Satisfied that there was not much more to be done prior to their train journey, the group found lodging at the local hotel.
An uneventful night saw them at the train station nice and early where they collected the tickets, paid for by Grainger as promised, and watched the crate loaded into the Mail Car. Entrance to the Mail Car seemingly strictly prohibited by the guards riding within.
The engine began to build a head of steam, whistles blew and doors banged shut, they were on their way. The group’s fellow passengers consisted of a well dressed Englishman, an older woman and young ward, a young mother and infant, and 3 men of no particular note dressed as any other common cowpoke.
Inexplicably driven by an urge for tea, William Fry D’Alembord took it upon himself to exit the passenger car, climb up the Mail car and begin making his way along towards the engine. Shepherd quickly followed warning against this action but the determined D’Alembord pressed on, hot water for his tea had to be obtained. The guards with the Mail car did not share his enthusiasm and, taking exception to an unknown walking across their roof, “offered” him a quick return to the passenger car via the safer route of the Mail car. Despite now being inside the off-limits car, D’Alembord failed to see anything of note.
Back in their seats the monotony of the journey continued. Some dozed off, others took to counting the odd bush that raced passed their window. None managed to spot the horse backed riders until they were well upon the train. Riding alongside with guns in their hands and scarves pulled up around their faces, their intentions were obviously more than just to say “Howdy”. Quique unsheathed his rifle, D’Alembord woke Shepherd, Barnes warned the other passengers, Hogan snored loudly.
Then the shooting began.
The fast firing Mexican’s rifle rang out above all others as shot after shot found its target but he was certainly not alone as all returned fire upon the marauders. All except Ebenezer who, moved into action by a bullet grazing his leg, had dived to the safety of the train floor … to check on the women of course.
Three riders are down but more now ride in their place. Two have moved on past the passengers and are no longer in sight.