“Who the hell does he think he is?”

“Now Jimmy-” Emma cautioned.

“Emma, it ain’t fair.” He bit out the last statement and Emma saw the muscle tick in his jaw.

She set the platter of biscuits down on the table, “What does fair have to do with it?”

Jimmy set down the cup he was holding. As he brought his hand back up it brushed against the iron stove, “Damn it!”

Two cool eyes turned to look, “There’s no call for that kind of language in this house, or at the Station for that matter.”

Jimmy cradled his right hand in his left, “I got burned-”

Irish temper in check, Emma set down the plate of beans, “You got burned because you weren’t thinking about what you were doing.”

“I was so-”

A wagging finger waved in front of his face, “James Hickok, you are a bright young boy, so don’t you dare lie to my face.”

He knew he was caught, but that didn’t mean that he was going to lay down and take it, “Emma, I ain’t gonna argue with you.”

Emma set the pitcher of water down and turned to him slowly. “You’re right. You ‘ain’t’... because it’s time for dinner, and I don’t need you to ruin my appetite. Now, go and call the boys in.”


Jimmy sat through the first part of the meal hunched over his plate. The only time he raised his eyes above the edge of his plate was when Sam came in for dinner. The greeting between the Marshal and the Station Mistress was short but everyone heard the warm tones laced through the single word greetings.

“Emma?”

“Sam?”

Jimmy sat up a bit, Sam Cain was a man of action, a man Jimmy could learn from.

Sam settled into a seat across from Jimmy and next to Cody. Ike nodded his greeting; Buck gave a short perfunctory wave and Lou just looked up over the edge of his glasses and blinked an acknowledgment. Emma set a plate of stew down in front of him, “Better eat up Sam, the boys’ve been puttin’ a sizable dent in my stew tonight.”

A warm smile followed his “Thank You.” He turned to the boys gathered ‘round the table. “Hard week?”

Cody wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, “You could say that Sam, the trails been hotter ‘n’ hell these days. Between the Bushwhackers and the Indian raiders, we’re lucky we’re all still in one piece.”

Jimmy watched Sam closely from under his bangs, he didn’t think Sam ever stopped being Marshal. Every time someone spoke, Sam would listen closely, almost like he was storing the information for later.

Sam sighed and set his napkin in his lap, “Looks just perfect Emma, smells great.”

Cody laughed, “It tastes better’n’ it looks Sam.”

Emma stopped beside the Marshal and smiled as Sam took her hand in his, “Thanks Cody, glad you like it.”

Lookin’ around the table, Sam counted heads, “You missin’ one Emma?”

“It’s the Kid,” began Lou, his soft voice the first one to answer.

“Teaspoon sent Kid on a run, takin’ the letter from the Territorial Governor to Ft. Kearney.”

Jimmy dropped his fork and Emma looked up as it clattered against the plate. He voiced the answer, “the Kid.”

Sam heard the note of jealousy in the boy’s voice, “I can see how that’d seem like a first rate run, but like you said Cody, the trail’s hotter’n hell these days. Best ya’ll stay here safe at the Station.”

Leaning back in his chair, Jimmy huffed out a breath, “Safe.. safe is boring. Kid’s out there where the action is... and I’m sittin’ here jawing over dinner.”

Emma arched a look at Sam who squeezed her hand in response. “I can see how that would seem like you’re missin’ out on life Jimmy, but when you get to be my age, you look forward to quiet nights like these.” Moving back toward the stove, Emma let go of Sam’s hand.

Ike pounded the table and signed quickly. Buck nodded but had a mouthful of food, so it was up to Lou, “Ike says, you don’t look that old.”

Sam laughed, the corners of his eyes crinkling with streaks of dirt from the ride out to the station. “Thanks Ike, but this body has seen more than it’s share of hard rides. You boys should feel lucky you’ve got a home like this.”

Emma walked back over from the stove to refill Sam’s coffee. Her smile wasn’t lost on a single person, every one except Jimmy.


The rest of the meal, conversation continued around Jimmy. Everyone tried to ignore his sour mood, but there was Jimmy in the middle of it all, angry at the world.

Later, when they returned to the bunkhouse for the night, they all left him alone, ‘cause as Teaspoon says, “You can’t save someone from themselves.”

It was late, but Jimmy lay awake and when the sounds of footsteps scraped through the dirt outside, he trained his ears on it. Sam was leaving and life would return to the daily drone of ride, eat, sleep and over again. Jimmy turned on his side and shoved his hand under his pillows. There, across the room, the bunk under Louise was empty mocking him.

