Stories: Alias Smith and Jones

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  May 2010

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Post May 2010


Heyes and the Kid are near Virginia City when they come across a hurt Little Joe. Will Ben Cartwright turn them in?

Two drifters rode into Virginia City and inconspicuously scanned the businesses and people on Main Street.

“Thaddeus, you know a Sheriff Roy Coffee?” asked the stranger with the black hat.

The other grinned. “Nope. Livery or a drink, Joshua?”

“I hate to say it, but I’m very thirsty. Let’s head for the saloon first.”

The two former outlaws rode up to the nearest saloon and dismounted. They tied their horses to the hitching post and stepped up onto the boardwalk.

“Bucket of Blood saloon?” Heyes glanced sideways at his partner.

Curry shrugged and the two pushed open the batwing doors.

The saloon’s interior was dim and cooler than the arid high desert outside. They walked to the dark-wood bar and ordered cold beers.

Enjoying their drinks, they looked around the room. Poker was being played at several tables and faro at another.

“Maybe we can stay a day or two,” the Kid smiled at the young blonde saloon girl at the other end of the counter.

Heyes swallowed his beer. “Or we could leave in the morning and be at Silky’s in a few days.”

“Yeah, guess you’re right. Cooler by the ocean.”

“Better poker, too.” Heyes grinned.

Curry drank the rest of his beer and put the glass on the bar. “How about takin’ the horses to the livery, gettin’ a room and comin’ back here after a meal?”

Heyes finished his drink. “Sounds good.”

Walking out, they bumped into a man coming in. The Kid tipped his hat. “Excuse us.”

The man nodded and made eye contact. “No problem. Just making my rounds. Have a nice day.”

Deputy Foster walked up to the bar, deep in thought.

The bartender came over to him. “Clem, what’s the matter?”

“Those two men who just left, seen them before?” the deputy inquired.

“Nope.” The saloon owner shook his head. “Just came in and had a beer. Sounds like they’re staying and coming back later to play poker.”

Foster scratched his head. “Think I’ve seen them before…”

As they walked their horses to the livery, Heyes slowed down. Curry paused to let his partner catch up. “Kid, that guy look familiar to you?”

“What guy? The deputy?”

Heyes looked puzzled. “Deputy?”

“Yeah, he had a badge on…”

“I’m getting that feeling again. The one that says sticking around might not be such a good idea.” Heyes stopped walking.

They turned around and saw the deputy hurrying from the saloon to the sheriff’s office.

The Kid mounted his horse. “Yeah…think it’s time to go now.”

Heyes joined his partner. “Let’s just take it nice ‘n easy. Maybe he doesn’t know us.”

As they rode out of town, the lawmen come out of their office. The sheriff shouted, “Hey, you two. I wanna talk to you!”

“Or maybe he does!” The Kid kicked his horse into a gallop, with Heyes close behind him.

An older gentleman with a vest and gray pants walked over to the Sheriff. “What’s that all about, Roy?”

“Can’t talk now, Ben. Clem thinks those men are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. And the way they just left town, he may be right. Clem, go get a few men together!”

Ben shook his head as he walked over to the mercantile. “Heyes and Curry in this area?”

Heyes and Curry galloped several miles and then continued at a fast lope westward on the rocky terrain. As they climbed, the sagebrush gave way to Ponderosa pines. When they saw a blue glimmer ahead, they slowed down.

“Think we lost ‘em?” Curry looked back.

“Not even sure if they’re following us, but can’t be too careful.” Heyes scanned the area for a less traveled path. “Looks like a lake in front of us. Let’s head north to go around it.”

Curry nodded as they slowed the horses to a walk and turned to the right. They cautiously wound around the large rock formations, descending in elevation until they could see the large lake in front of them.

“Sheesh is that one big lake. And so blue.” The Kid took off his hat and ran a hand through the blond curls.

“Yeah,” Heyes agreed as he pushed his hat back. “Sure is beautiful around here. I’m guessing that’s Lake Tahoe. Borders Nevada and California.”

“Gonna take a while to get around it,” Curry commented as they continued down the path.

As they followed the trail between two rocks, the Kid stopped and stood up in the stirrups. Heyes turned and looked in the same direction. “What is it?”

