After the Run

Summary:  What Happened Next in the episode “Bank Run”
Category:  Bonanza
Genre:  Western
Rated: PG
Word Count:  4700


This is my version of how the story really ended. I’d like to thank my bestest friend Angie for the ideas that she provided to help me. My thanks also go to Joan Sattler, who helped me out with a few ideas when I got stuck.

*****

Holy Toledo, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Pa as mad as he was when he caught up with Hoss and me on the trail. He looked like he could bite a nail into and I don’t mean a fingernail either. OK, ok I know it wasn’t the smartest thing to do, falling asleep and all without one of us standing guard. But who’d a thought those two little weasels would have the nerve to steal the money from the bonds.

Now here we are, back at home with the money in tow. Maybe this will change Pa’s mood. Unfortunately, we also have the mules we ‘borrowed’ in tow. But maybe he won’t mention those. I can’t believe that Hoss would run out on me the way he did, leaving me to explain everything to Pa and Adam. Yeah, I know; Pa left me in charge so it was my responsibility. But still, Hoss is older than me and should have known not to listen to me. He should have kept me out of trouble too. Sounds like good reasoning to me. Guess I’ll find out in a minute, here comes Pa and Adam.

“Hi, Pa.” Uh, he still looks mad. “Here’s the money, Pa.”

“The money?”

“Yeah!”

“The money from the bonds?”

“Yeah!”

“This is the whole hundred thousand dollars?” Pa asked me like he didn’t think I was telling the truth. Like I would lie.

“Actually it’s a hundred and fifty thousand,” I said taking in Pa’s expression, I continued, “See there is the hundred thousand from the bonds and see that little bag there? The one that has Virginia City Branch on it? That one has fifty thousand dollars in it. Looks like they robbed their own bank before robbing us.”

“Where’d you get the mules?” Adam asked, not seeing the gesture I gave him to keep his mouth shut until it was too late.

Of course, Hoss was no help. All he could get out was, “Oh them mules.”

“We… um… borrowed them.”

“You borrowed them?” Pa questioned. Wonder if he’s feeling alright, he sure is having trouble understanding what I’m saying today.

“Aw Pa, we hadda have transportation to get that money back.” Don’t think he liked that answer at all, by the look on his face.

“First thing, you two are going to take those mules back to their owner and pay him for renting them. Then this afternoon you will go into Virginia City and see Roy,” Ben bellowed.

Now just how do I tell him that neither of us has any money? Well here goes. “Um, Pa? W…we don’t have any money.” Uh oh, don’t think he liked that one bit, but looks like he’s going to help us out with it. Just wish Hoss would get it from him. I really don’t want to get that close to him. I’ll just stretch out toward him and take it. Whew, got it and still in tact, well for the moment. “See ya Pa.” I tried my smile on him, but I think he just needs a little more time to cool off. Well, we thought that would be the end of this little story, but boy were we wrong.

*****

Sitting in the dirt, hair disheveled, bruises and cuts appearing on their faces, the boys turned to face each other.

“Wiry little fella, wasn’t he?” Hoss stated.

“Yeah he was. You know Hoss, I think I’m ready for you to be in charge again.”

“Oh no little brother, I’m content with just bein’ a hired hand.”

“Great, be that way. You’re gonna make me face Pa alone ain’t ya?”

“Now listen big shorty, you know Pa’s gonna make us both squirm over this ‘un. But YOU was in charge,” Hoss reminded his seventeen-year-old little brother.

“Yeah, but YOU cut down the telegraph pole.”

“Yeah, but YOU robbed the bank.”

“Yeah, but YOU was the lookout.”

“Yeah, but YOU had the idea to steal them mules.”

“Yeah, but YOU are older AND bigger AND should have stopped me!” Ha, Joe thought, got him on that one.

Scrunching up his face and immediately regretting doing so, Hoss knew his baby brother had him there. No matter what or who was in charge, he was the older brother and Pa would have expected him to keep Little Joe out of trouble. “Well this ain’t getting’ us no where. Let’s get to town and see Roy.”

*****

“So Roy, are the boys going to be charged with anything now that we know what happened?” Ben questioned. “I’m not happy about what they did, but at least their motives were honest.”

“Well now Ben, let’s see. They robbed the bank, cut down the telegraph pole, and stole two mules. What do you think? I mean the last time I heard, robbing a bank was still illegal in this territory.”

“Oh now come on Roy. We all know why they did those things. Now I’m not saying they went about it the right way, but look at how much they saved the citizens of Virginia City,” Adam stated. He could see just how worked up Ben was getting and was honestly worried for his health.

