FOREWORD

After what seemed forever lying breathlessly still, Burton slowly moved his left hand from over his left eye and slowly looked all around. Nothing moved all was quiet. He stood and helped Ida to her feet. Fourteen year old Ida Campbell looked up at her seventeen old cousin and screamed “Burton, you’ve been shot! The whole side of your head is covered in blood!”

“No, that’s where I put my finger after cutting it deep enough to make it bleed really good.”

“Why’d you do that? Let me wrap it up.”

“So I could place it on my temple and with all the blood they’d think I was dead. Now let’s look at Dad and Uncle Dan. They look as if they’re both dead. Why don’t you start picking everything up while I go tracking those horses?”

“When you get back we’ll bury our fathers, or should we do that first?” She tore a strip from her petticoat and wrapped his finger, then looked over at her father and uncle.

Burton mumbled, “No, I don’t want the horses to run too far. It might take hours to find um now.” He thought a moment, looking over at his dead father and uncle. “I’d best get under the wagon and get those extra rifles and ammunition from that hidden box. I’m sure glad Uncle Dan built it. Maybe he had something like this in mind. You keep one loaded and close while I’m gone.”

Burton found all six horses eating grass only a few hundred yards up the very small stream. He was back at the wagons just as Ida took down a shovel so they could start digging graves. “I see the horses weren’t all that hard to find.”

She watched as he tied the horses. “What will we ever do now that we’re all alone? How can we live without fathers?”

“They’d want us to go on and run that ranch, that’s all we can do. It’ll be our home from now on.”

“Will we ever get the ones that did this?”