SHOWDOWN AT WILD HORSE PASS by GARRY ARMSTRONG

On this date in 2016, Garry and I were visiting Ben in Arizona. This is Garry’s story. A Friday Flashback on Saturday. Deal with it.

Story by Garry Armstrong
Photographs by Garry & Marilyn Armstrong

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More than a week in Arizona and we couldn’t lose them. We couldn’t see them. The big country that protected us shielded them, too. It was the posse from Hell!

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We kept to the high country, hoping the cactus, tumbleweed and narrow trails would distance us.

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Scorpion Gulch was the way to the mountains and beyond. We saw a few pilgrims here and there taking in the view. They ignored us. Good for them.

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This was the same trail used by Waco Johnny Dean, Long Tom and Dutch Henry Brown in the relentless chase for that Winchester ’73.

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The same trail used by Sheriff Pearly B. Sweet and the posse from Welcome and Carefree who pursued Bob Hightower, Pete and the Abilene Kid, the three Godfathers.

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There was no losing our posse from Hell.

Rawhide, we figured, might be a good place to lose those guys … whoever they were.

Rawhide — a place where dudes are welcome. We wouldn’t be noticed as the pilgrims sashayed up and down Main Street. Maybe the posse from Hell might have paper on a few of these strangers.

Rawhide also was a good place to grab some grub. Maybe even some shut-eye. But no time for real fun if you get my drift. Those pilgrims kept giving us shifty looks.

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Back on the trail, I thought we saw an old saddle pal. He rode with us in the old days. He was a good old boy. Turned out he was dead and just a statue, probably done in by the railroad men who dogged us for too many years. Close up, our old pal still looked good. They don’t make men like him any more.

We had to move on. No sense chasing memories. We wanted to head back to the high country and the safety of those mountains. But time was running out. We knew the end was near.

Just as well. We were running low on luck and bullets.

The posse from hell finally cornered us at Wild Horse Pass. They stayed with their long guns as we faced them down. It was a long day’s siege into night.

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We would not go quietly. We could see the fear in their eyes as we held our position. Clearly, we  had them on experience, as we stared across the pass and other confrontations which have blurred over the years.

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In the distance, we heard the strains of “Shall We Gather At The River” sung mournfully by the good folks at The Light of The Desert Lutheran Church. Was this a boot hill elegy?

Print the legend.



Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Fiction, Garry Armstrong, Humor

Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Another coincidence? I’m just working on a post about The Battle of Picacho Pass, also known as the Battle of Picacho Peak, Arizona.
    Not far from there I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d have to look at a map. We were — in 2016 — mostly in the area around Phoenix. The previous trip we went north, but we couldn’t in 2016. The mountains were full of snow and we didn’t have an SUV. Arizona really is THE place for many many westerns.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Must’ve had too much who hit John when I wrote this thing.

      Then, again, I never hurry a man who wants to die.

      Like

  2. Thank you, Garry, for this entertaining story. The photographs were perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. The pictures are from both of us. It’s good I insist on signing pictures. Otherwise, I’d never know who took what picture!

      We loved Arizona and that amazing “big sky,” but it’s very dry (not right now, but usually). In the summer, it gets as high as 120 f — well over 50 C. The weather is great from late fall to early spring, but after that, I can’t breathe in the heat. And the politics are insane. Ben once pointed out that old-time Arizonans never liked “newcomers.” They tolerate them for the money they bring in and as movie makers since Arizona has been the site of a huge number of western movies. But they don’t really LIKE us.

      I took so many pictures during our two trips to Arizona, I’m still finding folders I forgot about — 7 years later. What’s really fun is watching old westerns and realizing you know where that is because you’ve got pictures of it.

      I would love to go back, but the airlines right now are a total disaster. Being there is great, but getting there and getting back are not so great. Maybe before it’s too late, we’ll get one more shot at it. Pity the trains are in such poor condition. I really wanted to go by train and really see the country, not just fly over it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • HI Marilyn, both Garry and you take fabulous pictures. I take most of the pictures in my family as hubby isn’t remotely artistic. I would love to visit Arizona, it sounds so interesting and I love your idea of travelling by train. I travelled across a part of South Africa by train once and it was great. I love watching the scenery pass by.

        Like

    • Roberta, we had a blast. The little boy in Garry came riding out – 7 ways from Sundown.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A fab story, Garry! I did thoroughly enjoy reading it! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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