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~~WAGON MASTER~~
Published Jan 18, 2008


Written By

drewsoltesz

Storyteller
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In the Old West, one man was Captain of the prairie schooners that crossed the plains with regularity, he was responsible for their safety, health and happiness, without giving any thought to his own...

He was "WAGON MASTER..."

In the Old West, one man was Captain of the prairie schooners that crossed the plains with regularity, he was responsible for their safety, health and happiness, without giving any thought to his own...

He was "WAGON MASTER..."
WESTPORT LANDING, KANSAS 1860

A last minute meeting is being held for the wagon train leaving at dawn. Overseeing the association is Nathan McIntyre, the wagon master. Nathan is explaining how important it is not to overload the wagons with inessentials, as they had many rivers and mountains to cross.

With the contracts now signed, he reiterated the point, "The trail can get harsh, we may have to lighten the load. You will find the way littered with family heirlooms and such that somehow don't seem essential 1000 miles outside of Westport Landing."

Nathan sighed as he scanned the small group. A lot of elderly people and kids, there was a young lad of about 16, and his searching eyes stopped at the young woman sitting ramrod straight in her chair.

She looked up and met his gaze boldly; Katie O'Toole knew the man was sizing her up, to see if she was up to the arduous trip. Katie was making the trek with her elderly father Patrick and young brother Seamus.
Nathan's eyes rested on a flaxen haired man not much older than him. He said his name was Lucas Tanner; he was heading to California for what most young, single men did, 'gold'.
Nathan sniffed contemptuously. He had seen many men make this trek, to have it all be for nothing. But it was nothing to him if the foolish man thought money or gold was the secret to a happy life.
It was a bitter lesson Nathan learned long ago...
Nathan wondered who in this group would not make it. The Overland Trail was dotted with crosses, crosses that marked the trail deaths of many crossings, many he was wagon master on. The crosses seemed to multiply like seeds strewn to the wind.
He warned them of the many problems that may arise, but did not want to frighten them. His solemn face drove the point home.
Nathan called the meeting to an end; there was nothing much else he could say. He has been doing this for over six years, he could usually tell on the first day, which wagons would turn around, and head back before they reached Fort Kearney.
He wondered if it would be the appealing young lady and her family.
Katie looked at the gruff and taciturn wagon master, she smiled briefly. She had confidence this rough man would be up to the task of getting them to California.

