This is the concluding part of the trilogy that started with "A Surprise for Matt" the second part was "Matt on The Trail" I hope you enjoy reading this, I have certainly enjoyed writing it.
"Heyes, we're down to our last two hundred dollars, and our last pound of coffee and sugar," Curry said.
"Yeah, Kid, we're down to our last of everything," Heyes answered, Curry just grunted and went on with making the coffee and breakfast, they heard a galloping horse, the rider rode straight over the fire scattering everything, Curry dove to the side
"Hey, that was our breakfast you ruined, our last bacon. I hope he breaks his fool neck," Curry said sourly.
"Doesn't matter won't get us any more bacon, will it?"
"Nope, but it would sure make me feel better," the sound of another horse coming made them wary, but this horse was only cantering. Matt Dillon pulled up on seeing them, he was riding a buckskin with a black ring round its right eye.
"Have you seen a man on a black and white paint?" Matt asked.
"Saw him? He rode over our breakfast, nearly killed me in the process and that was the last of our bacon. Just look at our coffee pot," Curry held out the now flat pot. Matt smiled, dismounted and got out his own bacon, coffee and coffee pot.
"My name's Matt Dillon I'm the Marshal for Dodge City, make yourself some more breakfast," Matt remounted and left in the direction the rider had gone.
"You know something, Heyes I've never been treated so nicely by a marshal before."
"Neither have I. So let's not look a gift horse in the mouth," they followed Matt's advice and cooked up some more coffee and bacon. They had just mounted when they heard the report of a rifle. "That came from the direction Matt Dillon went. Let's go," they rode at the gallop, they saw that Matt's horse was down and that Matt was trapped underneath him, the rider on the paint aimed his rifle at Matt. Heyes drew his rifle, he knew he didn't have a clear shot, but he could perhaps throw the man's aim off. He fired as they raced down and the rider looked up, turned his horse and left quickly, Curry dismounted and checked on Matt.
"Matt," there was no response. "Damn. Heyes! Matt's hurt real bad, must have hit his head in the fall, left arm is definitely broken and his right leg is underneath the horse. If we cut the wrong strap and the horse gets up..."
"I know, Kid, I know," Heyes dismounted and checked the buckskin the shoulder was shattered anyway, he sighed, put his pistol against the horse's head and shot him. "His shoulder was broken. Pity, it was a good horse." Heyes removed the bridle.
"How do we get the horse up enough to pull Matt free without hurting his leg?" Curry asked.
"I'm going to lift the horse using the saddle. Try pulling Matt out."
"Ready," Heyes heaved on the saddle and Curry pulled Matt out from under. Heyes let go and removed the saddle from the horse. "Heyes, his right leg isn't broken near as I can see I think it's just sprained. It'll need to be bound up tight with bandages, which we haven't got."
"I'll cut some wood to make a travois, get the rain slickers ready," Heyes rummaged through his saddlebags finding the small hatchet he always kept ready for times like this. Curry covered Matt with the blankets and got all three rain slickers spread on the ground. Matt showed no sign off coming round, he was grateful for that because moving Matt onto the travois was going to hurt like hell.
Heyes gathered up two branches each around six feet and four branches of around four to five feet. He also got some wood to make splints for Matt's leg and arm. He carried them back to Curry, they tied the long branches together about two feet from the end then lashed the shorter branches across the long branches at about one foot intervals to make a ladder travois, they used the slickers to wrap around and form a base. They took one blanket and lay that on top of the travois weighted down at the top by Matt's saddle upside down so Matt could use it as a pillow and finally lifted Matt as gently as possible on to the travois hoping that it would hold and thanked God that it did after all Matt was a big man. "How tall do you reckon Matt is, Heyes?"
"At a guess, about six feet seven."
"Phew, and heavy too."
"Let's go maybe we'll find a line shack or something, then I can take a try at splinting those broken bones."
"Why don't you do that now, then we can head for Dodge they've got a good doctor there or so I hear."
"Well, if we just get his limbs straightened out and get that arm in a sling. You know it's just as well it's not his gun arm. Let's sort out his arm first" Curry held Matt's arm while Heyes put the splints in place tying them in place using short lengths of rope, he fashioned a sling out of a slightly longer piece. Matt groaned and his eyes blinked open. "Howdy, Marshal. Sorry, but this next part is going to hurt like hell."
"Your horse went down and you were trapped under him."
"Sorry, his shoulder was broken I had to shoot him? Your leg isn't broken it could be sprained though, sorry we haven't got any bandages."
"I always have some in my saddlebags."
"Right," Heyes retrieved Matt's saddlebags and found the bandages. "I might have to cut your pant leg and boot," Matt nodded, Heyes took his knife to Matt's right pant leg and boot. He bandaged Matt's leg, while Matt gritted his teeth against the pain. "Does that feel any better?"
"Good. At least it will do until we get you to Dodge," Matt lay back, Heyes and Curry lifted the travois and lodged it in front of Curry's saddle. They mounted and turned their horses in the direction of Dodge; Curry turned to look at the travois to make sure Matt was safe, Matt had fallen asleep when he looked up he saw the rider on the black and white paint galloping up behind them.
"Behind us coming up fast."
"Keep going I'll deal with him," Heyes drew his rifle and turned his horse. He brought it up to his shoulder, aimed and fired the rider fell backwards from his horse, the rider sat up his hand on his shoulder. "That will hold him for a while," the shot had woken Matt.
"No, Matt, just wounded. Hold up, Kid." Heyes dismounted and taking his canteen helped Matt to drink.
"Thanks," Matt said, Heyes remounted and they set off again. It was drawing near to noon when Heyes called a halt. They dismounted and unhooked the travois, loosening the cinches on their horse's saddles. Curry could see that Matt was sleeping.
"I'm going to see if I can hunt up some jack rabbits or something, "Heyes said.
