Newspaper Page Text
Ifl " THE WESTERN WEEKLY
I 9 TAeCroniclegfPicvCnoivt
HJ L J3f Joseph. Thornton.
A Yellowstone Park Holdup
Mil It was a beautiful day in autumn in Yellowstone Park.
HRJr The foliage on the trees and shrubs were beginning to show the red and
! gold, the handiwork of King Frost, who had been very active in the hills
Tourist traffic was almost over fop the season, but a few travelers whose
business had detained them so late in the season, or those who preferred the
coolness of the approaching winter to the heat of midsummer, were still
straggling throughout its magnificent width and breadth.
Pieus Chamont was one of the happy tourists. Having settled in Lake
City for his health, he had, at the request of a number of newspaper cro-
j. nies consented to take a trip through Yellowstone. In the party there wcr.c
II Eugene Fitzalen, Bishcl and Armiston of the Rcphertrib. It was a jolly
III crowd of fellows, all men who had served their time loyally in the newspaper
l,j business, who now sought a few days recreation and peace from the nerve
11 grinding existence of a newspaper office.
j It was only at the request, even insistence of the newspaper boys
i1 that Chamont had taken the trip. Although claiming that he was much
improved and that trips did not particularly appeal to him, yet he had at
last given a reluctant consent.
But now he was glad he came. He enjoyed the grand exhilaration of
HM the mountain air; the ozone of the pines and wild flowers enthused and
J 1 enthralled him. Observant, even unto being almost offensive at times,
H r nothing ever escaped him. He studied the rocks, the trees, the rivers, the
H ji waterfalls and every object of natural and even unnatural beauty. The
giant geysers, spouting their scheduled wrath at the behest of a turgid and
H turbulent nature, the cascades, the lakes all in turn were examined, noted
H and commented on.
Hi After traveling a couple of days over the tourist route, one morning
H the party reached one of the stations.
H Chamont insisted on remaining over a couple of days. Nervous as he
H was he found that physical exertion had a more or less reactive effect.
HJ When his mind was busy, his physical elements responded, but given a
HJ complete mental relaxation, and without the nerve exhilaration such a na-
Hj turc as his required, he found himself tired and fatigued.
HJ So they rested at the station or a couple of days.
HJ At the place they stopped wcrcvquartered a number of the Yellowstone
J Park guards, the policemen of the park. Intelligent and clean looking, they
J appealed to Chamont. He was fond of sitting with them, exchanging
HJ ideas, filling his note book witli their stories and reminiscences.
HJ Among them all he seemed particularly struck by the sergeant who was
HJ in charge of the squad quartered there, named Wilford Browne. He was
HJ a big, husky, clean looking chap, with a whole-souled heartiness and with
HJ vast possibilities of underlying strength that particularly appealed to Cha-
HJ I mont.
HJ The two men spent hours in each other's company, during which Cha-
HJ ; mnt inhaled the ruggedness and intelligence exhaled by Browne. The
HJ ! sergeant gave many little pointers into the inside working of the guards
HJ ' and the government supervision of the park, from which Chamont. made
HJ copious notes.
HJ But at last the stay of Chamont and his party at the station was end-
HJ cd, so one morning they were up and off, having for their objective the
HJ next station, several hours drive away. Before leaving Chamont asked
HJ for Browne but was told that he had started out some time before, on
HJ bis early morning rounds.
HJ After traveling a couple of hours, having traveled in company with a
J number of other park stages, the Chamont party, while traveling through
J i particularly attractive section of the park, was suddenly halted by a lone
HJ The place was an ideal one for a holdup. On each side were prccipi-
J tous bluffs and crags, at the foot of which nestled the deep foliage of the
J scrub oaks and other mountain growths. The roadway hardly passed
HJ through the thick shrubbery, hence it was not until the holdup had started
out from the brush on the right hand side that he was seen.
HJ He was a handsomely built fellow, dressed in overalls, blue shirt, and
I black slouch hat. His face was covered by a black silk handkerchief, thus
preventing the slightest opportunity for identification, as the edges of the
handkerchief fell from his forehead to on his shoulder, and through which
HJ n couple of eye slits were cut.
