Disclaimer: This work is based on the story Fallon by Louis L'Amour. I do not own the characters in this story and am not making any money from this work. I did it for my own enjoyment and to improve my own writing skills.
Author's Note: Fallon is one of the most humorous of Louis L'Amour's works and I thought it would be interesting to see things from the perspective of another character, in this case Ginia Blane. So I decided to do it in the form of letters Ginia wrote back home to her cousin Sarah.
Letters From Red Horse
I hope you and Aunt Margaret and Uncle Tom are doing well. I'm sorry I haven't written lately, but there just hasn't been any place to mail a letter and any account of our trip since my last letter would be very uninteresting. Weeks of slogging across unending plains and now desert has very little to recommend it for writing back home about. We are not yet to California, but are somewhere in Nevada, where we will be staying for a while, if not permanently. So if a wagon train comes through the town of Red Horse, going east or west, I shall mail this letter and you will know where to send mail to me. Being the romantic you are, you will be interested in hearing how and why we stopped in the middle of the desert in Nevada instead of going on to the goldmines of California.
We had traveled more than 60 miles through the driest and most desolate landscape I have ever seen when a wheel on our wagon broke. While Pa has the skills to repair the wheel, he didn't have the tools. We were certainly in a fix. Our water was low, our oxen were in bad shape, and we had no idea how much further to go to water. We debated about whether we should try continuing on with one wagon and coming back when we found water or came to the end of the desert or trying for water in the mountains we could see to the south. We were about to have supper when what you would consider the romantic part occurred. No, it wasn't a white knight in shining armor on a white horse, but one of those smooth talking, no account gamblers I told you about when we crossed the Mississippi, and he was riding a black horse. At least he was dressed like one of those riverboat gamblers, with the black flat brimmed hat and black frock coat, he and his horse looked like they came a good ways and were just about all in. Yes Sarah, he is tall and quite handsome, maybe around 30, and a scar on his jaw gives him the look of a pirate. He helped himself to some of our water for his horse and invited himself to supper and he ate like he hadn't had anything for a couple of days. He calls himself Macon Fallon. He told us that the nearest water on our route was at least 50 miles away, but if we were interested, he owned an abandoned mining town that was nearby, and that in exchange for part of our profits, we could settle in the town he called Red Horse and sell supplies to settlers going to the California goldmines. I may be only 18, but I thought I could smell a con. Pa and Mr. Damon felt we had no choice but to agree to his terms, so fortunately or unfortunately, I haven't decided which, we will be settling in Red Horse. At the very least our stock will be able to recover so that if necessary we can continue on. I rode on ahead with Mr. Fallon while Pa and Mr. Damon hooked all of the oxen to the other wagon. Al and Jim were to stay behind and guard against the Indians or Bellows gang members that Mr. Fallon said are supposed to be in the area. There was a road of sorts that we followed, but it was several miles to this town, and I was becoming very suspicious of its existence before we got there. But he wasn't selling us a bill of goods; the town was where he said it would be. Pa was discouraged by the looks of things, but what could we do? Maybe things will look better tomorrow. One final note before I end for the night, Mr. Fallon was very annoyed that Al didn't stay with the broken down wagon with Jim. You could see that he just wanted to reach down and slap him silly. And I don't blame him. Ever since Al started wearing that gun, he's been acting like he doesn't have to listen to his Pa or do any thing. He just makes more work for the rest of us. Poor Mr. Fallon rode back to spend the night with Jim.
The next day.
During the night, we heard a shot from the area where we left the other wagon. We worried all night about Jim. What happened, was he all right? Pa prefers to start after full light, but because of the gunshot he and Mr. Damon left with the oxen to get the other wagon as soon as there was enough light to see, and they took their rifles along.
I just remembered something odd about Mr. Fallon. When he rode into our camp, he was wearing a gun belt with a holster but no gun in it. After supper, while we were deciding what to do, he was checking his rifle and horse, and when he came back to the fire, he had a gun in his holster. Now why wasn't he wearing it when he rode in? A mystery here.
Mr. Fallon rode by a few minutes ago and he didn't appear concerned, so nothing bad must have happened.
Well, Sarah, we found out what happened at the wagon last night. Jim said that Mr. Fallon is a violent man and he wants nothing more to do with him, and I have to agree. He shot in the knee one of the 4 drunken cowhands who were threatening to burn his-Jim's-feet. Jim says that they really didn't mean it and it wasn't necessary, but Mr. Fallon disagreed and told him that these men were members of the Bellows gang looking for women and that they would have burnt Jim's feet for sure to find out where we were. He also told Jim that he had a friend who found the body of a miner who they had tortured to death so they could find where he hid his gold. Even more ridiculous was Mr. Fallon's assertion that if you call someone a liar or a coward out here, you had better be going for your gun when you say it. Can you believe that?
