By: Travis Naughton

Three long days had passed since Blackjack rode out of Twin Oaks, Kansas, on his quest to track down Jane Mc Court, a.k.a. the Heartbreak Bandit. The stage coach she was riding on had a full day’s head start, but Blackjack was confident that she would disembark at one or more of the frontier towns along the route in order to stretch her legs and find more unsuspecting men to rob.

No one remembered seeing a woman who matched Jane’s description in the first two towns where Blackjack made inquiries, but at the third stop, in a small outpost in eastern Colorado called Jericho, the marshal confirmed that a comely seductress had robbed a ranch hand named Billy the previous night behind the local saloon.

“She held him up with his own gun,” the marshal explained. “Poor devil never saw it coming. He thought he was walking a beautiful lady back to her room, hoping she would invite him in. We found him bound and gagged in the outhouse this morning with a big lump on the back of his head.”

“That’s Jane’s handiwork alright. I assume she slipped away on the stage this morning,” Blackjack said.

“No sir. She took Billy’s horse and disappeared into the night,” said the marshal. “No idea which way she was headed.”

“West,” Blackjack offered. “She’s got family in Denver. When I find her, I’ll be sure to wire you about where Billy can pick up his horse.”

“He’d be much obliged, mister,” the marshal said. “But be careful if you do cross paths with this woman. She’s got a revolver now, and I imagine she knows exactly how to use it.”

Blackjack felt the advantage swing in his favor. He knew that McCourt would have to stop to let her stolen horse rest after riding out of town in a hurry last night. After making sure his own horse and pony were fed, watered, and rested, Blackjack filled his belly and canteen and headed west again, hot on the Heartbreak Bandit’s trail.

Read the full chapter in this week’s Journal…

Published August 9th, 2023