"Right, I'll get a fire going and start making the coffee. I'm going to leave Matt sleeping for now, no use waking him until we have to."
"Yeah, I think there's a stream through those trees," Heyes pointed at the them.
"More than likely," Heyes left and Curry got Matt's coffee pot and went into the trees, he soon found the stream and filled the pot taking it back to the fire he placed it on the fire and spooned some coffee into the water.
"What's that shooting?" Matt asked.
"My partner went hunting for some jack rabbits or something for lunch. How are you feeling?"
"I ache all over, but I'm alive at least." Heyes returned with six jack rabbits Curry skewered them on sticks and placed them over the fire. Heyes stripped the saddle from his horse lifted Matt and placed his saddle on top of Matt's and lay him back.
"I think that might be more comfortable while we eat," Matt smiled. "We didn't really have time to introduce ourselves this morning. I'm Joshua Smith and my partner is Thaddeus Jones."
"Are you just passing through or do you plan to stay for a bit?"
"We need a job we can turn our hands to most things."
"Have you tried freighting I know the local freight office is looking for reliable men."
"We're willing to try anything once," Matt finished his meal and coffee, Heyes helped him rise up a little, removed his saddle then lay Matt down again pillowed on his own saddle, Matt watched him saddle his horse again. Curry made sure the fire was out and tightened the cinches on his mount's saddle, they lifted the travois lodging it in front of Curry's saddle, they remounted and started towards Dodge again.
Three hours later they reached the stage road Curry looked to the left and saw the way station. "We might be able to get a better means of transportation if they've got a wagon to spare." They turned to the left then crossed a bridge to the front of the way station. The station man came towards them.
"Had a spot of trouble, have you?" The station man looked at the travois. "Matt Dillon, where, how?"
"West of here this morning. He was trailing a man riding a black and white paint," Curry explained what had happened from then until they arrived at the way station. "Have you got a spare wagon we can use to get to Dodge? We'll need harness for our horses too."
"No need, we've got the horses we use for fetching supplies," Curry noticed that Matt was sleeping they dismounted. The man helped Heyes get the wagon ready they unhooked the travois and lay it flat and placed the harness on station master's horses, backing the horses into the traces they fastened the harness to the wagon and central shaft. The station man's wife made them coffee and a meal she packed some of it in burlap.
"Perhaps if he wakes he may want to eat something."
"You're very kind," Curry said.
"Keep safe, I'll ride in to Dodge to get the wagon on Saturday," the station man put some sacking into the wagon. "This next part's going to be tricky. He might wake up," Curry and the station man lifted Matt, while Heyes got Matt's saddle and bridle he put the saddle at the front of the wagon for Matt to use as a pillow. Matt woke groaning as they lifted him.
"It's okay, Matt, we've borrowed a wagon, we'll make better time now," Heyes said. The stage pulled in while they were doing all of this, Newly O'Brien got out of the stage with the other passengers, he walked over to the station man, Matt saw him and smiled.
"Matt, what happened?"
"A man I was after shot Patch, I was trapped under him. This is Joshua Smith," Matt introduced Newly to Heyes, "and his partner Thaddeus Jones," Curry nodded to Newly.
"I'll get my bag and come with you," Newly retrieved the bag from the stage driver and got into the rear of the wagon.
"It could be handy having you along," Heyes said, "if that man comes back, he's tried twice already. Plus nearly getting us killed and that really irked my partner."
"Hey having someone nearly plant hoof prints all over me, is guaranteed to make me a mite irritable." Heyes and Curry tied their horses to the rear of the wagon and mounted up onto the front box, Curry slapped the reins and they set off back across the bridge, Newly pointed them to the left. "How long until Dodge?"
"Around three hours at the rate the stage takes but at the rate we can go, four hours. I told the stage driver to tell Doc what's happened."
"Take the rifle from my saddle, if you see a rider on a black and white paint shooting at us, Joshua and you shooting at him should discourage him." Newly retrieved the rifle gave it a good check, he watched the left side and Heyes watched the right side.
"Why were you riding Patch, Matt?" Newly asked.
"Someone shot the girth to my saddle, yesterday. The bullet creased Buck's flank, he's at Jake Worth's until Friday," Matt replied.
Three hours later, the rider appeared he charged down firing his pistol towards them only to have Newly and Heyes send a barrage of bullets his way. "What I don't get is he must have known that you're a lawman, Matt so why this determination to kill you?"
"I'm just as puzzled about this as you, up till he shot Patch it was robbery, he hadn't shot anyone other than when he shot my arm. I can only think that he wants to make a name for himself."
"If he shoots a marshal," Curry let it go at that, an hour later they pulled up in front of Doc Adams's office, Doc and Festus and Newly helped Matt out of the wagon and up into Doc's office. Jonas the owner of the general store, directed them to Moss Grimmicks's stables where they could stable their horses and put the wagon for safety sake.
Festus and Newly saw them cross from the stables to the Long Branch and went to meet them. "Joshua, Thaddeus come on I'll introduce you to Miss Kitty," Newly said as they entered. "Miss Kitty, this is Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, they just brought Matt in; they found him trapped under Patch after the thief he was after shot the horse."
"The first drink is on the house," Miss Kitty said smiling at them.
"Thank you, Ma'am, I'll have a beer," Curry said.
"Same for me, Ma'am," Heyes said.
"Sam, two beers, for these gentlemen. How is Matt, Newly?"
"Broken left arm and sprained the right leg. Doc said you did a pretty good job at setting Matt's arm and binding his leg, Mr Smith," Doc and Matt entered the saloon Matt leaning heavily on a crutch under his right arm, Kitty smiled.
