The Draft

By Michelle Denson

Late evening, just before closing time at the bank in Melbourne.

Bank Clerk: Rob, why don't you wait until morning, carrying that much money..

Rob interupts

Rob: It's alright. I don't expect any trouble. Only you and dad know I'm here.

Clerk: Yes, but still Rob, what your carrying is plenty enough reason for you to get killed.

Rob: Don't worry I'll be careful. I just have to stop and send a message to dad than I'm on my way.

Clerk: Just be careful Rob.

Rob: I will.

The next morning at Langara, Matt is stareing at a group of horses talking to Colin.

Colin: He went with Montana where?

Matt: To Melbourne, he said she had some paperwork to do and he was going to go along and keep her company. He should be back sometime tomorrow.

A rider is seen coming, it's Danni. She rides up to Matt and hands him a letter.

Danni: Here dad, this came for you. It's from Rob.

Colin: Well dad what does it say?

Danni: Yea dad, what does it say?

Matt: Well, um, it says he and Montana left Melbourne last night, and that they should be arriving late tonight.

Colin: Why would they have traveled at night? Why not just wait and leave in the morning?

Matt: I don't know, maybe Montana has something vauble she is carring and feels it is safer to travel in the darkness.

Another rider is seen coming up. It's Montana, she rides up to the McGregor's and dismounts.

Montana: Where's Rob?

Matt: On his way back from Melbourne. (A long pause) With you.

Montana: With me? I haven't seen Rob in days. What gave you the notion that we were in Melbourne?

Colin: Because Rob said he was going with you. That you had some bussiness to do and wanted a travel companion.

Danni: And we just got a wire from him, saying that you two left Melbourne last night.

Matt stands off to the side with a very worried and puzzled look. The others take notice.

Danni & Colin: Dad?

Montana: Matt, what's wrong?

Matt: He's gone and picked up the payment for those horses.

Colin: What's the big deal with that Dad?

Matt: (Looking at Colin face to face)Colin, that's the money for the five year army contract.

Everyone stops and stares at Matt. Meanwhile Rob is almost half way home. He has come to a river, which he crosses and stops under a large tree.

Rob: Here boy, we'll stop here for a little while and get some rest.

Rob dismounts and takes a good look around. He pulls a large pouch from his saddlebag and walks towards the big tree. He stops and takes another glance around. After being sure that no one is around he knells down and starts to look around the trunk of the tree. He stops when he finds a large hole in the tree. He then puts the pouch inside the tree and covers the area with sticks and debres. He places a small rock at the base of the pile, then moves to a nice shady spot under the tree and nods off for a few minutes. After a half hour he gets up and returns to his horse.

Rob: You ready boy? Just a few more minutes.

Across the river, behind another tree, two men sit watching.

Man #1: Hey Jake, you think that he really has money?

Jake: Well John, there's only one way to find out.

The two men check their rifles. Jake lifts his rifle and aims it towards Rob. Rob heads back over to the tree and recovers the hidden pouch. He puts the pouch back in the saddlebag. He grasps the horses reins and mounts.

Rob: Okay boy let's go home.

Rob takes a quick look around. Jake has his rifle aimed directly at Rob and fires. Rob is hit in his left shoulder, the blast knocking him from his horse. His horse takes off at full speed towards Langara. Rob attempts to get up but after a short attempt he passses out in a pool of his blood. Jake and John mount their horses and ride over towards Rob. They cautiously approach, their guns ready to fire. They see he is not moveing and dismount. They lower their guns. Jake knells down and checks Rob.

John: Is he dead?

Jake: No, just unconscious.

John: Can you wake him up? Maybe pour some water on him.

John hands Jake his contanier with water. Jake pours it on Rob and he awakens, finding himself in excrustiating pain. He tries to get to his feet, but his attempt is rebutted by Jake.

Rob: What do you want from me?

John: Money

Jake: Tell us where the money is now and you may live.

Rob: What money?

Jake stands and swings the butt end of his rifle towards Rob, hitting him on the side of the head, and knocking him unconscious.

Jake: Maybe that will knock some sense into him.

John: Well let's tie him up. We will get some answers one way or another out of him.

They tie his hands together and tie him from a branch on the big tree.

John: You better find his horse, he may have the money in the saddlebag.

Jake: Okay.

Jake mounts his horse and heads off in the direction Rob's horse went. John sits down by a nearby tree and waits for Jake to return. Back at Langara Colin and Matt are saddling there horses. Montana is waiting outside the barn.

Montana: (Speaking into the barn at Matt and Colin)Hey, we gonna get going or what?

Matt: Yes Montana we're ready now.

Matt and Colin lead their horses from the barn. The three stop by the sounds of an approaching rider.

Colin: I wonder who's coming? Sounds like they are in a hurry to get here.

They catch a glimpse of Rob's horse.

Matt: That's Rob's horse

Montana: But where's Rob?

The three of them settle Rob's horse as he comes bolting towards the barn. Danni hearing the noise comes from the house. After getting the horse settled, Matt takes a look at him.

Matt: Blood.

Danni: Blood? Where's Rob?

Colin: Just his horse came. Rob must be out there somewhere.

Matt: Danni, take care of the horse. We're going to go look for Rob.

Danni: But dad, I want to..

Matt interupts.

Matt: No Danni, you stay here.

Danni takes Rob's horse into the barn as Matt, Colin, and Montana head off in search of Rob. She pulls off the saddle and cools the horse down. She takes the saddlebag and finds the pouch that Rob had put in there. Danni being curious looks inside, finding more money than she has ever seen. Meanwhile Jake sits near the edge of Langara watching as three riders approach. He quickly turns his horse around and heads back to the river. Back at the river John hears a rider approaching.