“Adam, I might get around everything else, but the owner of those mules wants charges pressed.”

“But the boys are returning those mules and are going to pay him for… renting them,” Ben added, almost pounding his injured fist back on the desk again.

“Well he told me he wanted charges brought or his mules brought back and the boys to do his plowing for him.”

“Oh, those two will be more than willing to do any plowing he needs done,” Ben assured the sheriff.

“Speaking of which, here comes the convicts now.” Adam smirked.

“Young man, we can all do without your smart mouth, right now,” Ben stated, fixing his son with a stern glare.

“Ah, sorry Pa.”

*****

“You know Hoss, I don’t like the way everyone is staring at us. You’d think they’d be happy they got their money back,” Little Joe said as he and Hoss made their way down C Street toward the Sheriff’s office.

“I’m more worried about how Pa’s gonna look at us when we get there.”

“Awe come on big brother, Pa’s gonna be fine with this. After all we got the money back, and we returned the mules. So how bad could it be?”

“I sure hope ya right Joseph, ‘cause if ya ain’t I’m gonna pound ya good,” Hoss said glaring at the boy next to him.

Little Joe hadn’t felt confident at all in what he was saying to his brother. He knew for a fact that Ben was fit to be tied, and just how much of the blame fell on his shoulders. After all he had been left in charge, and knew he’d really made a mess of things. Thinking fast, he came up with a plan. The best way to check the waters for sharks was to throw in live bait. “Hey Hoss, listen there ain’t no telling how long we’ll be in town, so I’ll go and put up the horses at the livery then join you over at Roy’s.”

“Now just a minute, young’un. You ain’t gonna make me go face them alone,” Hoss said quickly.

“But think about ol’ Chubby, and poor Coochie here. They been through a lot. But if you want to put your own needs before theirs, then I can’t stop ya,” Joe said, cutting his eyes around to take in the expression on his kindhearted brother’s face.

“Oh alright. But ya better bring yaself on real quick. I don’t wanna have to come and find ya.”

“Won’t be but a minute, big brother,” Joe smiled taking the reins of both horses and quickly walking down the street leaving Hoss to fend for himself.

*****

 Outside the office. Hoss quickly realized that once again his baby brother had pulled the wool over his eyes, leaving him to face his father, Adam and the sheriff, alone. “Oh lordy!”

Upon entering Adam took in the nervous look on Hoss’ face, smirking he walked over, “Looks like the walk did you some good there little brother.” adding a hearty pat to the big man’s stomach.

“Um… hi there Adam, Pa, Roy.”

“Hoss. Just where is that little brother of yours?” Ben asked standing in front of his middle boy.

“Ah… well ya see, he went to put the horses up. He’ll be along,” he answered thinking to himself, ‘He’d better be if’n he knows what good fer him.’

“What you mean younger brother is that he left you to face this alone,” Adam stated.

“Now Adam you don’t know that; he said he’d be right along.”

“Well he had sure better be. He doesn’t want me to have to go after him,” Ben added.

*****

Making his way down the street, Little Joe noticed that he was being followed by several of the citizen, the crowd growing with each one he past. Smiling at them, he was unaware of what they had in mind for him and his brother.

Leading the horses inside the livery, he walked over to the owner, “Hey Jack, I need to leave the horses here for a bit.”

“Sure they ain’t done been stoled too?”

“Wh…what? Jack you know Cochise and Chubb are our horses,” Joe said, not understanding why the man that been a friend of the family for as long as he could remember would ask such a question.

“Well the way I see it, anyone that would up and steal mules is bound to be a horse thief too.”

His anger and frustration mounting, Joe noticed that the crowd was closing is on him. “Now see here Jack, that ain’t funny. We borrowed those mules; no actually, we rented them. In fact, the owner has already taken the money for it.”

“That don’t excuse the fact that ya took ’em in the first place, young’un,” the older man said jabbing his finger in Little Joe’s chest.

“It was the only way to get the money back for the bank. We couldn’t just let ’em get away with it could we?” Joe protested rubbing his chest.

“Seein’s how yer Pa thinks these here is some mighty fine horse flesh and I know they’ll be got and the bill will be paid with honest money, you can leave ’em. Now go on and git over to the sheriff’s office, sonny. Word around these here parts is they’s awaitin’ on ya there,” Jack said, advancing on the boy.

