The Writer's Corner
The Ballad of Andrew Warrig
Written by Klara's
The man at the desk didn´t answer right away. In the dim light
of the old kerosene lamp he was still busy with the books and
the official papers. The moon sent its weak light into the small
room that was only furnished with a small bed, a couple of
chairs and that desk. A few framed photographs were hanging on
the massive walls. Now the man put the white quill away and
“$247 this month. Not bad, wouldn´t you say, Ben?”
Ben looked out of the door and gazed up to the stars. Everything
was peaceful and not even an owl could be heard around the
house. Ben turned around and walked over to the man at the desk.
“Don´t you figure they will find out sooner or later, Abraham?
Some day they are bound to notice it.”
The fella at the desk closed the book and took a mouthful out of
the half-full bottle next to him.
“Ben, my boy, I am well-connected, I know all folks around here
and I can assure you: there has never been an Injun agent who
didn´t adapt the paper for his own purposes. It´s customary
here. The Apaches get only enough beef to stay alive because a
dead redskin doesn´t need any beef at all and that would ruin my
business. They can just enough to stay breathing, the rest goes
to me and my … business partners in the army and the
reservation. There is no need to worry, Ben, my boy.”
Ben didn´t seem convinced. He was a young man in his twenties,
tall and slim, blond and simple-hearted. He lit a cigarette to
calm his shaky nerves and kept walking through the dark room
restlessly. The boy knew very well how corrupt Abraham was but
he respected him for his bold and well-organized actions. And
the money was quite a temptation. Ben needed money real bad.
“What´s my share, boss?”
Abraham was an elderly man with grey hair and a trimmed
moustache, showing a charming grin.
“About $30. It´s enough money to send to your mother in Santa
Fe. I am sure the old lady will be grateful. It´s sure hard to
live alone in the big city with that bad couth she suffers
Ben didn´t answer. Yes, he was glad that he could support his
old mother at home but the way how he achieved that money was
just not right. Out there children and women were starving.
Those hunger rations were just not enough to keep the Apaches
satisfied and … peaceful. No wonder Ben was nervous and spooked.
Abraham just smiled contently and got up.
“Ben, stop pacing up and down like that. You´re a good boy and
you should not worry that much. As long as I am in charge here,
everything is fine and no doggone Apache will ever fill his
belly here in the reservation. My old man´s grave is still
without flowers because I could never find out where exactly
they had slaughtered him. That is my way to make them pay for
Ben didn´t answer. He knew that his partner hated the Apaches
like nothing else in the world.
“I need some fresh air before I go to bed, boss. Leave some of
that whiskey for me.”
The debonair crook nodded. He was tired too. Working for the
reservation was a tough job but very rewarding if a man knew how
to deal with the stupid authorities. When he was alone he opened
another bottle and enjoyed the burning taste of the whiskey.
Soon he could afford that little ranch the near Tucson. It was
sure a mighty pretty place. Maybe he would even marry once
again. He was still a handsome fella and there were still enough
young ladies around who appreciate a wealthy ...
Then he heard that noise out there. Somebody was approaching the
For a moment everything was quiet again. Then the steps came
closer. And then there was Ben. Abraham saw his young friend
standing there in the door. His cheeks were pallid and his arms
were just hanging at his sides, without life. Ben made an
attempt to say something as he stumbled over the threshold. For
a moment the young man stood there, leaning against the wooden
door frame gasping desperately for air before he sank on his
knees. His beautiful blue eyes were wide open and gazed at his
boss. He lifted one hand and again he made a futile attempt to
say a word. When his face hit the floor Abraham could see the
two arrows in Ben´s back. The corrupt agent opened his mouth and
drew his revolver. He listened. Not a sound could be heard out
there in the darkness. He cocked the gun but he knew that
shooting out of the entrance was just a waste of bullets. He
looked down on Ben´s lifeless body and the blood on his white
shirt. It was a nightmare: Abraham was all alone. Out there was
no help, only deadly darkness. The crook desperately tried to
think and after a moment he ran over to his bed where he kept
his loaded shotgun. He grabbed the weapon and hurried over to
the door. He had to close it. He had to fight. He would show
those murderers who he was. He would teach them pagan redskins
what it meant to kill a white man …
Two figures with long black hair entered the room like silent
demons staring at him for a moment. Their glances were full of
hate. Abraham froze for a fatal moment. For the first time he
felt remorse but it was too late. Struck by fear he reacted too
slowly. The shotgun dropped to the floor as powerful arms
wrestled him mercilessly to the ground. His legs tried to kick
the brutal attackers away but to no avail. He could feel the
revolting breath of the enemies on his face, saw their black
eyes right in front of him. Finally he managed to open his mouth
for a desperate scream …
“She sure is a beauty, ain´t she, Pa? A true beauty, that´s what
Mark leaned against the fence and looked over to the green
pasture where the young cow was grazing in the warm sunshine.
