The Legend of Blackjack Boughton And The Lost Treasure Of Brisbee
End Of The Trail
My eyes were tired as I reached the last few pages of the Barker manuscript, but I had to know what had happened to the people in the story. I wanted to know how Blackjack's journal and the Beale letter had come to be in the bookmobile. I went to the kitchen and got my last cup of coffee for the day and sat down to finish reading the saga.
From the point of the discovery of the gold, the story got a little hazy. Barker knew that Kid Hawpe had somehow survived the fall from Mare's Leap and had sustained only a broken arm and leg, but he wasn't sure how anyone had found him. He also knew that the treasure-hunting group had managed to get the outlaws and the gold back to Brisbee, and he knew that Blackjack had escaped from jail and had been killed a few years later over in Dallas. He wasn't sure if the outlaw's death was the result of a card game or a bank robbery, but the outlaw's horse, Claim-Jumper, had been found standing over his master's body.
Kid Hawpe, Demetera Woods, and Doc all disappeared around the same time, and someone told Barker that they had gone back to Tascosa and continued their wild ways. As for Stampede Norman and Runaway Lovelace, they decided that the life of an outlaw was not for them, and had opened a business in Brisbee with one of Blackjack's brothers. They could always be found on a Saturday night over at The Capricorn Saloon playing cards and having a laugh or two with Susannah Goal and Three-Fingers Wise.
Many years later the owner of the Brisbee Gazette took a trip to New Zealand and had run into an old man who said that he had once been a cook at a saloon in Brisbee. Gerald Barker was amazed! It was Sourdough Duke, the man who had told him the story about Blackjack! Barker asked Duke how he had come to be in a locale so remote from Brisbee, and Sourdough told him how he had always wanted to visit Australia, and how the discovery of the gold had given him that chance. He caught a boat, piloted by some nefarious sea captain ... whose name he couldn't remember, had sailed triumphantly into Sydney Harbor, and had subsequently moved to New Zealand. Duke told Barker to come by his home the next day for lunch; he had something the editor of the Gazette would like to see.
Barker accepted the invitation, and when he arrived the next afternoon Duke gave him a package and told him that he could have the contents to take back to Brisbee. When the newspaper man opened it, he saw Blackjack's journal! It was much later that he discovered the Beale letter tucked between the pages of the aged book.
The old man went on to tell him that Frenchie McGee had gone to Paris and entered the Sorbonne to study art. One of her paintings was hanging in the Louvre, and several were scattered around the world in some of the finest galleries and museums.
Molly McGuire had taken her share of the gold and had moved to New Orleans where she opened one of the finest and most famous restaurants in The French Quarter. She had married a man of great wealth and had become a woman of high esteem in New Orleans society.
Tracinda Burdette wanted to see the world too, and she moved to London, but soon tired of the weather and came back to Texas. She bought a beautiful farm near Brisbee that has remained in her family ever since. Once, on a bet, she raised the biggest watermelon anybody in Brisbee had ever seen. That record still stands, and no one has even come close to matching it.
Sour-Mash Marsh roamed around the west for awhile, and wound up in San Francisco where he opened a music school for violin students. However, he couldn't quite get himself out of the habit of brewing a little whiskey every now and then so he spent a good deal of time trying to ditch the federal revenuers. Marsh finally left the Bay Area and went to Florida.
Sheriff McAlister was a man who had always wanted to write. He once started a novel, but never finished it. He took his share of the gold and moved to Hawaii where he finally found his inspiration and became very famous for his unique style of prose. Only then did anyone find out his first name ... "Paladin". (No wonder he never used it!)
Well, it had been quite a story. I was curious about the child from the cemetery, but there was nothing else about her. I wondered again if the map I had found in the cemetery was the same one she had taken. It had to be! There was no other explanation for my finding it there.
After all was said and done, some questions still remained ...
What of the stories that had been around for so long about the enormous amounts of gold buried by Blackjack Boughton? Were they true? Were there other caches that hadn't been found ....