Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Gunfight at Buffalo Head

I Reckon This Story is True

Butcher Redoak's Forty Four
Two Lantern's Patriot
I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, the sun was nearly down. --------------------Gentleman George was there with a double barrel twelve and I with my trusted, forty four. I wore a sheriff’s badge and had sworn to keep the law in that prairie town. -Gentleman George a deputy, vowed to back the persuasion of my notched forty four. *************************************************************

A rowdy bunch came early that day to Buffalo Head, buck skinners, ragged and lean of a dirty hue. They set their lodges on the outside of town, howled like wolves and called it a Rendezvous. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Coffee was boiled in a rusty old can and they killed an opossum and stole some taters to make a stew. A man called Two Lanterns stood away from the rest, wore a red bandanna on his head and clothed in dirty buckskins. ----------------------------------- He held in his right hand, the Kentucky Patriot, a long barrel pistol, some said was his next of kin. There was a gleam in his eyes when he spat down the barrel, poured in gun powder and rammed a round ball in. ---------------------------------------------- Two Lanterns looked about and then capped the Patriot with its hammer yawned back and shoved it into his Irish green sash. ---------------------------------------------- Smiling wickedly he drank from a tin cup, savoring the drippings of good corn mash. He dropped the cup at his feet, squinted an eye and looked up the road toward Buffalo Head. Soon, Two Lanterns would come to town I reckoned, to shoot me with a hot round ball of lead. I am told he howled, spat on the ground and slipped into the shadows a closing around. ---------------------------------------------------------------- That rascal crept out of that unholy camp and up the road and into town, making not a sound.


The talk on the street was an ugly tale of a mountain man a gunning for me. ---------- So I pulled down my hat, stepped to the ground with Gentleman George and walked along the street, him and I as bold as can be. ----------------------------------------------Gentleman George walked to my left, ready to take Two Lanterns or die. --------------- Many of the town’s people hurried along the street and a mother hushed her child’s fretful cry. I saw Two Lanterns standing in the shadow of the church, his feet spread wide apart. “Butcher Redoak,” he squalled like a wounded panther, “it shames me to see a lawman’s badge a hanging over your heart.” ---------------------------------------------- I drew my forty four and fired a round into the air. --------------------------------------- I knew the voice that hailed me, a friend from the days at the Baldy Mountain lair. “Get out of town, Mountain man,” I shouted friendly like, “Buffalo Head ain’t no place for the likes of you.” ---------------------------------------------------------------- Two Lanterns walked onto the street, looking mean out of his eyes of blue. ----------- He stood with the Patriot in one hand, a man alone but defiant in that prairie town. --Well dang, all I could do was to stride forward, ready to do my job and willing to shoot that mountain, put him down. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Quicker than the wink of an eye Two Lanterns ran, yelling like a rebel somewhere in the night. I crouched low and headed the way he’d gone, truly expecting the man to stop and fight. I ran passed the church and beyond into a tangle of brush and then heard the click of a hammer not far from my back. ---------------------------------------Two Lanterns swore and squeezed the trigger on the Patriot and I stumbled and fell in my tracks.


Gentleman George said the town’s people gathered around where I lay, to see me dead or watch me die. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George stood up and smiled. “Fear not, Two Lanterns should have fired to the left and high.” Well I reckon my old friend heard the news and slunk away like a coyote in the night. He knew come morning I would be a looking for him to finish the fight. ----------------------------------------------------------------

A prairie breeze cooled the August morning on that fateful day of Eighty Four. --------Hundreds of people gathered like buzzards in Buffalo head to watch me settle the score. There was Twinkles John and Irish Bob and Banjo Boats among the many that gathered there. They were also friends who rode with me across the fork to the Baldy Mountain Lair. They came not to take a part, but to see which man would end the fight. They too had shared a fire with Two Lanterns, drying their skins on cold winter nights. A theater troupe arrived and put on a show and then came the Cherokee. A fiddler played Shenandoah a couple of times and then a waltz about Tennessee. ***************************************************************

The gentleman and I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, sworn to keep the law in that dusty old Prairie town. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George with a double barrel twelve and me with a forty four cinched down. Now some say it was high noon when we stepped off the porch to make our play. The street was empty except for a gang of mountain men a coming toward us at a hundred yards away. A window broke above our heads and two men appeared a looking mean as sin. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Gentleman George brought up the double barrel twelve took aim and fired into that den. Those rascals squalled and were seen no more. ------------------------------------- Gun smoke shrouded the street and I saw ghostly figures a creeping up and drew the forty four. I shot from the hip and a mountain man fell, but another took his place. --Gentleman George cut loose again and there was one less member to fight for the Osage Trace. A Hawkins rifle roared across the street sent round ball lead into the Gentleman that was his plight. Black smoke hang heavy over the town, two were left standing waiting to end the fight. ---------------------------------------------------------------- I have heard it said a time or two that I fired first and Two Lanterns fell dead on his back.

Well now, if Two Lanterns died that day, (no one else did), where was the body, for all we found were coyote tracks.

(Footnote) Buffalo Head is no more on the prairie where once it stood, only the wind can be heard a blowing across faded tracks where once people watched Two lanterns and Butcher Redoak duel. Oh by the way nearly every night you can hear a coyote a crying not far from where the Rusty Bucket saloon stood. Two Lanterns has disappeared and I have no idea where he went, but would like to know.)Adios

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Goodby Old Man

A cold morning and a warm breakfast for Heidi

I have never cared for the term goodby, but I will make an exception to Winter. It is not that I am down on old man winter or that I did not enjoy his passing through, for winter is beautiful, the air fresh and clean. Winter was rough for awhile and when Spring made the scene there was too much bullying like 85 degress one day and 35 the next. So goodby Old Man Winter. The photos above are the last, hopefully of the winter and like it or not Spring was rather beautiful in the white lace of snow a few days ago. Adios