Lucas smiled and put his hand on his son´s shoulder.
“You wanna give her a name, son?”
Mark seemed to contemplate for a moment.
“Yes, that is a good idea. How about … Gail? That would fit.
Don´t you think, Pa?”
Lucas looked down on his boy and frowned.
“Gail? Isn´t that the name of the young lady in your class,
Mark nodded eagerly.
“They both have such beautiful eyes, so gentle and calm.”
Lucas grinned. The boy was growing fast and soon he would be
even more interested in girls.
“Well, I am sure that girl is gonna proud that she is the
namesake for a piece of cattle. But now we better get ready to
go to town. You know that we need some grain and food for the
The two men dismounted in front of the hardware-store. One was
an elderly gentleman, wearing a grey suit and a bowler head. He
looked quite noble and wealthy. The other had the appearance of
a professional gunman, wearing a black jacket, a white shirt and
a black hat. At his side a colt was holstered. His youthful face
was clean shaven and his watchful eyes mustered the busy street
in an uneasy and almost nervous way. The old man turned around
and faced his companion.
“I have to buy a few things in that nice store. You wait here
The gunman didn´t answer but his deep grunt could be understood
as an agreement. He seemed a little spooky and his right hand
rested on the grip of his gun while he kept watching the folks
around him. The man in the suit entered the room leaving the
edgy fella in black alone with the horses.
Lucas drove his buckboard carefully over to the stable and let
Mark get off. When his boots touched the ground the rancher´s
glance wandered over to the drugstore and what he saw made him
stop in his tracks. He slowly took his Winchester and urged Mark
to stay in the stable. The boy didn´t understand but the tone of
his father was warning enough and so he didn´t even dare to ask
about the reason. Lucas slowly crossed the street. The man in
front of the horses had turned his back and so Lucas could
approach him without being seen. His glance was full of anger
and hate. It was clear that he was ready to use the rifle in his
“If memory serves me correctly I told you stay out of North
The man turned around and their eyes met. Warrig didn´t seemed
surprised at all to see the towering man with the famous rifle
again. After a moment he spread his slender arms and smiled.
“Mister McCain, how nice to run into you. I knew that sooner or
later we would meet again.”
Lucas´ eyes were cold and his voice revealed that he was not
exactly in a cheerful mood.
“The last time we met was in court before they brought you to
Yuma. I don´t know what you want here but if you try anything
you have to answer to me. And this time you won´t get away so
The gunfighter kept his right hand away from his revolver to
avoid any misunderstanding.
“Mister McCain, you hurt my feelings. I am an honest man now and
I work for money same as you. I would have never come here
without a good reason, knowing that I would never stand a chance
against that fine rifle of yours. I once tried and I ain´t gonna
make that stupid mistake ever again.”
Lucas felt like hitting the grinning man in the face right where
“Yeah, you were never any good with that gun despite your
fearsome reputation so your victims got it in the back. I know
what kind of a man you are and I don´t figure that Yuma changed
you one bit. North Fork is a different town now and we know how
to deal with filthy vermin like you.”
Warrig tried to say something but then he heard different voice
“Mister McCain is absolutely right. Step out of line and you go
straight back to Yuma, Andrew.”
The Marshal had approached the two enemies quietly. Warrig
turned around and when he saw the face of the old lawman he
politely took off his black hat, greeting him like an old
“It´s so good to see you again, Micah. You are still wearing the
badge, as I see. Now I understand why North Fork is such
peaceful town. It´s really a pleasure seeing you after such a
The gunfighter offered his hand to Micah and after a moment of
hesitation the old man shook it.