“A horse…no rider.” Curry sat down and checked his gun before reining in that direction.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“Check out that horse.”


“Because something ain’t right. Maybe someone needs help.”

“Maybe they’re fine. Just doing something.”

“No, Heyes, something’s wrong.”

“And you gotta see what it is. You do realize there might be a posse still after us, don’t you? Not to mention it might be a trap.”

The Kid gave his partner a look and trotted in the direction of a black and white pinto. Heyes sighed and followed.

As he neared the horse, Curry slowly dismounted and gradually walked to the wary pinto. “It’s okay. Where’s your rider?” he softly spoke as he reached out to pet its nose.

The stallion nodded a few times and allowed the man to touch him. Curry noted the expensive saddle and saddlebags.

“Ain’t he handsome, Heyes?” the Kid asked as he continued to rub the horse’s neck.

Heyes shook his head in frustration. “Come on! We don’t have time.”

“We gotta find the owner—make sure he’s alright.”


“Heyes, there ain’t nothing around here. What if he’s hurt? Gotta be nearby. Nobody would just leave a horse like this.” Curry walked around the area looking for any signs of the rider. He saw hoof prints by a rock. He walked over and noticed a drop of about six feet leading to a small dry creek bed. At the bottom lay a dark-haired, young man wearing tan pants and a green corduroy jacket.

“Heyes!” the Kid shouted as he scrambled down the embankment.

Quickly dismounting, Heyes hurried over and looked down. “Is he still alive?”

“Yeah, he’s still breathing, but he’s unconscious. Has a gash on his head.”

Heyes grabbed his canteen and joined his partner. Using a bandana, they covered the wound and looked for more injuries.

“Don’t appear to be shot. I think something’s wrong with his right arm,” Heyes said as he deftly checked the body.

“Horse must’ve spooked and thrown him.” The Kid surmised as he removed a gun from the man’s left hand and holstered it. “Let’s get him up by the horses.”

Heyes and Curry carried him up the embankment. A groan came from the jostled man as they set him down on the ground. His face grimaced in pain as he tried to move.

“Hey there…just lay back. Take it easy,” the Kid said as he put his hand on the injured man’s shoulder.


Heyes gently lifted the man’s head and help him drink with the canteen. “Where are you hurting?”

“My head…arm…chest.”

“Yeah, well you have a good cut on your head. Might have a broken arm or rib, too. What’s your name?”

“Joe,” he winced in pain.

“Where you from, Joe?” Curry asked.

“Ranch…north here.”

Heyes rummaged through Joe’s saddlebag.

The Kid gave him a look. “What are you doin’?”

“Need a shirt to sling up that arm and wrap up his chest. I don’t wanna use one of my shirts; do you want me to use one of yours?”

“No, guess not. We ruin enough shirts.”

Heyes and Curry lifted the man’s clothing and bound up the ribs, then made a sling for his arm.


“What? Did you say Cochise, Joe?” Heyes looked around and then up at the Kid, who shrugged. Turning his attention back to the injured man, he asked, “Cochise?”


“Your pinto’s right here. He’s okay,” Curry assured the man. “You’re gonna hafta ride double with me.”

Heyes shook his head. “No, he’s riding with me. I’d feel better if you can reach for your gun.”

“Fine, let’s get him up on your horse.”

Heyes and Curry lifted the man onto the mare and the Kid steadied him while Heyes mounted the horse behind him.

“Knows way…”

“Who knows the way?” Heyes asked.


The pinto perked his ears at his owner’s voice.

“Guess he knows the way home.” Curry loosely tied the horse’s reins to the saddle horn and mounted his gelding. “Say it again, Joe.”

“Cochise…home,” came a whispered cry.

Cochise took a path heading north. Heyes and Curry shrugged and followed.

* * * * *

Ben Cartwright watched a hastily formed posse gallop out of Virginia City after the two famous outlaws. He picked up the few supplies he wanted from the mercantile and mounted his horse. “Let’s go home, Buck,” he said as he reined the animal towards the West.

A few hours later, he rode into his ranch, the Ponderosa. A man with a crimson shirt, black pants and vest greeted him.

“I’ll take care of Buck for you, Mr. Cartwright.”