I'm never, ever going to speak to Mr. Fallon again. Once Pa, Mr. Damon, and Jim got back and we learned what happened, Ruth and I went looking for Mr. Fallon to find out where things were. We found him in the Yankee Saloon, where he'd been working at getting it cleaned out. He told Ruth that her father could have the store across the street from the saloon. He also told me that the blacksmith's shop had the tools for repairing the broken wheel and he hoped that Pa would see fit to go into business there. I asked him what his job was going to be, shooting people? I made it clear that I didn't approve of such goings on and he said that he didn't care what I thought, and that I was to run along and play, of all the nerve.
All of us, except for Al, have been working very hard to get the town into shape. Ma, Pa, Jim and I will be living in a house behind the blacksmith shop. Mr. Fallon has repaired the boardwalks, replaced the hitching rails, trimmed the trees, and cleared the brush out of the street. He even made some window boxes and planted flowers in them. Though it was embarrassing to see him working, he was sprinkling the street half naked. When I reminded him that there were ladies present that he was offending, he told me to get over it. Ruth laughed at me and asked if I was setting my cap for Mr. Fallon, because I could hardly take my eyes off him, he does have nice well-muscled shoulders. I also noticed another odd thing about Mr. Fallon. With his shirt off I could see chaff marks on his wrists. It looked like he'd been tied up for some reason and got loose. I hope he's not running from the law.
Three days later.
Did you know there is a plant that you can make ink from? Mr. Fallon showed me how he made the ink he relettered the signs with. He has also staked a couple of claims on the mountain behind the town and has begun building a dam in the wash below the town. He also goes hunting and shares his meat and whatever else he finds with us, although he doesn't eat with us any more. I guess Jim's comments about shooting that drunken cowhand got to him.
We've been in Red Horse for 7 days now and we've got our first customers. Mr. Fallon talked to them and invited them to stay, but they have gold fever and are going to continue on. They bought supplies from Mr. Damon and Pa fixed a wheel. They also agreed to take this letter and see that it gets mailed. So I'll end here and start a new letter.
I hope all is well with everyone back home. We are well here and I hope to be hearing from you soon. I really didn't care for Red Horse at first, but it seems to be growing on me. It's in an out of the way location, hard to find if you don't know where to look, but, backed up to the mountains as it is, it looks very attractive. Surprisingly it's a very nice place to be living. I really like it here and I hope we don't have to move on. I don't think I mentioned it in my last letter to you, but I don't think that Red Horse is the town's real name. All of the businesses had signs but the bank, and it appeared that the sign had recently been taken down. I wonder why? When I get the chance, I'm going to see if I can slip in and find out what the bank's original name was. A lot of stuff was left behind in all of the buildings, so I'd imagine that there would be some papers lying around in the bank with the original name.
Just after the wagons left with my letter, we had another visitor. A local cowhand stopped by Mr. Damon's store for some tobacco. Only Mr. Fallon didn't think he was a cowhand, but a member of the Bellows gang, and they had words. I thought for a minute, that there was going to be a shoot out right in front of the store. The man decided to leave. Mr. Fallon told us that this man was checking out the town and we have to be more careful, that we're not living in Philadelphia, and we have to be able to take care of troublemakers ourselves. I believe Mr. Fallon is right, there is no law here but what we make ourselves, and those men did threaten to burn Jim's feet.
I stopped over by the saloon today to find out what Mr. Fallon intended to sell in his saloon. He now has what he calls Indian whiskey. He made it from fermented prune juice, black chewing tobacco, red peppers, and Jamaica ginger added to 40 gallons of spring water, soap and molasses. I don't know any one who would even consider drinking such a vile concoction.
We've been here 11 days now and have had another settler come to town. He is a Missourian named Joshua Teel, his wife and children. Mr. Fallon and Mr. Teel seem to be getting along very well. I'm glad for this because Mr. Fallon seems to be rather lonely, now he has someone to talk to. Mr. Teel is a harness maker and has offered to help with plowing and planting the flat below the town. The only thing Al does is ride herd on the stock and he doesn't do a very good job at that. I've noticed that he often goes off and just leaves the stock to wander wherever they want. And one of the places they wander to is an over hang in the wash just above Mr. Fallon's dam. It is a nice, well-sheltered place, but Mr. Fallon says that if there is any rain in the mountains, the flash flooding that would follow would come through the canyon, down the wash and drown every head of stock if they were to continue sheltering there.
It's day 14 in Red Horse and 4 more wagons have come into town. Two of the wagons belong to a man named John Brennan, who may stay on. The other 2 are continuing on so I will give them this letter. More later.
