So I’m riding through the prairie just outside of Armadillo with my sidekick, “C. A. Jones.”  I’d lent him a spare horse so I could teach him a little riding without wearing out that burro he had.

He gets the basics, though braking is something of a mystery to him.  We come to the point of the lesson where it’s time to learn about the time honored and valuable skill of shooting from the saddle.  A J sees a wagon and says, “hey, how ’bout that wagon? Let’s mess them up.”  The bounty on my head from a few exploits the other night wasn’t nearly high enough to be respectable, so I says, “sure.”

I drew my shiny new Springfield (rifle) and set it in my shoulder.  “Now watch carefully,” I advise and let a round down range.  While I wasn’t terribly surprised by the results, I should point out that technically, I was just trying to knock the driver’s hat off–at 200 yards.

The guy in the shotgun seat was, I feel, inappropriately armed with a Winchester Carbine Repeater.  Had he had a shotgun like he was supposed to it would not have gotten nearly as interesting when he started firing back.  I think Jones popped a couple off, too. But for all Sam Colt’s power, it just ain’t worth bothering when the other guy is that far away, and being pulled by a horse team.  So I let another .30 calibre bullet go finish this particular argument.

The wagon rolled to a halt pretty quick, and the dozen or so U.S. Marshals riding in the back jumped out.  They mighta said something officious like, I couldn’t tell what exactly.  But between the running, the shouting, and especially the rifling scored bullets whizzing by, the meaning was pretty clear, “get ’em!”

Suddenly I start having unpleasant thoughts about a rope and combinations of what’s tied to its ends.  “A J,” I says,  “I think it’s time for the final lesson.” I yanked on the reins, dug in my spurs, and yelled back, “it’s called ‘keep up if’n you can!'”