Ever since they left Ireland 2 years ago, this has been her families dream; they lived and worked in New York for over a year, saving every penny for this journey west. Now here they were, Katie was beginning to feel a little excited at the prospect.
Dawn at last, the canvas covers on the wagons flapped in the brisk Kansas breeze. Nathan made sure the wagons were lined up and ready to go. Finally, he yelled, 'Wagons Ho!"
Slowly but surely the wagon train started on its way...
The dust was far worse than the wagon master had described. Katie also felt as if every bone in her body had been jarred loose from the constant rocking of the wagon. She watched Nathan all morning riding from one wagon to the next, checking equipment, giving advice and elevating spirits as his group took their first steps beyond civilization.
Katie had to admit Nathan was ruggedly handsome, even the severe scars on his face were alluring.
She shook her head, 'get a hold of yourself, my girl!' she admonished herself.
The wagons stopped around noon, in deference to the first-time nerves and muscle aches of the new pioneers. Katie was certainly relieved to climb down from the wagon and stretch her back, she felt as if she spent the morning inside a butter churn.
As she was preparing a quick lunch for her father and brother, Nathan walked up to her; it was her first close up look at the wagon master.
She studied his craggy face closely, it had the look of a man who spent a lot of time outdoors, a strong face that matched the raw strength of his tall, fit body. It had the look of a man who rarely smiled. She wondered where he got the scars...
"Miss O'Toole?" His voice said rather loudly. Katie snapped back to reality. "I am just checking to see how everyone made out, and to tell you there will be a meeting tonight to discuss any problems this first day..."
"Thank you Mr. McIntyre, our family will attend the meeting. So far we are doing fine, I thank you for the asking." Katie said politely.
Nathan smiled slightly; she had a beautiful lilt to her voice. "Is that a Scottish accent?"
"No, Irish." Katie replied.
Lucas Tanner watched from afar as Nathan and Katie looked at each other intensely. He snorted derisively at the wagon master's attention to Katie.
Nathan was flabbergasted. "You all came from Ireland? My Lord!"
Katie smiled. "By way of New York, we lived there over a year, we all worked down at the docks and saved every penny, this trip is a dream of my Da's, Mr. McIntyre..."
"Call me Nathan, we don't stand on ceremony out here on the trail, especially since we are going to be in each other's company day and night for 3 months."
Katie beamed. "Only if you call me Katie, Nathan."
"Fair enough..." Nathan touched the brim of his hat and walked down to the next wagon. Handsome woman, he thought to himself.
They travelled all the rest of that day, when Nathan spotted the river, he motioned for the train to pull up, they would make camp here tonight.
A fresh water source was always ideal for camping by, besides Nathan reasoned they went far enough for their first day.
Patrick O'Toole walked up, "Howdy boys! I think camp is set for the night. Everyone seems settled in, I think we did alright for the first day!" he said brightly in his thick Irish brogue.
Lucas began to start the fire for the meal. Mrs. Klassen, one of the older women, came over with some stew she had prepared; she placed it on the fire to keep warm.
"I should tell you boys not to drink from this river, it is too low, the water gets infected and can cause dysentery. We can get some water from the streams up in the hills as we travel." Nathan said. "I have already told everyone else." Nathan motioned to the large pot next to the fire. "Beef stew, help yourselves and enjoy while we have the fresh meat. Also there is coffee in the pot." Lucas's clear blue eyes focused on Katie walking toward the chuck tent. He smiled slightly; she was a fine looking woman, no mistake. It wouldn't hurt to amuse myself on this trip, he thought. The nights can get cold and lonely, and she was the only single female under 50 and over 20! Why should the wagon master have all the fun?
However, there was another young woman on the wagon train, she was tempting as well, Mrs. Roseland.
Lucas never let the fact a woman was married stop him before. He smiled craftily. This may turn out to be an interesting trip!
The other men had moved off to attend the horses, and Lucas found himself alone with the pretty Irish girl, he grabbed a plate of chow and motioned to Katie that she join him.
She was a little hesitant, but he had a pleasant enough face, what would be the harm?
They were soon deep in conversation; Katie found she could chat easily with Lucas Tanner. He was charming and easy going, everything Nathan McIntyre was not.

"You are quite attractive Katie, you should have no problem finding a husband, young women don't stay unmarried for long in the West." Lucas grinned.
Katie flushed at his flattering remark.
"I'm not interested in having a man in my life telling me what to do." Katie said forcefully, but not unfriendly.

Lucas barked out a laugh. "I guess that states it plain enough. Good for you."

Nathan stopped and watched the exchange from afar. He felt a slight wave of envy wash over him for some reason. He decided to join the two.
"Don't you have duties to see to, McIntyre?" Lucas said with a slight grimace of annoyance.

Nathan smiled crisply. "My duties will not be done until I see you and the others safely to California, Tanner. But done enough that I can stop for a bite and a cup of coffee..." Nathan grabbed a plate and joined them.
Nathan took a bite. "You'll be in front of the line tomorrow, Tanner, the next day you move to the rear, that will give everyone a dust free day."
"I don't think so," Lucas sniffed. "I am going to move my wagon behind the O'Toole's, they can have my dust-free day."
Nathan looked up at Lucas. "We are not changing the order of the wagons."
There was a moment of silence as the two men glared at each other across the table.
"That's Ok Lucas," Katie said quickly. "You should take your day in front like everyone else."
Lucas shrugged. "It's my wagon, I guess I can put it where I want."

