The Man whose Name Was Stolen – Extended Epilogue

Three Years Later

“It was a very speedy trial, and then they hung him,” the barber, Jason Young, said as he mixed up the shaving soap.

“Is that right? But I suppose he didn’t have much of a defense.”

The barber nodded. “No, he didn’t. The law had all the money he deposited after getting paid for the guns and the testimony of a few Indians who watched the transfer. Money for guns.”

He spread shaving cream on the man in the barber chair.

“To be honest, the army could have drawn and quartered him, and I don’t think anyone would have objected. Dang, we almost had a wholesale Indian war here due to him.” The barber shook his head. “The man just got greedy. That’s the best I can figure out. Just got money hungry.”

“That’s been the death of more than one man,” said the customer. His name was Nathan Bilke, and he was a writer for Harper’s Magazine. Bilke had been sent out to the West to write some intelligent articles about the area for the magazine.

“No purple prose and no dime novel commentary,” the editor had said. “I want realistic tales. I don’t mind them being exciting, but we are not into that purple prose of the dime novels. If those things ever had a truthful line in them, it was by accident. But if you find an interesting tale, great. Write it. Just don’t make anything up.”

Bilke agreed and had been sending stories for two months to his editor when he heard about the prior events in Idaho Springs, events that almost led to an Indian war.

Young sharpened the razor. “Frankly, I supposed Downey had to have a few guts and maybe even a little cunning, but he didn’t look like much when he climbed the gallows. He looked like a sad and frightened little man. He knew he was walking toward his doom. And walking to hell. And he sure wasn’t confident then. I was there. Downey walked slowly and looked scared. I’d be scared going to hell too.”

“I wouldn’t be comfortable either,” Bilke said. “But I must admit the scheme by the bankers could have succeeded. They both accuse a man of robbing the bank, and the blame is placed on him, in this case, Mr. Logan. He was away in the mountains doing trapping, so he wouldn’t have an alibi. It looked like a perfect frame.”

Young began shaving his customer. “Yes, it did. They got Logan’s picture on a Wanted Poster – dead or alive – and put a five-hundred-dollar bounty on him. That’s good money. Most rewards are at most two or three hundred. Five hundred would have got the attention of the best bounty hunters in the land. But they targeted Logan. He not only wouldn’t have an alibi, one of the men had lost a couple of thousand to him in a poker game, and the other bank officer had eyes on his girl. Instead of getting what they wanted, they both got dead.”

“That’s an interesting story. I may want to write about it and send it back to Harper’s. A true human-interest feature from the West. And what was the name of the man again they tried to frame?”

“Derrick Logan. He was the suitor to Miss Judy Raintree. They are now married and still live right here in town. He was seeing her, but one of the bank officers was trying to be a suitor too. But the woman had good taste in men and didn’t want anything to do with him. Think his name was Weston. But he was older than she was and fat for that matter. Logan was a nice young man. But Weston and a man called Wells, the Blue Mountain Bank president, were embezzling. The alleged robbery was an attempt to cover that up.”

“And Logan is still around here. I would like to interview him.”

“Yes, he’s still here. He and Judy Raintree got married and thought they would try horse ranching. Both of them loved horses, and they got a sixty-acre spread just south of town. And if I’m not wrong, they added to it last year. Now it’s about a hundred acres, and they have produced some fine racehorses. They’re doing very well with their ranch. Have a son now too.”

“Really.”

The barber nodded. “And looks just like his daddy. Judy brings him to town occasionally, and he is the spitting image of his father. And she just gave birth to a girl, think it was about three months ago. And both mother and child are fine.”

Young began shaving his client.

“But that is a good story,” he said. “I can see where your readers might be interested.”

“How did Logan prove his innocence.”

“Well, he had to stay out of sight, of course, since bounty hunters were looking for him. But he had a good friend who worked for Wells Fargo. A man named Stack Goldman. Stack agreed to help Logan, and he began sniffing around. He saw a few questionable items about the robbery.”

“Like what.”

Young wiped his razor on a towel. “The two bank officers sent a teller out to Mr. Gary Downey.”

“The guy who was hung.”

“That’s him,” the barber said. “Stack thought that was odd. When the murder occurred, there were only four men, allegedly; the two bank officials, the second teller, and the robber. He thought that was suspicious. Turned out Downey refused to talk about the letter, refused to say anything about it. So Stack thought the letter was fake and was just an attempt to get the second teller out of the office so there wouldn’t be a witness. And he wondered why Downey would do that for him.”

