Despite the gang’s successful heist, the dead grow ever more worried. John hasn’t appeared either in the land of the living, or land of the dead. They don’t know where he’s at, the only one who might know is Dutch and Micah, and as far as the dead can tell the two are lying. But as the gang reaches closer to Beaver Hollow, the voice they hear sends another round of shivers down their spines.
“They came and took Abigail!” Tilly cried riding up to the group with Jack in front of her. “I saved Jack, we hid, but they took Abigail.”
“Who did?” Arthur questioned.
“Agent Milton and his men took her to Van Horn to be put on a boat and tried for murder.”
“I am sorry to hear that,” Dutch says shaking his head.
“We gotta let her go,” Micah chimes in, and the dead lean forward almost unbelieving the words they’re hearing. “John’s a… well… sorry, son. Without John, she’s just bait, got a bunch of money, Dutch. She’s just a girl, they won’t do nothing to her. But, me and the boys know we need to keep riding on this one, Dutch, you know it, every man here knows it.” Hosea can feel his anger rising once more for the woman he considers a daughter-in-law.
“So we just gonna let the boy be made an orphan?” Arthur hissed.
“It-It ain’t like that!” Dutch deflected.
“What is it like?”
“I wanna live, cowpoke, I still got the choice. Dutch, it’s just a girl.” They can see the shock on Arthur’s face looking between Dutch and Tilly.
“You’re right,” Dutch agreed, and Hosea wants to kill Dutch right then and there.
“Dutch!” Arthur called dismounting from his horse.
“Micah…” Dutch starts, but stops when Arthur stands next to the Count. “It pains me to say it, Arthur, but he is right.”
“Come on boys.” They watched in pure disbelief as everyone but Tilly and Sadie ride off.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Sean hissed. “You guys burned down the Braithwaite Manor for Jack, but Dutch refuses to go get Abigail?” No one knows how to answer Sean about Dutch’s odd decisions anymore as he kicks his chair away from the group. All they can do is watch the dust start another coughing fit for Arthur.
Spitting, Arthur hoarsely says, “Well I guess that's that then... all them goddamn years.”
“Come on Arthur, let’s go get her,” Sadie speaks up. “You and me is all we need.”
Nodding, Arthur walking over to his horse calls out, “Miss Tilly, here.” He takes the bag from his horse and puts it on the back of hers. “Take this. You take this money too. Take Jack and you wait at Copperhead Landing for Abigail and Missus Adler.”
“Thank you, Arthur,” Tilly responds pocketing the money Arthur has given her.
“You’re a good girl,” Arthur speaks give two nods of his head, “you live a good life now, you hear?”
“Alright, Arthur. I’ll… I’ll miss…”
“Me too, sweetheart, me too.” He glances at Jack before coming closer to the horse. “Jack, come here, be brave son. I’m gonna go get your momma,” Arthur promises softly before stepping back. “Missus Adler, ride with me!” The two take off planning as they ride hard to Van Horn. Arthur starts to curse the gang, but Sadie quickly interrupts him reminding him to just follow her, and it’ll be okay.
“Sadie has turned out to be quite the woman,” Lenny says glancing over to Hosea. “When we first picked her up, she was pretty depressed and scared after everything that happened. Now look at her.” But before Hosea could respond, they heard Arthur speak up again.
“Now he don’t care if he orphans his friend’s child so long as he gets rich? All his goddamn talk all them years. Seems like it was always a lie. Or he went crazy… what a mess.”
“Sure… guess he began to believe he was God, or something.”
“I don’t know. I’m sorry you got dragged into this… into… us.”
“Listen, if you hadn’t shown up at my house that night, I’d be dead. And even this bullshit beats dead.”
“I don’t know about that,” Kieran muttered from his spot.
“I thought I could find a way to get John, Abigail, and Jack out of this mess. To give them… a life. Seems I left it too late.”
“If we could still get Abigail… maybe her and Jack will be okay.”
“John, Hosea, Mac, Davey, Jenny, Sean, Lenny, Kieran,” Arthur starts growing angier as he lists names, “we have to put an end to this.” Arthur pauses his speech to cough and wheeze. “And Eagle Flies. Another angry fool he used, just like he did with the rest of us.”