“Thanks, Candy. I want to talk to the men. Round up the hired hands and I’ll get Hoss and Little Joe.”

“Little Joe isn’t here.”

“Where is he?”

“He left early this morning to track down that big cat south of here.”

Ben frowned. “Get the men out here in five minutes.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ben went into the house. “Hoss!”

“What is it, Pa?” A large man wearing a white shirt and brown pants and vest came out of an office area.

“Need to talk to you and the men outside.”

“Sure thing.”

Moments later, Ben addressed his son and hired men. “I want you to be on the look out for two possible outlaws headed this way. Saw them leave Virginia City in a hurry when the Sheriff asked to talk to them.”

“Who are they, boss?”

“Sheriff thinks they might be Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry.”

The ranch hands muttered amongst themselves. They had all heard of those two notorious outlaws.

“Now I know they’re wanted dead or alive, but Sheriff Coffee isn’t 100% sure it’s them. If you see a dark-haired man riding a chestnut and a blond riding a dark gelding, bring them here so we can take them in for questioning.”

“What about the reward?”

Ben paused for a moment. “If there is reward money coming, we’ll share it with everyone. Now get back to work.”

“You heard him…back to work,” Candy moved the men along.

“Candy, I want to talk to you.”

Candy walked up to Ben and Hoss. “What is it?”

“Little Joe…I’m concerned about him being out there if there are outlaws in the area.”

“We’ll go get him, Pa,” Hoss spoke up. “Won’t we, Candy.”

“I’ll get the horses saddled now.”

Candy and Hoss were about to ride out of the ranch a few minutes later when a rider-less Cochise led two other horses into the yard.

“Howdy…” a blond began to say.

Ben looked stunned. “That’s them! Those are the outlaws!”

Candy and Hoss drew their guns on the men. Curry slowly raised his arms and didn’t have to look at Heyes to know he was scowling at him.

“Little Joe? What did you do to him?” Ben ran to Heyes’ horse.

“Sir, if we had done something to him, would we have brought him home?” Heyes tried to reason with the man. “I’m not sure who you think we are, but I’m Joshua Smith and that is my partner, Thaddeus Jones. We found Joe unconscious in a creek bed. He came to for awhile, but the pain from riding put him out again.”

Ben gently pulled Little Joe towards him and lifted him off the horse. “Lock these two in the small shed until I can talk to them,” Ben ordered as he carried his son into the house. “Then get the doctor.”

Hoss looked puzzled as he watched his father carry his brother into the house.

“Hoss, get their weapons,” Candy said as he kept his gun pointed at them. “And you…get your hands up, too.”

Heyes complied and Hoss removed their guns.

“Now get down nice and easy.”

Curry and Heyes slowly got off their horses and walked in front of the ranch foreman.

“This way.” Candy pointed with his gun towards a small outbuilding between the house and barn.

The two men walked to the building and went inside when encouraged. The door was shut and locked.

“Next time…” Heyes glared at his partner.

“Shut up, Joshua.” Curry sat on the floor and leaned his head back against the wall.

Candy left to get the doctor while Hoss went into the house. He found his father nursing Little Joe.

“He okay, Pa?”

“I hope so. Looks like he injured his head, ribs, and right arm.”

“Those two men bandaged him up and brought him home. We might not have found him in time. Do they really need to be locked up in the shed?”

Ben continued to care for his son. “Yes. If they are Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, they need to be turned in. Sheriff Coffee wants to talk to them.”

“But Pa, why would they risk bringing Little Joe back here if they’re wanted?”

“I’m not sure, Hoss. I’ll talk to them in awhile after the doctor sees Little Joe.”

“But that’s gonna take some time.”

“See to it that they are fed and have something to drink. They are guests, even if they are wanted by the law.”

Hoss had Hop Sing make sandwiches. He took the food and two canteens of water to the shed and placed them by the door. Unlocking the door, he took out his gun before opening it. The men inside squinted from the bright light poured into the dim shack.

“Thought you might be hungry and thirsty. Go on…take ‘em.”

Heyes reached out and took the food and canteens, handing them to Curry. “Much obliged. Can you tell me how long we’re gonna be in here and why?”