The door swung open and Jimmy looked away. “Jimmy?” Emma’s voice called to him in a near whisper. “Jimmy, I know you’re not asleep. Come on out here, Sam wants to talk to you.”

Jimmy slid out of his bunk and onto the floor. He walked outside as a few drowsy pairs of eyes watched him cross the room.

Outside, Sam leaned against the rail, a cigar tipped between his lips. “Jimmy?”

“Sam...” Jimmy’s greeting trailed off, the anger he’d felt earlier was turning into a want for sleep. “You wanted to talk to me?”

A heady puff of smoke trailed up from the end of cigar, “That’s right Jimmy, I’ve been thinkin’ about what you said.”

Emma ‘harrumphed’ from where she stood, hands on her hips beside the door.

Sam shrugged at her. “I’ve got a prisoner I need to take to Blue Creek. It would take about a day and as much as John protests, a sick deputy is better left at home. So, I wanted to ask if you’d come with me.”

Jimmy straightened up, the glint back in his eyes, “Go with you? Hell, I could do it myself!”

Smiling at the boy’s brash words Sam looked over at Emma and caught another sharp glance aimed his way, “With me- Emma’d have my hide if I tried to send you alone.”

“I don’t know Sam,” Emma cautioned, “even if you go with him, I may still tan your hide when you come back.” She moved to stand at Jimmy’s shoulder, “Mr. Spoon won’t like this.”

“Emma-” he started to argue, “I’m goin’.”

“Well, you better get dressed, we’re leaving as soon as you’re ready.”

Emma set a saddlebag down on the bench, “That’s what I thought. This should last you until you get back.”

Jimmy smiled and headed back into the bunkhouse for his things.

Sam smiled at Jimmy’s back, “A little headstrong isn’t he?”

Emma leaned into his embrace, “You oughta know Sam.”

He kissed her forehead and wrapped his arm around her, “I’ll take care of him Emma.”

She looked up at him, “I know you will, cause if you don’t I’ll turn my shotgun on you.”

Sam planted a hard kiss on her lips, “I’m sure you would.”

The two broke apart before Jimmy returned, his own gear slung over his back. Emma’s hard look was back on her face and he stopped in front of her, “Emma, you’ll tell Teaspoon right?”

“Of course,” she reached out and set her hand on his arm, “you boys watch yourselves.”

Jimmy and Sam headed for the yard, Sundance was already saddled and waiting beside Honor, Sam’s mount. Sam caught Jimmy’s gaze and laughed, exhaling a curl of smoke, “I had a feelin’ you’d come.”

Jimmy lashed his gear to Sundance’s saddle, “Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.”

Sam shook his head at the tone in Jimmy’s voice, ‘I’d remind him this ain’t no party,’ Jimmy swung up on Sundance’s back, his cocky grin shinin’ in the lamplight, ‘but it wouldn’t do any good, so I’ll just save my breath.’

The two rode out toward town and Emma stood alone in the middle of the yard waving at them, her call lost in the dark night, “Ride Safe!”


BLUE CREEK, Wyoming Territory

Sam whipped his hat of, sending up a choking cloud of dust, “What do you mean you can’t take him!”

Todd Allen, Sheriff of Blue Creek, crossed his arms and leaned against the doorway of the jail, “Exactly what I said, I ain’t got no room for him here. Try takin’ him down to Laramie.”

Sam shook his head and hissed out a breath. He looked back to the street. Jimmy sat on his horse holding the reins of all three horses. He looked back at Sam, a question written across his face.

The prisoner sat on his horse, trussed up like a turkey with a wide grin across his ugly face, “Having trouble Marshal? “

“Shut up Johnson! No one’s talkin to you.”

“Looks like we’re gonna be ridin’ together another day or so.”

Jimmy shot him a hard look, “The Marshal said to shut your mouth. I suggest you listen.” He pulled his jacket back behind his Colt to emphasize his point.

“Oh.. a threat? Marshal?”

Sam pulled his own jacket back, “I agree with my Deputy, if we shoot ya, we don’t have to take you anywhere.”

Johnson shrugged his shoulders, the ropes around his chest and arms shifted with the movement. Sam sent one last withering glance to Marshal Allen and walked down the stairs and toward the horses. A man on the street called a greeting and Sam turned to nod his reply. Back in the jail house doorway, a hand reached out of the darkness and dropped a handful of coins into the Marshal’s upturned palm. Sam saw the payoff and heard his teeth grind together as he fought the urge to punch Todd in the middle of the crowded street.

