Mitrovic was often criticized for such approach, especially by the Communist hardliners who believed that such genre dogmatics make fun out of their revolutionary achievements. And yet, Mitrovic's unique craft remained undisputed so he ended up as one of the most respected State Directors of Tito's era. Mitrovic's opus was Kosovo-obsessed. He adored its' beautiful and brutal landscape, reminiscent of John Ford's Monument Valley.
He also realized the full potential of its' unresolved political and ethnic situation. By the end of , Kosovo was split evenly between Serbs and Albanians. Hardliner Albanian renegades, who used to be allied with Nazis, kept raging on, long after Germany surrendered. Yugoslav authorities responded by unprecedented deployment of security forces who oppressed the whole region in order to respond to the renegade challenge.
Inevitably, oppression led to excessive force and corruption. This war-torn world was an ideal setting for the Serbian brand of Westerns and Mitrovic fully utilized that potential. At the same time, Kosovo itself contained a rich esotheric meaning. Since the medieval times, it remained the mythical cornerstone of Serbian culture and nationalgeist.
Thus, just like Wild West, it is an ideal imaginary territory, quite potent setting for different genre experiments. Upon arrival, he realizes that his old flame found consolation in his brother's arms and that his father was killed. Unlike his brother, Simon passionately investigates father's death and finds out that the well-known criminal who allegedly killed him actually was a patsy while the murderer is still at large.
The chaotic atmosphere of gang-riddled Kosovo enables Simon to seek retribution. Velimir Bata Zivojinovic, the greatest star of Yugoslav cinema, stars as Simon, delivering a rugged and involving performance along the lines of Oliver Reed or Lee Marvin. Mitrovic masterfully frames him and turns Simon into an engaging Western hero. Even though Simon doesn't have the mythical proportions of Leone's Blondie, this character is absolutely synchronized with the bad-asses of his era.
Mitrovic's screen writing is tight and he manages to create a believable world for Simon to live in. The most important part of Mitrovic's crafty writing is the ability to turn huge melodramatic twists into plausible screen gestures. Mitrovic's direction is as tight. He has an eye for cinematic elements. He uses the actors and locations up to the limit of their photogenic potential. Thanks to then young and prospective director of photography Branko Ivatovic, Mitrovic manages to utilize the colorful settings and add some beauty to the gritty affair he wrote.
This film also remains as a symbol of an era when Yugoslav films were able to stand any comparison with the elite Hollywood and European works, even in the world of action cinema. Start your free trial. Find showtimes, watch trailers, browse photos, track your Watchlist and rate your favorite movies and TV shows on your phone or tablet! Enjoy unlimited streaming on Prime Video. There was an error trying to load your rating for this title. Some parts of this page won't work property. Please reload or try later.
Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends. Full Cast and Crew. These issues will throw him into an adventure that would be tragic for him, Michael Mando Teases 'Spider-Man: List of all Yugoslav films ever made Lista svih Jugosloveskih filmova. Share this Rating Title: Brat doktora Homera 7. Use the HTML below. You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Learn more More Like This. Two best friends, former Partisans, must face new challenges after the war. Young and Healthy As a Rose The Border Post Inside, Bull sat his horse at one side of the large room, near the bar.
Behind him Gum Smith was slowly emerging from the concealment of the faro table. When he saw the man he feared sitting with his back toward him, a crafty look came into the eyes of the sheriff. He glanced quickly about the room. The men were all looking at Bull. No one seemed to be noticing Gum. He drew his gun and levelled it at the back of the ex-foreman of the Bar Y. Instantly there was a flash from the doorway, the crack of a shot, and the sheriff's gun dropped from his hand.
All eyes turned in the direction of the entrance. There stood Texas Pete, his shooting iron smoking in his hand. Bull wheeled Blazes and rode slowly through the doorway, with never a glance toward the sheriff; nor could he better have shown his utter contempt for the man. There had always been bad blood between them. Smith had been elected by the lawless element of the community and at the time of the campaign Bull had worked diligently for the opposing candidate who had been backed by the better element, consisting largely of the cattle owners, headed by Elias Henders.
What Bull's position would have been had he not been foreman for Henders at the time was rather an open question among the voters of Hendersville, but the fact remained that he had been foreman and that he had worked to such good purpose for the candidate of the reform element that he had not only almost succeeded in electing him, but had so exposed the rottenness of the gang back of Smith's candidacy that their power was generally considered to be on the wane.
Gum Smith picked up his gun and examined it. Texas Pete's shot had struck the barrel just in front of the cylinder. The man looked angrily around at the other occupants of the room. Outside, Texas Pete had mounted his pony and was moving along slowly stirrup to stirrup with Bull, who was now apparently as sober as though he had never had a drink in his life. The bar-keep, he was one—the darned son-of-a-gun— An' the others, a orphan an' me. When Bull and Texas entered the bunk-house most of the men were asleep, but Hal Colby rolled over on his bunk and smiled at Bull as the latter lighted a lamp.
AFTER breakfast the following morning the men were saddling-up listlessly for the day's work. There was no foreman now and they were hanging about waiting for the boss. Bull sat on the top rail of the corral, idle. He was out of a job. His fellows paid little or no attention to him, but whether from motives of consideration for his feelings, or because they were not interested in him or his troubles a casual observer could not have deduced from their manner.
Unquestionably he had friends among them, but he was a taciturn man and, like all such, did not make friends quickly. Undemonstrative himself, he aroused no show of demonstration in others. His straight black hair, and rather high cheek bones, coupled with a tanned skin, gave him something the appearance of an Indian, a similarity that was further heightened by his natural reserve, while a long, red scar across his jaw accentuated a suggestion of grimness that his countenance possessed in repose.
