Incident at the Little Buckhorn Saloon a Short Story of the Old West
Local Minister Fights With Cowboys
Local cowboys chased the Rev. Jediah Jones out of the True Light church entered the Little Buckhorn Saloon bent on chastising some drunken cowboys. Subsequently the Rev found himself dumped into the horse tank in front of the establishment.
Temperance Crusader Vandalizes Saloon
It’s been reported that Carrie Natin entered a saloon in Galestown wielding a hatchet. She broke bottles of liquor, damaged furniture….
Temporary Sheriff In Town
Jason Taylor formerly of Texas is our new sheriff. The new county commissioners hired him on a temporary basis as we have been without county law enforcement since this paper’s expose of the corruption forced the old county government to leave en masse.
I left John, our printer, to finish these stories from my notes and set them up for printing.
I introduced myself to the sheriff as the publisher of the county paper and asked him what was going on with the saloon vandalism.
He was rather tall, over six feet, I would guess. No beard or moustache. He seemed to favor brow and tan with a dark brown shirt and tan pants. His gunbelt was low on his hip and had a thin strap to keep the revolver from bouncing out of the holster.
He surveyed me and I could tell that he was dubious about a female reporter let alone publisher. “If you don’t mind my asking ma’am how come a woman got hired to be poking around in places that might be dangerous?”
“Well sheriff It might be because I own the paper and I make the decision a to what I am going to poke into. I may be poking into what you do a great deal so we might as well decide to get along.”
“He gave me a quiet smile and a weak apology. “I see I ain’t done my homework. Now I remember mention by the county commissioner about the old crowd vamoosing because of stories in the local paper. Nobody told me a female was the publisher.”
“Well this female is the publisher and editor and the person who does whatever has to be done to get the paper out and let the town know hat is going on. However, I’d rather you call me Sarah than the female editor or ma’am.”
He looked a bit taken aback so I said.” Sheriff we have to work together to some extent. It would be nicer if we got along but I’ll play it any way you like.”
Call me Jason
“O.K Sarah. You can call me Jason and I’ll cooperate if I can.”
“Well Jason. What’s going on with the break-in of the little Buckhorn Saloon?”
“More ‘an likely it was just some drunken’ cowboys got lit up and thought they’d have some fun.”
“Hmm. Do you think those cowboys would break the up the liquor instead of stealing it?”
“ Why sure ma- I mean Sarah if they’s drunk they wouldn’t know what they was doin’. they’d jus’ get ornery or high spirited. They’s break up the place and go back to the ranch or the nearest gully and sleep it off.”
I go to Galestown
Since the paper comes out once a week I decided to leave John in charge for a couple of days to gather news and planning the next edition. While I went to Galestown to learn more about the Carrie Natin exploit at their saloon.
John helped me hitch up the wagon. I stashed my shotgun under the seat. My dog Buddy rode on what he stage drivers call the shotgun seat because a guard with a shotgun usually rode next to the driver. The sheriff wasn’t altogether wrong about the dangers to a woman, especially by herself. But I went prepared. I also had a rifle in a scabbard nest to me.
An older gentleman named Jack Johnson and his son Joe ran the paper in Galestown. They were friendly and glad to exchange information as we news people make our living by knowing what’s going on.
” The woman who broke up the saloon seemed to be inspired by the stories about Carrie Nation and might have adopted a similar name. She is a fanatic about temperance and may have confederates other places.” Jack told me.
“But wouldn’t they break up the saloons they way she did?’ I asked.
“Maybe, maybe not. Carrie Nation may have had a trademark way of doing things, but I think this woman hates drinking and goes after it-no holds barred.”
I spent a few hours helping them with their paper and seeing how they did things. Afterward they kindly took me to dinner and put me up for the night so I could drive back the next day.
The sheriff was convinced the damage was done by drunken cowboys, it strikes me that some friends of Carrie Natin might have vandalized our saloon. I wasn’t sure that I believed either explanation. What else was there?
The next day a miss Edna Pultz came into the paper. She was kind of short about 5’3” which truthfully is not a whole lot shorter than me, but she was quite a bit heavier. She walked in with a rather hostile attitude. When I asked if I could help her she demanded to know why some female was running the paper. Guess it was my week to be challenged for not being a man.
“My uncle was killed in the fire that destroyed the paper. He left it to me and I intend to run it.”
‘Well why ain’t you writing about the drunken carousing going on in this town. The sheriff says he can’t do anything about it.?”
“This is a cow town and cowboys come here to let off steam. Nothing I write will change that” I explained to her. I’m not sure who she was, I hadn’t met her before.
She stormed out of the office on her short legs slamming the door behind her.
John and I talked about the Saloon break in. I told him what I had learned in Galestown. “Maybe this Edra Pultz could be an agent for that Carrie Natin” he said.
“Well, she does strike me as someone who will do whatever she has to get something she wants.’
Some more snooping
I decided to do a bit of snooping around the countryside. Buddy and I were heading out toward the county line past the True light Church and saw Edra Pultz leaving the church. The Rev left shortly and went to saddle his horse. Now what was going on here?
I stopped to chat with him but he seemed rather agitated. You know Reverend, I was thinking that Miss Pultz might just have had something to do with the saloon vandalism. How well do you know her? Do you think she could have anything to do with it?”
He seemed rather nervous and started fidgeting. “I can’t say about that,” he said
“Does that mean you think she did? You might as well tell me because the sheriff might be interested in asking you if you don’t tell me.” That was a white lie since I don’t think the sheriff was apt to do anything on my say so.
“That must have been embarrassing to have those cowboys dunk you in the horse tank last week. Must make you want revenge.”
“Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.’ He responded. Not sure what he meant by it though.
Ordinarily I would think it would mean to leave it up to the Lord.
What I really thought was that the reverend wanted revenge and maybe got together with a fellow spirit who didn’t like liquor and didn’t like drunken cowboys. However, I’m not law enforcement , so I told the sheriff what I thought and let him investigate it. .
When I told him that he became furious. But so did Buddy. I’m not sure if it was buddy or the scattergun that quieted him down. The sheriff fumed a bit about women mixing into dangerous things but finally agreed to talk to the Reverend.
By the time we printed the next edition I could report the Reverend had been furious with the cowboys who dunked him. He and Miss Pultz snuck into the saloon and broke every bottle they could find. The also broke the mirror and anything else close at hand. They had hoped the cowboys would be blamed.
© 2011 Don A. Hoglund