Showdown on the Mesa
It felt like the end of an era in Cowtown ever since the Masked Bull's reign of terror came to end after Marshal Moo Montana had unmasked him, proving that Puma's beliefs were true. Mayor Bulloney couldn't stand it either, because without the Masked Bull, he felt he had no way to eliminate Moo once and for all, which is the only reason he ran for mayor of Cowtown in the first place. But the public forgave him by re-electing him the next time around. While he still was in his scheming ways, the mayor had to tone done his schemes or modify previous ones so that they didn't require help from anybody.
"What am I to do?" he asked himself. "Marshal Montana is still at large, and it doesn't help any that those bounty hunting cats from Texas frequently show up. This is just not my day. In fact, I am beginning to feel that the mayor's life is no life for me."
Unbeknownst to the mayor, the Masked Bull and his henchmen were still at large, but in the town of Lonesome Gulch. Those people had no idea about his alter-ego being their own Sheriff, namely, Sheriff Terrorbull. Since his brother, Horrorbull, was still in prison with no way of getting out, he had to do everything himself. 99% of the time, his henchmen were of no help to him anyway, so he had them sent to a factory in Chicago where, as he put it, "you two sorry-worts will work until you can get your act together and really cause trouble here in the West."
"It's getting so a henchman can't live a dishonest life no more!" Boot Hill Buzzard complained as the two were shipped off.
"Yeah," said Saddlesore. "I sure hope this factory will straighten you up."
"Yeah. You're the one that got us in this mess in the first place!" The two kept arguing as they were placed on board the train's baggage car. The Masked Bull watched the train disappear from sight, then said to himself, "Good riddance. No more frustration from those two. I was meant to be a solo outlaw anyway. Now, I got me a marshal to fry!" He rode off and headed for home to rest. The next day, he headed for Texas to get his revenge on the Fab 5 in a plot of his own creation, all by his own self's doing.
Moo and his posse, in the meantime, had met J.R. at his teepee after a telegram from Jack arrived for him. "What's your trouble, J.R.?" Moo asked.
"I received word from the Fab 5 that the Masked Bull is headed for Texas," J.R. replied. "They didn't say why, but it has to be a plot of revenge. Why the Masked Bull is headed there also puzzles me, because the Fab 5's coming up here to take him on so they can stop him before he starts."
"Yup," said Dakota.
"Sounds to me," said Cowlorado, "like the two are gonna end up meeting in the middle of it and start a gunfight between the Masked Bull and Cody—uh, Cody Belachman, I mean."
"I know you didn't mean calf-pint," Moo replied. "If we don't hurry, the Masked Bull is going to end up capturing calf-pint again. Come on, boys; let's rodeo!" The trio saddled up and headed for the indicated area J.R. pointed out, with J.R. leading the way.
For those who don't know or forgot, the Fab 5 were a quintet of bounty hunting cowboys, all who currently resided in Hicksburg, Texas. Their leader, Cody Belachman (a lynx), and his best friend, John Thane (a wildcat), had lived in Hicksburg their whole lives. Benjamin Travis (a bobcat) was originally from Cuba, but moved to America at age 5, hence his strange accent. "Bandit Bryce" Burton, the tiger who temporarily turned rouge after a safe struck his head, hailed from Arizona, and David Blaze, the rambler who left his family just so they could get out of debt and have a happy life (though without him), hailed from Kansas.
When Moo and his posse arrived at the area where J.R. pointed out, there, plain as day, was the Fab 5 camping out, wondering about the same situation. "What made y'all think he was headed for Texas anyway?" Benjamin asked Cody.
"Intuition," said Cody. "And I ain't never been wrong before."
"I doubt you gonna be wrong now," John replied. "In the meantime, I see Marshal Moo and his deputies a-comin'. Should we greet them now?"
"Don't see why not," said Cody. "Be glad to get them boys to help out anyway."
When Moo and his posse arrived at the campsite, Cody was the first to greet them. "Howdy, Moo," he called. "Y'all lookin' for the Masked Bull, too?"
"Well, sort of," Moo replied. "J.R. here heard he was heading for Texas. What puzzled him—and me—is what y'all are doing up here if he's down there."
"I felt it was the best way to stop that varmint before he done started blowin' up my hometown. If I was wrong, y'all can blame me about it later."