Mr. Brennan is staying on. He is a saloon man and is going into partnership with Mr. Fallon in the Yankee Saloon. Mr. Brennan has operated saloons from New York to Silver Reef, Utah. He said that the silver mines at Silver Reef were almost played out and he decided that it was time to move on before the town was closed and abandoned. The first thing he did was have his Negro handyman get rid of Mr. Fallon's barrel of Indian whiskey. I guess he tried it and didn't like it and didn't think any one else would either. Mr. Fallon wasn't upset about his whiskey being dumped. I understand that Mr. Brennan is going to make his own whiskey; he says the water here will make good whiskey.
Mr. Fallon divided the upstairs part of the Yankee Saloon into 2 apartments, one for him and one for Mr. Brennan. Much of what was in the wagons was taken up to Mr. Brennan's apartment, including a piano. Imagine that, a piano! He also has curtains on his windows. Mr. Fallon seems to be making do with what ever was left behind; he has no curtains for his windows. It's a shame; curtains make a place more home like. You'd think he wasn't intending to stay.
More wagons and a whole wagon train also have arrived, so I'll be sending this letter off. Take care.
That Al, just because he wears a gun and ties it down, he thinks that makes him a man. Apparently he believes that he has what it takes to be a gunfighter. I've heard that both Mr. Fallon and Mr. Brennan have told him that there is more to being a gunfighter than strapping on a gun and tying it down. Mr. Teel told us that out here in the west there is a responsibility a man assumes when he puts on a gun. When a man wears a gun, it is assumed that he knows that if he has to shoot someone and that someone may shoot back. Al doesn't seem to think that way, he must think that he'll always be the first to get his gun out and will never be shot at. It makes me wonder where he keeps his brains. Also Al has been spending a lot of money lately. New silver dollars I've been told. Where has he been getting them? Not from his Pa, that's for sure. Mr. Damon has already given him what for because he left the stock unattended. And too, he's been strutting around town in a new pair of fancy boots and spurs. He didn't get them from his Pa's store or from any of the folks passing through, so where did he get them? He's also been talking up the Bellows gang, going on about what a high-powered outfit they are. Just what Red Horse needs, Al Damon the outlaw gunfighter. Al is an idiot, has always been an idiot, and will most likely die an idiot.
We've got a doctor in Red Horse now. Mr. Damon took a partner, a Mr. Crest, and we now have a bakery. Twenty-nine families now live in Red Horse, good respectable people all, but oddly enough no miners. This is supposed to be a gold mining town, so why is Mr. Fallon recruiting everything but miners? He did say when he brought us here that we shouldn't expect to find any gold, and he doesn't seem to be finding anything in the claims that he's been working, nor has anyone else.
There has been a lot of speculation about Mr. Fallon and his background. Mr. Teel says that you don't ask about a person's past or background out here. Many people have come west to leave their past and start over, and as long as they mind their own business, they will be left alone. It could be Mr. Fallon has an unhappy past and wants to forget about it. Mr. Teel was talking with Mr. Brennan who said that he thought that Mr. Fallon had a good background, that he is gentry. The way that he talks, eats, drinks and treats people, especially women, indicates to him that he has breeding and was well educated and brought up. He may have been wealthy at one time, but certainly not now. His clothes, while of quality materials and well tailored, are well warn, and he doesn't spend any more money than he has to. I wonder how much money he had on him when we met on the trail. Maybe that's why he led us here under the condition that we pay him a percentage, he was broke, running from something and needing a stake. In any case I still have suspicions, he hasn't lied to us, but I wouldn't want his problems catching up with him and becoming our problems.
Pa is annoyed with Mr. Fallon. He had some kind of meeting at the Yankee Saloon with Mr. Teel, Mr. Brennan, Mr. Riordan, Mr. Shelly, Mr. Devol and Mr. Yearly. Pa has the idea that when we decide to have elections that he'd like to be mayor, and by not including him in this meeting, he, one of the first settlers, is being left out. I don't think that is the case though. All of these men have some kind of fighting experience, in the border wars, in the military and while on cattle drives. I think that Mr. Fallon is expecting trouble and wants to be prepared. Pa and Mr. Damon, I'm sorry to say, would most likely be killed first thing because they wouldn't be expecting anyone to actually attack. It's better to be prepared for an attack that never comes than be attacked and not be prepared. In any case, I hope nothing happens.