“A good question.”

“But as it turned out, Downey had made some large deposits in the bank that he didn’t want anyone to know about. He was being paid for the guns by the Indians, but he didn’t want anyone to know about the large deposits because he couldn’t explain them. He was trying to be smart, but it turned out he was dumb. The government filed charges against both his wife and his son, claiming they knew about the gun-running.”

“Did they?”

“Probably, at least both of them pleaded guilty. The son got a lighter sentence, and the government agreed he could serve his time in another state. Another prisoner might have known about the gun-running and wanted to take revenge. He was transferred to a prison down in Arizona. The wife served her term here. The wife got ten years, and the son did to. Downey had made gun-running a family affair.”

Young wiped the remaining soap off his customer’s face. “We never did know why he started it. I’m guessing it was just greed, but he had a fair-sized ranch, and he seemed to be doing pretty good financially. There was no reason to sell guns to the Indians.”

“There is no reason for anyone to sell guns to Indians, but it is done and has been done all over the West,” Bilke said.

“True, very true. As our pastor says, ‘Money is the root of all kinds of evil.’   I guess it could have gone the other way. The bankers might have gotten away with it. But Stack and Logan, I think, quickly realized what was happening. Logan knew the story was a lie, so he knew the two bank officials were lying, and his friend Stack know that too. They just had to get the proof that Logan was innocent.

“That must have been a surprise for Mr. Logan. To come back to civilization and see your face on a wanted poster. I wouldn’t want that to happen to me,” Bilke said.

“It was, but the two figured it out rather quickly, and the two must have planned a fake robbery to hide the embezzlement. And the crime did have an ironic twist. They stole the money from the bank but hid the stolen money in the same bank, Young said.

Bilke shook his head. “That was a masterstroke. The readers will like that. It’s kind of brilliant.”

Young nodded as he began to shave Bilke’s other jaw. “It was until the auditors came up. The two went down to Denver to the headquarters of the Blue Mountain Bank to tell the executives that something fishy was happening up here in Idaho Springs. So the execs sent down a team of auditors. When that happened, the two corrupt officials knew their time was up. One shot the other one, and then he ended up committing suicide. Which cleared Mr. Logan.”

“A darn interesting story.”

“They wanted to put Mr. Logan’s head in a noose, but they only succeeded in killing themselves. But with the guns Downey had smuggled to the Indians, the Apaches had an advantage on – or at least were equal to the army in firepower. The Apaches were hoping to sweep through this area, killing whites and burning towns, and there were a few fights between the two chiefs, Blue Knife and Dark Buffalo, and the army, but due to some quick shooting and quick thinking, the army came out ahead. That’s why I was so pleased to witness the execution of Downey. He caused a lot of trouble and helped spill a lot of blood. He did it simply out of greed. To be honest, I don’t know where he was buried. No decent cemetery would take him. I guess the army just dug a hole out in the forest and dropped him in it.”

“That’s a great story. I do want to write it for the magazine. Full of human interest, action, drama, a murder mystery. But Mr. Logan was very fortunate to have a friend who was a Wells Fargo agent.”

Young finished shaving his customer and wrapped a hot towel over his face.

‘Yes, he was. I think Stack saw through the scheme very quickly. He wasn’t a Wells Fargo agent for nothing, but he knew his friend was innocent. And if he was, the only other two suspects were the two bank officials. But unless you had proof, most citizens would take the world of two prominent businessmen than an ordinary cowhand. But Stack had to get proof before a bounty hunter found his friend. Five hundred dollars was a good bounty, and Logan almost caught a bullet.”

“Really?”

“Yep, a man name Jarrold McCloud got on Logan’s trail. That’s kind of ironic because after all was said and done, McCloud and Stack, and Logan for that matter, got to be good friends. They were the three who found the Indian camp where the brave was readying for an attack on the towns around here. They escaped by the skin of their teeth and spread the word, so the towns got guns and prepared for the attack.   They were in on the battles and helped turn the tide. But before that, when Logan was racing for the church’s backdoor, McCloud had a bead on him and would have fired, but Stack knocked him out. Later, McCloud said he was happy to be conked on the head because he didn’t want to kill an innocent man. And, lo and behold, he and Logan became friends. He and McCloud too.”