Texas Pete, saddling his pony directly below him in the corral, was starting the day with a new song. Where'll we head fer? Bull's eyes wandered to the front of the ranch house, and as they did so they beheld "the old man" emerging from the office. Behind him came his daughter Diana and Hal Colby.
The latter were laughing and talking gaily. Bull could not but notice how close the man leaned toward the girl's face. What an easy way Colby had with people—especially women. Texas Pete glanced toward the ranch house, following the direction of the other's eyes, and shrugged his shoulders. Elias Henders and Hal Colby were walking slowly in the direction of the horse corral.
The two men entered the corral and as they did so Bull descended from the fence and approached Henders. The former foreman nodded in acceptance of the terms and, walking toward the bunch of horses huddled at one side of the corral, whistled. Instantly Blazes' head came up above those of the other animals. With up-pricked ears he regarded his owner for a moment, and then, shouldering his way through the bunch, he walked directly to him. Elias Henders stopped in the center of the corral and attracted the attention of the men. There was a moment's embarrassed silence and then the men resumed their preparations for the work of the day, or, if they were ready, lolled in their saddles rolling cigarettes.
Colby went among them assigning the various duties for the day—pretty much routine work with which all were familiar. It was the longest, hardest assignment of the day, but if Bull was dissatisfied with it he gave no indication. As a matter of fact he probably was content, for he was a hard rider and he liked to be off alone.
A trait that had always been a matter for comment and some conjecture. More than one had asked himself or a neighbor what Bull found to do that took him off by himself so often. There are those who cannot conceive that a man can find pleasure in his own company, or in that of a good horse and the open.
The mouth of Cottonwood Canyon lay a good twenty miles from the ranch and the head of it five miles of rough going farther. It was ten o'clock when Bull suddenly drew rein beside the lone cottonwood that marked the entrance to the canyon and gave it its name. He sat motionless, listening intently. Faintly, from far up the canyon, came the staccato of rifle shots. How far it was difficult to judge, for the walls of a winding canyon quickly absorb sound.
Once convinced of the direction of their origin, however, the man urged his pony into a gallop, turning his head up the canyon. As the last of the cow hands loped away from the ranch upon the business of the day Elias Henders turned back toward the office, while Hal Colby caught up two ponies which he saddled and bridled, humming meanwhile a gay little tune. Mounting one, he rode toward the ranch house, leading the other, just as Diana Henders emerged from the interior, making it apparent for whom the led horse was intended. Taking the reins from Colby, the girl swung into the saddle like a man, and she sat her horse like a man, too, and yet, though she could ride with the best of them, and shoot with the best of them, there was nothing coarse or common about her.
Some of the older hands had known her since childhood, yet even that fact, coupled with the proverbial freedom of the eighties in Arizona, never permitted them the same freedom with Diana Henders that most of the few girls in that wild country either overlooked or accepted as a matter of course. Men did not curse in Diana's presence, nor did they throw an arm across her slim shoulders, or slap her upon the back in good fellowship, and yet they all worshipped her, and most of them had been violently in love with her. Something within her, inherently fine and noble, kept them at a distance, or rather in their places, for only those men who were hopelessly bashful ever remained at a distance from Diana where there was the slightest chance to be near her.
The men often spoke of her as a thoroughbred, sensing, perhaps, the fine breeding that made her what she was. Elias Henders was one of the Henders of Kentucky, and, like all the males of his line for generations, held a degree from Oxford, which he had entered after graduation from the beloved alma mater of his native state, for the very excellent reason that old Sir John Henders, who had established the American branch of the family, had been an Oxford man and had seen his son and his grandson follow his footsteps.
Twenty-five years before Elias Henders had come west with John Manill, a class-mate and neighbor of Kentucky, and the two young men had entered the cattle business. Their combined capital managed to keep them from the embarrassments and annoyances of a sheriff's sale for some three years, but what with raiding Apaches, poor rail facilities and a distant market, coupled with inexperience, they were at last upon the very brink of bankruptcy when Henders discovered gold on their property. Two years later they were rich men.
Henders returned to Kentucky and married Manill's sister, and shortly afterwards moved to New York, as it was decided that the best interests of the partnership required an eastern representative. Manill remained in Arizona. Diana Henders was born in New York City, and when she was about five years old her mother contracted tuberculosis of the lungs.
Physicians advising a dry climate, Henders and Manill changed places, Henders taking his family to Arizona and Manill removing to New York with his wife and little daughter. He had married beneath him and unhappily with the result that being both a proud and rather reserved man he had confided nothing to his sister, the wife of his partner and best friend.
When Diana was fifteen her mother had died, and the girl, refusing to leave her father, had abandoned the idea of finishing her education in an eastern college, and Elias Henders, loath to give her up, had acquiesced in her decision. Qualified by education as he was to instruct her, Diana's training had been carried on under the tutorage of her father, so that at nineteen, though essentially a frontier girl unversed in many of the finer artificialities of social usage, she was yet a young woman of culture and refinement.
Her music, which was the delight of her father, she owed to the careful training of her mother as well as to the possession of a grand piano that had come over Raton Pass behind an ox team in the seventies. Her father, her books, her music and her horses constituted the life of this young girl; her social companions the young vaqueros who rode for her father, and without at least one of whom she was not permitted to ride abroad, since the Apaches were still a menace in the Arizona of that day. And so it was that this morning she rode out with the new foreman. They walked their horses in silence for a few minutes, the man's stirrup just behind that of the girl, where he might let his eyes rest upon her profile without detection.
