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The Boy Ranchers on the Trail Or, The Diamond X After Cattle Rustlers   By:

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THE BOY RANCHERS ON THE TRAIL

OR

The Diamond X After Cattle Rustlers

By WILLARD F. BAKER

CONTENTS

I THE ROUND UP

II A CURIOUS INSTRUMENT

III STARTLING NEWS

IV THE SCRATCHED SAFE

V THE BROKEN BOTTLE

VI MISSING STEERS

VII FOUR EYES

VIII THROWING THE ROPE

IX THE FIRE

X SERIOUS QUESTIONS

XI THE WATCH TOWER

XII IN SPITE OF ALL

XIII THE SIGNAL

XIV FOUR EYES NO EYES

XV A BIG RAID

XVI ON THE TRAIL

XVII WILD COUNTRY

XVIII THE BOILING SPRING

XIX IN A MAZE

XX A SURPRISE

XXI IN PURSUIT

XXII BUD'S DISCOVERY

XXIII THE FIGHT

XXIV A DESPERATE CHANCE

XXV LIEUTENANT WAYNE

THE BOY RANCHERS ON THE TRAIL

CHAPTER I

THE ROUND UP

"Come on, Nort! It's your turn to cut out the next one!"

"S'pose I make a mux of it, Bud!"

"Shucks! You won't do that! You've roped a calf before!"

"Yes, but not at a big round up like this. If I make a fizzle the fellows will give me the laugh!"

"What if they do? Everybody knows you haven't been at it long, and you've got to make a start. Besides, anybody's likely to make a mistake. That's why they put rubbers on the ends of pencils. Ride in now and snake out the next one, Nort!"

"All right, Bud! Here goes!"

Blaze, the pony Nort Shannon was riding toward the bunch of cattle gathered at Diamond X ranch for the big, spring round up, leaped forward at the sound of his master's voice, and in response to the little jerk of the reins and the clap of heels against his sides. Into the herd of milling, turning and twisting cattle the intelligent animal made his way, needing hardly any guidance from Nort. The lad, by a mere touch, corrected the course of Blaze slightly, and in a moment he was heading for a calf which bawled loudly.

"Get him, Nort!" cried a voice from among the cowboys looking on.

"Don't get me fussed, Dick!" Nort shouted back to his brother, who sat astride his pony near Bud Merkle. "It'll be your turn next!"

Into the herd he wormed his way on Blaze, dodging here and there, but with his eyes ever on the calf he hoped to cut out so it could be branded. Nort leaned forward in his saddle, and then his cousin and brother, eagerly watching from outside the herd, saw the boy rancher's hand shoot up.

Through the air the rope went, turning, twisting, writhing and uncoiling like a snake. In an instant it had flipped around the hind legs of a calf.

"Good!" yelled Dick.

"Even Babe couldn't 'a' done better!" complimented Bud, enthusiastically.

"'Tisn't over yet!" gasped Nort, for he had hard work ahead of him, and the dust raised by thousands of hoofs was choking. "Wait 'till I get it to the branding corral!"

He leaned over in his other stirrup, causing the lariat to pull taut and, the next instant the calf flopped on its side.

"Snake him out, Blaze!" cried Nort to his pony, and the animal turned and dragged the prostrate calf along over the ground, an operation not as cruel as it sounds as the surface was inches thick in soft dust, like flour.

"That's the boy, Nort!" called his cousin Bud. "I knew you could do it! Now then, Dick! Let's see how you'll make out!"

"I can't throw a rope as good as Nort," answered the stouter lad, as he urged his pony, Blackie, into the herd. "But here goes!"

Meanwhile Nort had dragged the calf he had cut out to the corral where the branding was going on. Two cowboys, stationed there for the purpose, leaped forward and threw the calf over on its side, for it had managed to struggle to its feet when Nort ceased dragging it. One man twisted a front leg of the struggling creature back in a hammerlock and knelt on its neck. The other took hold of the upper hind leg, and with this hold prevented the calf from sprawling along on the ground.

"Sit on him!" called Mr. Merkel, owner of Diamond X and other ranches. He was superintending the round up of his herds and those entrusted to Bud, Nort and Dick in the first business venture of the boy ranchers... Continue reading book >>




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