to so too far with the boy, for he turned
his broncho and rode off. saying as he did
“All right. Kid. We'll talk this matter
over some other tlm ." .
“Any time you like. Tack." was the cool
rejoinder. ’ '
The dudes horse had galloped off down
the bank of the creek, and it now was at a
halt about a hundred yards distant. ‘
“Come, Miss Evans: we will catch your
friend's horse,” Jim said, as he swung him-
self in the saddle.
“ ay, if you lease." she answered.
, I don't like it."
“All right, I won't. Come on, lllay.”
“You bet I will. Jim. Ilorace can walk,
I reckon." ' . ,
She laughed lightly as she said this. and
the tenderfoot brightened up and started
on artrot after them.
The riderless horse switched his tail
when he saw them coming, and galloped
away. showing that he did not want to be
But Jim did not mind this much. He set
out after him. and in less than nve minutes
he had him roped.
He rode back and found May and the ten-
derfoot waiting for him.
“There you are, Mr. Crary," he said. smil-
ing at him. “Let's see how quick you can
get into the saddle." ' r >
Crary looked around
then he shook his head.
“ he e isn't-aw-anything for me to
stand on." he said. "Maybe you'll help me
m n " ‘
'“I will." spoke up the ranch girl. a spirit
of mischief showing in- her eyes. “ No, Jim,
let In E it "
The boy’understood, and as’ she ,dropped
lightly to the ground he waited to see what
would happen. . >
“Get your oot in the stirrup, Horace,"
said May. “That's it! Now, up you go.”
She seized his ankle. and as he made an
upward move she gave him such a lift that
he went on over the horse and fell sprawl-
ing on the ground. ‘
May laughed merrily, and Jim joined in
with her. ’
It certainly‘ was funny,‘ the way the dude
“By jove." exclaimed Crary. “I am be-
ginning to believe that you are making fun
of me. May."
“Nonsense!” she retorted. “Try it again.
It seems to me that you ought to be able
to mount by.thls time. You have been
taking lessons for nearly a week, and I
can't see that you're any>nearer to it than
you were when you started. Why, Jim,
he has been paying one of the cowboys to
learn him. too." .
“That's right, young fellow; I have paid
five dollars to be taught how to mount a
horse. The man taught me just how to
do it. too But I am afraid to do it that
way .. .
“ I ell, I don't know how he showed you,
but I'm going to show you the best way to
get on a broncho’s hack." and ‘Jim dis-
‘mounted and took the tenderfoot's horse by‘
the bit. “Watch g
He gave the horse a. slap on the side.’ and
then, catching the horn of the saddle, he
swung himself upon the broncho’s back. the
jerk as he bounded forward really lifting
nd." " -
Crary shook his head. ,
“I never could do it that way," be de-
The Boy Broncho Buster rode back and
“Goahead and mount," said be. “If you
can't do it that way, do it some other way.
If you have been taking lessons for a week
you ought to be able to mount some kind of
“That's right! ” exclaimed May, laughing-
ly. “If he can't get on the broncho's back
he will have to walk. that's all. It is only
a little over three miles to our house.
Come on, J In! I want them to see your
prize saddle at the house.”
She sprang lightly in the saddle. showing
how well she understood it, and Jim lost; no
time in mounting his horse. I
. The dude’s jaw dropped at this turn of
affairs) but suddenly a look of determina-
- tion came in his eyes, and he put his foot
in the stirrup. .
But the boy and girl were galloping away
now. May had asked Jim to go to I e
house with her. and as the boy knew that
his uncle was with‘ some of the cowboys,
and that the scattered herd was nearly
rounded up. he felt that he could spare an
hour or two.
Not until they reached the creek did eith-
er of them look a .
Crary had not mounted yet, but he was
hard at ll.
Thgy mm; laughed, and Jim acted as
tbough'he had better go back and help him.
“Come on across the creek.“ said May,
“Then we will watch him from behind the
trees. If he can't manage ltzwe W111 MVP
to help him, that's all. But I wish he would
stop following me every time I go out for
a. ride. Father thinks it a great lake. but
I can't see it that way. Horace Crary may
be a sensible young man. but I must say
that I can't see it that way."
hope you'll sorter look over it.
Just then the dude managed to get upon
the back of his horse. It cost him a great
effort. but he got there, and he now came
toward them, bouncing as though he was
made of rubber. .
