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      Red's mother had paddled him and talked to him about controlling his temper, but Red couldn't understand why he needed to since the other boy was being mean and deserved it. Uncle Orrin had often told Red that he got angry too easily, that it would get him into trouble and one day he wouldn't be around to fix things. Red was sure that he never got angry without being provoked, so why would it get him in trouble. He had decided that Uncle Orrin just worried too much.

      Later that morning Red spotted a rabbit. He pulled out his rifle and shot it. The rifle had been a gift from Frank. Frank had been an old ranch hand who had worked on the Dawson ranch. When Red had run out of money in San Antonio, he got himself a job working as a cook's assistant at the Dawson ranch. He worked hard and put up with all the teasing about being a soft city boy from the ranch hands.

      Frank took a liking to Red and started teaching him to be a cowboy. He taught Red to ride a horse. Red quickly picked up other skills, like roping, read trail signs and finally to shoot a rifle. When the other ranch hands teased him into trying to break a horse, Red had gotten angry and agreed to do it. He was so angry that against Frank's advice he let them pick a horse that had already thrown several of them.

      Red mounted up and held held on as the horse tried everything it could to throw him. Finally, it gave up and Red had broken it. Frank called the horse Blaze after he still threw a couple of the others who tried to ride him. The other hands had stopped teasing Red that day. Old Man Dawson himself had been watching. Since Blaze refused to be ridden by anyone but Red, Old Man Dawson gave him to Red and allowed Red to start riding the range with the other hands. A couple weeks later Frank had given him the rifle for his twenty-second birthday.

      Red had enjoyed it there. Red was learning to be a cowboy. Old Man Dawson had even told him that with just more experience he could become a foreman one day. Red was making good money and listened to Frank, who told him to save it up rather than go to town with the other boys and drink and gamble it away. Red already knew how to survive in the city and now he was learning to not just survive, but make it in the backcountry. Old Man Dawson had decided to not only keep him on for the next season, but Red would even ride north on the trail drive to Kansas.

Absolut Paradigm

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