Dead or Alive

Lucky Day


The sun was well above the San Andres Mountains, but the morning shadows were still long. Three horsemen riding into the Aleman Station corral saw a black smudge forming on the horizon back toward Engle. Their leader, trim and muscular, his shirt buttons perfectly aligned with his belt buckle, his black beard smoothly trimmed, his boots shined, and his big white Stetson without a smudge of dust, said, "Train's a comin' boys. Let's take care of these horses and get our tickets. I'm tired of bein' chased by Pat Garrett and Judge Parker is waitin'. Time to get this over and done."

The man on his right, his beard shaggy, boots still showing signs of walks through a barn, shirt missing a button, and a hat, dusty and stained with sweat, swung down from his saddle and began loosening its cinches. "I'm tired of runnin' too. Wish we'd smoked ol' Garrett when we had him cornered at Wildey Well. He ain't never gonna leave us alone."

"Yeah, well, we were lucky we didn't. If Garrett had gotten the bullet he deserved, we would have had to leave this country. Every marshal, sheriff, deputy, and two-bit range detective would have been have been after us and for a whoppin' reward. As it is we still have to stand trial for killin' Kearney. It's a shame he died. He was a good man. He just didn't know what he was doin', and Garrett didn't have any business lettin' him ride in that posse."

"What'd you reckon a jury is gonna say on Kearney?" . . .