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Fulton's Fury

A Predatory Excursion - To Ravage …. Fury
Historic Springfield — Chapter Eighteen
Written by Frank Charles aka weinerdawgy

Lucas reached for a pillow as he attempted a nap along the way through the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. The stop in Fayetteville was long due to repairs needed on the locomotive. By mid afternoon, the train was close to the Missouri border, and Bat was asleep too. The previous night’s poker ran late and both men caught up on their sleep until they were ready for an afternoon meal in the dining car.

Lucas still had those questions on his mind from the night before. They were there in Yuma and again with Mark in Enid. He was beyond doubting himself about the gun show, he was nervous about being in unfamiliar territory. He was getting closer to the point where those fears could become real. The larger towns to the east were full of people he did not know how to identify with or predict upon. Santa Fe and Dallas were not unknown to him and he had enough friends around to keep him comfortable. He thought it strange to be concerned after all that he had been through in his life. It was the confidence of Masterson that was contrasting how he felt. Nothing seemed to phase Bat in any town or crowd. It was simply going to take Lucas more time to develop those social calluses that made Bat’s hide so tough.

Southern Missouri sped by but they were beginning to wonder if they were going to make Springfield before the day’s end. Bat was looking forward to spending at least one night there. After all, it was the early stomping grounds for one of his favorite characters from the past, Wild Bill Hickok. As the conductor walked through the car Bat asked him about the schedule.

“Say my good man, can you tell me if we’re going to make Springfield tonight.”

“We’re going to try. It depends if we have any more wait time ahead. The stop in Fayetteville cost us over an hour for repairs. There would be no question otherwise.”

“I see, and if I should want to stay there for an extra day I would have to catch another train. I don’t suppose that’s a good idea. I sure do want to visit there if we can though.”

“I can tell you that we’ll stop there for the night if possible. If not, it will only be a brief time early tomorrow.”

“I was hoping to play some poker and view the site where the Hickok gunfight took place. It is a point of interest for me.”

“Many want to say they’ve been there. You’d at least have time for that. We usually take an hour in Springfield if it’s a daytime stop. You can schedule another train if it’s more time that you want.”

“I’ll have to think about that, thank you sir.” The conductor went on his way and Bat took on a look of disappointment.

“What’s wrong Bat? I didn’t know you had such expectations for Springfield.”

“Oh, it’s just one of those things. Wild Bill Hickok was involved in a very famous duel over a gambling debt back in 1865. I thought we could visit the site, size up the angles, and speculate over how the shots were fired. It’s a legend among gamblers. I want to be able to say I’ve been there. Nothing too important but nice if it could work out.”

“It wouldn’t be too bad if we stopped there for a day then caught another train. I’d enjoy a day’s rest before we move on to the big cities. I think being able to say we’ve been there would be great. Our schedule isn’t that strict is it?” Lucas cracked an expectant smile.

“I’m not worried about it if you aren’t. Our reservations in New York are open and there’s no hurry. I just don’t want to waste time. But this is a long trip and we should take a day off if it works out, let’s see what the train schedule says.” Bat took out some papers from his bag and started looking them over. “It says right here that the next train is the day after tomorrow. I’ll inquire at the station to be sure.”

Lucas perked up at the thought of a day in Springfield. “Let’s do it, I want to learn more about Hickok.”

“He’s one of the reasons I wanted to do our show. The stories that man told and the expectations he built in the fans of the gunfighters has carried on to exaggerate the truth about guys like us. It only took a few lies to give me a reputation to live down and I know you’ve had your experience with that stuff. I think it would be valuable for us to say we’ve been there and be able to talk about the logistics of the shooting.”

“I agree. It’s now a requirement for this trip. Kind of sorry about how Bill died years later isn’t it?”

“Aces and Eights, two pair and a disputed fifth card. Bill sat with his back to the door that day. Something I make a point to never do.”

“I recall you mentioning that to us some time back at the Elephant. Can’t help but agree with you there!”

“I was aware of that rule long before Hickok received his deathblow, but it’s been heavier on my mind ever since. He took advantage of his fame, even worked with Buffalo Bill Cody for a while. I never want to end up that way. Our stories don’t need dressing up for the novel writers and would be historians who are wet behind the ears. All I want to do is show them that we can shoot well and have been who we say we are. If it is shooting with mirrors and putting out flames they want, let Annie Oakley do it.”

