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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER I AN UNEXPECTED ATTACK
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 “Well, Blake, it doesn’t seem possible that we have succeeded; does it?” and the lad who asked the question threw one leg over the saddle of his , to ride side fashion for a while, as a rest and change.  
“No, Joe, it doesn’t,” answered another youth. “But we sure have got some dandy films in those boxes!” and he looked back on some burros that were following the cow across a stretch of Arizona desert.
“Well, all I’ve got to say,” remarked the cowboy, the third member of the trio; “is that taking moving pictures is about as work as rounding up or branding cattle.”
“I guess you don’t quite believe that, Hank; 2do you?” asked Blake Stewart. “You haven’t seen us work so very hard; have you?”
“Work hard? I should say I have,” answered Hank Selby. “Why, the time those Indians charged our cave, and Joe and I, and Munson and his crowd were getting ready to fire point-blank at them, there you stood, with bullets whizzing near you more than once, grinding away at the handle of your moving picture camera as hard as you could. Hard work—huh!”
“But we got the films,” declared Blake, not caring to go too deeply into an argument. “And I’m anxious to see how they will develop.”
“So am I,” declared Joe. “I wonder what will be next on the program?”
“Why, you’re going to look for your father; aren’t you, Joe—your father whom you haven’t seen since you were a little chap—whom you can’t even remember?” and Blake looked sharply at his chum and partner, Joe Duncan.
“That’s what I am, Blake, just as soon as I can get to the coast. But I mean, what will we do after that? Go back to New York?”
“I suppose so, and take up our trade of making moving picture films for whoever wants them. It will be a rather tame life after the excitement we have had out here.”
3“That’s what. But maybe it will be good for a change.”
The two moving picture boys, I might explain , were on their way to Flagstaff, Arizona, after having gone out into the wilds, with a cowboy guide, Hank Selby, to make moving picture films of some Moqui Indians who had broken away from their reservation, to indulge in some of their dances and ceremonies.
While making these films, the boys and their companion, who were hidden in a cave where the Indians could not see them, saw the redmen about to torture, as they thought, four white prisoners. Joe and Blake recognized these men as their business rivals, who were also trying to get some moving picture films of the Indians, to secure a prize of a thousand dollars, offered by a New York and ethnological society.
To fire on the Indians, and thus save the white captives, meant that Joe, Blake and Hank would disclose their position in the cave, but there was nothing else to do, and they did it.
The white captives, unexpectedly freed, came rushing toward the shelter, with the after them, and it looked as if there would be a fierce fight. In spite of this Blake held his ground, taking picture after picture.
And, in the nick of time, a troop of United 4States came dashing up to capture the renegade Indians, who surrendered; Blake also getting pictures of the dash of the troopers.
Unexpectedly in the company was a Duncan who proved to be a half-uncle of Joe Duncan, and the sergeant was able to tell the lad where his long-lost father was last heard from, since Joe had only lately learned that his parent was living.
And so, after their strenuous time in getting pictures of the Indians, the boys were on their way to Big B , where Hank Selby was employed, and whence they had started to find the hidden savages.
But Flagstaff was the real temporary headquarters of the lads, since there was located a company, engaged in doing some moving picture dramas based on Western life, and Joe and Blake had been hired to “film” those plays.
They had been given a little time off to make an attempt to get views of the Indians at their ceremonies, and they expected to resume, for a time, making films of more peaceful scenes among their theatrical friends.
“Yes, we sure did have a strenuous time,” remarked Blake, as they rode along at an easy pace. “And how those Indians threw down their guns, 5and gave in, when the troopers charged against them!”
“That’s right,” agreed Joe. “And those notes, when they started to , telling us that help was on the way, was the sweetest music I ever heard.”
“Same here,” came from Hank. “But say, if it’s all the same to you boys, I think we might as well camp here and have grub. This looks like good water and there’s enough grazing for the critters to-night. Then we can push on early in the morning, and in a couple of days more we ought to make Big B ranch.”
“It seems to take us longer coming back than it did going,” remarked Blake, as he slid from his pony, and pulled the over the animal’s head as a signal for it not to wander. “I thought we’d sure come in sight of the ranch to-day.”
“Oh, it’s farther than that,” said Hank, as he looked about for wood with which to make a fire. “I guess you were so anxious to get on the trail of the Indians on your way out that you didn’t notice how much ground you covered. And it was quite a few miles, believe me!”
“I do!” said Joe, with half a . “I’m sore and stiff from so much saddle riding. I’m not used to it.”
“Oh, you’ll limber up soon,” said Hank, cheerfully. 6“Now, if you boys will get the water, and break out the grub, I’ll get supper. It’ll soon be dark.”
The lads busied themselves, and soon a cheerful little blaze was going, while the tired horses and burros, relieved of the burden of saddles and packs, were rolling around at the length of their tether ropes.
“I wonder if all the Moquis and Navajos who skipped off their reservations have been driven back?” asked Joe, as they were about ready to eat.
“What makes you ask that?” inquired Blake quickly, and with a curious look at his chum.
“Oh, no special reason. But you know Captain , of the troop in which my uncle, Sergeant Duncan, was , said he had rounded up several bands of ’em, and I was just thinking that——”
“That maybe there were some more running around loose that we could make pictures of; is that it, Joe?”
