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HOME > Children's Novel > The Moving Picture Boys on the Coast > CHAPTER III THE PURSUIT
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 Blazing up brightly, after Joe had thrown some light sticks on the embers, the fire revealed a much disordered camp. The Indians had rushed over it as a of football players might tear through a rival eleven, leaving in their wake. The only was that Hank had managed to prevent the animals from stampeding, and the possession of their , in a country where foot travel is almost out of the question, was a big factor.  
“But they got almost everything else,” said Blake, as he looked about the temporary camp.
“They made for the grub, that’s sure,” Joe. “I guess they were hungry.”
“But why they didn’t try harder to make off with the horses is what I can’t understand,” spoke Blake, as he continued to make an examination of the damage done. “I thought that was what they were after.”
24“They were,” declared Hank; “but I guess they realized that taking horses is a pretty serious crime out here. They knew that all sorts of efforts would be made to recapture ’em, and by men who would not be as gentle with ’em as Uncle Sam’s soldiers. So I guess they to pass up the horses and only take some grub. That isn’t so serious, especially as the poor beggars are probably well-nigh starving, having been away from their regular so long. Well, it might be worse, I suppose. They will hardly come back to-night, and I guess we can get a little rest when I these animals out again. We got off pretty lucky, I take it, for there was sure a big bunch of them.”
“Lucky?” cried Blake. “I should say not. Look here!” and he to the upset pile of boxes and bales, only a few of which were now left. “We have had the worst kind of bad luck!”
“How’s that?” demanded Joe, hurrying to the side of his chum. The fire was brighter now. “What did they take?”
“Our reels of exposed film, for one thing!” cried Blake.
“What! Not our prize Indian pictures?” Joe.
“That’s what they did, Joe! Every one of those films we worked so hard to get is gone!”
25“But what could the Indians want with them?” asked Joe. “They don’t know how to develop ’em, and, even if they did, they would be of no use. They can’t know what they are, but if the least ray of light gets into the boxes it means that the films are ruined!”
“That’s right,” Blake, hopelessly. “What can we do?”
“They probably didn’t know they were taking your films, boys,” spoke Hank, who had finished making fast the horses. “They very likely thought the boxes held some new kind of food, and they just grabbed up anything they could get their hands on. I reckon the beggars are nearly starving, and that’s what made ’em so bold. You’ll notice they didn’t once fire at us—only up in the air. They just wanted to scare us.”
“And they took our films, thinking they were something good to eat,” murmured Blake.
“Yes. I’m not saying, though, that they didn’t hope to stampede the animals; but they went wrong on that calculation, if they had it in mind.”
“They have our films,” continued Joe, in a sort of , so suddenly had the events of the last half-hour occurred. “What can we do?”
“Chase after ’em and get our stuff back!” exclaimed Blake, quickly. “I’m not going to stand that loss. They can have the grub if they want it, but I’m going to get back those films that we went to such trouble, and so much danger, to snap.”
“But how are you going to do it?” asked Joe.
“Start in pursuit!” cried his chum with energy. “Come on, Hank, you can follow an Indian trail; can’t you?”
“I sure can, when it’s as broad as the one they’ll be likely to leave. But not now.”
“Why not?” asked Blake.
For answer the cowboy guide waved his hand toward the darkness all about. There seemed to be a over the sky, obscuring the stars.
“It would be worse than useless to start out on the chase now,” said Hank. “We can’t do anything until morning.”
“But they’ll be too far away then,” objected Blake. “And, while it might do little harm if they opened those film boxes in the darkness, it sure would spoil every picture we took to have them exposed in daylight. Let’s go now!” and he started toward the animals.
“No,” and Hank shook his head. “I don’t think you need worry about not those fellers in daylight,” he went on. “They won’t go far before stopping to eat the stuff they took from us. Then they’ll have a sleep and start on the trail by daylight. We can do the same, and I think we can catch up with them. It would be to start out at night in a country we know so little about. We’ll have to wait.”
Blake sighed, but there was no help for it. The upset camp was put in some kind of shape, the horses were again looked to, and the fire once more . The travelers carried an unusually large supply of provisions, and though most of these had been taken, there was still enough food left for a day or two. In that time they might be able to get more, if they could not recapture their own from the Indians.
“We’ll start the first thing in the morning, as soon as it is light enough to see,” decided Hank. “And now, if it’s all the same to you boys, I’m going to have a bite to eat. That excitement made me hungry.”
“Same here,” confessed Joe, and soon they were all satisfying their appetites.
“Oh, but I do hope we can catch up with them and take those films away from ’em,” murmured Blake, as he again sought his tent.
“We will,” declared Joe, with conviction. “If we have to, I’ll get word to my soldier uncle and have the troops chase ’em.”
“The only trouble is that it might be too late,” spoke Blake. “I’m afraid of the films getting light-struck. But I guess all we can do is to wait and trust to luck.”
There was no further alarm that night, and after a hasty breakfast, eaten when it was hardly light enough to see, the remaining supplies and provisions were packed and the ponies saddled.
“I guess we can start now,” exclaimed Hank, as he leaped to his steed. “It will soon be . Forward, march!”

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