A near disaster occurred last night and it was all Al's fault! We nearly lost all of our stock, the oxen, mules, and the milk cows. If it weren't for Mr. Fallon and Mr. Teel, we would be stuck here with no way to leave if things suddenly went wrong. Al took off somewhere and got drunk and completely forgot about the stock. Mr. Fallon was awakened by the storm in the mountains during the night, and when he got up to look, he saw Al coming in. It was after 1:00 in the morning! Where had he been and where was the stock? Not in the corrals where they should have been. So he got up and with Mr. Teel, went to find them. Of course they were where they expected to find them, in the one place they shouldn't have been, at the overhang in the wash above Mr. Fallon's dam with a thunderstorm in the mountains and a chance for a flash flood to come down the canyon into the wash. They saved all of the stock, but according to Mr. Teel, it was a very near thing. Apparently they both owe their lives to Mr. Fallon's horse. As they were coming out of the wash, Mr. Teel's horse slipped and fell on him. He got free and the floodwaters caught him just as he reached the side of the wash. The floodwater was coming so hard and fast that it was all he could do to hold on. Mr. Fallon came to the edge with his rope and dropped the loop down for Mr. Teel. Mr. Fallon tried to hold Mr. Teel so that he could get his other arm through the loop and was pulled over the edge himself. Mr. Teel managed to hold him long enough for him to get into the loop with him. Mr. Fallon's horse is a good cattle-roping horse and kept the rope tight, which is what kept both from being washed away. Then they tried climbing out, and every time they got slack in the rope, the horse took up the slack, helping them out a great deal. They must have gone straight to Mr. Brennan's still after they got out because Mr. Damon and Mr. Shoyer said that they were both rather tipsy, laughing and singing when they came out into the street this morning. Mr. Damon found Al passed out in the stable behind the store. He was blind, filthy drunk. Jim now has the job of watching the stock. Al, I hear, was mad when he found out that he was fired. He wouldn't tell his Pa where he got the whiskey and refused to take off his gun belt, work in the store and stop acting like a tough. And he wonders why he's being treated like a spoiled brat of a kid. Jim said he talked to Mr. Fallon this morning when he went out to see how much water the dam held up. There was a good bit there, and very much needed for irrigating our crops. When Mr. Fallon gets back from scouting today, I'm going to thank him, it took a lot of courage to do what he did, and he didn't have to, none of the stock belonged to him. I'm also saving a bit of sugar for his horse.
More excitement today. A big wagon train stopped and camped on the flat. There were those who were interested in the town, but no one could locate Mr. Fallon. Apparently he hasn't returned from scouting in the mountains. That's not like him. I do hope he's alright. Al's trying to stir up trouble. He's talking about having an election and appointing a marshal. Pa, Mr. Damon and some of the others are for it. I wish they would wait until Mr. Fallon gets back but I'm afraid that's the reason they want to have it now, to cut Mr. Fallon out and drive him away. Some of the men with this wagon train are troublemakers, one in particular worries me. You know I don't mind being admired and being told I'm pretty, and I like wearing pretty clothes and looking nice, but this one man, Gleason, makes my skin crawl. He leers at me. I'm being more careful of how I dress and making myself less attractive and trying to avoid being seen by him, but where ever I go, he's there looking at me with that awful smirk on his face. Every time he sees me, I want to go take a bath. I really wish Mr. Fallon would get back, I feel sure that he'd send Gleason and his friends packing. The election has been scheduled for tomorrow evening.
The next evening.
I spent the day working on a new blouse. It's going to be really pretty, but if that Gleason stays on, I'll be sending it on to you because I won't want to wear it where he'll see. Having him leering at me when I wear it will just ruin it for me. The election was a disaster for Pa. He didn't have a chance. A man from the wagon train named John Buell was nominated and then Mr. Budge who has the restaurant was nominated and then the nominations were closed. With all the votes from the wagon train, Mr. Buell won. It's unfair, why should these men be permitted to vote and Mr. Buell be elected mayor when they don't even live here? The worse part is that he appointed Gleason marshal and another of his friends deputy marshal. I wonder what happened to Mr. Fallon.
The next day.
Mr. Fallon is back!!! Thank God! Apparently he met up with some Utes while up on the mountain and had to spend the past couple of days dodging them and looking for a way back. Everything is back to normal now; he got rid of Buell, Gleason, and their other friend, the deputy marshal. Good riddance, I can go about my chores without being leered at. Mr. Needham told us about it. He said that Mr. Fallon made a fool of Mr. Buell. He treated him as if he was a schoolmaster and Mr. Buell an unruly boy brought to him to be disciplined. Mr. Buell ordered Gleason to arrest Mr. Fallon, but when he tried, Mr. Fallon tripped him and before he could get up, one of Mr. Fallon's friends had a shotgun at his throat. Things settled down considerably then. Mr. Fallon reminded them that there is only one source of water for the town, the reservoir behind the Yankee Saloon, which he owns, and because he built the dam, with help from Mr. Teel, the rights to that water also belong to him. He then told them he would allow traveling water one time only and would cut off anyone who wouldn't pay their percentage. Then he gave Buell and his friends each a canteen of water and they were escorted out of town. Pa and Mr. Damon were embarrassed by all of this, they wanted rid of Mr. Fallon in the worse sort of way. I had to remind them of all the work Mr. Fallon has done to make Red Horse a good place to live and that he is indeed earning his percentage. Unfortunately, they still weren't convinced.