“Like I said, Arthur, we don’t need them. We’re going to make this right, me and you together, what’s left of it. Now come on.” The two ride harder to the south exit of Van Horn. The dead are silent as they watch the two draw closer. “Okay, here we are. Let’s ditch the horses and come up with a plan.” They watch Arthur shoo his horse away as Sadie takes a rifle of her saddle. There’s another round of coughing from Arthur and they watch him spit out something, most likely blood. “How you feeling?”
“I think you should cover me and I’ll go in there and get her,” Sadie spoke holding a rifle towards Arthur. They watch Arthur look offended and Sadie quickly corrects herself, “‘Cause you’re the better shot, I mean.”
“That ain’t what you mean. I can still fight!”
“I know, Arthur. But, just…” She thrusted the rifle at Arthur, “do it my way, honey. It’s for the best. Get up some place high, like the lighthouse or something... and cover me. Please.” Arthur takes the rifle from her.
“Okay,” He says moving towards the lighthouse, and they watch Sadie take another gun off her horse, before sending him away.
“How many guns does that woman have?” Sean exclaimed as they watch Arthur climb up the stairs, and aim down the scope.
“Enough to kill you if you were still there to annoy her,” Lenny shot back making Kieran giggle. Arthur reaches the top of the lighthouse and starts muttering to himself trying to find Milton preventing Sean from snapping back. And they all watch Milton roughly push Abigail into a building. Shaking his head, Arthur turns the scope to see where Sadie is, and that’s when the gun fire starts with Arthur firing a round into an agent’s head.
It’s messy, and it’s quick between Arthur covering Sadie in the lighthouse, and Sadie charging down the street guns blazing. But their hearts stop briefly when they see Sadie reach the building, open the door, and get knocked down.
“Okay, Mister Milton, I guess we’re gonna have to talk this out like gentlemen,” Arthur spits dropping the rifle on the ground and heading back down. More agents pour out the buildings, and they wince hearing Arthur’s breathing as he runs towards the town. And on his own, with how sick he is, Arthur still proves he can mow down an entire force by himself as each agent drops like flies.
Reaching the building, Arthur kicks open the door, the world goes red, and both agents in the room are gunned down. “Holy hell, what was that?” Sean shouts unable to believe what he’s seen.
“Okay, ladies, let’s get out of here,” Arthur says hostlering his gun, and taking out his knife to get Abigail free from the ropes. The sound of a gun clicking stops Arthur from doing so.
“Calm down, Mister Morgan,” Agent Milton speaks coming out of the shadows. Coughing comes from Arthur while he raises his hands. “That’s quite a cough,” Milton observes.
“Sure,” Arthur agreed turning to face him. “Tuberculosis,” He confirms softly, and the reminder makes Hosea’s heart hurt. “I’ll be dead soon and you with me, Mister Milton.”
“You’ll be dead, sure,” Milton replied watching Arthur cough, “but I’m going to be just fine. We offered you a deal, Mister Morgan, you should have taken it.” While Milton is distracted by Arthur, he doesn’t see Abigail trying to free herself from the ropes.
“I’m a fool, Mister Milton.”
“Not all you boys have quite so many scruples. Old Micah Bell…”
“Micah?” Several people shouted along with Arthur’s soft voice. “You mean Molly?”
“Molly O’Shea? We sweated her a couple of times, never talked a word, so we had to let her go.” Heads turn to the quiet woman each face holding several emotions. “Micah Bell,” Milton continues unaware of the dead watching, “we picked him up when you boys came back from the Carribean, and he’s been a good boy ever since.”
“Okay, okay,” Arthur wheezes seemingly bracing on his knees for support. It’s a farce however, because Arthur lunges at Milton seconds later turning the fight into a scuffle for the cattleman in Milton’s hand. Milton laughs while they struggle.
“You’re losing your strength, Mister Morgan,” He taunts while the gun slowly drops toward Arthur.
“You’re still a yapping dog, Mister Milton,” Arthur says even as the gun inches closer to his face. And just when the gun is leveled at his face, a gunshot rings out and Milton falls to the side. Abigail stands there gun in hand having gotten free of the ropes.
“Horrible man,” Abigail says while Arthur goes through another coughing fit. She moves to untie Sadie, and Arthur slides down the door frame. “Now come on, both of you.” Abigail hands Arthur back his knife before helping him stand up.
