My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
The posse hid themselves near a corral, and after a while, Jim rode in to the ranch. When he got near enough, they jumped out and said, “Throw up your hands.” Jim said, “Not by a damn sight.” He whirled his horse and started. The instructions to the men were to shoot the horse but not the man.
Just as Jim was going over a little hill, one shot the horse and another shot Jim through the kidney. They ran up to Jim who was laying with one leg lost under the horse, but he was trying to get his Winchester out from under the horse. They overpowered him and got him loose from his horse. Seeing he was fatally shot, Smith said to Jim, Jim, what is your real name and where are your folks.” Jim said, “None of your business, you cowardly cur. I scared you like a wolf once and I will do it again if I get out of this.” Of course, he used different language than the above, but it would not look well in print.
Well, they started to town with him, but he died on the way. Such is the finish of men like Jim. Jim’s partner, Al Foster, was never heard of again. There were never two more gentlemanly men to work with, and they were exceptionally capable men on a horse ranch.
We proceeded with the horse round-up on the ranch, getting the horses ready to drive them to North Dakota.
One day a boy came along looking for work. He was a boy from the east. The boss hired him just for a handy man around the place. He wanted excitement. He practiced roping until he could rope a little. He had a saddle which we called a postage stamp saddle as it was just an eastern saddle.
There was a bunch of wild horses who watered above the ranch. One day Nick and I were out on the range. The boys wanted some fun, so they put this boy on a good horse and they all went to this watering place to catch a wild horse. They slipped up as close as they could. This boy caught a stallion. When he came to the end of the rope, off came saddle, kid, and all. The boys had tied his rope to the horn of the saddle. Well, the boys said his saddle looked like a big bird sailing along after the horse. When we came back, the boys laughed about the joke, but the boss gave them an awful bawling out. He didn’t believe in that kind of stuff, and really, it wasn’t right.
We got the herd ready and started to Dakota, selling and trading horses. The man that could tell the biggest lie and make the best trade was the best man. We had lots of fun. Wherever we sold or disposed of a horse, we caught him regardless of corrals, We would help the man hitch him and go on with our bunch.
Sometimes when we would strike a new town, we would advertise that we would give a horse away on a certain day to the one that could catch him. It usually started our business.
We spent some time in Williston and drifted on down the line. There wasn’t a store of any description between Williston and Minot, where we made quite a stay and sold a few horses.
Sometimes the Indians would steal a small bunch and run them off and hide them. Unless you offered a reward for the, they would never bring them in, so we watched ours night and day. They never got any of our horses.
We went from Minot to Towner. There were no towns or stores between these towns. From Towner we drifted north of Willow city. I had traded for a horse that spring in Fallon, Montana that was awfully hard to ride. That was why I got him.
At Willow city, a would-be had barnyard cowboy came to the corral. There was a large crowd there, and he was a good rider. I kidded him awhile until he said he would bet $10.00 he could ride any horse in the corral. I told him I didn’t want his ten, but if he would ride a certain horse of mine, I would give him ten dollars. He said he would try it.
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