Telegrams Are Usually Important By Diana L. Pierce….alias….Dee Grainger

It was a warm sunny afternoon at the Shiloh ranch. The Virginian and all the cowhands were standing outside the bunkhouse. Trampas looks up toward the house, "Elizabeth was in such a hurry to get to town, thought she'd be back by now." Jim adds, "Yeah, guess one of us could have taken her after all. Things went pretty good today, didn't they?" The Virginian saw the other Grainger niece standing by the corral watching the colts play and remarks, "Wonder why Dee never cares to go with her?" Trampas walks over by the corral. "Dee, how come you didn't go to town? Don't you like a change in scenery once in awhile?" Dee replies, "Those people in town aren't very friendly. Can't think of anything I need there." She smiles at Trampas, "Anyways you ever see anything prettier than these fellas?" Trampas puts his arm on her shoulder, "No, ma'am, not unless it's the lady looking at 'em." Dee smiles at him again, "My, aren't we full of it today." Trampas grins, "I try ma'am." He pecks her on the cheek and walks back toward the bunkhouse. The Virginian is watching Trampas and shaking his head as his friend gets closer, "I can't believe she didn't cuff you." Trampas said, "Who me? You know the girls all find me irresistible. Besides thought she'd been acting a little glum lately." The Virginian laughs, "I'd say you're irresistible. Dee always gets moody after she gets one of those letters from Montana. You know that. Makes me wonder if I should either quit giving her the letters when they come or take her up there so she can marry the guy."

Hours earlier, Elizabeth Grainger had just left Medicine Bow. She seldom went to town unescorted but today she was excited to get started on her new dress and was short on supplies. She was absorbed in thought of getting home to her project. Out of nowhere three riders pull along side of her and grab the horse's reign stopping her buggy. It was a scruffy looking trio with the manners of a rattle snake. The leader of the group a tall red haired bearded man says, "Lady, do as I say and we won't hurt you." Elizabeth puzzled by it all, "Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?" The man said, "You'll know soon enough." They tied her hands and blindfolded her. They sat her on the saddle of a horse and then left a note on the seat of the buggy. As they led her away she could hear the sound of running water so she knew she was close to a stream. She could feel the incline of a hill she was going down. She knew they hadn't been traveling far but was unfamiliar to the place her captures had taken her to. After entering the run down shack they take the blind fold off their victim. An uneasy shaky little man they called Spike asked, "Red, what do you want us to do now?" The tall man replied, "We wait. I sent Fred to town to wait on the telegram."

In the meanwhile back at Shiloh, the cowhands see the buggy coming. Trampas said, "Boss man, something's wrong that ain't Elizabeth." The foreman greeted the traveler as he pulled up with his horse tied behind, "Sheriff, where's Elizabeth?" He shakes his head, "You better read this note." The note read, (Send Johnny Marble to Crow Canyon. Do this if you want to save his girlfriend.) The Virginian couldn't believe what he was reading, "Let me tell the Graingers what's going on. I'll get some of these guys and we'll try to find her." The sheriff says, "I'll go back to town and get a posse together. I better send a telegram off to Johnny."

Back at the shack, Elizabeth warns, "You'll never get away with this. What do you want?" Red smiles, "We only want your boyfriend to meet a friend of ours at Crow Canyon. When this happens we'll let you go." She said, "I don't have a boyfriend." Red doesn't believe her, "We know for a fact that you are Clay Grainger's niece, Missy or should I call you Dealia, like Johnny does?" Elizabeth thinks to herself, I wonder what they will do if they find out they got the wrong niece?

Back at Shiloh, Clay Grainger has a map spread out across his desk. "I don't see this place called Crow Canyon on any of these maps." Holly rubs his back, "Maybe we need a newer map. Maybe we don't need to know where it is anyways. We got to believe they'll find Elizabeth, soon." He scratches his head, "The sheriff said he'd send Johnny a telegram about this mess." Dee walks into the room. "I can't believe they thought Elizabeth was me." Holly asks, "Did Johnny ever mention a place called Crow Canyon?" Dee tries to remember, "I don't think so." Holly and Dee try to comfort each other.

