I'm not much of a writin' man, but I'm filled with a feeling right now I can't get out with my guns. There's plenty I could talk about - the Pinkertons, my wife and son, the MacFarlanes, this stranger man who says he know me, Irish and Shaky and this goddam gatling gun. Bill Williamson. But no, the thing on my mind today is a random meeting I came across as I left McFarlane's Ranch.
I'd just done playing myself a few rounds of poker with Misters Claude Banfield, Clyde Garrison and the boys. Thought I'd lost myself twenty dollars there, but with one good hand and another big bluff, I won it all back and eleven dollars besides.
Just a normal day at the ranch - bit of a scuffle as I mounted my horse while she was running and nearly crushed a ranch hand there, had to 'scuse myself as best I could - but on the way across the bridge there, I saw a situation I should've recognized. I shoulda. A line of men on horseback blocking the road, and standing in front of them, a woman.
I nudged my horse closer to try and hear their conversation, see if I needed to intervene.
What a fool you are, John Marston.
Gunshot exploded and the woman in her fine green dress was there lyin' on the bridge in her own blood. Dead, I guess, but I didn't stop to check. Fast as a mare with a snake on its ass I took off after the five of them, pulling out my Winchester to take aim.
Too slow. They split off, and I had to peel off to follow just the one across the plains and cliffsides, knowing the other four had no one on their tail. By the time I shot this man off his horse I felt so angry, so useless, so mad at myself, that when a deer started from the grass I blew its head off even though I ain't short on meat or skin. But it felt good to succeed in killing something when I'd failed at bringing that poor woman justice.
Just one woman I don't rightly know. And I'm sure there's plenty more I'll never have the chance or wits to help. I ain't sure why this today bothers me so much. But I know there was a moment. The moment I nudged my mare closer. When I could have drawn my rifle and fired off on all of them quick as greased lightning, and that fine lady in her green dress would still be alive.
Next time, I'll be ready.