BRANDED
The Bounty — episode #5

While on his way to Hastings, Jas was unaware that he was being watched, nor did he know there was a bounty on his head.  His trip had been a long dry one, so when he got to town he headed straight for the saloon. While standing at the bar in the saloon, a cowboy by the name of Andy Starrett came up behind Jas with a paint brush with yellow paint on it and painted a yellow streak down the back of Jas's coat. He said to the crowd....."Ladies and gents.....you know we have a real famous man here with us today!" "Yes sir.....Jason McCord of Bitter Creek! The king of the cowards!" All the time Andy is shooting off his mouth, Jas is taking off his coat. As he tried to wipe the paint off his coat the man said to him....."You ain't never gonna rub it all off.....Captain!" That angered Jas even more. He took the jacket with the yellow paint and rammed it into Andy's face. A fight breaks out between Jas and the Starrett brothers. Another cowboy by the name of Johnny Dolan who just happened to walk into the saloon as Andy is picking up a broken whiskey bottle to go after Jas with. Dolan steps in and beats the tar out of Andy while Jas is fighting the others. When the fight breaks up Dolan asked Jas to buy him a sarsaparilla. Jas told the stranger he'd make it a double.

The Sheriff strolled into the saloon as the barkeep was pouring water over the Starrett brothers. The barkeep told the sheriff that they had started a fight. Vince said that it wasn't over yet and directed it to McCord. "That goes for you too.....Mr. Buttinski!" Said Vince Starrett directly to Dolan. The sheriff took the Starrett brothers to jail and locked them up. Dolan asked the barkeep where his whiskey was. Just then Dolan felt a tap on the back and when he turned around a lady from the saloon threw a drink in his face and said....."I thought you liked beer, Johnny!" Her name was Lizzie and she and Dolan went a ways back. He introduced her to Jas. She asked Jas when he hooked up with him, meaning Dolan. Jas told her they just met. It seemed that Dolan left Lizzie behind in Kansas. Jas told Dolan he'd see him later, he wanted to get cleaned up.

Jas was just about finished cleaning up when he heard a knock on the door. It was Dolan, he told him the door was open. He asked Dolan how he made out with Lizzie. He told Jas the fight that he & Jas had been in was nothing like the one he just had with Lizzie. "The fury of a woman scorned.....huh?" Said Jas. "Amen brother!" Exclaimed Dolan. He then asked Jas about the two of them having dinner. He asked Jas if he planned on staying in Reading long. "No.....I'm on my way to Hastings." He told Jas that there wasn't one good looking woman in that whole town. As Jas was finishing getting dressed, he had his back towards Dolan. He heard the sound of a gun being cocked. He turned and Dolan had his gun on him. He told him he better get all his gear together, they would be eating country style tonight.....on a campfire. Little did Jas know that he was being set up by a bounty hunter.

Jas was putting wood on the campfire when he decided to throw a piece of wood at Dolan. But Dolan was too quick; he was keeping a close eye on Jas and kept him covered at all times. Jas sat down on a rock and looked at Dolan. "Your planning to kill me," said Jas. "'Afraid so," said Dolan. Jas asked him why. He told Jas he craved the better things in life. Good cigars and high class woman. He told him how much he enjoyed seeing things and going places. New York City, or maybe even Paris France. But all those things that he wanted took money.....real money. Jas asked him how killing him would get him to Paris. He told Jas, after he killed him he could buy Paris. He said he killed before. Bank robbers, murderers and hold-up men, but that was petty cash compared to the reward on Jas McCord. Jas realized he was dealing with a bounty hunter and he was the bounty. He told Jas he kinda liked him. Jas told him he wasn't a wanted man. "Maybe your only crime is being alive, because somebody is offering $5,000 to the one who brings you in.....dead," said Dolan. Jas asked who it was, but Dolan didn't know, he never met the man. He told Jas he could retire. Jas asked him what he was waiting for. Dolan cocked his gun and took aim. He was finding it hard to shoot. All of a sudden someone was shooting at them. It was the Starrett brothers, they came back for revenge. Dolan shot Gil, Vince shot Dolan. Jas went for his gun and took cover. He wounded Andy in the right shoulder. The two took off for their horses and for town. Jas walked over to Dolan, he didn't have long, he was dying. He told Jas that in his pocket was a card with the name of the detective agency that had put out the word on Jas. This agency was his contact to receive his reward. He told Jas to be careful before he died.

