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Authors: D. N. Bedeker

The Cassidy Posse

BOOK: The Cassidy Posse
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Copyright © 2011 by D.N. Bedeker

All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, magnetic, photographic including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the publisher. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and author assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Cover design and illustration by Daniel C. Bedeker

ISBN 0-7414-6151-X Paperback
ISBN 978-0-7414-9475-7 eBook

INFINITY PUBLISHING
1094 New DeHaven Street, Suite 100
West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2713
Toll-free (877) BUY BOOK
Local Phone (610) 941-9999
Fax (610) 941-9959
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For my grandson Dannis

May this book inspire him the way
my grandfather’s stories inspired me
.

Table of Contents

Author’s Note

Chapter 1- April Fool

Chapter 2- April 1, 1892, Chicago

Chapter 3- Chicago Society

Chapter 4- A Man of The West

Chapter 5- Texas Near the Rio Grande

Chapter 6- Love Thy Mother

Chapter 7- The Road West

Chapter 8- The Deal of a Lifetime

Chapter 9- Rock Springs, Wyoming

Chapter 10- The Posse

Chapter 11- Crossing the Great Basin

Chapter 12- South Pass

Chapter 13- The Shootist

Chapter 14- The Circle C Ranch

Chapter 15- Family Matters

Chapter 16- Back on the Trail

Chapter 17- The Rattlesnake Range

Chapter 18- Unexpected Company

Chapter 19- Mr. Simm’s Bad Day

Chapter 20- The Pass

Chapter 21- Billy’s Special Assignment

Chapter 22- The Hole-in-the-Wall

Chapter 23- The Outlaw Cabin

Chapter 24- The Element of Surprise

Chapter 25- The Lone Horse

Chapter 26- The Man on the Hill

Chapter 27- The Invasion Falters

Chapter 28- On the Road to Buffalo

Chapter 29- A Desperate Battle

Chapter 30- In the Confusion of Battle

Chapter 31- An Unguarded Moment

Chapter 32- A Destiny Fulfilled

Chapter 33- Crazy Woman Creek

Chapter 34- Death From a Distance

Chapter 35- A Violent end

Chapter 36- Unexpected Help

Chapter 37- Buffalo, Wyoming

Chapter 38- So Close to Home

Chapter 39- Conflict of Interest

Chapter 40- The Homecoming

Chapter 41- Through the Loop

Chapter 42- The Best Laid Plans

Chapter 43- End of the Line

Chapter 44- Meeting the Family

Chapter 45- Ten Years Later

Epilogue

AUTHOR’S NOTE

The inspiration for writing this novel began with a visit to the museum in Buffalo, Wyoming. A section of the museum chronicles the history of the Johnson County Range War in April of 1892 when the largely Eastern based owners of the big cattle outfits invaded the area with an army of 22 hired gunmen from Texas. These self-proclaimed regulators compiled a hit list of rustlers they intended to eliminate. The “invasion” (as locals called it) was the basis for Michael Cimino’s career-damaging movie
Heaven’s Gate
. As I walked around the museum reading the information on the various dioramas, it occurred to me that Cimino’s interpretation missed the humorous aspects of the ambitious undertaking. While he had immigrant men and women being slaughtered in his version of the shoot out at the KC ranch, in actuality the only casualty was a Texan who died of an embarrassing self-inflicted gunshot wound to the groin. In describing various events of the ill-conceived invasion in this novel, little literary embellishment was necessary to provide comic relief.

While researching the Johnson County range war, I began to wonder what part Butch Cassidy, one of the area’s most famous outlaws, played in the proceeding. After all, the year before he owned a ranch near the “Hole-in-the-Wall” that was a suspected way station for a rustling operation. When I visited the “Hole-in-the-Wall” and crossed the famous passage (prudently on foot), I realized why the invaders did not want to attempt to breach the impregnable stronghold. Further research revealed that Butch Cassidy sat out the invasion in jail in Evanston, Wyoming, awaiting trial for stealing a horse. This was not a very satisfying answer to my question. Nate Champion, the only outlaw of note killed by the regulators, is thought to have been the one that first led Butch Cassidy through the “Hole-in-the-Wall.” It seemed only right that Butch should be involved in the events surrounding the invasion in some way. Thus the novel
The Cassidy Posse
was born. Robert Parker, aka Butch Cassidy, was well-liked and good for his word, which led to him being released from incarceration early on several occasions. It is on this precedent the novel is based. Our reason here is very plausible. He is secretly released until his upcoming trial to help guide a posse along the famous outlaw trail.

The historical linchpin for Cassidy leading a posse for a Chicago detective is the fact that in 1902, he and the Sundance Kid were actually accused of robbing a train on the outskirts of Chicago. As I stared at the pictures of the two famous outlaws in a
Chicago Tribune
article dated July 6, 1902, I could not help but wonder if there was not some earlier connection to the windy city. It is commonly believed that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were in South America at this time. What could have brought them back for this brief visit to Chicago? It was a mystery crying out to be explained. Although my explanation is fictional, I can offer no conclusive proof that it is not true.

In writing this Western mystery, I tried to portray the historical figures in the novel as close to their actual personas as research available would permit. An effort was made to correct the impression of Cassidy as an amicable, good-natured bungler that was created by the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” He was anything but a bungler. Although he conscientiously tried to avoid shooting anyone, he was an excellent shot with both pistol and rifle. He succeeded in avoiding life and death confrontations with excellent planning.

I would like to thank Gene and Sammye Vieh of the Willow Creek Guest Ranch at the “Hole-in-the-Wall” for their hospitality when I visited that area. I want to give a special acknowledgement to my brother Dan for providing his superb artwork for the cover.

CHAPTER 1
APRIL FOOL

Al Hanier brought his axe down hard upon another log at the Davis sawmill. He felt the moisture of perspiration spread from under his arms and across his back. It felt good to sweat again doing honest work. It was a needed change. Nothing he planned for the long run but on the frontier in 1892, you were expected to earn your keep. He and his partner had spent all their cash living it up in Rock Springs that winter. Gambling, whores and high living leads to empty pockets. They’d be back in the money as soon as it thawed out a little and they could sell off the horses they had hidden away in the mountains. Al took off his coat and stretched his arms up towards the spring sunshine. The snow capped Tetons loomed in the distance. He used his fingers as a comb to push back his dark, curly hair as he considered the landscape.
Pretty place
, he thought.
Lots of trees
. He had never been this far west in Wyoming before. He reached for his axe to thin out the forest some more when he heard a distinct and familiar metallic click. It was the sound of the hammer being pulled back on a single action Colt.

“Put them hands up, Hanier,” said a voice from the trees. “Just the way you had’em be fine.”

“Al Hanier,” shouted a sterner voice. “I have a warrant for your arrest.”

Al looked at his Winchester lying idle across two sawhorses. As he had been working, he had gradually put some distance between himself and his weapon. No chance. He reluctantly put up his hands.

Four well-armed men quickly closed in on him and firmly grasped his arms.

“Where’s Cassidy,” said the deputy, the one with the stern voice that Al recognized as Bob Calverly from Unita County.

“Little out ah your jurisdiction, aren’t you Bob?”

“Shut up,” commanded a short deputy. “I’m not.”

“Your rustling days are over,” whispered a tall man who now had a stranglehold around Al’s neck. “I wish that Winchester of yours had been closer and you’d have gone for it. We would have ended your thievin’ permanently.”

BOOK: The Cassidy Posse
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