The heavy lashed eye, the short, straight nose, the patrician mouth and chin held the adoring gaze of the young foreman in mute worship; but it was he who, at length, broke the silence. It seems to me you set a lot of store by him, though; and what do you know about him? You can't be too careful, Di. There's lots of bad 'uns in these parts and when a feller never talks none, like him, its probably because he's got something on his mind he don't want to talk about.
I set a lot of store by Bull; but it's you I'm thinkin' of—not him or me. I wouldn't want nothin' to happen that you'd have to be sorry about. He flecked the leg of his chaps with the lash of his quirt. I only want to put you on your guard, that's all. You know there ain't nothin' I wouldn't do for you—no, not even if it cost me all the friends I got.
He passed his reins to his right hand and reaching across laid his left across one of hers, which she quickly withdrew. The girl laughed gaily, though not in derision. It's because I'm the only girl within miles and miles. She turned and looked at him quizzically. He was very handsome. That and his boyish, laughing manner had attracted her to him from the first. There had seemed a frankness and openness about him that appealed to her, and of all the men she knew, only excepting her father, he alone possessed anything approximating poise and self-confidence in his intercourse with women.
The others were either shy and blundering, or loud and coarse, or taciturn sticks like Bull, who seemed to be the only man on the ranch who was not desperately in love with her. I love to have people love me. Even the cook is writing poems about me. Of all the foolish men I ever heard of Dad has certainly succeeded in corraling the prize bunch. Her voice was tender and her eyes suddenly soft, and that was as near a promise as he could get. As Bull urged Blazes up the rough trail of Cottonwood Canyon the continued crack of rifles kept the man apprised of the direction of the origin of the sounds and approximately of their ever lessening distance ahead.
Presently he drew rein and, pulling his rifle from its boot, dismounted, dropping the reins upon the ground. The shooting was close ahead now—just around the brush covered shoulder of a rocky hill. The detonations were less frequent. Bull guessed that by now both hunters and hunted were under cover and thus able to take only occasional pot shots at one another's refuge.
To come upon them directly up the trail in the bottom of the canyon would have been to expose himself to the fire of one side, and possibly of both, for in this untamed country it was easily conceivable that both sides of the controversy might represent interests inimical to those of his employer. With this idea in mind the ex-foreman of the Bar Y Ranch clambered cautiously up the steep side of the hill that hid from his view that part of the canyon lying just beyond.
From the varying qualities of the detonations the man had deduced that five and possibly six rifles were participating in the affair. How they were divided he could not even guess. He would have a look over the crest of the hog-back and if the affair was none of his business he would let the participants fight it out by themselves. Bull, sober, was not a man to seek trouble. Climbing as noiselessly as possible and keeping the muzzle of his rifle ahead of him he came presently to the crest of the narrow ridge where he pushed his way cautiously through the brush toward the opposite side, passing around an occasional huge outcropping of rock that barred his progress.
Presently the brush grew thinner. He could see the opposite wall of the canyon.
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A sharp report sounded close below him, just over the brow of the ridge. In front of him a huge outcropping reared its weatherworn surface twenty feet above the brush. Toward this he crept until he lay concealed behind it. Then, warily, he peered around the up-canyon edge discovering that his hiding place rested upon the very edge of a steep declivity that dropped perpendicularly into the bottom of the canyon.
Almost below him five Apaches were hiding among the rocks and boulders that filled the bottom of the canyon. Upon the opposite side a single man lay sprawled upon his belly behind another. Bull could not see his face, hidden as it was beneath a huge sombrero, but he saw that he was garbed after the fashion of a vaquero—he might be either an American or a Mexican. That made no difference now, however, for there were five against him, and the five were Indians. Bull watched for a moment. He saw that the Indians were doing all the firing, and he wondered if the man lying across the canyon was already dead.
He did not move. Cautiously one of the Indians crept from cover as the other four fired rapidly at their victim's position, then another followed him and the three remaining continued firing, covering the advance of their fellows. Bull smiled, that grim, saturnine smile of his.
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There were some red-skins in the vicinity that were due for the surprise of their lives. The two were working their way across the canyon, taking advantage of every particle of cover. They were quite close to the hiding place of the prone man now—in another moment the three upon Bull's side of the canyon would cease firing and the two would rush their unconscious quarry and finish him. Bull raised his rifle to his shoulder. There followed two reports, so close together that it was almost inconceivable that they had come from the same weapon, and the two, who had already risen for the final attack, crumpled among the rocks beneath the blazing sun.
Instantly apprehending their danger, the other three Apaches leaped to their feet and scurried up the canyon, searching new cover as they ran; but it was difficult to find cover from a rifle holding the commanding position that Bull's held. It spoke again, and the foremost Indian threw his hands above his head, spun completely around and lunged forward upon his face. The other two dropped behind large boulders. Bull glanced across the canyon. He saw that the man had raised his head and was attempting to look around the edge of his cover, having evidently become aware that a new voice had entered the grim chorus of the rifles.
There's only two of them left—they're up canyon on this side. For a long time there was silence—the quiet and peace that had lain upon this age-old canyon since the Creation—and that would lie upon it forever except as man, the disturber, came occasionally to shatter it. He crawled forward and looked over the edge of the cliff. There was a sheer drop of forty feet. He shook his head. There was a sharp report and a bullet tore up the dirt beneath him.
It was followed instantly by another report from across the canyon.
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Bull kept his eyes on the cover of the Indians. Not a sign of them showed. One of them had caught him napping—that was all—and ducked back out of sight after firing, but how was the man across the canyon firing without ammunition? Bull had worked his way back to his cover and to the brush behind it and now he started up along the ridge in an attempt to get behind the remaining Indian.
