7 – TRIBE

Journey into the Old West for a look at life on the wild and untamed Frontier.

A time when the American buffalo and the American Indian were all but hunted into extinction.

As a nation, it was our darkest hour. But even in such dark times as these, there are still heroes to be found and hope to be had and wonders to behold. And even an occasional romance or two.

For even in this age, you will find there is always a Second Chance.


Dedication

Dedicated to . . .

The 500 Nations.

From the author …

This book is a little unique among the rest of the books in this serious. It is a standalone story and could conceivably be read out of the sequence from the others. Though I would recommend reading at least through Book 3: PROPHET and even better, Book 4: REVENANT. Best of course, would be to complete Book 6: AVALON. Nevertheless, it is an independent story; one that I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to tell.

I had mentioned in Book 2 that AWAKENING was my favorite story. Book 7: TRIBE, however, will be the book I am most proud of. It is an important story. It is a little more serious and a little more ‘adult’, a bit more action and a bit more emotional. It is an Indian story. And it is a tale of the law.

As an added bonus you will also learn some cool and fascinating new details and background information about some of your favorite characters.

The story of the encounter between European settlers and America’s native population does not make for pleasant reading. Among early accounts, perhaps the most famous is Helen Hunt Jackson’s “A Century of Dishonor” (1888), a depressing recitation of forced removals, killings, and callous disregard.

According to Ward Churchill, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, the reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a “vast genocide…, the most sustained on record.” “By the end of the 19th century”, writes David E. Stannard, a historian at the University of Hawaii, “native Americans had undergone the worst human holocaust the world had ever witnessed, roaring across two continents non-stop for four centuries and consuming the lives of countless tens of millions of people.” In the judgment of Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr., “there can be no more monumental example of sustained genocide – certainly none involving a ‘race’ of people as broad and complex as this – anywhere in the annals of human history.”

Book Seven: TRIBE is not going to be a depressing or ‘preachy’ read about the great and terrible injustices done to the original Americans. Rather, the intent is provide you, the reader, a sense of what is was like to actually live in those times, while still enjoying the ‘feel-good’ sense and wonder that I have tried to project throughout this series.

Nevertheless, this was our nation’s darkest hour; a time which, even to this day, tends to remain forgotten and swept under the rug in national denial. After all, none of us likes to admit to the awful atrocities our forefathers have committed – all in the name of “Manifest Destiny”.

But even in such dark times as where we will be going on in this venture, there are still heroes to be found and hope to be had and wonders to behold. And even an occasional romance or two.

For even in this age, you will find there is always a Second Chance.

*** *** ***

“So tractable, so peaceable are these people, that I swear to your Majesties there is not in the world a better nation. They love their neighbors as themselves, and their discourse is ever sweet and gentle, and accompanied with a smile; and though it is true that they are naked, yet their manners are decorous and praiseworthy.”

-Columbus to the King and Queen of Spain

 

Chapter 1

Inconsequential for preview . . .

~ Marshal Law ~

Chapter 2

June 15, 1868
Eastern Washington (State) Territory
Yakima River Valley

“Frannie? What do you see?”

“Why do you always ask me that, Jacob?”

“I don’t know. I guess … I think you can learn a lot about a person while you’re looking at clouds.”

On a clear and sunny summer’s day underneath the shade of a Ponderosa Pine, lay a young twelve-year-old boy and twelve-year-old girl on a grass prairie, lazily looking up at a deep blue sky with cotton candy clouds. The boy had sandy blonde hair with blue eyes; the girl had dark brown hair with brown eyes.

“But you ask me that every day, Jacob.”

“Well, we’re out of school for the summer. And we’re just laying here doing nothing. Besides, the clouds are different every day.”

“I suppose. Why? What do you see?”

“I see … a great sailing ship.”

“You said that yesterday! And the day before. And the day before.”

“So?”

“Do you really want to travel around the world, Jacob?”

“When I grow up, you better believe it! Someday … that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

“You’re really going to sail all the way around the whole wide world?”

“Yup. And I’m going to visit every country in the world, too. India … China … Africa … I want to see them all. What about you, Frannie? What do you see?”

“I see … a castle.”

“A castle? In the clouds?”

“Yup. That’s what I see.”

“You still want to visit England? And see the Queen?”

“I sure do! Queen Victoria; the longest reign of any female monarch in history.”

“I still don’t understand why you want to visit England.”

“Because I was born there!”

“I thought you were born on a ship.”

“Well, I was; but we were still in the English Channel, so … close, enough. We didn’t arrive here until a few months later.”

“And why were you born on a ship, anyway? Why didn’t they at least wait until you were born first, before leaving England?”

“I don’t know, Jacob. Why so many questions?”

“Were you running from someone?”

