Law and Order by O. Henry
By O. HENRY
AUTHOR OF "THE FOUR MILLION," "THE HEART OF THE WEST," STRICTLY
I found myself in Texas a recently, revisiting old places and
vistas. At a sheep-ranch where I had sojourned many years ago, I
stopped for a week. And, as all visitors do, I heartily plunged
into the business at hand, which happened to be that of dipping
Now, this process is so different from ordinary human baptism
that it deserves a word of itself. A vast iron cauldron with half
the fires of Avernus beneath it is partly filled with water that
soon boils furiously. Into that is cast concentrated lye, lime,
and sulphur, which is allowed to stew and fume until the witches'
broth is strong enough to scorch the third arm of Palladino
Then this concentrated brew is mixed in a long, deep vat with
cubic gallons of hot water, and the sheep are caught by their
hind legs and flung into the compound. After being thoroughly
ducked by means of a forked pole in the hands of a gentleman
detailed for that purpose, they are allowed to clamber up an
incline into a corral and dry or die, as the state of their
constitutions may decree. If you ever caught an able-bodied,
two-year-old mutton by the hind legs and felt the 750 volts of
kicking that he can send through your arm seventeen times before
you can hurl him into the vat, you will, of course, hope that he
may die instead of dry.
But this is merely to explain why Bud Oakley and I gladly
stretched ourselves on the bank of the near-by charco after the
dipping, glad for the welcome inanition and pure contact with the
earth after our muscle-racking labors. The flock was a small one,
and we finished at three in the afternoon; so Bud brought from
the morral on his saddle horn, coffee and a coffeepot and a big
hunk of bread and some side bacon. Mr. Mills, the ranch owner and
my old friend, rode away to the ranch with his force of Mexican
While the bacon was frizzling nicely, there was the sound of
horses' hoofs behind us. Bud's six-shooter lay in its scabbard
ten feet away from his hand. He paid not the slightest heed to
the approaching horseman. This attitude of a Texas ranchman was
so different from the old-time custom that I marveled.
Instinctively I turned to inspect the possible foe that menaced
us in the rear. I saw a horseman dressed in black, who might have
been a lawyer or a parson or an undertaker, trotting peaceably
along the road by the arroyo.
Bud noticed my precautionary movement and smiled sarcastically
"You've been away too long," said he. "You don't need to look
around any more when anybody gallops up behind you in this state,
unless something hits you in the back; and even then it's liable
to be only a bunch of tracts or a petition to sign against the
trusts. I never looked at that hombre that rode by; but I'll bet
a quart of sheep dip that he's some double-dyed son of a popgun
out rounding up prohibition votes."
"Times have changed, Bud," said I, oracularly. "Law and order is
the rule now in the South and the Southwest."
I caught a cold gleam from Bud's pale blue eyes.
"Not that I——" I began, hastily.
"Of course you don't," said Bud warmly. "You know better. You've
lived here before. Law and order, you say? Twenty years ago we
had 'em here. We only had two or three laws, such as against
murder before witnesses, and being caught stealing horses, and
voting the Republican ticket. But how is it now? All we get is
orders; and the laws go out of the state. Them legislators set up
there at Austin and don't do nothing but make laws against
kerosene oil and schoolbooks being brought into the state. I
reckon they was afraid some man would go home some evening after
work and light up and get an education and go to work and make
laws to repeal aforesaid laws. Me, I'm for the old days when law
and order meant what they said. A law was a law, and a order was
"But——" I began.
"I was going on," continued Bud, "while this coffee is boiling,
to describe to you a case of genuine law and order that I knew of
once in the times when cases was decided in the chambers of a
six-shooter instead of a supreme court.
"You've heard of old Ben Kirkman, the cattle king? His ranch run
from the Nueces to the Rio Grande. In them days, as you know,
there was cattle barons and cattle kings. The difference was
this: when a cattleman went to San Antone and bought beer for the
newspaper reporters and only give them the number of cattle he
actually owned, they wrote him up for a baron. When he bought 'em
champagne wine and added in the amount of cattle he had stole,
they called him a king.
"Luke Summers was one of his range bosses. And down to the king's
ranch comes one day a bunch of these Oriental people from New
York or Kansas City or thereabouts. Luke was detailed with a
squad to ride about with 'em, and see that the rattlesnakes got
fair warning when they was coming, and drive the deer out of
their way. Among the bunch was a black-eyed girl that wore a
number two shoe. That's all I noticed about her. But Luke must
have seen more, for he married her one day before the caballard
started back, and went over on Canada Verde and set up a ranch of
his own. I'm skipping over the sentimental stuff on purpose,
because I never saw or wanted to see any of it. And Luke takes me
along with him because we was old friends and I handled cattle to
"I'm skipping over much what followed, because I never saw or
wanted to see any of it—but three years afterward there was a
boy kid stumbling and blubbering around the galleries and floors
of Luke's ranch. I never had no use for kids; but it seems they
did. And I'm skipping over much what followed until one day out
to the ranch drives in hacks and buckboards a lot of Mrs.
Summers's friends from the East—a sister or so and two or three
men. One looked like an uncle to somebody; and one looked like
nothing; and the other one had on corkscrew pants and spoke in a
tone of voice. I never liked a man who spoke in a tone of voice.
"I'm skipping over much what followed; but one afternoon when I
rides up to the ranch house to get some orders about a drove of
beeves that was to be shipped, I hears something like a popgun go
off. I waits at the hitching rack, not wishing to intrude on
private affairs. In a little while Luke comes out and gives some
orders to some of his Mexican-hands, and they go and hitch up
sundry and divers vehicles; and mighty soon out comes one of the
sisters or so and some of the two or three men. But two of the
two or three men carries between 'em the corkscrew man who spoke
in a tone of voice, and lays him flat down in one of the wagons.
And they all might have been seen wending their way away.
" `Bud,' says Luke to me, `I want you to fix up a little and go
up to San Antone with me.'
" `Let me get on my Mexican spurs,' says I, `and I'm your
"One of the sisters or so seems to have stayed at the ranch with
Mrs. Summers and the kid. We rides to Encinal and catches the
International, and hits San Antone in the morning. After
breakfast Luke steers me straight to the office of a lawyer. They
go in a room and talk and then come out.
" `Oh, there won't be any trouble, Mr. Summers,' says the lawyer.
`I'll acquaint Judge Simmons with the facts to-day; and the
matter will be put through as promptly as possible. Law and order
reigns in this state as swift and sure as any in the country.'
" `I'll wait for the decree if it won't take over half an hour,'
" `Tut, tut,' says the lawyer man. `Law must take its course.
Come back day after to-morrow at half-past nine.'
"At that time me and Luke shows up, and the lawyer hands him a
folded document. And Luke writes him out a check.
"On the sidewalk Luke holds up the paper to me and puts a finger
the size of a kitchen-door latch on it and says:
" `Decree of ab-so-lute divorce with cus-to-dy of the child.'
" `Skipping over much what has happened of which I know nothing,'
says I, `it looks to me like a split. Couldn't the lawyer man
have made it a strike for you?'
" `Bud,' says he, in a pained style, `that child is the one thing
I have to live for. SHE may go; but the boy is mine!—think of
it—I have cus-to-dy of the child.'
" `All right,' says I. `If it's the law, let's abide by it. But I
think,' says I, `that Judge Simmons might have used exemplary
clemency, or whatever is the legal term, in our case.'
"You see, I wasn't inveigled much into the desirableness of
having infants around a ranch, except the kind that feed
themselves and sell for so much on the hoof when they grow up.
But Luke was struck with that sort of parental foolishness that I
never could understand. All the way riding from the station back
to the ranch, he kept pulling that decree out of his pocket and
laying his finger on the back of it and reading off to me the sum
and substance of it. `Cus-to-dy of the child, Bud,' says he.
`Don't forget it—cus-to-dy of the child.'
"But when we hits the ranch we finds our decree of court
obviated, nolle prossed, and remanded for trial. Mrs. Summers and
the kid was gone. They tell us that an hour after me and Luke had
started for San Antone she had a team hitched and lit out for the
nearest station with her trunks and the youngster.
"Luke takes out his decree once more and reads off its
" `It ain't possible, Bud,' says he, `for this to be. It's
contrary to law and order. It's wrote as plain as day
here—"Cus-to-dy of the child." '
" `There is what you might call a human leaning,' says I,
`towards smashing 'em both—not to mention the child.'
" `Judge Simmons,' goes on Luke, `is a incorporated officer of
the law. She can't take the boy away. He belongs to me by
statutes passed and approved by the state of Texas.'