Nathan gave the man a dark, thunderous look. "It's your wagon, but it's my train. And you'll put your wagon where I tell you to put it, or I will be asking you to leave."
Lucas looked into the shadowy face and decided it was not worth pursuing. "All right, we'll keep the wagons in order." he said simply.
Nathan stood up. "Good." He picked up his plate and walked away.
Later that evening, Lucas stopped by the camp of the Roseland's. He politely introduced himself to Mrs. Dorothy Roseland, who was even more attractive than Lucas first realized. "This your daughter?" he asked politely.
"Yes. Her name is Cheri-Sue. We are hoping to set up a ranch in California. My husband is off seeing to the stock. Would you like a bite to eat, Mr. Tanner?" Dorothy asked sweetly.
Lucas stared into Dorothy's pretty cornflower blue eyes, he found himself feeling uncomfortable in her presence, he never felt that way before with women! He always had the upper hand!

"No ma'am, thank you I have already ate. Smells delicious though, I may stop by again at another time if that is alright with you, and your husband of course."

Dorothy for her part could not tear herself away from his gaze. He was indeed handsome, his eyes had a mischievous look, but not cruel. She bet if he found the right woman she would settle down his wayward ways.
Almost a week on the trail and they saw their first signs of what Nathan had spoke about, 2 lonely crosses and some scattered dishes bore out his warnings exactly. They were sure to see more the further they travelled.
Thankfully so far, the weather has been with them, no heavy rain or winds as yet.
Nathan raised his arm to stop the wagon train. He cricked his neck to alleviate the stiffness. He thoughts drifted pleasantly to the handsome Irish girl...he shook his head firmly. Enough of that, not since Alice...
Nathan jumped down from his horse, putting all thoughts of women from his mind, he had a wagon train to see to.
Nathan sought out Katie once again. "How are things Katie, any questions at all? Any thing I can do?" he asked kindly.
Katie smiled slightly. "We are fine, thank you Nathan."

Nathan's jaw was working furiously. He made a solemn promise to himself that he would never get involved with any woman under his charge, he became very good over the years of suppressing certain urges, but Lord, she was beautiful.
"Are you Ok Da?" Seamus asked worriedly. "You do not look well at all!"
Patrick's hand went to his head. "I don't feel well, must have been something I ate. I think I will lie down in the wagon for a bit, see to the horses, will you lad?"
Seamus nodded his head. "You can count on me, Da."
That night, Lucas stopped by the Roseland wagon; he knew Cyd was off watering and tending the horses. "Good evening Mrs. Roseland, how are you doing on the trail?" Lucas asked gently.

Dorothy looked into his eyes and felt her insides melt. "I am doing well, Mr. Tanner. Thank you for the kindness."
The intense look from Dorothy was having its affect on Lucas. He suddenly felt as if a fist slammed into his middle. He turned away, not able to look into the lovely face any longer. He stood for the longest time, not speaking.
Dorothy could not tear her eyes from him, and he felt the intense gaze.
Finally, Lucas whispered, "Then I'll say good-night, ma'am."
Back at the chuck tent's campfire, Cyd Roseland sought out Lucas. He was livid. How dare this stupid prospector chat up his wife, hang around his camp! Cyd clenched his fist in anger.

Lucas curled his lip, he did not like this man, he had seen him verbally attack his wife and daughter many times, he had seen him slap Dorothy on one occasion.
Vicious cur!
He walked up menacingly behind Lucas. "Stay away from my wife, Tanner. I have seen the way you look at her. You got no right! Go near her again and I won't be responsible for the consequences! I have already warned Dorothy of the same thing!"

"With your hand?" Lucas whispered through clenched teeth. "I have seen the way you treat your wife Roseland, lay a hand on her again during this trip and I won't be responsible for the consequences!"
Cyd began to sputter. "What is between me and Dorothy is none of your business, nor is how I treat her, she's mine to do with what I like!"
Lucas stepped closer, his hands on his hips. "Maybe you would like to test my meaning..." he hissed.

Nathan had seen enough. "KNOCK IT OFF!" he thundered. "I'll have none of this on my wagon train! Roseland, get back to your camp!"
Roseland grumbled and swore, but did as he was asked. Nathan turned to Lucas. "What are you playing at? I will have none of these shenanigans on my wagon train, Tanner! Stay away from that man's wife! It is in your contract, no 'bundling'!"