“I hear she can split the playing cards with a .22 rifle and shoot them again before they hit the ground!” Lucas faked a shiver by shaking his shoulders. “I don’t want to run up against her!”

“From what I understand she’s about the best in the world. There are plenty of great sharp shooters around, and I expect that New York has seen most of them. I think it’s the interviews and newspaper articles that do us the most good. The target shooting has been a great thing to display so far, but it will be more difficult to impress the New York crowds. We may have to do more than one show for so many people. I wonder how Oakley handles so much shooting. Maybe that’s why she uses a .22. I’m thinking about some different targets for our show, something more interesting than liquor bottles. We have time to think about that.”

“I wonder if we’ll have the room for long distance shooting in some of the big cities? Maybe we should concentrate on the closer stuff with more speed. I used to shoot candles out and break the spokes from old wagon wheels. Maybe we can work on something that spins like a roulette wheel!”

“Now that has some potential Lucas! We already have a gambling theme with the cards and coins. I bet we can come up with something. See how talking keep our minds active. Never be afraid to blurt things out I say.”

“Seems to me I was just telling Will that on our train ride to Yuma. That’s how we met the conductor, got a cold beer, and some tips on how to find you!”

“Train rides are good for the soul, no doubt about it. I’m getting thirsty, lets head for the dining car.” Bat got up and Lucas followed.

“Bat, I marvel at how you never lack for something of interest. You go from one thing to another like the wind. This Hickok story for instance, what brought that on?”

“I had it in the back of my mind for a while now, probably due to my recent involvement with Luke. I hear something like the name of a town and I get triggered somehow. I knew Hickok for a brief period on the Kansas plains. Wyatt Earp knew him better. He did some time as marshal in Abilene, Wyatt, Ed, and I were the law in Dodge. He would play poker with us and we all liked to drink. He gave us plenty of advice on shooting and he helped me learn to become a hunter instead of just a skinner. I was young and impressionable. Wyatt is a great friend and I can thank him for many of my adventures. Bill spoke of the duel a few times but gave little detail. He wasn’t happy about those days I reckon. When he was killed, shot in the head in ’76, I wanted to go to the Dakotas to see what happened. Wyatt had gold fever right then and so I followed. But we never found time to actually get to Deadwood. Bill deserved better than being shot like Lincoln. That’s not the way I want to expire. I kept that in mind while we worked the law in Dodge. There’s a bunch of memories from those days rattling around in my head and I never know what’s going to pop up next. I’ve been that way for a very long time. Maybe I envy your ability to relax or focus quietly on single issues.”

“Like I keep saying, I was focused on Mark and the ranch for so long it’s simply second nature for me. I didn’t have time to soak in the history and legends as much. Sam tells me the stories from reading the history books and articles. Mark’s homework was a good way for me to learn some of those things. But a guy like Hickok is really something to know of first hand.”

”And perhaps I’ve had to keep many facts in mind as I wandered about. I had to learn the local stories and know the leaders of many towns. Once I got to gambling on the road it became a matter of survival. I never lost that skill from being a scout and a cattle driver.”

“I understand that alright and I better hark back to those days if I expect to keep up with the likes of you!”

“I won’t wander off on you Lucas. We must keep talking as we go and it’s essential to know what the other guy’s thinking when we’re in New York. I enjoy the way we’re getting to know and learn from each other. You’re a very good poker player for instance. Will is too. Many think they are, but few know the odds and can keep track of the cards for a prolonged period of time. We all play fairly even and that tells me a great deal about how you both think, and it scares me!”

“I’m glad we can keep you on your toes Bat Old Boy, it wouldn’t be fair if you were the only one with an advantage. Will knows poker well, I’m just a casual player at best, but perhaps I do better than I should with my common sense in charge. I played more when I was young before getting married. Will’s had plenty of experience with Hank’s gang and his time in prison. In both places he had to be careful with hostile opponents.”

“I should’ve known that’s why he’s so slick, very hard to bluff, that one.”

“Will wants to play at the White Elephant. He kept whispering to me while we were there. I hope we get a chance to return. Then again, I don’t!”

“I’m sure the opportunity will arise. Most likely we’ll meet in Dallas on our way back from New York. And I’ll most certainly need to pay a visit to John Templeton. I always seem to have these things to look forward to. See how it happens Lucas? These places and experiences seem to grow on me as I travel. The train gives me time to ponder and the next thing you know, I’m some place else. I don’t always plan my next move, but instead try to be ready for whatever comes my way.”

