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Shorty came slowly riding into Denver, cradling a young girl in his arms. Behind the saddle sat a young boy no more than a year older than the girl. He rode straight to the doctor’s office and helped them inside.

The doctor was almost in shock at the shape they were in. He went right to work on the little girl, but talked over his shoulder to Shorty. “Where did you find them Marshal? Who could do such a thing to small children?”

“Around twelve miles west of town. They an’ their family was camped for the night. The rest of the family are dead, two boys no more’n ten er so an’ the parents. Yes and two more men and women. What the boy was able to tell me is they were on their way back to their claim a few miles east of Idaho Springs. They had come into town for supplies for their mine. They shor had a load of groceries, which was strode all over. Minin’ equipment was dumped on the ground an’ two wagons overturned.”

“I guess he’ll tell me later, but did you get a name?”

“It’s the Cotton Mouth Mine. Folks name was Gilbreath. Homer an’ Rachel Gilbreath. The boy is Nate, the girl Sally Ann. Doc you watch after um. I’ve got some huntin’ to do.”

“Do you have any idea who did this?”

“No but I’ll dad burn shor find out. After I go back an’ bury that family that is.”


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