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- The Pony Rider Boys in New Mexico - 1/37 -


The Pony Rider Boys in New Mexico

or

The End of the Silver Trail

by Frank Gee Patchin, 1910 _________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER I

SOMETHING IN THE WIND

"What was that?"

"Only one of the boys in the seat behind us, snoring."

"Sure they're asleep?"

"Yes, but what if they're not? They are only kids. They wouldn't understand."

"Don't you be too sure about that. I've heard about those kids. Heard about 'em over in Nevada. There's four of them. They call themselves the Pony Rider Boys; and they're no tenderfeet, if all I hear is true. They have done some pretty lively stunts."

"Yes, that's all right, Bob, but we ain't going to begin by getting cold feet over a bunch of kids out for a holiday."

"Where they going?"

"Don't know. Presume they'll be taking a trip over the plains or heading for the mountains. They've got a stock car up ahead jammed full of stock and equipment."

"Scarecrows?"

"No. Good stock. Some of the slickest ponies you ever set eyes on. There's one roan there that I wouldn't mind owning. Maybe we can make a trade," and the speaker chuckled softly to himself.

A snore louder than those that had preceded it, caused the two men to laugh heartily.

The snore had come from Stacy Brown. Both he and Tad Butler were resting from their long journey on the Atlantic and Pacific train. Further to the rear of the car, their companions, Ned Rector and Walter Perkins, also were curled up in a double seat, with Professor Zepplin sitting very straight as if sleep were furthest from his thoughts. They were nearing their destination now, and within the hour would be unloading their stock and equipment at Bluewater.

"They're asleep all right," grinned one of the two men who occupied the seat just ahead of Stacy and Tad. "Is old man Marquand going to meet us at the station?"

"Oh, no. That wouldn't be a good thing. Might attract too much attention. Told him not to. We'll get a couple of ponies at Bluewater and ride across the mountains. But we've got to be slick. The old man is no fool. He'll hang on to the location of the treasure till the last old cat's gone to sleep for good."

"Any idea where the place is?"

"No. Except that it's somewhere south of the Zuni range."

A solitary eye in the seat behind, opened cautiously. The eye belonged to Stacy Brown. The last snore had awakened him, and he had lain with closed eyes listening to the conversation of the two men.

He gave Tad a gentle nudge, which was returned with a soft pressure on Stacy's right arm as a warning that he was to remain quiet.

"Do you know what the treasure consists of?"

"Maybe a mine, but as near as I could draw from Marquand's talk it is jewels and Spanish money which one of the old Franciscan monks had buried. The Pueblos knew where it was, but they sealed the place up after the Pueblo revolution in 1680, and it's been corked tight ever since."

"How'd Marquand get wise to it?"

"From an old Pueblo Chief whose life he saved a few months ago. The old chief died a little while afterwards, but before he went, he told Marquand about the treasure."

"Didn't suppose a redskin had so much gratitude under his tough skin. Does the old man know where the place is?"

"No, not exactly. That's where we come in," grinned the speaker. "We are going to help him find it."

"And then?"

"Oh, well. There's lots of ways to get rid of him."

"You mean?"

"He might tumble off into a canyon, or something of the sort, in the night time. Here's the place."

The train was rounding a bend into the little town of Bluewater.

"Sit still," whispered Tad. "I want to get a look at those fellows so I'll know them next time I see them."

The Pony Rider boy left his seat, and hurrying to the forward end of the car, helped himself to a drink of water from the tank; then slowly retraced his steps.

As he walked down the car, he took in the two men in one swift, comprehensive glance, then swung his hands to his companions at the other end of the car, as a signal that they were arriving at their destination.

"Know 'em?" whispered Stacy as Tad began pulling his baggage from the rack.

"Never saw either before. Better get your stuff together. This train is fast only when it stops. It drags along over the country, but when it gets into a station it's always in a hurry to get away," laughed Tad.

A few minutes later the party of bronzed young men sprang from the car to the station platform, where they instantly became the center of a throng of curious villagers.

Readers of the preceding volumes of this series are already too well acquainted with the Pony Rider Boys to need a formal introduction. As told in "THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ROCKIES," the lads had set out from their homes in Missouri for a summer's vacation in the saddle. That first volume detailed how the lads penetrated the fastnesses of the Rockies, hunted big game and how they finally discovered the Lost Claim, which they won after fighting a battle with the mountaineers, thus earning for themselves quite a fortune.

In "THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN TEXAS," the boys were again seen to advantage. There they joined in a cattle drive across the state as cowboys. They played an exciting part in the rough life of the cowmen, meeting with many stirring adventures. It will be remembered how, in this story, Tad Butler saved a large part of the herd, besides performing numerous heroic deeds, including the saving of the life of a member of the party from a swollen river. At the end of their journey, they solved a deep mystery-- a mystery that had perplexed and worried the cattle men, besides causing them heavy financial loss.

In "THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN MONTANA," the scene shifted to the old Custer Trail, the battle ground of one of the most tragic events in American history. The story described how Tad Butler overheard a plot to stampede and kill a flock of many thousand sheep; how after experiencing many hardships, he finally carried the news to the owner of the herd; then later, participated in the battle between the cowmen and sheep herders, in which the latter emerged victorious.

It will be recalled too, how the Pony Rider Boy was captured by the Blackfeet Indians and taken to their mountain retreat, where with a young companion he was held until they made their escape with the assistance of an Indian maiden; how they were pursued by the savages, the bullets from whose rifles singing over the heads of the lads as they headed for a river into which they plunged, thus effectually throwing off the savage pursuers; and finally, how in time they made their way back to the camp of the Pony Riders, having solved the mystery of the old Custer Trail.

After these exciting adventures, the lads concluded to cut short their Montana trip and go on to the next stage of their journeyings, which was destined to be even more stirring than any that had preceded it. How Tad Butler and Stacy Brown proved themselves to be real heroes, was told in "THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE OZARKS."

For a long time, an organized band of thieves had been stealing stock in the Ozark range, baffling all efforts to apprehend them. The boys had been warned to guard their own stock carefully, but despite this, their ponies were stolen from camp, one by one and in a most mysterious manner, until not an animal was left. Then, one by one, the Pony Rider Boys became lost until only Tad and Stacy remained. They were facing starvation, and it will be recalled how Tad Butler made a plucky trip to the nearest mining camp for assistance. There the boys were imprisoned underground by a mine explosion; escaping from which, they met with perils every bit as grave, and from which they were eventually rescued by Stacy himself.

Through the disaster, the lads solved the Secret of the Ruby Mountain, thus putting an end for good to the wholesale thieving in the Ozark range.

Though the Pony Rider Boys had suffered many hardships in their journeyings, those that lay before them were destined to try them even more. In "THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ALKALI," they faced the perils of the baking alkali desert. It will be recalled how they fought desperately for water when all the usual sources of supply were found to have run dry; how Tad and Stacy Brown were captured by a desert hermit and thrown into a cave; how, after their escape, they were lost in the Desert Maze, and how after many hardships, they finally succeeded in making their way to camp, dragging behind them a wild coyote that Tad had roped when the boys were beset by the wild beasts in the dead of night.


The Pony Rider Boys in New Mexico - 1/37

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