Jimmy caught the movement as well. He pulled Johnson’s mount closer and stared him down, “Don’t think we ain’t on to you.”

He laughed, actually laughed ... “Hell boy, it don’t make no never mind, I’ll be on my way afore you know it.. and you’ll, well you’ll just be a memory.”

Sam took his reins from Jimmy, “Johnson? I thought I told you to shut up. If you’re not gonna listen I have half a mind to brain you and lash you to the saddle so Hickok and I can have some peace.” Shruggin’ again, the prisoner settled into silence. “You alright Jimmy?”

Jimmy pulled his collar up and looked at Sam, “Sure.. no problem... let’s get goin’. I don’t like the way this feels.”

Sam swung up on Honor and settled his hat, “Well, I can say one thing for ya son, you’ve got good instincts. Listen to ‘em.”

They brought their mounts around and headed out of town. The ride to Ft. Laramie would be one hell of a story.


When the sun buried itself below the horizon, Sam and Jimmy pushed their tired mounts on through the open ground, looking for a place to bed down for the night.

Jimmy kept his mouth shut even though he was quickly turning into a frozen icicle attached to a horse. He blew into the open wrists of his gloves relishing the warmth it provided to his fingers. It was getting harder and harder to grip the reins as his joints shivered and locked in place. Jimmy thought back to the bunkhouse, the stove in the corner, pumpin’ out heat.

Sam slowed his mount until Jimmy pulled up along side of him, “Cold night ain’t it?”

Clenching his teeth to keep them from chattering together, Jimmy answered with, “Colder’n most Sam.”

His broad smile showed his teeth in the waning light of the moon, “Wish you were back home?”

There was no way Jimmy was goin’ to admit how close Sam was to the truth. “Nope.”

Sam smiled again and his chuckle sent a curl of smoke heavenward. Balancing his cigar against his lip he talked around it, “Good, cause tonight’s gonna be a cold one.”

Jimmy held back a groan, ‘Does that mean it’s gonna get worse?’ He wished he’d have kept his big mouth shut about wantin’ an adventure, but at least this way he’d have a story to share when he got back.

“Better keep a sharp lookout ‘boy’,” Johnson snarled, “No tellin’ what’ll sneak up on ya in the middle of the night.”

Jimmy ignored him and plunged on through the night behind Sam’s horse.


Jimmy woke up the next morning to the smell of a dyin’ fire. He shrugged off his blanket and looked around. Johnson lay sleeping with his face away from them and Sam was cinching Honor‘s saddle.

“Rise and shine Hickok, time’s a wastin’!”

Baring his teeth, Jimmy struggled to his feet and rolled up his gear. “You think we’ll make Laramie by nightfall?”

“Don’t see why not.”

Jimmy;s eyes narrowed, ’How does he sound so happy this early in the morning?’

Sam let the stirrup fall and tilted his head toward the sleeping prisoner, “Well, better wake up Sleeping Ugly over there. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover before we get to the Fort.”

Jimmy moved closer to Johnson, choosing his steps with care, he didn’t like the fact that he was facing away from the fire. He stood over the body and nudged him with his toe. “Wake up Johnson, it’s time to ride.”

No response.

Usin’ the tip of his boot, Jimmy shoved it against his back, “Wake up!”

Sam looked over, “What’s the matter Jimmy?”

Something was wrong. “Nothin’ .. nothing.. he’s just bein’ cagey.” He tried again.

Comin’ up behind him Sam didn‘t mince words, “What’s goin’ on?”

Jimmy looked back over his shoulder, “I think he’s just playin’.”

They shared a look and Sam bent down over the prisoner. Turning him on his back the two confronted a grinning man, “Worried?”

“Johns-”

“You should be-”

“Jimmy, saddle your horse. The sooner we get moving--”

Gunfire sliced across the little camp and bullets sank into the hard packed dirt like falling stars.

“Sam?”

Sam turned, “Keep your head down ... and get your horse saddled, NOW!”

Jimmy’s hands fumbled with the cinch, the leather sliding through his fingers. A bullet passed over his shoulder, narrowly missing his ear. “Sam, we got bad company on both sides!”

“You saddled yet?”

“Almost!”

“Dammit Jimmy, we ain’t got time!”

“I’m goin’ as fast as I can.”

Sam grabbed the ropes between Johnson’s shoulder blades and hauled him up to his feet. Johnson did his best to make himself dead weight.

