Mystery Ranch by Arthur Chapman Page 1 of 168


There was a swift padding of moccasined feet through the hall leading to the Indian agent's office.

Ordinarily Walter Lowell would not have looked up from his desk. He recognized the footfalls of Plenty Buffalo, his chief of Indian police, but this time there was an absence of the customary leisureliness in the official's stride. The agent's eyes were questioning Plenty Buffalo before the police chief had more than entered the doorway.

The Indian, a broad-shouldered, powerfully built man in a blue uniform, stopped at the agent's desk and saluted. Lowell knew better than to ask him a question at the outset. News speeds best without urging when an Indian tells it. The clerk who acted as interpreter dropped his papers and moved nearer, listening intently as Plenty Buffalo spoke rapidly in his tribal tongue.

"A man has been murdered on the road just off the reservation," announced the interpreter.

Still the agent did not speak.

"I just found him," went on the police chief to the clerk, who interpreted rapidly. "You'd better come and look things over."

"How do you know he was murdered?" asked the agent, reaching for his desk telephone.

"He was shot."

"But couldn't he have shot himself?"

"No. He's staked down."

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