“Like most of what we’ve been through so far, Yuma, Jack Donaldson, Renfro, Luke Short, Sarah, even this trip. It’s the same for me at times. And I’m learning how to handle it from the master, Bat Masterson!”

“What’s in a name? I’m the son of a master. My father instilled great confidence in all of his sons. I have him to thank for my nature and ability to survive. We all left home to seek fortune early in life. I only wish that my brother lived long enough to enjoy these times. Dodge was a dangerous place, I was lucky to live through it. It was my target practice that kept them wary of me even back then. Ed was too trusting of people and walked right into his end. We sure did have our times though. We used to get so dirty and stinking cleaning buffalo that they didn’t want us coming into town. Earp used to laugh at us when we would dive into a horse trough near the livery in Dodge. Then we were clean enough to take a bath. After that they would let us indoors. Did we ever have fun gambling too. I ran a place for a while, and that incident at the Long Branch was what saved Luke’s hide. I really like that man. He never took it from anybody, but could he ever hand it out. The White Elephant has been just the place for him until Courtright came around.”

“I feel so bad for what Luke has gone through and it’s fateful that you happened to be there to look out for him. Talk about smelling bad, I would spend weeks out on the drives and as the time wore on, we would camp further and further from each other. When we hit a creek it was an all out stampede for us to jump in. I felt sorry for the cattle having to drink the same water. Some of us carried bars of soap, others would rub down with sand. I wouldn’t doubt it if we killed the fish while we were at it. It’s great to be living the good life now. I bet it could get pretty bad even riding a train back when.”

“Yes, I’ve had the pleasure on both trains and stage coaches. Cigars are a blessing while traveling within close quarters and bathing is not an option. As you know, I’m particular about my appearance most of the time. But on cattle drives I never could worry about that. I was most often foreman and it was better to fit in with the men, most of which smelled worse than the cattle. I guess I had more time to think on simple terms back then. The physical work was very demanding as with the buffalo. I don’t suppose that I’ll be going back to that kind of work ever again. I fancy myself a writer in my later years, something to do with a newspaper and sporting events like boxing, maybe a book or two about gunfighters. You never know when the opportunity will strike though. This trip should prove valuable in many ways towards helping me decide my future. At least we’ll know some truth about Hickok if we can stay in Springfield. The more I think about it, the better it sounds.”

“I agree, Springfield is our plan. And I understand about our need to talk. We both have a lot to share over common ground from our past. I know it will work to our advantage as we invade New York.”

The train pulled into Springfield very late. It was going to stay through the night. Bat and Lucas took rooms at the Lyon House Hotel and rested their bones after such a long day in motion. On the morning, Bat confirmed the train schedule so they had a free day in Springfield. There was a good deal of cargo to offload from the train. The rifles and ammunition were very heavy. Lucas sent some articles home with Will, but he now had more clothes and belongings than before he left North Fork. Most of the gear was locked in a storage room at the station. They went back to the hotel and inquired about what to view concerning the Hickok duel.

“Time was when we had many visitors coming here for this very reason. It happened over twenty years ago. Only a few are left that know about it. The town square is right out ahead there, you’ll find the spots marked, I can tell you little else. If you are lucky you will find an old codger named Smith wandering about. He was there. You might find a few others if you search the saloons. I was too young at the time.” The desk clerk tipped his visor and went back to his duties.

“Well, I guess we’re on our own then. I think after a brief survey of the square we should go to the library and see what they have to offer. This is a good practice investigation, I’m going to enjoy this.” Bat slapped Lucas on the back on their way out.

South Street led to the town square. Bat commented to Lucas that he knew Hickok had made this same approach when he met Davis Tutt for the duel.

“It never ceases to amaze me how two men could want to kill each other over such a small amount. Pride is a worthless asset as far as I’m concerned.” Lucas kicked at a pebble looking down at the ground. Guess Simon and I found that out the hard way.”

