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I LOVE A MYSTERY -
The Texas Border Smugglers
5/23/39-6/9/39

ILAM BOOK 4 - STANFORD GREEN LIBRARY -
VOLUME 69

Synopsis created by
Richard Bauman
January 12th, 1993
 

CAST

Jack Packard    Michael Raffetto
Doc Long    Barton Yarborough
Reggie York Walter Paterson


 


Episode 92   -  May 23, 1939         3 pm

Doc is recovering from the gun shot wound he received at The Lazy K.  Mary Stuart has successfully nursed him and is about to return to the ranch.  Arthur B. Jennings, the retired banker, has made the boys a proposition  to get rid of a band of smugglers, operating near El Paso.  While Doc finishes his recovery, Jennings plans to bring out his daughter Julia, for a short vacation at Sandy Springs.  He has gone to Reno to meet her flight. Doc is awaiting Julia with great interest.

The three comrades are outside Doc's room where they are discussing Julia and the new job.  Mary arrives and  kids Doc about the new girl on the scene.  She tells Doc his approach to women is much too professional and well-practiced.  She expresses some interest in Reggie and embarrasses him.  She would still like the boys to come to the Lazy K to work for her.  However, she tells them that Jennings has told her about his job offer and realizes it is more in their line.  She thinks it is time for her to go back to the Lazy K.  Hard Pan Luke will go with her.  They see Jennings car coming and Mary leaves.

Doc is really excited when he sees that there are two "wimmin" in the car.  They go out to greet them and Jennings does the introductions.  They learn that one is Julia and the other is a Miss Billie Daniels.  Both girls are knockouts.  The boys help with their baggage and Doc takes the girls to their suite.

Jack asks Jennings about Billie and learn that she knows about the smugglers.  They also find that Julia knows all about them too.  They join Doc and the girls.  Billie is quite touchy.  Julia explains that it is because men are looking for her with guns and knives.  [Julia sounds like a female version of Doc, with her Texican accent and expressions!]

Billie explains that some men just killed "her man" and they are after her to shut her up.  She vows to get them!

Episode 93  -  May 24, 1939         7 pm

We find Jack and Doc with Jennings in the girl's suite.  They are here to hear Billie's story in detail.  While this is going on Doc wants to take Julia for a walk.  Jennings bridles at Doc's manner, but Julia is ready to go.  Jack says "No!" and tells Doc to sit down.  Julia is amazed when Doc complies.

Doc tells her that Jack is the boss.  Julia says that no one bosses her.  They turn to Billie who tells them that her dead boy
friend, Jimmy Welch was a member of the Ruffus-Mendosa Gang.  This is the gang that Jennings wants to snuff out.  The main gang includes Ace Ruffus, Mex Mendosa and 20-25 men. There are also hundreds more connected with the gang, fencing
and spotting jobs in the U.S. and Mexico.  The gang robs stores, banks, messengers and others and disposes of the loot within 24 hours so it is very hard to catch them with it.  Ace Ruffus is a Greek restaurant owner in El Paso.  He is a fancy dresser and thinks all women are crazy about him.

Sotto voce, Jack says that sounds like Doc!  Doc hears him and agrees.  This starts a little diversion where Julia claims to be in love with Doc.  Jack restores the focus.  Mex Mendosa runs a gambling house in Juarez, across the border. He is a vicious killer, a knife man, and is only afraid of Ruffus.  This is because most of the gang is loyal to Ruffus.  They hate Mendosa because he is mean, tight and a liar.  Ace is generous, good-natured and keeps his word to his men.

Jack asks how Jimmy Welch was killed?  They learn that Ace shot him, because Ace said that Jimmy had squealed.  Billie plans to get even with Ace.  Jack tries to find out who Jimmy talked to and it becomes clear that it was Jennings.  Jennings admits it and explains that this is why he is now protecting Billie.  Billie says that she knows that Ace is looking for
her because of her connection to Jimmy.  To escape him Billie went to Jennings house and Julia brought her along on this trip, disguised as a black maid.
 
Questioning the girls, Jack learns that a car did follow them to the airport.  Jack is dismayed at this and is afraid that the gang knows who Jimmy squealed to.  Jack thinks that Jennings and his daughter are in real danger.  He tries to decide if the party was followed from the airport, but they did not notice anyone.  He orders Doc to patrol with Reggie that night.
 
Suddenly the door is thrown open and a masked man enters.  He orders them to put up their hands, tells Billie Daniels to stand up and tells her "Ace Ruffus wants you back -- alive or dead!"

