Six weeks earlier, Hoby had started out on Rufus' trail. Rufus's brother Jimmy had killed Michael's father, and in return Michael had shot Jimmy. Rufus intended to kill Michael. Hoby
Rufus Cole and his associate Stokes are out in the hills, and spots Michael Hardesty riding along. Rufus says that it's too far, but Stokes tells him that with Hoby trailing Rufus, they can't wait much longer. Despite his reservations, Rufus takes the shot and knocks Michael off his horse. He goes to make sure that Michael is dead, just as Hoby rides up. As Hoby checks on Michael, Rufus fires at him and Hoby drags Michael to cover. Rufus and Stokes ride off, and Michael tells Hoby that he can't see.
Later, Hoby rides into the nearby town. and tells sheriff that Rufus is in the hills and has someone with him., The sheriff figures that the other man is Rufus' associate Stokes, and Hoby suggests that they set up a watch over Michael at the house. The sheriff says that he'll take care of it, and Hoby leaves.
When Hoby arrives at the ranch, Rebecca Ford comes out. She tells Hoby that he's in. When he starts going in, Rebecca tells him that he can't tell to Michael because he was bushwhacked. As Hoby introduces himself, Dr. Brooks comes out and says that Michael has had a shock and needs rest. Rebecca wonders if he'll be okay, and Brooks tells her that Michael is blind.
Rebecca goes to Michael and tells him that they'll get the best doctor in the country for him. She assures him that things will run fine without his help, but Michael tells her that he's blind. Hoby asks if there's anything Michael can tell him about Rufus, and Michael figures that Rufus won't leave the hills until he kills him.
Hoby searches the area and a week goes by. He returns to his camp with firewood and finds Rufus and Stokes waiting for him, guns drawn. Rufus drops Hoby's holster at his feet and tells him to go for it, but Hoby figures that it's empty. He warns Stokes that there's no murder charge against him yet. Rufus throws his coffee in Hoby's face to shut him up, and says that he isn't moving on until he kills Michael. He gets too close and Hoby grabs him, takes his gun, and uses him as shield. The Ranger orders Stokes to drop it, and he does. The Ranger has Stokes tie Rufus up then puts his gun belt back on.
Michael is trying to ride despite being blind, and drives his horse up to a cliff. He whips it to go on, and Hoby sees him. Hoby rides up to the cliff and leads the horse away from the edge. Michael demands to know who he is, and Hoby grabs him and introduces himself. The young man admits that Hoby has saved his life again.
Hoby and the sheriff work out a plan to put the Hardesty ranch under constant surveillance. The Ranger figures that Rufus will come after Michael eventually. Rebecca joins Rufus outside and says that the Michael she knew is gone. She assures Hoby that she'll take care of him, and Hoby tells her that Michael is going to have to learn how to stand up on his own feet again. Rebecca sees Michael pacing in his room and goes to get him some hot milk.
There's a gunshot that shatters Michaels' window. Hoby and the sheriff hear someone riding off. While the sheriff goes after Stokes, Rufus sneaks up to the house and runs in before Hoby can shoot him. Inside, Rufus shoots Michael's mother. Hoby lies on the ground and opens the door, and he and Rufus exchange shots. Rufus leaps out the window, mounts his horse, and rides off. Michael comes down and Hoby confirms that Michael's mother is dead.
The next day, Hoby trains Michael in how to shoot blind. It doesn't go well. As Hoby trains Michael on how to listen for and identify animals, Hoby tells him that the sheriff got Stokes and Rufus is alone. Michael asks about Rebecca, and Hoby says that she's coming along. When he says that Michael can fight back, Michael questions him and Hoby says that his other sense improve with his eyes gone. Angry, Michael says that he'll need help the rest of his life and whistles for his horse. It comes over and he manages to mount up, and Hoby says that he'll follow him.
As Michael rides back to the ranch, Rufus shoots at Michael. Michael falls off his horse and runs into the hills, and Rufus goes after him. Rebecca arrives and sees the two men. Hoby rides up and he and Rebecca go after Rufus and Michael.
Michael feels his way along the borders and manages to find an old mine shaft. Hoby comes running up and Rufus goes in after Michael. He shoots once at Hoby and then goes after Michael. Rebecca worries that Rufus will kill Michael, but Hoby points out that Rufus is blind inside of the mineshaft. He figures that Michael and Rufus are even, and only one will walk out.
Rufus fires into the darkness, and Michael feels his way along. Michael finally ducks behind a beam, and refuses to respond when Rufus calls to him.
Hoby finally agrees to go in, figuring that it's his duty as a Ranger. Rebecca tells him to stay, figuring that Michael will be the one to come out, and Hoby stays with her.
Rufus feels his way along and Michael yells, letting the echoes carry his voice. The outlaw claims that h can see, but Michael knows better and calls to him. Rufus fires into the darkness until he runs out of ammo, and then backs away... right into Michael. Michael knocks him out and drags him outside. Rebecca hugs Michael, who tells Hoby to come get his prisoner.
Written by Gadfly on May 28, 2017