Lafe Dorsey and Flip Williams were at the clerk's desk. The Vermejo cattleman had just registered Thunderbolt, with Flip as rider, for the big race. They looked around as the Ramblin' Kid and Chuck came in. "Well, is the Quarter Circle KT getting up sand enough to go against old Thunderbolt again?" Dorsey asked with a curl of his lip and an ugly sneer.

"No, he can't," the Ramblin' Kid remarked quietly, " you'd lose your money. There's only one animal on th' Kiowa range that can outrun that Vermejo horse." "What animal is that?" Charley asked. "She's in th' circular corral," the Ramblin' Kid answered laconically. "The Gold Dust maverick?" Bert questioned.

Geographical knowledge of the Vermejo is still less, and of the Pilcomayo least of all; this confined to the territory of their upper waters, long since colonised by the Argentine States and the Republic of Bolivia, and now having many towns in it.

The labours of the padres, both Jesuit and Franciscan, have alike signally failed; the savages of the Chaco refusing obedience to the cross as submission to the sword. Three large rivers the Salado, Vermejo, and Pilcomayo course through the territory of the Chaco; the first forming its southern boundary, the others intersecting it.

So that night he moves camp mebby to where it's a hundred an' sixty miles from Wagon Mound, over on the Vermejo.

One of the most important of these is the Vermejo, which, rising in the Andes, near the source of the Amazon, affords a water communication between Bolivia across the whole continent to the Atlantic. These rivers form the boundaries of several states.

Carolyn June's words, spoken of the Gold Dust maverick: "It would be fun to see her run!" and uttered lightly and in a spirit of coquetry that morning when she teased him to enter the outlaw filly in the race against the Thunderbolt horse from the Vermejo, came to his mind. The selfishness of the plea maddened him.

But he has no thought, or intention, to attempt communicating with the civilised world in that way; while a design of doing so in quite another direction has occurred to him, and, in truth, been already all arranged. This, to carry his commodities overland to the Rio Vermejo, and down that stream till near its mouth; then again overland, and across the Parana to Corrientes.

Leaving Humaita behind, the mouth of the Vermejo, a stream which tinges the Paraguay with the hue of its clay-colored waters, is reached and passed: then Villa del Pilar, a forlorn hamlet, where a few dejected inhabitants crouch in the shade of shattered houses. Next a magnificent forest of palms appears. In front the yellow sand of the shore is covered with alligators, which lie about in groups.

Tom Poole, the lank marshal, loafed as usual about the Elite Amusement Parlor, over which hung a sullen quiet reflecting the morbid emotions of Mike Sabota, its brutish-built proprietor, resulting from his heavy losses on Thunderbolt in the two-mile sweepstakes when the Gold Dust maverick, ridden by the drug-crazed Ramblin' Kid, darted under the wire lengths ahead of the black Vermejo stallion.