Joe turned and saw how large the crowd had grown while he stood debating with the livery owner. Making his way through, he figured the best approach would be to be sociable. “Mornin’ Tom, Miss Jones, Mr. Cass,” he said tipping his hat to each of them. Suddenly realizing what or better yet who he had to face at the sheriff’s office, Joe headed off in the opposite direction. It only took a couple of seconds for two of the crowd members to hoist him up by his arms and tote him in the right direction.

*****

“Well Hoss, do you still think he’ll be right along?” Adam questioned, cutting his eyes around to where his Pa and Roy stood looking out the window at the street. Both could see the anger building on their Pa’s face.

“Dadburnit Adam, he said he would. But it sure ain’t lookin’ like it,” Hoss admitted.

“Hoss, when are you going to learn? Every time that kid gets some hair-brained scheme going, he pulls you right into it with him. I don’t understand it.”

“Well, he was in charge. I hadda do what the boss tole me to, didn’t I?” Hoss asked.

“Do you really think that Pa’s going to see it that way?”

Scrunching up his face, Hoss turned and shook his head as the office door was slung open and two men entered dragging Little Joe between them. Smiling over at his older brother, Hoss said, “I done tole ya he’d be right on.”

“What is the meaning of this?” Roy questioned, “Mr. Cass, Mr.Watkins?”

Still holding the squirming boy between them, Mr. Cass spoke for the group. “We knew that Ben was down here waiting on Little Joe. Didn’t look as though he was going to come, so we brought him.” With that they pushed him into his father’s arms.

Pulling Little Joe around to face him, Ben pointed to the empty chair between Adam and Hoss. “Sit down over there and STAY PUT!”

“Y-yes sir,” Joe stammered, then quickly did as he had been told.

“Well, did you ah… get rid of the mules?” Adam asked. He had already gotten the story from Hoss, but just felt the need to pick a little at his baby brother.

“Of course we did. That’s what Pa said to do and we did it. Paid the man too,” Joe smiled.

“From the looks of your faces, I’d venture to say you paid with more than just cash,” Adam smirked, taking in the angry glares from the boy.

“I’d be losing that attitude if I were you,” Adam said, looking over to where their Pa stood along side Roy, attempting to control the mob that was now threatening to overtake the small office.

“A-adam? Is Pa real mad?” Joe asked, biting his bottom lip.

“You could say that, younger brother. Sure glad I’m not in your shoes, or should I say your pants,” Adam smiled, seeing the unsure looked that crossed the boy’s face.

Closing the door behind the crowd, Roy and Ben both turned their attention to the young men that sit in front of them. Adam stood and went over to the desk and propped himself. He wanted a ringside view of the events that were to about to take place, and most definitely didn’t want in the line of fire.

“Pa…we…um…took care of the mules. Took them right back, and…ah…paid the man too,” Joe said smiling.

“That’s good son. I see that the owner wasn’t too happy with what had happened.”

“Um…no sir, he wasn’t at that. Wiry little cuss,” Hoss said, rubbing his cheek that now sported a nice size bruise.

“Now, the two of you are going to march yourselves over to the saloon, where all the fine citizens of Virginia City are, and make a public apology for this little fiasco you have caused,” Ben stormed, pointing toward the door.

“Yes sir,” Hoss said, scrunching up his face at the thoughts of facing all those people, as he proceeded out the door held open by Adam.

Not knowing when to just keep his mouth shut, naturally Little Joe paused, “But Pa…” The thought of convincing his father otherwise came to abrupt end as he was helped through the door with a sound smack to his backside.

Everyone in town watched as one of the leading citizens walked purposely down the street flanked on one side by his biggest son, followed by his oldest son and the sheriff and holding his youngest son tightly by his upper arm. The crowd inside the saloon was a large one, the main topic being the brief career as bank robbers by the Cartwright boys.

“May I have your attention, please,” Ben shouted over the noise. Once there was quiet he continued. “I would first like to apologize for the inconvenience caused by my two youngest sons. And if you will allow, they too would like to say something.”

Pushing his youngest forward, maintaining his grip on the boy left arm with his left hand and keeping his right hand free for any necessary ‘encouragement’ he might need, he waited.

Little Joe looked out at the crowd that stood before him. He could see the store owners, lumberjacks, and miners that had been affected by this whole scandal. Making a quick glance at the door, for a possible escape, he turned back at his father’s quite voice, “Joseph, if you don’t want me to embarrass you further in front of these people, you’ll start talking.”

Realizing his father meant every word, he took a deep breath and began, “Um…Hoss and I are both really sorry we worried ya like we did. We only wanted to make sure ya didn’t loose all ya money. I know we should have gone to see the sheriff instead, but we figured we could handle it. Sorry,” he concluded. Looking up at Ben, he was glad to see his Pa felt it was a good apology.