Lucas fought to keep his rage under control. "Fine, McIntyre...no 'bundling' as you call it. But I will talk to her if it pleases me."

Nathan lay by the riverbank, letting the cool night air refresh him, and soothe the worry that knotted his brow. The camp had grown quiet; he could barely see the glowing embers of a few fires. Tanner was going to be a problem.
At first, Nathan jealously thought the would-be prospector was interested in Katie, now it seems he was interested in the married Dorothy Roseland. This was all he needed; he had seen these types of personal problems tear a wagon train apart.
Not his! He thought to himself firmly.
A few more days passed. They had crossed their first river, the Kansas, with only one broken wheel. The Thompson's had to get rid of some of their cargo to get across, but everyone made it unscathed.
Nathan was exhausted, river crossing days were one of the most difficult on the trail. It was if he used up a little piece of himself with each wagon safely across.
Lucas did not heed Nathan's warning, or the threat of the brusque Cyd Roseland. He continued to visit Dorothy Roseland whenever her menacing husband was not around.
Their talks and flirting soon grew to be much more, more than both of them had realized.
"I care for you Dorothy, very much...I have never felt this way toward a woman before. I know you are married, but from what you tell me, not happily. When we reach California, come with me, you and Cheri-Sue. Tell me you will think on it." Lucas pulled her in close; his heart was thumping in his chest.
He had done the one thing he swore he would never do, he had fallen in love, and with a married woman.
Dorothy pulled herself closer, her hands running though his silken golden locks. Her insides were trembling terribly. She had never felt like this in Cyd's arms, not ever. Not once. Her hand was on his chest; she could feel the rapid beating of his heart.
Her eyes grew moist,' I love him. I tried not to, but I can't help it.' she said to herself.
Dorothy was being carried away on a wave of intense emotion.
Aloud she said, "Yes Lucas, I will think on it..." she whispered huskily.
Lucas bent over Dorothy, blotting out the sky and the world turned to darkness as her eyes closed and his mouth pressed against hers. The roaring of the river thundering in their ears, Lucas pulled Dorothy into a romantic embrace and kissed her deeply.
She returned his luxuriant kiss enthusiastically, for Lucas' kiss was thorough and proficient; like he had done it many times before with other women, but this kiss was only for her, and she knew it.
Lucas finally backed away, breathing heavily; he looked at Dorothy. "I swear..." he whispered. He turned and went back to his wagon before he was tempted any further.
Meanwhile, Katie went to find Nathan, who was writing in his logbook of the day's activities.
"Nathan, please come at once! My Da is deathly ill! He can keep nothing down! He just holds his stomach and moans! And he tells me he has had 'the relax' for a couple of days now, oh please come!"
Nathan's face set in a hard mask. Everyone feared Indians on the trail, but dysentery was by far the deadliest killer on the plains.
Nathan followed Katie back to her father's tent and went inside. Seamus and Kate waited. "He looks so pale, so weak..." Seamus said worriedly.
"Don't worry little brother, Nathan will know what is to be done, maybe it was just something he ate..."
But silently they both remembered Nathan's stern warning back at Westport Landing; the dangers of dysentery.
Nathan came out. "It is dysentery. Seamus, I want you to go to every wagon and tell them not to drink the water, just to stick with milk or cider. We will have to find fresh water supplies tomorrow. And ask at the wagons if anyone else is sick. Go lad!" Nathan urged.
Seamus took one look at his sister, nodded and ran off.
As soon as Seamus left, he turned to Katie. No use lying to her, better off to tell her straight out. "I am sorry Katie, it does not look good, he is passing blood. He can't even lift his head. But we have to try and get him to take some nourishment, will you help me?"
Katie felt her eyes filling with tears. Her beloved Da, please let him recover! She began to cry quietly.
Nathan was genuinely moved by Katie's tears, he quickly gathered her is his strong arms and held her close. He began to stroke her hair and talked sympathetically to her, to calm her,
Lord, she felt wonderful in his arms.
For a brief moment, he forgot about Patrick and the sickness that may cripple his wagon train...
He kissed her deeply and urgently, something he had wanted to do from almost the first day. But the intense and searing kiss was over quickly; he regained his wits and backed up several steps.
Seeing her look so sad and vulnerable caught him off-balance. He already found her attractive, but to act on it?
The kiss was devastating and earth shattering to them both...
"This is totally against my rules..." he said in a voice tight with frustration. "I have taken 6 wagon trains across country and never once let this happen to me. I have no business kissing you or any woman under my protection. Better for both of us if it doesn't happen again. Come, let us tend your father." Nathan walked toward the tent, leaving a thunderstruck and confused Katie. Nathan and Katie tended Patrick all night, but it was to no avail. He died the next afternoon, and at dusk, they laid him to rest there on the prairie. A few of the pioneers attended the sombre service.
There were two other people on the train also ill, but it looked as though they would recover.
Only Patrick, his age against him, could not fight it off.
A few hours after the short service, Nathan sought out Katie. "I am sorry for your loss, Katie. I am here to tell you that when we reach Fort Kearney, I will see an agent is hired to take you and your brother back to Westport Landing where you will be reimbursed by the Overland Stage Company." Nathan sighed deeply. "I am exhausted. We will talk more in the morning."
He walked away leaving Katie utterly dazed and shaken.
Early the next morning, Katie found Nathan, demanding to know what he spoke of the night before.
"You can't do this! It has been my Da's dream for us to start a ranch in California! We did not come all this way to quit now! You can't be serious!"