“Find the horses, we need to get the hell out of here,” Arthur orders gunshot breaking out.
“What happened to Jack? Where is he?”
“He’s fine… Tilly’s got him.”
“Oh, thank God.” The horses appear at the end of the walkway.
“Abigail, you ride mine,” Sadie orders mounting Arthur’s horse. “Get on, Arthur, get on.” After Arthur gets on wheezing, the group turns out of Van Horn and towards the forest. Pinkertons chase them but their attempts to catch them fail with each round of Arthur’s gun. And it’s not long before the Pinkertons taper off leaving the group to ride further without interruption.
“The bastards grabbed me outside camp… I was with Tilly and Jack, it happened so fast I couldn’t do anything.”
“It’s alright… Jack and Tilly are fine.”
“Ladies,” Arthur’s starts sounding utterly exhausted, “La… Ladies I-I’m fine. Hold up a moment.” They stop and Arthur struggles to get off the horse making the dead wonder how much longer he has left.
“Arthur, there’s no time.”
“There’s time,” He pants moving to get Abigail off his horse.
“What happened to John?” Abigail asks noticing he’s not come to meet them. “Where’s John?” Arthur’s hands drop.
“I-I don’t… I think…” Arthur starts, stops, before raising his hands and getting Abigail off his horse.
“He…” Arthur begins again, a waver in his voice as he does.
“He got killed, or he got captured.”
“I’m really sorry, Abigail, I’m… I was on the train and I didn’t see it.” Their hearts lurch hearing Abigail cry out as Sadie rushes to wrap her in her arms. “Listen, we got Jack, he’s safe. Missus Adler will take you to him, but John, I want you to know this, he loved you. He loved you and Jack, he did. He wasn’t perfect but he did. Now you gotta go get that boy. Go on, get outta here.” Pushing the two away, they watch Sadie mount her horse.
“Arthur, what are you doing?”
“I gotta go have a little chat before I get much sicker,” He replies moving to help Abigail onto Sadie’s horse.
“Don’t you ‘oh, Arthur’ me. Neither of you two, not now. You both know.” Grunting with effort, he places Abigail onto the back of Sadie’s horse. “You’re good women, good people. The best. You go get that boy, there’ll be time for sorrow later.”
“If you’re headed back there, Arthur,” Abigail starts grabbing a key from her neck. “Take this, I don’t need it anymore.” She reaches out with the key.
“There’s a chest in them caves. In the back to the left. Hidden under a wagon. Dutch’s chest. With all our money. I know John told you I knew where it was.”
“Abigail Roberts,” Arthur breathed taking the key before grabbing her hands.
“I always was a good thief.”
“That you was. Go on, get outta here.” Arthur turns to mount his horse as Sadie and Abigail leave. With a loud grunt, Arthur mounts soft wheezing leaving his chest while he takes the reins. Reaching into his saddlebag, he takes out a familiar hat sending Hosea into a small fit of panic while the other dead slowly start to realize that they’re about to what Arthur’s last ride. Placing his hat on his head, Arthur kicks his into a lope towards Beaver Hollow.
A female voice whispers out as Arthur travels down the road, “Why, you’re a good man. I just wish you’d done it before he worked hisself into the grave.”
The doctor’s voice. “I’m really sorry for you, son, it’s a hell of a thing.”
Another woman’s voice. “And now all you can do now is decide the man you wanna be for the time you have left.”
Another man’s voice. “You saved my life, you’re a good man.”
And another. “Thank you, feller. You know, there ain’t enough kindness in this world, that’s for sure.”
And another woman’s. “Maybe it’s a sign, Arthur… try… try to do the good thing.”
Their breaths caught in their throats, the dead watch Arthur complete his final ride to Beaver’s Hollow where the camp is being packed up and a voice reignites their rage.
“Get them bags packed up quick, Miss Grimshaw. Come on, all of you!”
“Well we’re doing our best!”
“We ain’t got long, hurry!”
“We just got plenty of time, Micah,” Arthur growls making everyone turn to him. “We all need to have a little chat.”
“Black Lung, you’re back. Hooray.”
“I just saw Agent Milton, Dutch,” Arthur says after dismounting and heading towards the outlaw leader. “Abigail shot him. She’s okay, not that you care too much about that. You rats,” Arthur spits looking Micah and his pals,”all of you. Seems old Micah was pretty close with Milton.”
