Danny McKlain became an orphan at age 3. He has been told his father died in the war, when he was 14 months old, fighting for the south. After his father’s death, Danny’s mother had a hard time making ends meet. The family had moved from South Carolina to Texas, and she had no other family members to help. One day she took Danny to a friend’s home, so she could harvest the field. She never came to pick Danny up, so they went over to the small farm. They found Anne hanging in the barn. She had committed suicide.
Danny was taken to an orphanage near Dallas (about 100 miles from the small farm where he was born). When he was 8, a man by the name of Art Davis came by and took him out of the orphanage. Art had 300 acres he raised cattle on. Art was known for taking in orphan boys and using them as cattle hands on the farm. Art was not a wealth man, but he was educated. He made enough to keep the farm running and the hands clothed and feed. He saw to it that the boys learned to read and write.
It was obvious Danny was not going to be a scholar. He was not the brightest kid, but he did have some admirable skills. He had a knack for talking other into going along with some of his half-cocked plans. If he could not persuade them, sometimes he would restore strong-arm tactics. Most times he would win the fights even though he was a scrawny 5’8 and 140 lbs. Danny always thinks he is the best and his plans are perfect.
Danny was known to be one of the better shooters on the farm. He found it came easy for him to handle a gun or knife with either hand. Danny loved the farm. He looked at Art like a father and the other hands as his brothers.
On afternoon Danny had gone into town. It was getting about dusk as he was getting back to the farm. He found several of the hands lying motionless near the barn. As he got closer it appeared that they had been torn apart. He ran to the house to check on Art. As he neared the home the front door was open and there was blood around the door frame. Danny could hear what appeared to be a fight going on inside and the moans of agony. When he stepped into the opening he saw Art bloody and fighting with some creature. Art eyes caught Danny. Danny noticed his eyes already had a death gaze about them. Art mumbled “run boy, run for your life”. Danny was not able to move for several seconds. The beast did not appear to show Danny any interest. It appeared intent on taking the remaining life out of Art. Art mustered on last effort and screamed “RUN, I am dead already”. The scream broke Danny from his dismay and fear. He bolted from the door and ran to the barn as fast as he could. He mounted a horse and rode for town.
Danny reported to the sheriff what he had witnessed. The next morning the sheriff and some men rode out to the farm with Danny. A Ranger rode along to take a look. They found blood, but no bodies. They did find some evidence to lead them to believe the bodies may have been eaten. The sheriff wanted to know if Danny might have seen a bear or mountain lion. Danny stated “I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but I know what a damn bear and mountain loin look like. What I saw was not natural”.
Art’s family inherited the farm, and they were only interested in how much they could get by selling. Danny being out of a job, and lost the only family he knew, he has set out for a new beginning.