“If I had collected on all of the debts owed to me from gambling, I would be a very rich man. I took entire ranches as collateral only to give them back once I got to know the owner. Some of my current investments came to me that way. But I’d never demand payment or challenge a man over it. Poker is a game and sore losers usually feel enough pain when they can’t pay up. At times, I’d let them play on just to be a sport. But when it comes to men such as Hickok and Tutt, there is no price too low for pride. They were even friends and shared a drink earlier in the day. I wonder if they really had prior intent to kill before the moment arose? Even though Hickok said he would shoot Tutt if he wore the watch he took as collateral it seems such a meaningless gesture. As the legend goes, Tutt motioned to fire first, from over that way I believe, Booneville Avenue. We’ll find the actual positions later. It was about 75 yards and Tutt must have been over to the north there and Bill was maybe to the right over there. That is a remarkable shot considering the Colt Navy revolvers Hickok used. A long barrel though and he had his gun in hand as they fired at almost the same moment. Not a very smart way to fight I’d say.”

“I’ve had men fire at me and miss from closer range. Once I got an eye on them the rifle was plenty accurate. But I seldom got into an actual duel. This is pretty wide open here, I wouldn’t like the odds.”

“Many carried those old Colts back then. Civil War relics compared to a .45 of today. They are dangerous and hard to keep clean. The metal back then wasn’t as good and corroded easily. But there are many of them still in use. You can’t let them lay around loaded for long either. I’ve heard of them catching on fire or going off on their own. The rule was to leave the gun on an empty chamber while in the holster. They do much better on a collector’s wall if you ask me. Bill loved his guns though. The story is that they auctioned them off to pay for his burial.” Bat shook his head as he gazed across the square.

“I’ve had some experience with cap and ball Colts. One of the reasons I never liked to carry a pistol. They were only good for quick defense close range and were difficult and slow to reload. Some carried extra loaded cylinders but they were still slow to change in the heat of battle. I liked my chances with a Henry back in the day.”

“You must have seen some rough times Lucas. I admire your contribution to the cause. And you are harboring no grudge. Thank you for your service to our country.

“You’re welcome marshal and thank you for your service too. I get a strange feeling about this place. I don’t believe in ghosts but I wonder if old Tutt is still lurking in this square?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t think he figured on dying that day. And Wild Bill may have been fooling around with his sister too. I wonder if that was Tutt’s real reason for going after him?”

“Now that’s the kind of thing that would make me mad. Nobody went near my sister and she can darn well take care of herself too!” Lucas chuckled.

“Let’s get on over to the library and read an account of that fateful day.”

“You seem to know plenty about this already.” Lucas and Bat started walking.

“I’ve read a number of articles over the years, Harper’s Monthly for one. But I bet they have the best source of information that exists here.”

The Librarian was ready for them. They had plenty of publications on hand for the tourists and fact finders that came through town. Bat made great conversation while Lucas listened intently. He enjoyed watching Bat anytime he engaged people. Bat had a way of making them feel comfortable. He complimented them and never talked down. Lucas was used to a more direct approach coming from a small town with familiar people. Bat was used to recognition and most were eager to talk with him.

Once they had spoken with the clerk they were shown to a table where they could read the newspapers and magazine articles. There was controversy over the various testimonies from the trial. Some insisted the incident was an obvious murder while others maintained that Wild Bill had only sought to defend himself. The old time act of dueling had pretty much disappeared before the Civil War, but if these men had it in their minds to duel proper it would have been legal. Missouri had no law to prohibit the practice. At a distance of 75 yards and no one present to officiate the draw, it could only have been a calling out at a moment’s notice. The law was not clear on this.

There were various factors involved as to why these two were angry with each other. Hickok was a Union scout and Tutt fought for the Confederacy. While they started out to be friendly, things got hot between them over poker debt and horse trading. Hickok had a falling out with his girlfriend and Tutt moved in on her soon after. Meanwhile rumor was that Hickok got friendly with his sister. Hickok owed Tutt and refused to play poker with him. This made Tutt angry and he tried to bankroll others to play against him. On the night before the duel, Tutt watched as Hickok won some money. He demanded that his debts be paid. This brought on an argument which gave Tutt the idea to grab Hickok’s pocket watch that was out on the table. Bill warned him not to wear it in public or he would shoot him. The next day they attempted to make up and even shared a drink. Later, near 6:00pm Tutt was in the town square wearing the watch in plain sight. Hickok came into the square with a gun in his right hand. Each man saw the other draw, take aim, and then fire. The sound of both shots occured at the same moment according to witnesses. Tutt’s shot missed and Hickok’s found the target. Tutt was dead in the street after running up to a building and stumbling back.