"Don't feel bad, Cody," Bryce spoke up. "Nobody's perfect. And besides, if the Masked Bull's down there, he doesn't stand a chance against them law enforcers."
"I suppose y'all are right on the money," Cody replied. "I just tryin' not to have a bad conscience about it."
"Yup," said Dakota.
Just then, Jack, Cowtown's telegram specialist, arrived on the scene with another telegram. "Here, Marshall," he said as he came into view. "I wish I didn't have to run all around the Mesa to find you, but here it is."
"Thanks a bunch, Jack," Moo replied as he looked at the telegram.
"What's it say?" Cowlorado asked.
"It's from Dusty Clark, the Sheriff of Hicksburg. He says the Masked Bull is indeed heading for Texas, so I have a feeling you boys missed him because he took a different route down there. He's not going to blow anything up, but if he's not going to rob the bank, he's going to drill for oil, just like he did with that Johnny Hemmingway character the SWAT Kats and that Mitch Mathis actor, accurately portraying the character, helped us with. We're just lucky he's seen the light and repented of his sins." Moo paused to alter his hat so that the sun stayed out of his eyes.
"Yup," said Dakota.
"You can't be entirely angry at yourself, Cody; just lead the way back home. Uh, I'm talking about your home."
"I knew what y'all meant." Cody saddled up, watched as his friends, Moo, Dakota, and Cowlorado did the same, and led the group back to Hicksburg.
When they got there, Dusty was waiting for them. "Glad you're back," he said to Cody. "Where were you? Didn't you know the Masked Bull was headed back here?"
"Yup, but we all thought we could stop him before he got here. We missed him," Cody replied. "Where's the varmint at now?"
"He's headed for the Sunridge No. 3, our town's most prominent gold mine. There isn't any more gold there, but he doesn't know that."
"Well, better go after him then. But don't worry, Sheriff; we got the Marshal of Moo Mesa on our side."
"Glad to be back, Sheriff," Moo said, tipping his hat, and continuing to talk as the Sheriff saddled up and rode alongside him. "How's the town been doing since we put Billy the Kidder to rest, if you know what I mean?"
"Oh, we've had our fair share of gunfire and crime waves, but the mayor and I have been handling that quite nicely."
"Please show us where the gold mine is, if you don't mind."
"Be happy to. Follow me." Dusty led the way to the gold mine, with Cowlorado taking up the rear.
When they reached the mine, there was the Masked Bull, trying to dig for gold, having changed his mind about oil, but making no progress. In fact, he got himself stuck halfway down and couldn't get out. "How do you like that?" David exclaimed mildly. "He's stuck!"
"We're getting you of there," Moo called, "but you're not going anywhere else. You know that!"
"We'll see about that!" the Masked Bull called back as the Fab 5 grabbed his arms and struggled to get him loose. By the time they finally released him, his digging equipment had caved in and was now and forever buried under the mine.
"There went my opportunity for gold," he grunted.
"That's just it," Cody replied. "There ain't no gold down there no more!"
"No, there ain't!"
"Well, then, prepare to get your hinds in the frying pan!" He drew his two pistols. "This means war!" he added as he began firing.
Moo, Cody, and Bryce began firing back in self-defense. J.R. and David took time to shield the Sheriff from harm. Cowlorado and John, meanwhile, jumped on top of a rock and waited for the right time to use their lariats to round up the ever-hated outlaw when it was right to do so.
As the sun started to set in the West, it also seemingly started to set on the Masked Bull's progress, as he didn't function very well in the dark now that he no longer had to deal with Saddlesore and Boot Hill, who were still working in the factory. Just as he ran out of ammo, Moo fired one last star from his pistol, which ricocheted off several rocks and the mine tower, and finally knocked the Masked Bull unconscious. Cowlorado roped him up before he could run away, and Dusty had him taken to jail.
Meanwhile, Cody spread the news to the townsfolk that justice was served, and at the saloon that night, the town threw down a hoedown in honor of Moo and his posse. It gave Cowlorado the opportunity to show off his stuff with his voice and guitar, Moo on his harmonica, and Dakota with his accordion. It was a great night to celebrate, and a great day for traveling home the next day.
Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa © Ryan Brown
SWAT Kats © Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network
The Fab 5 © me