Johnny receives a telegram in Montana where he now lives. It was from the sheriff of Medicine Bow. The telegram informed him of the kidnapping and the mistake the crooks made by abducting the wrong niece. Johnny returns a reply telegram describing who he thinks has Elizabeth and heads for Crow Canyon. He knew exactly where it was and who he was dealing with. No wonder it wasn't on any map as it was a place only known by out-laws. Johnny had been there many times before.

In the mean while the sheriff and his posse had just met up with the Shiloh group. They decide to send one party east and the other west. They now have the names of three men and the description of each of them. The Virginian and his hands travel west past a stream and down into a small valley. They soon spot the old shack and three horses tied out front of it. They all dismount and quietly walk toward the shack. The Virginian sends a few men behind the shack and calls out, "Hey! You in the shack! Come on out here with your hands in the air!" Red grabs Elizabeth and holds a gun to her head, pulling her toward the open door. "Drop your gun or I'll blow the little lady's head off." The Virginian throws his gun down. Red doesn't see Trampas to his left sneaking around the edge of the shack or another hand to his right. The shaky man Spike notices the man at the right of the building and is pointing to him, "Red, look out over yonder!" As Red takes a shot at the man, Trampas jumps him and pulls Elizabeth away. The Virginian grabs his gun on the ground and fires at Red bringing him down moaning loudly in pain. Spike throws his gun down, "Red, told you this ain't our kind of thing." Trampas comforts Elizabeth, "Liz you alright?" She nods, "Yes, am I glad to see you guys." She looks at the Virginian, "There's another one in town waiting on a telegram. His name is Fred." He says, "Trampas, take her back to Shiloh and I'll go find the sheriff." He has the other hands tie up the villains and escort them to jail. As they start to ride off Spike ask, "He called you Liz. You mean you ain't Johnny's girl?" Elizabeth glares at him, "No, I'm not."

The Virginian meets up with the sheriff and his posse. He tells him about the third man called Fred. They all ride to Medicine Bow. The sheriff questions the two they have in jail. Shaky Spike spills the beans, "Willie Baxter's gonna kill Johnny Marble in Crow Canyon. He didn't know where to find him. But he knew where his girlfriend lived." The sheriff says, "I've met Baxter before. Tell me, where is Crow Canyon?" Red speaks up, "You'll never know. You think anyone would be stupid enough to tell this blabber mouth?"

The Virginian is watching the telegraph office. He spots the scurfy stranger going in the office and follows him. "Anything for Freddy?" The operator shakes his head, "No not yet." The man turns around to find a gun drawn on him, "The sheriff is looking for you. Let's go see what he wants to do with you." The Virginian escorts the man down the street. The sheriff meets them and handcuffs the stranger.

As Trampas and Elizabeth are nearing the ranch, Elizabeth says, "This horse belongs to those terrible men." Trampas laughs, "Well, why does it have a Shiloh brand on it then? Wonder when they stole the horse?" Elizabeth smiles, "I didn't notice that."

The Graingers hear the horses riding in and are standing out front the house when they get there. Dee is the first to greet Elizabeth, "I'm so sorry. It's my fault. Hope they didn't hurt you." Elizabeth hugs her, "It is not your fault. Don't you even think such a thing, I'm fine and the crooks are in jail." Dee cries, "Thank God, hope Johnny's alright." Holly tries to calm her niece while giving the other a hug to welcome her home. "You know he's alright. He was a professional, remember?" Dee storms back to the house, "I hate that word, professional."

A few hours later the Virginian and the cowhands come back to Shiloh. He comes in the living room where the Graingers are all gathered. He announces, "The sheriff got a telegram, it said, Baxter's history. Hope all is well on your end. Johnny." Dee smiles at him, "He really is a professional isn't he?" The Virginian answers, "I guess he is at that. If you don't know it by now already, he has been working on the right side of the law."

