Gunfight at Beaver Trail Pass

by on September 20th, 2010
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In one short moment, the usually serene town of Beaver County, Wyoming morphed into a battlefield of unrestrained gunfire. The heist of the Beaver County Municipal Bank left two bank clerks and the bank manager dead. A vicious gunfight erupted between the Sheriff, his six deputies and the seven outlaws, and this was followed by a relentless chase into the outskirts of town that rendered nothing except more bloodshed. Although several of the robbers had been shot, all of them were still at large and Beaver County was left virtually unprotected while the Sheriff and his deputies continued to pursue the villains.

In the meantime, there were those citizens who lived miles away from town who remained essentially untouched by the carnage. Sadie Dawson and her son Brody were among these people and they lived on the north side of town. While they’d heard about the bank robbery, they lived far enough away not to become too riled by this recent upheaval. After all, she and her son only went into town once a month to pick up a few necessities and the rest of their business was conveniently conducted at establishments outside of town. She had no connections with the bank because she was content to squirrel away what little money they had in a safe place at home. Thus, she felt it sufficient just to maintain a watchful eye over her son and their farm until things settled down in town, feeling confident that none of it would affect them.

It was the start of a new day and Sadie hurried to the barn to gather eggs. She noticed that the hay lay untouched which meant her son Brody hadn’t yet come in to take any of it out to the stable to feed the horses.

“Brody, get out here and get this hay for those horses,” she yelled. “You know this has to be done before you go to school.”

“Ma, I can’t find my notebook — did you see it?”

“Never mind that now. Just feed those horses!”

Still in his pajamas and with one slipper on, Brody headed to the barn, sulking all the way. At the ripe old age of eight, he was full of spunk and determination. Losing his father two years earlier had made him older than his years, and he’d developed an unwavering commitment to take care of himself and his mother. To him, this meant standing in for his dad as the man of the house. However, being eight years old got in the way of that persistence most of the time.

“I don’t see why I have to do this in the morning, Ma,” Brody grumbled as he came into the barn. “Geez, after getting up at six in the mornin’ and hustlin’ ’round here, I’m dead by sunrise!” He grabbed the pitchfork and began scooping up bales of hay to take out to the stable.

“You eat breakfast in the mornin’, don’t you? Don’t you think the horses deserve the same consideration? There are plenty of chores to do around here, young man, and I certainly can’t do them all by myself,” Sadie declared while continuing to gather eggs. “Some work has to be done in the morning before we start our day, and the rest is done when we come home. Hear me well, Mr. Brody Dawson because I don’t intend to keep explaining the same thing over and over again so stop chirpin’ and start workin’!”

Sadie took the basket of eggs, rushed back into the house and cracked several of the eggs into the pan with the bacon that was already frying. She filled their glasses with milk, set the table, and then went to finish ironing Brody’s pants and her medical assistant uniform. She looked up to see Brody standing in the doorway with hay all over him.

“Piper felt like playing again and pushed me down into the hay,” he said as he brushed the hay onto the floor.

“You and that horse! You’ve turned him into a plaything when he’s needed for work. And stop brushing that hay off in here! You wanna make more for me to do before I get outta here this morning? Go outside to brush that off and then draw a couple of buckets of water from the well so we can wash up after breakfast.”

Sadie hung Brody’s shirt and pants on a hanger and quickly ran the iron over her uniform. She enjoyed her job as a medical assistant, especially since it beat trying to eke out a living on the farm. It wasn’t easy raising her son by herself but the two of them had managed pretty well so far. Brody came in with the water, hung it on the hooks over the fireplace and then came to the table to eat his breakfast.

“Ma, Caleb, Wendell and me wanna go fishing on Saturday — can we, huh, can we?”

“And just how do you plan to squeeze fishin’ into the picture in between food shoppin’, house cleanin’ and yard work? Why don’t you boys go fishing Sunday after church?”