“Well, yes. You know that society offered a prize of a thousand dollars for the best reel of ceremonial dances, but there were smaller prizes for ordinary pictures of Indians in various activities. I thought maybe we could get some of those.”
“I’m afraid not—not on this trip, at least,” 7spoke Blake. “I don’t believe there is ten feet of unexposed film left, and that wouldn’t make much of a reel. We used up all we brought with us making those cowboy pictures, the forest fire and the time the bear chased Hank, besides the Indian views. Nothing more doing in the camera line until we get back to Flagstaff.”
“Oh, well, I was just wondering,” Joe, and he gazed off across the stretch of country. But there was that in his voice and glance which did not bear out his unconcerned words.
However, Blake was too much occupied in getting supper just then to pay much attention to his chum, for the lad was hungry—as, indeed, his companions also seemed to be, for they attacked the simple with eagerness when Hank announced that it was ready.
The evening was setting in when they had finished, and, bringing up a pail of fresh water, in case they should get thirsty during the hours of darkness, and placing the saddles and packs in a compact mass, the three proceeded to spend the night in the open.
And yet not exactly without shelter, either, for they had with them small dog-tents, as they are called, that afford considerable protection against the night winds and dew. And, with a fire glowing 8at their feet, the travelers were far from being uncomfortable.
A pile of wood had been collected near the blaze, and while nothing was said about watch, it was understood that if any of them roused in the night he was to pile fuel on the embers, not only to keep up the heat, but to drive off any prowling beasts that might try to raid their stock of provisions.
“Well, I’m going to turn in,” finally announced Blake. “I’m dead tired.”
“And I’m with you,” added Joe.
Hank said nothing, but the boys watched him as he walked some little distance from the camp, to a slight . On this he stood, gazing off into the distance.
“I wonder what he’s looking for?” Joe.
“I—I hardly know,” replied Blake.
And yet, in his heart, each lad was aware of something that he hesitated to put into words. Presently Hank came back, and as the firelight shone on his face his expression betrayed no anxiety—in fact, no emotion of any kind.
“Did—did you see anything, Hank?” asked Blake.
“No—nothing. Snooze away. I think—I’ll have a pipe before I go to bed,” and he sat down 9on a small box and looked into the glowing embers.
Soon , Joe, looking from his small shelter tent, saw Hank fingering his big revolver, spinning the , and testing the .
“Something’s up!” whispered Joe to himself. “I wonder if it can be that he saw——”
He did not finish the sentence, for just then Hank put away the weapon and soon the odor of burning tobacco filled the night air.
“Oh, pshaw!” exclaimed the lad. “I’m foolish to worry about nothing; I’m going to sleep!” and he turned over, and closed his eyes. But, somehow, sleep would not come at once. Even with his eyes closed he could fancy the figure of the cowboy guide sitting by the fire.
Blake seemed to be less uneasy than did his chum. If he saw Hank by the fire he made no mention of it, and from his tent came no movement that showed he was awake.
Presently Joe began to speculate on the new experience he felt would come to him, if he succeeded in locating his father.
“It really doesn’t seem possible—that I’m going to have folks at last,” murmured Joe. “And maybe not only a father, but brothers and sisters—Uncle Bill Duncan said he didn’t know. I may have more than Blake, if I keep on,” and then, 10with more pleasurable thoughts than worrying about an indefinable something, the lad finally lost himself in .
The camp was still. Even Hank had crawled into his little tent, after a final pipe. He did not get to sleep soon, and had either of the boys been awake they would have seen him come out several times before midnight, and stalk about, peering off into the darkness.
Then, after looking to the tether ropes of the animals, he would go back to the small shelters, throw some embers on the fire, and drop off into a . For the cowboy was a light , and the least sound him.
“I guess there’ll be nothing doing,” he whispered to himself after one of these little observations. “I thought I saw some signs just about dusk, but maybe it was some slinking coyote, or a big rabbit. Anyhow, if—if anything does happen it won’t come during darkness; that is, unless it’s some of them half-breed or Mexican rustlers, and I don’t believe they’ve been around these diggings lately. I’m going to snooze.”
Soon his heavy breathing told that he slept, and several hours passed before he again awoke. If he had made one other observation, probably he would have seen that which would have aroused his suspicions, for, about an hour after 11midnight, there was an uneasy movement among the animals.
And in the starlight, which in a measure made the night less black, several shadowy, slinking forms might have been observed creeping toward the camp and the pile of provisions and supplies, among the latter of which were the boxes containing the valuable films of the moving pictures.
It was Hank, as might have been expected, who awakened. One of the burros, always an excitable, nervous beast, about and uttered a whinny as if in fright.
Hank was out of his tent in an instant. Leaping to his feet he blazed away with his revolver. Its flash lit up the darkness, and was at once answered by half a dozen other flashes.
“Come on, boys!” yelled Hank. “They’re after us! I wasn’t mistaken, after all! I did see some of ’em around! Lively, now!” and he blazed away again.
“What is it?” cried Blake.
“Indians! They’re after our horses!” yelled the cowboy, as the two lads joined him.


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