The 1920s are considered a golden age for sports heroes in America. Babe Ruth emerged as a cultural icon on the baseball diamond, swatting prodigious home runs and making World Series victories a rite of passage for the New York Yankees. In the prize ring, Jack Dempsey was pulverizing opponents as heavyweight champion of the world while gaining the adoration of countless fans. The gridiron could boast of Red Grange, the “Galloping Ghost” who established himself as the National Football League’s first superstar and was the key figure in the pro game realizing acceptance in mainstream America.
Rather, Wild Bill told Pete that some old friends, the McCanles boys, who were hard working cowhands from the Pecos, had finished a cattle drive and were resting, but lonely, over at Rock Creek Station. Bill said that he would like to do a little favor for his old buddies, but he didn't want to reveal himself for fear that they would feel obligated to him and he didn't want them to spend their hard-earned money on some return gift which he likely had no need for anyway. No, he said, he'd rather send Pete as a messenger, to offer a small treat from an anonymous friend and admirer, to be enjoyed to their heart's content for as long as it pleased them. Pete, Wild Bill cautioned, would find it necessary to watch his back for the rest of his (very short) life if he ever breathed a word to anyone about this plan.