“Well, it´s good to see that you are a free man again as long as
you behave yourself here. How are your parents? Is your father
still in charge of that vast ranch in Texas? He is one good
Suddenly the grin on Warrig´s youthful face disappeared. For a
moment he lowered his head.
“I have no parents anymore at least that´s what they told me in
the letter I received in Yuma.”
Micah was stunned and exchanged a swift glance with Lucas who
was still standing there.
“I am sorry to hear that, Andrew, I really am. That is mighty
tough. But I figure a wealthy rancher doesn´t like the idea that
his youngest son is an outlaw and convicted killer serving his
time. After a lifetime of hard and honest work a father is kinda
short on understanding I guess …”
Andrew Warrig shook his head and again he managed to show a weak
“That´s why I work now for …”
“Anything wrong, Mister Warrig?”
Lucas and Micah saw the elderly man leaving the shop carrying a
little package under his arm.
Warrig straightened himself and pointed at the Lucas and Micah.
“Everything is just fine, just saying hello to a bunch of old
friends of mine. That fine gentleman with the rifle here is
Lucas McCain and here is Mister Law and Order himself, the
The gentleman in the grey suit shook hands with the both of
“The name is Greenstone, Samuel-Nathan Greenstone. I am from
Chicago and work for the university there. Right now I am on a
private mission so to speak and Mister Warrig here is so nice
and serves as my advisor and bodyguard. It´s still a rough
country and I intend to go West from here so it´s good to have
somebody with me who knows how to handle a gun. I am afraid I
could never fire a single shot without killing myself so I am
very glad to have him with.”
Again Lucas and Micah looked at each other. The uneasy rancher
scratched his head.
“Well, Mister Greenstone, if you don´t mind I would like to give
a piece of advice: go straight back to your university and … be
pickier when it comes to choosing your company next time.”
Greenstone took a pair of brown leather gloves out of the breast
pocket and while he put them on he gave Lucas a piece of his
mind without even looking at him.
“You know, Mister McCain, I once met a gentleman who wanted to
tell my business so I had to make it perfectly clear that nobody
has to tell me what to do. He later became President of the
United States but I still don´t like it if tells me what to do.
So if I frankly tell a man who is now in charge of that whole
beautiful country to keep his nose out of my business why should
I put up with an insolent sodbuster who cannot even write his
own name as I suppose.”
Andrew Warrig butted in, giving Lucas a hateful look. His voice
was now somber and dry.
“Mister Greenstone goes wherever he pleases and I go with him. I
am hired to keep an eye on him as long as he stays here and I
make sure that nothing happens to him, Mister McCain. Anything
Greenstone put a hand on the right shoulder on the gunfighters
shoulder to back him up.
“That is correct. Mister Warrig here has my full trust. He told
me all about his life and I am glad that I can help a young man
becoming honest again after his hard stay in prison. As soon as
my mission is over I will be happy to give him his $1000 so he
can start a new life as a decent member of society.”
Lucas shook his head. It was obvious that he didn´t like that
man from the East at all.
“The last fella who trusted Andrew Warrig was a farmer called
Lee Scott. If you want to meet Mister Scott and ask him about
his opinion about your new friend you can do it right here in
Greenstone raised an eyebrow. His boastful voice was thin and
soft, full of self-confidence.
“Well, it would be a real pleasure to meet that Mister Scott.
Where can I find him?”
Lucas turned and pointed to the end of the street.
“Our graveyard is right over there. You will find Scott under a
mighty nice wooden cross. Maybe you would like to say a prayer
for him and his widow. Good day, Mister Greenstone.”
Lucas turned around and headed over the stable where he could
see the worried face of his son. After a moment Micah followed
him leaving Greenstone and Warrig all alone in the street.
Although it was high noon the deep heart of the canyon was
almost dark. The chaotic rock formations covered the bottom of
the gorge in cool shadow. A young coyote was on the hunt between
the boulders. Suddenly the animal lifted its head and looked
around. Its keen nose tested the gentle breeze. Everything was
quiet. Then the coyote continued sneaking down the narrow path
in order to find food. It was hungry and …
A deadly arrow pierced its neck and dropped it instantly into
the soft sand. A minute later a dusty hand grabbed its pushy
tail and carried the animal back to the camp where the other
Apaches were waiting sitting around a tiny fire under a giant
Micah looked at the two men when they left town. Then he went
back into the stable.
