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The narrator tells us how he was asked by his friend to talk to a guy named Simon Wheeler about another guy named Leonidas Smiley. Having done so, he’s now suspicious that the whole thing was a trick to get him to listen to Wheeler’s boring stories.
He starts his narration.
The narrator enters a saloon in Angel’s mining camp, looking for Simon Wheeler.
He asks Simon Wheeler about the Rev. Leonidas Smiley and ends up listening to a long tale about Jim Smiley.
When Wheeler is interrupted and the story ends, the narrator starts to sneak away.
He meets Wheeler at the door, who starts into another yarn, even more unbelievable than the last. The narrator bursts out saying, essentially, that he couldn’t care less about Smiley’s cow. Then he wishes Wheeler good day and leaves.