As the first vestiges of light brightened the eastern sky, Marie let her horse follow Rulon's toward the corral. They drew up in a line behind Rod on the left side of the trail.
The cowboys had driven the chosen beef cattle down from the mountain the previous afternoon. Now they mooed and moved around in the enclosure, as Clay went to unlatch the gate and let them out.
The moment Clay swung the gate open, a fat steer burst through the hole, and Albert, on the right side, and Rod, on the left, headed the animal toward the trail south. The other eleven steers followed. Clay mounted his horse and caught up to Albert, while Marie let Rulon follow their father. She lagged to the rear, as she had been told to do the previous day. She didn't expect to do any work, but found that she occasionally needed to urge a cow forward. Bess seemed to know what to do, so she eased up on the reins and let the horse have its head. Marie merely hung on for the ride.
After a while, Marie began to enjoy chasing the errant cows. One took off to the left, and Marie leaned forward in the saddle, put her heels into Bess's sides and yelled "Hi there!" The horse jumped forward, and set out after the cow. With Marie's vocal encouragement, Bess drove the animal back to the little herd.
Rod looked around, and rode back to where Marie followed the cows. "I don't mean for you to work the cattle, Daughter. Follow along, and if a cow escapes, call out for one of your brothers."
"I can do the job, Pa," she answered back.
He gave her a disapproving look, but said nothing else before returning to his position at the side of the herd.
"Hmm," Marie said. "He's going to allow it." She didn't dare give vent to the yell she wanted to launch. Instead, she whispered, "Yippee."
Do you like reading about women who have spunk? Or do you prefer that they be rescued from their difficulties by the Male Main Character?