“What is he doing now?”

“Well, McCloud stayed in the bounty hunting business for a while, but he had saved up his money, and he went out to the coast, in San Francisco, I believe, and he bought part of a gambling casino. He also acts as one of the guards. Last I heard he was making a good deal of money. Now Stack was a Wells Fargo man, but he had grown tired of a desk job. The company put him back in the field for a couple of years and then promoted him again. I think by that time Stack was ready to take on a desk job. He had found a sweet lady and did not object to being tied down to one town. I think he settled in Denver, that being one of the major Wells Fargo centers. And I was told, and I can’t remember by who, that he had taken up writing. The man told me he had talked to Stack, and he was getting interested in writing some historical books about the West. Stack was irritated with all the silly dime novels and thought he would help set the records straight. I don’t know anything about his writing ability, but I’m thinking he would be a good historian. When he publishes his first book, I want to read it. Wonder if he will write about his case in Idaho Springs. It was darn interesting. And now that he is settled down, he is married too. I don’t know anything about the woman, but her name is Abby Knight. I was told she likes cities, so Stack will be staying in Denver for a while.”

“And Derrick and his wife settled here?”

The barber nodded. “Head about ten miles north, and you will see their ranch. One of the biggest in this section of the state. Last time I saw Logan, he said again he was very glad not to be up in the mountains trapping anymore. He said ranching is easier. You not only needed to trap the animals; you needed to skin them to get the hides, and that was a messy job, he said. He much prefers to be working with horses.”

“Has McCloud had more interesting cases than the one he had here?”

The barber laughed. “That I don’t know. I doubt it. Those bankers thought they would pull off the perfect crime, but they discovered it was less than perfect. But I think if Stack hadn’t stepped in, they might have gotten away with it. I mean, after all, they were two respectable businessmen. On the other side was a trapper. No offense to trappers, but businessmen have a better reputation. If some bounty hunter had actually found Logan, shot him, and brought him in dead, nobody would have been the wiser, and they would have gotten away with it. And Downey would have gotten away with his crime. The whole area might have been changed, and not for the better if Logan hadn’t asked his good friend Stack for support.”

“Makes you think, doesn’t it,” Bilke said. “It shows you what can happen when one good man starts moving and asking questions. That’s a nice take for my story. How one man changed the lives of many others and brought justice to a small Colorado town. I think that’s a good angle.”

“The readers back East might eat it up,” the barber said. “But you’re not making anything up. It’s history. And thank goodness it turned out well, instead of ending with Mr. Logan dead and the bank presidents getting away with robbery and murder.”

“Yes, it has a happy ending. That’s a plus. Readers like stories with happy endings.”

“And one crime, the bank robbery, and murder lead to another, the gun smuggling. Shows what persistence will do.”

“Yes, it does. And I’m glad the bank presidents are dead. They are as guilty as Downey for the gun smuggling. They should have been suspicious, but they ignored the questionable deposits so they could use him to help them hide the embezzlement.”

“Whatever happened to his ranch?”

“Reverted to the county. And was sold to a man from the East, a man named Dale Hardee. He’s brought his family out and has been a fine member of our community. Plus, he has a great voice. He sings with the church choir, as does his wife. She’s a fine singer too. Those two are much better community citizens than the Downeys.

The barber took the hot towel off his customer’s face.

“Thank you,” Bilke said. “I appreciate it. And thanks for the information. I think his story will really make my editor happy. I might talk to some of the people involved, just to flesh the story out. You say Mr. Logan still lives in the town.”

The barber nodded. “Yes. His place is about seven miles outside of town. If you ride out there, I’m sure he will talk to you. He’s a very friendly man, and he might appreciate having the story written down and by a professional writer. It would be something Derrick and Judy would preserve for their children and let them read it when they get old enough. And I’m sure they would like seeing the story in Harper’s Magazine. They’ll probably order a dozen, or even fifty, magazines. They will be famous, at least for a month.”

“Oh, and is the sheriff still here?

The barber nodded.

“Yes, but the sheriff plans to retire end of the year. So you need to talk to him quick. He’s got family in California, and he’s going out there when he lays down his badge here. He said after so many years being in the cold in Colorado, he plans to head for sunny California and won’t ever see snow again. That has been a dream of his. He has never liked the cold and has never liked the snow.”