Hopefully things will go back to being quiet and boring.
I managed to slip into the bank this morning and do some poking around. And Red Horse is not the town's original name. Does the name Buell's Bluff sound familiar? It should. Remember that gold mining town that your Pa was so excited about when we were little? It was about 10 years ago. The town was a fraud, the mines were salted and when it was discovered, everyone just packed up and left. That John Buell who tried to take over was the original founder of what is now Red Horse. I had a little talk with Mr. Fallon on the subject today. He was working on his claim when I rode by. He didn't deny that Red Horse was formerly Buell's Bluff. But he didn't like me saying the town was a fraud or that it would die without him. Now I really don't like him and he said that he doesn't like me, but I told him that he really is important to the town and he is the one who deserves to be mayor. He of course disagreed.
Even with all the new people in the town, he still insists on working only half dressed. He was putting his shirt on when I rode up to his claim. I wonder why he just doesn't work naked and be done with it as apparently he has no modesty. Ruth, of course, laughed at me when I told her and asked if I were really, really sure that I wasn't setting my cap for him. She says that we've been giving each other the eye ever since that first day on the trail. Ruth also says that the dress she's currently working on is going to be her bridesmaids dress for when Mr. Fallon and I get married. Utter nonsense of course. Red Horse doesn't have church or a preacher, so we couldn't have a proper marriage ceremony anyway.
I'm afraid that the news from Red Horse is not so good this time. First is that Mr. Fallon had words with the 2 men who took over the Pearly Gates Saloon. One is a gambler and card sharp called Card Graham. He wears a sleeve gun and has killed 2 men over poker games and another over a woman. The other man is Spike Maloon, a bruiser from New York. Apparently he was one of John Morrissey's roughnecks and was involved in the gang fighting in New York City. Mr. Fallon told them to run things straight or else.
The next unpleasant piece of news is that we had to mark out a cemetery. A man, his wife and their little boy were killed and their wagon looted and their stock driven off. Pa thought it was Utes riding stolen horses, but Mr. Fallon said that it was typical of the Bellows gang. Then no sooner had these poor folks been buried, than we had to bury another man. I'm sorry to say that our very own Al Damon murdered him. Al has been swaggering around town, acting tough and making sure that everyone knows he's wearing a gun, looking for a chance to prove he's a gunfighter by killing someone. Well he's killed a man, but not honestly in a fair fight. The dead man had a bit too much to drink in the Pearly Gates Saloon and came out too fast and bumped into Al. Al got mad and just pulled out his gun and shot the poor man. What makes it even worse is that the man may as well have been unarmed. His gun had a broken firing pin, he was looking for someone to fix it, and it was buttoned into his holster. He had left behind a wife and 3 children. No one wants Al around anymore; Mr. Budge refused to serve him and told Al that he figured there should be a hanging party for what he'd done. And Al doesn't understand why he's not getting the respect he thinks he aught for killing someone. He's been told over and over again that it's a shameful thing to kill, and not something to be proud of. But he doesn't see it that way and is strutting around even worse than ever. He even filed a notch on his gun. And because he refuses to help in the store or in the fields, Mr. Damon has hired me to work in the store when he has fieldwork to do. I'm enjoying the work and what Mr. Damon is paying me will come in handy.
Please can Red Horse go back to being quiet and boring?
Some excitement here today! Mr. Fallon struck gold in one of his claims. Twelve dollars worth, according to Mr. Damon. And he even has a buyer for the claim. It's odd though, Mr. Fallon had said that if he knew there was gold on a claim, he wouldn't sell, but would keep the claim himself. So did the gold come that claim or from somewhere else? And considering the town's history, I wonder. Then too, it is very convenient that Mr. Fallon found gold just when someone was looking to buy. Very strange.
Also strange, according to Mr. Brennan and Mr. Teel is how Mr. Fallon has been acting lately. Nothing they can put their finger on, it just seems that he is more restless than usual, as if he's expecting something to happen and hopes he can get out of the way in time.
More trouble today too. There was a shootout at the Pearly Gates Saloon. That gambler, Card Graham, cheated a couple of men he was playing poker with last night. Apparently he didn't even care that they knew he was cheating them. They were unarmed, but promised to come back in the morning and settle the score. Mr. Fallon didn't find out about it until it was too late. Card Graham was waiting for them with a couple of shotguns. After he killed the first man, Mr. Maloon tossed him the second shotgun and Graham used it to kill the second man. I'm told Mr. Fallon was furious. He asked the man who was interested in his claim what his final best offer was. Mr. Pollock offered $10,000 in cash, which Mr. Fallon accepted. He challenged Card Graham to a game of poker with the $10,000 as his stake. They are going to play until one or the other is broke. If Mr. Graham goes broke, he has to leave town. I'm told it may take all night.
