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Buffalo Jump is a 2017 short story written by Wendy N. Wagner, published by Titan Books as part of the anthology Predator: If It Bleeds. Set in the Old West, it centers on Johnny Anderson, a former outlaw now reformed and working as sheriff in the small town of Coyote Creek. When his old gang returns and attempts to recruit him for their latest heist, it unexpectedly leads to a confrontation with a Yautja that has come to Earth to hunt outlaws.

Plot

Sheriff Johnny Anderson is preparing to go out on patrol around the small Oregon town of Coyote Creek when the town's grocer informs him that a gang of "mean-looking" men are waiting for him in the saloon. Going to investigate, Anderson is shocked to see the ruthless Wallace McBurnie and his gang; Anderson had once been a member of the gang of outlaws, but left to pursue a more honest life when he became tired of McBurnie's violence. McBurnie reveals that he has come to town to recruit Anderson, the best safe-cracker he knows, for a job he has planned in Malheur County. Anderson bluntly refuses, making it clear he is prepared to use his gun if McBurnie does not like his answer, but the gang leaves, McBurnie telling Anderson he will give him "some time to think on that".

Concerned that incident is not over, Anderson goes to seek the advice of Lars Nielssen, an ageing rancher and sheriff's deputy who had been the first to give Anderson lawful employment upon his leaving McBurnie's gang. Agreeing the gang will likely be back, Lars accompanies Anderson back to town as backup. However, upon returning to Coyote Creek, they find that McBurnie's men have returned in their absence and kidnapped Anderson's daughter, Mina.

Anderson and Lars track McBurnie's men to their camp, set up on a readily defensible spit of land surrounded on three sides by a creek. As the pair withdraw to plan their assault, they hear a scream from the camp, followed by much shooting and commotion. With all thought of stealth now discarded, Lars and Anderson run into the camp. They see strange flashes of blue light and men running in terror, and the pair quickly become separated in the chaos. Anderson pushes on single-mindedly towards his daughter, reaching her just in time to see her and McBurnie become caught in some kind of net and get hauled away across the creek.

Surveying the carnage in the aftermath of the confrontation, Anderson finds horrendous wounds apparently caused by the flashes of light he saw, including one that has drilled clean through Lars and the man he had been grappling with, killing them both. Anderson also finds that one of McBurnie's men, a young Native American named Billy Novak, has survived the slaughter. Realizing Novak is an expert tracker and disillusioned with McBurnie's tyranny just as he had been, Anderson offers to pay him to help track and find his daughter. Reluctantly, Novak agrees. As they leave, they find another of McBurnie's men, mortally wounded, who lives just long enough to tell them he was attacked by a "ghost".

Following the trail left by the net, the pair find the gargantuan footprints of whatever was responsible for the abduction, far too large to be human. As they press on, Anderson realizes their target is heading straight for the Nielssen ranch, where Lars' family will be driving their cattle later that day. Sure enough, upon reaching the Nielssens' property, they see Eva riding towards them. She suddenly disappears from sight, but before Anderson can make sense of it, he runs into an invisible object hard enough to knock himself unconscious.

When Anderson comes round, the group discovers the cause for the bizarre event — there is an invisible ship in the field, and the tracks that Novak had been following seemingly disappear into it. Unable to deduce a way into the invisible vessel, Novak comes up with the idea of stampeding Eva's cattle into it, hoping to knock it over and thereby damage it and render it visible. With no better plan, they drive the cattle into the ship by setting a fire, the stampede damaging its cloak and making it visible. Almost immediately, its inhuman pilot emerges and opens fire on the cattle with its energy weapon, but Anderson drops it with a well-placed shot to the head.

Rushing inside the vessel through the open hatch, Anderson and Novak discover bloody human trophies, including skulls and spines torn cleanly from their victims, and soon locate McBurnie trapped inside a crate. As he begs them for help, Anderson finds his terrified but unharmed daughter hiding in a dark corner. At that moment, the creature Anderson shot returns, climbing aboard but seemingly failing to notice them hiding in the cargo hold. As soon as the exit is clear, Anderson, Novak and Mina flee the ship, leaving McBurnie to his fate.

They escape moments before the vessel blasts off and disappears. Reunited with Eva outside, Anderson considers the outlandish events he has experienced but resolves simply that he is glad he and his daughter have survived. Considering Novak's future, he offers the young man a job as his deputy.

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