“‘Cause Wendell’s ma has him doing chores on Sunday after church! Caleb’s ma has him doin’ his chores on Saturday afternoons same as us. Why don’t you women get together and make a schedule that will include time off for us kids?”

“Don’t sass me talkin’ in that tone of voice, Brody. You get enough time off during the summer months when there’s no school. Durin’ the year, you have to stick to your responsibilities like us adults. You’re gonna be an adult one day and you have to learn that as an adult, you’re not gonna have a lot of time for fun and games.”

“But I’m a kid — I’m s’pose to have plenty of time for fun and games. That’s what kids do!”

“And do you know where lazy adults come from? From lazy children, that’s where! Now this is not the time for a family discussion, Son. It’s gettin’ late — eat your breakfast so you can wash up, get dressed and be off to school.”

“So what’s the point? Just what do we have to look forward to? Might as well just throw in the towel now ’cause life sure ain’t lookin’ too good!”

It was conversations like this that made Brody think twice about his decision to be the man of the house. He dug into his eggs while continually grumbling but his demeanor changed instantly with the first mouthful of food. Ma sure can cook, he thought. He began gulping the food down so fast it seemed like it was magically disappearing off his plate. He finished off his last piece of toast and downed his glass of milk.

“Hey Brody, you ready?” It was Caleb Bronson approaching the front door.

“Come on in, Caleb — Brody will be ready in a few minutes.”

“Can’t go fishing with you guys on Saturday ’cause Ma’s gonna have me workin’ like the horses ’round here!”

Caleb came in and started surveying the breakfast plates to see if there was anything left over for him to munch on. Sadie handed him the last pieces of bacon and toast.

“Thanks, Miss Sadie. I had my breakfast but it always smells so good in here that it makes me feel like I can eat again!” Pensively, Caleb bit into the bacon strip, adopting the stance of a philosopher.

“Yup, I knowed there might be a problem ‘tween your chores in the mornin’ and both of our chores in the afternoon, Brody. I just hoped we could fit in an hour or so of quiet time. Guess not, huh Miss Sadie?”

Caleb looked at Sadie with endearingly sad, blue eyes. He was well known for having a set of the most enchanting eyes and Caleb had learned early that a certain look directed squarely at the ladies could work wonders for him when it came to getting what he wanted. He definitely wasn’t above using this influence when he wanted something badly enough.

“Well . . . we have been working you boys mighty hard here lately so I’ll talk it over with your ma and see if we can’t work something out.”

A confident grin etched over Caleb’s face as he and Brody exchanged knowing glances confirming that once again, Caleb had worked his charms!

“Hey Brody, you still in there?” Wendell Rogers came around through the back door. “And is Caleb in here? He wasn’t home when I stopped by his house.”

Brody came out of his room as he finished tucking his shirt into his pants and then bent down to tie his shoes.

“Yeah, we’re both here. Just let me finish dressin’ and we can be on our way. I found my notebook, Ma, it was in your room. You been spyin’ on me again?”

I don’t spy on you, Son, I check on what you’re doing in school and how you’re doin’ it. That IS what a mother’s s’pose to do you know. Now off with you boys and go straight to school, you hear?” Choruses of “bye Miss Sadie” rang out as Caleb and Wendell ran out the door and Brody kissed his mother goodbye.

As Sadie watched he boys heading down the road, it brought back memories of how she used to watch her husband Wade go down that same winding road some years ago as he went off to his job as a blacksmith. Wade had been older than Sadie by 20 years and in the final years of his life, his health began to deteriorate rapidly. The cause was never confirmed but Sadie believed the primary reason for his illness was the constant exposure to surroundings filled with smoke and noxious fumes. He’d spent years welding iron to make horse shoes, mend wagons and the likes and she was convinced this contributed to a massive buildup of deadly elements in his body . He contracted cancer and as suddenly as it appeared, it took him away. Sadie and Brody had little opportunity to adjust to his illness and when he died, they simply had to accept that he was gone forever. About six months after Wade’s death, Sadie conceded that she wasn’t doing too well making a living by focusing strictly on the farm so she began working in Dr. Ambrose’s office handling administration. What started out as a job where she greeted folks and set up appointments quickly evolved into a medical assistant position as well because the doctor had no one else to assist him in his medical practice.