The next day.
Mr. Damon had to work in the fields and left me in charge of the store, so I'm adding to this letter while waiting for customers.
Mr. Fallon won the poker game and Card Graham is dead. Mr. Graham tried to cheat, but Mr. Fallon was too smart for him and turned the tables on him. Mr. Teel told me that there are good poker players and good cardsharps, but it is rare that good poker player is also a good card sharp. It turns out that our Mr. Fallon is a very good poker player and an equally good card sharp. Mr. Graham was only fair at either. Mr. Graham carried a sleeve gun, which is the fastest draw there is, but when he drew on Mr. Fallon, he wasn't fast enough. Now we have to mark off a place for a Boot Hill Cemetery to plant dead outlaws. When the game was over, Mr. Fallon had over $16,000. He took the $6,000 he won from Mr. Graham, gave a third to each of the widows and kept a third for himself. I wonder what he's going to do with all that money? And wasn't it generous of him to give away the money like he did? .
Mr. Fallon was just in. He bought a canteen and some other items. It looks as if he is planning on taking a trip. When I asked about it, he said he was going to scout the desert to the west. He seemed nervous and unsure about something. Then it came to me what it was bothering me about Mr. Fallon, I realized that he is a fraud. And I told him so. I told him he was a good man and a good citizen masquerading as a gambler, cheat, and drifter. Talk about seeing a man spooked, Mr. Fallon was and couldn't leave fast enough. Though, I wonder why he didn't g---
Two days later.
Remember, Sarah, how we would laugh at reports about western towns being attacked by outlaws and Indians, saying how unlikely it was? Well those reports are no doubt true, I know because it happened to us, to Red Horse, and if not for Mr. Fallon, we would be dead or wishing we were, and the town totally destroyed by the Bellows gang. Because of Mr. Fallon's preparations, the Bellows gang lost at least a dozen men, 2 of whom I accounted for myself, including Bellows, who was wounded in the attack and was hung the next day, yesterday. We lost 2 men ourselves, with 4 wounded including Mr. Fallon, who was the most severely wounded; he nearly died and may yet die.
Let me start from where I left off, Mr. Fallon had left the store, but instead of going back to his quarters at the Yankee Saloon, he went down the street to the Pearly Gates Saloon. I was told that because Mr. Maloon tossed the second shotgun to Mr. Graham, Mr. Fallon went to throw him out of town. Mr. Maloon is a fist fighter and the only way he would go was if Mr. Fallon beat him in a fistfight. Why Mr. Fallon accepted the challenge, I have no idea, Mr. Maloon was taller, had a longer reach, and weighed at lest 40 pounds more. This wasn't a prizefight by London Prize Fight Rules that your Pa likes to see and read about. This was an anything goes fight, to the last man standing with the possibility of one or both combatants being killed. Mr. Fallon, while an obviously an experienced fighter, was not the same level of strength and ability of Mr. Maloon. Mr. Maloon was able to knock Mr. Fallon down many times, but surprisingly, Mr. Fallon kept getting back up. He was a good enough fighter that Mr. Maloon knew he was in a fight, but near the end, Mr. Fallon was done and we all knew it. Yet, Mr. Fallon had one more trick left, he threw Mr. Maloon and broke his jaw. Mr. Maloon then got Mr. Fallon up against the hitching rail and had him by the throat. But it was more Mr. Maloon's bad luck that he lost the fight then good luck or skill on the part of Mr. Fallon. Mr. Fallon was able to break Mr. Maloon's grip on his throat and push him away. Mr. Maloon stumbled and fell on his head and broke his neck. Mr. Fallon staggered and fell, and then collapsed completely. Before anyone could go to him, we heard shots and horses running. Everyone scattered for cover.
I ran behind the hotel and took shelter in the cellar under the hotel. Then I had a terrible thought, Mr. Fallon was still lying out there unconscious in the street in front of the hotel. He might be dead, but if he weren't, the Bellows gang would be looking for him. At best they would put a bullet into him and kill him at once, at worse they would torture him like they did with that miner he told Jim about. I couldn't permit that. I crawled under the boardwalk from the cellar to where I could reach Mr. Fallon, and I was able to drag him to safety under the boardwalk and then to the cellar. He was alive but unconscious. I then dumped a bucket of water over where I drug him under the boardwalk. I could hear members of the gang moving around and talking in the hotel above us, and Al was with them.