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A minute or two later he crawled again to the edge of the ridge and there below him and in plain sight the last of the red-skins crouched behind a great boulder. Bull fired and missed, and then the Apache was up and gone, racing for his pony tethered further up the canyon. The white man shrugged, rose to his feet and sought an easy way down into the bed of the canyon. The other man had seen his action, which betokened that the fight was over, and as Bull reached the bottom of the cliff he was walking forward to meet him. A peculiar light entered the eyes of each as they came face to face.
They come on me from above and there you are. They been shootin' at me since early this morning. Fifteen minutes later, riding up again, he passed Gregorio coming down, the latter having found his pony and his belongings intact at his camp. At the head of the canyon, where it narrowed to the proportions of a gorge, Bull examined the ground carefully and saw that no cattle had passed that way in many days; then he turned back and rode down the canyon.
Meanwhile, entering Cottonwood from below, Jim Weller, looking for lost horses, passed Gregorio coming out and, recognizing him, loosened his gun in its holster and kept one eye on the Mexican until he had passed out of sight around the shoulder of the hill that flanked the east side of the entrance to the canyon, for Gregorio bore an unsavory reputation in that part of the country. He was an outlaw with a price upon his head. Ten minutes later he met Bull coming down from the head of Cottonwood. The two men drew rein with a nod. Weller asked about horses, learning from Bull that there was no stock above them in Cottonwood, but he did not mention having met Gregorio.
It was obvious to him that the two men could not have been in Cottonwood together without having met and if Bull did not want to mention it it was evident that he had some good reason for not doing so. It was not the custom of the country to pry into the affairs of others.
Bull did not mention Gregorio nor did he speak of their brush with the Apaches; but that was because he was an uncommunicative man. Sinkhole was the next canyon west. They separated at the mouth of Cottonwood, Weller riding toward the west, while Bull made his way eastwardly toward Belter's Canyon which lay in the direction of the home ranch.
Three hours later the semiweekly stage, careening down the North Pass trail, drew up in a cloud of dust at the junction of the Henders' Mine road at a signal from one of two men sitting in a buckboard. As the stage slowed down one of the men leaped to the ground, and as it came to a stop clambered to the top and took a seat beside the driver who had greeted him with a gruff jest. The new passenger carried a heavy sack which he deposited between his feet. He also carried a sawed-off shotgun across his knees. An old gentleman with white whiskers down which a trickle of tobacco juice had cascaded its sienna-hued way reassured her.
This here stage ain't been held up fer three weeks. No mum, times ain't what they uset to be with all these here newfangled ideas about reform what are spilin' the country. The fat lady looked at him sideways, disdainfully, and gathered her skirts closer about her. The stage lurched on, the horses at a brisk gallop, and as it swung around the next curve the fat lady skidded into the old gentleman's lap, her bonnet tilting over one eye, rakishly.
She had scarcely regained her own side of the seat when another, and opposite, turn in the road precipitated the old gentleman into her lap. The little old gentleman, though he had two huge guns strapped at his hips, appeared thoroughly cowed and terrified—so much so, in fact, that he dared not venture even a word of protest at the injustice of her insinuations. From the corners of his weak and watery blue eyes he surveyed her surreptitiously, wiped the back of his perspiring neck with a flamboyant bandana, and shrank farther into the corner of his seat.
A half hour later the stage swung through the gap at the foot of the pass. Before it lay the rolling uplands through which the road wound down past the Bar Y ranch house and the town of Hendersville on the flat below. The gap was narrow and winding and the road excruciatingly vile, necessitating a much slower pace than the driver had been maintaining since passing the summit.
The horses were walking, the coach lurching from one chuck-hole to another, while clouds of acrid dust arose in almost vapor lightness, enveloping beasts, vehicle and passengers. Through the nebulous curtain rising above the leaders the driver saw suddenly materialize the figures of two men. The words snapped grimly from the taller of the two. The messenger on the seat beside the driver made a single move to raise his sawed-off shot gun.
A six-gun barked and the messenger toppled forward, falling upon the rump of the near wheel-horse. The horse, startled, leaped forward into his collar. The driver attempted to quiet him. The two men moved up beside the stage, one covering the driver and a passenger on top, the other threatening the two inside. The fat lady sat with her arms folded glaring at the bandit. The little old gentleman's hands touched the top of the stage.
The other bandit stepped to the hub of the front wheel, seized the messenger's bag and stepped down again. The two then backed away up the road behind the stage, keeping it covered with their guns. The messenger lay in the road moaning.
The fat lady unfolded her arms, opened the door and stepped out. The man opened his eyes and looked about, then he essayed to rise and with Mary Donovan's help came to his feet. Git a move on ye inside there, ye ould woman with the artillery," she yelled at the little old gentleman, "an' give this b'y a hand in. Together they helped the wounded man to a seat. The bandits were still in sight, but they had not molested her—doubtless because she was a woman and unarmed; but no more had she deposited the messenger upon the seat than she turned upon the old man and wrenched one of his guns from its holster.
They returned the fire, and the fusillade continued until the stage disappeared in a cloud of dust around a curve below the gap, the old gentleman and the passenger on top now taking part in the shooting. AS the stage swirled through the dusty street of Hendersville an hour later and drew up before The Donovan House the loiterers about the hotel and the saloons gathered about it for the news and the gossip from the outer world.