HI He carried a rifle, and with it made such a menacing gesture that the
driver pulled up his horses without a word, after the first gruff, "Throw up
HI yor hands," and then jumped nimbly to the ground. The other members
of the party were not slow in following. Keeping his gun pointed at the
travelers the holdup motioned to a bandana handkerchief lying on the
roadway, and told the passengers to come up one at a time and drop their
money into it, then go back into line.
Bishcl and Amiston were for fighting, but Chamont advocated calmness.
"He is a desperate man," said Chamont. "Your life means little to such a
man as he. Being newspapermen you have little enough to lose, so let it
Bishcl and Armiston followed behind Chamont who had dropped a
small wad of greenbacks, and after many demurs and protestations, also
dropped the little they had on the bandana. .
After all of them had given up what property they had, the holdup
roughly ordered them back into the stage, then told the driver to turn
around and go back.
Appreciating the mercy of being still alive, the driver did not hesitate
but turned his horses at once and began the drive back over the route the Sfc
party had come. As they drove off Chamont turned and waved his hand at
the outlaw, the latter involuntarily acknowledging the salutation.
Bishcl and Armiston did not want to go. They insisted on remaining,
then go back through the brush, steal up behind the bandit, and grab and
"Very brave, my friends," said Chamont. "How do you know how many
confederates he has in the brush behind htm? Do you think that he would
The logic of the argument appealed to Bishcl and Armiston, so they
went on, but only after much more talk and persuasion along the same line.
Reaching the station they had left that morning, they found a wild
state of excitement prevailing. It seemed that three other coaches had been
held up ahead of the Chamont party, one of which had come in about half an
hour before. The parties in the other stages were telling their stories in
vehement language and loudly denouncing the government for demanding
that travelers in the park should not carry firearms and yet permit one lone
bandit to hold up stages by the dozen. In fact so angry did they get that
an informal meeting was held and a formal protest worded to be sent to
the authorities at Washington.
While the excitement was going on and while the other newspaper boys
were getting information for stories for their papers, Chamont walked idly
around. After a short time he asked if Sergeant Browne had returned.
He was told that a scout had been sent out for Browne with instructions to
head a squad and begin the search for the bandit. While Chamont was still
talking with his informant, Sergeant Browne himself came riding up. He
was excited and covered with dust and was muttering oaths against bandits,
highwaymen or any others who dared invade the precincts of the park and
pursue such unholy warfare.
In Browne the travelers saw a haven of refuge. Every one described
to the sergeant the property he had lost, together with as complete a de
scription of the outlaw as they could furnish.
With this incomplete information Browne mounted his horse and dashed
off after his squad who were scouring the hills.
After a few days more in the park Chamont and his party returned to
their homes in Lake City.
Ever after the holdup Chamont had been nagged and berated by his
companions for the lack of interest he manifested in the affair.
"Hell," said Bishcl, roughly, as all were sitting in Ciiamont's rooms one
day, in Lake City, talking it over. "Here you call yourself 'Disintegrator of
basic crime.' You flaunt your ability to solve criminal problems; you catch
prizefighters who arc murderers, and others, yet you sit calmly down and
let one man rob you and your friends and then refuse to use your so-called
powers and won't even try to aid the authorities in finding out who commit
ted the deed, or even confess that you have a theory on the subject. I "&
don't believe you lost enough to make you care," he finished lamely.
Chamont, smoking a cigarette and eyeing the uncurling smoke, listened
with a smiling face. "I didn't lose much" and that's a fact. How much did
you lose, Bishcl?"
Bishcl hemmed and hawed, then with a shamefaced look, replied: "Eleven
dollars and thirty cents in money; a Barrios diamond stickpin, and a dol
"WcW, I lost more than you," replied Chamont.
"How much?" asked Bishcl, Armiston and the rest present in a. chorus.
Chamont pulled out a small memorandum book which he studied for a
moment. lie entered some figures, then said: "Four hundred and ninety
two dollars, of which there were four fifty's, ten twenties, seven tens, four
five.s and the rest in silver. The numbers on the bills were"
"We're not interested in the numbers on your bills," roughly interrupt-
ed Bishcl. "What we want to know is Don't you want your money back?"
Chamont smoked reflectively for a moment: "Really, I hadn't thought
of that. The nerve of the man so appealed to me that I have done nothing
but smile ever since. Imagine it There we were, four huskies, that is in
our wagons, not to mention all those in the other"