" `And he's removed from the jurisdiction of mundane mandamuses,'
says I, `by the unearthly statutes of female partiality. Let us
praise the Lord and be thankful for whatever small mercies——' I
begins; but I see Luke don't listen to me. Tired as he was, he
calls for a fresh horse and starts back again for the station.
"He come back two weeks afterwards, not saying much.
" `We can't get the trail,' says he; `but we've done all the
telegraphing that the wires'll stand, and we've got these city
rangers they call detectives on the lookout. In the meantime,
Bud,' says he, `we'll round up them cows on Brusby Creek, and
wait for the law to take its course.' And after that we never
alluded to allusions, as you might say.
"Skipping over much what happened in the next twelve years, Luke
was made sheriff of Mojada County. He made me his office deputy.
Now, don't get in your mind no wrong apparitions of a office
deputy doing sums in a book or mashing letters in a cider press.
In them days his job was to watch the back windows so nobody
didn't plug the sheriff in the rear while he was adding up
mileage at his desk in front. And in them days I had
qualifications for the job. And there was law and order in Mojada
County, and schoolbooks, and all the whisky you wanted, and the
government built its own battleships instead of collecting
nickels from the schoolchildren to do it with. And, as I say,
there was law and order instead of enactments and restrictions
such as disfigure our umpire state to-day. We had our office at
Bildad, the county seat, from which we emerged forth on necessary
occasions to soothe whatever fracases and unrest that might occur
in our jurisdiction.
"Skipping over much what happened while me and Luke was sheriff,
I want to give you an idea of how the law was respected in them
days. Luke was what you would call one of the most conscious men
in the world. He never knew much book law, but he had the inner
emoluments of justice and mercy inculcated into his system. If a
respectable citizen shot a Mexican or held up a train and cleaned
out the safe in the express car, and Luke ever got hold of him,
he'd give the guilty party such a reprimand and a cussin' out
that he'd probable never do it again. But once let somebody steal
a horse (unless it was a Spanish pony), or cut a wire fence, or
otherwise impair the peace and indignity of Mojada County, Luke
and me would be on 'em with habeas corpuses and smokeless powder
and all the modern inventions of equity and etiquette.
"We certainly had our county on a basis of lawfulness. I've known
persons of Eastern classification with little spotted caps and
buttoned-up shoes to get off the train at Bildad and eat
sandwiches at the railroad station without being shot at or even
roped and drug about by the citizens of the town.
"Luke had his own ideas of legality and justice. He was kind of
training me to succeed him when he went out of office. He was
always looking ahead to the time when he'd quit sheriffing. What
he wanted to do was to build a yellow house with lattice-work
under the porch and have hens scratching in the yard. The one
main thing in his mind seemed to be the yard.
" `Bud,' he says to me, `by instinct and sentiment I'm a
contractor. I want to be a contractor. That's what I'll be when I
get out of office.'
" `What kind of a contractor?' says I. `It sounds like a kind of
a business to me. You ain't going to haul cement or establish
branches or work on a railroad, are you?'
" `You don't understand,' says Luke. `I'm tired of space and
horizons and territory and distances and things like that. What I
want is reasonable contraction. I want a yard with a fence around
it that you can go out and set on after supper and listen to
whip-poor-wills. I'm a fool about whip-poor-wills,' says Luke.
"That's the kind of a man he was. He was home-like, although he'd
had bad luck in such investments. But he never talked about them
times on the ranch. It seemed like he'd forgotten about it. I
wondered how, with his ideas of yards and chickens and notions of
lattice-work, he'd seemed to have got out of his mind that kid of
his that had been taken away from him, unlawful, in spite of his
decree of court. But he wasn't a man you could ask about such
things as he didn't refer to in his own conversation.
"I reckon he'd put all his emotions and ideas into being sheriff.
I've read in books about men that was disappointed in these
poetic and fine-haired and high-collared affairs with ladies
renouncing truck of that kind and wrapping themselves up into
some occupation like painting pictures or herding sheep or
science or teaching school—something to make 'em forget. Well, I
guess that was the way with Luke. But, as he couldn't paint
pictures, he took it out in rounding up horse thieves and in
making Mojada County a safe place to sleep in if you was well
armed and not afraid of requisitions or tarantulas.
