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THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, \V, JAN'IAKV 1. l'Ml [HE JUNIOR CALL.
HOW BOB AND CAMPBELL
TRAPPED WILD HORSES
II) < . P. lIAnMJM
IF you should search the whole state
of California, It would be .hard, to
find two boys who differed as much
in disposition or were closer friends
than Bob Graham anil Campbell Cov
Bob was larger than most boys of
lis age, strong, active and Inclined to
an outdoor life. Ills chum, although a
: tew months older, lacked much In size
".. - and strength, but at school found little
difficulty in leading his class In what-.*
ever studies he pursued; still having
plenty of time left for good wholesome
' fun, ■ \
Campbell constantly., experimented
.with electricity and model; airships,
and had-some Ideas he felt sure,were
' ; valuable, :In ; the shop he. had fitted up .
'.'were models of his construction which
justified him in ■ having confidence "• In
i his-theories..; He offered I'•'>!> .a half;
interest,ln anything ho could produce,' -
If he would help get money to purchase
supplies thai wire necessary. Both tried
■-. hard to find .some way of earning the
needed.amount,;and-i were almost dis
couraged, ,for nothing promised imme- •
diate returns; even, if .plans matured.it
•would , be :many months v before-..."they
' -could realize any cash on them. Camp
bell's enthusiasm^. . and " desires filled"
■ him with restlessness,'and' many sleep
less hours were spent in bed, striving to ,
determine some/method- byj.which the -
.' money, could be honestly"earned.; '
On night after tossing much longer
than usual,, each hour 0f ,.. the knight -.
brought plainly to his ear the striking
- of the' big clock in a distant room, and ■-,
also the voice of Mr. Coventry,, reading ■
V' ,to"hl3 wife,.some letters received that
day. One was from his old friend, Jim
Cummlngs, a Nevada rancher; this let
ter interested Campbell so much that ■
.he, sat upright in bed listening -intent
ly to every word. Cummlngs was an
old friend, and he told of a gold mine
he wanted Mr. .Coventry to see; said
it was near his ranch, and to retain his
claim •'. there * must; be '■' some: work! done *
upon it. lie also told of troubles upon .
his ranch; how all of his'horses had
run away with the wild ones, which
were - r numerous in- the .-mountains,
where they soon became almost impos- •
sible .to;'catch. The government had
made a forest reserve of most of <the
range near his home, and threatened. to
; shoot all horses the ranchers did not t
Mr. Cummlngs was ; discouraged with
the ■ horse, business, for although lie
had < offered $10 for every horse ; that
could •be ; caught, no one seemed able
to bring.them In, and he was about to
. give "up: in despair. ■ • -
. Wild - thoughts flashed through the
listening boy's brain—-couldn't he catch.
• some of those wild horses in some way?
If his father would '-accept the Invita-'.
tion to go to Nevada and take him and.
Bob! Then while Cummings talked
. ' business matters to Coventry, maybe
•Campbell ' and his chum, could catch .'
some •of those. mustangs. How, he did
■ not know, but he felt sure it could be
• done some way, and ■ Cummings had
said he would" pay $10 for every' one :
- ■ corraled,'if he : could only catch five
that would mean $50," while if they
• could get 10, they would have $100 all
for their own.
Vacation was soon" to begin and
Campbell could see no reason why they
should not go. 1 Those hours were long ;
ones that ► night; it seemed as though
• morning would never come.
At the breakfast table Campbell told
what ho had ' heard and i of ; the plans
formed during:the ; night, and eagerly
- Implored* his ;■ father to 'gol to > Nevada, '
. • look at the mine and to take Bob Gra-
. ham and himself along. :
The arrangement was '. made and three
" . weeks-later t the party arrived ,at Jim
t'mnrnings' ' ranch. Camming! was
greatly amused when told that the^boys
had - come to . catch the . horses .which
■ had.'evaded all the Indiana and pro-_
esslonal "mustangers" who r had ' tried "
;.. to capture ■ them. : But ■he told the I boys
to "go ahead, be careful, corral all they
could, and .there ; would be a $10 gold
piece for every, grown horse they could
catch." Cummings also offered the;use
of six saddle ponies. r "You'll find you
. need.more than six," said the rancher
in reply to the look of surprise the boys
- gave him. ■ ; • ■ '
.' .Eagerly they started out to look
" for some way, to accomplish their pur
pose. Riding through-.the.mountains,
they soon .came; upon . bands -of 'i wild
horses, but ■ could . not ; get close to
them.; The'leaders always saw, the; hoys
■ approaching '; and led their . followers
down through the rocks and timber at
a pace that scared the ><Rungsters. "I
thought maybe we could lassoo some
of v them,": said Campbell, "but I'd be
afraid to try now, when I see how
fast ■ they 'go. I .really believe they
would pull my pony right i off of his .
feet even if I could lasso them."
