We crawled silently into the camp and put a slash of lipstick across each sleeping man's throat. Several stirred but non awoke. We did not try for the women because we feared one or more might cry out if we woke them. We did however leave a note that warned if they did not release the women we would be back to finish the job with knives.
Morning brought mayhem in the camp. Men stared in fear and cussed. The leader Art called them together. “Can anyone tell me what happened?”
No one could. “Whoever did this was damned good” John replied. “What do we do now?” Another man asked.
The confused discussion went on and on until they agreed to let the women go and once whoever did this met up with the women they would attack.
Well it seemed like a good idea at the time but as it turned out we'd had the same thought.
Ann climbed higher trying to get in touch with the US Marshall's but still no reception. Meanwhile Big Jim left to find help saying that at some of those women were wives and children of some mountain families and he believed those husbands and fathers were together searching for them and he believed he could find them. I asked him to leave the six sticks of dynamite he'd brought and he did. Now to get ready to meet the women and get them to safety.
The plan was to have Ann and Mary meet them to avoid fear and confusion while we prepared to create a diversion to get them some distance before they came after us. As soon as the women cleared the camp Ann and Mary met them and pulled them down behind some rocks while Erik and I lobbed some dynamite sticks down into the camp. The result was what we wanted as they scattered for shelter and three were blown away. In the confusion Ann and Mary got the women almost a mile away and we were rushing to catch up.
They would be coming fast and mad. We decided not to get caught in the open but to find good shelter on higher ground with a good field of fire to hold them off till darkness so Erik and I could use the dark to start evening the numbers. We never got the chance.
Just before dark we heard the guns start and then a running battle going in every direction as the mountain men ran down and killed the kidnapper rapist. The lucky ones died from bullets the others were hanged. Then Big Jim appeared and began giving orders to begin taking bodies back to the cave we'd found. Once they were finished he set the rest of the dynamite off and buried them all.
“Mountain justice” Erik told us. Everything about it reminded me of the old west when people solved their own problems. The good thing, however, is that we had modern counseling for any of the women who need it.
It was over. Ann wanted to get back to camping and I was suspicious of what she had in mind. Oh well, it’s a Good life if you can stay alive!