Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood

CHAPTER XIV.
THE YOUNG GUIDE.

THE next time that Buffalo Billy left home it was in the capacity of assistant guide to a train of emigrants that were going to the far West to settle.

In Leavenworth one night he met in a common assembling room for all classes of men, a man who was Train Boss, or captain, and who was going to the West to raise cattle and also to farm.

His train, consisting of some thirty families was encamped out of town resting and fitting up for the renewal of the march, and he had come into Leavenworth to secure a competent guide, the one who had been acting as such having been taken very ill.

He had just secured the services of a young man who professed to know the country well though he was a stranger in Leavenworth, and fearing an accident might deprive him of his services too, the captain was looking around for an assistant when he came upon Billy.

He liked the boy from the first, but feared, on account of his youth, that he might not be competent for the position, until assured by several teamsters that he was fully so, and consequently he engaged Billy at a fair salary.

The chief guide, who called himself Roy Velvet, Billy had never met, until the morning the train rolled out of camp on its way westward, and from the very first he did not like him.

He was a handsome, but dissipated looking young man, dressed like a dandy, was more than thoroughly armed, and rode a superb bay mare.

He smiled when Captain Luke Denham, the Train Boss, introduced Billy as an assistant guide, and said sneeringly:

"I guess he won't be of much use ten miles away from Leavenworth, captain."

Billy made no reply, but kept up considerable thinking, and set to work at his duties.

For some days the train went on finely, and all felt the new guide knew his business; but then there came some stormy days, it was hard traveling, several times the train had to make a dry camp, and once they were attacked by Indians, until some of the old teamsters felt confident that Roy Velvet had lost the way.

Yet on they plodded until at lost the nature of the country was such that it was difficult for the train to travel, while, to add to their discomfort and fears, a large band of Indians were hovering near them.

"Well, Velvet, where will you find a camping place to-night?" asked Captain Denham, riding forward and joining the guide.

"Oh! I find a good place, and only a short distance ahead; after that the country will be all right for traveling," was the quiet answer.

"I don't believe it, for it has not that look."

Then ask the assistant guide," was the stern reply.

"I would, but he is not with the train, and has not been seen since last flight."

"Perhaps he got out of sight of the train and couldn't find his way back," sneered the guide.

"Oh no! that boy knows what he is about, and I'll trust him for it."

"Well, yonder is the camp," and Roy Velvet pointed to a little meadow not far distant, through which ran a deep stream, and beyond and overshadowing it, was a range of bold hills.

"It's a pleasant spot indeed, and I guess we'll halt a day or two," said the captain, and be gave orders for the train to encamp.

But suddenly up dashed Billy Cody, mounted upon a large horse no one had ever seen him ride before, and it was evident that he had been riding hard.

"Captain Denham, don't camp there, sir, for you place yourself at the mercy of the renegades and Indians that are dogging your trail," he said hastily.

"I am the guide, boy, and have selected the camp," sternly answered Roy Velvet.

"And you are my prisoner, Roy Velvet," and quicker than a flash the revolver of Buffalo Billy covered his heart.

Roy Velvet turned very pale, but add:

"Are you mad, boy?"

"No."

"My, what is the matter?" asked Captain Denham, while the teamsters and settlers gathered quickly around.

"Tie that man and I will tell you."

"But, Billy-"

"Tie him, captain, or I shall shoot him, for I know who and what he is," cried Billy, and his manner, his charge against the chief guide, his mysterious absence from the train for eighteen hours, and his return upon a strange horse, proved to all that be did know something detrimental to Roy Velvet.

"Speak, Billy, and if you know aught against this man, tell us," said the captain.

"Disarm him then for he is a tricky devil."

"Captain Denham, will you permit that boy to cover we with his revolver and hurl insult upon me?" cried the guide.

"As you will not do as I ask I will do it myself," and Billy rode up to the guide, still holding his cocked revolver upon him, and deliberately took from his belt his revolvers and knife.

"You are so sly, so soft in your cunning, Velvet, that I'll be on the safe side," said Billy with a smile, as be felt over the man for another weapon.

"Ah! I'll take this Derringer from your breast pocket," and out he drew the concealed weapon.

"Now, captain, I'll introduce to you Red Reid, the Renegade Chief."

All were astonished at this charge made by Billy against the guide, for Red Reid was one of the vilest road-agents that infested the overland trails to the West, and had robbed and murdered many a train of emigrants, and of Government supplies.

He was known also to be in league with the red-skins, and had them for allies when his own force of renegades was not large enough to make a successful attack.

"He lies! I am not that monster," shouted the guide as white as a corpse.

"I do not lie, sir; from the first I did not like you, and knowing that you were going off the regular trail west I watched you.

"I have seen you, at night, slip out of camp and meet Indians, and last night I followed the one you met.

"I overtook him on the prairies, after a hard chase and he shot my horse; but I shot him found he was a white man in Indian disguise and more, before he died he recognized me, for he was once my father's friend, but went to the bad.

"He told me who and what you were, and when he died to-day I mounted his horse and came on after the train, for I know you were going to lead them here to attack this very night with your band that is not far away."

The story of Billy made a deep impression upon the train people, and the result was that Roy Velvet was seized, bound, and hanged to a tree within fifteen minutes, and the boy who had saved them from death was made chief guide.

At once he led them out of the dangerous locality where they could be am bushed and attacked, and the truth of the charge against Roy Velvet was sustained by the attack of the supposed Indians upon their camp; for, when driven off and the dead examined, a number of white men were found in the red paint and dress of Indian warriors.

Without difficulty Buffalo Billy led the train on to its destination, proving himself thereby a perfect guide, and after a short stop in the new settlement, he returned with a Government train bound East, and again was warmly welcomed "home again."

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