TED STRONG IN MONTANA
With Lariat and Spur
EDWARD C. TAYLOR
Author of the Ted Strong Stories
CHAPTER I. THE BIG SNOW.
CHAPTER II. THE LONG TOM RANCH.
CHAPTER III. THE SIGN-CAMP GHOST.
CHAPTER IV. THE BIG COON TREE.
CHAPTER V. THE PHANTOM LINE RIDER.
CHAPTER VI. CAUGHT IN THE ACT.
CHAPTER VII. A NIGHT RAID.
CHAPTER VIII. THE WAR PARTY.
CHAPTER IX. A BATTLE OF QUIRTS.
CHAPTER X. SILVER FACE.
CHAPTER XI. LOST IN THE WILDERNESS.
CHAPTER XII. WHO WHIPPLE WAS.
CHAPTER XIII. AN UNEXPECTED GUEST.
CHAPTER XIV. CHRISTMAS AT BUBBLY WELL.
CHAPTER XV. THE THUGGEE CORD.
CHAPTER XVI. A LETTER FROM THE DEAD.
CHAPTER XVII. BESIEGED.
CHAPTER XVIII. TED SAVES THE HOUSE.
CHAPTER XIX. HELEN MOWBRAY'S WILL.
CHAPTER XX. KNIFE AND FANG.
CHAPTER XXI. 'WARE THE GRAY WOLVES.
CHAPTER XXII. THE WOLFSKIN.
CHAPTER XXIII. BAGGING THE GRAY WOLVES.
CHAPTER XXIV. WHITE FANG LEADS HOME.
CHAPTER XXV. TED'S INDEPENDENCE.
CHAPTER XXVI. A COMPROMISE.
CHAPTER XXVII. THE BEEF ISSUE.
CHAPTER XXVIII. A SLAP ON THE FACE.
CHAPTER XXIX. RUNNING BEAR'S SQUAW.
CHAPTER XXX. "THE WOOFER" APPEARS.
CHAPTER XXXI. SINGING BIRD'S SECRET.
CHAPTER XXXII. A NIGHT CHASE.
CHAPTER XXXIII. THE LOCOED STEER.
CHAPTER XXXIV. THE BOBWHITE'S CALL.
CHAPTER XXXV. A DUEL WITH LARIATS.
CHAPTER XXXVI. THE MOTHER LODE.
THE BIG SNOW.
"We're going to have snow to-night!"
Ted Strong, leader of the broncho boys, was sitting on the back of
Sultan, his noble little black stallion, on the ridge of a prairie
swell, looking at a lowering sky.
Out of the northwest
a chilling wind, damp and raw, was sweeping
dull-gray clouds before it.
Ted had addressed his remark to Bud Morgan, his chum and able
lieutenant, who threw a glance at the clouds and grunted.
we be," he muttered, "an' I'm free ter say I'm dern sorry ter
"It's hard luck," resumed Ted. "If we had got away a week earlier, or
hadn't been held up by the high water at Poplar Fork, we would have been
at the ranch now, and settled for the winter."
"Thar's no telling whar an 'if' won't land yer sometimes. If we hadn't
started we wouldn't hev been here at all. But here we aire, an' we'll
hev ter git out o' it."
"Think we better push on, or make camp?" asked Ted.
"Got ter make camp fer ther night somewhere," answered Bud. "But I wisht
ther storm hed held off till ter-morrer this time; we'd hev been within
hootin' distance o' ther Long Tom Ranch."
"Suppose we push on a few hours more. We can camp down in the dark if we
must. If the snow gets deep before ye reach the high ground you know
what it means."
"I shore do. I wuz all through a big snow in this yere man's country a
few years back, an' it wuz some fierce."
"All right. Ride back and drive them up. I'll point. We'll drive until
it gets too dark. Tell the wagons to move up."
Bud wheeled his pony and dashed to the rear of the great herd of cattle
that was coming on at a snail's pace.
The cattle were lowing uneasily. They knew even better than the men that
a storm was coming, and they dreaded it.