Hoss took the cue and began his apology. “There ain’t much left to say. Shortshanks pretty much said it all, but I’m sorry too. We didn’t mean no harm.”

“Thank you all,” Ben said, as he began to lead Joe back toward the door. He was stopped as one of the men called out.

“Mr. Cartwright?”

“Yes.”

“Now, not a one of us here that don’t know which one of ya boys came up with this. What we all want to know is what’s next?”

Ben looked at his boys, then to Roy. He and Roy had come to an understanding as what they were going to do about the situation. Ben was concerned mostly with his youngest. The boy was just too quick to fly off the handle and do something dangerous or foolish. In this case, it could have been both. Had the wrong person went after them once seeing the poster, they could have been injured or killed. Hoss was another story. He was hoping his plan would convince his soft-hearted son to stop letting his baby brother pull him into the middle of his schemes. Turning back to face the crowd, he spoke, “The boys are going to be arrested and put in jail for bank robbery. They will stay there until the circuit judge arrives in three weeks.”

Joe, hearing what his father had to say, swallowed hard. “But Pa? You can’t…”

“Joseph, don’t tell me what I can’t do. I have always told you that you were held responsible for what you did. Now you have to face the consequences.”

Hoss stood dumbstruck at the news, but knew his father was right in what he said. Then it struck him. “Joseph, you had better hope they put us in different cells, young’un. Cause if’n Roy don’t, I’m gonna whip ya fer sure.”

*****

Coming out of the cell room after locking the boys in separate cells, Roy set down behind his desk smiling.

“Pa, I can’t believe you’re really going to leave them in there. You know why they did it,” Adam said. He was convinced his father had taken leave of his senses. He expected Ben to haul them both home, Hoss receiving a long lecture on allowing his baby brother to talk him into trouble. He had no doubt that the youngest Cartwright would receive a lecture and due to his age, and the fact he was the reason for the whole mess, a thrashing. But at no time did he fathom the idea of his father having them locked up.

“Adam, son, sit down,” Ben said. Waiting until the young man did as he was asked, he proceeded. “Son, Roy and I worked this out. Don’t worry about your brothers; they’ll only be in there until tomorrow. Judge Thomas will be here tomorrow. They won’t be left in jail after they go in front of him. Just trust me.”

“Ok Pa. I hope your right.”

“I am; it’s all been worked out. See, Judge Thomas is a friend of mine. Huggins and Kern were picked up in Placerville. They’ll be tried there and sent to the prison, after Joe and Hoss’ testimony. I explained to him what had happened in a letter I had delivered, and he agreed to help me out in teaching those two a lesson. Let’s go to the hotel and get a room. The…ah…trial will begin in the morning.”

*****

“Ok boys, up and at em,” Roy called as he walked in with two trays for breakfast. “Get ya grub eat up so we can get on over to the courthouse.”

“Courthouse? Whatcha mean Roy?” Hoss asked taking the tray.

“Yeah, Pa said it’d be three weeks,” Joe added.

“There was a change in plans. Don’t tell me ya wanted to stay the three weeks and keep me company now, Little Joe?”

“Well, it ain’t really that, Roy. Just kinda feel a little safer in here and Pa out there,” Joe said.

“You won’t be in there forever, young man,” came a deep voice from the door of the outer office. “Roy, are they ready?” Ben added as he and Adam stood waiting.

Unlocking the door to Hoss’ cell, Roy looked the big man in the eye. “Now ya gonna behave? I ain’t got but one set of cuffs that work, and I gotta a feeling I need to put them on the young’un here. He’s liable to take off knowing he’s might get his britches warmed,” Roy said taking in the stricken look on the boy’s face.

“You ain’t gotta worry bout me, Roy. I ain’t goin’ nowhere,” Hoss said, stepping out of the cell and joining his father and brother. “I want a ringside seat when Pa wails the tar out of him.”

Little Joe walked out of the cell, hesitating before entering the outer office. The menacing look from Hoss, Adam’s smug smile, and his Pa’s stern face, made the boy want to do just what Roy feared he might. RUN! But run where? Flashing a million dollar smile at his father, he said, “Hi ya, Pa.”

“Roy, you won’t need those cuffs,” Ben said grabbing his baby son by the arm. “Will he, son?”

“N…no sir,” Joe stuttered. “I ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

*****

The walk to the courthouse was to say the least embarrassing to the two youngest Cartwrights. Seemed like everyone in Virginia City wanted to be on hand for the trial and sentencing. Roy headed up the small group as they entered, making his way to the long desk down front. Placing Hoss by him and Little Joe beside his father, they waited as the judge called order to the court.

