that time, was a little dried up Mexican, hardly five feet three in height, half Spaniard, half Indian, I believe, who might be thirty or fifty and who seldom opened his mouth except to curse all Americans in Spanish. Even Reece admitted that Bob could ride "above a bit" and knew more about cattle than anyone else in his world. Reece's admiration directed my curiosity to the little man and I took every opportunity of talking to him and of giving him cigars—a courtesy so unusual that at first he was half inclined to resent it.
It appeared that these three men had been left in Kansas City to dispose of another herd of cattle and to purchase stores needed at the ranch. They were all ready, so the next day we rode out of Kansas City, about four o'clock in the morning; our course roughly south by west. Everything was new and wonderful to me. In three days we had finished with roads and farmsteads and were on the open prairie; in two or three days more, the prairie became the great plains which stretched four or five thousand miles from north to south with a breadth of some seven hundred. The plains wore buffalo grass and sage-brush for a garment, and little else save in the river-bottoms, trees like the cottonwood; everywhere rabbits, prairie chicken, deer and buffalo abounded.
We covered about thirty miles a day: Bob sat in the wagon and drove the four mules, while Bent and Charlie made us coffee and biscuits in the morning and cooked us sow-belly and any game we might bring in for dinner and supper. There was a small keg of rye whisky on the wagon; but we kept it for snake-bite or some emergency.
I became the hunter to the outfit, for it was soon discovered that by some sixth sense I could always find my way back to the wagon on a bee-line, and