"Sam, bring a beer for Matt and Doc Adams," Sam brought the beers over being careful to avoid Matt's sprained leg. Heyes and Curry had by now joined a poker game. Heyes kept an eye on all the players, Curry he could trust and from what he had observed when they came in the dealers were honest. The players in this game he could see were mostly honest but there was one man who when it came his time to deal, he saw was dealing from the bottom.
"Mister," Heyes said, "you deal from the bottom once more I swear I will break your teeth." The man got up knocking his chair over.
"You want to back that up?" Heyes didn't blink his eyes went as cold as ice. The man blinked his hand went for his gun, Heyes gun appeared in his hand before the man had even cleared leather.
"Consider it backed up," Heyes said Newly walked over, he removed the strangers gun.
"Marshal wants a word with you, stranger," Newly prodded the man over to where Matt sat nursing his beer and his leg.
"You can see why I didn't come over myself," the man nodded. "We don't like card sharps around here, you're leaving Dodge now. Newly escort him out of town then give him his gun back."
"Matt, you're going to need help for the next few weeks. Why don't you take those young fellas on as temporary deputies?" Kitty said.
"I'll consider it, might make it more permanent if they're agreeable. It would be good to have more deputies we're stretched thin as it is. Funny they did say they needed a job, I had suggested the freight company." Heyes and Curry decided that things had gone kind of flat at the poker game, they rose and came over to sit with Matt.
"You feeling any better, Matt?"
"Thanks to you, boys. How do you two feel about being made my deputies?"
"Deputies? Us? There are certain people who'd get a real laugh out of that; they always said we'd end up hanging. Never quite lived up to that," Heyes remarked.
"Ain't you got two deputies already?" Curry asked.
"Newly here is only part-time, usually he's the gunsmith. Festus is the only full-time deputy and with me out of action he's going to be stretched mighty thin."
"We'll talk it over and let you know tomorrow. Right now we'd rather get a bed and sleep," Heyes said.
"Go to the Dodge House. Tell them I sent you," Matt said.
"Right. See you tomorrow. Nice to have met you, Miss Kitty."
"Nice to see you too, boys." Heyes and Curry left the Long Branch and headed for the Dodge House. They entered and went to the reception, the clerk looked up.
"Marshal Dillon sent us over, he said we might be able to get a couple of rooms."
"Certainly, if you'd just sign the register," the clerk gave them two keys. "I've got two rooms here right next to each other. Are you the gentlemen who brought the marshal back?"
"Yes," Heyes said unsure what the clerk meant by the question.
"Is there a good place for breakfast?" Curry asked.
"There's Delmonicos, down the street. Have a nice stay," Curry nodded and they went upstairs opening the doors to the rooms.
"Not bad, Heyes, not bad."
"What do you think of the offer to be Matt's deputies?"
"Won't be the best paid job we've ever been offered, but it will be legal."
"You know I keep wondering what Lom would make of us being deputy marshals."
"I think he'd split his sides laughing. Seriously, could we act the part of deputy marshals."
"Why not, it's just for while Matt's laid up."
"Right let's get some sleep," they entered their rooms and closed the doors.
The next morning they crossed the street to Delmonico s Matt, Doc and Festus were already there. "Howdy, boys."
"Morning, Matt, hows the leg?"
"Aches but it's healing thanks to you. Have you considered the job offer?"
"You got yourself two more deputies," Matt smiled. "Anything good on the menu."
"The eggs is good," Festus said, "and maybe the bacon and ham." Heyes and Curry ordered up the eggs, bacon, ham and coffee.
"You boys, come over to the office after you've eaten and I'll swear you in," Matt said as he rose and left again leaning heavily on the crutch under his right arm, they ate quickly but sipped at their coffee.
"Meal wasn't bad but the coffee was even better," they rose and left walking over to the marshal's office. "I'm going to write to Lom, tell him what's happened ask him to tell Matt who we are. Might be good to have another lawman knowing about the deal."
"I'm not sure about that, Heyes, I think we should wait at least until Matt's fully on his feet again."
"Okay, we'll wait see how things go," they entered the office; Matt was sitting at his desk as comfortably as possible with his leg the way it was. He opened a draw and took out two badges and handed them to Heyes and Curry.
"Hold up your right hand," they raised their hands. "Do you solemnly swear to fulfill the duties of deputy marshal to the best of your abilities, so help you, God?"
"I do," they said in unison. "What now?" Heyes asked.
"Now, Festus will show you round town. It won't get really interesting until the first of the cattle herds get here from Texas and Arizona, that will be in a couple of weeks. I would sprain my leg just as they're about to arrive."
"I wouldn't worry about them, our main worry is that the man on the paint pony might try again," a gunshot rang out, an upper pane of glass shattered in the window near Matt's desk. Curry ducked his head out of the door.
"It's him, but he's cleared out fast again; funny he never says anything just shoots and rides."
"I think he's going to take his time, when he's ready he'll tell you why," Heyes said.
"Joshua could be right there, Matthew, could be he wants you to sweat."
"I've sweated before, Festus."
"Yes, but never with a busted arm and sprained leg."
"Let's not worry about him just now, Festus, you show Joshua and Thaddeus around," Doc entered as they were leaving, Doc poured a cup of coffee for himself and Matt.
"How are those two working out?"
"Fine, they're smart which is good."
"When you go out to the herds in a couple of weeks take them with you."
"I'll have to take someone, I can't very well shoot and control my horse with one hand." Matt opened a draw and took out the photograph of Ellie, Doc saw that his grief was still raw even after four years. He knew it was only because of the strength leant him by Kitty's love for him that kept him going.
"You could visit her folks," Ellie's parents had bought a small farm to be near to her grave and had told him not to be a stranger. "Anyway you'll have to show Joshua and Thaddeus around the ranches. You could take a buggy and Miss Kitty could keep you company and have you introduced the twins to them yet?"
"To Ellie's folks or Joshua and Thaddeus?"
