A Final Battle Against Bandits – Extended Epilogue

Three Years Later

Cassidy and Linda stood for a minute on the second-floor balcony of their house, which was now the center of one of the largest ranches in Texas. It was mid-October, and Texas had been hit with a rush of cool air that had lowered temperatures. The winds made the air even cooler. Cassidy wore a light jacket, as did Linda. They were not bothered by the calm winds. They had experienced many hot and humid Texas days and did not mind temperatures dropping. Linda, especially, enjoyed cooler days. She held a cup of tea in her hands and looked at Cassidy.

“Ever dream you would live in a house such as this one and own so much land?” she asked.

Cassidy grinned. He held a small glass of whisky. Then shook his head. “No, not in my wildest dreams, and I had some wild ones. I thought about what it would be like or what I thought it would be like. But even while I did, I didn’t believe it would come true. It was, in fact, just a dream, and like dreams in the night, it faded when the morning came.”

Four white columns were at the entrance of the large house, making it look like a typical southern mansion. Linda had requested the columns. She thought having their home look like a typical Southern mansion would be amusing. Especially since her husband, although gracious, was not the typical Southern gentleman. She knew he was a gentleman but not a typical southern one.

“I got a message from the Allmonts. They said they could drop by and say hello next weekend. I replied that we would be happy to see them.”

“So we will,” Cassidy said. “I enjoy having old friends come and visit. I think he and Jim Wales became two of my closest friends. Before them, I was a man who didn’t have many friends. I knew a lot of people but didn’t have many friends. Or any at all. It’s difficult to make friends when you’re on the road most of the time.”

Linda smiled and sipped her tea. “Now you’re a landowner –one of the biggest in Texas – and you have lots of friends.”

“No, my dear,” Cassidy said. “I know a lot of people when we go to social gatherings. The number of true friends can always be counted on one hand. Or, in very unusual cases, two.”

A tall butler appeared at the door. “Professor Harding is here. He said you were expecting him.”

“Of course, take him to Mr. Cassidy’s study,” Linda said.

“I don’t know why our foray into Mexico has always seemed to fascinate historians. We were basically fighting outlaws, nothing more,” Cassidy said.

“It’s the allure of mystery and riches, honey. No one to this day knows who collected all that gold and hid it in that mountain. There are still hundreds of theories about the origin of the gold. And I guess everyone likes a mystery, especially when it involves lots and lots of gold. There’s a fascination with it. And, of course, there were all  those stories about Aztecs.”

“All of which were untrue. They were rumors that had been concocted over the years. Legends like the Lost Dutchman’s mine or whatever that was. The truth was tough to find, but the lies and myths multiplied over the years.”

“That’s life.”

They held hands and walked to the study. When they entered, Professor Harding, a tall, lanky man with gray strands among his jet black hair, stood up. They shook hands with him.

“So good to have you drop by again, professor. How is the book coming?”

“Very well, thanks to you you and Mr. Cassidy. You have provided a great deal of help and detail about the time I’m writing about. There are many wild tales about Texas. Many of them are untrue or have a basis of truth with a lot of legend added in. Your visit to Mexico is true without the stuff of legend. But it has a stirring conclusion. Riding back to the border carrying gold and gems while fighting vicious Comancheros is the stuff of legends, but it’s true. That’s something else that makes it stand out from the other, untrue legends about Texas.”

Cassidy sat behind his desk, still holding his glass of whisky. He took another sip. “Well, to be honest, at times when I sit back and reflect – which I don’t often do, but once in a while, I reflect a bit – I think my life has been a legend. There are a few things that happened to me that I find difficult to believe, although I lived them.” he gave a quick smile. “For example, I still think it’s amazing that the lovely Linda agreed to marry me, for which I am forever grateful.”

“Thank you, honey,” Linda said. “You are always gracious and charming.”

“I appreciate that. I didn’t use to be. If I’m gracious, it’s due to your influence.”

Linda laughed and looked at the professor. “I like him. He’s a great husband.” She shook her head. “Anyway, you have a few questions for us, professor?”

“Only a few. I just wanted to tie up a few loose ends. First, just out of curiosity, do you talk much with Mr. Allmont and Mr. Wales?”

“Oh, yes. In fact, Drake and his wife Amanda will be coming to see us this weekend. They don’t live too far away. Well, it’s about seventy miles, but considering how big Texas is, that’s not too far. Amanda wanted children and wanted them quickly, and she got her wish. They have a three-year-old boy and a girl who is about six months old.”

Linda laughed. “And the last time I talked with Amanda, she said she wanted at least two more children, maybe three. She told me she wants kids running all over the house, upstairs, downstairs, and in the yard. Amanda is not that big a woman. She’s slender, and I wondered if the births would be difficult, but everything went fine. Amanda told me that her son popped out like a watermelon seed.’ It sure didn’t take long. He came out quickly and has been moving swiftly ever since.”

The professor nodded and laughed. “I have a grandchild just like that too. But people like that have made Texas what it is today. So, we need them.”

“That’s true,” Linda said.

The professor had pulled out a pad and held a pen in his other hand. He flipped the pad open.

“But tell me, and I’m curious about this point. When searching for the gold, did you actually believe – I mean down in your gut – really believe that there was a cave full of gold out there somewhere.”