Episode 94  -  May 25, 1939         7 pm

The party has been confronted by a gunman.  The man claims that he will shoot Billie dead if anyone makes a false move.  He lines them up against the wall and gives Billie handcuffs to put on each person.  After they are cuffed he orders them to sit down.  He gags Julia and tells them that Ace says he wants her too.  Jennings rages and the man tells him that he is lucky because Ace said not to kill him.  Apparently Ace wants to do that himself.  Ace said to say that Julia would be safe as long as no cops were brought in.

Jack asks if that means Jennings can fight them without cops and the answer is yes.The man gags Billie while she threatens him.  Julia faints and the man kicks her to try to bring her around.  Doc rages at this and gets socked on the jaw for his trouble.  Julia and Billie are  hauled out of the room and the man leaves.  Jack listens to try to hear the direction they are heading and it is apparently South.  Doc comes around and finds he is laying on a ring of cuff keys.  Apparently they fell out of the man's pocket when he bent over to pick up the unconscious Julia.  They unlock the cuffs and decide to pursue
the girls in Jennings car.

They run to the garage and find the tires of all the cars flat.  Looking outside, Doc sees a car coming from the North.
They must get it.

Episode 95  -  May 26, 1939         8 pm

The men run to the road to stop the approaching car.  They block the road with their bodies and try to flag down it down.  It bears down on them at high speed and comes to a screeching stop just in time.

The driver, Lucy, appears to be drunk.  She  wants to know how many she killed.  They reassure her, climb in and try to pry her off the wheel.  They finally succeed and are ready to leave when Reggie arrives.  He tells them that Jennings jumped off the road at the last moment to avoid the car and smashed his head.  Mary who was returning with Reg from Hard Pan Luke's camp is now taking care of him. That taken care of, Jack roars off.

They fill Reggie in and banter with the ditzy Lucy, who  believes she is being kidnapped.  They discover that the car does not belong to her.  It belongs to her rich mistress, who just got a Reno divorce and has flown home leaving her maid to drive the car back.  Jack introduces them and cranks up the car having got the feel of it.  Lucy wantsto know if any of them need a girl friend.  None are taking except Doc.  Lucy seems to think that Doc is leftovers!  They learn Lucy is 23 and are quickly
finding out that she is a real talker.  Lucy wants to know how many men they have killed.  Doc says he didn't ever count and brags about his hide being able to shed bullets.  Jack is convinced that Lucy is a little "hussy," and is telling her so when Doc yells "Look out!"

There is a rending crash as the car hits something.  They take stock and find they are bruised and battered but basically all right.  Unfortunately, Reggie has been thrown through the cloth top of the car.  They climb out and find him ahead of the car,
out cold.  They also discover that a car was pulled across the road and that was what they plowed into.

Episode 96  -  May 29, 1939         9 pm

Reggie is brought around after the crash.  They discuss the situation with Lucy chiming in.  Jack thinks the car belonged to the man who took the girls and that he had car trouble.  He thinks he planned to take their car when they stopped but the crash took care of that.

Lucy babbles on and Jack has a hard time getting her to shut up.  Jack sends Reggie to pull the seats out of the car, put them in front of and behind them, douse them with gas and set fire to them to warn any other approaching cars.  They return to Lucy's car and retrieve the flashlight and two guns that Jack put in the door pocket.
 
Jack then plans to hold the flash to draw the kidnappers fire and Doc will then shoot at his gun flash.  They then check the other car which has been pushed a ways down the road by the impact.  They find a white rose that Julia had been wearing in her hair so they are sure the Mexican bandit and the girls are nearby.  They discuss strategy.  They don't want to get
Billie killed.

Suddenly they hear Reggie call out.  They run to him and find he has been slugged.  Then they hear Lucy scream for help, "She's got me!"

Episode 97  -  May 30, 1939         9 pm

Lucy is screaming for help down the road.  As Jack runs to help her, he  hears someone running off.  He pursues and tackles the person.  He gets up to find he has tackled an old lady!

The hag tells him that she hates girls.  She wants to "scratch their pretty faces so they aren't pretty anymore." Jack takes her back to where Lucy is and find her face all scratched up.  The hag babbles at Jack.  She likes him.  They pull her along and rejoin Doc and Reggie.  The hag tells them she just wanted to scratch Lucy's eyes out.  They find it was she who conked Reggie with a rock.  She also takes an interest in Doc and asks him if he is married.  Jack wonders if she stopped the other car.  They can't seem to get anything coherent out of the old girl.