She cleared the table, washed the breakfast dishes, finished straightening up the kitchen, and went to wash up and get dressed for work. Even though it was no picnic raising Brody alone, she was amazed at how much she’d been able to accomplish. She didn’t know how she did it but somehow, she managed to get Brody off to school and herself off to work on time every morning while still taking care of the farm. She’d also learned a lot from Dr. Ambrose in the year and half that she’d been with him and she enjoyed the work immensely. Besides learning how to remedy common colds, the flu and stomach aches, she also assisted with numerous operations so her growing knowledge of medical diagnoses and treatments made her a very capable assistant.

She was shaken from her thoughts by someone banging on her front door. It couldn’t be Brody and she wasn’t expecting anyone else. As she walked toward the door, there was another, almost hesitant knock. Sadie drew the curtains back from the window cautiously and saw a man leaning on the door and it looked like he wasn’t going to be standing on his feet too much longer. Panic began to set in as Sadie recalled the recent bank robbery but she opened the door anyway. She froze as a blood-stained man fell into the house. Okay Sadie, get hold of yourself. What’s most important here is this man is hurt and you’re a nurse . . . well, almost a nurse . . . so get it together, she thought to herself.

After quickly getting over the initial shock, Sadie began checking him out. She opened his jacket to find that his shirt was soaked with blood, and she opened his shirt to find two bullet holes: one lodged into his right upper arm and the other in his stomach. Blood was beginning to seep all over and she didn’t want her floors stained by a blood trail but there was no time to get any help to move him.

Alert thinker that she was, her mind began rifling through her options. In the barn, there were large slabs of wood that were about 5 ft wide by 10 ft long and about three inches thick. They were left over from the recent construction of her barn and she knew they’d make a perfect table/bed on which to lay him. She got some clean towels to put pressure on the man’s wounds to slow down the bleeding, and then grabbed a clean sheet and ran into the barn. She covered one of the slabs of wood and dragged and placed it on top of one of the homemade platforms. Then she hauled another slab outside and cleverly managed to hook it up to one of the horses using a harness. Once hooked up, she led the horse back to the house with the intention of placing the man on the slab to pull him into the barn.

Coming back to the man, she saw that he was bleeding somewhat profusely. “Geez, the blood’s draining outta him faster than water outta one of those new-fangled water faucets,” she said to herself. Since the slab was already on the ground, with painstaking efforts, she was able to pull his body onto it. The man began stirring and she hoped he’d stay conscious long enough to help her get him onto the platform in the barn. Sadie wasn’t a small woman but this was a robust, muscular man. It wasn’t going to be an easy task lifting him off the ground onto the platform so any assistance he could give would be helpful. Once in the barn, she took a deep breath and began lifting him as he continued to stir.

“What? . . . Who are you? . . . What are you doin’ to me?” he asked, his speech slurred.

“Mister, you need help and I’m here to give it.” Sadie was panting and beginning to sweat profusely but there was no stopping now.

“Sir, as carefully as you can, please help me by lifting yourself up onto the platform so I can check out the extent of your injuries.”

Steadily watching her through glazed eyes but clearly feeling totally helpless, the man lifted himself up. He moaned, obviously in great pain, as he flung himself with great difficulty onto the platform. His breathing became heavy and labored, his eyes rolled in his head and once again, he passed out. Sadie took the opportunity to proceed with her examination and decided that both bullets had to be removed at once. He’d lost a lot of blood so Sadie knew the treatment received over the next hour would make or break his condition. She ran into the house and grabbed the other bucket of water that was still on the fire and her bag of medical instruments and put everything in the wheelbarrow to roll it into the barn. She still needed lamps for plenty of light, basins to put the water in, plenty of clean cloths, laudanum to sedate him, and other medicine.

