The Ghost of Murrieta — episode #43
Jason was in Los Angeles waiting
for the stage to come in. As people stood on the street, they
watched the stage make its way down the road. Jason slowly
up to the stage and waited for the travelers to exit the coach.
A Mexican man all dressed up stepped out. “Senor Ramirez?”
Jason questioned politely. The man confirmed his guess
correctly. Jason introduced himself to the man. He assured the
man that Senor Hartley would meet them later.
The plan was for them to leave
the following day. As they made their way toward the hotel,
they heard a man yelling outside his gunsmith shop. He told the
Sheriff that the town had had all they could take. An ‘M’ was
painted on the front of his window. The gunsmith declared that
this was the sixth robbery in two weeks – all they took from him
were two derringers. “Worth about two hundred dollars…Would
have taken everything else if it hadn’t been chained down!” the
Senor Ramirez questioned about
the situation. Jason explained to him that the gunsmith had
been robbed the night before. Still, Ramirez thought it was
strange that an ‘M’ appeared on the window. “The thieves did
that,” Jason explained. “They call it the mark of Murietta.”
“King Murietta? But he’s dead.”
“Some people say he’s still
alive,” Jason explained.
“Oh, he can’t be! Not after
A woman standing in the crowd
made her way down the street. She peaked in at a woman inside
the building the made her way to a room in the back. The woman
came out of the side of the building and stood by the door to
Inside, the young lady joined a
man and teenage boy. They looked at the two derringers that had
been stolen from the gunsmith shop. The young lady stated that
the shopkeeper thinks the robber was Murietta. “Good,” the boy
stated with a smile. “Did you hear that Vega?”
“One day they will know it was
Molinera!” Vega declared.
“Not until I have many
Other boys gathered
the older man as the boy, Juan, questioned how many men he had.
The older man stated there must have been at least twenty-five
when he was with him.
“Then I will have fifty,” Juan
“You have four already,” Rosita
stated with a smile.
“Three, my little sister,” one of
the boys turned and announced to her. “We do not include you.”
“Juan does,” Rosita stated.
“Don’t you, Juan?” Juan told her he’d decide on that when the
“When we have big money to buy
horses and supplies,” Juan clarified proudly.
“It will be soon,” Rosita
commented. “Look all those guns…they will bring much money.”
Vega stated it would be difficult
to sale the guns. Vega told the teenagers that they could
probably get ten dollars out of them. This upset the teenagers
very much. “I heard the shop keeper state those derringers are
worth two hundred dollars!” Rosita declared angrily.
“My job involves a little more
risk than his,” Vega explained. One of the boys argued that ten
dollars was NOT enough! “Ten dollars is not bad for one night’s
work,” Vega said evenly.
“He’s right, Luis,” Juan stated.
“Vega has always been fair.”
Vega put an arm around Juan.
“Someday, your name will be far more famous than Murietta’s!”
“He will be nothing as long as he
sales to you!” Rosita declared angrily. Juan gave her a
warning. “It’s true!”
“And what have you contributed,
young lady?” Vega questioned her.
“Nothing,” Luis answered for
her. “Yet she wants to be one of us,” he teased her.
Vega, though, thought she had
many opportunities to help at the hotel she worked at. “If I
did, I’d never sale to you!” Rosita declared before leaving.
Vega told the three teenage boys
to come to him when he had a little bit of business. They
agreed to do just that.
Antonia Molinera was waiting
outside when Vega came out with a bag.
didn’t say a word, but crossed her arms and looked sideways at
him. He quickly greeted her than made his way down the alley.
She stopped him, questioning what he had in the bag. “No
matter,” he answered. Then he turned and yelled at her. “Do I
ask you what you have behind your bar?”
“No,” she answered. “But you
know what’s in my storage room. My son. And you’re stealing
him away from me with your lies and your treachery!” Vega
couldn’t believe she would say such a thing. After all, they’d
known each other many years. “Many years…” Antonia grumbled.
“Long enough to know you lie.” She took steps toward him. “You
never rode with Murietta. You never knew Murietta!”
“You do not know everything,”
Vega stated as he turned away from her.
“I know that…I know!” she
Vega explained that the boy
admires Murietta, he just agreed with the boy. “Then don’t
agree! Isn’t it bad enough that one is a theif?” Vega played
dumb. “Yes, I know my son is a thief.” She ordered Vega to get
away and stay away.
Jason, Senor Ravirez, and Hartley
were all in the hotel room talking. Rosita was just coming to
knock on the door, delivering fresh linens, when she stopped to
listen. Hartley was telling Ramirez that his San Francisco
office was against the purchase. He needed to look over the
papers carefully before signing. “There is one clause which I
don’t understand,” Ramirez admitted. “That senor McCord would
have all autonomy in the disbursement of all monies.” He
wondered if that should be the job of the Murietta wives.
Hartley told Ramirez that there
was no guarantee he’d be president when the railroad is
completed. Ramirez decided he would be elected in three more
years. “I…hear his health is not so good,” Hartley pointed
out. Ramirez thought those were only rumors. “Well…to me,
that’s an important clause. Jason McCord is a close friend you
can trust. I wouldn’t let him carry my twenty five thousand
dollars in gold to a foreign country if I didn’t.”
Those words got Rosita to
thinking. Ramirez decided to sign, not knowing Rosita was on
the other side of the door listening. The railroad would bring
Mexico much prosperity.
Jason told him the plan. The
stage would leave the next afternoon at two. He and Ramirez
will pick up the gold before they leave. “No armed guards?”
“That’s part of my job,” Jason
explained. “Besides, we don’t want to attract attention.”
Jason stood up. Jason went to the door and started to open it.
Rosita suddenly realized someone was coming out. She
immediately started knocking on the door as Jason opened it,
stating she’d come to replace the towels.
The next afternoon, Rosita and
the three teenage boys were outside, disguised as orphaned kids
in a mission. When Jason and Ramirez stepped out of the hotel,
Juan stepped in front of them, asking for a donation to the
mission school. But as they reached into their pockets for
change, the boys attacked Jason and Ramirez. Jason punched one
of the boys out while the other took off with the satchel of
money. Another boy took off running, and Jason chased him.
Ramirez had been stabbed, but managed to pull out his gun and
shoot the boy running away.
Rosita, watching from the porch
when she saw Pablo fall to the ground. She ran to Pablo and
lifted him onto her lap. She cried as Jason, who had run after
the other boy, came back to her.
Rosita lifted her frightened eyes to Jason. Jason just stared.
Luis ran inside Vega’s building.
Vega was there. “We need your help,” Luis declared as he looked
out the window. “Juan wants you to get us some horses…four, and
some ammunition and some guns!” Vega got upset with Luis told
him today. “That would take a lot of money!”
“We’ve got twenty-five thousand
dollars in gold.” Luis put a bag down on the desk. “See?”
Vega wanted to know where they got it, but Luis asked him for
“Not so quick, boy. This isn’t
twenty-five thousand dollars worth of gold.”
Luis grabbed the bag out of
Vega’s hand and assured him there was a lot more bags. Juan
would pay him when he delilvered. He told Vega that Juan was
waiting in town. Rosita would meet Vega for the horses. “As
soon as possible,” Luis reminded him.
Vega suddenly stopped him,
telling Luis he couldn’t go out on the street. “Because you
have the evidence! What if the sheriff stopped you? They will
hang you, Luis!” Luis told him Rosita was waiting for him.
“Why don’t you leave the pouch with me?”
“Because it belongs to Juan’s
mother and he wants her to have it.” Vega tried again,
promising that he’d make sure Antonia got it. But Luis firmly
said no. Vega walked away from him and turned his back on
Luis. “How soon can we have those horses?”
“In an hour,” he said as he
pulled a knife from inside his jacket. “Go ahead, I will join
you.” He waited until Luis was outside the door, then stabbed
him in the back. Vega grabbed Luis and pulled him back inside.
Vega forced the pouch from Luis’ hand as he fought weakly. Vega
muttered that money like that shouldn’t be wasted on a lot of
children. The whole time, Luis fought him, but he was in a lot
of pain from the stabbing. Finally, he shoved Luis to the
ground and ran out.
Antonia was working at the bar
when Rosita ran in, asking her forgiveness as she cried. “He
said he was going to put me in jail if I didn’t tell him!”
“Tell him what?”
“I’m looking for a boy she calls
Juan,” Jason stated.
“What do you want with him?”
“He has some money that belongs
to me,” Jason explained.
Rosita cried that Pablo was
“I was robbed,” Jason stated.
“My friend was knifed by three boys.”
Several men in the bar stood up,
but Antonia told them to go back to
their beer. Rosita ran to the back office looking for Luis.
Antonia ran after her, demanding to know what was going on.
Rosita wanted to know where Luis was. “He was supposed to meet
“Rosita, you’re such a ninny!”
Antonia declared. She turned back to Jason. “Senor, if I give
you back your gold, will you leave us alone?”
“Twenty-five thousand dollars?”
Jason asked. Antonia was shocked.
Suddenly, they heard someone
behind a crate. Rosita ran over to Luis, who was in a bad way.
“What happened?” Antonia asked.
“Vega…he tried to kill me!” Luis
cried. “I am afraid for Juan.”
Jason asked Luis where Juan was.
Antonia told Jason she’d take him to the hide out. She told
Rosita to go for the doctor. Jason told her to tell the Sheriff
where they were going.
Juan was waiting on the cliff of
rocks when Vega rode up. “Where are the horses?” Vega assured
him Luis was brining them – he’d ridden on ahead. “Wait until
you see all the gold. You won’t believe it! Come!” As Juan
brought out the case of gold, Vega climbed up the rocks. He
felt like now he’d account for something. Vega stared at all
the gold lustifully. “For you, a gift,” Juan said as Vega held
one of the pouches of gold.
“So generous…” Juan thought that
would pay for the horses. “No, Juan. ..For all your trouble…For
listening to all your wining, I will need all of your gold!”
Vega held a gun on Juan. He assured Juan this was NO joke!
Juan refused to give him the
pouches of gold. Juan threw the gold in his face and turned to
run up the bluff, but Vega shot him. Juan fell to the ground as
Jason and Antonia rode up. Vega turned and tried to shoot them,
but they got away. Jason jumped off his horse and sent Antonia
for cover. Vega shot towards Jason again. Jason jumped behind
Vega stood on top of the bluff
and shot at Jason. Jason shot back and Vega tumbled off the
bluff, still holding the suitcase full of gold. Juan was still
alive and tried to crawl down the bluff. Antonia ran to him.
“Mama…” She told him she was
there. “Vega…he took my gold!”
“He was never to be trusted,”
“But I thought he was my friend.
We wanted him to ride with us…like he did with Murietta.”
“Vega lied!” Jan didn’t believe
her. “I know very well, my son…Some day I will tell you the
truth of Murietta. Juan closed his eyes and slumped his face
away. She pushed on his face, only to realize he was dead.
“I’m sorry,” Jason said softly.
“My son steals your gold, and you
are sorry he is dead.”
Jason explained. “My sympathy is
for you, Senora. “
“He can no longer use Juan to
hurt me. I wonder what new way he’ll devise.”
“Who?” Jason asked, confused.
“Twenty years ago,
my moved to this…this beautiful place with a man I loved very
much, but he did not love me so I ran away. The eagle that lost
a feather, so he sent one of his men to kill me. But Antonia
was not ready to die. When the ranger asked me to lead him to
his nest, I did willingly to suit my bitterness. They cut his
head off, but even so he would never let me rest.. He has left
his blood on his cold, dark eyes with my own born child.” She
said he couldn’t help being the son of Murietta.
She had never told Juan Murietta
was his father. She wanted to protect him. “Now, Senior
McCord…will you help me take my son home?”
Jason did. He picked up Juan’s
body and carried him to the horse.
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
around The McCain Ranch