He had found it.
Old Bill stood on the rocky mountain ridge, hat in hand, and peered into the long green valley below. This was the larger section Three Hands had spoken of, sure as shootin’. Meandering streams glinted in the autumn light and the clouds overhead betokened more rain.
Old Bill laughed aloud, replaced his hat, and scrambled down from the rocks. His credit-bought beaver traps rattled slightly as the new mule carefully followed him down the mountainside. There’d be beaver here, he could feel it in his bones. If not in the valley itself, then surely in the streams flowing out of it through the mountains to the east.
“C’mon mule,” he said. “We’re gonna ’cuperate my losses and make us our fortune. All we gotta do is stay outta the way of the Injuns and the Mexicans chasin’ ’em.” He chuckled. “Not to mention catamount an’ bear.”