She got everything set up and began undressing the man. It was then that she discovered a third bullet wound but it was superficial as it had only grazed the left thigh and lodged into the epidermis. Sadie got started and within a couple of hours, she’d removed all three bullets, cleaned and cauterized the wounds. She wasn’t completely confident about her technique but it appeared that no vital organs or major arteries were hit and he was now resting quietly, so she decided that she must’ve done alright. There was more cleaning to do as the man had to be moved from the blood-soaked platform and onto a proper bed but she couldn’t take a chance on doing that just yet. It would be touch and go for him over the next couple of days. Simply stated, because of the abundant blood loss, he could die.

Sadie covered him with a heavy quilt and stood watching him. She didn’t know who he was but given that he had dropped on her doorstep with three bullets in him, and the bank robbery had just happened, one could surmise that this man was one of the bank robbers. But he didn’t strike her as a cruel, thoughtless outlaw who would kill for the sake of money.

She checked the pockets of his clothing and found a wallet with money and a few pictures in it. On the back of one of the pictures of a little girl, it read “Can’t wait to see you, Uncle! Love Sarah-Jane”. There were three more pictures: one of a woman, another of an elderly couple, and another of a house but there were no inscriptions on any of these. She looked over at the man again. She was enamored by the fact that he was handsome in a rugged way with sturdy arms and an impressive, lean chest that she imagined would feel really nice wrapped around her. “Sadie Dawson, you stop that!” she scolded herself. “You don’t even know this man and you’re thinkin’ such inviting thoughts about him!”

She stepped outside the barn for some air while her mind raced with more urgent questions. How was she going to go to work? He couldn’t be left even for lengthy periods of time but somehow she had to get word to Dr. Ambrose that she wouldn’t be able to come to work. And what was she going to tell Brody about having this strange, wounded man in their house and how would this affect him? What’s more, WHO WAS THIS MAN? Was he one of the outlaws that robbed the bank? If he was, how could she jeopardize her and her son’s safety by keeping him in their home?

Sadie’s head was reeling because of all the dangerous thoughts that were racing through her mind. “Whoa, Girl, slow down. One problem at a time,” she thought. It gradually dawned on her that she was standing outside in the bright sunlight in blood-stained clothing and the barn was also an appalling mess. More hot water was needed. She’d used most of it for the surgery so she hurried to the well to get several more buckets of water to heat up. While they were heating, she made repeated trips to the well to get more buckets of water to fill up two of the tubs that she had in the barn. She cleaned up as much of the blood as she could using the cold water in one of the tubs, and she threw the bloody clothes, towels and bed linen into the other tub to soak. She’d have to go over everything in there again with hot water but this would have to do for now.

She checked on the man and saw that he was still resting peacefully so she hurried into the house to clean up and change clothes. The water was now hot so first she mopped away the small pools of blood that were in her doorway and on her front porch. Then she scrubbed herself from head to toe. She prayed no one would show up, at least not until she could scrub down everything better but she knew that sooner or later, someone might come to find out why she hadn’t come to work yet.

Sadie was making good time but she was becoming increasingly more tired. After all, she was running a mile a minute at breakneck speeds while dragging the man from one place to the other, performing a series of critical operations, cleaning up everything, and she’d done all this in the last four hours. She sat down on the porch to catch her breath and think. It felt good to rest and without realizing it, she fell asleep. She thought she was dreaming when she heard the sound of horses coming toward the farm but she opened her eyes to see three men coming her way.

“Don’t need or want any visitors right now, I just wanna sleep,” she murmured groggily. The sunlight produced a shiny reflection on something and Sadie came to herself enough to recognize that it was the Sheriff’s badge. She jumped up and looked around nervously to make sure there wasn’t any visible evidence of her patient. She didn’t know why she suddenly felt the need to hide the man even though she knew there could be a connection between the Sheriff coming out to her farm and a man with three bullet holes in him.