A few weeks later the Virginian brings the mail in the house. Dee gets a letter from Johnny. "Uncle Clay, Johnny says he's sorry about what happened. He doesn't think he has anymore enemies that know where he is or that know about me. Do you think he might be right?" He smiles, "I hope so. Maybe after awhile has passed, we can plan a Shiloh wedding and you can let your Uncle Clay do you the honors of giving you away." Dee thinks about it for a moment, "You really can't wait to give me away, can you?" The Virginian seriously comments, "Can't you see he just wants you to be happy? Anyways Johnny ain't the killer you thought he was. Sometimes it just works that way when you have to protect yourself and the folks around you." Dee tries to absorb what is being said to her, "I know what you're telling me, but I've got to do some more thinking about it. Thanks for being Johnny's friend and mine." He adds, "I just can't see you throwing away something worthwhile when the man hasn't done anything worse than what me or any other man out here in this part of the country has done." He turns and walks out the door.

A couple days later the sheriff come riding into the ranch. Trampas greets him, "What's a bringing you out this way today?" The sheriff said, "Dee got a telegram. Is she in the house?" He shakes his head, "No, she went for a ride with Jim. Ought to be back here soon I'd say." The sheriff hands the telegram to Trampas, "Can you see she gets it?" Trampas tucks the paper in his pocket, "Sure will." The sheriff leaves.

Later Trampas hears Dee and Jim coming back. Her barking dog is running behind them. As Dee and Jim get off their horses the dog is still barking at them. "Chance! Shut up!" Trampas asks, "What's he barking at?" Dee says, "Well, Jim's been throwing him jerky and he wants some more." Jim pulls his pocket wrong side out. The dog jumps up against his legs, "See, boy, I don't got no more." He nearly loses his balance as the dog can still smell the beef on him and won't leave him alone. Trampas calls, "Here Chance I got some." He tosses the dog a piece. Dee shakes her head, "Hope you know you started something. He's had too much already." Trampas laughs, "Ain't you feeding him, Dee?" She says, "He don't go hungry. Come here Chance you need a drink." She puts a bowl of water on the ground. The men go in the bunkhouse and Dee is able to get the dog to go to the house with her.

Trampas had forgotten all about the telegram until bedtime. When he hung his shirt up and noticed it partly hanging out the pocket. He hits himself in the head as he tells the foreman, "I forgot all about Dee's telegram." The Virginian says, "Telegrams are usually important. Let me see it. They're probably to bed up there, now." He unfolds the paper, it read: Urgent. Package for you on early stage, Tuesday. J.M. It was from Montana. The Virginian smiles at Trampas, "You're in luck. Think you can meet the early stage tomorrow?"

Trampas is in Medicine Bow waiting for the early stage. As the stage begins to unload he asked the driver, "Got a package for Grainger up there?" The driver tosses him a package about the size of a matchbox. Trampas is thinking all the way back to the ranch what could be in a small box so important it came by stage after a telegram informed them about it coming. The cowboy thought maybe it's a collar for her dog.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the Virginian is in the house telling them about the slip up with the telegram, "Don't fret none, Dee. Trampas is meeting the stage to get your package." Dee smiles, "Thank you. Can't image what Johnny's sending me." The Virginian kids her, "Maybe it's a sweater or something to make you think he's took up knitting. Bet he's traded his gun for knitting needles. Yep, bet that's it." She glares at him, "Just what does that mean?" He strengthens his tone, "I mean, you think he should throw down his guns to please you. Heck I can't believe he ain't gave up on you by now." She looks at him, "I know he can't do that. I don't expect him too with all the riff raff out here after him. It just makes me a bit nervous to be with him sometimes."

Trampas returns to the ranch and follows the Virginian into the house. He hands Dee the small package. She looks at the Virginian, "Not big enough to be a sweater, so there." Trampas speaks up, "I thought maybe a new collar for Chance." Holly stands watching her niece unwrap the package smiling from ear to ear with an idea of what she thinks is in the package. Dee finds a matchbox under the wrapping. She opens it up to find a letter wrapped snuggly around a golden band of gold with a tiny white diamond on top of it. The letter reads tell your Aunt Holly to plan the wedding for June. This is the last time I'm begging you. Love, Johnny. P.S. Tell the Virginian I said thank you and I would like him to be my best man.