Survival — episode #1
Jason McCord was in
Furnace Springs when he heard Mission Gap was getting ready
to dig a
mine shaft and they needed an engineer in a hurry. Jas is skilled as a
surveyor, mapmaker, and engineer, and was told the job was his if he
could be at Mission Gap within the week. He thought the shortest
distance to Mission Gap would be to go through the desert to Granite
Wells. That way it would be only a two day ride, leaving him plenty of
time to get to Mission Gap. So he filled his canteen & started on his
There was no shade from the blistering desert sun. He would take a drink
from time to time, but as little as possible if he planned on making it
across the desert, he had to make his water last. He made it part way
across the desert when he came upon a dead horse lying in the desert
with its saddle and all of its gear on it. He wondered whose horse this
could be. He noticed the footprints in the sand. He followed them for a
short ways when he saw a man ahead, stumbling, and barely standing. As
he made his way towards the man he could see him drop to the ground.
He grabbed his canteen & slowly approached the man, then gave him a
drink from his canteen. He poured water into his hands and put some
water over the man's face. He then started to take a drink, but decided
he better wait. Especially now with the two of them, they would need to
watch the water supply even more.
The man told him his name was Jed Colbee. He also told him how important
it was for his "Survival" and for him to get to Granite Wells before the
wagon train pulled out. He told him that his wife, Sally and his
daughter Jessie were waiting for him there. He also told him that his
daughter's birthday was in three days, she would be five. Colbee told
him of how he had gone to get a stake, a real stake, one for a real
start for him & his family. And now he was to meet them in Granite
Wells. Thanks to Jas, Colbee now had a chance to see his family. He
asked Jas his name. He said....."Call me Jas." "When we get to Mission
Wells.....I'm gonna have Sally fix the best dinner you ever had and then
we'll hoist a real cup of cheer," said Colbee. "Let's not talk about
drinking," said Jas as Colbee futilely attempted to wet his lips. Colbee
couldn't help but wonder if his daughter even remembered him. Jessie was
only two and a half when he left his family in Braddock to come out
here. He then showed Jas a picture of Sally & Jessie. Jas told him they
had about six hours left to sundown; they better get on their way. Jas
insisted on Colbee riding the horse and he would walk, at least until
Colbee was feeling better.
With almost a full canteen of water & one horse, they headed out for a
two day trip to Granite Wells. They traveled about 10 miles when Colbee
asked how much water they had left. Jas told him a half of the canteen.
Now they were both walking. Colbee asked him if he had any family. He
told him he didn't. Colbee then asked him what kind of a town Granite
Wells was and if it was as wild as they say. He was worried about Sally
not having enough money and was afraid if he didn't make it there in
time, the wagon train would leave her there. She was counting on him to
be there before the wagon train left. "I said we'd make it!" Said Jas.
"Will you stop lying! We're two dead men and we don't have sense enough
to admit it! Now don't you think I don't know it.....I'm not blind!
horse will never make it.....not with the two of us!" Screamed Colbee at
Jas. Jas yelled at Colbee to shut up. "No! Not this time.....I've gotta
live.....I have people I love who love me and need me.....do you hear?
They need me! They need me.....do you hear?" He pushed Colbee away and
unsaddle his horse. He started on his way.....walking, carrying the
saddle with all his gear and leading the horse. With every drop of sweat
and with each step of the way Colbee's fear was getting worse. He would
tag along behind Jas, in a distant. He found it harder and harder to
keep up with him.
That evening when they made camp, Colbee told Jas he was going to look
for more wood for the fire. He didn't get very far when he suddenly
stopped. Jas asked him what was wrong, but Colbee didn't answer. He
thought maybe Colbee saw a rattler. He told Colbee not to move and
started towards him with his broken saber and gun in hand. It was a
skull of a man. As Colbee sat on the ground starring at the fire he
asked....."Why Jas.....why did that poor devil have to end up like
that?" Jas told him.....maybe an accident.....or a war.....some men
live, some men die. Nobody knows why the choices are made." Colbee felt
there must be some sense to it. "I lived through a massacre that took
the lives of everybody else in my company.....I've never been able to
figure out why," stated Jas. "That must have been some
experience.....sounds something like 'Bitter Creek.' Jas was starring
into the fire, remembering. He turned and looked at Colbee and
said....."It was Bitter Creek." Colbee had heard about Bitter Creek and
Captain Jason McCord. He asked Jas why he was trying to keep his name a
secret. Jas told him he wasn't. "Most people think you should have been
hanged," stated Colbee. "Lucky for you I wasn't,
huh?" said Jas. He apologized to Jas.
Colbee was getting more and more desperate. He feared the two men
couldn't make the desert, but one man alone would have a better chance.
The two men bedded down for the night. While Jas was sleeping, Colbee
took his gun, the canteen of water and mounted Jas's horse. He woke Jas
and told him he was sorry, this was something he had to do. "I offered
to let you go alone.....now I'm going.....unless you decide to stop me,"
said Colbee. He then tossed Jas his gun. He caught it and cocked the
trigger. Colbee turned with his back to Jas and slowly rode out of camp.
As much as he wanted to shoot Colbee, he tried, but couldn't.
Jas had no choice but to go on foot. Now more then ever he was
determined to make it to Granite Wells. The sun was hot as it beat down
on him. At one point he thought he saw water, only to end up with both
handfuls of sand. He walked until he couldn't walk no more. With the
combination of the heat & lack of water; he finally collapsed. When he
came to, he could feel a wet cloth being patted onto his face. An old
Indian found him and told him that no man travels into the desert
without a horse or water and alone. He told him that the man who
abandoned him was only a day ahead of him. He told him he would give him
a burro and guide him so he could see him find the man and repay the man
for doing this to him.
With hate and revenge in his heart, he set out for Granite Wells. But
would he kill Colbee once he found him? Maybe if he hadn't known about
Sally and Jessie? Knowing how he felt, when it came down to it, could he
really kill Colbee?
Colbee made it to Granite Wells and met up with his family. Before
heading off with the wagon train, Colbee took Jas's horse to the livery
stable and told the blacksmith he wanted to board the horse until
someone came to claim him. He gave the blacksmith some money and told
him that should be enough for a month and if nobody claimed the horse by
then, he could keep it.
The first thing Jas did when he got to Granite Wells was to go to the
livery stable. Sure enough his horse was there.
Before Colbee could leave town the blacksmith gave Colbee his money back
and told him that a man had come to claim his horse.
Colbee put his gun on and started towards the livery stable where he saw
Jas talking to the Indian. Jas turned and saw Colbee. They slowly
approached each other. With hate in his eyes and heart, Jas was ready to
settle this and get his revenge.
Jessie was playing in the street with a hoop when it go away from her
and ended up in front of her father. Jessie came up to her father and
asked him why he didn't throw back the hoop. He didn't answer her.
"Happy Birthday Jessie," said Jas. She asked how he knew it was her
birthday. Jas walked closer. He took a good look at Jessie and said
sarcastically....."Your Daddy told me all about you!" Seeing Jessie and
talking with her made him have a change of heart. He then turned and
started to walk away.
He turn around and said.....
"Colbee.....You still owe me a cup of cheer." He then mounted his horse
and rode on to Mission Gap. Colbee stood there with his daughter and
watched him ride out of town.
His wife walked up to him and asked him who that man was.
Colbee said....."A friend.....a good friend!"
Episode Guide 1
the saddlebag..... 1
around the McCain Ranch