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Be careful what you wish for.

"Ethan, rest Byron before you start back from town. No need to kill a good horse."

"Yes sir." Ethan hesitated and asked, "Will Oso be okay?"

"I think so. We've got the bleeding stopped but that bullet in his shoulder has to come out. That's why we need the doctor."

Ethan quickly changed his saddle to Byron and rode toward the Lazy L. He came up to the ranch house at a high gallop and jumped off his horse. Danni had heard him ride up and came out to see who was riding so hard.

"Ethan, what's wrong?"

"Oso's been shot. Dillon wants Josh and Red to help him go after the men that did it," Ethan explained. "He also wants you or Mrs. McCall to come and tend to Oso while I ride to get the doctor."

Maggie, Danni and Sarah's mother, was visiting her grandchildren; she lived on the other part of the ranch at the Maggie M. She and Sarah came out onto the porch in time to hear Ethan's story.

"Momma will you watch the children please?" Sarah asked. Maggie nodded and Sarah continued, "Josh is over to the S Bar S training some of Mr. Sander's horses; Red went with him. We'll send a hand to fetch them but we'll head over to your place now."

"Thank you Mrs. McCall," Ethan said as he mounted his horse. "I'm going to town to fetch the doctor. Hurry please, Oso's hurt bad." He turned Byron and put him at a high gallop headed for Fountain.

It took Danni and Sarah less than an hour to get to Winterborn. They called out and when Dillon answered they stepped into the house. Dillon had Oso covered with a quilt with his head propped up. He smiled grimly at the ladies. "I got most of the bleeding stopped and I've cleaned the wounds with soapy water and coal oil."

"Ethan said Oso has a bullet in his shoulder," Sarah said. "Let me have a look at it. If it's not too deep maybe we can get it out."

Dillon nodded and said to Oso, "You lucky cuss, you've got two pretty nurses here to look after you." Turning back to Sarah he asked, "Where's Josh and Red?"

Sarah explained where the men were and that she'd sent a rider to get them. Dillon nodded and stood up. He left the room and returned in a few minutes carrying a 12 gauge, double barrel, coach gun. Dillon went into the kitchen, filled two canteens from the hand pump, and started out the door. Danni and Sarah were tending to Oso and didn't notice him leave the house.

Shortly Dillon returned leading Buck. The scattergun was in a scabbard on one side of his saddle and his Winchester was on the other side. He also had a second pistol stuck in his belt. He stepped back into the house.

"Sarah, Danni, I'm going after Simpson and his gang. Take care of Oso for me please."

"Wait for Josh and Red to get here," Sarah suggested. "According to what Oso said, there's still four of them." She saw that Dillon's eyes had turned cold and wild looking; she'd seen that same look in Red's eyes when he faced trouble.

He shook his head no. "If I wait the trail will get cold and we could lose it. They're headed southwest, tell Josh and Red. I'll be following them." He turned and went out the door and mounted Buck. "C'mon Buck, we've got another battle to fight."

Dillon had decided to ride Buck for several reasons. Balin was younger and faster but Dillon didn't think this was going to be a race, more like a slow long track. Buck was battle trained; he would stand still while guns were being fired around him. He could step very quietly when need be and could sneak up on the enemy. But mostly Dillon had confidence that Buck could get the job done. They had a lot of experiences together.

He picked up Simpson's trail on as it crossed the south fork of Black Squirrel Creek. They're headed southwest to Arizona, he thought. Need to catch them before they hit that high chaparral; they can see for miles once they get to that. It'll be hard to sneak up on them. Dillon put Buck into a lope and followed the trail.


Damn, another plan gone to hell, Simpson said to himself.

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