Spence Delman led his drovers whooping and hollering into Bannock. Townspeople scurried to avoid the oncoming riders. Dismounting in front of O’Reilly’s Saloon, they hitched their horses and stormed through the batwings. Shoving anyone in their way, they lined up along the bar.
“Bartender, whiskey for the boys,” shouted Spence Delman, slapping his hand down on the bar. Al Parker put a line of shot glasses on the bar.
“No glasses, just the bottles,” added Delman.
“I’ll have to fill some,” the bartender informed the trail boss and put the glasses back under the bar. Putting four full bottles on the bar, he hurried to the back room.
Spence Delman slid three of the bottles down the bar, pulling the cork on the fourth bottle with his teeth. Spitting the cork behind the bar, he turned up the bottle.
Drawing his gun, Ace Duncan fired three shots into the ceiling and was promptly joined by others at the bar. Al Parker rushed from the back room at the sound of gunshots and ran into Sean O’Reilly coming out of his office. The owner of the saloon grabbed his swamper, Leon Kelly, by the arm. “Go get the sheriff.”
O’Reilly’s attention turned to the cries of one of his girls struggling against being dragged up the stairs to the second floor by Ace Duncan much to the delight of his companions. The owner started to object when he saw two heads appear over the batwings.
Jake Hollister and Zac Benson pushed into the saloon. The blast of Jake’s scattergun into the ceiling silenced the room. “Nobody move,” yelled the sheriff.
“Let the girl go,” ordered Zac and watched the girl rush down the stairs when Ace Duncan released her wrist.
“Who started this ruckus?” asked Jake.
Spence Delman pushed away from the bar. “Sheriff, we was just kickin’ up our heels a little. We just come off a long trail drive and was havin’ a little fun is all.”
“O’Reilly, you see who started this?” Jake asked the saloon owner.
“No, sheriff, I didn’t.”
Jake walked past the silenced cowboys. “I oughta run the whole lot of you in. But, then I’d have to feed you.”
“Sheriff Hollister, I think I can make your job a little easier,” shouted Bret Hanley. Rising from his seat at a corner table, all eyes turned to the gambler as he weaved his way through the crowd toward Jake.
“Mister, you better mind your own business,” warned Spence Delman.
The gambler stopped in front of the Diamondback trail boss. “Your shenanigans broke up a game I had going back there and cost me a winning streak. You made it my business.” The gambler turned to Jake.
“The gent who started this mess is right there.” Hanley pointed out Ace Duncan standing at the bottom of the staircase.
“All of you, unbuckle your gunbelts,” ordered the sheriff.
“Wait a minute, sheriff,” objected Delman, stepping toward Jake.
The sheriff hammered back the scattergun freezing the trail boss. Sensing defeat, Delman unbuckled his gunbelt and let it drop. One by one, gunbelts thudded to the floor.
“Now, step away,” ordered Jake. Ace Duncan started to move. “Not you,” Jake shouted, “you’re under arrest.”
“Miss Thorn ain’t gonna take kindly to you arrestin’ one of her boys,” informed Delman.
“You ride for Diamondback?” asked Jake.
“We drove a herd up here for her,” replied Delman.
“O’Reilly,” shouted Jake, “make a list of damages and I’ll make sure Miss Thorn gets it.”
The saloon owner waved at Jake. “Sure thing, sheriff.”
Jake waggled the scattergun at Ace Duncan. “You’re comin’ with me. We got a nice secure cell for you.”
Jake waited behind Duncan while Zac Benson and Bret Hanley collected the gunbelts.
“You boys can claim your guns when you leave town,” Zac informed the cowboys.
“This ain’t over, card sharp,” said Delman when Hanley walked by him with the gunbelts.
The gambler stepped back toward the trail boss. “When you want to finish it, mister, you know where you can find me.”