This was the big Circle S herd which the broncho boys had bought in
Texas in the spring of that year, and which they had herded and driven
northward throughout the summer to winter on the Montana plateau, later
to be driven
to Moon Valley, and there put into condition for the
Various things had delayed the arrival
of the herd on their winter
grounds. A detention of several days at a time by flood, by a stampede,
and by fights with rustlers, had brought the cattle several weeks late
to their winter grounds.
Ted Strong had determined to try the experiment of wintering Southern
cattle in the Montana country in order to harden
them and improve the
quality of the beef.
The broncho boys had a large order to fill for the government the
following summer, and it was to accomplish their contract that they had
bought the Texas cattle and driven
them north to the Long Tom Ranch in
Now that they were within a few miles of it, and still on the low
ground, it appeared that a big snow was inevitable, which might
frustrate all their plans and cause them great loss.
But Ted Strong did not complain. It was a condition which he could not
have foreseen, and, being close at hand, there was nothing for them to
do but meet it with all the fortitude
at their command.
Soon the herd began to move forward, being crowded
by the broncho boys
and the force of cow-punchers whom they had employed to assist
Stella Fosdick, who, with her aunt, Mrs. Walter Graham, had accompanied
the boys on their drive, now came galloping up to Ted. She had been
riding beside the carriage
in which her aunt had been comfortably
"Going to keep on, Ted?" she asked.
"Yes. Got to do it. Those clouds are full of snow. If it catches us down
here we're likely to be snowed in, and if we do it's all up with the
Circle S," he replied.
"Oh, I guess we'll pull through all right, if we can keep the cows
moving; but it is not going to be very comfortable for your aunt or you.
We'll have to drive until the cattle refuse to move farther."
"I can stand it, and aunt will have to. She's getting a little anxious,
though, and asked me to ride ahead to learn when we're going to stop.
Poor auntie likes her comfort. I often wonder why she became the wife of
"Or why she consents to traipse all over the country with you," laughed
"Ted, she absolutely
cannot refuse me a thing."
"So I see. You've got her hypnotized--as, indeed, you have all the rest
of us. But ride back and cheer her up all you can. I told McCall, the
cook, to make some good, strong coffee and to serve it to any of the
boys who wanted it, as it will be some time before we can have supper.
Have Mac take her a cup of good, strong coffee and something to eat.
That may make her a little more cheerful."
"I'll do it. But don't you want some coffee, too?"
"Not for me. I've got something else to do right here. This is going to
be a race between the herd and the snow clouds, and it means a whole lot
"Afraid of being snowed in?"
"You bet. If this bunch of cattle gets snowed in I see our finish. We'll
lose half of them before we get to the grass."
"I don't know a thing about the Northern range, and I can't see how
you're going to bring that herd through to spring. It would take
thousands of tons of hay, and I don't know how much corn to feed them."
"I see you don't know much about the North," he said. "But what should a
girl brought up in Texas know of wintering cattle in the snow? You see,
it's this way: Montana is the best winter cattle range in the United
"The winds from the mountains sweep the snow, which is dry and loose,
from the high, level ground, exposing the grass which has been cured on
the ground, and which makes the best kind of feed. Then there is plenty
of water, and the deep coulees, with which the country is cut up, afford
for the cattle during storms.
"Occasionally there comes warm winds from the northwest. These are
called chinook winds, because they come from the direction of the
country of the Chinook Indians. They are warm and balmy, and melt the
snow as if by magic. Their warmth
is caused by having come in contact
with the Japanese stream, which crosses the Pacific Ocean, after being
warmed in the sunny East, and which strikes the shores of North America
along about south Alaska. This stream
is called by the Japanese, Kuro
Siwo. It is the equivalent
of the Gulf Stream, which leaves the Gulf of
Mexico to cross the Atlantic and warm the shores of Great Britain."
"Quite a lecture," said Stella, laughing.
"I didn't mean to lecture," replied Ted, laughing also, "but I wanted
you to know why it is that it is a good thing to winter cattle in this
north country. In the first place it puts strength and stamina into the
cattle, and makes the beef better, and all the conditions of which I
make it possible to keep cattle on the open range out here,
where one would think they would perish
of cold and starvation. But it
is no picnic
to run a winter range, as we will all learn before spring
"I understand now, and I'm sure I shall enjoy the experience. But I must
go back to aunt and jolly her up, for she is easily discouraged, and she
is no more used to rough winters than I."