"One day there passes through Bildad a bunch of these money
investors from the East, and they stopped off there, Bildad being
the dinner station on the I. & G. N. They was just coming back
from Mexico looking after mines and such. There was five of
'em—four solid parties, with gold watch chains, that would grade
up over two hundred pounds on the hoof, and one kid about
seventeen or eighteen.
"This youngster had on one of them cowboy suits such as
tenderfoots bring West with 'em; and you could see he was aching
to wing a couple of Indians or bag a grizzly or two with the
little pearl-handled gun he had buckled around his waist.
"I walked down to the depot to keep an eye on the outfit and see
that they didn't locate any land or scare the cow ponies hitched
in front of Murchison's store or act otherwise unseemly. Luke was
away after a gang of cattle thieves down on the Frio, and I
always looked after the law and order when he wasn't there.
"After dinner this boy comes out of the dining-room while the
train was waiting, and prances up and down the platform ready to
shoot all antelope, lions, or private citizens that might
endeavor to molest or come too near him. He was a good-looking
kid; only he was like all them tenderfoots—he didn't know a
law-and-order town when he saw it.
"By and by along comes Pedro Johnson, the proprietor of the
Crystal Palace chili-con-carne stand in Bildad. Pedro was a man
who liked to amuse himself; so he kind of herd-rides this
youngster, laughing at him, tickled to death. I was too far away
to hear, but the kid seems to mention some remarks to Pedro, and
Pedro goes up and slaps him about nine feet away, and laughs
harder than ever. And then the boy gets up quicker than he fell
and jerks out his little pearl-handle, and—bing! bing! bing!
Pedro gets it three times in special and treasured portions of
his carcass. I saw the dust fly off his clothes every time the
bullets hit. Sometimes them little thirty-twos cause worry at
"The engine bell was ringing, and the train starting off slow. I
goes up to the kid and places him under arrest, and takes away
his gun. But the first thing I knew that caballard of capitalists
makes a break for the train. One of 'em hesitates in front of me
for a second, and kind of smiles and shoves his hand up against
my chin, and I sort of laid down on the platform and took a nap.
I never was afraid of guns; but I don't want any person except a
barber to take liberties like that with my face again. When I
woke up, the whole outfit—train, boy, and all—was gone. I asked
about Pedro, and they told me the doctor said he would recover
provided his wounds didn't turn out to be fatal.
"When Luke got back three days later, and I told him about it, he
was mad all over.
" `Why'n't you telegraph to San Antone,' he asks, `and have the
bunch arrested there?'
" `Oh, well,' says I, `I always did admire telegraphy; but
astronomy was what I had took up just then.' That capitalist sure
knew how to gesticulate with his hands.
"Luke got madder and madder. He investigates and finds in the
depot a card one of the men had dropped that gives the address of
some hombre called Scudder in New York City.
" `Bud,' says Luke, `I'm going after that bunch. I'm going there
and get the man or boy, as you say he was, and bring him back.
I'm sheriff of Mojada County, and I shall keep law and order in
its precincts while I'm able to draw a gun. And I want you to go
with me. No Eastern Yankee can shoot up a respectable and
well-known citizen of Bildad, 'specially with a thirty-two
calibre, and escape the law. Pedro Johnson,' says Luke, `is one
of our most prominent citizens and business men. I'll appoint Sam
Bell acting sheriff with penitentiary powers while I'm away, and
you and me will take the 6.45 northbound to-morrow evening and
follow up this trail.'
" `I'm your company,' says I. `I never see this New York, but I'd
like to. But, Luke,' says I, `don't you have to have a
dispensation or a habeas corpus or something from the state, when
you reach out that far for rich men and malefactors?'
" `Did I have a requisition,' says Luke, `when I went over into
the Brazos bottoms and brought back Bill Grimes and two more for
holding up the International? Did me and you have a search
warrant or a posse comitatus when we rounded up them six Mexican
cow thieves down in Hidalgo? It's my business to keep order in
Mojada County. '
" `And it's my business as office deputy,' says I, `to see that
business is carried on according to law. Between us both we ought
to keep things pretty well cleaned up.'
"So, the next day, Luke packs a blanket and some collars and his
mileage book in a haversack, and him and me hits the breeze for
New York. It was a powerful long ride. The seats in the cars was
too short for six-footers like us to sleep comfortable on; and
the conductor had to keep us from getting off at every town that
had five-story houses in it. But we got there finally; and we
seemed to see right away that he was right about it.