Gum Smith, sheriff, was among them. Mary Donovan and the little old gentleman were assisting the messenger from the stage, though he protested that he was all right and required no assistance. As the woman's eyes alighted upon the sheriff, she turned upon him, her arms akimbo. Come on now, aisy like, there's a good b'y," and she put a motherly arm about the lad and helped him to the porch of the hotel, just as Diana Henders appeared from the interior, attracted by the sounds from without.
The Black Coyote again? I seen him wid me own eyes—the black silk handkerchief about the neck uv him an' another over his ugly face. An' his pardner—sure now I couldn't be mishtaken wid the rollin' walk uv him—if it wasn't that dhirty greaser, Gregorio, me name's not Mary Donovan, which it is. Together the two women helped the messenger into a bedroom where Mary Donovan, despite the embarrassed protests of her patient, undressed him and put him to bed while Diana Henders went to the kitchen for hot water and cloths.
Mack had an ugly flesh wound in his side, and this they had cleansed as best they could by the time the doctor arrived—a drink-broken old man who had drifted in from the East. His knowledge and skill were of the first rank and Hendersville boasted that it owned the best doctor in the Territory—when he was sober. In Gum's Place — Liquors and Cigars —the male population was listening to the account of the holdup as expounded by the little old gentleman and the other passenger, the latter being a stranger in the community.
The little old gentleman was standing at the bar with a glass of whiskey in his hand. Apparently with a single movement, so swift was he, he dashed the glass and its contents in the face of the stranger, whipped out both guns and commenced shooting. A stream of lurid profanity accompanied his act, yet through the flood of incoherent obscenity the nub of an idea occasionally appeared, which was to the effect that "no blankety, blank tin-horn could git gay with Wildcat Bob. The front door had accommodated some, while heavy pieces of furniture and the bar accounted for the rest—all but the stranger with the ill-directed sense of humor.
He had gone through the back window and taken the sash with him. The shooting over, the company reappeared, grinning. Most of them knew Wildcat Bob. It had been the stranger's misfortune that he had not. The idear of him a-speakin' of Mrs. Donovan disrespectful-like like that—callin' her the 'old woman'! Why, she's the finest lady ever drew breath. The shooting over and quiet restored, Gum Smith made his belated appearance.
At sight of the little old gentleman he smiled affably. Wildcat Bob ignored the proffered hand. You're shore a hell of a sheriff, you are, Gum Smith. Ah got to git me a posse, ain't Ah? Thet's jest what Ah was allowin' to do right now, an' Ah'll start by depatizin' yo. When you thinks danger's north you heads south. I had all the travelin' I wants today. The sheriff mumbled something beneath his breath and turned away.
Some half-hour later he rode out of town with a posse consisting of half a dozen of his cronies and leisurely took his way toward the gap. Donovan's sitting room Mary Donovan sat rocking comfortably and chatting with Diana Henders. Mack had been made as comfortable as circumstances permitted. The doctor had assured them that he was in no danger and had gone his way—back to Gum's Place — Liquors and Cigars.
We have some horses over there. He ought to be back any minute now. He's so quiet and reserved that I feel as though no one could ever know him, and when a man's like that, as Hal says, you can't help but think that maybe he's done something that makes him afraid to talk, for fear he'll give himself away. Well, maybe he's right an' maybe he's wrong. It's not Mary Donovan that'll be sayin' as don't know.
The boys all think they're in love with me, but I hate to hear anyone else say it seriously. They'd be just as much in love with any other girl, if she chanced to be the only girl on the ranch, as I am, and pretty nearly the only girl in the county, too. I must be going. It's that lonesome here, you never could imagine! An' what wid that ould scoundrel back in town again, to say nothin' ov Gum Smith!
Actin' like a wild broth ov a b'y, an' him sivinty if he's a day. He ought to be ashamed of himself, I'm sayin'; but at that he's better than Gum Smith—say, that man's so crooked ye could pull corks wid him. The girl was still laughing as she emerged from the hotel and mounted her pony. Hal Colby sat his horse a few yards away, talking with half a dozen men. At sight of Diana Henders he reined about and joined her. I don't see why something isn't done to put a stop to these holdups.
Gum Smith doesn't seem to care whether he gets The Black Coyote or not. You never like to say anything against a man, and of course that is right, too; but the lives and property of all of us are under Gum Smith's protection, to a greater or less extent, and if he was the right sort he'd realize his responsibility and make a determined effort to run down this fellow. And he'll be back with his posse right after dark. He'll say he lost the trail, and that'll be the end of it until next time.
Everyone has noticed these handkerchiefs on one of the men in every holdup in Hell's Bend Pass during the last six months. There is scarce any one that isn't positive that the second man is the Mexican, Gregorio; but no one seems to have recognized the principal. But," after a pause, "I'd like to see his cayuse. No one ever sees either his or his pardner's. They keep 'em hid out in the brush alongside the trail; but I got a guess that if anyone ever seed The Black Coyote's pony we'd all know for shore who The Black Coyote is.
She did not insist further when she saw that he was apparently shielding the name of some man whom they both knew, and whom he suspicioned. It was only right that he should do this, she thought, and she admired him the more for it. So they talked of other things as they jogged along the dusty road toward home, the man riding a stirrup's width behind that he might feast his eyes upon the profile of his companion.
As they neared the ranch they saw the figure of a solitary horseman approaching from the north. I don't see what he's doin' comin' in from the north. The Cottonwood trail's almost due west. He's always been a good hand. A moment later the ex-foreman joined them where the two trails met. He accorded the girl the customary, "Howdy, Miss," of the times, and nodded to Colby. His mount was streaked with sweat and dust. It was evident that he had been ridden hard. Diana Henders glanced at the foreman as much as to say, "I told you so! Neither Colby nor the girl spoke, but both were thinking of the same things—that Bull wore a black silk handkerchief about his neck and that Mary Donovan had fired back upon The Black Coyote and his confederate following the holdup in Hell's Bend earlier in the afternoon.
