“ODDS ARE AGAINST HIM”
He’s hunkered down and waiting for their last rush. It’s been several hours that he’s held them off. He knows in his heart the “odds are against him” – there’s just too many this time. It seems funny somehow that his life has cumulated up to this one event. Powder’s gone – all’s he’s got left is the shot in his pistol. He’ll wait for them to get in close before he takes his last shot. He’s heard of those that save the last one for themselves – not him. “I’ll make them earn this hair”, he whispers audibly to no one. He’d come to the mountains to taste life and freedom, to walk his own path as tall as he was able. There won’t be anyone to cry over his grave. “Hell, there won’t even be a grave”. The conversation he hears next is the one between him and his maker – a eulogy of sorts. Each breath is sweet – it’s been that way for years.
How many men went into the mountains and were never heard from again? Be they trapper, prospector, hunter or traveler – how many mishaps befell those willing to risk it all and nobody the wiser? Round a corner of a trail and come face to face with a she grizzly and cubs, unknowingly pass through a tribe’s sacred burial grounds and suffer their wrath, run out of water and have your next well be dry, by chance encounter – run into a warring band of Indians, get caught in the unsuspected prairie fire, blizzard, avalanche, flash flood – the list doesn’t end. Do we take the travel of a loved one or the safety of a spouses business trip for granted? Life is what happens when we’ve made other plans. In fact, dare I say that what most call living is nothing more than slow death. May we all truly live and know that to experience the experience (and thereby learn) is living.
Who can think of the old west for too long without thinking of a shootout?
The old west was generally slow paced. A lot of folks would live for months without seeing another human. Then there were times when things got lively. A trail herd would come through, a band of Indians might cause trouble, or some cowpunchers might want to let off a little steam.
Whenever you got the right mixture of tough men, guns, short tempers and very little law – it’s not hard to picture the outcome. Oft’ times pride (with the assistance of a ‘fast hand’) shortened or ended the life of many a westerner.