“That was some reunion, Lucas-Boy. I would have never thought
that Andrew would ever come back one day. He still respects you
and that rifle of yours. Too bad that he turned out that way.”
Lucas didn´t answer. He was busy loading the sacks on the
buckboard. Since it was a hot day his face soon was covered with
sweat. Mark gave him a hand despite the considerable weight of
Micah waited a few seconds but still there was no reaction. So
he continued talking pensively.
“I knew the old man Warrig real well. We used to be close
friends. I was there when he got married. I was there when he
bought his first cattle. And he made it over the years. In the
county where he lives there is a saying “wealthy as a Warrig”.
Pity that he never had as much skills as a father.”
Mark frowned. The boy felt uneasy in the midst of all that
“Why? I mean, my Pa is also busy and he has always time for me.
Why is that Mister Warrig not like my Pa? Isn´t a son more worth
than a big ranch, Micah?”
Lucas looked up and his voice was not charming but full of
“Mark, stop talking and hurry up. We don´t have all day. There
is plenty of work back home waiting.”
Mark was clearly upset. He was not used to that harsh tone in
his father´s voice.
“Yes, Pa …”
Lucas met Micah´s disapproving glance before he took of his hat
and swept the sweat away.
“I am sorry, Mark. It´s not your fault, you know that. Warrig is
not your concern. But we really have to hurry so you can see
Gail again. I am sure she is waiting for you already.”
Micah headed over to his office. On his way his troubled mind
brought up blurry images that had been gone for years: flying
arrows, grey gunsmoke and the shrill war cries of attacking
Greenstone dismounted and admired the grandeur of the endless
desert. The sandy hills and the sky-high mountains clearly
impressed the man from the East. He rubbed his hands while he
looked around. Although he was already sweat-covered he enjoyed
the trip. Warrig was still on horseback, resting his slim arms
on the saddle horn while his wary glance assessed the rough
“This here would be a pretty nice place to make camp, boss.”
The huge rock to their right side offered good protection from
the excruciating heat. Greenstone nodded and pointed to a lonely
dry wash about 100 yards away.
“I concur. You take care of everything, cooking coffee and all
that. In the meantime I will take a look over there. Such a
terrain is always a good place to start looking. I will be back
in about an hour.”
Warrig looked around. He was not sure what to say. He had no
idea what his customer was looking for in the first place but he
didn´t care as long as he would get his money at the end to
start over again. He thought of that sodbuster back in North
Fork and for a moment his palm touched his gun.
“Suits me. But please stay careful. Such a city slicker like you
can get into trouble real easy out here.”
Greenstone started walking through the soft sand and after a few
steps he could hear it: the blood-curdling rattle right next to
his left leg, somewhere between the dried bushes. He jumped
aside in horror. He knew very well that one bite could … a
well-aimed shot silenced the rattling instantly. The snake
rolled over the sand and vanished in the brown grass. Greenstone
gazed up and saw Warrig holding his smoking gun in his right
hand. The wealthy man sighed in relief while the black-clad
gunfighter smiled and slowly holstered the colt 45 again.
“Told you, boss. Rattlesnakes could get nasty when disturbed.
You better watch out.”
Greenstone, still shaky took off his bowler hat and nodded,
looking down on the shattered reptile.
“That was a magnificent shot. You are definitely worth your
money already, Mister Warrig.”
Warrig grinned and replaced the empty shell. He was much better
with a gun than that ugly sodbuster in North Fork figured and he
felt the strong urge to prove it to him one day.
When Lucas rode into to town Micah was just about the leave the
Marshal´s office. Lucas dismounted swiftly and walked over to
his old friend.
“What brings you to town, Lucas-Boy?”
It was clear however that the work on his ranch had taken a toll
on the tall man.
“I need some more nails. The storm last night loosened up some
boards on the barn. Mark is already busy with the damaged fence.
Are Warrig and that crazy city slicker already back?”
Micah shrugged. His voice revealed his deep worries about the
fate of the two strangers.
