The first effort was an impromptu organization of half a dozen angered miners who rode into the Weston Hills. They found fresh hoof-prints after an hour of riding, and went on greatly encouraged, with the pistols loosened in their holsters. After some hours of hard travel they came upon a white horse in the midst of a hollow, and then spread into a circle and approached cautiously. But not cautiously enough. While they were still far from the white horse the bandit opened fire upon them from the shelter of a circle of rocks. They rode into town the next day with three of their number badly hurt and the other three marked for life. That started the war.
As the months passed posse after posse left Appleton and started to scour the Weston Hills for the marauder. The luckiest of the expeditions came back telling tales of a sudden fusillade from an unexpected covert, and then a swift white horse scouring into the distance. The majority came back with no tales at all save of silent mountains and the grim cactus of the desert.
In the mean time the stages from Appleton to Concord were held up with a monotonous regularity by a rider of a fleet white horse, and the mining town grew more and more irate. Men cursed the name of Slim Malone. An adventurous singer in one of Appleton’s dance halls invented a song featuring the marauder, and it was taken up by the matrons of the town as a sort of scare-crow ballade to hush their children.
Then the new mayor came to Appleton.…