“What the hell are you talking about, cowpoke?”
“That’s a goddamn lie.”
“Dutch…” Arthur starts but Micah interjects.
“Dutch… think of the future.”
“Milton told me.” Rage seems to form on Dutch’s face.
“And you believe him, Black Lung?” Micah asks chuckling. “You believe him?”
“It all makes sense now.”
“No, it damn well doesn’t.” Arthur and Micah pull their guns out, and they can see Micah’s friends, and Bill have too. No sign of Javier in this mess.
“Dutch, think!” Arthur pleads.
“Dutch, be practical now.” Glancing between the two, Dutch seems unsure of who to believe. And all tension is broken by the sound of a familiar raspy voice.
“John?” Bill questioned as John staggers in clutching the arm he had been shot in.
“You left me… you left me to die!” He hissed bringing an uproar to the dead.
“He lied!” Lenny and Sean shouted while Hosea gritted his teeth, and shock took over the expression of Kieran’s and Molly’s faces.
“My boy,” Dutch began coming out of his tent, “I didn’t have a choice. John, I didn’t… I didn’t have a choice...”
“Bullshit!” Hosea spat spooking the others. “You had a choice Dutch!”
“You. Left me!” John repeated.
“All of you,” Arthur speaks up, “You pick your side now, because this is over. All them years, Dutch, for this snake?”
“Oh, be quiet, cowpoke. Be quiet, you live in the clouds.”
“No. You be quiet, Mister Bell, and put down your gun,” Susan snaps walking up with her shotgun in hand. They see Javier run in drawing everyone’s attention to him.
“There’s Pinkertons coming, fast.” Susan looks at Javier, and a gunshot from Micah sounds out followed by Susan’s scream of pain. They knew now who would be joining them as the seventh seat, and no doubt Arthur would join soon after. Dutch pulls out his gun as Susan goes down.
“Now!” They hear him shout with Susan wailing in pain. Walking down the middle between the group, Dutch has both of his guns pointed at each group, and they hear Susan’s cries of pain stop, and they know she’ll join them soon. “Who amongst you is with me, and who is betraying me.” His gaze focuses on Arthur and John.
“Bill, Javier,” Arthur pleads as he and his brother stand before the caves, “think, think for yourselves!” But the two men stay on Dutch’s side along with the others.
“He’s lying, he’s lying!” Micah says.
“Put your guns down!” A voice shouts followed by a gunshot breaking the group from its incoming fight. The Pinkertons had arrived.
“Goddamn it! Move!” Dutch curses while the group scatters to the side and John and Arthur hunker down.
“You ready, John?”
“Everyone get down!”
“This is Agent Ross with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Put your guns down.” Micah shouts at Dutch they need to leave before adding the agents are all Arthur’s.
“Come on, Arthur! Into the caves. Quick!” John shouts over the gunfire, and the brothers depart into the caves. Glancing over his shoulder, Hosea sees Susan has finally joined them.
Standing up, he kneels next to her to gently shake her shoulder. “Susan,” He says soft watching her eyes fly open.
“Hosea,” She greets him while he helps her stand up. Pulling him into a hug, she whispers, “It’s good to see. The gang… Dutch…”
“I know,” He replied returning the hug before bringing her over to the campfire where John and Arthur have slipped deeper into the caves, and the others sit. Molly warily glances over to Susan. “We’ve been watching for a while. We’ve seen everything. Sean’s been watching since he died.”
“I see,” Susan replied shakily eyes half on the scene of Arthur and John climbing up a ladder, and half on Molly. “Miss O’Shea, I’m… sorry.”
“It’s okay, Miss Grimshaw, I’m not angry anymore. You did what you thought was right.” Molly’s gaze returns to the fire signalling the conversation has ended. Sitting next to Hosea’s other side, the group quiets to watch John and Arthur, who’s coughing more.
“Hosea, what sickness does Arthur have?” Susan asked nervously.
“Tuberculosis,” He informs her solemnly. “We suspect he’ll be joining us soon.”
“Oh no,” Susan whispered bringing one hand to her mouth, the other gipping Hosea’s for comfort. Hosea can only squeeze her hand back in response as the two brothers have climbed out of the caves.
