The Winter Boys Recap

At the El Paso Arms, Red Bolton is in his room with the lights out when there's a knock on his door. The man outside says that it's Ranger Walt Graves and tells Red to open up. Red lets Walt in, and Walt says that both Winter brothers Clay and Thad are in jail. However, he warns that two Rangers overheard the brothers talking and are sure that Red set them up. Red doesn't care and demands his reward, and Walt hands it over. However, he asks who is going to testify against the Winters, and warns that if a jury doesn't convict them then they'll come after Red.

Three days later, Hoby receives word that the Winters were arrested without a shot while trying to break into the bank. Henrietta figures that there was something going on to get the Winters captured, but Hoby refuses to speculate. She points out that the man that used to ride with the Winters, Red, wasn't with them.

Walt comes in, using a fake name, and Hoby does the introductions. His friend claims that he doesn't know anything about the Winters, and Hoby takes him over to the sheriff's office for a cup of coffee. Hoby asks Ralph to take his horse to the stable. Once they're alone, Walt explains that he was in on the Winters' arrest and they used Red. The Winters have friends that would kill Red for them, but the Rangers need Red to testify. Walt wants Hoby to keep Red alive and says that he already brought Red into town.

Hoby goes to the Porter Mansion House where Red is registered under a fake name, To Larkin. A woman, Inez , comes in at the same time and asks to see Red using the Larkin name. The clerk Pete says that there's no such person there, and suggests that she talk to Hoby. Inez claims that she's Larkin's husband and quickly leaves rather than talk to Hoby. Once she's gone, Pete tells Hoby that Red paid him $20 to tell everyone except Hoby that he wasn't there.

When he arrive at Red's room, Hoby describes Inez to Red. Red says that Inez Bard is Thad's girl and figures that she's onto him. As Hoby goes back to the lobby, Ralph comes in and says that a telegram came in that Thad broke out of jail. Hoby goes back to Red's room and breaks the news. Red figures that he's got two ways to get to the border, and Hoby warns that they want Red to run and reveal himself. He says that he can put Red in a safer place: jail.

Red agrees and Hoby locks him up. For the next week, no other strangers arrive and Inez apparently leave Porter. Hoby goes to the barber shop to get a shave, and a man named Luke Crane comes in. He says that a friend of his is locked up and Ralph said that visitors aren't allowed. When Luke doesn't say what his business is, Hoby says that no one is going in. Once Luke leaves, Hoby tells Aaron that he's heard of Luke by reputation.

Luke goes to the saloon and has a drink. When he tries to leave, the bartender Joe points out that Luke's bottle shows he's had at least six drinks. Luke asks the man next to him, Josh, to say what he saw. Josh claims that he didn't see anything, and Luke draws on him. Josh walks out and Luke starts shooting bottles and then the mirror. Hoby comes in, gun drawn, and tells Luke to drop his gun. Luke immediately does so and says that he doesn't have any money. Hoby has him give Joe what he has and offers to make up the difference, and has no choice but to arrest him... and take him to jail. Satisfied, Luke goes with him.

Hoby puts Luke in the cell next to Red. Once Hoby leaves, Luke calls Red by name and says that he's just there to talk. He says that Thad is holed up in a shack outside of town and wants to talk to Red. Luke warns that if Red goes then at least he has a chance, and Clay will still have to stand trial. If Red keeps quiet then Thad will let him live. Luke says that he can't leave because he's under arrest, and if Red flees then Thad will figure that he's going to double-cross him.

Red tells Hoby that he's going, and Hoby figures that Luke said something to him. When Red arrives at the shack, Thad calls to him and confirms that he's alone. He comes out, rifle ready, and tells Red that he doesn't have to leave the country. As Thad cocks the hammer, Hoby fires a warning shot and Thad takes Red as a shield. Red pulls away and Hoby kills Thad.

As Hoby and Red prepare to ride out, Red apologizes and Hoby says that he saw Red riding out away from El Paso. He knows that Luke worked for the Winters as a messenger boy, and Red says that he'll testify.

Written by Gadfly on Jan 5, 2017