The Cactus Trail (Reeves-11/8/1917)
(Continued from previous)
(By Alfred E. Reeves)
He did not have long to wait, for he soon heard voices, parts of speech reached his ears as Steve Adams was directing the two Mexicans in the search for the woman he had so brutally treated. "Get the woman," he said, "and when I’m done with her you fellows can have her, but I’m first, do you get that?" "The centipedes and ants will soon kill the kid, even if the wolves don’t find her, so let the little devil alone when you come to her." The Mexicans growled their approval as the group came closer and closer.
Slowly Winchester came up to Uncle Dave’s shoulder and as he sighted it at Steve Adam’s heart his finger tightened on the trigger—death was so near the monster. But, Uncle Dave told me, a curley (sic) head came before his eyes and something kept him from murder, justifiable as it would have been, he has always been glad he did not press harder on the trigger that afternoon. He quietly arose from behind the bush and demanded, "hands up," his record for shooting was well know[n] at that time, and he still holds the championship of New Mexico; to these men it meant death to disobey, however, both Mexicans turned and ran as fast as they could and Uncle Dave did not dare to take his eyes off of Steve Adams for he was the most notoious character for a hundred miles each side of the border. Like a bad man, when he knows he is caught, Steve Adams played the game right, high above his head he held his hands cursing as he did so, while Uncle Dave took his gun and knife. Mrs. Thomas brought the cord she was tied with and they bound him securely keeping watch of the fleeing Mexicans a mile down the valley, running as fast as possible.
Over the mountain, in the same direction Joe Thomas had been so brutally escorted scarcely two hours before, they took Steve Adams, and at night time the camp fire showed red like the rays of the sun that had gone to rest such a short time before.
Worrying as a wife and mother would, they talked, as Uncle Dave prepared shelter for them from the cold mountain night air, of what had become of Joe Thomas. Silently the child listened until it seemed she could contain herself no longer and in a clear childlike voice that echoed like music away down the side of the mountain, she called, "papa Joe, come here quick." Carefully were they watching, lest the outlaws overtake them at night, armed as he was, Uncle Dave was nervous; so much depended upon him and if they came he must see them first. At the sound of a voice from behind a clump of bushes not fifty yards away, a big black object arose and came running toward them quick as a flash the old rifle was ready, but in the silvery moon light he recognized Joe Thomas as he rushed past him and took back in his arms his wife and dear little Gladys.
Over the mountains they traveled on foot and horseback for three days and Steve Adams was placed in the states prison for five years at hard labor, for a crime he should have been hung for.
It was five years and one month after this, that he staid (sic) all night at the Reamer home at the foot of the mountain south. He knew every move that had been made in the old valley, and four days before, a Mexican had ridden rapidly over the old cactus trail, arranging a meeting for the 14th of May, in the rear room of an adobe saloon in Deming.
Note:—On account of the extra amount of work caused by the arrival at Camp Cody of so many conscripts, it will become necessary to discontinue this story for the time being.
Historic Farnam editor's note: Apparently, Lt. Reeves did not submit the ending to this story as it was not found in later issues of the Echo.