parallax background

Winterin’ Insurance

Dismountin’ For Thanksgiving
November 17, 2022
Christmas Eve Surrender
December 6, 2022

Back in the day, cowboys worked hard for three seasons but come winter, especially in northern climes, the work slowed and winter work might be hard to come by. Of course they needed some hands to keep a ranch running or man a line-shack but, often, some of the hands would get laid off for the season. A place to winter-up was a good thing to find.


Winterin' Insurance

Most of the boys were up the mountain
Gettin’ cold, time to fetch our stock down
Just one other with me in the bunkhouse
Eager to sleep, tomorrow I was goin' to town
On my bunk, I was finally dozin' off  
When something spooked me full awake 
Thought I'd heard a noise over by the barn
A sound two legged varmints might make
Listening close I hoped I was wrong
But nope, there I heard it again
Next I heard low voices'n barn door rollers
Bein operated by a couple of men
I sat straight up in bed whisperin',
"Did you hear that noise Cole?"
He didn't answer so I scanned in the dark
And found him staring out a knot hole
Of a sudden there were horses galloping
Cole and I lunged for our boots
And dashed to the door with our carbines
We had to stop these owlhoots
But we were too late to see 'em
Only dust hung in the still night air
It was too dark to chase 'em now
But come sunup we'd be saddled for bear!
And so next day we tracked those hombres
Cole could read sign like a bloodhound
He said there were two of them horse thieves
Accordin' to the tracks on the ground
We lost the trail for a while
Seein's they didn't actually cross the crick
Cole searched upstream and I went down
We knew all about that ol' trick
Turns out I found where they emerged
Tracks leading out the same side they went in
I up and fired a signal shot for Cole 
Horsethievin's purt' near the worst of sin
Their trail led east, across the road to town
Where it looked like someone had scuffled
We found small, women's bootprints
And stage coach tracks that'd been shuffled
Gettin' dark, we were about to stop
When we saw a fire glow and smoke
They'd tried to shield it by big boulders
But that didn't work agin' this ol' cowpoke
I sneaked up atop the rock behind 'em
And Cole, he strolled right up to their fire
Beggin' those thieves to make a move
Itchin' to turn loose all his pent-up ire
Turns out they'd robbed the stage too
The strongbox by the fire with hasp all bent
"Sorry boys but your future has changed 
You're not gonna' spend one red cent"
We got to town with the thieves and money
Though this sure wasn’t the route I’d planned
Wells Fargo rewarded us six hundred dollars
For collectin' the robbers and six grand
We led our horses back to the ranch
Where we got read to from the book
The ramrod was furious sayin' that we
Should'a never let them horses get took
Cole, well he was a proud ol' cuss
He looked that man straight in the eye
"You'd better smile talkin to me that way Mister
Less'n you want me to say goodbye"
Then I got mad too as the yelling continued 
I reminded him we'd risked our tail
Said he'd better show some gratitude
Cuz he'd be short-handed if we both cut a trail
He dared us to quit with winter close 
Sayin we'd never find a warm place to stay
Cole grinned at me and I grinned back askin'
"Weren't that reward more'n six months pay?"


by Rik Goodell

© 2022. All rights reserved


I am grateful to Jack Sorenson for his allowing me, one more time, to post his evocative and inspiring, western art alongside mine. 


To see all of his work, go to his website:

error: Alert: Content is protected !!