Several days later, Bill was charged with murder and arrested. The charge was later reduced to manslaughter. The trial lasted three days with the verdict being acquittal. Many in town were not happy being of the opinion that Hickok had murdered Tutt. This is what intrigued Bat the most. He knew too well the experience of guns being drawn in disagreement. He wanted to know as best he could what the argument was really about and if the shooting was justified. This was the most historical street shoot out known and he wanted to learn if gambling was really the motive. There was no definite answer though. The involvement with women and the insult of Davis Tutt’s actions gave Bat the idea that Wild Bill was motivated by much more than a gambling debt. It was simply the last straw of a long building anger in both men. Pride was the key, one of the more lethal emotions. Bat understood this same mindset in Luke Short. Courtright’s pride drove him to confront Luke and Luke’s personality, much like Wild Bill’s, was such that it didn’t take much pushing to cause violence. Neither man would hesitate to pull a trigger that was obvious.

Satisfied that they had learned enough about the incident, they walked back to the town square to find the spot where each man stood. Bat asked Lucas to stand in Tutt’s position while he took Hickok’s. Once in place, each man lifted their right hand as if to draw. Passers by were used to seeing tourists do this so they paid no attention. After a few minutes of mock gun play they changed places and did it again. Bat noticed that the view could have been to Tutt’s advantage. He decided to come back later, near 6:00pm when the gunfight took place. He wanted to see how low the sun was in the evening and if it could influence vision. It was going to be hard to say as this was not the same time of year. They spent some of the afternoon walking around town and visiting saloons. When they came back the sun was down low and Bat decided that although the summer sun was higher at 6:00pm it may not have made any real difference. There wasn’t much to cast a shadow either. If Bill had the sun in his face that day, his shot could only be more legendary. Out of Bill’s many tall tails Bat knew that this one was authentic and Hickok really was a great marksman. After all, he helped to teach Bat and Wyatt how to shoot buffalo. There were many doubts as to Hickok’s bravery, his penchant for exaggeration was well known from his years appearing for Buffalo Bill Cody. But facts are facts and Bat was happy to finally know what the place looked like.

That evening at the Lyon House proved to be very interesting. Word got out fast that Bat was in town. This brought on a good many card players and gunfight philosophers. It made Lucas feel good to be recognized. He was able to talk freely while Bat kept the card players happy. Most saw the newspaper articles about Luke Short and the gun shows. Springfield was an obvious place for the news to travel. Everyone wanted to buy Bat and Lucas a drink. Bat enjoyed whiskey a great deal more than Lucas and on a few occasions, Lucas slipped his shot glass over to him. Before long, Bat was passing a few over to his left. That was the seat most often vacated for a new player to enter the game. Before long, a crusty older gentleman took that seat. Bat looked up as he handed him a shot of Whiskey.

“Howdy, Burt Smith is the name. I’ve always wanted to meet Bat Masterson! I was told that I oughta’ have a talk with you.”

“Well Burt, I assume you’re the man that claims to have been present during the Hickok duel.”

“That I am, the one and only. I’ll tell ya anything I can. My memory is still workin’ strong, I’m only 66 years old.” Smith downed his Whiskey and picked up his cards.

“I’m really only curious about one factor now that I have seen the square. What were the light conditions? Did Bill have the sun in his eyes?”

“It was a darn hot day and the sun was still up a bit in a clear sky. I didn’t notice Bill flinch or shade his eyes in any way. Tutt had his back to the buildings throwing short shadows, so the light wasn’t fadin’ much. I’d say that neither man had an advantage in that regard.”

“So you have a vivid memory of that day, from what I read there were many opinions. Were you at the trial?” Bat dealt Burt 3 new cards.

“Yes sir. I was there all three days. I never doubted that Wild Bill was gonna’ get off. There were too many witnesses on his side. Hot head Tutt made his threats a reality. He knew wearin’ that watch was gonna bring trouble, he taunted Bill. I saw Tutt’s pistol afterwards, it was warm and missing a round just as they say. Bill knew better than to walk out and shoot a man in cold blood. He didn’t want no trouble with the law, he respected the law. But he also had a reputation to uphold. Tutt was a goadin’ him into the fight, of that I have no doubt.”

“I got to know Wild Bill some years after his days here, out on the plains of Kansas. Wyatt Earp and I were marshals out Dodge way when he was marshal of Abilene. If there is one thing I know, It’s that Bill respected the law. He may have told many a tall tale, but he was known for keeping straight with the law as far as I knew. Bat laid down two pair, aces and nines, the winning hand. “How do you like that! Missed the deadman’s hand by one, must be my lucky day!