"It's time you did to everybody," Matt nodded suddenly realizing that the rider could be James Kingman. "I think I'm going to have to because the rider could be Kingman."
"I'd forgotten him," Doc said.
"So had I and I don't want the twins anywhere near him."
"What will you do?"
"Take them to Ellie's folks, hopefully they'll be able to keep them safe."
"You know they always did say they'd help you anyway they could?"
"I know, Doc. Doc can you ask Newly to bring the twins here?"
"Right," Doc left quietly crossing to Newly's store.
"Hi, Doc," Newly could see that Doc was worried. "What's wrong?"
"Matt wants you to bring the twins to his office. Matt thinks the rider is Kingman."
"That makes some sense, I'll go now. Tell him not to worry," Newly left walking up the street to the end of town where Matt had rented a small house. The twins were playing in the garden.
"Uncle Newly!" They ran up to him he gathered the ten year-olds up. "Come on, you're getting a treat, you come with me," the twins grabbed Newly one on each hand, he led them to the office. Festus, Heyes and Curry were in the office with Matt and Doc when Newly came in with the twins, the twins ran ups to Matt.
"Daddy! Daddy!" They climbed onto Matt's lap.
"Joshua, Thaddeus, this is Little Matt and Katherine."
"Are you the men who brought Daddy back," Matt looked a little embarrassed.
"Yes, we brought your father back," they climbed down from Matt's lap and each one took Joshua and Thaddeus by the hand.
"Thank you, Uncle Joshua, Uncle Thaddeus," the twins chorused, Matt's eyebrows rose.
"The way the twins look at it," Festus said, "is any of us deputies are their uncles."
"Well, you know I don't think I've ever been called Uncle before," Thaddeus said, "what about you, Joshua?"
"You boys ever hear of Hell's Corner, Colorado?"
"We passed through there a couple of years ago."
"The twins mother lived there, she was murdered by a man called James Kingman. I was the sheriff there ten years ago, Kingman's father, Bill, drew on me, I was forced to kill him. James Kingman was around fourteen at the time, he swore to get even with me."
"And you think he's the rider?" Heyes asked, Matt nodded. "What do you intend to do?"
"I'm going to take the twins to a farm nearby," Matt took Ellie's picture out of this desk draw. "This is the picture of a woman I wanted to marry. She was murdered by someone who hated her. I would have gone after him but he'd also shot me. That was four years ago her parents live close by."
"The farm," Matt nodded.
"They've never met the twins it's time they did and the kids will be safer there than here at the moment." They're getting the twins ready for their trip when Sergeant Hawk comes through the door. "Hawk, must be two years ago when we last saw you?"
"About that long, Matt."
"Visiting or are you on the hunt."
"Both, hunt first visit my white family and you later. I am trailing a white man who stole a paint pony from our reservation."
"Wouldn't be a black and white paint, would it?" Heyes asked.
"Yes, you have seen such a man?"
"You could say we're on the same hunt, Hawk. That man robbed a store here, to get me to trail him. Galloped through Joshua and Thaddeus's camp."
"Yeah, nearly killed me," Curry said.
"Shot the horse I was riding, I was trapped underneath it, Joshua and Thaddeus came along stopped him from finishing me off. So as you can see I ended up with a broken arm and sprained right leg." The twins had come to stand next to Matt.
"Hawk this is Little Matt and this is Katherine." Hawk crouched down,
"Hello, Little Matt, Katherine. Matt I can clearly see that you are their father."
"I've only just met them. I used to be the Sheriff in Hell's Corner, Colorado. Their mother didn't tell me about them, she was murdered by a man called James Kingman. She asked the new Sheriff to bring them to me."
"Children I am your father's friend so I am your friend."
"Hawk, this man James Kingman is playing a game with us, actually me, he takes pot-shots at me, I think he is the one you are after."
"Could be. I think he has planned this well. However, he may not of known about Ellie or her parents that is your thinking?" Matt nodded. "I do not think you should go. I think he will follow and know that you have the twins."
"Meaning he will use them to get to me," Hawk nodded.
"I think you use your deputies to take them out there and you stay here."
"Festus, take Joshua and Thaddeus get the twins to the farm."
"You bet Matthew, we'll get them there," Heyes and Curry left with Festus and the twins. They went to Moss Grimmicks' saddled their horses, Heyes and Curry mounted Festus handed the twins up so that they sat in front of Heyes and Curry, then mounted himself, they rode out quickly. Katherine buried her head against Curry's chest, he knew she was crying. He looked across at Heyes, Heyes shrugged, knowing that the twins were worried about their father.
"How far is the farm?"
"About fifty miles. Don't you kids worry. Your daddy will beat that Kingman. He'll make sure he pays for killing your Ma!" They galloped the horses out of town, two hours later they pulled up in front of the farmhouse. Eli Walters stopped chopping wood.
"Festus, what brings you out here?"
"Matt needs your help, Eli!"
"He knows he's got it."
"Like to introduce you to Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones, Matt's taken them on as deputies. You see Matt's laid up with a broken left arm and sprained right leg. Not only that but these here twins are..."
"Matt's children, I can see they are you only have to look at the boy to see that."
"Well, this is Little Matt and his sister is Katherine. Sheriff of Hell's Corner, Colorado brought them to Matt jest last week, when their Ma was murdered. Matt didn't even know he had children. You see he used to be the sheriff of Hell's Corner."
"Light down, young fellas, bring the children inside," Heyes and Curry dismounted they helped the children down and carried them into the house.
"Afternoon, Ma'am," Heyes said, "this is Little Matt and Katherine," they put the children down.
"Matt needs you to take care of them, Meg," Festus said. "The man who killed their Ma, he's going after Matt, and Matt don't want the twins in harms way."
"What kind of trouble is Matt in?"
"Ma'am, the man who murdered their Ma in Hell's Corner, Colorado wants to kill Matt," Curry said.
