Tad Strong had made a bold attempt to capture the outlaw king in his own domain. Everything had gone dreadfully wrong. Now he was pinned down, surrounded, and hopelessly outnumbered. Tad retreated to the wall, propping himself against it. He was suddenly overwhelmed with the constant barrage of bullets, splintering wood, shattering objects, pounding a relentless cacophony of his certain and impending doom. He realized with a rush the enormous stupidity of thinking he could slip into Bligh's stronghold, take him out, and escape. At least he would die thinking of Becky, and the feel of her lips against his. There was no further sense in even trying to prolong the inevitable. There were too many. Bligh was dead, but in everything else he had failed. He sighed in resignation, leaned his head back against the wall, and waited for the bullet that would end it.