"I am deadly serious, a single woman and a raw boy have no business on a wagon train. Not on my train." Nathan said firmly.
"Read your contract Miss O'Toole...No single women allowed. It is out of my hands. We should be to Fort Kearney in two weeks, I might be able to find an agent to take all the way to St. Louis, but that is all."

Katie was flabbergasted, but she did not want to argue, not today, "I don't accept this, we will talk about this tomorrow."

Nathan shrugged. "Talk all you want, all the way to Fort Kearney, it won't do any good. You are going back East."
The next morning, Seamus sought out Nathan at breakfast. "Please don't send us back sir!" he pleaded, his large eyes brimming with tears.

Nathan felt a tug on his insides. He was fond of the boy, they had grown close on the trail, Seamus often rode with Nathan some afternoons. "I'm sorry," Nathan said quietly. "Your sister doesn't understand what a terrible place the West can be for a woman alone."
"But Katie is strong! And Da always said she was smarter than any of the men he knew!" Seamus cried hopefully.

"It doesn't matter Seamus, horrible things can still happen. Being smart doesn't help!"
"You don't like us, that's why you want to be rid of us..." Seamus said sadly.

"That is not true Seamus, not at all. I like you very much, that is why I cannot allow this, your lives would be in danger. I couldn't bear it. It is for your own safety, believe me." Nathan said kindly.
Two days had passed; they had to deal with death and loss already. Last night there was a horrible thunderstorm, some of the wagons got damaged and some of the stock were lost. Old Mr. Klassen and Cyd Roseland were out trying to round up the strays, Nathan contined the wagon train on the trail.

Katie sat behind him, watching his strong muscular back, wondering how she was going to convince Nathan to let her and her brother stay with the wagon train.
Also the memory of that kiss played over and over again in her mind...
Katie tried again, several times to try and reason with Nathan, but the inflexible wagon master would not budge. She pleaded her case, why turn around now? They are already a third of the way there! And hasn't she shown he is able to handle a wagon, as is Seamus?