Jack checks the wreck and finds both tires blown on the right side and skid marks.  He concludes the Mexican didn't set a trap for them.  They try to pump the hag but with no success.  Doc takes Jack off for a private talk and offers to play up to her so they can find her hideout.  Jack says be my guest.  What have they got to lose?  They return and Doc plays up to her.  They go off for a walk.  Jack and Reggie talk with Lucy and find she craves excitement.  She hasn't had much as a rich ladies' maid.

Doc returns alone, staggering.  The  hag hit him with a rock!  He passes out.

Episode 98  -  May 31, 1939         4 am

Dawn has arrived and Jack and Doc are talking.  Doc tells Jack that he killed six rattlers during the night.  Jack convinces him it was a nightmare.  They discuss the hag.  Doc discovers that his cigarette case is missing, then his wallet and ring.  He has been robbed!

The commotion wakes Reggie and they find he has been robbed too.  They check Lucy and find her ring is gone.  She
awakens and since Jack is the only one who isn't missing anything, she accuses him.  She next discovers that her locket is gone and on checking finds the money that was in her stocking top missing.  They discuss the situation and conclude that the hag was a skilled pickpocket.  The boys are a bit  embarrassed to have been taken by an old lady.  They decide the
whole thing was a setup.  Something was put in the road to pop the tires, then the travelers get robbed.

Lucy wants her money back.  She banters with Doc.  She tells him she was married once, but the next morning the man was gone!  Doc concludes that here is one woman who is too dumb for him to love.  Now  the main thing on her mind is that she is hungry.

Episode 99  -  June 1, 1939         5 am

The group is discussing the fix they are in.  They are hoping a car will come along, but so far, no luck.  Lucy babbles and Jack tries, with little success, to shut her up.  They take stock.  Reviewing events they conclude that there is a gang of roadside robbers who stop cars and rob and then disappear somewhere nearby.  They review what they have lost.

They split up to search the roadside for indications of a path to the robbers hideout.  The first group to find something will signal the rest.  Doc takes one side of the road with Lucy in tow.  While Doc is looking for tracks, Lucy sees a man  with Jack and Jack has his hands up.  Doc calls Reggie from the other side of the road and they run to help Jack, who has been taken into the brush at gun  point.  They arrive at the spot where he disappeared and follow slowly.

They hear Jack call out and say that he is coming.  He arrives leading a man with his hands up.  This half-breed wants them to let him go.  Suddenly they realize that Lucy is missing.  The half-breed chuckles, "Desert bad place for pretty girls!"

Episode 100  -  June 2, 1939         6 am

The boys discuss their situation and the missing Lucy.  Jack figures that she is now a captive with the other girls in the gang's hideout.  They decide to backtrack their captive.  He tells them they can't do it.  They try to talk to him but with little success.  Doc dubs him "Rain-in-the-face."

Jack spots a man ducking behind a granite slab ahead.  He and Reggie move out to try to capture the man, leaving Doc to guard Rain-in-the-face.  Jack and Reggie close in but find nothing but a woman's prints in the dust.  Doc calls out.They run to him and find he has captured the hag!  He had to knock out Rain-in-the-face when she jumped on his back.  They decide the hag lured them while she snuck around and jumped Doc.

They banter with her and she claims she cleaned them slick.  They decide that Reggie will have to carry the unconscious "Rain" until he comes around.  Doc will bring the hag.  They move down the trail and come to a deep canyon.  Jack spots a path down the cliff face, barely one person wide.  Doc doesn't like the looks of this at all and is sure he needs a parachute.

Episode 101  -  June 5, 1939         6 am

The half-breed, "Rain" comes too and tries to crawl away while they aren't watching.  They discuss what to do.  They tie the hands of "Rain" and the hag using their ties.  Again they try to question the pair, but with no luck.

They start down the path, with Jack in the lead, followed by "Rain" and Reggie and with the hag and Doc bringing up the rear.  Doc is amazed to discover that the hag is not wearing shoes.  They come to a tight overhang and make it through.  Reggie talks to Rain and finds that the hag is his wife.  Rain keeps saying that they "no rob" people.

The path begins to widen a little and suddenly the hag calls out, "Danger!"  They come to a sharp turn.  Jack tells them that the trail ends on the other side of the turn.  Suddenly a rock slide starts.  They quickly lie down against the cliff face.  Everyone comes through.  Jack sees that someone above is rolling rocks down on them.  More rocks are on the way!

