The Ransom of Mack (Henry)

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The Ransom of Mack
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «Heart of the West»
Microsummary: Two friends settled in a small town to enjoy their wealth, but one fell for a young woman and planned to marry her. The other intervened, saving his friend from an ill-advised marriage.

Two friends, Mack Lonsbury and the narrator, Andy, decided to take a break from their hard work and enjoy their newly acquired wealth. They rented a two-room cabin in a small town called Piña, where they spent their days relaxing and discussing various topics. Mack expressed his regret for never having had much interaction with women, and Andy claimed to be an expert on the subject.

Andy — narrator; middle-aged man; knowledgeable about women; loyal friend.
Mack Lonsbury — Andy's friend; middle-aged man; inexperienced with women; falls for a young woman.

While Andy was away on business, Mack was elected justice of the peace and became engaged to a young woman named Rebosa Redd. Upon returning, Andy was shocked to see his friend dressed up and smitten with Rebosa.

Rebosa Redd — young woman; object of Mack's affection; prefers a younger man.

Andy decided to save Mack from this ill-advised marriage by convincing Rebosa to marry her true love, Eddie Bayles, instead. Andy offered Eddie a thousand dollars if he and Rebosa would marry that day at five o'clock, an hour before Mack and Rebosa's scheduled wedding.

Eddie Bayles — young man; Rebosa's true love; works in a grocery store.

Rebosa and Eddie agreed to the plan, and Andy felt proud of himself for saving his friend from a foolish decision. When he returned to the cabin, he found Mack back in his old clothes and reading a book. Mack informed Andy that the wedding had been moved to five o'clock and that he had officiated the ceremony as the town's justice of the peace. Andy realized that his plan had not been as clever as he thought, and that his supposed expertise on women had not been as helpful as he had believed.