" `Luke,' says I, `as office deputy and from a law standpoint, it
don't look to me like this place is properly and legally in the
jurisdiction of Mojada County, Texas.'
" `From the standpoint of order,' says he, `it's amenable to
answer for its sins to the properly appointed authorities from
Bildad to Jerusalem.'
" `Amen,' says I. `But let's turn our trick sudden, and ride. I
don't like the looks of this place.'
" `Think of Pedro Johnson,' says Luke, `a friend of mine and
yours shot down by one of these gilded abolitionists at his very
" `It was at the door of the freight depot,' says I. `But the law
will not be balked at a quibble like that.'
"We put up at one of them big hotels on Broadway. The next
morning I goes down about two miles of stairsteps to the bottom
and hunts for Luke. It ain't no use. It looks like San Jacinto
day in San Antone. There's a thousand folks milling around in a
kind of a roofed-over plaza with marble pavements and trees
growing right out of 'em, and I see no more chance of finding
Luke than if we was hunting each other in the big pear flat down
below Old Fort Ewell. But soon Luke and me runs together in one
of the turns of them marble alleys.
" `It ain't no use, Bud,' says he. `I can't find no place to eat
at. I've been looking for restaurant signs and smelling for ham
all over the camp. But I'm used to going hungry when I have to.
Now,' says he, `I'm going out and get a hack and ride down to the
address on this Scudder card. You stay here and try to hustle
some grub. But I doubt if you'll find it. I wish we'd brought
along some cornmeal and bacon and beans. I'll be back when I see
this Scudder, if the trail ain't wiped out.'
"So I starts foraging for breakfast. For the honor of old Mojada
County I didn't want to seem green to them abolitionists, so
every time I turned a corner in them marble halls I went up to
the first desk or counter I see and looks around for grub. If I
didn't see what I wanted I asked for something else. In about
half an hour I had a dozen cigars, five story magazines, and
seven or eight rail-road time-tables in my pockets, and never a
smell of coffee or bacon to point out the trail.
"Once a lady sitting at a table and playing a game kind of like
pushpin told me to go into a closet that she called Number 3. I
went in and shut the door, and the blamed thing lit itself up. I
set down on a stool before a shelf and waited. Thinks I, `This is
a private dining-room.' But no waiter never came. When I got to
sweating good and hard, I goes out again.
" `Did you get what you wanted?' says she.
" `No, ma'am,' says I. `Not a bite.'
" `Then there's no charge,' says she.
" `Thanky, ma'am,' says I, and I takes up the trail again.
"By and by I thinks I'll shed etiquette; and I picks up one of
them boys with blue clothes and yellow buttons in front, and he
leads me to what he calls the caffay breakfast room. And the
first thing I lays my eyes on when I go in is that boy that had
shot Pedro Johnson. He was setting all alone at a little table,
hitting a egg with a spoon like he was afraid he'd break it.
"I takes the chair across the table from him; and he looks
insulted and makes a move like he was going to get up.
" `Keep still, son,' says I. `You're apprehended, arrested, and
in charge of the Texas authorities. Go on and hammer that egg
some more if it's the inside of it you want. Now, what did you
shoot Mr. Johnson, of Bildad, for?'
" `And may I ask who you are?' says he.
" `You may,' says I. `Go ahead'.
" `I suppose you're on,' says this kid, without batting his eyes.
`But what are you eating? Here, waiter!' he calls out, raising
his finger. `Take this gentleman's order.'
" `A beefsteak,' says I, `and some fried eggs and a can of
peaches and a quart of coffee will about suffice.'
"We talk a while about the sundries of life and then he says:
" `What are you going to do about that shooting? I had a right to
shoot that man,' says he. `He called me names that I couldn't
overlook, and then he struck me. He carried a gun, too. What else
could I do?'
" `We'll have to take you back to Texas,' says I.
" `I'd like to go back,' says the boy, with a kind of a grin—`if
it wasn't on an occasion of this kind. It's the life I like. I've
always wanted to ride and shoot and live in the open air ever
since I can remember.'
" `Who was this gang of stout parties you took this trip with?' I
" `My stepfather,' says he, `and some business partners of his in
some Mexican mining and land schemes.'
" `I saw you shoot Pedro Johnson,' says I, `and I took that
little popgun away from you that you did it with. And when I did
so I noticed three or four little scars in a row over your right
eyebrow. You've been in rookus before, haven't you?'