Nathan was beginning to get a little irritated. "I will not hear anymore on this subject. What I say goes on this train, end of story!"
Fort Kearney. What had once been a wilderness outpost, now it was a bustling little town. Businesses had set up to cater to the thousands of wagons passing through the fort each season.
Most of the wagons were delighted to arrive at some sort of civilization, but not Katie.
Fort Kearney meant the end of the road for her and Seamus...unless she could get Nathan to change his mind.
At the urgency of the other ladies, they encouraged Katie to use her feminine wiles to persuade Nathan to let her stay. She grudgingly let them dress her up for the dance being held at the fort that night, so with a borrowed dress and her hair down in a flattering style; she waited for Nathan.
She felt guilty and little strange, the kiss still foremost in her mind.
Sure enough, Nathan walked in; she stood and held her breath.
Nathan was entirely enchanted. The green dress brought out her coloring to its fullest advantage.
"May I say you look lovely, Katie." His eyes regarded her with a leased intensity.
The way he was looking at her made Katie feel all warm inside.

"Thank you, Nathan." she whispered.
The music started up again nearby, and Nathan held out his hand. "May I have this dance, Miss O'Toole?"

"You may, Mr. McIntyre." they danced slowly for a bit, Katie was at a loss what to say or do next, she had no experience flirting with men!
"It's a beautiful night," she said lightly. "Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves..."
"Yes..." Nathan sighed. "It will be good for them, they will need to remember the good times during the days ahead, we have barely started, you know..."
Was now the time for her to bring up staying on the train? She wondered, while Nathan seemed relaxed and in fairly good humour...and while he was still looking at her with that 'look', that look that was making her cheeks flush?

Nathan slowly pulled Katie closer, it was not proper, but Katie did not pull away. Seamus watched for a moment then backed out of the room to let them be alone.
The heat from his strong body was making her dizzy, she gulped, as her mouth had gone dry. "You are starting out again in three days?" She managed to squeak out.
"Yes, by that time I should have the arrangements completed for your way back East." he said. "If you sell your wagon in Westport you should have enough to get back to New York."
Katie fought to keep the fury out of her voice. "You know very well that's NOT where my brother and I want to go!"
Nathan immediately stepped back from Katie, his face was guarded but he smiled admiringly at her tenacity."I thank you for the dance Miss O'Toole, but I do not want to spoil the evening by arguing with you. If you will excuse me..." He bowed stiffly and left the room. Katie wiped the tear or two of anger that spilled onto her flushed cheeks. Oooh that man was stubborn! If only her father were here! A few more tears clustered in her eyes for her Da. How she missed him; she had not even time to grieve for him...
She would not give up! She would find another way to stay with the wagon train!!
But what worried Katie more is she was starting to have feelings for the rough, taciturn wagon master. She wondered if Nathan felt the same...the way he held her said more than words. She exhaled deeply.

How could she make him understand she was strong, she wasn't afraid of hard work, she had done plenty back in Ireland and in New York. She didn't need a man to protect her; she could take care of herself, and her brother!!
The next day, Katie found Nathan working in an office at the Fort. She took and deep breath and began her final plea. Nathan politely listened...then shook his head.
"It is quite plain in the association papers you signed, no single women on the wagon train." Nathan said emphatically.
At that moment, a number of the pioneers came into the office.
Nathan snorted. So they intend to gang up on me!
Mr. Klassen spoke first. "Mr. McIntyre, we represent the association, and since the association is us, all of us...we don't see why we can't just change the rules. We all feel that particular provision of no single women is unfair."

Nathan clenched his teeth. "I've never allowed any of my trains to change the rules in the middle of the trip."
"Well," Mrs. Klassen spoke up firmly. "That's another rule that could be changed, so I think." The other murmured their agreement.
Nathan noticed that Katie wisely did not speak further. He sighed deeply. Just how far was he willing to pursue this thing? It will be a long miserable passage if everyone was against him, and dangerous. Dissention of any type...he would have to find a balance.
"I would be willing to put it to a vote..." Nathan capitulated.

"And that vote would of course include the women..." Mrs. Klassen specified firmly.
Nathan looked over at Katie. She was smiling. This vote means she will stay with the train, her constant presence to remind him of their kiss, and the way she looked at the dance. This was a mistake..."Fine, now if that concludes our business, I bid you goodnight."
Lucas managed to get Dorothy alone behind the Fort's dispensary. . It had been many days since they had seen each other and since that lush kiss next to the river.
Dorothy was blushing furiously. She felt so shy, she could not look into those glorious eyes of his, or she felt she would be lost.