The young couple paid no further alien.
tlon to him alter that, but fordlng the
creek, they made for the 2-X Ranch as fast
as their horses could go.
CHAPTER VI II.-
Tack Hoover rode away feeling in any-
thing but a good humor.
If he had been compelled to admit it,
he would have said that he was a. little
afraid of the Boy Broncho Buster, though
it would have been-gaillng for him to do it.
Though a villain at heart. he was a good
man on the ranch. and so long as Lhlngs
went his way there was no much chance of
there being any trouble.
But the “Kid.” as he chose to call him.
was a. thorn in his side, and had been from
the very day of his arrival at the ranch.
Then he had won the broncho busting
contest, ‘which was the last straw, so to
speak. ' - ' ,
The foreman went on over Lhe range,
stopping long enough to gather together
half a dozen cattle and start them in the di-
rection of the herd. an s not long
efore he came to Bader and three of the
“Hello. Tack,” called out the ranchman.
“Seen anything 0 .lim'."‘
‘Yes. I seen him about four miles down
ther creek," was the reply. lie was with
ther Evans gal.
lth John Evans’ daughter, eh? Well,
that sounds good. don't it? Jim can't have
stalrted in ter do any courtin‘ so soon. kin
“I don't know what he's started in ter
do. boss. But I reckon he could be doin'
somethln' else than talkln' ter a gal about
now. You've hired him ter work on ther
ranch. an’ not ter talk ter every young gal
he comes across."
“Tack,” said Bader, looking him over
coolly. “how do you know what I hired Jim
fur? That boy is my nephew, an’ me an‘
my wife has sorter come to ther conclusion
that he's a mighty good boy. Now. there's
one thing I'm gain’ ter advise yer on. right
“What's that?" queried Tack. looking 1‘.
bit uneasy. ,
“it's jest this: Don't bother lher boy.
Let him alone. Jest because he's,showed
himself mighty ‘soon’ wlill a rope, an‘ be-
cause he downed yer ylsterday at ther bron-
cho bustln‘ business over at ther Fork,
don't say that yer should have :1. grudge
agln him. Jest let him alone, I say. An’
remember, Tack, Jim is my nephew, an’ I'm
goin‘ ter treat him same as if he was my
"lVhy,‘I ain't got no grudge agin him.
boss. You kin bet your life that I wouldn't
throw a straw in his way. I'm hired by
you ter do my work, am‘ I'm coin’ ter do it.
I know I got too much bug-juice in me yis-
terday, an’ maybe I made a fool of myself.
I didn't wake up this mornln'. either. but I
happen very often.
“Sartinly I'll look over it. Tack," replied
the honest ranchman. earnestly. “I won't
say another word. I like ther way you do
your work. an’ that's all there is to it.
Now then, let's straighten up these cattle."
The foreman nodded. showing that he
was much pleased the way the brief inter-
view had turned out. -
But, in spite of what he had told the
ranch:-nan, there was a feeling of hate in
his breast for the Boy Broncho Buster-a
vengeful feeling. too, and there was no lei
lng just how far the man might go when
he got a good chance. -
One thing about it, Tack Iloover had no
one working on the ranch to take sides
with him against the boy. The cowboys. to
a man. were staunch friends of Jim Bader.
They had liked him from the start. and
the more they associated with him the
stronger grew the feeling.
By e o'clock the cattle were got in
shape. and then there was nothing much
to do for the cowboys.
After eating his dinner Tack mounted his
horse and took a ride over toward the 2-X
Ranch. He had met some of the cowboys
‘ belonging there the day before. and one of
them he had taken a strong liking to.
This was probably because of a villainous
inclination. like himself.
This cowboy bore the name of Dennison.
and be was not liked much by those Work-
ing with him. '
Tack had promised to meet him some
time, and it struck him that now would he
a good time to keep the promise.
Though he did not know where Jim Ila-
der was, it never occurred in the rnscally
foreman that he might be at lhe 2-X Ranch.
so when he set out that Was‘ ll “'35 110!
with the expectation of meeting the boy.
Luck seemed to be with him. for he Md
barely crossed the creek that divided the
two cattle ranges when he saw a horse and
rider outllncd against the clear sky. off lo
it was Dennison. and he was at :1 halt on
a knoll, looking about the surrounding
country. as though in search of something
lie saw the foreman at the same time
ock iioover saw him, and the next minute
they were galloping toward each other.
“Thunder!” exclaimed Dennison, as he
rained in his broncho, his face wearing a
smile of satisfaction. ‘Jr-st ther man I
wanted ter see. I was lookln' fur yer,
Tack." - ‘ ,
“An' I was lookln' fur you. Den,” replied
the foreman, nodding and smiling. “What's
“Oh. nutbin' much.
talkin‘v ter somebody.”
“Well, that's about thcr same way I felt.
I see you've got over ther Jamboree we hm!
“Yes, I'm i'eeiln' putty good now.”
it happened that Dennison had been one
of those who went down to defeat before
our hero in the broncho busting game. no
had made about the same kind of showing
that Tack did. andthat had been the means
of drawing them together after it was over.
Dennison was a rather young man. lie
could not have been much past twenty-one.
lie was rather good-looking. too. antLhnt
for a peculiar gleam in his shifting gray
eyes he mig have been regarded as xi
“catch” by the ranch girls.
But there was something about that pe-
culiar gleam in his eye that was apt to give
one the “shivers.” as a ranch girl had put
it. in speaking of the cowboy to one of her
friends. and that was why Dennison had
not made much headway with the fair sex
of the cattle ranches.
“Let's ride over to ther woods an’ have a
smoke. an‘ a talk at ther same time." he
I jest sorter felt like
was the reply. so they
promptly turned and headed for the tim-
ber'strlp along the creek.
Reaching it. they dismounted. and then.
producing a fresh package of tobacco. Den-
nison invited Tack Hoover to all his pipe.-
“I took notice.that you smoked a pipe
last night," he said. “Here's some very
good tobacco. I'll roll a cigarette. I rec-
“Yes. I do like a pipe." was the reply. “I
ain't never got ther habit of smokln' them
cigarettes, though a good many of (her
boys does. It may be all right. but it would
be hard fur me ter git used to it."
“That's right. That galoot of a lender-
foot, who is stoppin‘ at our place. smokes
some of ther fancy kind that are ready-
made. You know him-ther one you had
ther fun with ylsierday at ther I-‘ork'."'
“Yes. I know him. I had some fun with
him agln to-day. He's a regular fool. be
“Yes, an‘ he's tryin' ter be swret on ther
gal over to ther house, too.”
“ ha may be. but it won't do him any
good:-I kin see that plain enough. There-‘E
someone else she likes a blamed sight bet-
ter than she does him."
“is that so!"
Dennison lowered his head and showed
signs of great interest.
“Yes, that's so.
ranch seems ter have struck a warm place
in her heart. I wish you could have seen
’em this mornln’! " ‘
“What! Not ther kid who bca
and won ther saddle yesterday!"
‘ “Ther same one.”
The cowboy‘s brow darkened.
“That kid had better keep away from
ther gal," he said. shaking his head. I
want ter win her m s .
“I kinder thought that. by (her way
you've been talkln'. Den. 'el . I'll tell
yer this much-that kid is no good. I don't
‘like ‘him one bit! I'm down on him. ‘cause
he’s been interferln' with me too rnuc
He comes up from Texas, an’ thinks he
knows more than them what's old enough
ter be his father. lle's altogether loo fresh.
an‘ if he don't look out he'll git some of it
took out of him.”
' “He sartinly will, if he don't keep away
from ther gal,” answered Dennison. “But
I don't hardly think that shevwants ler
have anything ter do with him. She'll be
lookin‘ fur someone who is a little older
ihan he is. Still, she don't seem ter want
ther tenderfoot. an‘ he's got plenty of mon-
ey. so I‘ve heard. She did used ter sorter
look pleasant ter me. but now she turns
up her nose when I say good-mornin' to
“Oh. she is in love with ther boy. Yer
kin bet all you're worth on that.”
“if I find out that's ther case I'll fix him.
sure's my name is Dennison! I'm a had
one when I git started. Tack! " Ile tapped
the butt of his big revolver significantly.
“An' e keeps on interferln' with me
I'll hit him!” rctnrted the foreman, nod-
ding and frowning.
The two men looked at each ‘other for n
Though he did not know it. the Ila)’
Bronclm Duster was treading on dangerous
AF‘i‘l‘.lt A rnrv rr.r:.is.xxr vvstr .11.“ is "nrr.h
. Tlmugli It was not :1 lnnl: one. by my
Iucuns. Jim lluller ncvcr enjoyed a horse-
Ther kid over to our’
back ride so much as he did the one to the
May Evans was certainly a great con-
versationalist. an her breezy way made
the boy feel right at his ease.
lioth had been brought up on a ranch. so
they had much in common.