" `I've had these scars ever since I can remember,' says he. `I
don't know how they came there.'
" `Was you ever in Texas before?' says I.
" `Not that I remember of,' says he. `But I thought I had when we
struck the prairie country. But I guess I hadn't.'
" `Have you got a mother?' I asks.
" `She died five years ago,' says he.
"Skipping over the most of what followed—when Luke came back I
turned the kid over to him. He had seen Scudder and told him what
he wanted; and it seems that Scudder got active with one of these
telephones as soon as he left. For in about an hour afterwards
there comes to our hotel some of these city rangers in everyday
clothes that they call detectives, and marches the whole outfit
of us to what they call a magistrate's court. They accuse Luke of
attempted kidnapping, and ask him what he has to say.
" `This snipe,' says Luke to the judge, `shot and willfully
punctured with malice and forethought one of the most respected
and prominent citizens of the town of Bildad, Texas, Your Honor.
And in so doing laid himself liable to the penitence of law and
order. And I hereby make claim and demand restitution of the
State of New York City for the said alleged criminal; and I know
he done it.'
" `Have you the usual and necessary requisition papers from the
governor of your state?' asks the judge.
" `My usual papers,' says Luke, `was taken away from me at the
hotel by these gentlemen who represent law and order in your
city. They was two Colt's .45's that I've packed for nine years;
and if I don't get 'em back, there'll be more trouble. You can
ask anybody in Mojada County about Luke Summers. I don't usually
need any other kind of papers for what I do.'
"I see the judge looks mad, so I steps up and says:
" `Your Honor, the aforesaid defendant, Mr. Luke Summers, sheriff
of Mojada County, Texas, is as fine a man as ever threw a rope or
upheld the statutes and codicils of the greatest state in the
Union. But he——'
"The judge hits his table with a wooden hammer and asks who I am.
" `Bud Oakley,' says I. `Office deputy of the sheriff's office of
Mojada County, Texas. Representing,' says I, `the Law. Luke
Summers,' I goes on, `represents Order. And if Your Honor will
give me about ten minutes in private talk, I'll explain the whole
thing to you, and show you the equitable and legal requisition
papers which I carry in my pocket.'
"The judge kind of half smiles and says he will talk with me in
his private room. In there I put the whole thing up to him in
such language as I had, and when we goes outside, he announces
the verdict that the young man is delivered into the hands of the
Texas authorities; and calls the next case.
"Skipping over much of what happened on the way back, I'll tell
you how the thing wound up in Bildad.
"When we got the prisoner in the sheriff's office, I says to
" `You remember that kid of yours—that two-year-old that they
stole away from you when the bust-up come?'
"Luke looks black and angry. He'd never let anybody talk to him
about that business, and he never mentioned it himself.
" `Toe the mark,' says I. `Do you remember when he was toddling
around on the porch and fell down on a pair of Mexican spurs and
cut four little holes over his right eye? Look at the prisoner,'
says I, `look at his nose and the shape of his head and—why, you
old fool, don't you know your own son?—I knew him,' says I,
`when he perforated Mr. Johnson at the depot.'
"Luke comes over to me shaking all over. I never saw him lose his
" `Bud,' says he, `I've never had that boy out of my mind one day
or one night since he was took away. But I never let on. But can
we hold him?—Can we make him stay?—I'll make the best man of
him that ever put his foot in a stirrup. Wait a minute,' says he,
all excited and out of his mind—`I've got something here in my
desk—I reckon it'll hold legal yet—I've looked at it a thousand
times—"Cus-to-dy of the child," says Luke—"Cus-to-dy of the
child." We can hold him on that, can't we? Le'me see if I can
find that decree.'
"Luke begins to tear his desk to pieces.
" `Hold on,' says I. `You are Order and I'm Law. You needn't look
for that paper, Luke. It ain't a decree any more. It's
requisition papers. It's on file in that Magistrate's office in
New York. I took it along when we went, because I was office
deputy and knew the law.'
" `I've got him back,' says Luke. `He's mine again. I never
" `Wait a minute,' says I. `We've got to have law and order. You
and me have got to preserve 'em both in Mojada County according
to our oath and conscience. The kid shot Pedro Johnson, one of
Bildad's most prominent and——"
" `Oh, hell!' says Luke. `That don't amount to anything. That
fellow was half Mexican, anyhow.' "