“Jimmy!”

“Sam, there’s something wrong with the-” The cinch that secures the saddle to the horse broke in half, “It broke!”

“Lord have mercy!” He shoved Johnson before him, “Well, get up on Johnson’s mount, leave yours here-”

“Like Hell!” Jimmy threw his saddle to the ground and smacked Sundance on her rump, praying she’d remember how to get home. He drew his Colt and returned fire in the direction of the bullets. “Alright, let’s go!” He swung up into the saddle and pulled the reins.

Sam had to half kick, half drag Johnson to his own horse. “Get on!”

Johnson leaned against Honor’s side, “I told you to enjoy the quiet while it-”

He returned fire with one hand, the other wrapped around a matching gun, “Get on the horse Johnson.” Sam shoved the muzzle of his second gun up against the underside of Johnson’s chin. “Get o-”

“Sam!” Jimmy leaned over the horse’s neck and kicked his sides, goading him into action. “Sam!”

Both Sam and the prisoner were in a heap on the ground. Jimmy fired into the copse of trees in front of him. He saw shadows near the base of the biggest tree and concentrated on the shadows. Two of his shots were to the area behind him.

Sam struggled to his knees. Even with a nagging pain in his side, he leaned over his prisoner. Ragged shallow breaths and a gurgling sound in his throat said volumes about Johnson’s condition.

Jimmy leaned down and held his arm out to Sam, “Come on! I’ll help you up.”

Shakin’ his head Sam regained his feet.

The hail of bullets slowed down, with both men so close to Johnson, the bullets were more of a scare tactic than an honest attempt to bushwhack them. “Sam- leave him here! He ain’t gonna last ‘til the next town.”

He shoved one hand under each arm and heaved Johnson’s unconscious body up, “Jimmy take him, over the saddle. We ain’t got much time.”

Jimmy opened his mouth to argue but shut it as a bullet passed a few inches in front of his nose.

Sam’s face was covered in little rivers of sweat, “Hold your fire Hal... or you may just kill the prisoner!”

“Turn the man loose!”

Sam turned to hear the voice callin’ out from the trees, “Not on your life!”

“Well, looks like it’ll be your life Marshal! You don’t look so good.”

Settin‘ a hand against his shirt, Sam looked down to find the angry red stain wet against his palm, “I’ll look better’n you do when you’re hanging from the galley in Laramie!”

“Big words there Marshal! Only thing is you’ll need to catch me first!”

“Sam?” Jimmy questioned . “You know him?”

“Later Jimmy.” That was enough for the young rider.

Jimmy grabbed Johnson by the ropes and heaved him across the saddle in front of him. Sam slung himself up on Honor’s back and paused for a moment. “I’m takin’ your brother into Laramie, Hal! If you want you can follow... but I’m takin’ him in.”

Laughter followed them as they rode out, “I’ll chase you down Cain! Just see if I don’t!”

Jimmy looked over as Sam tried to hold himself upright in the saddle and prayed he’d stay there until the next town.

The dust clouds billowed up behind them, offering a little protection from the renewed gun fire.

“Just see if I don’t!”


They stopped beside a stream, Jimmy found a tin cup in Sam’s saddle bags and brought water over to him. Sam accepted it gratefully and after he gulped down the contents of the cup, he handed it back with a motion in Johnson’s direction.

Jimmy nodded, “You don’t need to say it Sam, I’ll get him some.”

Sam grimaced as he rested against the rock, “Good. I’m not in the mood to fight.”

Johnson wasn’t moving and there wasn’t much breath goin’ in or out. Still, it was their job to get their prisoner to a court and Jimmy was determined to do it. He’d bound the wound earlier, but it bled through , the stain had already soaked through to the man’s coat. “You think I’m done for huh?”

Jimmy sighed, “We ain’t done ‘til you go to prison.”

A low rasping cough scratched through his body, “Funny, I think you’d like it if I died out here.”

Jimmy cleaned the cup in the running stream and scooped up another cupful of water, “I don’t care either way,” his gaze turned to the water as he struggled to keep his mind on the tasks at hand, “ but I’m Sam’s deputy and I know my job.”

“Jimmy?”

He took the water over to Sam and knelt beside him, “Yeah Sam?”

Sam hissed in a breath, “I want you to take Johnson and go on to Laramie.”

“Sam-”

“Jimmy, I ain’t askin’... “

“Emma’d ...”