Whistling for their horses, Arthur coughs before speaking, “Abigail… Abigail’s safe, so’s Jack.”
“Where are they?”
“They’re with Sadie at Copperhead Landing.” John reaches to shake Arthur’s hand.
“Thank you, brother.” John attempts to pull away from Arthur, but the man pulls him back.
“I want you to not look back, like I said,” Arthur said before pulling away, and jogging to the horses with John, another cough following. Just as they mount, they see the sight of Micah and Dutch firing at John and Arthur. The brothers take off with their former father figure and ex-gang members chasing them through the fog and the dribbling rain. They can hear shouting from the group, and John urging Arthur to ride, but no one can bring themselves to speak.
The brothers dodge the group, the Pinkertons and ride up a hill only for their horses to be shot from underneath them. The dead tense watching Arthur quickly kill the agents firing at them. Once the agents fall, Arthur falls to his knees at his horse’s side.
“Come on, brother, let’s go,” John urges.
“Gimme a second,” Arthur replies placing his hand on the horse’s nose.
“Come on, push Arthur!”
“Yeah,” Arthur whispers petting the horse, “Whoa… thank you.” Once the horse’s last breath is taken, Arthur stumbles after John, and up the small hill.
“Come on, Arthur, let’s go.”
“Well, what about the money?” Arthur gestures with his hat. “Abigail gave me the key.”
“I head down there, I’m dead in five minutes. I’ve got a family, that’s more important.” Despite the fact he’s watching his family rip apart, and one of his sons is dying, it pleases Hosea to hear those words from John’s mouth.
“Ah, maybe you right, but…”
“You want the money? You head down. I gotta go to my family.” They watch Arthur place his hat on his again.
“I’m coming with you. I’m going to get you out of this bullshit if it’s the last goddamn thing I do.” The two start to run up the hill now.
“Thank you.” Gun fire sounds to the left of the brother. “Aw shit, let’s go, we need to find higher ground. Don’t worry about them, they’ll just be going back for the money. We need to get the hell out of here. Shit.” A group of riders passes by the rocks. “Let’s get up this cliff.”
“Come on, Arthur… keep pushing.” As they climb up the cliff side, a group of Pinkertons notice them and begin firing on the two brothers forcing them to take cover and return fire. The two manage to take a few out before deciding to keep pushing, however once they climb over a small bit, Arthur stops hands on knees. “Alright, Arthur, come on,” John urged.
“Keep pushing, Arthur.”
“No…” Arthur coughs spitting out more blood. “No… I think I’ve pushed all I can,” He announces rubbing something off his face and looking at John. Susan’s hand squeezes tighter around Hosea’s, and the others tense. Arthur will be joining them soon.
“Come on,” John breathed.
“We ain’t got time for this, not now.” Arthur removes his hat.
“We ain’t both gonna make it. Go… now.” Arthur takes a step closer to John. “I’ll hold them off.” Reaching up, the group watches Arthur place his hat, his beloved hat, onto John’s head. “It would mean a lot to me, please.” And they watch as Arthur takes his satchel off and give it to John. “There ain’t no more time for talk.” Hosea can feel his throat close involuntary as he watches Arthur pull out his pistol. “Go.”
“Arthur…” John pleads.
“Go to your family.”
“Get the hell out of here and be a goddamn man!” Arthur shouts before starting to climb up the cliff.
“You’re my brother,” John repeats.
“I know, I know,” Arthur replies crawling up the cliff more forcing John to leave Arthur. “God damn you bastards!” Arthur cries firing at the Pinkertons and providing John time to escape. Several agents go down, and the dead watch Micah slam into Arthur.
“I got you now, Black Lung,” Micah cried gleefully turning Arthur over and getting ready to punch.
“You rat! You rat!” Arthur shouts back.
“I’m a,” Micah begins punching Arthur in the face, “survivor, Black Lung, a survivor.” The watch helplessly as Micah punches Arthur repeatedly. “That’s all there is, living and dying.” Arthur manages to reach up and grab Micah’s neck allowing him to push the two of them over the side, and onto the lower cliff. They watch the two rise from their fall a loud wheeze escaping Arthur before Micah and Arthur engage into a fist fight, snide comments traded.
