To fight the good fight: A Johnny Ringo Story: all rights to the characters and backgrounds of this story belongs to its creators. The story is what happens when a man with a reputation with a gun come to town. It also happens prior to the TV series.
The town itself was not much to look at. A single main street with a church, a jail, general store, and of course a saloon. Maybe a few houses. One of thousands of towns that sprouted in the old west. This particular town was in the southern part of Kansas. On the cattle drive trail to the big towns like Abilene, Wichita, and of course Dodge City.
The lone rider was not thinking of those towns, at least not at the moment. All he was worried about was getting a drink or two, something to eat, and a place to rest. He was a tall lean man, about 30ish, with brown hair and dark eyes. As he rode in to town. The man looked around taking in the scenery. There was not much to look at it was a quiet little town.
A good place to rest up. He thought to himself. As he rode up to the saloon. He tied his horse to the hitch out in front. There was an old man idling out in front. The old man looked up and recognized him. "Hi there, Johnny." He said.
"Hi, old timer" he replied as he walked in. he looked around quickly. There was group of men in the far corner playing cards. Two other men in the other corner talking to one of the girls that worked in the saloon. Satisfied he walked to the bar.
The barkeep turned round to the sound of a new customer and was startled by who was there. "Hi there Johnny. How you been?" he asked.
The man named Johnny recognized the barkeep. "Ok Fred, I can't complain."
"What can I get you?" Fred asked
"Beer for now." Johnny replied. "Maybe something to eat in a bit."
Fred pours the beer and sets it in front of Johnny. "What brings you Kansas way, last time I heard, you was down in Texas."
"Needed a change of scenery." He said "Heading for Dodge. Thought I might catch a train east."
"East?" Fred said incredulously "You?" Johnny looked at Fred with amusement. "What's wrong with the east Fred?"
"Oh they're too stuffy back there for my liken anymore." Fred said Furthest east I've been in 10 years is St. Louis. Likely be another 10 years before I ever go back.'
Johnny laughed. As the two men talked at the bar. The men at the poker game started to pay attention to the man standing there.
"Say." One man said "Ain't that Johnny Ringo?" The men at the game took a better look at the tall man.
"Sure is." A man named Trent said. "Wonder why he's here?" the youngest man at the table, a young man named Steve Able was very interested. "He doesn't look that tough to me."
Trent looked to the young man. "Steve, don't even think it."
But the young man had got the fever. "Relax, just gonna have some fun." He got up from the game and walked to the bar facing Ringo.
Fred looked at the boy. "Want something, Steve?"
"Yeah Fred." He said "I just want to know if there is as fast as everyone says."
"Steve." I don't want any trouble in here." Fred warned him, looking to Ringo knowing his temper.
Ringo so far had not even acknowledged the boy existence. Steve was enjoying himself not realizing how close to death he was.
"How about it?" Steve asked, now full of himself. "Are you that fast?
By this time Ringo's temper was starting to burn through. He slowly finished his beer, and sat the glass down on the bar.
"Boy." He said quietly "I have ridden a long ways today. I'm in here to have a drink and something to eat and then I'm on my way." He glanced over to the swaggering young man for the first time. "So my advice to you is to go back to your friends over there. Because if you don't, I'm going to take your britches down and wear your backside out with my belt. Right in front of all your friends."
A few in the bar laughed at that.
But this enraged the young man. "What did you say, Mister!" he snarled.
The man named Trent tried to calm the boy down. "Stop it Steve!"
But Steve was too angry to listen. "Turn around and face me, Ringo!" Ringo now turned to Trent "You better lasso this jackass." He said "Now!"
"I said turn around and face me!" Steve screamed.
A cold anger now flowed through Ringo as he walked clear of the bar. "You brought this on yourself little boy." He turned to face the now frothing young man. For a moment time stood still as Steve drew his gun. He had cleared his holster and the gun lined up with Ringo's chest, but during that same time Ringo's gun came up faster and fired.
The bullet took Steve in the chest and threw him backwards. He was dead before he hit the bar room floor.
Ringo holstered his gun and leaned against the bar, feeling very tired. Miles Harris, the town marshal came running in. He took one look at the dead man.
"Oh Lord." He said "What the hell happened?
"It was self defense, Miles. Trent told him. Steve drew on Ringo first." Harris looked to Ringo. "Johnny Ringo?"
Ringo nodded "That's right." Harris considered his next words carefully "I know these men here. I also know this little bastard lying there. If you hadn't of dropped him someone else would have. So if they say its self defense. I believe them."
Ringo waited he knew what the next words were going to be.
"But if I was you. I would put some distance between you and this town." Harris told him.
"Why?" Ringo asked "It was self defense like you said." Harris took a deep breath "Because, Mr. Ringo." He said prodding the body with his boot. "This little bastard has a father and two brothers, and they are not going to give a damn whose fault it was."
Ringo just nodded. It was not the first time he had to leave a town like this. "I just wanted to rest a spell." He told the Marshal.
"I know sir." was the reply as they both walked to Ringo's horse. Fred had packed some supplies for him "I'm obliged Fred." Ringo said as he shook Fred's hand.
"Take care of yourself Johnny." Fred replied as he rode off into the night.
A few hours later Sig Able was mourning over the body of his son. "And you just let him go!" he growled to the Marshal
"Steve started it, Sig." Harris replied. "Everyone in the bar saw it. They tried to stop him."
"It don't matter! Able said "My boy's dead and the fella that killed him is still alive." Turning to leave. He spoke over his shoulder "But not for long!"
Able joined his two sons James and Henry.
"What did you find out?" Sig asked impatiently
"Ringo said that he was heading for Dodge." Henry said "That's what they said in the bar."
"He was also headed north when he rode out of here, Pa." James added.
Sig considered this information. "Then we're heading for Dodge too." The two boys looked worried.
Sig caught their looks "What!"
"Pa you want this man dead, so do we." James said "But"
"But what, son?"
"We're gonna try to take Ringo in Dodge? Henry asked "What about Matt Dillon?"
Sig's temper started to flare, and then he got control of it. His boys were talking sense and he knew it.
"Your brother is lying dead in there." He told his sons. "And the murdering bastard that did it is out there riding away. I would ride through 100 Matt Dillon's to get him."
Looking to his boys "Now what about you?" The brothers looked to each other. "Let's go to Dodge, Pa." they said as the three men rode to the north and Dodge City.
Fred the barkeep walked over to Harris "They heading for Dodge?"
Harris told him "Yeah. I just sent a telegram to Matt. It's the best I can do is to give him a heads up, before this tornado hit him."
To be continued in Dodge City.