Thursday, June 28, 2012
Now playing: Night Riders
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Episode Nine concluded with:
“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.”
Tantrall sighed deeply. “I’ve always been on the side of law. This country needs law. I want Lila to be able to settle here and have a good life. But--”
Dehner spoke softly. “The law is on the side of the homesteaders.”
“Y-e-a-h. I’ve had a hard time accepting that. Pulled down one of Glenn Kagan’s fences a while back.”
“Did you apologize to Kagan?”
“No. But I paid for the damn fence after Max told me I had to.”
“What do you want me to do, Mr. Tantrall?”
“The new sheriff is Lucky Chandler. A nice kid. He made a fine deputy for Max and someday he’ll make a fine sheriff. Don’t get me wrong. Lucky can take care of the town, handle the hard cases, that sort of thing. But he’s in over his head with this homesteader situation.”
“You want me to find out who is behind the raids on the homesteaders.” Dehner wasn’t really asking a question.
Elijah nodded his head. “Glenn Kagan has got a real bug in his ear about me. He’s stirrin’ up the other homesteaders. We ain’t far from a land war.”
“I’ll get started right away.” Dehner deliberately kept his voice low. “I’ll probably ride out tonight and get a feel for the territory.”
“Fine,” Tantrall’s chair loudly scraped the floor as he got up. “I want you to stay here with us. We’ve got plenty of space.” He walked with Dehner into the hallway, where he gave a friendly shout. “Lila!”
“Yes, father?” Her voice came from the living room and dripped with casualness.
“Show Mr. Dehner to a guest room.”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
Rance gave the rancher a quick nod, then walked swiftly into the living room. Lila was perched on the end of a chair, sitting upright in almost military stiffness with both hands in her lap and both feet tucked as far under the chair as she could get them. “I’m sure you have some things in your saddle bags, Mr. Dehner, things that you will want to carry to your room.”
“Yes, I do, Miss Tantrall. I’ll fetch them right now.”
Relief shot across the young woman’s face. “Great! When you get back, I’ll show you to your room.”
Rance stepped outside of the house before Lila could see the smile on his face. Lila Tantrall was not good at deception. She had tried to conceal her feet but hadn’t quite succeeded. Lila Tantrall was barefoot. Dehner’s earlier notion had been right. The young woman had taken off her footwear to avoid detection and then returned to her father’s office door to listen in.
But why? Dehner was purposely slow in retrieving his saddle bags. He wanted his hostess to have ample time to get her shoes back on: best to let her think the trick had worked.
Tomorrow: Episode Eleven of Night Riders