Donovan, her hands on her hips, stood just inside the dining room door as her guests filed in for supper that evening and seated themselves at the long deal table covered with its clean red and white cloth. She had a good-natured word for each of them, until her eyes alighted upon Wildcat Bob, attempting to sneak in unnoticed behind the broad figure of Jim Weller.
Ta-ake off thim guns an' give thim to me. Meekly he unbuckled his belt and passed it over to her. Donovan," he assured her. Now go an' sit down. I'll feed you this night, but don't you iver step foot into Mary Donovan's dining room again in liquor. And did ye find yer horses, Jim Weller? Gregorio comes out fust an' about five minutes later I meets Bull acomin' down the canyon; but they couldn't have both been up there without t'other knowin' it.
There was a pounding of hoofs without, the creaking of leather as men dismounted and a moment later the sheriff and some of his posse entered the dining room. Donovan, with sarcasm, "or ye wouldn't be back this soon. Wildcat Bob succeeded in calling attention to derisive laughter by pretending to hide it. Gum Smith looked at his rival angrily, immediately discovering that he was unarmed. Wildcat Bob went red to the verge of apoplexy, seized a heavy cup half-filled with coffee and started to rise. Donovan, sniffing, as she dabbed at her eyes with the corner of her apron, "all alone and unproticted as I am.
Sure an' if poor Tim was here he'd wipe the ground wid the both ov yese. Wildcat Bob, very red and uncomfortable, ate diligently, his eyes glued to his plate. Well did Mary Donovan know how to handle this terror of an earlier day, whose short temper and quick guns still held the respect and admiration of the roughest characters of the great empire of the southwest, but whose heart could be dissolved by a single tear.
As for Gum Smith, he was only too glad to be relieved of the embarrassment of the Wildcat's further attentions and he too gave himself willingly over to peace and supper. For the balance of the meal, however, conversation languished. At the Bar Y Ranch the men sat smoking after the evening meal. Bull was silently puffing upon a cigarette. Hal Colby, always good-natured and laughing, told stories. During the silences Texas Pete strove diligently to recall the half-forgotten verses of The Bad Hombre.
But over all there hovered an atmosphere of restraint. No one could have put his finger upon the cause, yet all sensed it. Things were not as they had been yesterday, or for many days before. Perhaps there was a feeling that an older man should have been chosen to replace Bull, for Colby was one of the newer hands. Without volition and unconsciously the men were taking sides.
Some, mostly the men who had worked longest for Henders, drew imperceptibly nearer Bull. Texas Pete was one of them. The others laughed a little louder, now, at Colby's stories. Ever since the holdup several days before she had not been able to expunge from her thoughts a recollection of the sinister circumstances that pointed an accusing finger at Bull. There had always been a deep seated loyalty existing between the Henders and their employees and this alone would have been sufficient to have brought the girl to arms in the defense of the reputation of any of her father's "boys.
Not only had he been a trusted foreman, but there was something in the man himself, or rather in his influence upon the imagination of the girl, that made it almost impossible for her to believe that he had shot Mack Harber, another employee, and stolen the bullion from her father's mine. He had always been reticent and almost shy in her presence.
He had never presumed to even the slight familiarity of addressing her by her given name—a customary procedure among the other men, many of whom had seen her grow so gradually from a little girl to a young lady that they scarce yet discerned the change. Yet she knew that he liked to be with her, though she was far from being sure that she cared for his company.
He was quiet to taciturnity and far from being the pleasant companion that she found in Hal Colby. There was something, however, that she felt when in his company to a much greater degree than when she was with other men—absolute confidence in his integrity and his ability to protect her.
Now she was sorry for him since his reduction from a post of responsibility and her loyalty aroused by the inward suspicions she had permitted herself to entertain, to the end that she was moved by something akin to remorse to make some sort of overtures of friendship that he might know that the daughter of his employer still had confidence in him. It was a quiet Sunday morning.
The men were lazily occupying themselves with the overhauling of their outfits, replacing worn latigo and stirrup leather lacings, repairing hackamores and bridles, polishing silver and guns, cleaning boots with bacon grease and lamp black, shaving, or hair-cutting. Down past the bunk-house, toward the corrals, came Diana Henders. Presently she would pause near the men and ask one of them to catch up a horse for her.
The lucky fellow whom she asked would ride with her. It was a custom of long standing; but she was earlier than usual this Sunday morning and several of the men worked frantically to complete the jobs they were engaged upon before she should arrive within speaking distance. Two or three affected attitudes of careless idleness indicative of perfect readiness to meet any call upon their time or services. Texas Pete was cutting the hair of another puncher. He had reached a point where his victim was entirely shorn upon one side, the other displaying a crop of thick, brown hair four or five inches long, when he looked up and saw Diana approaching.
Pete tossed the shears and comb into the lap of the victim. His fountain of speech dried at the source, his tanned face assumed a purple cast, and in two jumps he had reached the seclusion of the bunkhouse. Hal Colby walked deliberately forward to meet the girl, a pleasant smile of greeting upon his handsome face as he raised his wide sombrero in salutation.
Had he been on trial for his life at that moment the entire outfit would have voted unanimously to hang him on the spot; but, gosh, how they envied him! Bull sat, apparently unmoved, with his back against a cottonwood tree, running a wiping rag through the barrel of a revolver. He did not even look up, though he had seen Diana Henders from the moment that she left the house. Bull realized that after the affair in town that had caused his downfall there was no chance for him to ride with her again for many long days—possibly forever. Texas Pete had made a feeble pretense of searching for something on the ground, apparently given it up in despair, and was passing them on his way back to the bunk-house.
