This second novel in the Montana Adventure Series follows young "Montana" to Fort Worth, Texas in 1886, where he hires on at a major cattle ranch and ultimately saves it from foreclosure. Montana Series Novels are best suited for young adults who seek good adventures and positive role models.
I’d been sufferin’ for three days now and I couldn’t take it much longer. Turns out there are few things in a cowboy’s life more uncomfortable than a toothache. It started out as little more than an itch, but now it’d pretty much taken me over. I threw my blanket down late last night thinkin’ I might sleep better, but it didn’t turn out that way. Every time my face touched the ground, a lightening bolt of pain lit me up. Fortunately, Spirit and I should make Fort Worth by noon and I’ll be quick to find my way to the nearest dentist. I’ve only been to Fort Worth once, and while I didn’t know where any were, I suspected a city that size would be full of dentists who’d be happy to help me out.
I can’t complain though. The truth is I haven’t been sick much since leavin’ Montana some three years ago, and this ache in my jaw’s made me grateful for that.
I was also noticin’ that the further south we rode, the hotter it was. Seemed to be hotter than usual for early June, but then again I’d only been this far south once before and that was last winter.
Maybe this was normal for Texas and I know it bothered me more than it did Spirit, but I was concerned for him. We hadn’t seen a water hole since right after dawn and I knew he must be gettin’ thirsty.
As much as I was in a hurry to get to town, when the trail passed by a small grove of Mesquite trees I pulled up to a shady spot, grabbed my canteen from my saddle bag and took a break. I had to be careful not to add to my pain, so I was slow in takin’ small, careful sips. When I was done I poured some in my cupped hands and held them up so Spirit could get a taste, too.
“Here you go boy. Take a drink and rest a minute. I think we’re gettin’ close to the Trinity and we’ll follow her right into town - shouldn’t be more than another hour or so.”
Spirit seemed to understand as he took a few licks and it was time to get back on the trail.
As we rode on, to get my mind off the pain, I thought back to how I got here. Three years ago I left home to be a cowboy – somethin’ I couldn’t be on our farm. My first real job was at a big ranch in Wyoming. That job was important to me for two reasons. First, it was where I learned to handle cattle, and second, it’s where I found Spirit. He was just a yearling when my old horse broke his leg and had to be put down. Spirit was sired by my boss’s horse and Dan planned to give him to his own son, Drew. But Drew was killed in an accident just before I hired on and when he decided it was time, Dan offered to sell him to me. Spirit was the most beautiful horse I’d ever seen and I was quick to take him up on the offer.
It took almost two years of hard work to pay off the loan but when I finally did, Spirit was all mine. Not long after that I left Wyoming for Kansas and got a job with one of the big cattle drives. Most those drives that end up in Dodge City start out in Fort Worth. After the first drive I stayed up there with friends for about a month ‘til it was time to head back to Texas to catch another. The tooth ache started just after I left. If it’d started a day earlier I’d have had it taken care of in Dodge, but here I was out on the hot prairie with all the pain I could handle. Dang…this was supposed to be keeping my mind off the pain!