"Matt was the Sheriff of Hell's Corner, ten years ago. Just before he left, he killed a man Bill Kingman in a fair fight. Kingman had a son called James, fourteen at the time, he swore to get even," Heyes said.
"Matt's worried that he'll harm the twins?"
"That's about it, Ma'am!"
"You men are going nowhere, lest you have a meal inside of you."
"Well now, Mrs Walters," Festus said, "refusing one of the finest cooks this side of the Pecos never entered my head."
"Little Matt you can share Peter's room and Katherine you can share with Patricia. Peter, Patricia you show them to your room's then wash up for supper. The rest of you kids go wash, boat races and St Martins-Le-Grands," Heyes and Curry looked puzzled.
"Oh, sorry, you see me and my wife we originally come from London, England. Born within the sound of Bow Bells we were, that means we are called Cockneys. We speak a rhyming slang, Boat race is face and St Martins-Le-Grands is hands," the kids were soon back and everybody sat round the table.
"Can we give you a hand?" Heyes asked.
"You boys sit, you have done enough."
"Joshua, I have learned it's best to do as Ma Walters says," Festus said. Soon they were all seated round the table, sitting back replete after a meal of stew and dumplings.
"Ma'am, I thought Festus was joking when he said you were the best cook this side of the Pecos, this meal just proved him right," Heyes said. "We have got to get back to town. Little Matt you look after your sister, now!"
"Yes, Uncle Joshua," his manner of saying that reminded Heyes a lot of his father. They rode back to Dodge, arriving back mid evening.
"Well, you three look well fed."
"Now you know full well Matt, Ma Walters is never going to send anyone away hungry from their place."
"Yeah, I just wish I'd..."
"I know Matt," Heyes studied Matt once again he saw the sorrow.
"Kingman try anything yet?" Heyes asked.
"Nope, whatever he's got planned, he's going to take his time over it," Heyes nodded.
"Well, he won't get your kids that's for sure," Curry said.
"You better go get some rest," they nodded and left the office, crossing to the Dodge House.
"Heyes, I think we should write to Lom, ask his advice. Maybe get him to come here and help out. Do you think us helping a marshal will help us get the amnesty?"
"It certainly couldn't hurt our chances."
"You better do the writing, you're better at words than I am," Curry said, Heyes nodded, but said that it would be quicker to telegraph and ask him for his help. In his room, Heyes sat at the table with pen and paper and composed the telegraph. The next morning he went to the telegraph office.
"This sheriff a friend of yours?" Burke asked.
"Would I telegraph him if he wasn't."
"Probably not!" Heyes joined Curry and they walked up to the marshal's office. "Morning, Matt."
"Morning, Joshua, Thaddeus."
"Your leg feel any better?"
"It's getting there."
"We sent a telegraph to a friend of ours, he might come down and help, if you want."
"Is he a lawman?"
"One of the best sheriffs we've ever met. His name's Lom Trevors, Sheriff of Porterville, Wyoming. His deputy's well able to keep Porterville safe temporarily."
"Right now, Matt, I'd say the more the merrier," Doc said as he helped himself and Matt to coffee. Curry poured coffee for himself and Heyes.
"With the drovers due in a couple of weeks, we're going to need experienced lawmen. Thanks," Heyes and Curry shrugged, hoping that Lom could get Matt to agree to keep their secret.
"You know Matt, I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Mano and Buck again."
"Yeah, Doc," Matt could see the confusion on Heye's and Curry's faces. "Mano and Buck will be bringing a herd from Arizona."
"Mano, wouldn't be Manolito Montoya, would it?"
"You know him?"
"Yeah and the rest of the High Chaparral we met them earlier this year. His wife Anna just had twin girls."
"He finally did it got the girls he wanted," Heyes and Curry smiled.
"Didn't know you knew him?"
"I met Mano when he was eighteen and riding with the Comancheros he helped me track a man who'd beaten an old man to death."
"That's sounds like Mano, alright.
"About six years ago Anna Masterson, left Dodge to head for Arizona for a new life," Matt explained about how Anna had recovered stolen money and caught five of El Lobo's men, how Tucson had needed help and he and Anna's uncles had gone to help Tucson. "That's how Mano met Anna. How did you meet them?"
"We did some work for them earlier this year."
"Don't know when I've been so well fed until today, thank God for Victoria Cannon and Ma Walters."
"The Chaparral hands make this trip one big holiday, the whole ranch comes, while they're doing that their Apache friends guard the ranch and some come with them to guard the herd."
"We'll go do the rounds see if anything shakes loose," Matt nodded, they slipped out. "Kid, there is going to be one big fiesta when the Chaparral hands get here."
"I think we can safely say they're going to be surprised to find Matt's got twins," Curry said. They were on the way back when Burke handed them a telegraph.
"Might be the answer you wanted?"
"Might be at that," Heyes opened it and read it. "Lom's coming, be here on the eleven fifteen train, tonight. We'll get him a room in the Dodge House. Introduce him to Matt tomorrow." Curry and Heyes went back to the office. "Matt, got a reply to our telegraph, Lom's going to be here on the eleven fifteen train tonight."
"We've got him a room in the Dodge House. We'll introduce him tomorrow, might as well give him one good night's sleep," Matt smiled.
Later that night, Heyes and Curry were waiting as the eleven fifteen train came in. They stood there grinning as Lom got off the train. "All right just what kind of trouble are you in?"
"It's not us, it's the marshal. Do you know Matt Dillon?"
"Heard of him, he's nearly a legend," Lom then noticed the badges on their chests. "Who the hell made you two deputy US Marshals?"
"He did," Heyes said and explained everything.
"Damn this is completely the wrong time for him to be laid up."
