A True Story With Names and Dates Lost to History

January 4, 2022 ·

Bryan Tucker was an old timer that occasionally worked for my dad. He was one of those endearing people that never had much money but did have a multitude of friends and a real fondness for Eastern Montana. It was Bryan that told me the following story that happened sometime around the turn of the last century.

Mae Moore was a little girl residing on her father’s ranch located approximately 90 miles southwest of Miles City, Montana. She became deathly ill with appendicitis. A cowboy, who was temporarily working for the Moore ranch, gathered Mae up and holding her with one arm, mounted his horse and headed for the nearest doctor in Miles City. Riding hard and fast, he changed horses four times at various ranches along the ninety mile journey. In those days, everyone kept a horse in their corral to have a ready mode of transportation.

Twenty miles out of Miles City, with night falling fast, the cowboy and Mae arrived at a ranch on an exhausted horse. The rancher just happened to own one of the very first automobiles. The rancher, the cowboy, and little Mae Moore loaded up and took off for Miles City. Unfortunately, the first automobiles didn’t have headlights! So the cowboy sat on the hood holding a lantern to light up the trail for the rest of the journey. They made it to the doctor in Miles City in time to save Mae’s life.

Bryan couldn’t remember the name of the cowboy or where he came from. He said he had heard years ago that the cowboy had died in the vicinity of Sheridan, Wyoming in the 1930’s. Now over a hundred years later, nobody knows the name of the cowboy or the rancher or the horses rode on this heroic journey. Nobody knows the name of the doctor who performed the surgery that saved little Mae.

However, I bet the Big Boss Upstairs knows all their names…especially the drifter cowboy that carried a little girl with one arm and rode horseback non-stop seventy miles and then twenty more miles on the hood of a automobile to save the life of Mae Moore.

I grew up on the same creek as Mae Moore’s descendants who were hard working, God fearing neighbors whom I consider friends.

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