It seemed like a long time, but really it was not more than an hour later that Mr. Fallon regained consciousness. As badly beat up as he was, he ready to find a way to drive the Bellows gang from our town. We could hear shooting every now and then, so the attack wasn't a total surprise. We slipped out the back way and took cover in the gully behind the hotel. We could see a dead man and horse in the street, one of the outlaws. Someone in the hotel must have seen or heard us and came to investigate. I saw him first and didn't dare alert Mr. Fallon, so I slipped away and distracted him. Mr. Fallon took advantage of my distraction and tackled the outlaw. As he fell, his rifle practically dropped into my hands, and I slammed the butt as hard as I could against his head. He was never to get up again. Mr. Fallon was impressed, he knew I didn't approve of violence, but there are times when it is necessary and this was one of them. Mr. Fallon took the man's gun belt and rifle, and keeping close to the buildings, we headed toward the Yankee Saloon where we expected some of the town's defenders to be. As we ran toward the upper end of town, one of the outlaws took a shot at us. Mr. Fallon shot back, knocking him back into the street where another shoot from the blacksmith shop finished him off. I was happy to know that Pa and Jim were safe for the time being and doing their part in protecting the town. We had to hurry though, Mr. Fallon felt that if we waited too long, Bellows would take advantage of the coming darkness and wipe the entire town out. So I told him that I would do the only thing I could think of to help find out where the Bellows men and our men were, I'd walk up the street to the Yankee Saloon and have our defenders fire a quick shot for each one there. Mr. Fallon didn't want me to go, but I reminded him, that he'd told us himself, that these outlaws wanted women and would be unlikely to harm me. He agreed and said that I had nerve, and the admiration in his voice and on his face, at that moment made me think, if we survive, this is the man I'm going to marry. And this after all the times I've said that I didn't like him, I expect you'll be laughing and Ruth will say I told you so. Then he kissed me!!! So he must have feelings for me too.
It was as Mr. Fallon said, the outlaws ordered me to come to them or be shot. They did shoot near me, but I ignored them and continued on to the Yankee Saloon. Unfortunately, it wasn't our defenders, who were using the Yankee Saloon as their headquarters, but Bellows and his henchmen, Lute Semple, Tandy Herren, and several others. While they laughed and told me what they were going to do with me and any others they could get their hands on, I could hear gunshots getting closer and closer and then Mr. Fallon burst through the back door. Even with his face battered and swollen, his body streaked with blood, sweat and dirt, no man ever looked so good to me. He saw what the situation was at a glance and didn't waste any time. He brought the muzzle of the rifle up and shot from the hip just as fast as he could work the lever. Bellows and his friends were shocked and stunned. In that room and at that distance, there was no way Mr. Fallon could miss and he didn't. But he didn't have a chance out numbered as he was, if I didn't do my part. I started fighting with the man who was holding me and I lunged against another, causing him to miss his shot. By this time the outlaws were in a panic and rushing to get out. I grabbed the gun of the man holding me and shot him as he scrambled for the door. I saw Mr. Fallon turn and shoot an outlaw who was on the balcony, and then he fell. As Mr. Fallon got up and was trying to make his way to the door, I saw that he'd been shot. He had blood all over his side. I had to grab him to keep him from going out into the street. Our defenders, who were up at Mr. Fallon's old claim, gunned down the outlaws as they ran out of the saloon and into the street. The remaining outlaws decided to get out of town as quick as they could.
In the meantime Mr. Fallon had collapsed and was unconscious with a bullet wound to the body and another to the leg. I grabbed some of Mr. Brennan's towels from behind the bar and did my best to plug Mr. Fallon's wounds and stop the bleeding. Not an easy thing to do while surrounded by dead and dying outlaws. That Bellows, he wasn't wounded that badly, but he was carrying on, begging for help, when a better man than he could ever be, was in danger of bleeding to death. I was so mad and scared for Mr. Fallon; I would have shot Bellows myself just to shut him up. It seemed like hours before anyone came to investigate, I didn't dare leave Mr. Fallon to signal for help. Finally someone came and they got the doctor there first thing and he treated Mr. Fallon there in the saloon and then he was taken upstairs to his bed. After treating the other wounded, he came back and stitched up the gashes on his face from the fight with Mr. Maloon. Ma, Mrs. Teel and I are going to be taking turns taking care of Mr. Fallon. If he lives, the doctor says, it will be weeks before he will be fully recovered. His wounds are very bad. Mr. Fallon was still unconscious the next day when they tried Bellows and another member of his gang. The man who bought Mr. Fallon's claim, Wiley Pollock, was the prosecuting attorney, and both were found guilty and hung. The one man wouldn't tell us his name. Al left with the other members of the gang and hasn't been seen since. Good riddance I say, although I do feel sorry for his Ma.
Mr. Fallon is still unconscious and is becoming feverish and restless, so I'll end this letter for now. Hopefully I'll have better news in my next letter.
