It was fair to say that Oldhorse was an eccentric, a term that could have easily been applied to many who lived in the secluded, mountainous region that surrounded Winston. Adopted and raised by a small restaurant owner and his wife in the Denver metro area, his legal name from years ago was Ronald Wilson. Oldhorse’s childhood was pretty typical of most kids brought up in the city: public schooling, intramural sports, a part-time job working for his parents. Yet, he never sensed that he quite fit in with those he lived among, even in a region somewhat known for its racial diversity and multiple ethnic backgrounds.
In his teens, Oldhorse had formed a deep fascination with the history of the Lakota Indian tribe that he’d discovered his biological parents were descendants of. His mother and father had died in a house fire when he was an infant. His interest in the tribe became an obsession once he returned to Colorado after a few years in the US Army infantry, much of which he’d spent overseas. Despite the bonds he’d formed in the military, he returned to the state as a loner after his adoptive parents retired and moved to Florida. Over the next couple of years, he’d tracked down and sought wisdom among Lakota tribe elders, even traveling throughout the Dakota states and learning to live off the land while he worked as a ranch hand outside of Rosebud, South Dakota.
No one knew what eventually brought Oldhorse to the hills outside of Winston. Some suspected that he’d gotten in some sort of legal trouble up north, but it was nothing more than pure speculation among a rural citizenry that loved its gossip. He was rarely seen in town, infrequently turning up in a local store, picking up supplies or selling well-crafted wood carvings. His home for the past several years had been a bare-bones cabin without a phone or electricity, wedged along a slope near Red Cliff about three miles from Bailey’s house.
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