Talking of wild and fanci.'ul schemes
they rode-toward . homo,, following a
trail ■ leading " down. out of • the r. moun
tains >to a little field Mr. J Cummings
' used as a pasture tor his gentle horses.
Through, this field they : passed , one
place where the fence was torn down.
and through the opening were well
worn trails, showing plainiy that stock
crossed regularly for some purpose.
Campbell examined the hoofprints upon
the trails, and after considerable study.
exclaimed excitedly, "it's mustang
tracks and they are pointed into the
"If we could only find a bunch in
side the fence we would have them in
a field, anyhow," said Bob, "and that
would be better than outside."
"Say," almost shouted Campbell, "if
we could leave this fence down to let
mustangs come in, then have a corral
somewhere inside the field, couldn't
we corral some horses before they
WOUld get o'lt?"
800 was enthusiastic about any pla".
that was proposed, so agreed readily
The buys rode along at a good trot,
talking- of plans for corrals and how
to get mustangs In them. Suddenly
they came t.» a halt, for not 100 yards
ahead of tln-m were seven mustangs
drinking at a spring.
"Look," whispered Hob. "that's why
those trails are SO well worn. Mus
tangs come here to get water. Oh! if
we only hail our corral here now! Come
on, let's scare them and see which way
The boys did not need to scare them,
for the wild horses had already scented
the riders and ran headlong toward the
fence, but just as ttte hoys ti.ought
they would strike the wire they slack
ened and turning, followed the line of
t lie fence until the opening was
reached, then they filed through to the
open range outside.
The rest of the way to the ranch
house the boys Celt as though they
were bounding through air, eager to
try the scheme. So full of enthusiasm
were they that though the ponies were
running at full speed over the rough
trail, they gave no heed. That even
ing the plan was unfolded to Mr. cum
mings, who laughed heartily. Slap
ping his hands upon his knees, he said
'I'.oys. you beat me to it. That's just
what I was going to do myself. I've
watched those horses come for water
in that field and I've noticed they al
ways run the same way going out.
There's a fine place to hide a corral
In that little bunch of cottonwood.s
that is close to the fence; the horses
always pass through there."
A businesslike agreement was reached.
Mr. Cummings had some heavy woven
wire and a lot of posts all cut. He
would furnish the wire and the posts
and hire three men to put up the cor
ral. The boys were to pay the wages
of the men out of the money earned
by catching the horses, Mr. Cummings
would pay $10 for every unbramled
horse, but nothing for horses with
brands upon them. The boys were
to hide in the field and whenever a
buncfa came to water they were to rush
out at them when they had finished
drinking and follow them to the gate
of the corral, which must be closed
quickly beforo the horses could get
Kour days were required to build
the corral. The boys thought the men
took more precaution than was- neces- ■
sary, for every post hole had to be
just so - deep; and every post a cer
tain-size, else they, said' it was not
right, but at last it was completed and
on the _ fifth day; Campbell and Bob
were secreted in dense thicket, where a
fine view of the field could be had, yet '
were completely hidden themselves.".
Patiently they waited, hours passed by,
and ,not;a • creature had come in' sight.
"Say, Campbell,"! whispered Bob, "what
would we do about paying, Mr. • Cum
niiiin.-i if no horses came at all." Camp
bell did not; know what to say about'
that,' 1 so to "dodge tlic .issue he said,.
'ihcy,- will come all right, for those
men who put, up the 'corral said; many i
of the springs outside had gone dry.",
. •Hardly , had ■he finished speaking
when they saw in the distance a little
dust, it was faint at first, yet grad
ually it .became: more, distinct, and it
was but a few minutes more before
t the boys knew it was a hand of horses
coming toward them—on they came at
a good fast trot, never slackening speed
until they reached,the place where the
trail let through the broken fence.
