Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Now playing: Night Riders
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Episode Eight concluded with:
“I apologize for the way Lem acted. He’s usually welcoming to strangers,” Lila said.
“I understand how Lem feels, Miss Tantrall.”
They passed through the living room and started down a hallway. “I’m an outsider brought in to help. Whenever that happens, there is usually somebody who takes offense. Somebody who thinks he could have handled the job just fine.”
Lila looked thoughtful and paused a few moments before speaking again.”Yes, Lem has been father’s right hand for several years now. He’s the man father goes to when a special problem comes up. But Lem needs to realize that this problem is different. A lot different.”
They stopped at the last room in the hallway. Lila knocked on the door and opened it at the same time, moving her head inside. “Father, Mr. Rance Dehner of the Lowrie Agency is here to see you.”
“Show him in!”
The moment Rance stepped inside, Lila closed the door. Her retreating footsteps could be heard moving down the hall. The detective figured those steps were suspiciously loud. There was a theatrical quality about them: the steps of someone who planned on quietly returning and listening in at the door.
Elijah Tantrall stood up from his large desk and extended a hand. “Thanks for gettin’ here so quick, Rance. Good to meet you.”
The two men shook hands as Dehner spoke. “I had just finished up a case nearby when I got the telegram from Dallas. The boss said you wired him about a problem.”
“Yeah. I got a problem all right.” Tantrall motioned for Dehner to sit in a chair that fronted the desk. As he did so, Rance gave the room a quick once over. The desk was a mess of papers and, besides the chair, the only other piece of furniture was a large sofa that sagged from plenty of use. Dehner surmised that the rancher often slept on that sofa after a long night of battling paper work.
Tantrall laughed scornfully at his desk as he once again settled in behind it. “Spent a good part of my life stayin’ away from this kind of work. My wife, Connie, use ta do this stuff for me. Nothin’ has been the same since she died.”
For a moment, Elijah stared at a blank wall. He went to a different location but quickly returned and looked directly at Dehner. “There have been several attacks on homesteaders around here recently. Started off with barn burnings, fences pulled down, that sort of thing. Then, three days ago, an entire family, the Ashleys, were murdered in broad daylight.”
“What has the local law done?”
“The law around these parts is Max Thompson…or was. Max was killed two nights ago while searching for the killers of the Ashley family. His body was dumped in the barn of Glenn Kagan, the head of the Homesteaders Association.” Tantrall paused and pressed his lips together. Dehner realized that Max Thompson had been friends with the rancher.
Elijah Tantrall only needed a moment to get his emotions back in check. “Kagan is convinced that I did it as a warning to him and the rest of the homesteaders to get out.”
“I take it you’re not on good terms with the homesteaders.”
Tomorrow: Episode Ten of Night Riders