He's one of my best friends, but after what's happened—you can't blame me, Di. I think your dad would say the same thing if he knew. As Colby turned back toward the men he saw broad grins adorning the faces of most of them.
- Op. 18, No. 2, Movement 1 - Allegro - Score?
- How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Mr. Tiffins Classroom Series).
- Goethes Hymne Prometheus: Eine Interpretation des Konzepts der Prometheus-Figur (German Edition)?
Texas Pete, just approaching the bunk-house door, halted, removed his hat with a flourish, bowing low. Colby keeps me pretty busy. Mack was a dinged fool fer gettin' creased anyhow," he observed. They ain't nothin' else to do. Mack orter known better than to make any funny gun-play with them two hombres coverin' him. Why he didn't have a chanct on earth.
I reckon Mack must have been aimin' to commit suicide. Leastways I did have one until—" He hesitated, looked at her in a peculiar way, then let his eyes drop to his saddle horn. There was silence for a brief interval. The spirit of coquetry, that is strong in every normal girl, prompted her to urge him on; but a natural kindliness coupled with the knowledge that it would be unfair to him kept her silent.
It was the man who spoke again first. That Black Coyote feller must have been a friend of his'n. She did not reply. Her thoughts were upon the man at her side. Nothing that he had said had exactly tended to weaken her faith in him, yet it had not materially strengthened it, either. His apparent callous indifference to Mack's suffering might have been attributed with equal fairness to the bravado of the guilty desperado, or to the conditions and the times in which they lived which placed shootings and sudden death in the category of the commonplace.
His suggestion that The Black Coyote must have been a friend of Mack, as an explanation of a flesh wound rather than a mortal one, appeared a trifle sinister, though it was amenable to other interpretations. On the whole, however, Diana Henders was not wholly pleased with the result of her probing. At The Donovan House they found Mack sufficiently recovered to be able to sit upon the veranda, where there were gathered a number of Mrs. Donovan's other guests, including Wildcat Bob and the sheriff.
Mary Donovan stood in the doorway, one hand on a hip and the other, the fist doubled, emphasizing some forceful statement she was delivering. As Diana Henders and Bull appeared suddenly before them, the argument, which had been progressing merrily, lapsed into an embarrassed silence. It would have been evident to the most obtuse that one or the other of the newcomers had been the subject of the conversation, and neither Bull nor Diana was obtuse, the result being that they shared the embarrassment of the others.
The silence, which really lasted but a brief moment, was broken by Mary Donovan's hearty greeting to Diana, followed by a cordial word to Bull, which was seconded by Wildcat Bob. The others, however, spoke only to Diana Henders, appearing not to be aware of the presence of her escort. I'll be back at the mine in a couple o' days—an' guardin' the bullion shipments, too, same as usual. They had ridden well out of town when she looked casually into the man's face. It bore a troubled expression and he must have guessed that she noted it.
Well, they ain't none of 'em got their brand on me. If I did shoot up Gum Smith's joint it ain't no hair offen none of them.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The girl wondered if he really was ignorant of the suspicions directed against him, or if he took this means to make her believe that the cause of the altered attitude toward him was his drunken gunplay in the sheriff's saloon. I wasn't goin' to drink too much no more after what I'd promised you. Do you think that, maybe, you—you might forgive me—and give me another chance? His voice was pleading and he was very much in earnest. The girl knew how difficult it was for a rough man like Bull to say what he had just said and she felt a sudden compassion for him. I just wanted you to know it so that you'd always know where I stood and that you could always call on me for anything.
With yer dad an' all the other men around that loves you there isn't much likelihood that you'll ever need me more'n another, but it makes me feel better to know that you know now. We won't talk about it no more, Miss. It's the reason I didn't quit when yer dad busted me.
I don't love any man, Bull, that way; but if ever I do he'll know it without my telling him. I'll do something that will prove it—a girl always does. Sometimes, though, the men are awfully blind, they say. She flushed, sensing the unintentional double entendre he had caught in her words. She wondered why she flushed. They rode on in silence. She was sorry that Bull loved her, but she was glad that, loving her, he had told her of his love. He was just a common cow-hand, unlettered, rough, and occasionally uncouth, but of these things she did not think, for she had known no other sort, except her father and an occasional visitor from the East, since childhood.
Had she cared for him she would not have been ashamed. She looked up at him with a smile. So Diana Henders, who was really a very sensible girl, instead of merely playing with fire, made a big one of a little one, all very unintentionally, for how was she to know that to Bull the calling of her Diana instead of Miss was almost as provocative to his love as would have been the personal contact of a kiss to an ordinary man? As they approached the ranch house at the end of their ride they saw a buckboard to which two bronchos were harnessed hitched to the tie rail beneath the cottonwoods outside the office door.
They're from the East. Wainright don't like the country north of the mountains. They ain't enough water fer no more outfits though, nor enough feed neither. They drew rein at the corral and dismounted. That was all he said, but the way he spoke her name was different from the way any other man had ever spoken it. She was sorry now that she had asked him to call her Diana. Diana extended her hand to a fat man with close-set eyes, and then her father presented the younger Wainright.
The son was a well-groomed appearing, nice-looking young fellow of twenty-one or twenty-two. Perhaps his costume was a trifle too exaggerated to be in good taste, but he had only fallen into the same mistake that many another wealthy young Easterner has done before and since upon his advent to the cow-country. From silver banded sombrero to silver encrusted spurs there was no detail lacking. We're from Mass'chusetts—Worcester—blankets—made a fortune in 'em—made 'em for the gover'ment mostly.