Here they ; halted : and sniffed.,around;,
with their, heads, ; held, closely to the
ground; walking here and there around
the trails. Now. the band had entered the'
field, five head there were;, the leader
was a bright bay with four white legs
and big bald" face.' With great wari- -
ness he led his ■ band to; the water,
where they all drooped their heads and
drank long-" of the cooling fluid. "Now
is our time," exclaimed Campbell. "No, <
not just yet.V answered' Hob. "Mr. Cum
nilngs' said let them drink; all they
could.'l,' "i can't wait any longer,"
gasped Campbell,'i'"come on right now."
I They .jumped upon their ponies and
rode straight at the -mustangs. Away
dashed the wild horses, directly for the
trail'that led to the corral. The boys
fairly flew, but they did , not keep up
with the wild ones, and going down
the little hill that: led to the cotton
woods they had to rein In their mounts.
."We've' got them!'" shouted Campbell
to Bob, who was just V behind him.
"We've got them! .... I": saw them go
through the cot ton woods into the wing"
of the corral!"
* "Hurry!", breathlessly, exclaimed Bob,
( who" had ■ already found the pace ; too
fast foe- him. "Hurry, -Campbell,". he
said, -t "they'll get in .the corral and
come out. before we" get. to . the gate."
Again giving his. pony ; free rein,
Campbell sped toward the corral. He
-heard! a: crash, .then sounds of distant '
running. The -boys continued their
breakneck ride, -but; could not under
stand ■ the • noise; they had heard.' - They
soon learned," however, that . the leader
bad crashed through lie wing, just out
side, the gate of the corral,- and 7 after
him'-had. followed the whole band;
** "They're gone," the boys said in con
cert, "they got away... Isn't it a shame?
And if they, had only gone 20 feet far
ther we would have had $50 now. " ■
..."I guess we have;learned why.they _
say. it's hard to, catch ' these wild
horses," soliloquized Bob, and in an
other, breath he added, "and we owe
Mr. Cummings.for all the work, too."
"Don't worry," spoke up Campbell
with an air of confidence that .had' a
•good effect on Bob; "I see what Is' the
■ trouble. We can soon fix that so thry
will not escape that way another time.
i You see,'.', continued .Campbell, "the
wing crosses the trail right at the
point where the leader hit it; I don't
believe he purposely went through it;
'I don't think he saw it at all, he was
running^so fast .and was so terribly
frightened. We can soon repair *'. the
break and make it more solid. We'll
' pile dead trees .and : limbs and brush
right at this spot. Then they will see
it and try to go around it and in doing
so go into the corral.'
Campbell was right. Bob thought sol
too; so they immediately; began to re
pair the break. It was hard work, and.
as they,l were resting after its comple
tion,*' Campbell chanced to see another
.band approaching—"hurry to the hid
ing place," lie said, "a big bunch is
coming." • They,* barely had i- concealed
themselves .when the band trotted into
the field—nine head there; were and
right down to the water 'they went,
where each stopped; and every one
drank, until the boys thought they
surely must burst. At last one started
away, then the others followed. At
this moment the boys darted from their
cover. in confusion, the frightened
horses ran for the trail, which bad al
ways led them to freedom — right be
hind.them Were the two boys, yelling
like demons, so excited had they be
come - that no thought was given to
the. horses; they; rode—all they,did was
urge them on and shout: at the terri
fied horses ahead of them. Through'the
- cotton woods they went amid a cloud
of dust. Right on the heels of the mus
tangs, were the well trained: saddle
ponies. Over the rough trail they never
faltered. The .wild, horses were i now
inside the'wing, three more,-seconds
and they would be at the place the boys
repaired—right for it ran the leader,
right for It until almost upon it, then
he swerved and into the corral he led
. the entire band.
. : The boys war,, at the gate just, as
the. last horse^passed through. Quick
ly shutting .it they dropped to the
ground, completely exhausted.
"My lungs feel as If they are rup
tured, '• gasped Campbell. "I can not get
"I feel that way, too," whispered
Bob between irregular gasps, "but I'm
"getting all right now. We got them,
didn't we? Just think—s9o! Just look
at them-tear, around Inside that corral.
I'm glad those men made it strong.
'What will we do now?,. Let's go home
and tell father and Mr. ('umtnings."
All this was said in as near one breath
' They- were soon on- f heir -way -"to
the ranch. Mr, ' Cainmlnga was out
side when the' boys * rode up : to' the
"What luck?" he inquired.
. . ."Nine head." promptly answered Bob
"I guess it takes California boys to
catch Nevada mustangs," i added Camp
bell with a smile of satisfaction.