Unfortunately for Longbottom, there was something he didn’t know—Smith not only hadn’t lost a dime, but instead had made a huge profit—in cattle rustling.
This is how the coming range war began.
Season VI—Chapter 8—Wyatt Earp, Episode 5:
Longbottom and Smith parted, Longbottom to ride on ahead to Wichita and Smith, ostensibly, to remain with the herd. Only Smith stayed some distance away.
“Okay fellas, everybody is in position,” the gang-leader was satisfied, and pulled out his revolver and fired off three shots. From three sides of the herd, some thirty riders galloped towards the herd and as they got close began firing at the drovers—taking no care as to who they fired at—both Longbottom and Smith’s drovers were targets; it had to be this way.
The rustlers in front of the herd were tasked with turning the ensuing cattle stampede into a “U” shaped rock formation—to stop the stampede—and kill any drovers still with the herd.
In Wichita at the Painted Lady Saloon…
US Marshal Adrian Pettifogger got right to the point, “Are you familiar with Marshal Carl McIntyre, US Marshal for Western Dakota Territory?”
“Can’t say as I am,” Earp replied, “He must be new.”
“He is new to Dakota, came from the Lake Superior District up Minnesota way—on my orders.”
“Sorry Marshal, I’ve never heard of him. Is there a problem?”
“He’s corrupt. He had a number of good citizens killed in Minnesota, and was tracking others who opposed him, including one of his own deputies.”
“You just said you transferred him, why would you transfer an outlaw marshal?”
“To get him out of Minnesota, he had too many friends there, and some of them have followed him, at least as far as Murdo in Dakota Territory.”
“And this deputy he’s been hunting?”
“He’s heading this way, name’s Boomer Jack.”
Meanwhile, somewhere on the Nebraska prairie… AJ explained just how much money he was talking about, and what would be expected. AJ noticed his flicker of a smile when he got to the part about Big Mac being one of the targets, “You want to be a part of this?”
“I reckon I do. I really want to pay Marshal McIntyre back for what he did to me in Moosehead County.”
“Well, in that case, let’s ride.”
…And near the Coldwater Ranch… PepperCooper and Buttons found Flutters and sent him back to the ranch. He was given the message to deliver to Mac along with instructions to stay focused on his mission and not wander into his sometimes delusional state.
That will work?
To be Continued…