Lucas' heart was thumping mightily against his rib cage.
He gently tried to lift her chin. "Look at me sweetheart..." he whispered huskily. "You must know how I feel; I love you. I never thought I would say that to another person as long as I lived."

Dorothy felt tears of joy spring to her eyes. But, oh what a mess! She was married, Cyd would never let her go...what could be done?
Lucas kissed her tenderly, he began to kiss her tears away. He murmured lovingly to her. Cheri-Sue stopped cold. What was her mother doing with Mr. Tanner? They were talking softly to each other but she could not hear what was being said. Confused, Cheri-Sue backed away, and started to feel annoyance for her mother swirl in her brain.
She was too young to quite grasp what was going on, but she knew her mother should not be kissing another man!!
Their time was up at Fort Kearney, it was time to move on down the trail. The hardest part of the trip was coming up; they were heading into Pawnee country. He silently prayed the Indians would be quiet this trip. He found one of the Fort's puppies wandering among the cattle.
Nathan gently picked up the whimpering puppy and nuzzled him. "You best be careful little fella..."
Katie watched the gruff man affectionately nuzzle the dog. She smiled warmly. The vote was indeed taken, and she and Seamus would continue on with the wagon train. She had not spoken to Nathan since; he seemed to be avoiding her for some reason.
"Yours, Mr. McIntyre?" Kate smiled.
"No...But I wonder if Seamus might like some company on the rest of the trip, a puppy is a lot of work, but I think he could handle it, it may lessen the pain over the loss of your father..."
A pain shot through Katie's heart thinking of her Da.
She was also very moved by Nathan's thoughful gesture.
He handed the small puppy to Katie.
"Oh, why don't you give him to Seamus?" Katie said softly.
Nathan shook his head. "No...You do it." he said thickly.
Katie gave him a broad warm smile that nearly melted his heart.
He watched as she walked away, his insides were churning...
So they set out from Fort Kearney, they were heading into Indian Country, rough terrain; mountainous passes, raging rivers, severe weather, hot, dry desert. The easy part of the trip was over; the worst was yet to come.

Nathan let all the worst case scenarios drift through his head, but visions of Katie kept invading his thoughts. It would take all his willpower to shutter his thoughts and keep it professional toward the attractive young woman.
Unbeknownst to Nathan McIntyre, Two brothers are quietly tracking the wagon train at a safe distance...
Two brothers from the now scattered Lakota Sioux. Buffalo herds have been decimated by the encroachment of the white man and their rumbling wagons...they were hungry, and resentful...

TO BE CONTINUED...

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#88kissme87Mar 13, 2008

Great Story \:rah\:

#89whitmartinezApr 5, 2008

I like your theme. I am looking to do a story set during the slavery period. Any ideas, tips, dl's whatever would be a great help to me. Keep up the good work!

#90Apr 11, 2008

\:o A bit late in reading, but I wanted to make sure I had a time that I could sit and read the whole thing without interruption....and today's the day\:P GREAT job!! There's so much going on, it keeps your mind totally involved the whole time.....I felt like I was right there with them!! I love that about your writing!\:rah\: \:rah\:

#91midland_04Apr 23, 2008

This story is great... I was only able to read though, I'm on dialup and wasn't able to play the movies smoothly. Thanks for sharing... I'll have to read the other 3 parts when I have more time. \:D

#92chrisa_grMay 2, 2008

Wonderful! Thanks \:wub\:

#93twofeeMay 23, 2008

totally awesome story. \:\) (and i love the hair that katie has when shes wearing the green dress.)

#94jayb04Jun 13, 2008

Hummmm Good i want more \:rah\:

#95mpattonSep 10, 2008

I love the story so far. I'm looking forward to reading the remaining stories. Another great story. Keep up the good work.\:rah\: \:rah\: \:rah\:

#96omik79Mar 30, 2009

Awesome!  Great story so far! Onto the next! \:\)

#97fabrizioammolloJul 28, 2009

This is such an interesting story!

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