and
a fair circulation…and a nice piece of land outside of town that
might just be right for a small house. You interested?”
“I’m interested,” Jason
answered. Then he looked at her. Ann giggled as he gave her a big
smile. “I’m very interested!” Then his lips claimed hers in yet
another kiss. They both laughed knowing they would be very happy as
Mr. and Mrs. Jason McCord!
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
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