“Pa saw you in Virginia City. Says Sheriff Coffee thinks you’re Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry. He’s gonna take you back there so the sheriff can talk to you. And you’re staying until the doctor sees Little Joe.”

Heyes let out a frustrated sigh. “But that could be hours. Like I said before—I’m Joshua Smith and this is my partner, Thaddeus Jones.” Curry waved with a sandwich in his hand. “Would Heyes and whatshisname stop to help someone and bring him home?”

“That’s what I told Pa, but, dadbumit, he’s set on taking you back to Virginia City.” Hoss paused. “Anything else I can get you fellas? I’m grateful you brought back Little Joe.”

“No, just need to be on our way. We have a wedding in San Francisco. Thaddeus is marrying some pretty gal from there and I’m his best man.”

“Gosh, sorry about holding you up, Thaddeus. I’ll go talk to Pa, again.”

Curry smiled. “I’d appreciate it. Tell me, why Little Joe?”

Hoss grinned. “Pa was friends with Big Joe and Marie. When Big Joe died, Pa married Marie and had Joseph. Call him Little Joe in honor of Pa’s friend.” Backing up to the door, he continued, “Sorry, but I’m gonna have to lock the door again. If you need anything, just holler.”

Hoss sighed as he holstered his gun and returned to the house.

The Kid rolled his eyes. “Why me? Why am I always the one gettin’ married?”

Heyes couldn’t help the grin that tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Come on, Kid. Do I look like the kind of guy who’d be getting married?”

The Kid stared at him, unable to come up with a suitable response.

Meanwhile, Hoss went back upstairs to his brother’s room. Little Joe was awake and leaning back on pillows. His father’s relief was evident as he turned to Hoss with a smile. “So you decided to wake up, huh? How are you feeling?”

“Like I got thrown from a horse.”

Ben put a hand on the uninjured arm. “Doctor’ll be here soon.”

“Pa, can I talk to you...outside?” Hoss asked from the hallway.

Looking puzzled, Ben replied, “Sure. I’ll be back in a few minutes, Little Joe.”

Ben closed the bedroom door. “What is it?”

“About those two men…”

“Get them ready and I’ll have Candy take them into Virginia City.”

“Dadburnit, Pa! They saved Little Joe’s life! Do you really believe outlaws would’ve done that? I’m thinking outlaws would’ve left the area with Cochise without trying to find the owner. These fellars are really polite and friendly-like. We owe ‘em, Pa…you owe ‘em!”

Ben raked his fingers through his hair. “But what if they are…”

“And what if they’re not. That blond fella says he’s getting married in San Francisco.”

“Okay, saddle up their horses. I’ll be right down.”

Ten minutes later, the horses were saddled and Ben unlocked the door to the shed. Heyes and Curry looked up in anticipation.

“Come on out of there. Your guns are on the ground by the horses. I should be taking you into town so the sheriff can question you about being Heyes and Curry, but I owe you a favor for finding and bringing back my son.”

“Mister Cart…” Heyes began to speak, but Ben put his arm up to stop him.

“Since I shouldn’t be letting you go, I’m going to turn my back. When I turn around, you better be gone or you will be visiting Sheriff Coffee. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Heyes and the Kid said in unison.

Ben Cartwright turned his back. Heyes and Curry hurried to their horses, retrieved their guns and mounted. They galloped away.

Hoss stood by the corral grinning. “That’s a good thing you did, Pa.”

“Well, you were right. I did owe them for bringing Joseph back to us.” Ben put an arm around his older son and together they went back into the house.

* * * * *

Heyes and Curry wasted no time riding along the north shore of Lake Tahoe. When they reached a river, they followed it into the town of Truckee. It was near the edge of town before either of them spoke.


“Heyes, save your breath. I know what you’re gonna say. I shouldn’t have…”

“That isn’t what I was gonna say.” Heyes glanced sideways at his partner. “You were right to check it out. A young man could’ve died.”

“Yeah, but we’re lucky Ben Cartwright let us go. We could be sittin’ in a jail cell in Virginia City.

Heyes nodded. “Since we’re not, I think we should celebrate with a drink before we head down the mountain.”

“Sounds like a good idea. I’ll even buy!”
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