Jake: John! (He shouts loudly) Riders coming. Let's clear out of here.

John: Did you find the horse?

Jake: Yes, but couldn't get to him. I know where he is and theirs only a girl with him.

John: Good

Jake: What are we going to do with him?(Pointing towards Rob) He's waking up.

John: I'd shoot him, but those riders would hear that.

Rob starts to move about. John walks over and hits Rob with the butt of his gun, once to the rib area and again to the head. Rob hangs limp from the tree. John goes to his horse and mounts.

John: Let's go.

Jake: You're just going to leave him here? He could identify us!

John: Don't worry, he won't live long enough. With as much blood as he has lost and now with some broken ribs, he shouldn't live to morning. Come on let's get out of here and get that money.

John and Jake head off towards Langara. At a small clearing between Langara and the river, Matt, Colin, and Montana stop.

Matt: I think we should split up.

Colin & Montana: Okay

Matt: If you find him send off some shots.

The three split off. A few minutes later Montana comes towards the river and catches a glimpse of Rob. She pulls her gun out and shoots a few shots in the air. Montana dismounts and rushes towards Rob. Matt and Colin hearing the gun fire ride towards the river. Meanwhile Jack and John arrive at Langara.

John: Okay Jake, where's the horse?

Jake: I saw them put him in the stall.

John: Okay I'll go check it out. Wait here.

John goes into the barn and sees the horse. The horse has been unsaddled and after checking the saddlebags he finds no money. He walks out of the barn and motions for Jake to join him. Jake rides over.

Jake: Well did you get it?

John: No, it must be in the house.

They leave the barn and head over to the house. Back at the river, Matt and Colin have joined Montana.

Montana: Hurry Matt, help me get him down.

Colin: Is he..

Montana: No, he's hurt bad though.

Matt and Colin help Montana get Rob down. They lie him on the ground. Colin looks at Matt.

Colin: Dad, there's tracks leading to Langara.

Matt: My God! Danni!

Montana: Go Matt, I can take care of Rob.

Matt and Colin mount their horses and rush back to Langara. Meanwhile Jake and John have managed their way to the house and knock on the door. Danni answers and the men force their way inside.

John: The money, where is it?

Danni: What money?

John slaps her across the face. Danni falls to her knees, her eyes begining to tear.

John: The money!

Danni: I don't have any money!

John raises his hand to slap her again, but stops in mid-strike.

John: I have another idea.

Jake: What?

John: I think I will have a little fun with her. Keep an eye out.

Back at the river, Montana is tending to Rob's wounds. She walks over to the river for some fresh water and returns to Rob finding he is starting to regain consciousness.

Montana: Rob, Rob are you okay?

Rob: Ow(holding the back of his head with his good arm). My head hurts, but I'll live.

Rob struggles to sit up, Montana helps him. She stops and they share a stare, before she breaks eye contact.

Montana: What do you think you were doing Rob?

Rob: What do you mean?

Montana: I mean going off and about getting yourself killed.

Rob: Oh, Montana, I didn't think you cared.

He lays a smirk across his face which is quickly gone as Montana starts to clean the wound on his head.

Rob: So how did you find me? How did you know I was missing?

Montana: You were supposed to be out yesterday to help me with that fence. I figured something was wrong so I went to Langara. Seems the two of us went to Melbourne. Matt figured out what you were up to and then we came looking.

Rob: Dad's here? Where?

Montana: He and Colin went back to Langara. Seems there were some tracks leading back that way.

Rob: Oh God, Danni.

Rob struggles to his feet, but colapses. His body to weak and hurt to carry his weight.

Montana: Rob, your dad and Colin can handle it. Just relax, Danni will be okay.

Outside of the house at Langara, Matt and Colin creep to a window in the back of the house. Matt and Colin move quitely towards the front of the house. They see the two men, one watching out the front window. The other struggling to make his way with Danni.

Jake: Come on John we don't have time for this.

John: Shut up, this won't take long.

Enraged, Matt and Colin rush the two men. Colin rushes into Jake and the two go through the window. Colin gets up first and strikes Jake with his gun knocking him out. Matt rushes over and hits John across the head with his gun, knocking him out. He reaches down to Danni and holds her in comfort.

Matt: You okay?

Danni: Yeah Dad, thankyou. What about Rob?

Matt: He's with Montana. (He calls out) Colin.

Colin: Yeah Dad?

Matt: Can you take care of these two?

Colin: Yeah, Danni can you get some rope?

Danni: Sure Colin

Danni heads to the barn for some rope and returns shortly. After Matt and Colin tie up the men. Matt gets the buckboard.

Matt: I'm going to go help Montana bring Rob in.

Colin: Okay.

Matt rides off towards the river. Meanwhile at the river, Montana has finished tending to Rob and they sit, waiting for Matt and Colin to return.

Rob: Have you thought about my proposal?

Montana: This is hardly the time to discuss it.

Rob: I couldn't think of a better time, or place. Come on Montana I know you have feelings for me.

Montana: Rob, not now.

Rob: But Montana..

Montana: Enough

Montana gets up and walks towards the river.

Rob: I'm sorry Montana, I won't push.

Rob looks to Montana, but she has her back to him and doesn't turn around. He looks away and sees Matt coming with the buckboard.

Rob: Here comes Dad.

Montana: I'll be on my way than.

Rob: Montana, I'm sorry.

She mounts her horse and heads back to Shoshoni Hills.

Rob: Montana

She keeps going and doesn't look back. Matt goes to Rob.

Matt: You okay son?

Rob: Yeah Dad. How's Danni?

Matt: She's fine

Matt helps Rob to the buckboard and they head home.