THE ORIGINAL GHOST RIDER # 5
The next morning, the rodeo manager is upset because both Johnny and Roxanne are now nowhere to be found. At that moment, Bart Slade, the cycle show's road manager, enters the room dressed in cycle leathers and says that if Blaze doesn't show, he's more than ready to fill in for him. Hours later, Johnny, now in his human form, awakens on the canyon floor, astonished that he's still alive after the fall. Suddenly, Satan appears before the stunt rider and tells him that he's responsible for Johnny's surviving the crash. He tells Blaze that if he died by the hand of another mortal, he would be unable to capture his soul. Therefore, whenever Blaze's life is in danger, Satan will extend protection over him, until he himself has a chance to take his life. The devil disappears, leaving Johnny alone on the canyon floor. Luckily, a helicopter passes overhead and airlifts Johnny out. Meanwhile, at the Indian reservation, Silvercloud presents Roxanne to Snake Dance, who decides that they shall sacrifice her to the Snake-God as a bride. The witch doctor then returns to his home, where he states to himself that the entire snake ceremony and belief system is a charade, perpetrated to save his people from starvation and poverty.
Blaze arrives at the rodeo just in time, barely making it to his dressing room before nightfall triggers his transformation into the Ghost Rider. He runs out to do his act, and is surprised to find Slade ready to do the stunts himself. Because Bart is a cripple with a bum leg, Johnny stops him from doing the act, but only manages to anger his former friend even more. Blaze continues and starts the stunt show, stunning the audience with his cycle mastery. During one stunt, however, he loses his concentration and crashes his bike into a wall. The Ghost Rider emerges unscathed, but quickly spots Sam Silvercloud standing on the sidelines. He chases the saboteur down and forces him to give up Roxanne's location.
At the reservation, Snake Dance and his men perform the Snake-God ritual, with Roxanne tied to a serpent-shaped stake. Snake Dance tells her that she must prove herself worthy by enduring deadly snake venom, and that only ones who are chosen by the Snake-God can survive. Two snakes shoot out from the shaman's arms, biting Roxanne on each wrist. Snake Dance, knowing all too well that the venom will kill Roxanne, continues his sham by saying that the gods are angry with the Apaches, and that the only way to apease them is to rise up against the white man as an army. At that moment, the Ghost Rider roars onto the scene, quickly dispatching Snake Dance's followers with his hellfire. He unties Roxanne from the stake, but realizes that he must get her to a hospital before she dies. He turns to the Apaches one last time and tells them that Snake Dance is a charlatan, and that they shall never again threaten innocent people. He rides off on his motorcycle, vowing that if Roxanne dies, he shall return to exact vengeance.
"End of the Line", Part 2: Phantom Rider uses his ventriloquism to make Angus O'Donnel think the dead mailman is haunting him. Angus shoots the mailman's corpse and Phantom Rider rescues William as the train pulls in to Bison Bend. Sheriff Brown arrests the terrified Angus.
This issue also included an all-new back-up story featuring the old western Ghost Rider, Carter Slade, now re-named the Phantom Rider as of West Coast Avengers # 19.
The synopsis for the Phantom Rider story comes from Ghost Rider: The Official Index to the Marvel Universe.
The Original Ghost Rider # 5
Title: "The Snakes Crawl At Night"
Title: "End of the Line", part 2