The thing that went under the name of automobile wheezed into the ranchyard and rattled to a halt. With creaks and groans in every joint the car discharged its six very dusty, very weary occupants. At the same time, the screen door of the ranch house banged shut and a flying figure descended on the new arrivals. ?Oh, Gale, but I?m glad to see you,? the girl from the ranch house declared hugging the foremost one of the visitors. Gale Howard returned the hug with equal warmth. The two were cousins, and Gale and her friends, The Adventure Girls, had traveled West to spend the summer on the K Bar O Ranch, owned by Gale?s uncle. ?But don?t tell me you traveled all the way West in that!? Virginia Wilson murmured aghast, when the introductions and first greetings were over. ?We wouldn?t have lived to tell the tale,? declared Carol Carter. ?I never knew a car that had so many bumps in it.? ?We came West to Phoenix on the train,? Gale explained. ?It was there we bought the car and drove up here.? ?You wouldn?t think we bought it second hand, would you?? Janet Gordon murmured. ?No,? Phyllis Elton agreed with a twinkle in her eyes. ?It looks as though we made it ourselves.? The last two of the new arrivals, Madge Reynolds and Valerie Wallace, who had been busy unstrapping luggage and tumbling bags onto the ground, turned now to the ranch girl. ?What shall we do with our stuff?? Madge asked. ?I suppose you will want to change from your traveling suits,? Virginia suggested, ?so just bring along what you want now. Leave the rest here. Tom can bring it in later.? Tom was her elder brother and as the girls walked toward the ranch house he crossed the yard from the corral. Behind him came Gale?s uncle. Virginia called her mother and more greetings and introductions followed. ?But how did you manage to leave home without a chaperon?? Virginia asked from her position on the bed in the room shared by Gale and Valerie. ?It was all we could do to get away without one,? a laughing voice in the adjoining room declared, and Janet appeared on the threshold. ?Finally our parents decided that Gale and Valerie, being the only sane and level-headed ones among us, could be trusted to see that we behaved properly,? Carol added, hanging over Janet?s shoulder. ?That shows how much they really know Gale and Valerie,? added Janet mischievously. ?If they had any sense at all, they would have appointed me guardian angel of the troupe.? ?Then we would never have gotten this far,? Valerie declared, struggling to pull on a brown riding boot. ?Yes, Virginia,? Gale laughed, ?when we did let Janet drive for a little while, she ran us into a ditch, went the wrong way on a one way street in a little town below here, talked back to a policeman and nearly landed us all in jail.? ?Yes, we had to let Gale drive thereafter for self preservation,? Carol murmured.