“Where in California is he going?”

“Down near Los Angeles. I think the place is about thirty miles south of Los Angeles, near the coast.”

“Then he won’t have to worry about snow. There’s none of it down there.”

“That will be fine with our sheriff. He has said he has had it with snow, ice, and cold winds. He wanted someplace warm and with a beach. And in about three months, he is going to get it. He’s already packing up and says he never wants to see a snowflake again.”

THE END


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33 thoughts on “The Man whose Name Was Stolen – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Wow, absolutely Brilliant tale. I feel like I just came up for air. A well crafted tale with interesting and strong characters. Played out like a movie in my head. Very entertaining. Satisfied but exhausted by all the action. I had to smile at the barber, they never cease to amaze me with being the font of all knowledge

    1. I enjoyed the story very much. It was hard to put down when I got started. Hope to read more of your wonderful stories.

  2. I have enjoyed your books and this was no exception. I unfortunately found that leaving recommendations somehow locks up my phone, but am trying it again because I did enjoy this story about a man losing his name and nearly losing his life.

    1. I did enjoy the way you told your story. I am so sorry you used an editor who was uneducated or maybe you thought spell check was enough. Sometimes I couldn’t figure out what you we’re trying to say. Misspelled words are bad enough but words used in the wrong context are a huge fault.

      1. My comments exactly.
        I generally proof and edit as I read, but decided not to this time … wrong … many typos, smelling misnakes, and awkward mechanical mistakes, words continued in the next paragraph (at least five), but a well-developed story line and good fleshing out of characters.
        The post script was a dissapointment, more of a recap than a ‘what happened later’, not your usual, Derrick.

    1. Hard to write another review after reading that of others. Don’t think I could add anything that’s already been said. Except, I loved it. The writter did a great job, excellent, interesting story and very entertaining. Best wishes for him and his talents.

    2. Enjoyed the story with all its twists and character interactions. Disappointed with the extended epilogue and its many repetitions of what happened in the book.

  3. I really liked the story, characters, action, and especially the outcome. My only disappointment was the numerous errors of using wrong names of characters and towns. Made it hard to follow at times! Needed better proofreading !

  4. The tremendous amount of misused grammar, punctuation mistakes, extra words misplaced made reading this story very difficult. You need to have a proof-reader that knows how to edit a script. Reading the epilogue was a total waste of time. You just rewrote 3/4ths of what the story was when you could have delved further into the main hero’s life after the indian war.

  5. I have found that is the book is by Derek Levine, you will enjoy it very much and will want to keep reading even if it is past your normal bed-time. That’s what happened to me. I will look for another by Levine.

  6. My first Levine book. Compliments on the characters and the great story. And thank you for the refreshingly clean writing. Thank you for story telling with so much detail using no cussing! I will be reading more of your books!

  7. Please review the copy before sending it out for sale. As others remarked, the typographical errors and changing place names made it hard to follow. And I agree with the comment about the extended dialogue as a rehash, rather than the main characters’ new lives. Normally your books do that, so I was surprised.

    The story was different enough to warrant reading.

    1. Thank you for your comment Bill! My team is aware of the issue and we are trying our best to enrich the group with more and better proofreaders. I understand your concerns and your points are valid. I will transfer this to my editor!

  8. First, whoever’s PROOF READING for you needs to do a better job for you. Typos gets in the way of reading. I had to go back & reread the sentence to understand what was being conveyed to your readers. I enjoyed the characters.
    The epilogue was a waist of time. Rehashing the story like we didn’t know or understand what we had read. I kept waiting to read some new information. However, it wouldn’t be.i was so disappointed for the epilogue.
    Except for Derrick & Judy about their life.

    1. Thank you for your honest feedback, Lenora. I am aware of the proofreading and my team works on it to have better results. I will keep you words in mind for my future stories!

  9. This was a wonderful story, I loved it, could not put it down, so I didn’t! Definitely a must read, for excitement galore throughout this book, lots of action packed scenes and moments of sadness and joy. This Author has you captured from page one untl the very end! This is one helluva story and I have to say, one which has you wanting more, the extended epilogue was absolutely wonderful with a beautiful love story ending! So don’t miss this one and you have to read until you’ve found out how much you can imagine yourself with lots of mysteries solved, so I can’t tell you any more, so you will have to read it yourself!🌬😉📚🎭🤠

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