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Newspaper Page Text
' THE CRIMSON CROSS.
' What Brought the- Guilty '
k Man to His End. '
- "There he is, boysi Do- you
& cafch that bobbin' speck an' risin'
tail of dusf? Weil that's Steve,
all right." '
Five dusty riders, cowmen,
looked toward at single rider in
the hazy distance.' Five tired cow-
' "ponies were urged on under the
cuts of Mexican spurs,
Gradually the single rider grew
larger and the men could make
out his light blue shirt. It was
Steve Young ,the foreman.
Old man Seton, owner of the
Lone Tree ranch, had been found
murdered. The boys thought
their foreman had done it, be
cause around thet)ld man's shack
"' were little starlike prints in the
alkali dust. Steve wore boots
with tiny-metal stars in ,the heels.
Not one man down in his heart
wanted to believe that Steve had
fallen But the little, stars in. the
sand seeriied tobe damning evi
dence. The "men were, going to carry
out the justice of theTplains. Big;
Bill had thrown an extra-rawhide'
" rope over his 'shoulder. Each chin
i was firm, each mouth was set
. " .
"Halt!" Big Bill's voice rang
like a shot.
"Steve turned and smiled. He
thought the boys were hurrying
Jojpin him in Jus ri iopojwis. ,
The smile left his face as -he
saw the grim-visaged men.
Big Bill drew -his gun. v The
men had spread out-and were
forming a circle. They closed in
on Steve arid dismounted." A hand
grabbed Steve's gun vfrom the
rear. Steve" reacheidfor- his hol
ster Big Bill's gun talked. A, nau
seating pain shot through Steve's
shoulder and. he '-fell 'forward
across luVpony's neck.
Steve's feet were tied under his
pony's "belly. The J men turned
their ponies vand started, single
file, back toward the Lone Tree.
oiowiy tne nagstan or tne Lone v i
Tree ranch grew taller above the
horizon, Old Glory fluttering
The Lone Tree, the sentiner of
the plains, was a -mile .from-the
ranch house. -Under its barren
branches the solemn party halted.
Steve's pony was led under "the
tree. The rawhide ..was thrown
over 'the low-hanging limb that
had so often served the same pur
pose. , The rope" was ' noosed t over
Steve's heaving neck. He, for the
first time, realized "what was to'
"For God's sake, boys what
what you doing?" he gasp
ed. "What have .1 done?"
"Aw,yciu knows what you
done" answered Big Bil, as he
shook him, "an' ole man Seton '
like a father to you. Him of all
the launch!' Damn it why didn't
you kill me ME! Understand?