A/N: I Love Lonesome Dove! I have seen the movie about eighty times and read the book twelve times. I decided to sit down and start a fanfic for it. Now, I pan on including all of the characters some how. Enjoy :)
Summary: Gus and Woodrow discover a wounded girl, the only surviver of a wagon train attack. They take her in and teach her the ways of the Hat Creek Company, only to have the outfit befriend her. A story of suspense, adventure, love, hate, and the West.
Augustus McCrae looked down upon the herd of cattle before him and sighed. He shifted his saddle straight and narrowed his eyes at the cattle. The Hat Creek Cattle Company had just pulled off of the trail to rest their horses for a bit, when Augustus had discovered the little cliff he sat atop. He was sick of having to look at the cattle's hind ends, so sitting above them and looking down upon them seemed like an interesting change of scenery. But something was amiss about the cattle. He just couldn't put his finger on it.
"Hey, Woodrow!" Augustus called to his partner below.
Woodrow Call looked up from his gray mare's back. "What in the hell do you want?" he shouted up to him.
Augustus waved him over. "Get up here!"
Woodrow shook his head as he turned his mare around and loped up to his partner's side. As he quickly glanced about the cattle Augustus said, "Is there somethin' amiss abut these dern cattle today, or what?" he asked.
Call looked confused. "What in tarnation do you mean, Augustus?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow. Call focused on the cattle as hard as he could. They just looked like big, stinky cattle, as they always had.
Augustus looked at him oddly. "Don't you see it?" he asked.
"That there yella thing?" Augustus said, gesturing toward the herd.
He scanned it over and over. It was then that he saw it. In a part of the herd, some yellow speck was making it's way through the cattle. Immediately, Call drew his sixgun. He cocked it, and tried to focus to shoot a shot to spook that yellow speck. Before he could squeeze the trigger, Augustus pushed his arm back.
"Woodrow, wait," he hissed.
Call lowered his arm. What if that yellow speck was something that didn't deserve to be shot at? "What's the matter?"
"Shouldn't ya go and check it out before you start shootin' at it? I mean, what if it's a man or somethin'?" Augustus asked.
Call nodded. "Yeah, you're probably right. I'll go see."
He loped away, sixgun still in hand. He passed the group of cowhands getting drinks by the wagon. Bolivar stood off in the distance, relieving himself into a hole he had dug in the sand with his toes. Call thought it inappropriate for a man to whizz while he was in plain sight of those whose titles out-beat his own.
As he approached the head of the spreading herd, the yellow speck disappeared into a group of close-grazing cows. Call slowed his mare to a trot, as he wove in the herd. Not even a second passed by when he caught sight of the yellow speck bounding toward the west. He fired a shot into the air when he saw this, and spurred his mare forward.
As the yellow speck bounded, it took a weird form to it. The speck seemed to become a sort of an animal as it bounded across the Texas flats. Call thought it a strange animal, for it was white in some parts, yellow in others, and had a splash of golden red on it's top. He fired at it, knocking it falling. The animal let out a loud yelp, and Call galloped to it's side.
When he halted, he found himself looking at no animal. He looked down upon it strangely as it turned his face up toward him. Why, it wasn't an animal, it was a young girl. A girl with pasty-white skin and rosy cheeks. Call stared at her, trying to figure out why a girl was mixed in with their cattle in the first place. He paid no recognition to the fact that the girls yellow dress was soaked with blood. Her face was dirty and she was trembling.
"Gus!" shouted Call.
Augustus galloped Old Malaria to Call's side, and looked down upon the girl. "Why, Woodrow, aren't you glad I stopped you from shootin'?" he asked. "You have polished off this young'un for sure if I had let you shoot."
The girl rolled over on her back, so she was lying face-up. She began to tremble at the sight of two men on horses standing over her.
"What's your name, girl?" Augustus asked, looking her up and down. She was a pretty girl, but the sight of her blood-stained dress made her appearance wild to his eye. He began to wonder all of the possibilities of what could have happened to this girl that made her bleed so much. The stain was in her middle, so it couldn't have been what he thought it was at first.
The girl hesitated. "Hattie. Hattie Miller," she replied quietly.
Augustus leaned forward in his saddle. "Well, Miss Miller," he said, tipping his hat. "Where are your folks? I spect they're worried bout ya," he pointed out.
Hattie shook her head. "Oh, no, they're dead," she stated. She calmed her body a bit so it didn't tremble so much. Her mother had taught her to be afraid of strange men, but she knew she wasn't afraid.
Augustus looked surprised. His jaw dropped, making his mustache shift in strange ways. "Dead? Well, how did you get out here?"
Hattie looked west, over the dusty hills. "We was travelin' with a wagon train, about twelve miles from here. Indians held up the ramrod and the trail boss. They kilt everyone in camp, and made off with the other gals. I was lucky enough to be hidin' in our wagon under a harvest table, I was," she explained.
Call tensed in his saddle. If the Indians had attacked a wagon train as close as twelve miles away, they would surly be interested in the herd of walking meat that the Hat Creek Company was driving north. Call would be sure to keep his sixgun and rifle loaded as he rode the next thirty miles or so. He decided to sit still and listen to the girl's view on the attack.
"'I god, Woodrow," said Augustus. "We gotta help this gal. We kin't leave her out here."
Hattie got to her feet.
Call cleared his throat. He didn;t know what to say to the girl, but he knew what to tell Augustus. "I spect you're right. She can ride in the wagon until we get to the next town. I spect we could find a boarding house to put her in," he said, loping away.
Hattie liked the man with the gray mustache on the bay horse. She approached him silently.
"Well, I spect you outta get on up here, then," he said, taking a foot out of a stirrup.
Hattie just looked at him.
"What's wrong? Can't you ride?" Augustus asked.
Hattie shook her head. "No. Mama never allowed me to learn. She said that ladies don't belong on horses. They belong in wagons or on trains."
Augustus leaned toward her. "Well, that's a mighty lotta blood on you're dress, there. You sure you can walk to the wagon?" he asked.
"That happened when I fell out of our wagon, an Indian dropped their knife and I landed right on it. It's not deep, I can walk," she said.
Augustus placed his foot back in the stirrup. "Alright. Follow me back to the wagon. I'll have someone look at that cut after I introduce ya to the rest of the dogs in the outfit," he said, laughing at the way the girl stared at the group of cowboys in the distance.