Jeff got it in his head he wanted to go into the cattle business—come by it natch'ral I allow. I used to be in the livery stable business before I bought the mills—so when he graduates from Harvard a year ago we come out here—don't like it tother side the mountains—so I calc'lates to come over here. Wainright that there is scarcely enough feed or water for another big outfit on this side," interjected Mr.
I'll buy you out. I c'd buy half this territory I calc'late—if I had a mind to—but the price's got to be right. Ol' Jeff Wainright's got a name for bein' a pretty shrewd trader—fair'n honest, though—fair'n honest. Just name your price—how much for the whole shebang—buildin's, land, cattle—everything? I'll get 'em—you'll sell—ol' Jeff Wainright's always got everything he went after. Well, son, I calc'late we'd better be goin'. Diana found the younger Wainright a pleasant, affable companion.
He was the first educated man near her own age that she had ever met and his conversation and his ways, so different from those of the rough vaqueros of her little world, made a profound impression upon her. He could talk interestingly from the standpoint of personal experience of countless things of which she had only secondhand knowledge acquired from books and newspapers. Those first two hours with him thrilled her with excitement—they opened a new world of wondrous realities that she had hitherto thought of more as unattainable dreams than things which she herself might some day experience.
If he had inherited something of his father's egotism she forgot it in the contemplation of his finer qualities and in the pleasure she derived from association with one somewhere near her own social status in life. That the elder Wainright was impossible she had sensed from the first, but the son seemed of different fiber and no matter what his antecedents, he must have acquired something of permanent polish through his college associations. The disquieting effect of the Wainrights' visit was apparent elsewhere than at the ranch house. There was gloom at the bunk-house.
If he hadn't gone an' got hung he might 'a' sent me to Havaad. What chanct has a feller got agin one o' them paper-collared, cracker-fed dudes anyway! Henders looked at her keenly. There had been just the tiniest trace of wistfulness in her tone. He crossed the room and put an arm about her. I should like to see how other people live. I should like to go to a big hotel, and to the theaters and opera, and meet educated people of my own age. I should like to go to parties where no one got drunk and shot the lights out," she concluded with a laugh.
Because I never wanted to go back after your mamma left us, I forgot that you had a right to the same advantages that she and I enjoyed. The ranch seemed enough—the ranch and you. I thought you felt that we couldn't afford to go unless we sold. If he takes it I'll sell out, and anyway, whether he does or not, we'll go East to stay, if you like it. They might bring more if I wanted to make an effort to get more, but that will show a fair profit for us and I know will be satisfactory to John.
He has asked me a dozen times in his letters why I didn't sell the cattle end of the business and come East. He has offered me a million dollars for all our holdings in the county, including the mine. He mentions the fact that the workings have pretty nearly petered out, and he's right, and he thinks I'll grab at it to unload. For years, Di, we've been paralleling a much richer vein than the one we've been working. I've known it for the past two years, but John and I figured we'd work out the old one first—we've all the money we need anyway.
The mine alone is worth ten or twenty millions. Ours is rather a peculiar partnership, Di, but it's a very safe one for both of us. There isn't the scratch of a pen between us as far as any written agreement is concerned, but he trusts me and I trust him. Why before either of us married the only precautions we took to safeguard our interests was to make our wills—I left everything to him and he left everything to me. After we married we made new wills, that was all. Each of us felt that we could thus best safeguard the interests of our respective families, since we both had implicit confidence in the other's honesty and integrity.
Now we'll plan that Eastern trip. Can't very well go until after the spring round-up, and in the meantime we can be sizing up Colby. If he takes hold all right we couldn't do better than to leave him in charge. I never did like the idea of importing a new man as superintendent if you could possibly use one of your own men.
What do you think of him, Di? I feel the same way, and yet there is something about him, Dad—I can't explain it; but when I am with him I cannot doubt him. He's one of those blue-bellied Yankees who considers any means as honest that keep him on the right side of a jail door; but the boy appears to be a much more decent sort. The days passed, lovely, sunshiny days during which Diana spent long hours dreaming of the coming Eastern trip. She rode much, as usual, sometimes with one man, again with another, but more often with her father or Hal Colby. Bull's assignments usually took him too far afield for her to accompany him.
If he thought that Colby had some such purpose in mind when he laid out the work from day to day he said nothing of it; but he could not have failed to notice that following each of the few occasions upon which Diana accompanied him, usually a Sunday, he was given work the next day that kept him in the saddle until late at night, and upon several occasions away from the ranch for two days or more. At last the time of the spring rodeo arrived. Riders from other outfits commenced straggling in, some from a hundred miles away, until the Bar Y Ranch commenced to take on the appearance of an army camp.
The chuck wagon was overhauled and outfitted. The cavvy was brought over from West Ranch—wild, half-broken horses, with a sprinkling of colts that had never felt leather—and assigned to the riders. There were enough to give each man a string of eight horses. With the others came Jefferson Wainright, Jr. At first the men had a lot of fun with him, but when he took it good-naturedly they let up a bit, and after a few evenings, during which he sang and told stories, they accepted him almost as one of them.
He was much with Diana Henders, with the result that he found himself with four unbroken bronchs in his string. The Bar Y hands grinned when Colby picked them for him, and everyone was present when he first essayed to ride one of them. Diana was there too. She chanced to be standing near Bull when the first of the four, having been roped, thrown and hogtied, was finally saddled, bridled and let up.
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