“Not that I know of. Nobody has seen them so far. I wonder what
that fine Mister Greenstone was looking for in our territory in
the first place. I hope nothing has happened to them out there.”
Suddenly both men heard the sound of hooves at the end of the
street and turned their heads: a patrol of cavalry entered North
Fork, led by a young lieutenant. Lucas and Micah exchanged
glances. It didn´t happen often that the military made its
presence known in town. And then they saw something else. There
was also a civilian with the soldiers, an exhausted fella who
had troubles staying on his horse. Lucas and Micah hurried over.
Yes, it was Greenstone. The once proud man was now only a
miserable figure, exhausted and sweaty. His grey suit was dirty
and his bowler hat was missing. As soon as the patrol stopped
Lucas helped the half-conscious man off his dust-covered animal.
The officer also dismounted and turned to the representative of
“Morning, I am Lieutenant Collins of the Fifth. Is this man a
citizen of your town, Marshal?”
Micah looked at the pale face of the feeble man who sank into
“No, but we know him. His name is Greenstone from Chicago. He
wanted to go in the desert to look for something a couple of
days ago. I have no idea what that was but there was another man
with him, a young fella called Andrew Warrig. Did you see him,
lieutenant? Is he still out there?”
The strapping officer shook his head.
“I can´t say. We have the order to warn all civilians out here.
A band of hostile Apaches broke out after killing two agents who
were in charge of their food supply a couple of days ago. That
man here ran into them at least that´s what he we could
understand from his words when we found him about 12 miles from
here. He was alone and without a horse and water. One more hour
and he would have died out there. So we brought him here. You
take care of him. We have to ride on.”
While the soldiers left town Micah and Lucas carried Greenstone
over to Doc Burrage´s place.
The young Apache climbed the steep rock and made sure that the
lush bushes covered him. He was not older than 17 years but his
face showed already wrinkles around his dark eyes. One could
count his rips: hunger and deprivation had already taken their
tolls on him. But starvation made him only even more dangerous.
His father had once ridden with Cochise back in the proud days.
Now the land was not longer theirs and the plight was great. He
studied the landscape carefully before gliding back into the
cool shadow of the cliff. He ran back to the others to report to
Lucas drove his heels mercilessly into his horse´s flanks. The
mere thought that Mark was all alone at the ranch while a band
of hostile Apaches was on the loose made him sweat. Then his
home came into sight. Everything seemed normal and now he could
even see his son out there in front of the house. Lucas swung
out of the saddle and a second later Mark could feel the firm
hug of his father.
“Are you alright, son? Is everything alright?”
Mark could not have been more surprised.
“Yes, sure, Pa. I was busy with the damaged fence as you told me
and I brought Gail here. She seemed bored on the pasture so she
kept me company while I was working.”
The boy pointed to the young cow standing right next to the
house looking curiously at the two humans. Lucas turned around
and smiled full of relief. Yes, everything was alright.
“Mark, I want you to go to town spend a couple of nights at the
hotel. You … have been working so hard lately and I decided that
you need a little relaxation. I stay here and keep an eye on the
Mark was at a loss. Something was clearly troubling his father.
“If you say so, Pa! But why …”
Lucas got up and eyed the environment but there was still no
sign of any threat.
“Don´t ask any questions now. Get your horse. You can eat all
the apple pie you want in the hotel and maybe Gail will join you
after school. The girl I mean. I am sure she kinda likes you.”
Mark was sold. He hurried over to the barn to saddle his horse
while Lucas entered the house. He had to get the boy back to
safety until the danger was over. He had to think now and calm
himself. All he needed was some fresh shirts for the boy and a
pair of pants and maybe …
Something in the tone of his son out there alarmed him. He
lifted his head and looked out of the window. Nothing! Then he
grabbed his rifle and left the house. Mark was standing in front
of the barn, motionless and terribly pale. His mouth was open
and he seemed terrified.
Lucas saw them instantly: five Apaches on horseback armed with
rifles and bows and arrows.
“So what happened out there? I gotta know, Mister.”
Micah knew that Burrage had done his best to bring the exhausted
man back on his feet but it was obvious that Greenstone was
still far from his full recovery. His feet were sore and his
face was sun-burned. Greenstone was sitting on the small bed and
after another drink of cool water he could speak at last
although his feeble voice was nothing but a whisper.