“Good mornin’, Ms. Dawson,” was the Sheriff’s solemn greeting as he and his two deputies came up to her porch.

“Mornin’, Sheriff Beeker, Cole, Avery — how are all of you doin’? What brings you out here?”

“I’m sure you heard about yesterday’s bank robbery by now. Well, we’re looking for that group of men and they may be riding in this direction, ma’am. Some of them are hurt but that doesn’t lessen the fact that they’re still dangerous. Any strangers come this way since yesterday, Ms. Dawson?

“Well . . . no sir.” Fatigue was settling in fast and Sadie was finding it harder and harder to stand on her feet so she sat down. But sheer exhaustion made it easy for her to look the Sheriff in his face and tell him a bare-faced lie because she was too tired to care. The Sheriff and his deputies were all looking curiously at Sadie as they could see that something was wrong with her.

“Ma’am, you don’t look too good — are you alright?” asked Sheriff Beeker. Cole and Avery were now gazing around her farm and Sadie knew she had to say something to rid them of their suspicions before they made a decision to look around.

“Oh, I’m not feeling too well, Sheriff.” Relief set in as it seemed to her that this was the perfect explanation.

“It happened after I woke up this morning and got Brody off to school. Think I’m comin’ down with some kinda flu or something. I’ve been strugglin’ to try and get to work but I can’t shake this sluggish feelin’.”

The sweat on Sadie’s brow was the direct result of her nervous state and all the running around she’d been doing but she used this to convince the men that she was really sick.

“We’re sorry to hear that, Ms. Dawson,” said Avery. “Anything we can do for you?”

“As a matter of fact, I’d greatly appreciate it if on your way back to town, one of you would stop off to tell Doc Ambrose about why I haven’t made it to work yet and ask him to come out here to check on me. Would one of you do that for me, please?”

Sadie knew she needed help and she also knew Dr. Ambrose could follow up on the work she’d done. She felt she could trust him to help her with continuing to take proper care of the gentleman. She still didn’t know why she felt compassion for him; she just knew she wanted to hear his side of the story.

“Sure can, Ms. Dawson, but now I feel even worse about your being out here all alone, sick and all,” said Sheriff Beeker. “Unfortunately, I can’t leave either of my deputies here with you “cause I’m shorthanded as it is.”

Sadie breathed another sigh of relief as she prayed hard that the man wouldn’t wake up and start yelling or making any kind of noise in the barn.

“Don’t worry ’bout that Sheriff. If you could just get word to Doc Ambrose, he’ll come and take care of me and I’ll be fine.”

Gotta get rid of them but I also have to know, Sadie thought.

“Sheriff Beeker, how bad was this robbery? We didn’t get all the details ’bout what happened.”

“They robbed the bank and cut down two bank clerks and the manager in the process. Got away with $5,000 but not before we managed to put a few slugs into a couple of ‘em. We’ve been out on their trail ever since. It was seven of ‘em altogether but it ‘pears they split up and went in different directions.”

“Well, those bullet wounds will slow ‘em down plenty, Sheriff, so you may run into ‘em real soon. Don’t let me keep you any longer — I’ll just rest till the Doc gets here. You won’t forget to send him right away, will you?”

“Will do, ma’am — you take care of yourself, you hear?”

They rode off and Sadie slid back down on the porch bench. She couldn’t move a muscle and she didn’t intend to do anything else until the doctor arrived. It was best that she remain out front so she wouldn’t slip into a deep sleep because she needed to be as alert as possible to finish the task at hand. Well, she fell asleep again anyway and this time she didn’t even hear the doctor when he arrived.

“My word, Sadie,” Dr. Ambrose exclaimed as he began to shake her. “What have you been up to since yesterday: You look terrible!” Sadie sat up and shook her head in agreement.

“You’re right, Doc. I’m plumb worn out but I’m not sick. Come with me, I’ve got something to show you and I’ll need your help.”

