On the western frontier, most of the doctors had very little medical training. Some of the men that did the doctoring were Dentist, Barbers and Veterinarians. They did there best with what knowledge that they possessed. In todayís world, the Emergency Medical Technician most commonly called EMTís, has more training then the doctors of the 1800ís or even over into the early 1900ís. The doctors of the late 1800ís knew how to do very simple surgery, dig for bullets, sew up cuts and to maybe set broken bones, and treat very little of the diseases that confronted them. There medical knowledge of medicine to give to people was very limited, to say the least, but the Doctorís were valued in any community.
The stories told in this novel were told to me by Doctor Mullins. In 1961, Doc was 90 years old and had quit practicing medicine at the time. In his early years, he had treated people in the late 1800ís and for his pay had received barter goods more times than money. The doctors of old at times didnít make enough money to buy medicine to replace what they used and had to resort to trading what they received as payment for money or other means.
This is the story of Tanner the members of the community, and how they made the town a better place to live by making Tanner a thriving town. Even though Tanner became one of the ghost towns of the old west because the railroad missed the town by thirty miles and the people moved to the railroad.
Ben Colder was known to do a little of everything to make money. He took on a job of finding a lost husband for a lady. When the price for finding a lost husband was upped to $1000 dollars, all Ben could think about was a cattle ranch in the Chickasaw Nation. The lost husband turned out to be the only Doctor in the Ouachita Mountain Range. The Butler Gang had taken the Doc known as Lightfoot under their wing and didnít want him to be taken from the mountains. After being shot in the back he recovered at the place where the lady that had taken him in when he was only 10 years old. He asked her daughter to marry him as soon as he got the Doctor back to his wife and he could collect his bounty money.
Ben was held prisoner by the Butler gang, with the aid of the town law at Reams town and Doc Lightfoot, they were able to kill the Butler gang and rescue the Doctor. Ben collected the reward and moved his wife and her mother south from the mountains and out into the Chickasaw Nation to raise cattle.
On the western frontier, most of the Doctors had very lit-tle medical training. Some of the men that did the Doctoring were Dentist, Barbers and Veterinarians. They did there best with what knowledge they possessed. In todayís world, the Emer-gency Medical Technician most commonly called EMTís, has more training then the Doctors of the 1800ís or even over into the early 1900ís. The Doctors of the late 1800ís knew how to do very simple surgery, dig for bullets, sew up cuts and to maybe set broken bones, and treat very little of the diseases that con-fronted them. Some of the early doctors learned remedies from the Indian Shaman, herb healers, of the medical plants that grew locally in the area they settled. There medical knowledge of medicine to give people was very limited, to say the least, but the Doctorís were valued in any community.
Doctor Mullins told the stories told in this novel to me. The town that he first set up practice and about the people that were in his town. Eventually the town died out and most of the people moved away to a town near the branch line of the railroad that didnít exist until later years. In 1966, Doc was 90 years old and had relinquished practicing medicine long before that time.
In his early years, he had treated people in the late 1800ís and for his pay had received barter goods more times than money. The Doctors of old, at times, didnít make enough money to buy medicine to replace what they used and had to resort to trading what they received as payment for money or use other means to get money to enable them to buy the medical supplies they need.
Even though Tanner became one of the ghost towns of the old west because the railroad missed the town by thirty miles and the people moved to the railroad.
Also about the happenings of the Doctor who was in the area of Reams Oklahoma in the San Bois Mountains of Indian Territory. Some of the old timers that he had treated when they were chil-dren talked about doc Light foot or he treated their parent be-fore 1900. Reams town became the end of track for two years dur-ing the War Between the States. After the war the Missouri, Kan-sas and Texas Railway pushed on into Texas from Reams town. The people of Oklahoma referred to the railway as the Katy.
Reams town finally became nothing more than a whistle stop for the railroad. The last time I was through Reams town there was just a sign left standing and I could see mounds of ruble left of some of the buildings down along the lake shore. Never-theless, that was in 1970 and knowing the people of Oklahoma, it might be a thriving city again.
The Sans Bois Mountains, Winding Stair Mountains, and the Kiamichi Mountains make up the Ouachita Mountain Range in east-ern Oklahoma. This was a haven for the outlaws to take refuse in when the law was hot and heavy on there trail.
This novel in no way reflects on the living or dead when using names. Even if the names might refer to some of your kin-folks or mine.
The towns and places named in these books are all real. As the Indian Territory came closer to becoming the State of Okla-homa, a lot of the town names changed or simply no longer ex-isted. Towns such as America, Moon, Ida (Battiest), Dookesville, Punkabua (Broken Bow), Bismarck (Wright City), Chance, and Scul-lyville (Bartlesville), wouldnít make it after the Indian Terri-tory was awarded statehood, some became ghost towns, or just places with some reminisce of where they was.
