Four Texas Ranger Tales

The Second Graders of Killingworth, Connecticut Elementary School
            Assisted by James J. Griffin and Their Teachers
    Copyright 2012 by James J. Griffin and the KES Second Grade Classes
                           All Rights Reserved


On May 18, 2012, the Killingworth, Connecticut Elementary School held its annual Arts and Sciences Festival. As a writer, I was asked to participate in the event, and to go over some of the creative processes involved in writing a fictional tale. The four second grade classes came up with the ideas for these stories, along with my suggestions and those of their teachers. All characters, their descriptions and names, plots, and scenes are from the imaginations of the students. The stories were basically written within the forty-five minutes allotted for each session. In addition, certain guidelines appropriate to the age group and elementary school setting were applied, such as little shooting or gunplay in the stories. I hope the reader appreciates the efforts and creativity of the children who took part. I, personally, was hugely impressed by their enthusiasm and imagination. Considering the time and editorial restraints, I think they did a fantastic job.

Credit and thanks also needs to be given to the volunteer assistants who inputted the basic stories into the computer as they were developed, then printed them out so I could take them home and complete them.

As, for privacy and security, the school did not want any of the students, assistants, or teachers identified by name, they are merely listed by session numbers.

                                          James J. Griffin

Due to complaints the stories have been removed from the website.




                   The Ozona Bank Robbery

It was the usual hot and dry weather in the south Texas town of Ozona when two men rode into town and tied their horses in front of the Ozona Bank. They tied the horses out front and entered the bank. Once inside, they pulled bandannas over their faces and their hats low, then lifted the guns from their holsters.
“This is a holdup! Don’t anyone move!” one warned.
“Yessir, Mister. Don’t hurt anyone,” Joey Martin, one of the bank tellers, answered. “We’ll do what you say.”
“Good,” the other robber said. “You, get over here. You two ladies, hand us all the money from the cash drawers. Don’t, and we‘ll shoot this man here.”
“All right, but you’ll pay for this,” Kathleen Watson, the head teller, told him.
“Never mind that, just give us the money,” the robber ordered.
“Here’s all I have.” Amy Rankins, the third teller, handed him a canvas sack full of bills and gold coins. Kathleen did the same.
“You’re bein’ smart, ladies,” the first robber said. “Now, we’re gonna tie this hombre up. You two get inside the vault. We’re gonna lock you in there. Once this man works himself loose, he’ll let you out.”
The two robbers quickly herded the women into the vault, locked them inside, then made Joey lie on the floor. They tied his wrists and ankles.
“Thanks for the money,” one laughed, as they left the bank.
A man walking by spotted the robbers while they were untying their horses.
“Sheriff! The bank’s been robbed!” he shouted.
Hearing the man’s alarm, Sheriff Mack Johnson raced from his office, gun drawn. He had to duck for cover when the two robbers shot at him, their bullets missing and hitting the general store. Johnson’s return shots also missed, as the robbers jumped into their saddles and galloped out of town.
“I’m goin’ after them,” Johnson called. “See if everyone in the bank is all right.”
Johnson got his horse and chased after the outlaws. Several hours later, he returned to town.
“You didn’t catch them, Sheriff?” Joey Martin asked.
“No, they were too fast and didn’t leave much of a trail. This is a job for the Texas Rangers. I’ll telegraph them and have a Ranger sent here.”
Three days later, Texas Ranger Samuel Adams rode into Ozona. Adams was tall and handsome, with gray hair and blue eyes. He was riding a bay horse, whose black mane and tail shone like silk, and who had a white spot on his forehead and another on his nose. Sam let his horse have a drink from the trough in the town square, then tied him to the rail in front of the Sheriff’s office.
“You wait here, Snowflake,” he told the horse, with a pat to his shoulder. “I won’t be long, then I’ll get you some oats.”
Snowflake nuzzled Sam’s cheek and nickered.
“Ranger, sure am glad to see you,” Sheriff Johnson exclaimed when Sam entered his office. “Maybe now we’ll catch those bank robbers.”
“I’ll do my best,” Sam answered. “Name’s Adams… Sam Adams.”
“And I’m Mack Johnson.”
“Pleased to meet you, Sheriff. You have any idea as to who those robbers might be?” Sam asked.
“No, I sure don’t, but the tellers over to the bank got a pretty good description of them. You want to talk to those folks?” the sheriff answered.
“I certainly do. Let’s head over to the bank right now.”
“Just let me get my hat and gun.”
Johnson buckled his gunbelt around his waist and shoved his hat on his head, then led Sam to the bank.
“Amy, Kathleen, Joey,” he called, as soon as they went inside the bank. “This here’s Texas Ranger Sam Adams. He needs to talk to you about the bank robbery. Ranger, Kathleen Watson, the head teller, Joey Martin and Amy Rankins.”
“I’m very pleased to see the Rangers are on the job,” Kathleen said. “We’ll do everything we can to help.”
“Right now I need a description of those outlaws,” Sam answered. “The sheriff says you have good ones.”
“That’s right, we do,” Joey said, “At least the best we could do seein’ as they wore masks. One wore a black bandanna and hat. He had on a green shirt. I could just see his eyes and some of his hair under the mask and Stetson. He had brown eyes and reddish hair.”
“The other one covered his face with a blue bandanna and also wore a black hat,” Amy spoke up. His shirt was green, and he had black eyes and dark brown hair.”
“The red-headed one seemed to be the leader,” Kathleen said. “He had a very distinctive voice. It was kind of high-pitched and scratchy.”
“Did any of you get a look at their horses?” Sam asked.
“No, they tied Joey up and locked me and Amy in the vault,” Kathleen explained.
“I did,” Johnson said. “We had a shootout when they came out of the bank. Once rode a white horse with small brown spots, that had a brown mane and tail. The other one rode a solid black horse. Does that help?”
“It sure does,” Sam answered. “I know who those outlaws are now. Tim Jones and Bob Temple. They’ve been robbin’ banks all through these parts. Make their headquarters somewhere around Junction. Guess I’ll be ridin’. Thanks for all the help. I’ll track those men down.”
“Don’t you want to rest first?” Johnson asked.
“Just long enough to get some food for myself and my horse, then I’d best be on my way. Those outlaws have enough of a start already.”


