Sarah Salemy ‘21
By Seth Benson ‘24
The horse’s knees were weak after miles of walking. Edward Russell always pushed his horse until he could barely walk. He was just getting back into his hometown of Old Ford after capturing a couple of criminals that were wanted by the state. When Edward arrived, there were rumors about a new criminal around the area. The criminal being talked about was Wade Pangburn. He had killed 13 people, men and women both. Rumor also had it that Pangburn had been on a bank robbing spree, robbing a known 5 banks. As of late, Wyoming was becoming a hotbed for murders and robberies. With new settlements arising so were new banks with no defense making them a prime target. People were becoming greedy and hungry for new land in the area trying to get a new taste of wealth doing whatever it takes.
It was 1895 in the state of Wyoming and Wade Pangburn was traveling with a small group of men, four including himself. His small gang consisted of himself, Rafael Chitwood, Windy Fern, and a man by the name of Jacob Feather. These men were outlaws of the state and were wanted for everything except being a good citizen. These men are as bad as you can get in these parts, not afraid to rob somebody, not afraid to run from the law, and definitely not afraid to kill a man. These men were on the move from a small Wyoming town called Darkpeak and were on their way to Ed’s hometown of Old Ford. On horseback this would take just over two days for them to arrive in Old Ford.
Edward Russell was on the right side of the law. He had been hunting criminals for years. He was a man that stood around six foot one and quite scrawny for his build but tough as nails. His long narrow face and cut jawline did not scream “bounty hunter,” it more said, “bartender.” Edward mostly wore canvas pants for durability reasons and dark brown chaps over top when he was on the road. The boots he sported were worn, like he had walked over 50,000 miles in them and then grated them with fine sandpaper yet the spurs on the back reflected the sun like a mirror. The whole state could tell who he was just by looking at his polished spurs. Russell was a lone traveler; he did not always need a partner as he is known as the best bounty hunter West of the Dakotas. This time was different, Ed had recruited a partner to make the trek as Wade and his gang were a new kind of mean. The man whom he recruited was named Chayton, which was Cherokee for Falcon. He was an English-speaking Native American who had been bounty hunting himself for most of his adult life after being shunned from his tribe for stealing food from them when he was just 17 years of age. Chayton was known for being a peaceful reasonable man but when it came to battle, he became a true warrior. He was recruited by Russell for his calm collected demeanor as well as his aggression in combat and battle. These two on paper are a duo that should be unstoppable.
As the two started South from Old Ford towards the Darkpeak area there was only one real logical way to travel there. The other routes were full of steep mountains and cliffs not made for travel. Since they only had one way to travel between the two towns, they had to run into the gang of outlaws somewhere.