Sadie stood up, somewhat unsteady on her feet at first, but she composed herself eventually and led Dr. Ambrose to the barn. The doctor followed, anxious to find out what had left her in this wretched state. When he reached the barn and saw the man, he headed straight to him.

“Who is this man?” the doctor asked as he gave him the once over.

“I have no idea, Doc. He stumbled onto my doorstep right after Brody left this morning. I couldn’t just leave him and there was no way I could send for help, so I moved him and worked on him myself.”

“Three bullet wounds. Hmmmm . . . you removed the bullets yourself, did you?” Sadie nodded her head.

“But I need you to look him over to make sure I did everything right.”

“Sadie, this is incredible work that you did! You’ve learned well, my child. The cauterization looks good and everything else looks just fine. Did you use laudanum or morphine to sedate him?”

“A solution of laudanum with 10% opium. I wanted him to remain under for the surgery but I didn’t want to knock him out too deeply in case I needed his help for anything. I also thought it would allow me to keep track of his vitals more easily.”

Doc Ambrose was impressed, nodding in agreement with everything Sadie had done. He proceeded with his examination and checked his pulse and blood pressure. Sadie watched intently to see what she may have missed.

“Sadie, you know the Sheriff is looking for a band of bank robbers that he said dispersed and went in separate directions?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Then you also know that this man could be part of that group.”

“Yes I do.”

“Well, just how do you intend to keep his presence a secret?”

“II don’t intend to keep it a secret ’cause that would be impossible to do. However, I’d like for him to have the opportunity to defend himself properly. I mean, what if he had nothing to do with the robbery?”

“Sadie, a man who’s been recently shot up with as much lead as this cowboy didn’t get this way by casually riding through the countryside.” Dr. Ambrose stopped what he was doing and turned earnestly to face Sadie.

“You have to start right away doing some serious studyin’ on how you intend to handle this situation, dear.”

“I know, Doc, but right now I need your help to get him moved from out here and into the spare bedroom in the house. That way, I can come back out here and clean up this barn properly and then keep a closer eye on him. Please give me a day or two to get things straightened out here and get me some sleep. Then I’ll make a decision.”

The doctor knew this was a bad situation and that both of them were taking a big chance not reporting their findings immediately. However, nothing else could be done right at this time because the man was too weak to be moved any farther than the house, and they were taking a risk moving him that far. Using the same method she used to move him earlier, Sadie and the doctor were able to successfully move him into the house. With Doc Ambrose’s help, it was a lot easier this time and they finally got him into bed.

As they were covering him, he suddenly sprang up and started yelling.

“I’ll get you! I’ll get all of you mangy scoundrels for what you did! I’ll come at you with everything I’ve got and it’ll happen so fast, you won’t know what hit ya! You’ll just know you’re dead! Dead! DEAD!

The man was wrestling furiously with Sadie and Dr. Ambrose and they struggled to contain him.

“Mister, mister, wake up! You’re safe. No one’s gonna hurt you,” said Sadie as calmly as she could. Nevertheless, both she and the doctor were shocked and disturbed by this unexpected, violent outburst. They didn’t know who he was referring to but he was clearly filled with bitter hatred and an almost insane need for revenge.

“They killed the only real family I ever had. Shot ‘em all dead just ’cause they thought they had a lotta money!” He was breaking down into a pathetic state of tears and misery and Dr. Ambrose summoned Sadie to let him get it out of his system. He knew the man would never rest properly with such vile emotions surfacing and he needed complete peace if he was ever going to survive what he’d been through. He was holding tightly onto Sadie and bellowing like a child. Yes, this is an extremely troubling situation, the Doc thought to himself. Not only was it possible they could be harboring a fugitive, but he might be a psychopathic lunatic as well!

“I never had anyone I could really love and who would love me back. Nobody in my family was worth a plugged nickel and they didn’t think much of me either. An unhappy time in my life . . . a MOST unhappy time in my life. Finally, I ran away, wanderin’ around aimlessly from town to town, acquaintin’ myself with more worthless, useless people. But then I met Mr. and Mrs. Bellinger, two of the most righteous people I’d ever known. Why before I met them, I was beginning to believe that the whole world was filled with nothing but evil entrapments set to imprison all the good folks in the world.”

