Landon Ricketts sat behind the iron bars of the biggest prison in the state of New Austin: Clearcreek. No convict ever escaped Clearcreek since its origin. This was on accord of its high walls with barbed wire on the top. Plus all the ex-Civil War fighters who moved to New Austin after the war went on to be lawmen, ranchers, or prison guards. If you didn't think the soldiers-cum-guards would shoot you if you ever put the smallest part of your big toe out of line, you had another thing coming.
Landon Ricketts was a well known bandit who was famed for his shooting ability. Although his near killing of Buff was hardly mentionable next to his other deeds, the guards still were highly frightened of this mysterious gunslinger. He was placed as the charge of Fenian, a large Irish-American guard with a taste for his ale. Fenian took every single weapon the drunken man had and locked it in a safe in the storage closet located in the desolate cellar. Of course, Landon put up a fight, but Fenian struck the man down easily. He got cocky, which was unwise. A sober Landon wouldn't be beaten by any man in the West.
"Ricketts," said Fenian walking to the bandit's cell one morning. "I heard from a man a few cells down that yew have a certain home-made weapon in your possession."
L.R. only sneered. As a young man, Landon was a very egotistical and racist man, which was what caused him to throttle the poor Buff. It was ironic, considering he later became a saint in the eyes of many Hispanics.
Fenian tried to break the other male's aloofness. "Mr. Ricketts, escape from this here prison is not possible. The walls are high, yew were blind folded when you were brought in so that yew couldn't make note of landmarks, and I would shoot yew down with this here gun." He lifted a Colt pistol.
"Look, O' Grady." The gun was put to Rickett's head.
"Yew racist piece o' trash."
Landon gnashed his rotten teeth, "I don't think any damn Dubliner can shoot me. Especially not some scrawny bozo with a bowler hat and a dinky kid gun."
"And what weapon do yew have, sir?" After all, Fenian had ever single gun that the police found on his passed out body in the saloon.
"Well, you damn bastards didn't check me in one spot…"
"You can't possible mean…"
Within a blink on an eye, Landon Ricketts whipped out a widowmaker from the crotch of his trousers and shot Fenian in the chest. Clutching his bony breast, the Irishman sunk to his knees and expired. Landon Ricketts was on the run. He tore through the hall ways of the prison, past cells and cells. Guards chased after him, but many met the bullets of the renegade's gun. In all, twenty men excluding Fenian were killed in the event.
A carriage rumbled through the desert carrying several Indian prisoners. Clearcreek was in the driver's sight. The Indians in the back of the vehicle were caught bothering the native whites of Brimstone an hour away. He would be glad to be rid of the hooligans.
"Be careful," the warden said as the driver unloaded the criminals in the yard. "A very dangerous man has gotten out of his cell and we have no clue where he got to."
"Say," the warden said. "Would you mind taking this to the bank in Armadillo? I have to pay for the damages old Fenian did when he was drunk at their saloon. Damn Dubliner." He carried a heavy chest about six feet in length to the coach.
"Heavy." The driver loaded the case in the passenger's seats.
John Marston vomited all night and morning, but Red knew he couldn't stay long especially when word was starting to spread of the governor's death. He left the inn one morning to check on his horse in its stall when he saw his first wanted poster. His photograph was on it, and he was worth ten grand. He pulled a bandana over his nose and mouth to hide his features.
"We have to leave kid." John was flabbergasted. "I walked into the gunsmith's shop. He told me our destination is pretty close."
"Mr. Harlow, I dropped my gun on the way here," Marston blurted.
"Yeah, I went to the smith and got you this." He held out a widowmaker identical to his own. It shone in the light that was coming in. Gold and white. Marston later lost the gun in a train robbery, but up until then, it was his prized possession.
"No problem, now let's get outta here." Red kicked the door of their room open and rushed down the stairs. He was rushing like a young colt; he was obviously stirred up. His eyes were a fire, and his face was tense as if deep in thought. Marston knew his captor was worried. But why? Was it the fact that he had stolen an orphan? No. No one gave a damn for John Marston's sorry ass aside from his doll back in Blackwater. Abigail. She'd be furious when he got back. If he ever did.
Running to the stalls like bedlamites, Red lost his bandana. Gasps filled the air. Here, in center of town, was the murder of the governor of New Austin, the most wanted ne'er-do-well in the United States of America.
The driver of the Clearcreek prison cab reached the bank at sundown long after Red's identity was given away. The driver drove as fast as possible with no breaks, all day yesterday and all day that day. There had to be bullions in the chest. It was weighty as sin. As soon as he reached his destination, he climbed out of the seat and urinated on the hitching post.
Unbeknown to him, the case opened without the help of anyone. The case had been empty of its precious gold, for a man was placed in its stead. The man was Landon Ricketts, free at last.