“You let me worry about her... you’ve got a job to do.”

Jimmy looked Sam straight in the eye, “What are you goin’ to do?”

Sam looked down at the bandage wrapped around his middle, “The bullet went clear through, but I’m too tuckered out to help you. If you ride out with Johnson, I’ll have the time to rest and head into La Bonte. ‘sides, someone’s got to watch your back.”

His Colt slid free from it’s holster and Jimmy checked his powder store and supply of shot.

“You got enough?” Sam pointed at his saddle bags, “Take what you need-”

“Ain’t takin’ it Sam, you’re watchin’ my back, you need it too.”

Sam shook his head back in forth in wide bashful arcs, “Point taken.” He sobered quickly, “You sure you alright with this, you could wait-”

“I’ll make it. I told you I could do this job.”

Before Jimmy could stand, Sam grabbed his arm, “Hold up Jimmy.”

Jimmy settled down, close to the ground, “What’s the problem Sam?”

“There ain’t no problem Jimmy, I just wanted you to take care out on the trail.” He laughed, “What is it you Express Riders say? Ride Safe.”

A cocky grin was Sam’s answer.

Johnson tried to wave him off, “I ain’t goin’ nowhere wit you-”

“I ain’t askin’... and if you don’t PIPE DOWN... I’m gonna gag you with the saddle blanket! You understand me?”

Sam held his laughter in check, “You got a flare for this kind of work Jimmy.”

Johnson wisely kept quiet as Jimmy settled him over the horses back, “Cheer up Johnson,” Jimmy began, “This ain’t the most comfortable way to ride, but it beats walkin’.”

As the two rode off, deputy and prisoner, Sam sank down against the boulder behind him. Reaching up with his right hand he pulled his hat low over his face, better to rest when you have the chance. “That boy can certain handle himself, yesss sir, he’ll be just fine.”


A few hours later, Jimmy thought it was all over. Pinned down behind the wall of earth bordering a dry river bed, Jimmy reloaded his gun. Powder, lead shot, press... repeated over and over. Johnson coughed and Jimmy could hear his struggle. “What’s say you give up Hickok?”

Jimmy didn’t bother looking over at him. He laid his gun on the top of the wall and used it to aim. “Shut up Johnson, you’re really startin’ to get on my bad side.”

“Hal?”

“Yeah Carl?”

“He ain’t givin’ up! This boy’s got gumption!’

Laughter fell into the wash like a lead weight. “Well hell, that ain’t gonna do any of us no good. I don’t fancy sittin’ here until he runs out of shot.” There was a pause and Jimmy peeked over the earthen wall to try and get his target, “What do you say deputy? Care to join us?”

Johnson smiled as he wiped blood from his chin, “You’ll make more money with us than you could ever earn workin’ for the ‘law’.”

Jimmy caught sight of a shoulder just visible to the side of a tree. He quickly squeezed off a shot and heard a man cry out, “I’d say you just got my answer!”

Johnson hissed out a cuss, “You had a chance Hickok, now YOU DESERVE TO DIE!”

Gunfire exploded over their heads and Jimmy ducked down again. He found himself staring into Johnson’s face, his expression wild with pain. “You know, all this waitin’ ain’t doin’ you any good either. We don’t get you to town, you’re gonna bleed to death.”

He looked at Jimmy, a wry smile on his face, “That’s real sweet Hickok,” his face was losing color, turned a sickly yellowish white, “You wanna fix me up just so they can hang me. I don’t think so. Either way it ends here.”

Jimmy stood and drew fire, shooting the first man that appeared. “Where are you?” A shot drilled through his left upper arm, “Coward!”

The bullets were silenced as a single man stepped out to meet him. Both Jimmy and his opponent holstered their weapons, the game was on. “I’ve killed men for less than that.”

A half smile taunted Hal, “Then you’re slipping.”

“Just hand Johnson over to us.”

“Ain’t gonna happen. ‘sides, he ain’t gonna make it much father, he’s nearly dead already.”

“Then I’ll kill you for him.”

Jimmy shrugged, “Your choice.”

Hal’s temper was reaching the breaking point, “but first I’m gonna teach you some respect.” His elbow bent back and he reached for the gun at his hip.


Sam watched it from astride his horse. He rode as fast as he could, ignoring the pain in his side. His gun out and ready he shot the two hiding in the shadows, but he knew there was no way to get the third, Jimmy was on his own.

The two drew their weapons and fired, identical clouds of smoke curled heavenward but neither moved.

