Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood
A CAPTURE OF OUTLAWS
WHEN Will was but nine years of age his first thrilling adventure
occurred, and it gave the boy a name for pluck and nerve that went with
him to Kansas,. where his father removed with his family shortly after
the incident which I will now relate.
The circumstance to which I refer, and that made a boy hero of
him in the eyes of the neighbors for miles around where his parent
_____, showed the wonderful nerve that has never since deserted him, but
rather has increased with his years.
The country school which he attended was some five miles from his
father's house and he was wont to ride there each morning and back in
the afternoon upon a wiry, vicious little mustang that every one had
prognosticated would some day be the death of him.
Living a few miles from the Cody ranch was a poor settler who had
a son two years Billy's senior, who also attended the same school, but
whose parents were too poor to spare him a horse from the farm to ride.
This boy was Billy's chum, and as they shared together their
noonday meal, the pony was also shared, for the boy rode behind my hero
to and from school, being called for each morning, and dropped off near
his cabin on the return trip.
Owing to the lawlessness of the country Mr. Cody allowed his son
to go armed, knowing that he fully understood the use of weapons, and
his pistol Billy always hung up with his hat upon reaching the log
cabin, where, figuratively speaking, the young idea was taught to shoot.
The weapon was a revolver, a Colt's which at that time was not in
common use, and Billy prized it above his books and pony even and always
kept it in perfect order.
One day Rascal, his pony, pulled up the lariat pin which held him
out upon the prairie and scampered for home, and Billy and Davie Dunn,
his chum, were forced to "hoof it," as the western slang goes, home.
A storm was coming on, and to escape it the boys turned off the
main trail and took refuge in a log cabin which was said to be haunted
by the ghosts of its former occupants; at least they had been all
mysteriously murdered there one night and were buried in the shadow of
the cabin, and people gave the place a wide berth.
It was situated back in a piece of heavy timber and looked dismal
enough, but Billy proposed that they should go there, more out of sheer
bravado to show he was not afraid than to escape a ducking, for which he
and Davie Dunn really little cared.
The boys reached the cabin, climbed in an open window and stood
looking out at the approaching storm.
"Kansas crickets! but look there, Davie!"
The words came from Buffalo Billy and he was pointing out toward
There four horsemen were seen, coming toward the cabin at a rapid
"Who be they, Billy?" asked Davie.
"They are some of them horse-thieves, Davie, that have been
playing the mischief of late about here, and we'd better dust."
"But they'll see us go out."
"That's so! Let us coon up into the loft, for they'll only wait
till the storm blows over, for they are coming here for shelter."
Up to the loft of the cabin, through a trapdoor, the boys went
quickly and laid quietly down, peering through the cracks in the boards.
The four horsemen dashed up, hastily unsaddled their horses and lariated
them out, and bounded into the cabin through the window' just as the
storm broke with fury upon forest and plain.
As still as mice the boys lay, but they quickly looked toward
each other, for the conversation of the men below, one of whom was
kindling a fire in the broad chimney, told them, that, if discovered,
their lives would be the forfeit.
In fact, they were four of a band of outlaws that had been
infesting the country of late, stealing horses, and in some cases taking
life and robbing the cabins of the settlers, and one of them said
"Pards, when I was last in this old ranch it was six years ago,
when we came to rob Foster, Beal who lived here: he showed fight, shot
two of the boys, and, we wiped the whole family out; but now let us get
away with what grub we've got, and then plan what is best to do to-
night. As for myself, I say strike old Cody's ranch, for he's got dust,"
The boys were greatly alarmed at this, but, putting his mouth
close to Davis Dunn's ear, Billy Cody whispered:
"Davie, you see that shutter in the end of the roof?'
"Yes, Billy," was the trembling reply.
"Well, you clip out of there, drop to the ground and make for
your home and tell your father who is here."
"And you, Billy?"
"I'll just keep here, and if these fellows attempt to go I'll
"But you can't, Billy."
"I've got my revolver, Davie and you bet I'll use it! Go, but
don't make a fuss, and get your father to come on with the settlers as
soon as you can, for I won't be happy till you got back."
Davie Dunn was trembling considerably; but he arose noiselessly,
crossed to the window at the end of the roof, and which was but a small
aperture, closed by a wooden abutter, which he cautiously opened. The
noise he made was drowned by the pelting rain and furious wind, and the
robbers went on chatting together, while Davie slipped out and dropped
to the ground.
But ere he had been gone half an hour the outlaws were, ready to
start, the rain having ceased in a measure, and night Was coming on to
hide their red deeds.
"Hold on, boys, for I've got ye all covered. He's a dead man who
Billy had crept to the trap, and In his hoarsest tones, had
spoken, while the men sprung to their feet at his words, and glancing
upward saw the threatening revolver.
One attempted to draw a weapon, but the boy's forefinger touched
the trigger, and the outlaw fell dead at the flash, shot straight
through the heart!
This served as a warning to the others, and they stood like
statues, while one said:
"Pard, who is yer?"
But Billy feared to again trust his voice and answered not a
word. He lay there, his, revolver just visible over the edge of the
boards, and covering the hearts of the three men crouching back into the
corner, but full in the, light from the flickering fire, while almost at
their feet lay their dead comrade.
Again and again they spoke to Billy, but he gave no reply.
Then they threatened to make it warm for him, and one suggested
that they make a break for the door.
But, each one seemed to feel that the revolver covered him, and
none would make the attempt, for they had ocular demonstration before
them of the deadly aim of the eye behind the weapon.
To poor little Billy, and I suppose to the men too, it seemed as
if ages were passing away, in the hour and a quarter that Davie Dunn was
gone, for he had bounded upon one of the outlaws' horses and ridden away
like the wind.
But, at last, Billy heard a stern voice say:
"Boys, you is our meat."
At the same time several pistols were thrust into the window, and
in came the door, burst open with a terrific crash that was music to
Billy's ears; while in dashed a dozen bold settlers, led by farmer Dunn.
The three outlaws were not only captured, but, being recognized
as old offenders, were swung up to a tree, while Billy and Davie became
indeed boy heroes, and the former especially was voted the lion of the
log cabin school, for had he not "killed his mane."