      “C’mon, Snowflake, we’ve got to keep movin’ to catch those men before they reach their hideout,” Sam urged his horse. “I know we’ve been travelin’ most of the night, and you’re hot and tired, boy, but we’re getting close to Junction. Finish your drink and let’s get goin’.”  Sam had stopped to let his tired horse drink from a small stream. They had been on the trail of the bank robbers for three days and nearly ninety miles now. Sam had set a hard pace, keeping Snowflake at a ground-covering lope, occasionally even spurring the bay into a gallop. More than once Sam thought he had taken the wrong direction, but luckily several people he met had seen the outlaws, recognizing them from Sam’s descriptions.
“Yes sir, Ranger, they headed that way, straight toward Junction,” the last rancher Sam came across had said. “Sure were in a hurry.”
“Thanks, Mister,” Sam answered, then put Snowflake into a lope once again.
“Maybe with any luck once Chuck Peterson got my telegram he spotted Jones and Temple if they rode into town and already has them in jail, Snowflake,” Sam told his horse. “Sure would be good news if he has. Getting harder to follow their horses’ hoofprints.
One of the outlaws’ horses had a nick out of his left front shoe, so Sam had been able to trail them by that mark. Now, however, as they grew nearer to Junction, the outlaws’ tracks were blurred by many other horses’ hoofprints.
Sam had no way of knowing, at that very moment, an hour before sunrise, the outlaws had ridden into Junction, rather than riding straight for their hideout. They had hoped to be undiscovered and steal supplies from the general store under the cover of darkness, but the Junction sheriff, Chuck Peterson, was making his rounds and spotted them as they dismounted.
“Hold it right there, you two! You’re under arrest,” he ordered.
Instead of obeying the sheriff, but not wanting to shoot him because gunfire would awaken the town, Jones and Temple rushed the sheriff. A brief fistfight started. Peterson hit Temple in the jaw, sending him backwards, but then Jones punched the sheriff in the belly, knocking the wind out of him. Gasping for breath, Peterson managed to hit Jones, but another punch to the sheriff’s chin knocked him out. He fell to the dirt.
“What do we do with him, Tim?” Temple asked. “Sure can’t shoot him. That’d bring everyone runnin’.”
“We’ll tie him up and leave him in the alley behind the store,” Jones answered. “No one’ll find him for quite some time.”
“We’d better not head straight for our cabin,” Temple warned. “Someone’d follow us there for sure.”
“I’ll think of something,” Jones said.
They tied Sheriff Peterson’s wrists behind his back, then wrapped a rope around his ankles and dragged him behind the store.