“Jimmy!” Sam rode in hard and fast, his breath leaving his lungs in painful puffs. “Jimmy!”

Jimmy turned to him, a dark red stain soaking through his sleeve, “Sam-”

Hal raised his gun again, but before Sam could call out a warning Hal pitched forward and fell into the dirt face first.

Sam slowed his mount as he reached Jimmy’s side. “Looks like a nasty gash, you alright to ride?”

Jimmy looked down at it for a moment and slipped a kerchief out of his pocket and handed it to Sam. He winced as Sam wrapped it around the wound and tightened the knot on his upper arm. “I’ll be alright, but we’d better hurry if we want to get Johnson to Laramie.” Jimmy slid down the side of the wash and froze. Johnson lay back against the dirt wall, his head lolling to the side. His skin was now an ashen gray color.

Looking over the younger man‘s shoulder, “It ain’t no use Jimmy, he’s dead.”

“Yeah.”

Sam could hear the disappointment in Jimmy’s voice, “You did what you could.”

“It wasn’t enough.”

A hard smile answered him back, “Son, out here, things rarely work out the way we want them to. You did real good Jimmy-”

“I should’ve found a way-”

“Jimmy, without your help I never would have gotten this far- and I probably wouldn‘t be heading home in one piece. So you see-”

He didn’t hear the rest, Jimmy had walked away, moving toward his horse and bringing it back to Johnson’s body, silently loading it over the saddle.

Sam sat back as Jimmy moved through the motions. He had so much more to tell him, but he knew Jimmy wouldn’t listen. He had his own ghosts fight and Sam had a feeling that it had nothing to do with Carl Johnson or his brother Hal. There was something chasin’ this boy and Sam smiled, ‘sounds like someone else I once knew’. Jimmy swung up in the saddle and headed off toward Laramie, ‘Thank God I grew up.’


Ft. Laramie, Wyoming Territory

Kid ran out to meet them as they rode through the gates of the Fort, waving his hat, “Jimmy! Sam!”

Sam waved back a greeting, but Jimmy’s hands closed over the saddlehorn. “Kid.”

Taking Sundance’s bridle in his hand Kid looked up at Jimmy, “What are you doin’ here?”

Nodding toward the injured Marshal, he shrugged, “Sam asked me to help him bring in a prisoner.”

Kid looked around, “Where-”

Jimmy waved a hand, “I don’t want to talk about this right now.” He pulled back on Sundance’s reigns, straining Kid’s hold on the bridle.

Looking away, Kid let go, “Your choice.”

Sam watched the two with interest. He’d heard enough from Emma about these two, they fought but they were friends, close friends.

Kid looked over at Sam, noticing the bandage he sported and the bandana tied around Jimmy‘s arm. “Looks like it was a hard ride.”

Jimmy chuckled, a half smile creeping over him, “You don’t know the half of it Kid.”

Kid blurted out the next question. “You gonna stay on as Sam’s deputy?”

“Uh-” Jimmy caught Sam’s eye and smiled when Sam nodded, “Sorry Sam, I don’t think I will. It was good to ride with you, but I get my fill of adventure with the Express. ‘sides, you know we’ll all be there if you need us.”

Sam nodded, “I guess, but I can’t see how Teaspoon would allow me to just ride in a deputize you boys anytime I felt like it.”

Kid and Jimmy looked at each other and smiled. Kid shrugged, “He’d get used to it-”

Jimmy laughed, “Knowing Teaspoon, he’d probably saddle up and ride with us.”


Hours later, when Sam was tellin’ the Marshal of Ft. Laramie about their trip over a couple of steaming cups of coffee, he laughed. Marshal Keller sat gaping at him, his own mouth frozen like a fish gasping for air while Sam told him about Jimmy‘s part in their adventures.

“So you’re tellin’ me that this boy has what it takes to be a lawman?”

Sam nodded, “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“Seems to me he’d be more trouble than anything. A boy his age-”

“Now Frank, we both know that ‘boys’ his age grow up. Jimmy proved himself out there,” Sam set his cup down as he moved toward the window, “Most men would’ve turned tail and run home, but not James Hickok. That boy was thrown in the middle of the fire today and he came out a stronger man, he passed his test.”

“If you say so-”

“I know so.” Sam turned back, “Whatever you think of him now, James Hickok will be one hell of a man.”

This Story was written for the Rival Riders site: hosted by Gail and JaMarie ...It was one of the two Jimmy centered stories that won the fan fic contest in June 2001.

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