Harm had been working for the railroad from the time he was fifteen until he was laid off at the ripe age of twenty. Harm and a friend, he worked with on the railroad, decide to move west in Indian Territory of Oklahoma and take up homesteading. A simple move for him and his friends wagon ended up with a wagon train of folks moving with them. A man he helped in a time the man was hurt. Turned out to be an Ex Texas Ranger. Also the Ex Ranger had two friends that lived near him decided to go with Harm to the west. With a lot of problems along the way. The rescue of two women that had been taken by outlaws and the old Texas Rangers had rescued.
Harm made friends with a Comanche Indian, on the trail west, who has taken his family from the reservation at Fort Sill. Harm latter married one of the women from the stage holdup. Along the way Harm made friends with other Rangers and when Harms wife was killed, during a bank robbery, he took the trail to get vengeance. Some of his Ranger friends caught up with Harm and TA Noaks, swore the two men in as Rangers to up hold the law. Latter Harmon Bell and Tanner Oaks (Ta Noaks a full blood Comanche Indian) were sworn in to carry both the Texas Ranger Badge and The Deputy U.S. Marshals badge.
Harm and Ta Noaks followed the Wilson gang to the last man. He was asked to take the honor of being a member of the White Bear Clan by two of the oldest members of the clan, Lem Dew and John O’Leary.
Harm married an Irish girl and became one of the largest land holders in Texas at the time. He raised horses and let the Comanche Indians, which were called hold outs because the slipped off the reservations, live in peace on his land. Indians were starving, on the reservation, from either bad food or no food.
In the American west of the late 1800’s and early 1900,s many law men wore more than one badge to up hold justice. This is the story of such men that had a badge given to him by the Texas Rangers and one by the U.S. Marshals, which had his name engraved on the back of the badge.
In 1974 I the honor to be able to see a case containing the two of the badges mentioned in this novel. The original owner was long since dead and his granddaughter had them in her possession. She told me the stories of her grandfather and a friend of his, who also give a set of badges, which wore the badges during their life time and died with distinction and honors.
The names changed of the men mentioned in the novel but I personally saw one set of badges presented to another man, told in the book Harmon Bell Texas Ranger, who was a friend of Tanner Oaks. These badges presented on the same day to both men. Taken from a good source they were in the White Bear Clan. I have tried to keep the story as close to the facts as possible but have added some to make the novel more interesting to read.
The two riders were setting in the saddle, as the horse were stopped snatching blades of grass, they were looking at the moccasins prints on the bare ground. The tallest man stepped down from the saddle to get a closer look at the prints. Squatting, his large frame of over two hundred pounds, there he brushed the long black and gray hair from his eyes after removing his hat and he replied, “Comanche. One large buck and two sets of smaller prints could be squaws or children. What you think Badger?”
“Tim I’d say children because of the short steps.” As the Ranger stepped down from the saddle and retighten the girth on the saddle.
Badger stood and looked around. Then he took his horse over to the nearest tree, tying the animal, and pulling out his long gun from the rifle scabbard on the saddle. By that time Tim had done the same thing and the two men started trailing the foot prints into the woods.
The tracks led down to the creek bottom and along the bank up beside of the creek. Veering little from the creek bank. As the two men edged quietly through the timber they came out near the creek and saw a small Indian girl with an arm load of cedar wood. The men stopped instantly and looked over the woods really good for any sign of someone else. The little girl turned to head up the creek and saw the two men.
The little girl smiled and said, “Buena Dias.”
Tim stood looking around, brushed his handle bar mustache out with his fingers and asked the little girl in Spanish if she knew the lingo. To the men’s surprise the girl answered, “Yes and white talk some too.”
“Where’s your tribe?” Badger asked in English.
“Fort long way off.”
“Any of your people with you?” Tim put his two cents worth in with the question.
“Kowata, Many Birds, and other children.”
“You take us to them?” Badger asked.
“Kowata said only bring good men to our camp. You are good men?”
“We’re Texas Rangers.” Badger said as he slipped his badge from his coat pocket and held it where the little girl could see it.
“Like Bird Eater, Gantahua, Wakata long time ago.”
“Don’t know any Bird Eater or the other two men you named.” Badger commented. “You heard of them Tim?” Tim shook his head no.
“You know Harm Ding Dong? He good hunter bring us meat when Ta Noaks no find.”
“Naw. Don’t think so. Where we find these men?” Tim asked.
“Walk not far to town.” As she pointed northward.