"Not only that but the reason he's laid up is this fella Kingman. Now we got Matt's twins to safety on a farm around fifty miles away. He needs someone to be able to go out to the drovers camps talk some sense into them. The Arizona bunch won't be too difficult they're a friendly bunch it's the Texans they can get a little rowdy. Anyway we've got you a room at the Dodge House, nice hotel we'll introduce you to Matt tomorrow."
"Right," Heyes and Curry grabbed up Lom's travel bag and led him to the Dodge House, the clerk had him sign in and gave him a key.
"I've put you in a room near to your friends."
"Thanks," Heyes opened the door. "Not bad."
"It's the best hotel in Dodge City, we're getting a mark down on the usual price because of us being the law so to speak. Tomorrow after meeting Matt we'll take you to the Long Branch introduce you to Miss Kitty. You keep your hands off Miss Kitty, she belongs to Matt."
"No, but they might as well be. Four years ago he met a girl called Elizabeth Walters, though everybody called her Ellie. She was a drover, on her way back to Texas, someone who hated her trailed her. Matt rides a buckskin called Buck, she rode a buckskin called Patch."
"Patch the horse he was riding when you met him?"
"Yes, the rider trailing Ellie hated her, he saw Matt at distance. Far enough away that he couldn't see the face all he saw was the horse, he shot Matt and rode on. Ellie found him and got him back to Dodge. He fell in love with her, asked her to be his wife, they were crossing the street when the man came back. Shot Matt and killed her. Doc Adams told me they nearly lost him then, his friends have pulled him through, Miss Kitty most of all. You get some sleep, because you're going to need it."
The next morning on the way over to Delmonico s for breakfast Heyes and Curry asked Lom the important question. "Lom, we'd like Matt to know just who we are?"
"Let me think on that one it might violate the agreement," Lom said because he had a bit of news for them and wasn't actually sure that this was the right time to broach it.
"What Curry means is that we'd carry on under our aliases, it's just that we'd like Matt to know. After all both us are Kansas born and we've never committed any crime in this state. It might be better if we wait to tell him until after we catch Kingman."
"This Kingman must be certifiable."
"He sure is determined, we've got Matt's twins to safety anyway."
"Yes, but what if..."
"Nope," Curry explained how the twins had come into Matt's life. By the time they'd finished the explanation they'd reached the office. Matt looked up as they entered. "Matt, Doc, this is Lom Trevors."
"Howdy, the name's Matt."
"Right. Look what I'm about to tell you, I've got to have your word it won't go any further."
"You have it for what it's worth."
"Right," Heyes and Curry waited with bated breath, "Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones they're aliases. Joshua is really Hannibal Heyes and Thaddeus is..."
"Kid Curry," Doc said.
"By the way, boys, after I received your telegraph I told the Governor about what you were doing." Lom pulled some papers out of his pocket and handed them over to Heyes and Curry. They studied the papers, then sat down looking a little startled. "Governor came through boys, you're not wanted for anything anymore."
"Right, Lom, Matt it's time for Kingman to start fearing his own shadow."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean you let everybody know who we really are. Now we ain't wanted for anything."
"You want to know something," Lom said, "the truth is that neither of these boys have never had to kill anyone. Their speed on the draw has been their best defence."
"We wounded a few and if pushed Lom I think we could kill. We just prefer not to kill. One day maybe someone will come along whose faster, kind of goes along with being fast," Heyes said the usual grin lighting his youthful face.
"Doc, don't worry I'll start the rumor machine going in the Long Branch, it won't take long before the news reaches Kingman," Curry said.
Heyes poured coffee for everyone. "Heyes are you sure this is going to work?" Matt asked.
"No, but doing nothing that works in favor of Kingman. Personally, I'd rather he start getting nervous. Sitting around waiting was never my style."
"Mine, neither," Curry said. "We better go on rounds," Curry ducked as a bullet took out yet another pane of glass. Lom was about to go out but Curry stopped him. "He won't be there, Lom, he shoots then rides out," Heyes and Curry left to go to the Long Branch taking Lom with them.
Festus and Newly were at the bar when they arrived. "Afternoon, Joshua, Thaddeus," Festus said.
"Festus, Newly. Hello, Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty, this is Lom Trevors's a friend of ours," Miss Kitty had beer served to them.
"Hello, boys," they could see that Miss Kitty was worried. "Matt's all right, Doc's with him. Lom's the Sheriff up in Porterville, Wyoming, brought us news we've been awaiting for a couple of years. Means we can take back our real names."
"You mean you ain't Joshua Smith and Thaddeus Jones," Festus said. Lom returned to the office.
"Nope, we've been granted amnesty so we are no longer wanted anywhere. My name's Hannibal Heyes."
"And my name's Kid Curry. Festus you make sure that information gets around the town. It's time for Kingman to feel nervous."
"Afternoon Sergeant Hawk."
"Heyes, Curry, Matt told me what's happened. What will you do when this is all over?"
"Haven't given it much thought. I could get to like being a deputy," Curry said.
"Well, you know the saying set a thief to catch a thief," Heyes said. "You take Lom, he wasn't whiter than white. He turned away from the life of an outlaw."
"And now we think we ought to payback for our life of crime. The more immediate problem is how to get rid of Kingman."
"How close is the herd from Arizona?" Hawk asked.
"Well, by now they should be about a day away."
"I will ride to them, see if they will lend us some of their guards."
"Yes, the Chaparral have Apaches guarding the herd."
"Yes, and if I know Manolito and Buck they will definitely want in on the action."
"I will ride now I should get to them tomorrow morning and by tomorrow night Kingman will have to fear not just you but Apaches too," Hawk left, going to the stables he got his horse and rode out. Heyes and Curry returned to the office.
"Was that Hawk who just rode out?" Matt asked.
"Yeah, he's going to the Chaparral bunch, to borrow some of their guards."
"Guards?" Lom asked.