"She'll be all right when we get to Long Tom, for there is a bully ranch
house there, and she'll be as snug as a bug in a rug when we get
The cattle were going forward over the gentle, rising ground, being
pushed by the punchers in the rear and the fellows on the side lines,
while Ted and Kit were pointing them in the direction of a tall butte,
which they could see in the distance, rising needlelike and black
against the gray sky.
This was Long Tom Butte, after which the ranch, which Ted had leased,
had been named.
Suddenly, Ted felt something wet on his cheek, and looked up. A
snowflake, big and floating lazily
down, had struck him.
Others followed it, and soon there were myriads of big, wet snowflakes
falling slowly through the air.
The cattle began to hurry, and were lowing in a distressing way. Their
instinct told them to seek shelter, and they were telling their drovers
as much in their own fashion.
For a half hour the snow continued to come down, wet and soft.
But suddenly the wind changed in temperature. Before it had been raw and
damp. Now it became sharp and frosty.
The snow changed quickly from heavy, wet flakes, to small, dry, sharp
particles, which, driven
by a strong wind, which had veered around into
the north, stung the faces of the boys like needles, and worried the
cattle, which seemed to want to lag in their pace.
"Kit, go back and tell the boys to keep pushing harder. The cattle want
to stop, and if they quit now it's all up. There's a blizzard
we can keep them at it an hour longer, we will be in the lee of the
buttes, and there's a deep coulee into which we can drive and hold them
At Ted's command Kit dashed toward the rear, and repeated
the order, and
the cow-punchers rode into the herd with shouts and with active lashing
of their quirts, and the beasts picked up their pace again and hurried
forward through the snow, which had begun to whiten
Kit returned to Ted's side.
"What do you think of it?" he asked.
"If we had an hour more of daylight, I think we could make it," said
"Any doubt of it?"
"Well, when it becomes dark we'll lose sight of Long Tom, and we're
likely to drift, because, unless the cattle are driven
into the storm,
they'll turn tail to it and go the other way."
"I can't see Long Tom now."
"I can, although the snow almost blots it out. There it is right in the
northwest. I can just make it out. The herd is drifting south of it now.
Better get over on your point, and head them up this way a bit."
Soon the herd was driving forward in the right direction again.
But suddenly the darkness came down like of pall of black smoke,
shutting out everything, and the wind increased in violence, rising with
a howl and a shriek
like some enormous
and terrible animal in rage.
"It's all off," said Ted to himself, with a sigh.
The cattle came to a stop.
"Keep them going!" shouted Ted, riding back frantically
along the line.
The cow-punchers dashed among the animals, shouting and beating
with their quirts, and managed to get them started again, but it was
only for a short time, for again they stopped, bellowing, the leaders
milling and throwing everything into confusion.
"That settles it," shouted Ted to Bud. "They're going to drift all night
if we don't stop them."
"Dern ther luck, I says," growled Bud. "How fur aire we from ther
"The worst of it is we're right on it. The ranch house isn't more than
three miles from here, and if we could have got there we would have been
all right. By morning we may be ten miles away, if we let the herd
drift, and we'll have a dickens
of a time getting the brutes back
through the snow."
"What aire we goin' ter do with the wimminfolks?"
"I'm going to try to get them to the ranch house. You boys will have to
make a snow camp, and hold the herd from drifting at all odds. Don't let
them sneak on you. Keep pushing them from the south. You see, they're
all turned that way now with their tails to the wind. As soon as they
get cold they will begin to move. Don't let 'em do it."
"All right, Ted. We'll do the best we can. You take care o' ther
wimminfolks. So long, an' good luck."
Ted rode back to where Mrs. Graham was shivering in the closed wagon the
boys had provided for her, and Stella was sitting her pony by her side,
trying to encourage
Carl Schwartz was the jehu of the outfit, and sat on the driver's seat,
a fair imitation
of a snow man.
"Carl, get a move on you. We're going to try to make the Long Tom ranch
house," said Ted. "I'll lead, and you follow. If you lose sight of me,
yell to me and I'll come back. I've got my pocket searchlight, and will
send you back a flash now and then."