“What!?”

“I don’t know. Don’t get mad, Frannie. I was just curious, that’s all. It was just a question.”

“I’m not mad, Jacob. I just don’t understand why you always have to know so much about me.”

“Because you are a mystery, Frannie Miller. And I am determined to figure you out.”

“Jacob, I’m twelve years old and you’ve known me your whole life. How mysterious can I be?”

“I don’t know, Frannie; you’re awfully mysterious.”

“Why? Just because I like to shoot guns?”

“And that’s another thing. Girls aren’t supposed to shoot guns.”

“Why?”

“Guns are for men.”

“You’re not a man and you have a rifle. And you’re the same age as me.”

“I’m almost a man.”

“But you’re nowhere near as good a shot as me.” she teased.

“No, but I’m getting better. Someday, I might even get better than you.”

“Jacob Samuel! Don’t tell me you’re jealous!”

“I’m not jealous! I just … I don’t understand how you got to be so good, that’s all.”

“My dad is the town gunsmith, you know.”

“I know, but still … you’re a girl!”

“Is that why you think I’m mysterious?”

“Not just that … a lot of other things, too.”

“Like what other things?”

“I don’t know. You … you’re not like other girls.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I don’t know. You’re … different.”

“What kind of different?”

“I like you, Frannie.”

“I know. You’ve said that, before.”

“I’m going to marry you.”

“I know, Jacob; you always say that. But maybe I don’t want to marry you.”

“Oh, I’m going to marry you, all right, Frannie Miller. But first, I’m going to figure you out.”

“I don’t think I want to get married.”

“Why not?”

“It sounds … boring.”

“Boring?”

“I want adventure. I want to go places and see things. If I got married … I would just have to take care of babies all the time. I don’t want to do that.”

“You can travel around the world with me.”

“I don’t want to live on a boat, Jacob. I want adventure!”

“It’s a ship, not a boat. And you don’t think that seeing the world is adventure!?”

“Not on a boat, it’s not. Sorry … a ship. Anyway, that sounds boring.”

“How else will you get to England, if not on a ship? After all, that’s how you got here in the first place!”

“I don’t have to go to England right away, Jacob. First, I want adventure! Then … I’ll visit the Queen, later.”

“What kind of adventure?”

“America is a big place. I want to see all of it; from coast to coast.”

“See, Frannie? You sound just like me. I want to see the world … you want to see America. We should do it, together.”

“Can we see America, first?”

“Sure!”

“I don’t want to be married, though. Can’t we just be friends?”

“I guess so. Maybe until we see America. Then we’ll get married, and then see the world.”

“Okay, I guess that’s a good plan.”

“Really?”

“I guess so.”

“Shake hands on it?”

“Can I change my mind, later?”

“Nope. Once you shake hands, that’s it.”

“Oh.”

“So? Do we have a deal?”

“I don’t know…”

“I’ll even buy you a castle, Frannie. Your very own castle.”

“Really? You will buy me a castle!? A real one!?”

“I promise. A castle all your own. So Frannie? Do we have a deal or don’t we?”

“We don’t have to kiss or anything, do we?”

“I sure hope not!”

“Okay, deal. I’ll shake hands.”

“But first we have to spit on our hands. And we have to exchange something.”

“Jacob! Spit on our hands!?”

“It’s either that or a blood oath.”

“A … blood oath? You mean where we have to cut ourselves with a knife?”

“Yup. So which will it be? Blood or spit?”

“Uh … I think I’ll go with the spit.”

“Okay. What do you want to exchange?”

“Uh … I don’t know. Why does this have to be so complicated?”

Jacob reached over and pulled out a wildflower. “How about if I give you this flower, and you give me a lock of your hair?”

“It depends. How much is a lock?”

“Just a few strands.”

“Okay.” Then Frannie surprised Jacob when she pulled out a pocket knife from her pants pocket and sliced off several strands of her hair. “Is this enough?”

“Do you always carry a knife with you?”

“Sure, don’t you?”

“You are a mystery, Frannie Miller.”

“Can I have my flower, now?”

“Sure, here ya go. Now. Are you ready for the handshake?”

“Ready.”

SPIT.

“Now we shake hands.”

“This is really disgusting, Jacob.”

“A promise is a promise, Frannie. Now you have to marry me.”

“But we get to see America first, right?”

“Right.”

“And we don’t have to kiss?”

“Nope. Not unless you want to.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Me either.”

“Are you sure, Jacob?”

“Uh … I think so. What about you? Are you sure?”

“I think so.”

“Have you ever thought about it, Frannie?”

“Maybe.”

“Do you want to try it?”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. Just to see what it’s like?”

“Okay. Just to see what it’s like.”