Jim told the girl all about himself, and
he dwelt rather long on what had happened
since he left Texas to work on his uncle's
ranch, in Swcetwater County, Wyoming,
“ ke it up here just as well as I do in
Texas.” he said. as they neared the ranch
house. “One time I did not think there was
such a place. as old Texas, down by the mo
Grande: but I nnd that I made a mistake.
Wyoming is all right. and the people here
nre all right. I don't know as I thought
that way before yesterday, though."
“Well, what changed your opinion. Jim!"
lliay asked. archly.
"Well. the change that came over my un.
cle and hunt. for one thing." he answered.
“Well. yes I-er-met somebody yester-
day that made me think that there were
some pretty nice folks around here.”
“ h, I know who you mean! " and the girl
clangctli‘ her hands. “it was liorace Crary.
“No. no,” answered the boy. quirk y.
“You know better than that. May. Why.
that dude really makes me sick. lie can't
help it. of course. for that is his way. I
suppose he was born that way. But he
wouldn't get used to the West if he lived
ere rhundrod years." -
“I reckon he wouldn't, Jim. So it wasn't
lm you meant. then!" ‘
“Of course noL You ought to know that."
“ 'ell, who was it, then?"
She turned and looked him straight in v
the eyes. and the Boy Broncho Buster red-
But the question had been put to him.
and he was not the one to evade it.
“It was you. May." he blurted out. “When
I set. eyes on you yesterday you struck rue
35 being the finest girl I ever saw. Now
then. you know."
“Oh. I knew that all the time, Jim Ila-
dcr. But you are not the only one who has
told me that very thing."
She laughed merrily and looked toward
the house, which they were rapidly nearing.
.iim had slowed down his horse. but see-
lng that she was not inclined to follow suit.
in: was forced to ride faster. so he might
catch up with her.
“I want to ask you a question. May.“ km
said earnestly. ‘Who was the g. loot who
said lhe same thing as I did to you."
“llorace Crary," she answered, and lhrn
with L: pt-ai of laughter she urged her horse
to n gallop and led the young Ttkan to the
Jim was forced to laugh. in spite of him-
Wlf. lilollllil he was not a little named at
the coqucttlshncss the girl displayed.
ilut he was a level-headed fellow. and he
foot dude he felt sure that he would win
“Mother, come out here.‘ called out the
glyl, as she drew rein within a couple of
feet of the porch. “I want to make you
acquainted with the Boy Ilroncho Iiuslc-r."
Then she looked at Jim and laughcd.
“She won't know who I mean.‘ she said.
“She will come out, wondering what's up.‘
Sure enough. the mistress of the ranch
did come out. looking just that way. But
when she saw Jim Bader she smiled. and
turning to her daughter. said:
“ ' ', liiay. I got acquainted with him
yesterday. You know that well enough."
“Yes, but that was before he won the
saddle. See it. mother. it is surely :1
beauty‘. And .lim won it mer all the ex-
perts he had to work against. Why. there
naszft a man that came anywhere npar
I know." said the mother.
the folks, Jim?“
:QlliIe well. thank you." the boy replied.
“e have been coming over to see your
aunt this long while, and we may do so in
a few days. '1“: heard about you coming up
‘from Texas; but I never dreamed that you
would so over to the Fork and take the
shine off‘the cowboys like you did yester-
l13l‘- Mil)‘ s been talking about it ever since.
But where is our boarder. May? He start- ‘
1:-d out right after .
‘lie is coming." replied the girl. “There
he is now,” and she pointed back over the
trail to Crury. who was riding along at an -
casy canter, no doubt afraid to come any
Mrs. Evans. who seemed to have it great
‘WIS’ for lumping from one thing to an.
other. now turned to Jim again.
She wanted to know all about him, and
he was ready 10 give her the information.
lie was telling her about the way they
broke wild horses down in Texas. when the
tenderfont rode up and dismounted. nearly
losing his balance and rolling under um
brnncho as he dial so.
“They don't got off a horse down in Tex-
as like that, do they. Jim?‘ she asked, with
a smile. v
"Well. I never saw it done that way.‘ the
"I know. you are making fun of me,"
Crary spoke up. “ ut I'll learn after u
I can mount without assistance
now. hirs. Evans.” , ,