Jas headed off to Hyattville, to the Paxton Detective Agency who was offering this bounty on him. He wanted to find the man behind this and stop it if he could. He had put a patch over his eye (the patch he took from Gil's eye) and changed his personality, more rough around the edges. He entered the office of Matthew Paxton. He dropped the business card on the man's desk and said....."I killed Jason McCord!" He told the man he came for his reward money. "What makes you think I owe you any?" The man was lighting a cigar at the time. Jas grabbed his hand and told him not to play games. He asked for proof. He then took his saber and his sextant out of his saddlebags. He told Jas he could have stolen those things. He asked where the body was. "Near Morgan's Swamp.....I buried him right where I shot him." He asked how he knew there was bounty out on McCord. Jas told him that Johnny Dolan had told him. He said he thought Dolan got tired of looking. Jas told him he was tired of talking, he wanted his money. Paxton told him he was just a go between that Jas needed to take that up with the man offering the reward. Paxton then mentioned that he thought Dolan to be a pretty determined man. Jas assured him there was no one more determined then him. Paxton said that Dolan was told not to talk about this and told Jas to do the same. "Why.....because it's against the law to put a bounty on a man that's not a criminal?" "Are you afraid of going to jail Mr. Paxton?" He told Jas it was for both of their sakes. He told Jas he would go and send the man a telegram and Jas should come back after lunch. Jas slammed the flat side of his broken saber onto the man's chest....."I've got a better idea.....Why don't we both send that telegram?"

They both waited for an answer. The man was coming there.....with the money. His instructions where for Paxton and Jas to go on to the grave tomorrow and to leave him a map showing their route. Jas wanted to know why they couldn't all go together. Paxton told Jas that the man paying the money, he's running the show, and they would meet him at the grave. There was nothing left to do but wait until tomorrow. He asked Jas what his name was. He said John Wilkes Booth and walked away laughing. They went back to Paxton's office to draw up a map for the man.

They camped out at Morgan's Swamp to be sure not to miss this man. The next day they were having coffee when they heard someone yell "Paxton!" Paxton went to meet the man, while Jas hid in the bushes. While waiting, Jas tore the patch off of his eye. The man approached Paxton with a handkerchief over his face. The man walked up to Paxton. He told him he didn't need to cover up his face, that he could be trusted. He asked if he could trust the bounty hunter and asked where he was. Just then Jas came up behind the man holding a gun on him. He took the man's gun. "You stupid......that's McCord!" Jas pulled the man's handkerchief away from his face. He knew the man. His name was Thomas Frye, he thought he was dead. Frye was a civilian scout for the U.S. Cavalry. General Reed hired Frye personally against Jas's wishes. Frye was sent out the day before the troops got to Bitter Creek, he never reported back. Jas asked him why. He said he got a better offer. He sold them out! There was a dry river bed on Apache territory full of gold. All his for the digging. All he had to do was tell the Apaches how many men where in their patrol. Frye had put up $5,000 to bury Jas and the truth. Frye said once he got his hands on $30,000, he hated the thought of not enjoying it. "That's almost a thousand dollars for each dead cavalryman," said Jas. He told Jas he would be willing to split it with him, and that he wasn't ready to die just yet. While Jas was distracted with Frye, Paxton took something out of his pocket and knocked Jas out. Frye was pleased and asked Paxton how he would like half of the money. Frye thought it funny that Jas found his own cemetery and now he would dig his own grave. He told Paxton to get the shovel.

While Jas was digging his own grave, Paxton thought it was deep enough. Frye wanted it deeper. Jas told Paxton that he was digging the grave big enough for two. Paxton told Frye to tell Jas to stop, but he wouldn't. Frye told Paxton that they both were greedy men and greedy men shouldn't trust each other. Paxton reminded him that he had saved his neck; he felt he owed him something for that. Frye then pulled the trigger and said....."Do I?" Just as he shot Paxton, Jas threw dirt in his face. They fought fiercely, both of them landing in the grave meant for Jas. Frye and Jas had managed to climb out of the grave picking up the shovel and swinging it at Jas, missing him. Jas had bent down and grabbed a hold of Frye's foot pulling him to the ground. Frye kicked Jas and knocked him in the grave. Frye ran away with Jas after him. Frye ran to the swamp trying to cross it when he got stuck in some quicksand. Jas reached for him and almost had him when Frye's hand slipped from Jas's hold. Again Jas grabbed a hold of Frye's hand, but again it slipped away from Jas and Frye went under.

Jas went back to see if he could help Paxton. He was still alive. Paxton asked what happened to Frye. Jas told him the quicksand got him. He told Paxton he would get him to the doctors and then he needed to see the sheriff in Reading. Paxton said he didn't think he could make it. "Oh you'll make alright.....but then I think you better start looking for a new business." He agreed with Jas.

 

"They say you ran at Bitter Creek McCord.....but I think maybe you didn't run at all!"
Jas thanked him and said if he ever needed a character reference he'd look him up.


The Bounty ― Cast


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Episode Guide 1 & 2


the saddlebag..... 1 & 2


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