The shots continued to ring out despite the blackness of the night. In a small cabin near the Mexican border, Wes Holloway lay underneath a table as protection from the withering gunfire. He looked around with a grim smile. A few feet away, Johnny Little lay dead, shot through the chest and shoulder in the first few minutes of the fight. On the other side of the small room, young Jack McLaughlin struggled to sit up and speak.
“Wes, hey Wes! You alive?” The young man’s voice bore both a touch of humor and anxiety. Holloway pressed the bloody fingers tighter against the wound in his chest. “Yeah, kid, I’m still kickin’. Sons-a-bitches won’t get me that easily.” Jack managed a laugh, then stared at Holloway. “Wes, I think this is it. There ain’t no way out. We’re done for.”
Holloway’s face tightened as he listed to the panic and fear in McLaughlin’s voice. “You ain’t done yet, kid.”, he said. “Yer gonna go away for awhile, play real nice and be a good, honest citizen. They’ll let you out after a few years and you can go on livin’.” As he was speaking, Holloway stood up slowly and struggled to his feet. He looked back at McLaughlin for a moment, smiled broadly, and said, “Never forget who we was, kid. We owned this land and we took what we want, when we wanted. The law always finds us all in the end, but just remember, we had it good. Now, just wait here awhile, boy. You’ll live long after I’m gone, but me?” As he said these words, Holloway reached for the front door, “I’ll die game”.
The next few minutes were a blur. McLaughlin clutched his wounded shoulder as he watched Holloway run out the front door with a vicious roar. A brief exchange of gunfire told McLaughlin the last and best outlaw the territory had ever seen was dead. As he lost consciousness and heard the shouts of the Pinkertons who were storming the cabin, McLaughlin remembered what Holloway had told him the nigh before as the cabin was surrounded. “We’ll all be gone soon”, he had said, “We all gotta die. But ya know what, kid? They’ll be tellin’ stories about us and writin’ dime novels about what we done for hundreds of years. Real outlaws like us may die, but we ain’t ever gonna fade.”