This novel in no way reflects on the living or dead when using names. Even if the names might refer to some of your kin-folks or mine. Any derogatory remark made only as what people used in the old days.
There are other novels that I have written of stories told from over fifty years ago. One of the men who told some of the stories fought under the only Indian General, Stan Waite of the Cherokee, in the Civil War between the States. Other members of my family have delivered food and supplies to Robbers Cave in Oklahoma, as late as 1915 until the Officers of the Law knew about the cave. In addition, they delivered to other places near the cave until the 1930s to what people of the time called the modern day outlaws.
Rod Haines set straight up on his bedroll because something had awakened him. He looked out from under the trees in the moon light and saw nothing, turning his head to look at where the horses were his head seemed too exploded. His head hurt like hell and the bright light in his eyes wouldnít go away. He rolled over on his stomach and realized he was lying on the ground. His eyes and head hurt as if he had been on a two day drunk.
Rod finally got his eyes open and could see none of his things that he had in camp. Even the fire he had laid for coffee and cooking for this morning was only ashes. He knew the creek was just down the hill from the camp so Rod started crawling toward the creek. He would have to stop, heave his guts out, and then continue on toward the creek. He finally made it to the creek and lay in the water drinking and throwing up until he was finally able to keep some of the water on his stomach. Rolling over on his back and letting the water run around his head and body seemed to help with the pain.
He didnít know how long that he had laid there in the water but as he opened his eyes, he could see an old Indian with long gray hair setting on the bank of the creek looking at him. He must be dreaming he thought to himself and he must have passed out. The next time he opened his eyes he saw an Indian setting on a horse looking down at him. The Indian had long black hair with a red cloth tied around his head to hold the hair out of his eyes. Rod couldnít keep his eyes open and knew he must be hallucinating.
Rod knew from his medical training in the New York Hospitals that he had one hell of a concussion. It was a wonder he had survived and he had no idea of how long he had been passing in and out of consciousness. He got to felling better and decided to try to set up. Opening his eyes he didnít see either Indian and knew it must have been only in his mind of seeing them. It seemed that it took all his strength in doing the normal thing in getting to a setting poison. After a while his head quit spinning so he crawled on his hands and knees to a tree on the creek bank and pulled himself up to stand. Holding to the tree until the wave of nausea passed.
Staggering back to camp, by holding to trees, he looked the situation over and found he had nothing left. Whoever hit him had taken the horses, panders, saddle, guns, and even his bedroll with his clothes inside the blankets. All he had left to wear was his cotton waist drawers on and was almost naked as a jaybird.
It was about noon, the best he could figure, and Rod started following the trail of the horses. It was a slow process, from being so wobbly, also because his feet were so tender from wearing shoes and boots so long. After about a mile his feet were starting to leave bloody footprints in places where he had lifted his feet from the ground. Whenever he came to a creek or even water that had pooled from recent rain, he had to stop and drink all the water he could or what pooled and was drinkable.
It was coming dusky dark when Rod saw something in small mounds up ahead. As he neared the mounds, he could see that it was his panders and other things scattered around on the ground. Evidently, the robbers had just turned the panders upside down and dumped out what was inside. They had scattered some of the things and had broken most of the glass medicine bottles.
Rod knew he was gaining on the men because he could see where several people had lain down after drinking the alcohol, with the mixed opium and cocaine, which he had in some of the bottles. He found his medical bags dumped upside down and scattered out. Rod gathered his things up and restored them to his panders and medical bags the best he could. None of the food was there and Rod was getting hungry.
Taking his longest scalpel Rod cut the tarp, tore into pieces, which he had used to cover his bedroll. He got some salve balm from his black bag, smeared his feet over good, and wrapped his feet in the canvas. Tying the canvas pieces onto his feet with strips of cloth, he tore from a stack of bandages. While he was wrapping his feet, he saw in the distance, big black birds circling in the sky.
Rod got up from the ground, after some effort, and started following the trail again. He was carrying with him some of the bandages with the salve tied up inside. The rest of his things would have to wait until he came back with a horse. His father had been proud of all his sons being over six feet tall, broad shoulder, black hair like his own, and all weighing over two hundred pounds. Nevertheless, right now Rod wished he didnít weigh so much because his feet were starting to hurt again. If he had weighed less maybe, they wouldnít hurt so much.