“I was … looking for signs near a cliff but I got careless. It
was already late and so decided to go back. When I returned to
our camp I saw them. I had never seen an Apache but there they
were. I was so scared! I could not think clearly. I started
running until … I was lost. I hid behind a rock and stayed there
all night. I could not sleep. I was so afraid. In the morning I
started walking and … then evening came and … the thirst was so
terrible. I could not find my way. I dropped and fainted I
guess. When I woke up I saw the soldiers and … that is all I
know. I am sorry. I was so stupid to come here …”
Micah shook his head and sighed. Yes, going out there all alone
was more than stupid.
“Do you have any idea where Warrig is?”
“Get behind me, son and stay calm. They are just waiting for a
sign of fear.”
Very cautiously Lucas stepped in front of his beloved son, with
his rifle in his right hand. He was determined to defend his
child until his last breath. His finger touched the trigger. He
had seen men tied to wagon wheels, men who had been mutilated
and burned alive. But they would not get him, not without a
fight. He knew he could get at least three of them before they
could shoot him.
The five Apaches remained motionless on their horses. Their
leader was an elderly man with grey hair and a haggard face with
high cheekbones. His emaciated figure was covered with a black
vest. His glance was intense and threatening. He was armed with
a rifle and a colt. Suddenly the chief raised his right arm and
hollered an order. After a moment a sixth Apache appeared on his
horse dragging a captive man behind him. Lucas knew instantly
who that prisoner was. Andrew Warrig was still wearing his white
shirt but his black vest now belonged to the leader of the
Apaches. The former gunfighter collapsed and remained lying in
the dust without moving a limp. The leader of the Apaches
pointed at the body at the ground and then at the young cow
grazing peacefully in the bright sunshine. Lucas understood. He
slowly walked over to Gail and grabbed one of her horns. Very
carefully he led the animal over to the Indians. The chief
nodded and gave another order. One of the trespassers, a young
fella, dismounted swiftly and with a rope in his hands he
approached Lucas. The rancher looked into the brave´s dark eyes.
He saw starvation, hate and desperation in them while the peaked
Apache wrapped the rope around the animal’s neck. The Apache
pulled the young cow over to his comrades and mounted up. A last
order made the Apaches turn their dusty horses and ride off,
taking Gail with them and leaving a hapless man behind on the
ground. They headed south, to the Mexican border. The young
Apache was the last one who vanished behind the grassy hills.
Mark was stunned. He could not understand what just had
happened. Lucas lowered his rifle and put his arm around his
boys shoulder. They were all alone again as if the Apaches had
never been there.
“It´s alright, Mark. They are just hungry, just so terribly
hungry. They could have killed us but …”
Mark didn´t listen. He ran over to Warrig who was still lying
there next to the barn. Lucas hesitated for a moment before he
followed his son. The farmer kneeled at the side to his enemy he
just had saved. Warrig was still breathing but he was more dead
than alive. His once well-shaved face was burned by the sun. He
opened his eyes and his trembling lips formed words, hardly
understandable syllables. Lucas had to get closer to grasp what
the man attempted to say.
“I tried to … find the boss … I tried to … but they got me …
before … I didn´t let him down … you gotta believe me … I tried
my best … but ... they were so fast and dragged me … and … I did
all I could …”
The gunman fainted and his head sunk to the side. Lucas sighed
as he felt Warrig´s weak pulse.
“Get the buckboard ready, Mark, we gotta get him to Doc Burrage
“So how he is, Lucas-Boy?”
The tired rancher shut silently the door of Burrage´s place
behind him and stepped out into the darkness. Dark clouds
covered the moon and the street was empty. It was almost
midnight. Micah was tired but he had refused to go to bed, still
anxious to learn more about the state of the patients.
Lucas closed his burning eyes for a second. It had been a real
“They both are asleep now. They need a lot of rest until they
can even think of getting up again. Before he fell asleep
however, Warrig told me again and again that he had tried to
keep his boss safe out there. I still can´t believe that! He can
cheat anybody but not me. One day I will make him pay for
betraying Greenstone´s trust. I am sure he had left him to save
his own dirty hide.”
Micah shook his head and invited his friend to walk with him
down the empty street.
