More from the Cowboy with Heavenly Wisdom
The next morning the hands spread out along the edges of the herd, keeping them moving forward. As they moved through a low spot in the hills, they were suddenly attacked by Indians who came down on the herd without warning.
As the hands were all spread out to hold the herd, the Indians could come at them each as a lone man. The cow punchers were not at all prepared to fight, and that’s just what the Indians wanted.
There were fifteen of them, and it was like they had each already picked out the man they would attack. Cody had his rifle out immediately and shot from the hip, hitting two Indians right off. The others coming at him went to ground.
He looked over and saw three attacking Andy, who seemed to freeze, so Cody swung his rifle and shot over the herd at those Indians. Unfortunately for them, he was an excellent shot and two went down right off while the third, who was a learner, turned and ran.
In the end they were able to hold those Indians off without losing anyone. A couple hands got winged, but no serious injuries.
That night at the campfire, one of the hands asked Andy if he knew who saved his skin.
“’Nope,” he said, ‘I was too busy shooting myself to notice” Now Cody knew that wasn’t true, Andy hadn’t done any shooting, but Cody let it pass.”
“’You know it was Cody, he shot two of them right out of their seats. Otherwise you would have lost your scalp and probably your life today.’
“Really?” said Andy soberly, “I didn’t know that.” He didn’t thank Cody, but everyone noticed that after that his attitude began to change.
—-some weeks later——–
Cody sat on his horse, rifle in his hand, carefully scanning the horizon, and then turning to look at his back trail. He spoke quietly, “Keep your eyes open, son, you never know what is out there.”
The boy sitting behind him, clutching his own rifle nodded, even though the man could not see him. The pair of pistols the man had belted on were rubbing the boy’s knees, making him uncomfortable.
“Look over there,” Cody gestured, “see that small cloud of dust? Someone is coming. Let’s get out of sight.” He turned his horse and headed down a slight slope into a stand of trees growing around a seep in the hillside. “We’ll wait here and see who it is.”
He swung the boy down, led his horse further into the stand of trees and tethered it where there was a bit of grass for it to feed on. He came back to the boy, canteen in hand. “We’ll fill this with fresh water, never can tell when we’ll find another place to water.”
Cody took his rifle and went to the top of the rise to see who was coming and which way they were going. The boy sat down by the horse and waited, letting the man handle the situation. He didn’t really know him, but the man gave off an aura of confidence and competence and the boy trusted that.
He had been out hunting and had lost his way. The man had come along and rescued him. They hadn’t been together long enough even to exchange names, but the boy felt confident of his goodness. There was something solid and sure about him.
The man came back down, quiet as a cat. “Lone Indian, riding hard; he’s not coming this way, didn’t even look here. But we’d better be on the lookout. Might be others around. Now, what’d you say your name was?”
“Actually, I didn’t,” said the boy, “My name is Sam Dickson. My father has a farm on the other side of the river, but I don’t know which direction that’s in.”
The man nodded. “I’m Cody Smith, just moving through after finishing a cattle drive. Let’s mount up and move away from where that Indian was headed. We’ll go back to the river and cross over, see if we can find your father.”
Picture: the great Plains, from internet, new scientist