"The Chaparral ranch hire Apaches to guard the herd."
"Didn't know you could hire Apaches."
"Only if the Apaches happen to like and respect you. The Cannon family have helped the Apache a lot. Including giving them a canyon on the ranch to live in."
"Well, Hawk said he could be back tomorrow night with enough men to make it impossible for Kingman to get out of town when he tries again."
Hawk rode hard and fast for the help he had promised. Saddle Blanket saw him coming and rode out to meet him. "Hawk?"
"I need to speak to John Cannon."
"He will be sleeping it has been a long day."
"It is important or I would not be here," they rode into the camp, John woke quickly when Saddle Blanket shook him.
"What is it?"
"Hawk is here, he says it is important."
"Hawk?" Hawk crouched down.
"Matt Dillon needs help," Hawk explained what had happened but left out the news of Matt's twins, he thought that should come from Matt.
"Saddle Blanket, wake Mano and Buck."
"What is wrong, My Husband," Victoria asked, John explained.
"I would like to take some of your Apache guards to Dodge to stop Kingman leaving when he tries again."
"Mano, Buck go with Hawk take ten of our Apaches to Dodge," John gave a brief explanation, Mano stopped only long enough to say a hurried goodbye to Anna.
Evening saw Hawk, Mano and Buck arrive in Dodge with the Apaches. "Howdy, Boys," Heyes said as he stepped out of the shadows. "Matt's inside with Doc. This is Lom Trevors from Porterville, Wyoming."
"Howdy, Heyes tells me you already know about him and Curry."
"Si, enough to know that if you're using their real names, Señor Sheriff, that the amnesty must have come through."
"Yep," Curry stepped over to join Heyes.
"Jest who made you two deputy marshals thet's like putting a fox in charge of the hen-coop," Buck said.
"How did you meet Matt?"
"Matt was trailing Kingman. Kingman rode through our camp nearly killed Curry, flattened our coffee pot and ruined our breakfast. We were down to our last bacon and coffee at the time. Matt gave us his own coffee pot, bacon and coffee told us to make some more and rode on," Heyes explained the rest.
"Sounds like Matt was lucky you two were around."
"You'd best come in with us, Matt's got more news to tell you," Mano and Buck dismounted.
"Hawk, Saddle Blanket, you better get the guards in place," Mano said. He and Buck entered the office with Lom, Heyes and Curry.
"Howdy, Matt, Doc."
"Howdy, Buck, Mano. How's the family?"
"Doc they're fine. I have news my sister Victoria she and John will have a child of their own soon."
"Now that is good to hear, isn't it Matt?"
"Why don't you tell them your news?"
"James Kingman is the son of man I had to kill when I was the Sheriff in Hell's Corner, Colorado. There was a woman there name of Beth Taylor, James murdered her."
"And now he's here to kill you?" Mano asked.
"That's not all, Beth left a letter for me with the Sheriff, she asked him to bring her twins to me."
"Why you?" Buck asked.
"I'm their father, when I left to become marshal here, she didn't tell me she was carrying them."
"You have them now, Matteo."
"Heyes and Curry got them out of town to Ellie's folks."
"Thet's good, Matt, now all we got to do is git Kingman so you can get your kids back. I bet them kids're missing you something awful."
"I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't, Matt," Doc said.
"How's the leg, Matt?"
"Better, Mano, Doc took the bandages off just now. All I need is to get this arm working again."
"Hawk tell Saddle Blanket to prevent Kingman leaving should he try, we're going to make this no fun for him et all," Buck said, Hawk nodded and left.
Hawk and Saddle Blanket arranged it so that the Apaches stayed in the gaps between the buildings where they could see Front Street and yet not be seen. They watched and waited while the people of Dodge went about their business. Hawk paid particular attention to riders of black and white paint ponies. It was late in the afternoon when one of the riders stopped opposite the marshal's office he raised his rifle and shot at the windows, the Apaches raced in surrounding him. Matt walked out of the office. "Drop the rifle, Kingman!"
"You're going to murder me like you did my father."
"Your father shouldn't have drawn a gun on me. So drop the rifle, you've got a handgun try using it."
"Because I think you're a coward, up in Hell's Corner you murdered Beth Taylor with a knife, here you've taken too many pot-shots at me with that rifle and I don't intend Beth's twins my children to grow up orphans," Kingman dropped the rifle. "Get off the horse, hand it over to Sergeant Hawk, he'll take it back to the Apache reservation," Kingman dismounted but he just dropped the reins there was no way he was going to give up a good horse. Matt watched Kingman carefully, Kingman went for his gun, he looked up surprised as two of Matt's bullets took him in the chest. Doc understood there was no way that Matt was going to let Kingman live. "Heyes, Curry you can stay here as deputies alongside Festus or I can ask my superiors in Hays to find you something along the same line elsewhere."
"Well, I think we'll stay for a while Matt, see how things go."
"Good, well here's your first job. Go get my kids," Heyes and Curry rode out quietly two hours later they arrived at the Walters farm.
"Afternoon, Mr Walters, it's all over."
"Please you must call me Eli. Let's go get the twins I know they've been waiting for this day," they entered the house.
"Meg, Joshua and Thaddeus are there for the twins."
"Actually, that's another pieces of news, Eli. You see I'm not Joshua I'm Hannibal Heyes and Thaddeus is Jed 'Kid' Curry. You see we've just been granted amnesty by the Governor of Wyoming."
"Hi, kids, I hope you've been good?"
"Yes, Uncle Thaddeus."
"Kids have you heard about Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?"
"Well, I'm Jed Curry, also called Kid Curry and my friend there is Hannibal Heyes. We're not wanted outlaws anymore, we'll be staying on for a bit as deputies for your father."
"Yeah and he sent us to take you back to Dodge."
"Did Daddy beat the man who killed my mother."