It's been 10 days since the attack and things are looking up. While Macon was feverish and ill, he would talk, but oddly enough, only when I was present. He would go on about finding gold and having to watch out for the Utes, and wanting me to have the claim if something happened to him. He also would say he loved me and wanted to marry me. I was overjoyed to hear this, but how far can you trust the fever ramblings of a very sick man? Especially one who was planning on taking his ill-gotten gains from selling a gold mine that he knew had no gold and leaving town. After we got him settled in his bed after the shootout, I found that he was packed and ready to go. How soon he planned to leave, I don't know.
I finally decided there must be something to his gold talk, this must be where he found that gold; because he certainly didn't get it from the claim he sold to Mr. Pollock. Mr. Pollock said that he can't believe he was taken in so easily, that there isn't one bit of gold in that claim and never had been. I told Mr. Pollock about the possible claim on the mountain and suggested he get Mr. Teel and backtrack Macon and see if they could find the claim. After 5 days they did find it and Mr. Pollock said was a good claim and that he couldn't understand why Macon didn't make any attempt to work it. Mr. Pollock thinks that it's important to move fast and get work started on the claim before word gets out and others try to get in on it. So I stretched the truth a little and told everyone that Macon proposed to me while we were under the hotel that time and that we planned to get married. Everyone is conveniently ignoring the fact that romantic encounters leading to marriage proposals, rarely occur in a dark cellar under a hotel while an outlaw raid on the town is going on. And so now that I was engaged to Macon, I had the perfect right invest his money and enter into contracts in his name. So Mr. Pollock and I formed the Red Horse Mining and Development Company. Macon is the President, Mr. Pollock is the Vice President and Superintendent of Development, and I'm the Treasurer. Mr. Pollock contributed the claim that Macon sold him and I contributed the claim on the mountain and the $12,000 for hiring workers to develop the claim. Also when it became obvious Macon was going to live, the town decided to have an election, and Macon was elected Mayor. He was certainly surprised to find out what had been going on while he was ill. Especially that we now have a Pastor and a church.
It was yesterday, almost 9 days after the attack; when Macon finally woke and learned his fate. I don't think he realized how badly he was hurt; he thought that he could still escape. Actually he would have been lucky to get himself dressed and make it to the door. I think he was really frightened when everyone trooped in and he found out that I had spent all of his money and he was about to be married. No one told him and I don't intend to tell him, that if he hadn't woke up when he did, Mr. Brennan had volunteered to be his proxy and say his vows for him. He continued to protest until Mr. Riordan reminded him that if he didn't, it would appear that one of Red Horse's girls was being slighted, and men had been hung for less. He didn't mean it of course. Macon stopped protesting, and took his marriage vows like it was his idea all along.
It was a very interesting ceremony. The groom was flat on his back in bed wearing only a night shirt and bandages, the bride didn't have a proper white wedding dress and the Reverend Mr. Tattersall had no qualms at all about performing a wedding ceremony where the groom had just found out he was to be married less than 5 minutes before. Ruth wore the new dress she had made and kept reminding me that she knew that Macon and I would end up together. Mrs. Teel made the wedding cake and everyone laughed and cheered when I smeared a piece all over Macon's face. All of this was just too much excitement for him and he fell asleep soon after. Everyone left and I could hear the men downstairs in the saloon buying each other drinks and offering toasts to us.
I'll write more later, and let you know how married life agrees with Macon and I.
I'm writing this letter 18 days after the attack. Macon has mostly gotten over the shock of having his money invested for him and is getting use to the idea of being married. And I'm getting use to the idea of keeping his spirits up during his recovery. At 32, he feels he is a failure because he has no money and has accomplished nothing in his life. I keep reminding him that the lack of money is only temporary and that he has accomplished much and has time to do much more. As his condition improves, so does his mood, and I've had to remind him less often what a good man he is. Though it really isn't a hardship, this reminding I'm doing, I simply kiss him until he forgets what he was upset about. He'll have a stunned look on his face for a couple of hours afterwards. He is feeling much better and has been up and getting around a bit the past few days with the help of a cane. He was downstairs yesterday to have coffee with Mr. Brennan and to visit his horse. Today we went to church, but it was a bit too much for him, and half way through the service he fell asleep with his head on my shoulder. It was sweet, and everyone would smile when they looked at us. Because it was such a nice day, a town picnic was planned for after church, and because Macon was so wilted, his friends made a bed up with blankets for him under a nearby tree where he could rest and still be a part of things. It was good for him to be out in the sunshine and fresh air, rather than in our apartment over the Yankee Saloon. He spent most of the day napping with his hat over his face and visiting with his friends and meeting with some of the new people who've come to town since he's been ill. It was a lovely day and we both had a good time.
I have been wondering why, when I say that I hope Macon will soon be up to his husbandly duties, everyone smiles and laughs. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
Mrs. Macon Fallon