Cassidy nodded. “No, not like that. Not deep down in my gut. Or in my mind, either. I had heard too many of the state’s legends and lies. But I thought this legend had the stuff of myth and was, at least interesting, but I don’t think I ever really believed it. If someone had asked if I would stake my life on the story being true, I would have said no, absolutely not. I think the story and the events sort of carried us along like a strong tide will carry you if you don’t actively and vigorously fight against it. And I don’t usually let events carry me like a tide. Basically, I’m a loner, and I ignore the currents of the time, but, in this case, I went along with the tide, and I’m still not sure why. Maybe I just decided to follow this wild story and see where it would take me.”

“And I’m glad he did because it took him to me. We met because he decided to pursue this,” Linda said.

“And Mr. Allmont. He has graciously agreed to an interview too. Was he gung-ho about the project, or did he have reservations?”

“I don’t think he actually believed the story was true. I think he was like I was and basically went along due to curiosity, maybe out of a sense of adventure, or some other reason. I think he thought the story was intriguing but was skeptical about how truthful it was.” Cassidy paused for a moment. “Drake is also something of a loner. He won’t go along with a crowd just to go along. But for whatever reason, we did sort of go along. In fact, I still think about that time and ask myself, ‘Why did I do that?’ I think Drake may have asked himself the same question.” He paused and then gave a short laugh. “But that indecision affected both sides in this matter. The outlaws that followed us were led by a man named Madigan, who had signed up a few outlaws. And some of them quit him. They just rode off one day, and he had to get other people. We found that out from the ones we captured. Two of Madigan’s men were killed when he and his gang tried to attack us. “They had a guy named Blackjack something, and one or two other men apparently decided this was a crazy idea and went their own way. He got some more help, but it didn’t do him any good. We captured him and several of his men and turned them over to a sheriff. I suppose they are still in state prison and should be for many more years.”

The professor flipped a page in his notebook. He guided his pen down the page, then stopped at a name.

“Mrs. Cassidy, I also wanted to ask you about your brother who, in a sense, started this chain of events that ended in the race to the border with the gold.”

“Oh,  he’s doing fine. He is taking care of our house and lands now. Allen has extended our property in a few shrewd deals. When this began, I thought our father had just months and maybe weeks to live. But he was tough. Sweet with his kids but tough in other ways, and he held on. He lived six months after we traveled back home. And was in good shape until his final days when he was bedridden. But he loved hearing about our adventures.”

“That’s wonderful that he was alive to know about the discovery,” the professor said. “And what happened to Flint? Is he still in Texas?”

Cassidy shook his head. “Flint is a wanderer and a roamer. He rarely stays in one place for any length of time. We hear from him from time to time, and he’s always in a new place. His last letter stated he was in Oregon and having a wonderful time. He said he enjoyed the state, loved the coast, and was thinking of buying a home and settling down. He said the house was on the ocean and a perfect place to live. Obviously, with his share of the take, he has no financial problems, so he can build a really big house on the Oregon coast. He hinted in the letter that he might take some time off from his ramblings and just relax and read some in his new place. He also invested in a few business ventures that seem to be paying off for him. Maybe he’s at the age where the wanderlust has wandered someplace else.”

“And Mr. Wales, do you know  where he is now?”

“Yes, Jim is in New Orleans. He took a trip there about ten years ago and fell in love with the town. He took his money, bought a big house, and spent his time in the city and a few gambling establishments in the town. He wrote he loves it and never plans to leave. He said he would live the rest of his life in New Orleans and would die there too. He finally found a place to start his horse ranch and has at least a dozen old horses that he has offered a loving home for their final years.”

The professor thought for a moment. “Well, your group encountered many risks but had a happy ending.”

“Yes, it did,” Linda said. “And we’re thankful for it. There were times when it looked like a happy ending was impossible. But I did, and do, believe in miracles. And I think we had one, and I will be forever thankful for it. And I am also pregnant with our first child. This really is a happy ending.”


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25 thoughts on “A Final Battle Against Bandits – Extended Epilogue”

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and all the characters. Was a great read and look forward to many more. Really like the extended epilogue. Keep up the great work.

  1. I’m exhausted from the thrill of the read. Wow just wow, reminded me a bit of McKenna’s Gold Those bad guys just kept coming !! Great characters and what an adventure and Gols at the end of the rainbow who could ask for more.

  2. A wonderful and exciting western. I loved the way the group worked together to accomplish their goals. More of the same, please. A great read.

  3. What an amazing story. Great characters and great adventures to keep the pages turning. I especially like the way they out witted the outlaws and the Comancheros.

  4. Johnny Burns is an awesome story writer with a great adventure
    from page to page. Couldn’t wait to turn the next page but did not want it to end either. Will be looking for the next story

  5. Another great story. I sort of agree with one of your reviewers about there being too many characters to keep track of. But in the end, it allowed more twists and turns in the storyline. Keep writing, I like your style.

  6. Great story lots of action. However you changed the people that Madigan wanted to kill. First it was the bounty hunters then it was Cassidy.

  7. I must admit that this is not my kind of book. However, I must also admit that I thoroughly enjoyed the story. You will not regret reading this book! It is actually a book of excitement in that a treasure is sought and…get the book! You will not regret it! Enjoy!

  8. Really Enjoyed this book. Was so glad all made it through to live the lives they wanted.
    Just keep writing great stories..

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