Suddenly, they both heard shouting and yelling and screaming coming from the direction of their homes. Instantly they both leaped to their feet and ran a short distance to where they could view the settlement about two hundred yards away.

And they were in shock, as they saw a large warring band of dozens of Indians attacking the entire settlement. And in horror they watched as the Indians began killing the people of the settlement, including women and children, friends and family. They saw their schoolhouse burning and then their own homes burning and the screams of those from inside.

“Frannie, run!” Jacob shouted. “We’re under attack!”

“I can’t!” Frannie wailed. “Jacob, my family!”

“We can’t do anything! There’s too many! Hurry, Frannie! Run!” Jacob grabbed her hand and began pulling her along after him.

“But where do we go!?”

“Those are Nez Perce; they’re coming from the north. We go south. Quickly, before they see us!”

“But, Jacob!”

“Come on, Frannie! Let’s … OOOOMPH!”

Frannie screamed when Jacob was suddenly struck by an arrow.

“Frannie, keep running!” he shouted as he fell to one knee.

“NO, JACOB! NO!”

“KEEP RUNNING, FRANNIE!”

Frannie looked back and saw two Indians on horseback galloping straight towards them.

“I’M NOT LEAVING YOU, JACOB!”

Suddenly Jacob was struck with another arrow. And another. But somehow, Jacob managed to rise back up to his feet.

“Keep running, Frannie!” he gasped. “I’ll draw their attention! Keep running!”

“But Jacob…”

“NOW! GO!!! RUN!!!”

Then she saw Jacob struck by two more arrows, and once more he dropped to his knees. Gasping for breath, he managed one last “run…”, before he finally toppled over, just as the Indians reached his body.

And with tears streaming down her face, Frannie Miller turned and ran … and ran … and ran.

She didn’t stop running for a very … long … time.

Chapter 3

November 1882
14 years later
U.S. Marshals Regional Office
Denver, Colorado

“Marshal, he’s ready to see you, now.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

As U.S. Marshal F.M. Miller entered the office of the Director, she stopped in the doorway as a smirk broke across her face. Crossing her arms she looked at the Director and shook her head; for the Director was looking down at a deck of cards on his desk. “This? This is why you kept me waiting so long? You were playing … Solitaire?”

“Frances! Thanks for coming. Uh … yeah. I haven’t won a game in over a week. Driving me flipping nuts, too. Do you ever play Solitaire?”

Frances snorted.

“Right. I guess not.”

“What did you need to see me about, Emmett? It better be important. I was almost to New Mexico when I got your cable.”

“Don’t you just love the telegraph?”

Frances gave him the look.

“New Mexico, huh? Still tracking Robert Ford? Seems to me he did us a favor by killing Jesse James.”

“Doesn’t mean he’s above the law. I’ve got my orders and I intend to carry them out.”

“You always do, Frances. You always do. Listen, I have another assignment for you.”

“What about Ford?”

“Eh, I can send anyone after Ford; he’s nothing. But I really need you on this one. That’s why I wanted to talk to you in person.”

“Why?”

“We’re having some Indian problems down in south-eastern Texas.”

“So? We have Indian problems all over the Great Plains. Why do you need me in Texas?”

“They’re Nez Perce, Frances.”

Frances’ eyes widened in surprise. “Excuse me?”

“Apparently, a couple years back they tried to relocate them and mix them in with the Tonkawa on the Reservation near Corpus Christi. But…”

“Wait, back up a minute. You brought Nez Perce … all the way down from the Pacific Northwest … and dumped them in Texas?”

“Don’t look at me, that way, Frances; it wasn’t my idea.”

“Emmett, all they’ve ever known has been lakes, rivers, streams and nothing but green. And you brought them to … Texas?”

“Frances…”

“I don’t even want to know how you got them there.”

“I didn’t do it, Frances, remember?”

“Okay, and so now … lemme guess. They decided they wanted to go back home. I told you it won’t work, Emmett; you can’t keep moving them around like that. And you can’t mix them up with other tribes; each tribe is different and unique.”

“I know that. You know that. Nobody else seems to know that.”

“And so … now, you have a some ticked-off renegade Nez Perce who want to go home, but they aren’t leaving peacefully.”

“You think they want revenge?”

“OF COURSE they want revenge, Emmett! Can you blame them!?”

Emmett sighed. “I still don’t understand you, Frances. After what they did to your family? How can you always be taking their side?”

“I’m a U.S. Marshal; I don’t take anyone’s side, but the law.”

“Is this the part where you tell me that Indians have just as much right to the law as we do?”

“You better believe it.”

“You know you’re all but alone in that viewpoint, Frances.”

“Maybe it’s because I’ve lived with them and got to see the other side of the story.”

“Or maybe it’s because your mother was Cherokee.”