The closer he got to where the buzzards were circling and about that time, Rod could see a large hump on the ground. As he got nearer, he could tell the horse had a broken front leg and a bullet hole in the center of its forehead. The saddle was still on the horse but the bedroll and saddlebags were gone. There wasnít anything there he wanted and he knew he was getting closer to the men that had robbed him. The trail led on past where the horse lay and Rod continued following it past the horse.
Just as it was getting too dark to see, Rod could see where one of the horses had turned and headed north at a trot. The rest of the horses kept going west. It wasnít long until he found where one of the men had fallen from his horse. The other man had dismounted from his horse and laid on the ground while holding their horseís reins.
Rod was tired and about to fall from exhaustion. He couldnít see two feet in front of him. He decided it was time to rest until the moon came up and furnished enough light to follow the tracks. Laying there waiting for sleep to come, he got to thinking about his grandfather. He had been the one to teach Rod and his brothers about the woods, how to track, to live with just a knife, to hide and not be found. His grandfather was a Winnebago Indian and came to live with them when Rod was ten years old.
The moon came up about two hours before the sun and the morning air was already hot. Rod moved on because he knew he had to get even with whoever stole his things and left him to die out here. The trail was easy to follow and by noon, his thirst was humongous. There still were no sign of the men but Rod trudged on and by over in the evening when the sun was on the downward slide and the air cooler, Rod saw a jackrabbit sprang from the shade at the bottom of a Cactus and hurtled along the top of the bank like a gray streak. Rod watched the rabbit as it ran ahead of him and suddenly diapered.
Rod remembered reading from the books at medical school about how some animals could go about getting moisture to sustain them. The Rabbit could endure for months without water, surviving on the scant moisture in the plants it ate. Walking and stumbling on for he was in need of water and his feet were hurting plumb up to his armpits.
Coming up to the lip of a wide draw, he could see the body of a dead horse across the way near the bottom. The body of the dead horse meant much more to Rod than just skin and bones of a dead animal. It rested, with its dry skin and its ribs bleached white, on the path that came down the bank into the bottom of the wash. The carcass indicated high odds there was water close somewhere in the gulch. Half a hundred paces downstream Rod spotted three holes where horses had dug at the sand and gravel. The largest was a yard in diameter and at least two feet deep. As he neared the holes he could see about a gallon of water filled a small pocket in the bottom of the cavity.
The desert-wise mustangs' keen sense of smell had found water where some impervious obstruction forced it to rise almost to the surface. The mustangs were able to find water where humans and cattle were unable and would die of thrust with in a few feet of the water. A man could have died of thirst never knowing water flowed less than an arm's length away. Rod evaluated the path of the horses. All sign indicated, only a small number of animals used the water hole. Even those mustangs traveling many miles to water tarried barely long enough to dig out a drink. They would find little grass close even if just a mile away there were grass belly high to a horse.
Feed grew on the mountain where precipitation fell in greater abundance, and especially on the northern slopes where snow accumulated in the winter and the shade lingered for longer periods of the summer days. Rod had seen these areas of more hospitable climates before and he knew grass was there in moderate quantities.
He drank some water and dug the hole out to a larger size with his hands. After letting the water clear he drank some more and then set his aching feet into the cool water. Resting some Rod scooted down in the hole and enlarged it enough so he could lie down and soak his body to get some of the aches and pains out of his body. As he scooped out the dirt in the hole, he smeared it on his arms and legs. Also, he let the muddy water splash on his back the best that he could. It was full dark now and the moon would be up in a couple of hours to where he might be able to track the men some more.
As he lay in the hole with the cool water around him, he saw the tall Indian setting on his horse just back from the edge of the hole. He knew he must have still been hallucinating to keep seeing the Indian. It must be a figment of his imagination but he closed his eyes. There was no need to worry for the only thing the Indian could take was his hair for the dirty underwear was ragged.
Rod came awake as the moon was coming up in the eastern sky. He had no idea of how long he had sleep but it felt like he had just lain down. At least he wasnít hurting as bad. Setting up in the water, he moved to the side, set down. He took his make shift moccasins off and greased his feet again with the salve. His shoulders and back was burning from the sun cooking him that day, but not as bad as it had been before he lay in the water. Rod took a piece of the bandages and put a glob of salve onto it. He then smeared the salve on his back by pulling the long bandage back and forth. After getting another drink of the good water, he started back over the bank of the shallow creek bed and onto the trail of the men, he followed.
He was feeling better than the day he woke up, crawled to the creek, and now he was able to trot along the trail without his head or feet hurting too much. Back home he had been able to run several miles and trot along for half a day when following a trail. Nevertheless, he was getting soft from being in towns and learning how to be a Doctor. The water soak had done him good and his body felt like he had a lot more strength even if his stomach thought his throat was cut.