The switch, the belt and wagon train justice

A very public punishment outside the wagon

A very public punishment outside the wagon

Here is an excerpt from a cowboy story called West’s Way, by yours truly. The original novel was a complicated story about various people on a wagon train in frontier America. The background to this excerpt is that our hero John West has reluctantly accepted responsibility for a woman and her three daughters who are travelling without a man to enable them to be allowed to travel with the wagon train. The woman is having trouble keeping her three adult and near-adult girls in line with all the temptations of the trail.

Our wagon train has stopped at the foot of a steep climb and has decided to wait until morning before proceeding. The oldest two girls have taken the opportunity to slip away from the wagons for a bit of skinny-dipping. This of course is both dangerous and offensive to the pompous morality of our hero who promises to find them and return them to their mother.

And so to our story:

John was no tracker but then the trail was not particularly hard to follow. But it would be dark soon and then even an easy trail could not be seen.

A coyote howled some way off, if it was a coyote. There were no reports of Indians but you never knew this far out. It was always dangerous for a man alone this far from the train but even more so for two girls alone.

Not for the first time he felt anger when he thought of Miss Becky Jones.

“Who are you to give me orders? You are not my father. Anyway I am nearly 21.” She had said in her haughty manner.

What could have possessed them? He thought angrily.

Then he heard voices and laughter; the unmistakeable sound of careless youth. He turned his horse towards the sound.

Mary Anne was standing besides the pool dressed in nothing but her shift. Her wet body rendered the muslin transparent in places and anyway it was shamelessly short. His instinct was to turn away but he had to get them back.

Becky was still in the pool naked, mercifully obscured by the water below her shoulder line. The girls hadn’t seen him and were gabbing away without a care in the world.

“What in hell are you doing?” he yelled, immediately regretting his curse.

Mary Anne squealed and grabbed her frock and used it to try and cover herself while Becky hunkered down in the water.

“Mr West.” Becky was indignant. “Ladies are bathing.”

“I can see that.” He yelled. “But you know you not to stray from the train.”

“Mr West we are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves now go at once.” Becky said using that tone again.

“Miss Jones if you don’t get out and get dressed at once I am coming in to drag you out and you’ll back to camp as you are. Do I make myself clear?”

Becky was about to say something cutting when a coyote called from someplace and she appeared to notice for the first time that it was almost dark.

“Please turn around Mr West.” Mary Anne said meekly.

He dismounted and tended to the horses with his back to the girls, listening to make sure Becky was doing as she was told.

Once they were dressed and had mounted he invited them to lead the way.

“Where to?” Mary Anne asked puzzled.

“Back to camp of course.” He snapped.

“Don’t you know the way?” Becky sneered.

“Oh I know the way.” He replied. “But the way I know is likely to get your pretty dresses snagged in the dark. Surely you know a better way, so lead on.”

“Yes I’m not quite sure now its so dark.” Becky ventured suddenly unsure of herself.

“Mary Anne?” He asked.

“I don’t know. Becky you said you could find this place, its awfully dark Mama will be worried, lets get back.”

“I am not sure.” Becky looked about her in the growing gloom. “We should have brought lanterns.”

“Yes you should have and something to light a fire. And guns.” He said his point made. “Better still you should not have come at all. There is no way a search party could find you in the dark. The train would have to loose a whole morning to find you, maybe a day. That’s if a cat or an Indian didn’t get you first.”

He made an angry slash with his quirt and moved off toward the camp.

“Come on keep close and quiet mind.”

It took less than half an hour to return to the camp. The picket passed them in with a look that could kill directed at the girls. Becky put her nose in the air and affected no to notice. Mary Anne had at least the good grace to look shamefaced.

“Mrs Jones I have two lost chicks for you.” John West said as he dismounted.

“Oh thank god.” Mrs Jones hugged herself in relief. “Martha see to the horses, I have something to say to your sisters.”

“Mother it is perfectly alright we just went for a ride and Mr West was kind enough to see us home.” Becky said haughtily using her most adult voice.

