Headed for Doomsday — episode #46
Jason rode into a town one day
all dusty and dirty. There was indeed something big going on in
the town that day, and Jason was a bit curious as to what it
was. Several men were anxiously waiting for something to
begin. The time was 11:45. “Well Turner, it looks like Speed
Town’s gonna finally have a big day,” one of the men declared to
a man in a grey suit. “Horace Greeley runs the biggest
newspaper in this country.”
“He may even write his own
obituary,” Turner stated.
The anxiously awaited stage coach
finally came into town. Everyone hurried down the street to
greet it. Yep, it sure was a bit day. The coach opened, and
the riders got off. Mayor Johnson welcomed Mr. Greeley to Speed
City. Greeley introduced his secretary, Laureen Macklin.
Greeley thought the town was “fine looking” and “elegant.”
They paused with the mayor just
outside the stagecoach to get their picture taken. Jason
watched from the sidelines. Suddenly, a movement in the crowd
caught his attention. Someone drew a gun from their dress and
pointed it toward Mr. Greeley. Jason drew his own gun and shot,
surprising the crowd. The crowd went into chaos. Jason looked
down at the so called “Apache” laying on the ground. “It’s not
an apache,” Jason announced. Jason bent down and removed the
wig. He unbuttoned the dress to show that it was a white man.
“This town just missed being the
disgrace of history!” The Mayor declared. “Greeley is going to
run for President…Might make it. Our thanks to you, sir. But
why would anybody want to kill Mr. Greeley?”
“A fanatic can find a reason for
anything,” Jason simply answered before walking away.
As Jason walked down the street,
Laureen stopped Jason and told him Greeley would like to see
him. Laureen introduced Jason to Greeley. “I’m very grateful
to you, sir. I looked directly at that man and I didn’t see the
danger. Lucky for me, your eye was quicker than mine.”
“Well, I aimed for his gun hand,
sir. But he moved at the last second,” Jason apologized.
“Well, don’t berate yourself. He
was a mad man and a killer!” Greeley argued.
“Yes, but if he had lived, we
might have found out why he was trying to kill you.”
“Well, a man in my position sir,
you see many acts of violence. And even you might have taken a
shot at me.”
“What’s that supposed to mean,
Mr. Greeley?” Jason asked as he slowly walked up to the older
“Well sir, a couple years ago,
there was a Captain named Jason McCord who made quite a name for
himself in a battle known as Bitter Creek?” Jason peered at Laureen who was occupying herself with flowers.
“I’m afraid that I’ve printed a
great deal about his court martial and subsequent discharge from
the army that he paid as a tribute. Perhaps I more than any
other man made his name a household [curse] throughout the
“Printing the news is your
business, Mr. Greeley.” Mr. Greeley thanked Jason again.
There’s not many men who would save the life of a man who did
more than his share to make their life miserable.
“Anyway, thank you for my head.
I shall try to use it more judicially and honestly in the
future.” Jason nodded.
Greeley invited Jason to sit
down. As he seated himself, he informed Greeley that the man
who tried to kill him was a white man – not an apache. “Well,
it’s a comfort to know that the Indians, for whom I fought so
hard weren’t ungrateful. But why did he dress like one to kill
me?” Jason figured they were trying to make it look like the
apache’s didn’t appreciate what he’d done for them, to give lie
to his “red brother” philosophy. “Well, couldn’t he kill any
other white man for the same effect?”
Jason gave a small smile. “It
wouldn’t have drawn the same national attention your death
“Well it didn’t work! I came out
West to promote my pet theory. I prophesized in America that
the Red Man has equal rights as a brother. And I’m going to
promote that proposition throughout the West!”
“Your proposition could do the
Indians some good,” Jason reasoned. “And it could get you a lot
of votes.” He admitted that he was going to run for presidency
in the next election, and the Indian philosophy is going to be
his number one campaign issue. “Well sir, what you say in the
East sounds good to us out here. I’m sure the things you saw
out here in the West will sound good to them back there,” Jason
Jason stood, telling Greeley it
was a pleasure to meet him. Before he left, Greeley questioned
Jason on why he was in Skid City. Jason admitted that he had
stopped by to hear Greeley speak. “Well, could it be that you
are looking for a job at the moment?” Jason said it could be.
“Because I cannot hire a body guard here in the Indian
Territory.” It would be bad for the idea he’s trying to make
about the “harmless and peace loving” Red man. “But, I do have
an opening for a social security.”
“A so…” Jason grinned. “One that
wears a gun?”
“Yeah…if he wishes. I never tell
my employees what to wear.” Jason said he’d like to apply for
that job. He promised to be back later after he stabled his
horse and got something to eat.
Laureen listened to the entire
conversation with much interest. An easy smile was on her face,
but thoughtfulness was in her eye.
Greeley told Jason he was going
to take a ride out to Doomsday Pass at One O’clock. He’s
planning to smoke a peace pipe and speak with the tribe of
chiefs. “It’ll be an historical battle site. It’ll make good
headlines for the Tribune, and I won’t mine if the rival papers
pick it up.”
While Jason was at eating, some
men sat at the bar and watched him sip
on his coffee. Finally a
man laid down his money and hastily walked over to Jason’s
table. “Mr. McCord, my name is Satterfield. My business is
cattle. I’ve got a herd of long that’s just about to leave from
Butte, Montana. I’d like for you to join the drive.” He said
this as he sat down.
Jason studied him suspiciously
before answering. “Sorry, I just hired on for a good job.”
“Pays $500.” Jason lifted his
head from his coffee cup and stared at the man. “Two fifty an
hour, two fifty on delivery.”
“That’s a lot of money for just a
cow hand,” Jason declared. That’s when Satterfield admitted he
wanted Jason’s surveying skills. He wanted Jason to map out a
trail to Butte. “Another time, maybe,” Jason answered quickly as
he threw his money on the table, grabbed his hat, and stood up.
Satterfield stood up with Jason,
declaring he must be getting a lot of money for his new job.
“We haven’t talked money yet,” Jason stated.
“Well, a man oughta know what
he’s being paid!” Satterfield declared. At the door, he pointed
to Jason and said, “Seven fifty!”
Jason stared at the man in
shock. “A year’s wages? One cattle drive?”
“Is it a deal?” Satterfield asked
as he took out his wallet.
Jason laughed. “It’s a hard one
to pass up, but I did give my word, Mr. Satterfield. Thank
you.” At that, Jason walked out.
Jason returned to Greeley. He
was very upset because Jason was fifteen minute late. “I have
one important principle, sir…and that is punctuality!” Jason
admitted that he was cutting the time a little fine, but
somebody held him up. Greeley admitted it was his own fought
for waiting around there. Now the stage coach left without
them. “You know the driver didn’t even know me? Didn’t know
the Tribune! Stubborn idiot. One track mind insisted that he
pull out of here promptly at one o’clock.”
A man came in and told Greeley
that the coach would be there shortly. Greeley was very upset.
He didn’t think anything was going to go right now that he had
missed his one o’clock ride!
Just then, Laureen hurried in.
She told Greeley that the one o’clock stagecoach was ambushed
just outside of town. “Outlaws?” Jason questioned.
“The man didn’t say that, but the
driver had an arrow through his back,” Laureen answered
“An arrow…Indians again! That’s
what a man gets for being punctual!” Jason grumbled as he looked
“And stubborn,” Greeley admitted.
“The passengers are all dead,”
Jason decided ‘they’
thought Greeley was on board. He was assuming it was the same
men who wanted Greeley dead. This one was well planned and
organized. “By someone who might very well have been on time.”
“There are men who are violently
against Mr. Greeley running for the Presidency,” Laureen
“Yes, but would they go this
far? Operating as local people, disguised men as apaches…”
“No, I doubt it,” Greeley
answered. “I think they’d like to kill me politically, but not
actually. No, this looks to me like the warp of a group that
wants to raise national feeling against the Indians…ruin their
treaties, grab their land and their territories. And my murder
might be just the tendon that starts such a fire.” Jason agreed
that would do it. “And they might have gotten away with it too
if I had been on that coach without you. Again, sir, I’m in
Jason knew somebody was trying
really hard to make sure Greeley went without him. He had a
feeling he knew he knew who that ‘somebody’ was. Jason told
Greeley to stay there until he got back.
Jason went looking for
Satterfield. He was told he’d be at the livery. Satterfield
stood at the top of some steps leading into a small office and
looked down at Jason. “Out of a job already? Looking for some
work?” Jason was ready to discuss the offer now. Satterfield
announced that Jason was a little late – that job had been
taken. “But I’ll be happy to work out something new with ya.”
“That’s what I figured,” Jason
Suddenly, Laureen Macklin came
into the livery. “Ms Macklin, what are you…” Jason stopped when
she held a derringer on him. She motioned Jason up the steps.
She and Satterfield followed him inside. Then a man hit Jason
After Jason came to, he started
to sit down in a chair at the table, but he was quick as
lightening and grabbed the man holding the gun on him. He
grabbed the man in a choke hold. “Drop the gun,” he warned
Satterfield and Turner. They did as he told them. “Mine too.
Throw it down!” Jason ordered. They did as told.
Suddenly, the man Jason was
holding on to twisted really hard. Jason punched him. The
other two ran for the guns, and Jason shoved him through the
door. Both men toppled down the steps. Jason suddenly found
himself fighting three men. They punched him over and over.
Jason, though, was stronger and bigger than all three and
managed to escape.
Jason hurried into the sheriff’s
office, but the deputy told Jason the sheriff was gone. Jason
told the deputy to get over to the livery stable right away – he
had three men tied up over there. “Slap them behind bars until
the Sheriff gets back.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Greeley made his
way to the Indian camp as he said he would. He greeted one of
the chiefs. He put all the chiefs in a pose to take their
Little did he know there was
danger waiting for him. Men were in hiding,
waiting to kill
Jason hurried toward the
reservation as fast as he could.
Laureen watched Greeley from up
on a hill. She approached one of the men who was holding a bow
and arrow. “This is our last chance, make it true,”
“When?” the man asked.
“When they pass the peace pipe
between them,” Laureen answered with a satisfied smile. She
said Greeley would take a picture and there’d be a flash –
Jason rode as fast as he could
through the bluffs. It took him quite awhile. When he was on
the outskirts of the camp, he saw Laureen walking higher up the
rocky hill. Jason grabbed his sword and started toward her.
Then she came down the bluff. Jason came face-to-face with
her. “You!” She was startled to see him.
Jason nodded. “You missed your
third try, too.” Jason glanced up to see the man with the bow.
He was getting ready to shoot Greeley in the back. Laureen
lifted her derringer up to shoot Jason, but Jason grabbed her by
the wrist and took the derringer from her. “There’s a first
time for everything,” Jason mumbled. Then he punched her,
knocking her out.
Greeley sat among the Indians and
passed the peace pipe. The men snapped the picture. The man
with the bow aimed when suddenly Jason was behind him. Jason
punched him. They fought and struggled. Jason finally knocked
the man out.
Greeley was able to get his shot
and meet the Indians. He stood and turned to Jason who was
hurrying toward him with his horse. “So, you decided to stay
with me after all.”
“I never left,” Jason stated.
“Well, there’s a difference of
opinion about that,” Greeley stated. “Anyway, the whole
business went off without a hitch.”
Jason had news for him! “Well,
the ‘hitch’ comes now, sir. I’m turning Miss Macklin and your
would-be assassin over to the law. You can dig her out of the
hill up there…”
“I…I…I…What are you talking
about?” Greeley stuttered in confusion.
Jason grinned. Oh, how he was
going to love this! “You HIRED a female assassin. Now Mr.
Greeley, you are a wise and influential man, but your judgment
of employees…especially women…leaves a lot to be desired.”
“Well…are you trying to tell me
that that sweet little girl Laureen was involved in a murder
“That’s right, sir” Jason
answered. “Mr. Greeley, I’ll still read your newspaper, but if
you don’t mind, I think I’ll vote for Grant.”
Greeley sure did give him a
*Thanks to Michelle Palmer for writing this episode!
around The McCain Ranch