Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood

CHAPTER XXVIII.
A GAME FOR LIFE AND DEATH.

HAVING concluded his engagement with the Kansas Pacific Railroad, Buffalo Bill once more became a Government scout, and it was while serving on the far border that he won the hatred of a notorious band of desperadoes whom he had several times thwarted in their intended crimes.

Hearing that they had said they would kill him at sight, he boldly rode into the town where they had their haunts, and, true to their word, two of them came out and attacked him.

At the first shot Bill was wounded in the right arm, which destroyed his aim, and, ere he could draw a revolver with his left hand, his horse fell dead beneath him, pinning him to the ground.

Instantly his foes rushed upon him to complete their work, when, rising on his wounded arm, he leveled his revolver with his left hand and shot them down as they were almost upon him. An army officer who witnessed the affray was so much pleased with the nerve of Buffalo Bill that he presented him with a splendid horse, one of a pair he had just received from the east, and having had his wound dressed the scout rode back to camp delight with his present. But the leader of the desperado band still swore to kill Buffalo Bill, and to pick a quarrel with him one night in a saloon, boldly dared him to play him a game of cards.

"Yes, you accursed thief and murderer, I'll play you a game of cards if you will let we name the stakes," said Buffalo Bill.

"All right, name what you please, so you play," was the answer, and the crowd gathered eagerly around, confident that there would be trouble.

"I'll name life and death as the stakes," said Buffalo Bill.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean that if you win the game I'll stand ten paces away and give you a shot at me; if I win, you are to give me a shot at you."

The desperado did not like this arrangement, but having challenged Buffalo Bill to play, and given him the choice of the stakes, he dared not back down, and said:

"All right, let us begin."

"Mind you, no cheating, for I shall shoot you the moment I catch you at it."

"Two can play at that game, Buffalo Bill," said the desperado, and seating themselves at the table the game was begun, each man having his revolver lying by his side.

Buffalo Bill was calm and smiling, for he had confidence in his universal good luck to win.

The desperado was pale and stern, and played warily, for he saw the eye of his foe watching him like a hawk.

Once Bill dropped his hand upon his revolver and his adversary attempted to do the same; but the scout was too quick for him and merely said:

"Beware, for if I catch you cheating, I will kill you."

"Who's cheating, Buffalo Bill?"

"You were about to make an attempt to do so; but I warn you," was the calm reply.

Then, in breathless silence the game went on, and Buffalo Bill won.

Instantly the desperado seized his revolver, but he felt against his head the cold muzzle of a weapon, and heard the stern tones:

"Bent, I guess I'll save Buffalo Bill from killing you, by hanging you to the nearest tree."

The speaker was Wild Bill, who had stood behind the chair of the desperado.

All knew him, and that he was an officer of the law, and would keep his word.

Buffalo Bill said nothing, and the crime-stained wretch was dragged out of the saloon, a rope put around his neck, and he was hanged for his many red deeds, thereby escaping death at the hands of the scout.

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