Andrew Vines' spoofy pictures of desperadoes--shaggy-haired, pot-bellied, stubble-chinned, but mean--give a considerable lift to a rather flat text and a merely so-so story. Among Kansas pioneers, we're told, there were some ""good people,"" and ""some [who] were not."" Our own good people are Mr. and Mrs. Higgins, who set up a trading post and generally extend themselves--""Mrs. Higgins cooked food for anyone who came to her door""; ""When he was not busy in the field, Mr. Higgins helped guide new settlers across the plains."" The baddies are the Anderson brothers--not only robbers but dirty, shiftless sorts: ""The only meal they could cook was beans and beef jerky. If they wanted any decent food, they had to find it where they robbed."" So they turn up at the trading post, while Mr. Higgins is away; are royally fed by Mrs. H., who resumes doing her laundry; and then search the house trying to find gold--which Mrs. H. denies having. When Mr. H. returns, we learn that there was indeed gold on those thar premises, and Mrs. H. was hiding it in the tub of wash. Had we had some inkling before--actually seen the trading post (as distinct from a log-cabin domicile), and money coming in--the big showdown would have had some tension, plus more humor and snap. Except for the pictures, then, workaday.