Read CHAPTER X of Fred Fearnot's New Ranch and How He and Terry Managed It , free online book, by Hal Standish, on


As the news spread around through the county of Fred’s having shot an apple from the fingers of another man, it seemed so incredible that scores of people came to the cowboys to inquire as to the truth of the story.

One day, when Tom was sent to town with a wagon to bring back some things that Fred had ordered, he told a story at the depot, when a man challenged him to prove it. He said that be had seen Mr. Olcott fire at a tree with his revolver at a distance of thirty paces, and then plant the rest of the bullets in the weapon in the same hole in the tree.

Said the townsman:

“I’ve got a hundred dollars, which says that that is not so. That no such thing ever happened.”

“Well,” said Tim, “I haven’t got one hundred dollars, for I don’t carry my money with me wherever I go; but I will have to come up again on Saturday, and I will see if I can get Mr. Olcott to come up with me and prove it to you by shooting for you.” 7

“All right,” said the man. “I will meet you here, and put up the money, and I will bet one hundred dollars that Mr. Olcott can’t plant all the bullets in his revolver in the same hole at a distance of thirty paces, and if you want to make another bet, I’ll bet ten dollars that Mr. Olcott won’t undertake it.”

“That’s a go,” said Tom, “Just meet me here on Saturday, and I will bring up my money ready to bet any amount that I can get you to put up that he can do it.”

When he went home Tom told Terry of the bet that he had made.

“Now, Mr. Olcott, I haven’t got much money, but I’ll put up every cent I have on your marksmanship, and I beg you, as a favor, to go with me on Saturday and give me a chance to win that bet, for I need it, as I am engaged to a girl up at Ranchman’s Rest, whom I want to marry just as soon as I can get money enough ahead to build a little home for her.”

“All right. Tom. I’ll help you out. I’ll go up with you, and if that fellow or any other man wants to bluff you, I’ll check enough out of the bank for you to cover whatever he or his friends may put up.”

The next Saturday Terry went up to Crabtree, going on a freight train cab, Tom drove a wagon, for there was no local freight train running that day down to the ranch.

The fact is, only through freights ran over the road at that section, hence none of the cars were unlocked at the ranch. Of course, Terry had his faithful revolver with him, and when Tom arrived, the sporting men got around him and challenged him to show his money.

“All right, sir. Mr. Olcott has agreed to shoot, and I am ready to cover any amount you want to put up, unless you have put up more than I have."’

The original bettor offered to put up three hundred dollars.

“All right,” said Tom. “I’ll cover that.”

Then several others put up one and two hundred each.

Terry had given Tom a check for one thousand dollars, and Tom hurried off to the bank with it, cashed it, and covered all the bets.

The depot agent acted as stakeholder.

Then they went about a quarter of a mile up the road into a piece of timber, where thirty paces were stepped off, and a piece of white paper, about an inch square, was fastened, against the tree.

One man carried a sharp axe with him, saying that he was not going to let any trick be played on him.

“It’s easy enough,” said he, “for one shot to be fired in the tree and the other shots just to be blank cartridges.”

Terry then fired the first shot, and every man in the party went to the tree to look at the bullet hole.

Then Terry fired the other live shots with cool deliberation and caution.

When the whole six bullets had been fired no one could tell, from the appearance of the bullet hole, that any other bullet had hit the tree.

The man with the axe proceeded to cut into the tree in quest of the bullets, and the whole six bullets were found, one on top of the other.

When they came back the report was that six bullets were shot into the first bullet hole and were found when the chips were cut out.

On that the men paid the thousand dollars to Tom, whose enthusiasm was so great that he was ready to risk the whole amount by offering to bet two to one that Olcott could shoot an apple from his head with that revolver at a distance of one hundred yards.

But the party of bettors had had enough. They didn’t care to risk any more money and some of them couldn’t afford to lose a hundred dollars; but firmly believing that they would win, they had borrowed a little to make up that amount.

Evelyn and her two visiting friends agreed to go up to Crabtree and stand up with Tom and his girl when they were married.

The girl lost no time in leaving Ranchman’s Rest for Crabtree, and when she arrived there Fred and Terry recognized her as a girl they had often seen, without knowing who she was. They greeted her kindly, and so did Evelyn, saying she remembered her face well, and within thirty minutes after she arrived in Crabtree they were married in the parlor of the hotel at Crabtree, with Fred and Evelyn standing up with them, and quite a bevy of young ladies acting as maids of honor.

Terry paid for the dinner of the couple at the hotel, after which they went out to the wagon that was to carry her trunk, and Tom and she drove to the ranch by themselves, while Evelyn and the girls returned in the ranch carriage.

Fred and Terry and Jack went down on the conductor’s caboose of the freight train.

Thus Fred and Terry managed their new ranch by giving the strictest personal attention to every little matter of importance.

They made it a rule to deal justly and kindly with every man in their employ, and thus gained their confidence.

By and by the Crabtree Herald published a statement that the fattest cattle in the whole State of Texas were to be found on the ranch of Fearnot and Olcott, and soon applications from cattle firms way up in Kansas City, Omaha and Chicago began coming to them, the firms asking for particulars. Terry and Fred knew every one of their correspondents.

They wrote back to them, however, that it was not there intention to sell but a limited number of their cattle that fall; but every one of the firms wrote back to them, saying that they would take their word as to the condition of the cattle that they had for sale, and would pay the highest market price for them.

Some of the firms offered to go down at once, although it was some two or three months ahead of the regular season for buying cattle, pick them out, and pay a cash deposit, contracting to pay the market price when the cattle were ready for sale, and that each beef was to be weighed at the depot.

Jack said that he would have a few hundred head for sale, while Fred and Terry had over five hundred.

Jack finished his big house, and at once proceeded to furnish it.

Evelyn looked after that part of it for him, so, while he went North after his mother and sweetheart Evelyn attended to the furnishing of his home, and all of his cowboys were instructed to obey whatever orders either Mr. Olcott or Mr. Fearnot might give.

Jack wanted Evelyn to go up with him, but she wrote to Mary Hamilton to go down to New York City and act as bridesmaid for Katy Malone.

Next week’s issue will contain “Fred Fearnot and the Lariat Thrower; or, beating the Champion of the west.”