“And my father was British. So I’m a half-breed. That has nothing to do with it and you know it. I’m a lawman, through and through.”

“They burned your entire settlement to the ground! They killed everyone you knew! They scalped them, Frances! Your father! Your whole family! How can you take their side!?”

“Because I eventually found out later on why they did it, Emmett. You know that.”

“I know, I know. But still…”

“What they did to our settlement was NOTHING compared to what we had just done to them, the week prior. We attacked them first, remember? Some fool announces they found gold in their hills and so we decide to break the treaty and wipe them all out; all because they refused to leave their homeland for the past few millennia. WE broke the treaty, Emmett, not them. WE attacked them and slaughtered them, first. WE were the invading horde, killing adults and children alike, raping them and destroying everything in our path. WE are the villain of this story, Emmett. Not them.”

“How long did you live with them, Frances?”

“Four years. I was only a little girl at the time. After I narrowly escaped the retaliatory attack on our settlement, it was an Indian, of all things, that finally found me wandering alone in the wilderness, freezing and near to death. They took me in to their tribe, they took care of me and fed me, and I learned a whole different perspective and a whole new truth about ‘the white man’.”

“Truths and perspectives that you have shared with me over the last seven years. Of which I am honestly grateful, I might add. And by the way, Frances, I’ve never thought of you as a half-breed; you know that.”

“Yeah, well, you’re one of the few people who have been willing to listen to the truth, Emmett. That’s why I like you.”

“Are you propositioning me, Frances? I don’t think my wife would approve.”

“Very funny. I wouldn’t be interested in an old goat like you if you were the last man on earth.”

“Fine by me; I prefer blondes over brunettes, anyway.”

Frances snorted.

“Seriously, Frances, you’re still young. What … 27 years old? You’re attractive … I know of several men who have shown an interest…”

“Oh, don’t start that up again, Emmett; you know I have no interest in settling down. Sitting around making babies is no life for me. Besides, I already have a husband.”

“Oh? Since when?”

With a smirk, Frances reached into her long, full-length leather duster and drew out a Winchester 1866 .44 caliber rifle. “And my husband sleeps with me every night.”

Emmett chuckled. “I’m sure he does. Well, who am I to argue with your … ‘husband’. Very well, I’ll back off the matter until next time. But one of these days, Frances, you ought to seriously think about…”

“That’s enough, Emmett. I like life in the saddle.; that’s my home. Now back to our Indian problem. Why me? Why Corpus Christi? Why not a Texas Ranger?”

“That’s why I want to send you, Frances. You know the Nez Perce. You know their ways and their language. If I let Texas Rangers handle it … well, we both know how that would turn out.”

“Oh, I know all right; they’re not exactly fond of Indians of any tribe. No one in Texas is. I’m just surprised that you’re willing to let me go, instead. Don’t tell me you’re taking the side of the Indians on this one?”

“I have to do something. They’re attacking the locals and they’re attacking and raiding ships in the harbor. If anyone can put an end to this without a major bloodbath…”

“It still may come to that, Emmett. Red man … white man … it doesn’t matter. I’ll shoot whoever I have to, IF I have to.”

“I know, Frances; you’re a lawman. I would expect no less. But … try not to shoot anyone, this time, would ya? The numbers are starting to add up.”

“You’re the one who sends me to where the numbers are, Emmett. If they draw on me…”

Emmett had been looking at her long brown hair. “Why do you always wear your hair in a ponytail?”

Frances shook her head at the sudden change of topic. “Excuse me?”

“Eh, something my wife asked me awhile back.”

“Mary asked about my hair?”

“She thinks you would have better luck finding a man if you didn’t always tie it back like that.”

“Did you tell her…”

“Oh, I tell her all the time. I just don’t think she buys that you want to remain single all your life.”

“I don’t have room for a man in my life, Emmett. And I’m getting tired of having this same conversation with you.”

“Fine, fine. It’s just a shame, though. A pretty girl like you…”

“Bats.”

“What?”

“Bats. Tell Mary that I hate bats. That’s why I wear my hair in a ponytail. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few hundred miles to cover in a short time.”

“How about coming over for dinner, tonight?”

“Sorry, Emmett. If the Nez Perce are as angry as I think they are, every day I waste could mean more lives.”

“I understand. Good luck, Frances. And … watch out for bats, tonight.”

“Very funny, Emmett. Very funny. Say ‘Hi’ to Mary and the kids for me.”

“Will do, Frances. Watch your back, now y’hear?”

“I always do.”

.

Due to the unique subject matter, this series will appeal to a very broad audience: teen to elderly, male and female, alike. Although some parts may be considered to be too intense for pre-teen or younger readers. Ages 13 and up recommended.

Click on picture to see full cover

548 pages.