Chase A Wandering Father

By Dori 


“We might want to think this through a little bit, Johnny.”

“Aw, Scott…..!”  Johnny was obviously not in the mood to listen to the cool, calm voice of reason.  “You know what the old man is riding into down there. Walker and Madison have got themselves a real shooting war going on!  Somebody makes a wrong move……the whole thing’s gonna explode.”

“And Murdoch believes he can help defuse the situation.”

Crossing his arms and leaning on the top rail of the corral fence, Johnny growled, “Well, one of us should have gone with him.”

“He explained his reasoning………he has a long history with both men and felt that he’d have a better chance of getting them to listen if he went in alone.”

When his brother’s only response was an angry shrug, Scott added smoothly, “Besides, aren’t you the one who once said something about Murdoch being a big boy……that he doesn’t need us around all the time?”

“Yeah……..and while I was saying that…..what was Murdoch doing?  He was getting shot by Mrs. Haney.”

“We might not have been able to stop that from happening even if we had been there…..and we sure didn’t make things any better by following him.  The Haneys probably would have nursed him back to health—and sent him on his way—just as quickly without our interference.”

“OK, but does that mean we shouldn’t try to back him up now?” 

Scott shook his head.  “He’s not going to be pleased if we disregard his orders.  You do remember how firmly he pinned our ears back when we made an excuse to go check up on him at the prison farm.”

“But we couldn’t leave well enough alone,” Johnny admitted ruefully.  “From what those cons said, Murdoch had things pretty much under control until they caught sight of us.  That’s when they figured he was lying about not having any guards around and took him prisoner.”

“And a man died,” Scott recalled grimly.  “Probably the only reason he didn’t really rake us over the coals for that one is because he knew we’d have to live with that knowledge.”

Johnny ran one hand through his already tousled hair and sighed in frustration.  “It’s not that I don’t think the old man can take care of himself.”

“I’d say Murdoch pretty much proved that when we tracked him down to Blessing,” Scott agreed.  “All WE got for our trouble was two solid days of back-breaking work….rounding up that breeding stock all on our own.”

“Yep, he was on to us…….that’s for damn sure.  It was worth it though…….just to get ta watch him wipe up the street with that border town trash.”

Both brothers grinned appreciatively, remembering just how handily their father had won that particular battle.  Out-numbered and unarmed, he’d defeated the brutal gang that had been robbing stages and pressing innocent men into illegal slave labor.

“So…..” Scott slid a sideways look at his brother, “It sounds like our best plan of action would be to follow Murdoch’s instructions and wait here.”

“He really doesn’t need a couple of sons worrying about him, I can’t argue with that.”

There was a long pause….then each man pushed away from the corral and spoke almost simultaneously.

“I’ll go saddle the horses.”

“Meet you in the barn with our gear in ten minutes.”




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