“There is something you don´t know, Lucas-Boy. Many years ago
when I was out hunting with his father the Comanches jumped us.
The pinned us down in a dry riverbed and we kept shooting at
them until we were down to a handful of bullets. I still can
hear their shrill war cries. They kept shooting arrows for
hours. We knew that we were goners. In the morning one of
Andrew´s older brothers came by with a couple of cowboys driving
a herd of cattle to Austin. Well, the Comanches saw the dust of
the herd and maybe they figured that a whole army was
approaching. I don´t know why but they ran and we were saved.
When we returned to the ranch Missus Warrig had given birth in
the meantime. I will never forget the expression in her blue
eyes when she showed us the baby for the first time. It was
their youngest son. ”
Lucas stopped and looked down on Micah while a cool breeze
refreshed his forehead.
When the stagecoach arrived Greenstone and Warrig were ready to
leave. Micah, Mark and Lucas were there and it was time to say
farewell. Micah smiled and shook the young man´s hand.
“You are still sure you want to go to Chicago and work there?
Somehow I still can´t picture you behind a desk somewhere in the
East, Andrew, reading all day and talking about fancy stuff.”
Warrig showed his teeth while he grinned. After a week in
Burrage´s care he had recovered amazingly fast after the
terrible incident in the desert. He was still kinda weak but
that was not the only change about him. He was not carrying a
“Well, to be honest: neither can I, Micah. But as Samuel-Nathan
here told me: the East can also be a tough place. So maybe I
like it after all. A tame life is nothing for me as you know.”
Greenstone smiled. He had also changed. His boastful attitude
was gone and he knew more about life now, things no book could
tell him. Again he put a hand on his friend´s shoulder.
“Well, as my former colleague Horace Greeley once stated: “Go
East, young man.” I will show you what you have to know in
Chicago and soon you will be my right-hand man. There is plenty
to do at a university and some of my students have mighty
beautiful sisters, I can tell you, Andrew.”
Then Warrig and Lucas shook hands. After a moment both men
managed to smile.
“Thanks for saving my life, Mister McCain. Now we will never
find out who is faster I reckon.”
Lucas intensified the pressure on his former enemies´ hand, a
“Be glad about that. I would have hated to shoot you after all …
Warrig pulled his arm back and picked up his black traveling
“Well, as I told you: I never make a mistake twice … Lucas.”
Now Mark could not hold back any longer.
“Mister Greenstone, why did you come to North Fork in the first
place? You have never told us.”
The wealthy man smiled and opened his small suitcase. He swiftly
took a thick book out and handed it over to his young friend.
Mark looked at the black cover and was clearly surprised.
Greenstone opened the door of the stagecoach but before he got
in he looked back.
“That´s my present for you, son. Read it and you will
understand. Over 14 years ago I worked up in Montana for my
colleague Edward Drinker Cope, looking for bones. Montana was
the place to go to find dinosaurs back then and we were highly
successful. I had decided to come here to the desert and try my
luck here. But I found something else: not dead bones but life
thanks to you folks.”
Mark opened the book and started reading, forgetting even to
thank Greenstone. He was still standing there when the
stagecoach had already left North Fork heading east.
“Did you know that some of those creatures were over 10 meters
long, Pa? Can you imagine that?”
For the last two days he had heard nothing but amazing facts
about those mysterious creatures that once had roamed America.
Lucas remembered the newspaper articles 14 years ago about the
“bone wars” up there in Montana: two fierce competitors, Othniel
Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope had hired hundreds of men
to unearth bones of unknown beasts, trying desperately to make
better discoveries than the other one. But he would have never
thought that some fool from the East would turn up here one day
to look for bones near North Fork. That crazy idea still made
him shook his head. He drove the buckboard to the school´s
entrance and let Mark get off. The boy took his books and froze
when he saw the charming little lady standing there, obviously
waiting for him.
“Howdy, Mark …”
The blond girl´s angelic smile made it tough to find the right
“How … Howdy Gail, there is something I would like to tell you …
Lucas could not help grinning when he saw the girl´s surprised
face when she learned that she had eyes that reminded Mark of
those of a cow. The boy had still a lot to learn about women.
These stories are based on the TV series
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
The Writer's Corner
Table of Contents
around The McCain Ranch