The Saga of Miles Forrest

I started out toward Animas City.  Just before arriving there I got a hunch in my gut; Silverton was the wrong way.  Call it gut-feeling, but I call it the Lord.  I learned a long time ago to go with my inner feelings, so I cut across and headed for Placerville.  I wasn’t expecting to find those fellows, but I wanted to get the word out that I was out looking for them now.
Stopping first in Parrott City, I went to the saloons and asked around.  There were many claims throughout the mountains and along the way up to La Plata.  The miners in this area were mostly working for themselves, but there were some working for a couple of larger mines in the area.  I did the same thing here as in Parrott City.
There was this one saloon, the Boar’s Gut, (how’s that for an enticing name?), that I entered.  I was really hesitant about this place.  It looked grungy on the outside, and when I entered it was even more so.  I edged up to the bar and asked the barkeep if he had heard of a gang riding with 3-5 members. 
“We don’t take kindly to folks askin’ ’bout our friends,” came a voice at the bar who had overheard the conversation.  Mercy, he was a scruffy looking fellow.  In fact this saloon hosted the type of folk that probably didn’t work for their living; their simply stole the wages of those who did.
I looked at him.  “From the looks of you I’m sure surprised that you have a friend.  Now, don’t interrupt when I’m speakin’ to the barkeep.”
Turning my head to continue my conversation, letting the barkeep know I was a marshal looking for this particular gang, when the scruff yelled, “You’re a stinkin’ lawdog!”
“Mister,” I replied.  “If anyone stinks in here it’s you.”
He pulled a knife and lunged while I countered swinging the Greener and caught him flush across the face.  I could hear the crackling of teeth and maybe his jaw and he fell in a lump to the floor.  Then I turned to the room, and cocked the shotgun; that got their attention.  I repeated my conversation and told them that I would be on the trail back to Durango.
“Marshal,” said the man standing who had been standing next to the scruff now in a lump on the floor.  “That’s Jean LaPage.  He’ll be a-comin’ for you.”
I pointed the Greener at him.  “How ’bout you?  Will you be comin’ with him?”  I saw him gulp, and he shook his head “No”.
Hopefully my plan would work.  I planned on camping down the road a piece and having that outlaw bunch come looking for me.  I gave them an open invitation.  I would wait two, maybe three days.  I was only a day’s ride out of Durango, and wanted to get back by the weekend.  Then it dawned on me–Thursday was Thanksgiving.  That’s one of the reasons that Molly was upset this time.  Well, I could leave early Thursday and get in some time in the evening.  Hmmm, no better to leave on Wednesday; she didn’t need to be worrying about me.  Plus, she’d have a feed for the miners on Thanksgiving and would need some help.
Nothing the first day.  I was a little anxious waiting around the camp to be attacked.  My time was spent working out the best scenario for an attack.  They were a reckless sort, but I figured they would come in the evening.  Spent quite a bit of my time reflecting on my life, and thanking the Lord for all of my blessings and how He had gotten me out of some bad scrapes.
The second day, a long toward evening, I had the coffee on and had built up the fire a mite.  I fixed my bedroll to sort of look like I was sleeping there along with the Greener.  If they came in fast as they did at the eatery, they may not notice.  If they came in easy-like they would spot the ruse immediately.  I moved to the left into the brush.  Sure didn’t hanker to sleep out there.  This was November in the Rockies and it was cold.
Hearing the sound of something moving in my direction I saw a man.  He wasn’t paying much attention and I cracked his head with my Schofield.  Then I heard shots in the camp.  I moved the direction that this man had come, hoping to come up behind them.  Upon nearing the camp I heard cussing and griping and the throwing of camp good around.
There were three of them, and as one reached down to pick up my shotgun I figured it was time to let them know I was there.  “Uh-uh, I wouldn’t.” 
They turned and the commotion started.  I was back in the brush so they couldn’t see me well while they were in the firelight.  I fired first at the one reaching for the shotgun.  Bullets were whizzing by and I hit the man on the far left in the chest, he was out of it.  The other man started to run; I shot and he fell in the fire.  He started screaming, and I ran to pull him out watching to see if he would lift his gun.  Pulling him out and snuffing out the fire, I saw that I had shot him in the hip.
It was then that the snow started to fall.  I hadn’t taken notice of the skies and this looked like it could be a blizzard beginning.  I needed to make it back to Durango tomorrow…