      When Sam rode into Junction two hours later, he found Sheriff Peterson at Doctor Tomas Moore’s office, where the doctor was bandaging a cut on Peterson’s chin.
“Sam, sure glad to see you,” Peterson exclaimed when he spotted the big Ranger. “Temple and Jones were here. Tried to stop ’em, but they got the better of me. Knocked me out, then tied me up.”
“Don’t worry, Chuck, I’ll find them,” Sam assured him. “Doc, will Chuck be all right?”
“He’ll be good as new in a few days,” Doctor Moore said.
“Good, then I’m gonna track down those two outlaws. High time for them to be thrown in jail.”
Sam left the doctor’s office and rode behind the store. The hoofprints of the outlaws’ horses were plain in the dusty alleyway.
“They sure left a clear trail, Snowflake,” Sam said. “And I don’t like the looks of it. Seems like they’re headed straight for the schoolhouse! We’ve got to stop ’em, boy.”
Sam followed the trail of the outlaws, which went directly behind the school. Just as he rode up to the schoolhouse, the door opened, and Bobbi Jo Collette, the school ma’rm, waved to him.
“Ranger! I spotted your badge as you rode up. Are you looking for two men?” she asked.
Sam swung out of his saddle. He gazed at the pretty teacher, who had chestnut colored hair and brown eyes.
“Sure am,” he answered. “They didn’t bother you or the kids, did they?”
“No, they didn’t. I was afraid they were up to no good, and might harm the children, so I kept everyone inside and locked the doors.“
“That was very smart, Miss…?“
“Miss Collette… Bobbi Jo Collette.”
“I’m Ranger Sam Adams.”
“Ranger, please come in with me, so they children won’t be worried.”
“Sure, ma’am,” Sam answered. He followed the teacher into the one room schoolhouse. Twenty-six students, from grades one through eight, were waiting.
“Children, this is Ranger Adams,” Miss Collette said. “He is following those men we saw ride past.”
“Are they outlaws, Ranger?” James Williams, one of the eighth graders, asked.
“They sure are,” Sam answered. “They’re bank robbers, and they also knocked Sheriff Peterson out and tied him up when he tried to arrest them.”
“Then I’m gonna help you find them,” James said. “I think I know  where their hideout is. They’re headed for a canyon not far from here. I’ll get my horse. He’s right outside.”
“James, I can’t let you do that,” Miss Collette said. “It’s far too dangerous.”
“Miss Collette’s right, James,” Sam agreed. “Rounding up those outlaws is my job. You’re too young.”
“Heck, no, I ain’t,” James answered. “I’m almost fifteen, and that’s old enough to join the Rangers.”
“James, you mean, ‘No, I’m not’,” Miss Collette corrected. “But it doesn’t matter. You’re staying here.”
“Listen to Miss Collette,” Sam said. “If all of you want to help, you can do that by taking care of Snowflake, my horse. I’m going to leave him here and go after those men on foot the rest of the way. Less chance of their seeing me that way.”
“Aw, shucks,” James said.
“Never mind that,” Miss Collette told him. “Ranger Adams,” she continued to Sam, “We’ll be happy to take care of your horse. Just please, be careful.”
“Always am,” Sam answered.
Assured that his horse would be in good hands, and certain the teacher would know exactly what to do if the robbers returned, Sam once again took up the trail of the robbers. He was almost at the mouth of the canyon when he turned at a sound behind him. His hand went to the butt of his pistol, but he quickly pulled it away when he spotted James hurrying up the trail.
“James, what are you doin’ here?” Sam asked. “Thought Miss Collette and I told you to stay back at the school?”
“You did, and I’m sorry, but I snuck off when Miss Collette’s back was turned. Figured you might need some help. Maybe I can get the outlaws’ attention so you can sneak up behind them and get the drop on them,” James answered.
Sam rubbed his jaw.
“I shouldn’t let you, but that’s not a bad idea,” he said.
“Good. I wo