Episode 102  -  June 6, 1939         7 am

Although someone is raining rocks down on them, the boys find that they are safe if they stay down and close to the wall.  Jack crawls around the bend to check.  They talk with the hag and ask her why the person is risking killing them too.  She tells them, "He jes don't give a hang!"

The hag and Rain don't seem to be worried.  Another slide comes and the hag says that its "raining rocks."  They hear a shot and then a long frightened wail and the sound of a small rock slide.  Reggie and Doc see a man falling past them, down the cliff.  Jack returns and says he shot over the head of the man above to scare him back, but the man slipped and fell over the edge.  This doesn't seem to bother Rain and the hag much.

Jack tells them he has found a way up ahead.  There are steps in the cliff face running up about 30 feet.  Doc is not at all interested.  Jack tells him that the old hag can do it, so what's his problem.  Doc decides he can handle it.  They go up in the same order.  Jack is first, followed by Rain who goes up like a monkey.  Reggie follows.  The hag goes up the fastest of all.  Doc is last, and with some effort he makes it.

Doc is concerned as to how they are going to get back.  He can't imagine going down the cliff.  Jack says that they will decide later.  He wants to look around.  They retie the hag and Rain, including their feet.  Looking around they discover that they are at the base of a cliff riddled with caves.  Jack says that these are Indian cliff dwellings.  The boys discuss how they are going to locate the girls.  Jack thinks they will be able to find them.  Jack sees a path in the dry dirt.  Doc talks about his fear of heights.  Moving ahead they find signs of a recent fire.  Jack has them gather some of the pitchy wood to serve as torches.  Doc is hungry and thirsty.  Jack is sure there is water in the caves ahead.

Helping each other they climb to a middle cave.  They push Doc up first, while he worries about snakes.  With Doc up they combine to get Reggie up.  Finally Jack jumps and catches Reggie's arm and they pull him up.  They explore the cave and find some old mattresses and blankets.  They light a torch and discover a cache of food and loot, including their money and jewelry.  Jack hear the sound of running water.  They move farther into the cave and find a crack with water running out of it.  They slake their thirsts and wonder where the girls are hidden.

Episode 104  -  June 8, 1939         9 am

The boys decide to search this cave thoroughly first.  They try to imagine getting the girls up the cliff face and conclude there must be another entrance.  They set off and Doc almost steps in a hole.  They drop a rock and never hear the sound of it landing.  Again, they hear running water and find a stream running through the cavern.  It is five feet wide, so they must jump
across.

Jack goes first and finds candle drippings on the other side.  He tells them to come on.  Reggie jumps next.  Doc is hesitant and instead of jumping, tries to step on a rock in the middle to make it easier.  He falls into the stream and the boys are just able to catch him to keep him from being washed away.  Doc is mad about falling in, but Jack is madder.  He tells him to follow orders next time!

They go forward and find they are headed up slope.  The air freshens.  They squeeze through a tight gap and find themselves in a large chamber with a sandy floor.  Looking around, they discover the girls.

Episode 105  -  June 9, 1939         9 am

The boys have found the three girls tied and gagged in the cavern.  Julia is out cold and the other two are badly frightened.  Reggie goes back through the cave to get them some water.  They ask Billie what happened and she tells them that their car had suddenly developed two flat tires.  When they stopped, two men and the hag pulled them out.  The Mexican bandit hit
the other man and lit out across the desert.  That was the last they saw of him.

The girls were taken to this cavern through an entrance behind some brush.  Jack asks why they were being held?  Billie says that the hag wanted their clothes!  They feared that they would be thrown off a cliff afterwards.  Reggie arrives with the water in some old tin cans.  Jack wonders how they are going to get back with both cars wrecked.  Julia is still out cold, so Reggie gets to carry her.  Lucy hassles them about not getting enough attention.  They find the second cave entrance, hidden behind some brush.  They see a third car below, with a man waving at them.  It is Jennings.

He has found them and now they have a way to get back to Sandy Springs.

6 pm  Doc and Reggie are chatting the next day.  Julia has come around, and the Sheriff has been by.  They sent him out to the cave to collect the hag and the half-breed.  Jack calls and joins them on the patio with Jennings.

Jennings is really grateful.  He is now sure that he wants them for the border job.  He and Jack have developed a new plan as they think the gang may be aware of them now.  They will split up.  Each will go to El Paso alone and take a room.  Reggie will go to the Plantation Hotel and pose as an English tourist.  Doc will live with the Mexicans and white trash along the river at Nell Smith's rooming house.  Jack will pose as a jewelry salesman and take a room at the Barker House, for commercial travelers.  They will leave tonight.  They will meet at Doc's room the next Monday.