The fist fights lasts for several minutes until Micah has Arthur pinned, however the dying the outlaw manges to block several hits before slamming his fist into Micah’s face forcing the man off. Arthur crawls onto his hands and knees crawling towards the fallen gun as Micah goes on about losing and winning. Just as Arthur is about to reach the gun, Micah grabs him from behind and slams him into the rock. Arthur slams his hand into Micah’s face, and both men fall to the ground again, sending the gun flying away. With a wheeze, Arthur again crawls onto his hands and knees towards the gun.
“Oh, Black Lung, you ain’t gonna reach that gun. You ain’t. You lost, my sick friend. You lost.”
“In the end, Micah,”Arthur wheezed still crawling, “despite my efforts to the contrary, it turns out I’ve won.” He manages to crawl to the gun, Micah slowly following behind like a shadow. “Goddamn you,” He wheezes hand gripping the gun only for a boot to step on his hand.
“It is over now, Arthur,” Dutch speaks foot on the man he called his son’s hand. “It’s over.”
“Oh, Dutch,” Arthur replies voice weak and hoarse, “he’s a rat. You know it and I know it.”
“He’s sick,” Micah speaks stepping closer, “he’s dying, he’s talking crazy.”
“There! Up there on the ridge!” A detective’s voice calls out.
“I gave you all I had, I did.” Dutch tilts his head to the side.
“I…” He stares down at Arthur’s battered body before stepping off his hand. “I…” Dutch tries again watching the dying outlaw turn onto his back, another wheeze escaping his throat.
“Come on.” The dead watch Micah inch forward while Dutch continues to stare at Arthur. “Dutch, let’s go buddy. We made it. We won. Come on!” Dutch stares at Micah for a second, before glancing back down at Arthur.
“John made it. He’s the only one. The rest of us, no. But, I tried. In the end, I did.” More wheezing slips from Arthur’s chest.
“Come on,” Micah starts again grabbing Dutch’s attention, “let’s go. We can make it.” But Dutch doesn’t move, his attention is on Arthur who’s wheezing softly, then back at Micah before Dutch steps back and walks away Micah pleading with him to come on.
“Again?” Sean and Lenny yelled. Once Dutch has disappeared from view, they watch Micah yell and walk off.
“He can't even stay there with Arthur?” Sean asked gesturing at the fire with his hands.
“No, he can’t,” Lenny spat. “Called Arthur his son for years, and leaves him to die by himself.” But to their surprise, slowly Arthur rolls onto his hands and knees crawling forward with effort. Arthur makes it a couple inches laying against the rock spending his last breaths watching the sunrise, and their hearts drop. They had a slight amount of hope he would crawl away.
Standing, Hosea moves to the spot where everyone has appeared once dead. He knows Arthur will be here soon, and he wants to greet his son. And sure enough, Arthur fades into the land of the dead the moment Hosea steps near. Kneeling, he places his hand on Arthur’s chest. “Arthur, my son,” Hosea said softly watching as Arthur’s eyes fly open.
“Ho-Hosea, pa, I…” Arthur chokes out his hand flying to grab Hosea’s.
“I know, son. I know. You did well.” Helping Arthur up, he turns to face the group who are watching the two with smiles. “You did so well, and I’m proud of you.” The hug is sudden, but Hosea can’t help but smile as Arthur’s arms wrap around his waist. Returning the hug, he sends Susan a soft smile. “Come on, everyone’s waiting for you.”
“Everyone…?” Arthur turns to look where Hosea is staring, and when he sees the group, his heart stops. “Susan, Lenny, Sean, Kieran, Molly…” He breathed stepping closer. “Everyone, I’m sorry. I couldn’t…” Susans gets up and places her hand over his mouth.
“You did good, Arthur. We all know it. It’s okay.” A cough interrupts them, and they turn to see a stranger in a three piece suit, a finely trimmed mustache, and a top heart.
“As I said, Mister Macguire, you would be watching for a while. And now you have.” He turns to Arthur, “And you, Mister Morgan, have redeemed yourself. Not by a lot, but you have. Congratulations.” The stranger tapped his cane twice, and the fire disappeared and the void turned into a bar. “For now, you will wait. There's more to the story that unfolds, but time in the land of the living must pass. Enjoy.” The man faded leaving the dead to gather and catch up.