Warpath: A Gunsmoke Story; all rights to Gunsmoke belong to its creators. Matt and Chester find burned out wagons and stolen rifles. Rated K+

Matt Dillon and Chester Proudfoot rode along. They had been on the trail of two outlaws but had lost them, and were now returning to Dodge. The two men continued along for a while when Chester first noticed the smoke.

"Look there, Mr. Dillon." He said. It was a dark black smoke. Matt saw and pulled his rifle out of its scabbard.

"Yeah." Matt said. "Let's check it out, we'll move easy. They both rode over the hill and saw the source of the smoke. It was two wagons burning. The two men rode up and saw the bodies. Booth men had seen this many times but it never failed to sicken them.

The four bodies on the ground had been tortured before they died.

"Indians you think?" Chester asked. Matt just nodded trying to keep form getting ill. "I think so." He looked around for tracks and sign of whom and what did this.

Chester called out; "Take a look at this Mr. Dillon." He showed the arrow that was shot into one of the wagons. "What do you make of this?" Matt looked at the arrow. "Chester this is an Arapaho arrow!"

"Arapahos!" Chester started to look around "We're a long ways from their country."

Matt looked around; "Look at this." He reached into the back of one of the wagons. It was a new Winchester rifle.

Chester's eyes widen. "That's what they must have been after."

Matt looked the weapon over. "Brand new, it looks like an army rifle." Chester looked around. "Riders coming, Mr. Dillon" Matt turned round. It was a line of cavalry coming over the hill. They stopped and they started to deploy into line. "Hey." Chester said "What are they doing?"

Matt said "They're just being careful, Chester." Then they saw the troopers draw their rifles.

Chester said in alarm "Hey They're gonna charge us!"

"Just stand easy." Matt said soothingly. The solders rode at the gallop to the burning wagons. The young officer in command drew up. "Who are you men and what are you doing here?" he barked.

"We saw the smoke Leutenent, and came to check it out." Matt told him. "Are you men out of Fort Dodge?"

"I'll ask the questions here!" the lieutenant snapped.

The lieutenant's sergeant rode up. "Look sir, one of the Winchesters." He pointed to the rifle in Matt's hand.

"I'll ask you again, what are you doing here?"

Matt and Chester just stood and said nothing. "All right, then you two are under arrest. Sergeant disarm these men!"

Chester snapped "You gonna let them do this?" Matt relaxed "Just take it easy Chester."

The troopers disarmed Matt and Chester. The Lieutenant ordered. "Organize a burial detail. Sergeant." He ordered.

After the men were buried. The troopers along with Matt and Chester rode along to Fort Dodge, under arrest.

To be continued: