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MaryAnne watched Alex carefully as he removed his gunbelt. The deputy was surprised by this move...very few outlaws had ever given up their guns so easily. MaryAnne was tough, but she was also a female, which most outlaws took as an invitation to make an easy escape. Those that tried that with her though, usually ended up on Boot Hill.

Maybe this one knew it. Or sensed it. Or something. Whatever it was, MaryAnne accepted the guns and then reached into the nearest pocket of the blond man's long coat and removed another gun. With this gun in hand, she waved a hand for him to hand over the gun in the other pocket.

He did. Relieved of his weapons, MaryAnne peered at him curiously. "Ain't had many folks give up their shooting irons so easily. Either you're innocent, Alex Jackson, or you've heard rumors about me that you don't care to find out if they're true or not..."

(Cue Alex!)

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Alex grinned at this, his hands still in the air.

"Well that badge on your chest says that you've got the law on your side and you wouldn't be wearing that badge if you hadn't taken down a few outlaws. But there's another reason that I'm not going to test your fast draw skills besides that star--" His grin faded a little, his dark eyes serious.

"I don't know your name Deputy, but I'm willing to bet its Coltrane."

He watched the Deputy's eyes widen and his grin somewhat returned.

"I better explain how I know that."

Alex started then and told the Deputy everything...from his arrival in town, to befriending Brian, Chet Duke's theft of the horses and the gunbattle that had left Brian wounded and the departure of the two outlaws.

"I didn't want to leave Brian but his gun in my face didn't leave much room for arguing."

He stopped then peering at the Deputy waiting for her reaction to everything he had said...

(Cue MaryAnne!)

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"Well..." MaryAnne said thoughtfully. "That's quite a yarn you've spun. More than that I'm apt to believe ya." The young deputy sighed. "Rosco must have his hands full. Why is it when I leave town for a few days the whole place goes to heck?" she asked rhetorically. She sighed and looked at Alex. "Still tho', you're towing around stolen horses which makes you guilty of something...." MaryAnne reached into one of her saddle bags and pulled out a good sized bundle of rope.

(Cue Alex!)

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Alex watched her with the rope and two things came to his mind. Either she was going to relieve him of the horses, or she was going to make a noose and relieve him of his life.

He had told her the truth about how it was he got the horses, and she claimed to believe him. A third option for the rope suddenly popped into his head, maybe she planned on taking him back to Hazzard. But no matter the reason, Alex knew he had little choice but to comply; he had voluntarily given up his guns and he hoped that counted for something. Maybe it meant his head wasn't about to find its way into a noose.

There was only one way to find out.

Alex lowered his arms and both hands touched the saddle horn in front of him. He kept his gaze steady on her, either the rope would be placed around his wrists or looped over his hat and around his neck. He raised his chin, his face showing no fear. The choice now lie literally in the hands of the lady Deputy and whichever her preference, he would accept it.

(Cue MaryAnne!)

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MaryAnne glanced at Alex and saw the concerned look on the blond man's face. She then looked at the rope in hand and gave a sheepish grin. "Whups...wrong bundle of rope, heh heh..." She put the bundle back in the saddle bag and pulled out a smaller stretch of rope.

"Alex, I'm going to have to place you under arrest." MaryAnne leaned toward Alex and began to wrap the rope around his wrists in a set of frontier hand cuffs. "Although I said I'm apt to believe your story, you're still in posession of stolen horses and it sounds like there's a hell of a lot stuff to sort out back in Hazzard." She tightened the ropes and then settled back in her saddle and looked at Alex. He seemed disappointed.

"Don't get me wrong... I'm not forgetting your voluntary surrender here, or that you've given up your guns and have told me what's going on. Believe me, that's worth a lot to me, which in turn will be worth a lot to you. But until I can get my own fix on the situation back in town, and find out what's happened to Brian, I have to do things my own certain way. I'm sure you understand..."

(Cue Alex!)

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"Yeah Deputy, I understand--" Alex's disappointed dissolved into genuine relief, though not happy about being arrested he would take that over swinging from a rope any day.

The ropes were tight around his wrists but not to the point of being uncomfortable. He passed the lead line connected to three race horses to the Deputy along with the reins to Showdown. He kept his bound hands on the saddlehorn, gripping it for balance.

"I'm ready to go back to Hazzard Deputy." He said with a sigh.

"And I hope you can find out what happened to Brian, I'm a bit concerned about him myself. We both saved each other when those masked riders were coming straight at us, I don't want nothing bad to happen to him."

With that, the Deputy started back towards Hazzard with Alex and the three races horses in tow.

(Cue MaryAnne or anybody!)

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"Garrett!" a couple of familiar voices ring out through the silent town to yank Garrett out of his thoughts. Garrett slowly looks up from the dusty dirt road and up at the old wooden sheriff's station to find his twin brother with thier cousin standing near the old shabby steps of the station. Their arms are stretched out to wave excitedly at him.

"Hi Bo, Luke," he nods at them as he reaches to where they are standing at the stairs, "What y'all doin' here? Y'all in some sort of trouble?"

The two cousins exchange looks for a moment before looking back at Garrett before they both shake their heads no. "Us? Never," Bo gives Garrett an ornery grin while resting a hand upon Luke's muscular shoulder.

"Nah we're just up to see the sheriff," Luke adds in, "no big deal. What's got you up and about this evenning?"

Garrett looks around for a short moment as the sky slowly grows into black. "Well I just got wind of what happened to Chet," he pauses to throw his attention back onto his family, "I figured that I would drop by and give him a visit and all."

"Well I am sure he will appreciate your visit," Luke nods at Garrett while leaning upon the old splintering post.

"We'll see," Garrett gives them a rare smile before shrugging, "Well I better get on my way, I'll see you both later."

"Later," Bo grins at him.

(Cue Daney)

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“Yep,†Luke agreed and smiled at Garrett. “Take it easy.†Rosco had asked that a change of clothes be brought for Chet. The boys were going to the farm to get them. It would probably be sunlight before they got back in town.

Which was fine, they were not worried about Chet trying to escape. The doctor had said it would be at least two weeks before he could sit up or move around. And that was if the wound didn’t get infected. Rosco had posted two guards who normally worked at the saloon as bouncers to watch over the young man. Chet’s threats had been chalked up to high fever. The room only had the basic necessities.

Stopping at Cooter’s blacksmith shop, they along with Daisy observed a law officer leading four horses, one with a blond rider.

About that same moment in the woods...

Daney saw Min.

(cue anyone. )

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*Note: This is a joint post*

Min carefully climbed down Gambit and unloaded the saddle bag and the cloth bag she had tied to the saddle horn. The ride from town had been a long one and she took a moment to straighten up. Plucking a white lace handkerchief from her sleeve she patted her face and neck with it, giving the small rustic cabin the once over.

“My goodness, this place could definitely use a woman’s touch.â€

Turning back to the cabin, Min tucked her handkerchief away she went to the door and tried the latch, giving the door a good shove. It didn’t move and it only took her a split second to realize it had been locked.

“Oh great--†Min pulled the shawl off of her shoulders and set it down, along with everything she carried. She spotted a window and went over to it, moving aside the foliage that covered it. Leaning over, she peered through the glass as best she could but saw nothing.

Going back to the door, she raised a hand and knocked on it.

“Chance! Chance open up its me Min!â€

She did it again, a little harder this time rattling the door on its hinges.

Chance meanwhile, having fallen asleep, was unaware that the shifting of her weight was causing the chair she was sitting on to tilt. At the pounding, she jerked awake and the chair jerked with her, sending them both to the floor. A bit disgruntled at the rude wake up call, she got up and checked Brian, laying a hand lightly on his chest, relieved to feel the steady, strong beat. Then went to the door, carefully unbolting and allowing just enough room for the saloon girl to slip in.

"About time. Did you get everything we need?"

“I think so. I raided the kitchen of the saloon and got some supplies from the general store--†Min carried her cargo inside, setting it down on the table. She saw a black hat and picked it up, shaking her head.

“I’ve seen this hat before.â€

The sound of heavy breathing reached her ears and she glanced at the bed in the corner, going over to it. She recognized the dark haired man in it and sighed.

“God I was hoping I was wrong about whose button you sent along Chance.â€

She set the hat down on the nightstand and sat on the edge of the bed, watching the wounded man sleep. The bandage around his torso got her attention and she gently touched his forehead.

“You did good; he doesn’t seem to have a fever--†Min glanced over her shoulder at her friend.

“I don’t even know what his name is.â€

"His name is Brian Coltrane. Why does that name sound familiar? Have we heard it in town?"

Chance rummaged through the bags Min brought, it contained usual supplies...canned food, clothes, a bottle of whiskey and the like. But at the bottom of the bag held a couple of boxes of pistol and rifle ammunition, along with an extra pistol, and the pieces of a rifle for Chance. She took those out and set them on the table to be assembled.

"I used herbs to keep the fever down; all we should have to do is change the bandage every few hours." The final thing she found made her smile as she pulled the long length of coiled leather from the bag. "There we are, back in business."

“You and your whips--†Min shook her head as she crossed her legs and hefted her skirt up a little, revealing the black lace up boots on her feet. She bent down and reached beneath the folds of material and pulled out a small silver Derringer pistol.

“This is my weapon of choice.†She showed it to Chance then replaced it, smoothing out her dress. Min stood up and went back over to the table, picking up the cloth bag and took out the food.

“We better make him something to eat; he’s going to need it when he wakes up.â€

"You better do that, Min. My cooking can scare off a grizzly. We need to make him better, not worse." Chance began putting the long rifle together.

Daisy tried not to worry as she left her cousins at the blacksmith's shop and headed for the livery. The last she had seen of her cousin Min, the dark haired woman was heading to the upper level of the saloon. But now hours had passed and when word of the lady gambler and the dark haired stranger had reached her ears, courtesy of her cousins, it didn't take a genius to figure out where Min had gone. And this wasn’t all Bo and Luke had provided, in low whispers they had passed on the location of where the two people had been seen and the fact the dark haired stranger seemed injured.

“There must be a cabin around there somewhere--†Daisy said to herself as she slipped inside the barn and borrowed Min’s white horse, Lady.

“We have some trouble Lady, I hope you don’t mind but I need to find my cousin.â€

As quick as she could, Daisy mounted the quarter horse and took off at high speed towards the woods.

Some time later, the sounds of an approaching horse reached the ears of one lady gambler. The reaction was instant, Chance stood from where she sat on the bed while changing Brian's bandage and cautiously peeked out the window. Seeing nothing, she clicked a bullet into her rifle and silently motioned for Min, who had been cooking over the fire, to lower the lantern and be quiet. If an enemy had found the cabin, they wouldn't live to regret it.

Daisy saw the horses gathered around the cabin and added Lady to the mix. She went over to the door and started to knock but then stopped.

“Min? Min are you in there? It’s Daisy!â€

“Daisy?†Min said as she waved to Chance to lower her rifle. “It’s just my cousin.â€

Chance rolled her eyes, but unbolted the door. "What did you do, put out an ad in the local newspaper? This is called a HIDE out for a reason." She shook her head ruefully and went back to her business of tending the patient.

"No, I didn’t tell anyone where I was going--" Min opened the door and pulled her cousin inside, relocking the door.

“Daisy…how did you find us?â€

“Bo and Luke--†Daisy stepped inside the small cabin. “They were worried when you disappeared and told me that they had seen the two of them.†She motioned to Chance and Brian. “Since she’s your friend I figured you’d be here.â€

Daisy approached the bed, watching Chance. “You know that blond stranger that Brian was hanging around with?â€

"I remember him. Tall, lanky, kinda good-looking, if you ask me." Chance glanced up from what she was doing. "Why do you ask?"

Daisy’s gaze bounced from Chance to her cousin. “Me and the boys saw MaryAnne Coltrane, she had three horses with her and Brian’s blond friend. His hands were bound and she took him to the Sheriff’s office. It looked to me like he was under arrest.â€

Min’s dark eyes grew round and her mouth dropped open.

“Arrested? For what?â€

Working behind the bar of the Boar's Nest, Daisy was privy to a lot of gossip, her ability to keep secrets sometimes paid off and this seemed to be one of those times.

“Chet Duke was talking about horses when he was with Brian and that blond. He talked about them being stolen.â€

"Wait...Wait....MaryAnne COLTRANE? Brian's related to the deputy and sheriff?" Chance looked at Min, sighing. "We don't know if that blonde fellow is a friend or an enemy."

“If he was an enemy he wouldn’t be with the kin of MaryAnne Coltrane--†Min went to the bed and sat down at the foot of it gazing at Brian.

“He’s not going to be too happy when he wakes up.â€

“Yeah and you haven’t even heard the good news yet--†Daisy piped up and both women gazed at her.

“Chet Duke survived the gun battle.â€

(cue Brian or anyone!)

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The whiskey-hazed sleep wasn't easily disturbed, but the chattering of women's voices was sifting through the fog in Brian's mind. He couldn't quite put together what they were talking about just yet, as he was making a slow, and reluctant, return to conciousness.

The yakking of the hens was relentless, and he gave a weary sigh, admitting to himself that he was waking up. He gave a small groan of complaint at the tugging of his bandages, and his dark eyes flickered open to see....

(cue anybody! )

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...blue eyes met dark and Chance went very still, her hands still on the bandage around his waist, startled by the gunslinger waking up so early. Then she realized why. With a slight grin, she nodded wordlessly to Min and Daisy, who were still talking in the background and not noticed Brian had awakened yet, and made a motion of someone chattering.

(Cue anyone)

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Brian lifted his head to look over at Min and Daisy, seeing them animated in conversation. Even with whiskey-blurred vision, he was able to recognize the saloon girl and barmaid. He had no idea what the hell they were doing here, but there were worse things to wake up to...and finding himself surrounded by three lovely females, he had no complaints.

He lowered his head back to the mattress, and his eyes flicked to the lady gambler. She was sitting on the edge of the bed, fussing with his bandage, one delicate hand resting on his waist. The touch was not unkind; and for a moment, Brian simply watched her. Finally, words escaped his lips, his voice low and raspy from weariness.

"Seems ah owe you a debt, ma'am."

(cue Chance, or anyone)

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At the light touch to the forehead, Brian gave a smile. His dark eyes were heavy-lidded and drowsy, and he had no objection to the idea of more sleep. With a sigh, he shut his eyes and let his mind sink back into the fluffy cotton of drowsiness.

A few stray thoughts, half-coherent and sodden, stumbled around in his head as conciousness sought the exit. There was nothing to worry about now, Brian told himself. He was safe in a backwoods hideout. Alex was probably halfway to Atlanta with the stolen horses, and would soon be a wealthier man. Meanwhile, Chet Duke was probably getting introduced to a shovel and a dirt blanket.

Yep, nothing to worry about......Zzzzzzzzzzzz.....

(cue anyone!)

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Back in town…

Bo and Luke ran into Cooter after dropping the clothes for Chet off.

“Recieved an interesting communication," The town blacksmith told the Duke men.

“What’s the message?†Luke inquired.

“The blackbird lives to fly another day.†Cooter smiled. “Min and Daisy are alright, they’re with blonde friend who likes takin’ a chance.â€

Bo nodded. “Much obliged,†Luke paused. “Did she say where they were?â€

“Nope, and I got to get back to the shop, good day fellas.†Cooter tipped his hat, opened the door and hurried into the building.

The boys shouted. “Take care,†the door banged closed. They glanced to the night sky turning to daylight.

“We better go tell Boss that Min is sick or somethin’, so she don’t get in trouble with him.†Bo said.

“You’re right.†Luke agreed. They took off to find Min’s employer.

(cue MaryAnne, Rosco, Val, Garrett... anyone!)

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The pain was too bad to sleep anymore, so Chet lay awake, his fingers laced in the fingers of Brandie who was now dozing in the chair next to him. Dr. Applebee had given him all the medication he could, it was just a waiting game now. So with that in mind the young Duke boy allowed his mind to wander, an wonder about the events of the last couple of days.

He wondered what people would think if they really knew why he had done what he did, what if they knew why he had stolen the horses and why he had acted so meanly towards everyone. Other then the obvious reasons of course, to save his own neck, to get his cut of the wage that the animals would bring and just plan because he couldn’t help his temper, he had always been that way. But now there was an explanation for it, a good one and one that he could not share, not even to save him from death.

The rule of the game said that he could not tell, but now none of that mattered, he had finally plundered himself into his own grave and now there was nothing left to do but make his piece with whoever lay up there in the heavens....

Meanwhile at the edge of town three riders had begun to make there way down the main street, there three horses coats heavily soaked in sweat from there long ride. The three riders rode in a triangle form, the first man sat tall in the saddle his eyes glancing over the details of the town, clearly he was the a pointed leader of the three. The two other men rode behind him, side by side, the trios clothing nearly the same except in color. Each man wore a long duster, a faded shirt of there choice , a pair of denim pants or chaps, and under it all lay a tied down set of Colt .45's.

One of the three ridding a black and white pinto whispered to his leader in a low voice, his eyes weary an wide as they looked around in caution.

“Jericho....how the hell are we going to find Chet in all this mess?â€

The lead man ridding a drafty bay glanced over his shoulder at the man sitting on the pinto and spoke in the same low voice.

“I don’t know Zed, Ashtin said that he had survived his wounds.â€

The man sitting on Jericho’s other side ridding a Palomino Saddle bred chimed in with a sarcastic catch in his voice.

“An what if Ashtin was wrong? What if all we came here for is that ornery plow boys cold ass and that dumb red horse of his?†Skud the man on the Palomino said in disgust.

“Dead or alive...†Jericho began. “If Samson and his men get there hands on those remaining horses and the loot in Chet’s saddle bags, you can kiss this cosey little town’s ass goodbye.â€

A sign hanging over a well weathered building caught Jericho’s eye and he rode his bay up to the hitching rail and dismounted.

“Lets get us a drink and see what information we can get outta anyone in here. Chet’s got kin in this town, theres bound to be someone who knows where he is.â€

(Cue Garrett.)

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Wariness slowly slithers through Garrett's tired body as he slowly climbs down from his well groomed horse and slowly goes through the motions of tying him to the wooden beam in front of the saloon. "Whaddya think, pal?" Garrett tiredly breaks the silence that explodes within the small town. A small smile inches across Garrett's handsome face as his horse glances up at him from munching upon the weeds that rise above the sandy dirt road. Garrett gently rubs the horses soft velvety nose as he continues to talk, "OH you think, do ya? I know your ti-"

Garrett abruptly stops talking to his faithful horse while his hand remains upon the soft nose as the sound of hooves beating upon the dry dirt roads to pierce through the silence of the night. Remaining close by to his dark horse he watches three dark figures slowly come into view, one rides in the front while two follow behind. After a long moment one of the large dark figures in the back slowly begin to speak to the man in front, calling him Jericho. Though the figure whispers in attempt not to be heard, they remain close enough for Garrett to hear what is being said as well as make out a few features in the men's faces.

Fear crawls through Garrett's tired body that slowly grows numb while he silently listens to the men's conversation and of their reasons of being here. At hearing his cousin's name be spoken evilly from one of the men, chills creep up and down his body at the thought of his cousin lying deathly injured within the sheriff's station. Who else could want to harm him or how else could he be harmed without slipping into death? That is if he already hasn't.

Staring coldly at the three large men while standing silently still within the shadows, Garrett's mind quickly spins within him with the horrid information he has just over heard. Fighting for ideas that could help save his cousin from any more danger.

Fear for his cousin quickly turns to panic as the man in the lead gruffly answers his two partners in the back by suggesting to stop at the saloon to seek the next of kin and for some information. Garrett panickly searches his surroundings in order to find some way to escape, but comes up empty with any way to move without being noticed. Holding his breath, he slowly looks up to find the three men heading in his direction, only a few feet ahead of him.

(cue anyone)

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“I swear one of these days someone’s going to plant that man in Boot Hill--†Luke said as he tucked his hands in the back of his pants, a scowl on his face. Beside him walked his cousin, the blond man nodding in agreement, wiping a hand over his chin.

“Yeah he ain’t the easiest man to get along with but he owns most of this town and the people in it.â€

“Including our cousins.â€

The two men had just left the back of the saloon where Boss’ office was located, and after much a heated discussion between the three men, Min’s job remained secure with little or no retribution for her unexplained absence.

Bo and Luke headed around the side of the building when the sound of horses brought them to a stop. Luke stuck his arm out, stopping his cousin in mid stride and touched a finger to his lips telling him to be quiet. They pressed their backs to the nearest wall listening to the horses getting closer. Bo carefully peeked around the corner crouching down low; he watched the three men heading his way.

“Three men coming on Luke and they don’t look like the friendly type.â€

Luke slid along the wooden wall and took a fast look over his cousin’s head.

He saw the riders, their conversation easily heard the closer they rode.

“Yeah they look like trouble all right.â€

The mention of the horses and Chet Duke made the eldest cousin sigh and close his eyes briefly. “Big trouble.â€

Bo shook his head, his eyes widening a moment. He craned his neck getting a closer look at a figure he spotted near the saloon. He recognized the blond man and the horse he stood beside.

“Dang it Luke! There’s Garrett! If those cowboys want information they can get it from him!†He moved back, staring up at his cousin.

“We can’t let them use Garrett to get to Chet.â€

“I know--Chet's at Doc Applebee's place and that's the best place for him til he heals--†Luke looked from his cousin to the men and stepped back a moment extending his hand.

“Come on, I have an idea.â€

Garrett stood frozen in his spot, watching the three men come towards him like a rabbit with a coyote right on his tail. Finally, they noticed his curious gaze and Jericho arched an eyebrow, his stance suddenly an agitated one at the blond man who couldn’t seem to mind his own business.

“Get an earful did you stranger?†He moved his head slightly to either side, his partners understanding the barely seen gesture, they flanked both sides of the blond man.

Quick as a rattlesnake, Jericho withdrew his Colt, the barrel of it right up against the tip of Garrett’s nose.

“I said did you hear what me and my boys were saying?†He pulled back the hammer of his gun, his features darkening.

“Excuse me guys--†Another voice joined the party and Jericho whipped around, seeing a tall lanky man come strolling up. He whistled casually like he didn’t have a care in the world.

“This ain’t your business man; this is between me, my boys and this eavesdropping skunk.â€

Bo saw the predicament his kin had gotten himself into and his jovial expression faded.

“It is my business seeing how you want information about Chet Duke.â€

The mention of the name made Jericho raise his head. He glanced back a moment at Garrett and moved the gun away from his nose.

“Seems this is your lucky day--†He stepped back motioning towards the saloon with his chin. Zed and Skud gave a nod and shoved Garrett through the set of swinging double doors, knocking him flat on his back.

Jericho uncocked his gun lowering his arm to his side as he once more focused his attention on Bo.

“I guess there’s more than one varmit in this town with big ears. Yeah we’re looking for Chet, what do you know about him?â€

Bo didn’t the relief show on his face as Garrett escaped the scene for the most part unscathed. He watched his brother slowly get up and dust himself off then casually glanced back at Jericho to answer his question.

“Plenty--†Bo looked around cautiously. “But not here…as you said plenty of folks close by that got big ears--†He tipped his head to one side towards the corner of the building then led the way, Jericho and his men following behind.

The four men walked out of sight and suddenly the sounds of ruckus drifted through the air along with a few muted gasps of pain and fists impacting with flesh. The racket finally died down; the thudding of three bodies hitting dirt the last sound to be heard. From around the side of the saloon came Bo and Luke, the two men laughing and shaking hands.

“Think they got what they came for Luke?†Bo asked as he grinned adjusting his hat. Luke laughed at that shaking his head.

“Not exactly cousin but we welcomed them to Hazzard just the same. We best find some rope so we can take these three to Rosco and MaryAnne.â€

“Sure thing Luke I’ll go grab some right now--†Bo looked around for some handy rope and jogged off in the direction of the livery. He slipped into the barn and came out with a thin coil then touched the knife sheath on his belt and began to cut the rope into sections. Handing some strips to Luke, Bo slipped his knife back in its holder.

“Come on, we best get these guys to the jail before they wake up.â€

“Shouldn’t be anytime soon with the way we clobbered them.â€

Moments later, Bo and Luke walked the three stunned men towards the jail cell; each man’s hands were bound with rope.

“I sure hope ol’ Rosco has room for these guys--†Bo said as he gave Jericho a shove, the tied leader glanced over his shoulder at his captor, his eyes narrowing.

“We’ve been in that jail a time or two ourselves Bo, you know he does--†Luke had his pistol pulled, keeping the three men covered every step of the way towards the Sheriff’s office.

(Cue MaryAnne or anyone!)

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The long night was turing into a long morning. Once MaryAnne reached the sherrif's station with Alex, the blond stranger was placed in a cell. MaryAnne's arrival, complete with stolen horses and a prisoner surprised the weary Sheriff.

"How do you do that?" he asked.

"Do what?"

"Just stumble on stuff!"

"I'm a Coltrane. I do it the same way you stumble on stuff." MaryAnne dropped her saddle bags on her desk, kicking up a fine cloud of dust.

"I see Cletus didn't bother to clean up around here like I asked him to while I was gone."

"You really trust Cletus with a feather duster?"

MaryAnne looked at her cousin. "And you trust him with a gun?!"

"Good point." Rosco looked at Alex in the cell. "So who's this dude?"

"Alex Jackson," MaryAnne replied. "I stumbled on him on my way back to town. He's a friend of Brian's. Told me everything that happened." MaryAnne looked to her cousin. "Any idea where Brian is?"

Rosco shook his head. "No," he replied with a weary sigh. "All I know is those damn stolen horses you brought in with him--" he pointed at Alex "--are pretty much the cause of all this mess!" Rosco slammed his hand down on his desk and stood up. "We ain't had this much shootin' and horse theivein' in this town since the war." He glared at Alex in the cell. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't just haul you out to the gallows right now and hang ya for all my troubles!"

Suddenly, the doors to the Sherrif's office opened and in came Bo and Luke with three salty looking dudes. The threesome had their hands bound and tied.

MaryAnne looked at them and then turned back to Rosco. "Because Alex ain't your guilty party."

(CUE ANYBODY!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Alex closed his eyes briefly then gave a nod to the lady Deputy as he gripped the bars to his cell.

"I appreciate that Deputy." He watched a blond and brunette bring three guys in and looked at them curiously.

Rosco sighed and rubbed a tired hand over his chin. "Well if he ain't the guilty party when who is?"

"Chet Duke, at least he was--" Alex answered and Bo and Luke looked at one another.

"These boys were looking for Chet, that's why Luke and me nabbed them."

"It's a good thing you boys did, last thing we need right now is more trouble." Rosco then heard what Alex had said and shook his head.

"Chet Duke is alive still and are you sure he stole those horses?"

Alex's eyes widened at what the Sheriff said. "He's alive?"

A brief scowl of disappointment showed on his face. "Then Chet is who you want Sheriff; he confessed to Brian and me in the saloon before the shootout happened."

"I don't even know where Brian is." Rosco whispered, the worry for his kin touching his blue eyes. He glanced at MaryAnne seeing the same concern for Brian on her face.

Luke creased his brow at this and cleared his throat. "Uh Rosco... we know where Brian is."


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(Sorry for stepping on you MA but I got a great lil' sorry I'd like to tell you about this whole ordeal sometimes when your not busy. :wink: )

Meanwhile at the other end of town, the same end that Jericho and his men had ridden into only a short time ago, three more riders trudged in on fresh mounts. The three men darkly dressed an ridding healthy, lean looking horses.

The trio, made up of three rough, trail weary looking mean, the first a light brown haired fellow dressed in light brown buckskins from head to toe, his mount a stocky chocolate brown stallion. The second man ridding directly to the right man on the chocolate colored horse rode astride a thinly built Palomino, the tall dark rider dress in a thigh length coat, dark pants and sporting a mustache. An third an last rider rode to the rear of the other two, a short man ridding a grey mare and sporting a mustache as well, dressed solemnly in a maroon colored shirt, his chest crisscrossed in gun belts an loaded heavily with shells.

“Whats the plan Lowell, Jericho and the other a hold up in the jail with the Sheriff, his deputy and those two farm boys.†The man ridding the Palomino spoke low near a whisper jogging his horse up beside the brown horse, the man ridding the grey did the same eager to hear his comrades plan of action.

“Well....†The buckskin dressed outlaw gazed around. “Were gonna have to be quick about this, we have enough fire power between my shot gun an four .45's, your two .38s’s Scott and Rick’s......specialties....we have more then enough to go into the jail an turn the tables on them. Then we make a break for it, Scott you go down to the liver right after we get out of the Sheriff’s station, saddle Red and bring him to the back of the Doctors place, we’ll meet you there with Chet.†Lowell looked at his two men.

“Alright, I your lucky that ornery cuss of horse flesh knows me.†Scott the taller guy on the Palomino replied with a nod.

Rick, the heavily armed man on the grey gave a toothy smile and proceeded to load his shot gun, the three rode up to the hitching post, dismounted and tied there mounts. They walked lengthily up to the doors of the Sheriff’s station, drew as many guns as they could handle and Lowell in the lead gave the door a swift kicked sending it open with brute force.


All guns pointed there attention on the sheriff, his deputy, an the two fellas holding Jericho and his boys.

“Let them fellas go, real slow like.†Rick said to Bo an Luke, his double barrel shot gun pointed at the blonde haired Duke boys head.

Bo and Luke raised there hands high and stepped away from the three men that they had bound and tied.

“Its about damned time Lowell!†Jericho said stepping over his buckskin dressed comrade.

Lowell quickly cut the three loose and returned there guns to them, snatching Bo and Luke’s guns from there holsters in the process. The two others, Rick and Scott releaved the sheriff and his pretty female deputy from there guns as well.

“Alright Sheriff hand over the keys to that cell.....an you!†Lowell pointed his .45 at Alex and stepped towards him. “Back up to that wall.†He barked angrily at the blonde slick.

Hesitantly Rosco picked the keys up off his desk an tossed them to the six outlaws, Lowell went over to the cell an opened it. One by one the Sheriff, his deputy and the two Duke boys, Bo and Luke were carefully shuffled into the jail cell with Alex. When all were securely inside the door was slammed shut and locked, Lowell pocketed the keys and turned away.

“Go do what I told you Scott.....we’ll get our hell-boy and meet ya were I told ya.â€With that the six outlaws filed out.

Jericho turned to the cell full of people for a moment and tipped his hat at the Sheriff. “Happy Trails Sheriff.†An he smiled.

(Cue Anyone.)

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Alex watched the men file out, he crouched down and worked the bottom of his jean cuff up, slipping out Chet's hunting knife. He then turned to the gang in the cell, his face holding an angry expression.

Working quickly, he stuck the point of the blade under the bolts that held the jail cell door closed. Striking the hilt with the palm of his hand he worked out first the top bolt, then crouched down and had just pulled the bottom bolt out when Daney came bursting in and hit Jericho in the back knocking the outlaw on his back. She tried to get his weapon but hadn't gotten it just yet.

"Stand back--" He said to the others in the cell, when they spread along the wall he himself took a step back and gave a strong side kick, the door swinging open in the opposite direction.

His dark eyes narrowed, he stormed out of the cell and grabbed Jericho, he plucked the gun from his holster pointing it at his head. Alex then turned and watched the others file out of the cell. He then gave Jericho a shove towards Bo and Luke, then handed the gun to Rosco.

"That's one down... looks like we best get the others before they get to Chet."

(Cue MaryAnne, Rosco, ANYBODY!!)

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