“Mrs Jones I hope you realise the trouble they have caused and the difficult position your family has put me in. They were skinny-dipping and they were lost. If I hadn’t chanced upon them in the dark they would have been out there all night.” John was almost as angry with Mrs Jones as he was with the girls. After all hadn’t she promised that she could handle the trail without a man? “Ma’am if you don’t cut a switch and take it to their bare bottoms I’ll do it myself and like as not do the same to you when I am done.”

Mrs Jones’s blush was visible even in the lamplight. She wanted to protest at his outburst but she knew he was right and she owed him everything. Besides it is no more than her late husband would have done in the circumstances. So she nodded.

“I fully intend to. Rebecca, Mary Anne Jones strip to your shifts at once and go and cut me a switch each.” Mrs Jones said trying to regain some composure.

“Oh Mama we are sorry.” Mary Anne wailed.

“You can’t mean to chastise us, especially in front of him.” Becky was outraged she had not been whipped since before her father had died.

“If I have your word Ma’am that they’ll be getting what’s needful then I will leave for my bed.” John tipped his hat.

“You do.” Mrs Jones folded her arms in determination.

“Mother I will not stand for it.” Becky stamped her foot.

Mary Anne looked less sure of herself and Martha crept away to watch the unfolding drama with growing awe.

“Rebecca, Mary Anne I told you to remove your gowns at once.” Mrs Jones sounded indecisive.

“I will not.” Becky was adamant.

John was finally at the end of his patience. He stepped forward and lifted Becky smoothly off her feet and dumped her face down over the back of the tailgate of the Jones’s wagon. In a trice he had raised her skirts and dragged her bloomers down to her ankles.

Mary Anne and her mother gasped at this but did nothing to intervene. Martha just grinned.

Becky struggled and protested wildly.

“Bring those lamps nearer.” John ordered as he used one hand to pull his belt from his pants and the other to hold Becky’s skirts and hands in the small of her back pinning her to the gate.

Martha obliged with the lanterns, which lit up her mischievous grin.

John brought the belt down across the widest part of Becky’s bottom with a loud crack while she protested loudly at the treatment.

“I suggest you keep quiet unless you want the whole camp to come and investigate the ruckus.” He said.

Becky took the point but struggled to keep her peace during the next five minutes as John thrashed her bare backside for all he was worth.

“Oh Mama stop him I am sorry.” It was the only coherent thing she could manage.

Mrs Jones was uncomfortable with the situation but could not deny that her daughter had had it coming since Denver.

Mary Anne was scared and excited at the same time. Was she next? She hastily began to get undressed despite the presence of Mr West, wishing all the while that her shift were not quite so short.

John finally let the sobbing girl down and turned to Mary Anne.

“I am ready to cut a switch now Mama.” She cried eagerly.

“You too.” John said to Becky.

“Oh you can’t mean to?” Becky wailed.

“Mrs Jones I meant what I said. Every word.”

Mrs Jones felt a tingle in her own bottom under her dress. She was quite sure he did and shuddered not altogether unpleasantly.

“You heard what Mr West said.” She snapped with renewed authority. “Get down to your shift and cut a switch at once. Or I will have Mr West begin over.”

John replaced his belt and walked away towards his nearby wagon.

Five minuets later he and the whole camp could hear the unmistakable sound of Becky and Mary Anne’s switching. Becky in particular seemed very vocal as her voice rivalled the hiss of the switch on bare flesh.

Susan Oliver on the recieving end in Wagon Train.

Susan Oliver on the recieving end in Wagon Train.

6 Responses to “The switch, the belt and wagon train justice”

  1. 1 Marc Shaw


    I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog.
    I read a lot of blogs on a and for the most part, people lack substance but, !…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! 🙂

    – Marc Shaw

  2. 2 CM

    Western Justice! More please.


  3. 3 Rollin

    So, what happened to the book? did you ever publish? I like the story and the setting has numerous possibilities.

  4. 4 DJ

    It was published briefly in part. The whole version was never finished.

    Maybe I will return to it one day.

    Thanks for interest.


  5. 5 Sue Pods

    really enjoy the switch belt and wagon train justice. Please have more western justice. very enjoyable

  6. 6 Pepi Cornyn

    Excellent justice. Too bad it doesn’t exist today still!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: