This third novel in the Montana Adventure Series takes young Montana back home to help his family battle a crooked mayor and sheriff who have assumed control of his home town during his three year absence. With the help of his friends, family and famous horse "Spirit", Montana continues to fight for what's right...and ultimately prevails. The Montana series is suitable for young readers who crave adventure and appreciate the virtues of self-reliance and integrity, so common in the classic western serials of the 40's and 50's.
I’d been colder this last week than I think I’d been in my whole eighteen years. Nobody in their right mind would leave Texas for Montana this late in November, but here I was. Spirit and I made Wyoming yesterday and were starting to work our way into the Wind River country, but I couldn’t tell for sure. What little sunlight got through the overcast, only lasted six or seven hours. The days get real short up here in late November and, just our luck, winter was setting up early. Two days ago we were fighting rain. Yesterday we woke up to an inch of snow, and it was still coming down. Seemed like most of our riding was in the dark or near dark…and the snow didn’t help.
I was also worried about Spirit. Strong a horse as he was, he needed water and the last two water holes we came by were frozen. Not so thick that I couldn’t break through, but it worried me all the same. If this freeze didn’t break soon, I knew I’d have a harder time the further north we got.
The sun must’a gone down a while ago because it was almost dark and the light snow’d started up again. This is not how I’d planned my return home.
We’d just come through a small woods, back onto open prairie, when a gust of wind nearly tore my Stetson off. I know I should keep moving, but I also know I need rest – preferably by a warm fire. It was clear that wasn’t gonna happen. I’d have to fend for myself again tonight and finding firewood wasn’t gonna to be easy on this white prairie. Maybe I should have stopped back in the last woods. Lord knows how far we’ll have to go now to find anything close to wood or shelter.
“Keep goin’, Spirit. I’ll find us a place to rest before too long.” Gotta remember the water, too. I can live out of my canteen for a few more days, but Spirit needs more than that. I guess he puts his life in my hands just like I do, his. I gotta just keep ridin’.
As much as I prayed things would get better, they didn’t. Mother used to tell me and Mary not to pray for selfish things…that God helped those who helped themselves. I guess maybe praying for shelter was selfish. I knew if I kept riding north, I’d find some eventually. So, no more praying until I really need it.
Another hour had passed it was pitch black except for the slight glimmer of snow in my eyes. That’s when I saw it. Up ahead, maybe half a mile…a fire. If it wasn’t so dark, I probably wouldn’t have seen it, but, on this devilish night it looked like angels calling me in. I figured we were fifty or sixty miles into the Wind River country, so it just might just be that the fire was an Indian camp. Wouldn’t matter to me if it was. The Arapaho had been at peace for almost twenty years. I suspect they’d take us in without any fuss.
As I approached the light, I was hoping to see some woods, but the closer I got, the more it looked like one lone tree. I guessed that was better than none. I learned years ago to never surprise a camp. Some hundred yards out I pulled my Colt out of my holster and fired a round into the air