More Cowboy Wisdom
Leaving the captain, Cody gathered up the reins of his horse and headed for the stable where he talked with the hostler, unsaddled, rubbed down his horse and pitched some hay and grain into a manger for it. Then he walked across to the saloon, carrying his rifle with him. A man never knows what might come up.
He stepped inside and looked around. There were several men at the bar, a couple of card games going on and four men sitting at a table, sharing a bottle.
He eased over to a corner chair where no one could get behind him, and from where he could see the whole room while listening to several conversations.
After a while Dodge’s two men came in and joined the four at the table. They were talking loudly enough for Cody to hear most of the conversation.
“So, we checked with the land office and his deed is valid.
There’s nothing we can do legally to get him out.”
“Since when have you acted legally? This is the wild west, not Philadelphia!”
“Right, here it’s still ‘might that makes right.’ It’s only one man and his family against Dodge’s thirty gunmen. Who do you think is going to win?”
“Dodge thinks it’s critical to get rid of him because others are going to come along and settle more and more of the range. If he gets rid of this man, he thinks he can keep any others from coming.”
“He’s probably right. I wouldn’t back down if I were him. Those sod busters need to be run out and if they won’t go, we’ll burn them out and shoot them!”
Cody was not at all surprised at what these men thought and proposed. Only they were wrong. “Might” used to make right, but now the law was coming in. The territory had become a state and laws were being made.
Cody now knew exactly what he must do. But it must be from the right motives, wanting to see everyone win. It must be from a peace-loving perspective, and peace-loving in this case meant preventing harm to anyone. And it must take into consideration that the real enemy is Satan, not Dodge.
Even if John were faced with thirty gunmen, a number of them would die along with him in the standoff. That must be prevented, and Cody knew how they might do that.
In addition, he and John had to be sweetly reasonable, that is, gentle, in trying to get Dodge established on his range by law, not by force. That could start things moving in the right direction.
He had heard enough in the saloon, so he quietly got up and walked across the street to the eating place, a log building where there were long tables and rough benches. A few men were scattered about, eating.
He sat down at the end of a table, away from the door where he could see every person in the room and no one was behind him. The proprietor brought him a cup of coffee, then a plate with beef, bread and some greens.
As he was eating, the door opened and the girl he’d seen came in, dressed in a buckskin skirt and a calico blouse. She sat by herself and was given food.
As he watched her out of the corner of his eye, he noted how gracefully she ate. She glanced over at him once, and again he noted how fine and refined a girl she appeared to be. What was she doing here in the company of Dodge’s rough cow hands?
After eating, as he got up, he tipped his hat to her and went out across the street to the stable where he bedded down in the hay, right next to his horse. Again, he trusted his horse to alert him to any imminent danger. Who knows what may come in the night?
Picture: Cody’s horse