By Caroline 

This is a missing scene from The Lawman.

It comes between Evans’ death and the final scene, which I am taking as having been the following day, where Barker leaves in custody.


Johnny had never been a patient man and this waiting was torture.  He paced restlessly for what seemed like hours until finally settling on the cot, his back pressed against the rough stone wall. He’d been alone since Murdoch’s visit and was astute enough to know that his chances of escaping a murder charge were lessening with each passing minute. The irony wasn’t lost on him.  For years he had made his living as a gunfighter, killing more than his share of men.  Never once, in all that time, had he been accused of murder. 

His suspicion that Joe Barker had somehow been involved in Evans’ escape and the murder of the deputy had strengthened.  Why else would Barker have been so insistent that he run?  The lawman had appeared almost panic stricken when he’d refused. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Murdoch putting the proposition to him.  He did know that he had heard pride in his father’s voice as he had backed up his decision to stay.

His brother was out with the posse, and he fervently hoped that Scott would be careful.  Evans was a killer – he knew that now – and he’d been stupid to believe the man’s protestations of innocence.  He smiled faintly.  When he’d first been locked up Scott had stationed himself outside the cell door, leaning against the wood with his arms folded.  His seemingly casual stance had fooled nobody.  He was acting as a barrier between Johnny and anyone wishing him harm.  Johnny was pretty sure that it was only the steadfast support of his father and brother that had held off Barker’s remaining deputy.  And Scott had been just as suspicious of Barker’s motives.  After all, the sheriff had been counting on getting a piece of Lancer and can’t have been happy to find that he was too late.

The sound of the guard house door opening had him on his feet.  He crossed the short distance from the cot to the door and peered through the small barred opening.

“Let him out,” Murdoch’s command was forceful, leaving no room for argument.

As the door opened, Johnny looked quizzically at his father, noting an air of sadness.  “What’s going on?”

“Evans is dead and Joe’s confessed everything.  They did a deal, only the deputy turned up as he was letting Evans escape. Evans grabbed his gun, shot the deputy and Joe knocked you out when you came to investigate.  Joe swears he didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt and didn’t think you’d get the blame.”

“Yeah?” Johnny asked sceptically.  “What did he think would happen?”

“I don’t know, Johnny.”  Murdoch’s shoulders were slumped and his voice was weary.

“I’m sorry,” Johnny told him.  “Barker was your friend.  It must be hard knowin’ he let you down like that.”

“That doesn’t matter.  I’m just glad we got it cleared up.  I didn’t want to lose you again.”

“You don’t get rid of me that easily, old man,” Johnny told him affectionately.

Murdoch cleared his throat.  “We should get over to the house.  Evans ambushed Scott and…”

Johnny didn’t wait to hear the rest.  He took off at a run, only slowing when he saw Barker waiting by the front door with Frank standing guard.  He didn’t try to rein in his temper, his contemptuous regard icy and unsettling.  “You’d better pray my brother ain’t hurt bad or you’ll be answering to me – not the law.” 

Without waiting for a response Johnny entered the house and raced up the stairs.  He found his brother sitting propped up in bed, face pale and with his shoulder swathed in bandages.

Johnny perched on the edge of the bed and regarded him sympathetically.  “Hurts, huh?”

“Could have been worse,” Scott replied laconically, wincing as he moved into a more comfortable position.

Johnny acknowledged the truth of that statement, before ducking his head.  “Thank you,” he said softly.  He wanted to say more, only he couldn’t find the words to tell Scott how much it meant to him to have a brother who would put himself in danger to protect him.

Scott regarded him seriously, his blue-grey eyes seeing through Johnny’s attempted dispassion.  “It’s what brothers do,” he offered with a faint smile.

“How are you feeling?” The moment shattered with the sound of Murdoch’s voice. 

“Sore,” Scott admitted, “and stupid.  I walked right into it.”

“Give yourself some credit, Son.  You’re the one who found Evans.”

“More a case of him finding me,” Scott replied ruefully.

“What happens now?” Johnny demanded.

Murdoch sighed and pulled up a chair, sitting wearily.  “Joe will be kept in custody and taken back to Sacramento to face charges.  He’ll be sent to prison and that will end his career.”

Johnny could feel his temper rising again on hearing the regret in his father’s voice.  “His career was over anyway.  That’s why he brought Evans here.  He was looking for a free ride.”

“Joe wasn’t like that.  He and I go back a long way.  We…we were friends.”

“Yeah, I know,” Johnny conceded.  “Just don’t expect me to feel sorry for him.  If he’d had his way it’d be me on the way to Sacramento, and I’d be facing a hanging.”

Murdoch shook his head.  “I don’t believe he would have let it go that far.”

“Then you’re deluding yourself, old man,” Johnny spat back, all his pent up emotions spilling over.

“He’ll need a friend,” Murdoch answered.  “I won’t turn my back on him.”

A soft moan from Scott broke the impasse between father and younger son.  “You need to rest,” Johnny told him, helping his brother to slide down the bed.

Scott’s eyelids drooped and he nodded tiredly.  “Thanks, Brother.”

After Johnny had smoothed the covers over Scott’s chest, he turned his stony regard on his father.  “Your friend almost cost you both your sons.  Think about that.”  With a final glance at the bed to make sure Scott was resting peacefully, he strode from the room.


The End


Aug 06


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