"He certainly did and when we get you home you can say hello to some more of your father's friends," Heyes said. Ma Walters packed some baked goods up and put them in a hamper which Eli made sure was firmly tied behind Curry's saddle, they mounted and Eli handed the kids up to sit in front of Heyes and Curry.
"You tell Matt not to be a stranger. We'd love to see more of the twins," they rode out at a steady canter, Curry looked at the twins both of them seemed excited about seeing Matt.
Four hours after leaving town they rode up to the office. Hawk helped the twins down, Curry dismounted and untied the hamper. They carried the hamper inside, Mano was sitting in a chair his legs stretched out in front of him Buck was pouring coffee. "Daddy, Daddy," the twins ran up, climbing on to Matt's lap. They chatted happily about the farm. Mano smiled, it was good to see Matt so happy.
"Little Matt, Katherine this is Manolito Montoya and Buck Cannon."
"Hello, Mr Montoya, Mr Cannon."
"Now, kids you can call me Buck."
"And you can call me Mano," Manolito said.
"Matt, Mrs Walters sent you in this hamper of baked goods," Curry placed the hamper on the desk.
"Eli said you were not to be a stranger and they'd love to see more of the twins," Heyes said. "Curry and I'll go out to the Texas drovers tomorrow remind them to keep a lid on things."
"There's a quarantine line the Texas herds have to stay at around twenty-five miles out, because Texas herds have tick fever. Make sure they understand that."
"Right, I take it, that tick fever doesn't affect the Arizona cattle."
"Well, in that case I think me and the Kid will get some shut-eye," Heyes and Curry left to go to the Dodge House with Lom Trevors. "Lom when will you be going back to Porterville now it's all over here?"
"Next train's not until tomorrow I could be on that. If you want me to I could go with you out to the drover's camps, take the train a couple days later. Might be some who recognizes you."
"Explain to them that we've got amnesty?"
"That's about it, it'll take some time for the news to reach everywhere there's a reward poster and every bounty hunter."
"It does seem sensible to take you with us," Heyes said, they entered the Dodge House and went up to their rooms.
The next morning Heyes, Curry and Lom Trevors left early, riding out to the quarantine line. Jake Worth was there with some of his hands, to help out. "Morning, Matt still laid up?"
"Only his arm, bandages came off his leg yesterday."
"What about this Kingman fella?"
"Matt put a couple of bullets in him. By the time we get back to town, he'll be six feet under the ground. Another thing Jake is I'm not Joshua Smith, I'm actually Hannibal Heyes and that's Jed 'Kid' Curry, we've just been granted amnesty by the governor of Wyoming, means we're not wanted anywhere."
"You staying on as Matt's deputies?"
"For the time being, yes."
"Good to know. I like what you've done for Matt and his family."
"We'd do that for any man in the same circumstances," mid-morning the first of the Texas drovers arrived. "Hold it right there I know you know the rules this here is the quarantine line."
"Suppose we cross anyway."
"I wouldn't recommend it, the local ranchers such as Mr Worth here, they don't want tick fever in their herds."
"And I suppose you deputies are going to stop us."
"I take it you don't have a high opinion of deputy marshals."
"Well, let me introduce myself, I am Deputy Marshal Hannibal Heyes and this is Deputy Marshal Jed 'Kid' Curry. I take it you recognize the names."
"We do, what idiot made two wanted outlaws deputy marshals."
"Careful who you're calling an idiot, we don't like friends of ours being insulted."
"Gentlemen, I am Sheriff Lom Trevors of Porterville, Wyoming, these men have been granted amnesty, means they're not wanted anywhere."
"I only listen to one man and that's Matt Dillon, why ain't he here?" Heyes explained recent events. "Damn, Kingman must have been insane. Okay, you tell Dillon we'll hold south of the line."
"Another thing, when you do get to come in, you remind your drovers to keep an eye on what and how much they're drinking."
"We'll try, but it won't be easy." Heyes nodded, and they returned to Dodge entering the office.
"How'd it go?" Matt asked, the twins ran up to Heyes and Curry.
"Fine, couple of them said they'd only listen to you, but we talked them round."
"Good, we shouldn't have too much trouble," Matt said.
"I think you'll fill them cells anyway, just maybe not as many as could be," Matt nodded, now he could just enjoy being a father. Matt took the children across to Delmonicos for lunch and then back to his house, he sat on the stoop watching as they played.
It was evening time when the Arizona herd came in; as soon as the herd was in the stock pens Mano and Buck met with the hands, John, Victoria and Anna. Mano's kids ran up to meet him, he lifted each one in turn. "How'd it go?" John asked.
"In the end it was very easy, we surrounded Kingman outside Matt's office. Matt told him to drop the rifle and use his handgun instead. Told him he was a coward, Kingman went for his gun, Matt put two bullets in him. He's probably the only one that Matt has actually wanted to kill."
"How is Matt?" John asked. While they were talking Mano and Buck led them to Matt's house. Matt was sitting on the stoop with Doc, Festus, Heyes and Curry while the twins played in the garden.
"Howdy, John," Matt said, "I believe you've met Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry?"
"How've you been, boys?"
"Just fine, John," Heyes said.
"Mano told us the good news about you, Victoria," Victoria smiled, Little Matt and Katherine ran up to Matt.
"Daddy!" They climbed up on Matt's knee.
"Matt?" Matt explained the circumstances of their arrival. "Kingman would have harmed them to get to you, wouldn't he?"
"Yes, but Heyes, Curry and Festus got them to safety," Miss Kitty came out of the house with coffee for Matt, Doc, Festus, Heyes and Curry. Victoria and Anna joined her in the house to make more coffee and a meal for everyone. Mano remained outside with Matt, his children dragged the twins off to play some more. Matt smiled as he watched the children, how had he become so lucky he didn't know.