He stopped for a moment and was breathing heavily. He was winding down fast, losing energy, but it seemed he still needed to talk. Sadie and Dr. Ambrose listened intently: Sadie with compassion, and the doctor with an attentive ear hoping the man would reveal something that would help them come to a resolution on how to handle this situation. Resting on Sadie’s shoulder, the man continued in a weary, distraught voice.

“The Bellingers were like parents to me. They had a beautiful daughter and granddaughter who were remarkable.” He stopped again to catch his breath and he looked at Sadie and Doc as though he were pleading for them to understand his tragedy.

“It was like I died and went to heaven, I tell you. Then they came along . . . and my whole world crumbled.” The tears continued as he recalled that catastrophic incident and Sadie held onto him, realizing the intense emotional pain he was feeling. Dr. Ambrose recognized that he was about to pass out again and held his face up to the light.

“Mister, can you tell us your name?” Doc gently shook his face. “Your name, what’s your name?”

“My name . . . my name . . . is Boyd . . . Boyd Christian.”

Thankful that they’d gotten this much out of him, Dr. Ambrose pressed on for more.

“How do you do, Mr. Christian? Where are you from?”

“Doc, maybe you should take it easy,” interrupted Sadie who was almost in tears herself.

“Sadie, we don’t have a lot of time here. We need to get as much information as we can while he’s still conscious. Do you realize that if he’s one of the wanted outlaws and he’s found in this house, you and I could be charged as accomplices or co-conspirators with his escape?”

The doctor’s words hit home as the gravity of the situation sunk in. Now she too wanted to know more.

“Mr. Christian, where do you come from?” the doctor asked again.

“Lived . . . in . . . Texas. Born . . . . . . . . in . . . . . . . . I . . . .d . . . . . a . . . . . . . .h . . . . . . .o . . . . . . .,” His voice faded out and his last words were barely audible as he lost consciousness. Sadie and Dr. Ambrose knew that would be all they’d get from him at that moment.

“Sounded like he was trying to say he was born in “Idaho”, wouldn’t you say, Doc?”

“Yes, but that doesn’t tell us much, Sadie, ’cause we’re still stuck with the problem of what to do with Mr. Christian. I don’t think it’s a good idea to just leave him here, even for another minute, without alerting the Sheriff.”

“Doc, please, let me think about this,” Sadie pleaded. “I’m so exhausted right now and I never like to make decisions when I’m in this state. If we do things when we’re tired, many times we wind up regretting it later.”

“Sadie, mark my words: we’re taking a really big chance. If he’s one of those outlaws, then havin’ him here puts the safety of you and Brody is at stake. If he’s not one of them, and it’s highly likely that he’s involved in some way, then it’s possible he’s mentally and emotionally unstable and needs to be in some kind of asylum. Anyway you look at it . . .”.

DOC, PLEASE!” Sadie interrupted, covering her ears so she wouldn’t have to listen.

“Don’t ask me to think right now. I need sleep so I can clear my head. At least give me the night . . .”

Still holding the man, Sadie started to lay him back down but stopped when her gaze fell on Brody standing at the front door. There she was holding a stranger close who moments earlier had been babbling and crying. Sadie was worn thin and ragged in her appearance and Brody had seen and heard the strained conversation between his mother and Dr. Ambrose. He looked at all of them, feeling utterly bewildered by this totally bizarre scene.

“Ma, what’s going on here? Who’s this man?”

END OF PART I

Stay tuned for Part Two (the conclusion) of “Gunfight at Beaver Trail Pass” to find out:

1. What will Sadie tell Brody about the stranger now occupying the spare bedroom in their home?

2. Exactly who is Boyd Christian and what are his real intentions?

3. How will Sadie and Doc Ambrose decide to reconcile this situation with the law?


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