“What’s you called by? Your name.” Tim asked.
“Spot.” As the girl turned she pointed to a birth mark on the left side of her face.
“Spot is there any guns in camp? Can you show us your camp?” Badger asked.
“Yep follow me and Kowata talk now.” Spot replied as she started up the creek bank. For about twenty yards then she turned up a well used trial and it wasn’t but a few minutes until the cave came into sight.
As they neared the cave could be seen an old Indian with white hair setting on a deer hide leaning against a back rest. The two Rangers eased on into camp and kept a sharp lookout. As Spot talked to the old man in Comanche. The girl went into the cave and the old man looked over at the two Rangers to reply, “Blows shit and you set. Have a talk.”
Both of the Rangers knew the old man telling them to set was honoring them. After a few minutes Badger was fixing to speak but the old man was looking at him and said, “Long time no see. You come get Gantahua. Bring Bird eater, Wakata to get Gantahua.”
Badger looked at the old man and a smile came to his face. “I remember you now. That was over twenty years ago.” After a few minutes he continued, “Now I know who Bird Eater is. Why you not on the reservation Kowata?”
“No food come from the fort. Everyone starve. We left. Eat good now. No go back.”
“Where do you get your food?”
“Ding Dong, Gantahua. Some time Bird Eater come.”
“Where they at?”
Kowata pointed over his shoulder and said, “Short walk.”
“Well we’ll leave you here and head up to where the others are at.”
“Come see me Blows Shit.”
The two men got up and was walking back to the horses deeper in the woods and Tim started giggling.
“Shut the hell up or I’ll bust you idiot. Don’t you ever call me that or tell anyone else what Kowata called me.”
It didn’t take the Rangers long before they were insight of the settlement. As they rode toward what had corrals and a barn setting near the creek the two men could see the corral was full of horses. “That’ll be our first stop.” Badger said as they were going over toward the corral. “You better remember what I said Tim.”
Tim just snickered an followed at a safe distance for he knew how grumpy Badger was getting in his old age of almost fifty. They could see that four men were standing near the corral and working with several horses tied to the outside of the fence.
As the men rode up one of the men turned and a big smile came on his face. Frank was grinning from ear to ear as he said, “Badger Hankins you look like you’re too old to still be in the Rangers. Who you find that will hire you now a day’s?”
Badger replied, “Still in the Rangers and this,” pointing at Tim, “Is my partner Tim Freeman.”
“What brings you this far north?”
“Hunting renegade Indians that were reported heading this way. You seen any.”
“Nope and the boys just got back from a horse gather and didn’t say a word about any Indians but told of a Calvary patrol from Fort Sill.” Frank replied as the Rangers stepped down.
The two Rangers hadn’t noticed that Betty was in the corral ridding on the back of the lead mare that she was pampering still yet. But when they saw here ride up to the fence they both took off their hats. “They are friends of yours Mister Jess and Mister Frank?” She asked.
“Yep known um a day or two.” Frank replied.
Betty turned the mare and walked her over the wooden trough that Juan had built from slabs of lumber. There she stepped from the mare and hopped down on the ground. As she passed Harm she said, “Supper be ready in about an hour.”
“Its getting late so we’ll call it a day and get a fresh start tomorrow men. You two Rangers still able to hold your liquor?” Jess said as he was uniting one of the horses from the corral fence.
“Yep.” Both Rangers said at the same time.
“Let’s put up the horses and stroll over to Jim Bob’s for a shot or two of his snake head. He’s just about got the recipe down except he hadn’t been able to find any snakes this time of year to add to the brew.”
The men put up the horses in the livery and started drifting toward the dugout up the street with the white sign on the roof with SALOON wrote on the white canvas with a piece of charcoal.
Harm by passed going in for a shot of whiskey and headed home. He found that Betty had supper setting on the table with every container that would hold water setting on the stove. She also had brought in a bucket of cold water and there was a number three galvanized wash tub setting fairly close to the stove. Harm knew they all must smell to high heaven and a bath would do them good. Betty had all ready taken a bath and had a clean dress on.
While eating supper Harm noticed his razor, shaving mug, a pair of scissors and a pair of hair clippers setting on the table. As he finished eating Betty stood up from her chair and scooted it back around so the lamp light was toward the front of the chair. She patted the chair back and commented, “Think it’s about time for you to have a good shave and a hair cut. Those whiskers are not going to give me a face burn tonight so come on over here.”