“Well, I must say this is a sad day in Virginia City. When one of it’s leading citizens is forced to sit back and watch not one, but two of his sons being tried for bank robbery. I would like to note to all that are here, and especially to you Ben Cartwright, that this court in no way holds you responsible for the actions of the defendants. Ben, are the boys going to be defended by an attorney?”

Standing up, Ben answered, “No your honor, they are not. They have admitted to be guilty.”

“Then we’ll proceed. Hoss Cartwright, please stand.”

Standing up and facing the judge, Hoss replied, “Yes sir.”

“You have been charged with bank robbery. How do you plea?”

“Well sir……guilty.

“I accept your plea. Now as for your punishment for this crime. This court has taken into consideration that you were not the mastermind behind this whole fiasco. That you in fact were acting under direct orders from Joseph Cartwright, who had been left in charge of the ranch, in your father’s absence. You will spend the next four days at the bank, cleaning it and preparing it for sale. The sheriff will have a list of what needs to be done there. You will also be reporting to Mr. Hobbs after that. I believe you’ve met before. I think he is the gentleman that rented you and your brother the mules during this little adventure. You will be doing any and all plowing for him. Are my orders understood?”

“Yes sir, your honor. Why I’d be more than happy to do that.” Hoss quickly agreed. He was just happy it was almost over for him.

“I would strongly advise you young man to not listen to your younger brother anymore when he comes up with one of his schemes.”

Shooting an angry glare at his little brother, Hoss nodded his head in agreement. “You don’t have to worry about that, your honor. This young’un ain’t agonna talk me into nothing else.”

Joe sat quietly biting his bottom lip. ‘This ain’t gonna be good. Even Hoss is against me. I don’t wanna go to prison. I ain’t old enough to go to prison.’

“Joseph Cartwright, please stand.”

Standing, he took a deep breath and faced the judge. “Yes sir?”

“You have been accused of bank robbery. How do you plea?”

“Um…guilty, your honor. But..,”

“No buts young man. Do you realize just what the sentence is for bank robbery?”

“N…no sir.”

“Fifteen years, son. Are you prepared to spend the next fifteen years of your life behind bars?

“No sir.”

“You should have thought of the consequences of your actions before committing a crime.”

“Yes sir.”

“Your sentence is as follows. Because of the fact you’re a minor, you will not be sent to Yuma Prison. Instead, you will be accompanying your brother Hoss to the bank and to Mr. Hobbs, where you will assist him in what is to be done.”

“Yes sir,” Joe said, relieved with the outcome.

“I’m not through yet, young man. You will be released into the custody of your father Ben Cartwright, who I hope further takes this matter up with you at home. Case closed.”

Little Joe turned to Hoss and smiled. “Sorry I gotcha into this mess, brother.”

“Yeah, I know ya are, little brother. I forgive ya, but don’t think you’re gonna sit back and watch me do all the work.”

“Who me?” Joe asked, pointing at his chest.

“Yes you. You will do your part, because Adam and myself will be checking on you to make sure. Now let’s get back to the jail to get your things and get on home,” Ben added.

*****

Walking up on the porch of the jail, Ben stopped. “Adam, you and Hoss go and get the horses.” he said. Taking his youngest by the arm, he added. “I need to have a little talk with my baby son here.”

“Ah… sure Pa.” Adam said, pulling Hoss off the porch. “Good luck, little buddy,” he threw over his shoulder.

“A…a talk…Pa?” Joe stammered.

“Yes Joseph, a talk. Roy, mind if we borrow one of your cells for a few minutes?”

“Of course not Ben, think I’ll go and make my rounds,” Roy answered. Walking away with a smile on his face, he agreed with Joe; the boy would have been safer locked up.

*****

Epilogue:

Huggins and Kern were both sentenced to fifteen years for robbing their own bank and the Cartwright boys. Hoss and Little Joe spent the following four days taking care of the tasks at the bank. Through there, they spent the following week working for Mr. Hobbs, plowing the fields. Hoss kept his promise and didn’t let Little Joe talk him into any schemes for a while. His resolve broke when his little brother was able to talk him into aiding him in some detective work, concerning a possible bank robbery. Little Joe was just glad the whole thing was finally over, even if he did spend several uncomfortable days following his trial. Ben vowed not to leave either of his younger boys in charge for the next few years. Adam? Well, he just sat back and enjoyed the show.

***The End***

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