“Yes sir Masterson, Wild Bill was a good man Some thought him a liar and a murderer. But them things are hard to prove in a case like this one. Tutt had friends right near him. If’n they really thought he was out to murder, do ya think they would’ve let Hickok live afterwards?”

“I read that he turned around to find them pointing their guns at him, he had to back them off with his still smoking gun. They might have tried something if they hadn’t just seen him drop Tutt. One way or the other, their testimony wasn’t enough to convict. The few times I heard Bill speak of this, he insisted that he felt threatened before and after the incident. He liked to tell a story though. I’m not that way, I’ll say it like it is.”

“Well, since I know the shots rang out so close together that it seemed as one and it’s a good distance from one man to another across that square, I’d say Bill did what he had to do, Tutt was wrong to be standin’ there like he was, prancin’ like a rooster with that watch hangin’ out. He had to have his gun ready for the shots to ring out together. That one fact was what saved Bill’s hide.”

“I tend to agree with you there. Do you think that women had anything to do with why they were so mad with each other?”

“Everyone knew that Bill gave up on his ladyfriend. Tutt was seen with her after that. Tutt was also known to be accusin’ him of dishonor over his sister. But I don’t think Bill ever admitted to it. I can’t really say anythin’ ‘bout that.”

“I don’t expect many would unless it was a well known fact. I must thank you for your courtesy to speak with me about this Burt.” Bat reached into his pocket and gave him a White Elephant Cheroot. “These are special made for a good friend of mine, I hope you enjoy it.”

“Thanks Bat! Mind if I ask you a few questions.”

“Not at all, I’ll be answering them all night long.”

“Well now, did ya really shoot all those outlaws the stories claim?”

“One of my reasons for being here tonight is to spoil some of those rumors flying around. I won’t say I never shot a man, but not out of anger. On a few occasions I had to defend myself in the performance of my duties as a marshal. But those times are very few. I killed more men fighting Indians at Adobe Walls than anywhere else. I shot the man that killed my brother Ed in Dodge. And I have wounded only a few ever since.”

“I knew it! Those writers are a slick bunch. They’ll say anythin’ to spin a story. When I heard of the recent article after the show in Dallas, I knew you was a good guy. Did you really help out old Doc Holliday after Tombstone?”

“That was a favor for my good pal Wyatt Earp. He and Doc were better friends. Doc needed to get out of the territory fast to avoid a murder charge and he was a very sick man. It was a stroke of fate that I wasn’t there for the OK Coral incident. I left just before and am I glad that I did. Wyatt had nothing but trouble after that. I hope he’s better off now, wherever he is.”

“Now, I know ya gotta be tired of this one, but what was it like to be there when Short killed Courtright?”

“Don’t bother me to talk about it, but I do need a rest at times. It was a very sad affair. Luke was under severe harassment from Courtright. There was no way that either man was going to back down. I wanted to go out with Luke to meet him but he refused. The next thing I know, shots were fired and I was guarding him outside his jail cell the rest of the night. The judge was very kind to let him go the next morning at the inquest. As with our friend Hickok, it pays to have witnesses.”

“Is Luke gonna be a legend like Bill do ya think?”

“That’s up to the writers and talkers. I’ve known Luke a long time he’s an upstanding man. But he does have a history of getting into scuffles and becoming involved with, shall we say, less than scrupulous company. The White Elephant was a better place for him, it has a much better reputation than the Long Branch in Dodge. And besides, these Cheroots come from there.”

“I see, so we’ve both been close to a historic shootin’ now. Kinda makes me feel like I’m in good company! Thanks a lot Bat, I’m really glad to meet ya’. Mind if I stay in a few more hands, it would be great to say I won at least one round agin’ ya!”

“As long as you like my friend, lady luck is known to pass me by once in a while.”

”I sure hope she’s your partner for life Bat. And you too McCain, I see ya over there! Been wantin’ to meet you too!” Burt took up his second hand and play went on.

A few more characters claimed to know Wild Bill that night but Smith was the only one that Bat felt knew what he was talking about. Hickok was a complicated man and maybe nobody ever really knew what was going on in his mind. Bat did feel like he knew what was going on in Luke’s mind that night. He was right to defend himself. That was the real issue. He hoped that Luke would regain his place at the Elephant and be alright.

Fulton’s Foray — East Bound

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
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