As "The Long Hunt" begins, Bret Maverick has already won big in a poker game in Fort Laramie. Unfortunately, the last hand he won was against another man holding four of a kind. With luck as unbelievable as that, four of the six men playing poker against Bret took after him on horseback the next morning down the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage route.
Having survived the chase, and his chance meeting of Lefty Dolan, not to mention another stage robbery along the way, Bret managed to get to the end of the line in Cheyenne with his Fort Laramie winnings intact. But he had made a promise to the dying Dolan that he wished he hadn't. The distraction of his promise was so great that he threw away a winning hand of three nines against a man holding two pair. Unable to concentrate on the game, Bret decided to leave the game before he went broke.
Months later, he found he was playing stud poker with two of the three men that helped Dolan rob a bank in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory, five years earlier. He needed to separate the two of them in order to talk to one of them alone to coerce a confession out of him. The crucial hand came when Rex Clark had two tens showing, Whitey Brandon showed a pair of eights against Bret's two queens. Having played poker with both men for a week, Bret knew their tells and believed each man held their third card. With three eights, Brandon had the weakest hand but Bret somehow had to throw the game to him. He bluffed Clark into folding and then threw the game to Brandon.
Bret Maverick began the story of his Long Hunt but discovering first-hand something his Pappy had always said: "Hell has no fury like a man who loses with four of a kind." Such a man lost to Bret in Fort Laramie, and he and three other poker players chased Bret for miles with the intent to kill him, if necessary to get back their money.
After nearly a year trying to keep his promise to Lefty Dolan, taking him hundreds of miles back and forth over the same trails, breaking an arm and almost getting arrested and killed more than once, Bret considered one of the last and most important things Pappy had ever told him: "Love your fellow man and stay out of his troubles, if you can."
01. Maverick, The Long Hunt (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
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