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Barnabas Pike

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    12
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About Barnabas Pike

  • Rank
    Top-Hand

Character Info

  • Profession
    Cowpoke
  • Status
    Single
  • DOB
    09/24/1843
  • Age Range
    30s
  • Height
    5' 10"
  • Hair color
    Dirty Red
  • Eye Color
    Brown
  • Playby
    Ben Foster
  • OOC Alias
    Flip

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  1. Barnabas Pike

    Open Tags Morning In Kalispel

    Pronto Pike stepped out of the bathhouse as clean as a whistle. There we a couple of things he meant to accomplish before the day was out, report in with the Marshal. Men that have been in gun trouble, be they right or wrong get known by all manner of lawmen. He would be no exception. The owl-hoot wearing a badge in Whitefish may or may not have placed him. May not have heard of him at all, but Pronto was certainly aware of Case Steelgrave. He mounted his horse and walked it down the street to the building with the sign reading U.S. Marshal, stepping down he flipped the reins over the hitch rail and stepped up onto the board walking three steps he was at the door, turned the white porcelain knob and stepped inside. “Mornin’.” He greeted. Hannah looked up at the greeting. She was sporting a shiner from the brawl but despite that, she had had her share of dance partners the night before. She was, therefore, somewhat bleary-eyed from the late night. It had been a relief to volunteer for Sunday morning duty, leaving her father free to go to sleep in and go to church. Hannah recognized the man from the brawl and the dinner. He had come in on the side of Shade Thornton and Lost Lake Ranch. "Good morning. May I help you?" Hannah spoke clearly and politely, raising one eyebrow in inquiry. Although they now officially shared the town marshal's office with the new regional U.S. Marshal, McCallister had not put in an appearance that morning so far. Perhaps he was at church or getting himself settled since he'd only arrived the day before. Pronto smiled in spite of himself. "See you were in the beer tent. Name's Pike, Pronto Pike." He said, noticing the Deputy Marshal badge. "No wants as far as I know. Been known to use these a time or two." Referring to his pistols. "So I'm checkin' in, proper thing to do." He studied her a moment. "Marshal about at all?" It was nothing against her, he'd just as soon deal with both of them at the same time, rather than have the Marshal come hunting him. "I haven't seen the new U.S. Marshal this morning. Marshal Cory is at church and will be here later today," Hannah replied as she studied the stranger. She touched the bruising around her eye lightly, "Yes," she added dryly, "I was there. Leave it to the Steelgrave outfit and Shade Thornton to ruin a perfectly good fair. Care for a coffee?" She added as she rose to her feet and moved toward the stove set in a niche at the back of the room while keeping the man in her peripheral view. "I am Hannah Cory, by the way." "A pleasure Hannah Cory. Coffee sounds real good," He replied. "Steelgrave, that name just keeps on poppin' up. What sortta outfit is it this man's runnin'? Don't sound like he's real popular hereabouts." Hannah poured two cups of coffee and carried them back to the desk she shared with the other deputies. Indicating a chair for Pike, she settled into the one behind the old walnut desk. She would go through the wanted sheets they had later although she figured since the man was stopping into the office of his own accord, she would not find anything. "Overall acreage, the Steelgrave place does not hold a candle to the other big spread in the area, but old Elias is out to change that anyway he can," Hannah told the man after taking a sip of her coffee. "So far, it hasn't come to an all-out range war. It likely will sooner or later. Been bad blood between the Thorntons and Steelgraves going back more than a generation. The family pretty much owns Whitefish. Getting warrants on any of them - well - hasn't happened so far." Pike accepted the cup and the offered seat. "Met the Marshal up that way. Steelegrave, sortta pushy." He took a sip. "Now a range war, that's a pretty ugly matter. Both spreads will be needin' gun hands, not punchers, so I'd be one to keep an eye out for that sort. Why I could be mistaken for one my own self. Bein' honest, I've drawn fightin' wages afore, but I ain't here to side up with either outfit. Me, I'm lookin' to maybe find a place, a small place to raise a little beef. Live quiet like." Now that was all true enough, he was always on the hunt for a place of his own, and he had no interest in a shooting war for anybody. "Good coffee Ma'am-er Deputy." "Ma'am or Deputy works, Mr. Pike," Hannah's lips twitched into a slight smile. "Despite some issues with Shade Thornton, I feel sure that if hostilities escalate, it won't be Lost Lake that fires the first shot. With the Indian troubles and the influx of settlers that have no idea what they are getting into, you'd think people would have more than enough to keep them busy." She took another sip of her coffee and her eyes glinted. "Marshal Steelgrave is probably the most predictable member of the family. It is an open secret that he doesn't kill unless the money is already in the bank." "That' be him alright. Bein' there a U.S. Marshal about, he might outta check down Texas way. Rangers got 'em a passel of infermation on him. 'spose you could wire 'em yer own self." He took a swallow of coffee. "Seems ol' Case Steelgrave killed the wrong man and lit out with the Rangers on his trail. Why he's here an' not there. Comes ta trouble betwixt them spreads, Case'll be in the thick of it." "I'll pass the information on to Marshal McCallister and my father," Hannah said, "Thank you, Mr. Pike. I am honestly not sure why we have not received a wanted on him or why Texas has chosen not to pursue him into Montana," she mused. "No doubt," she said, a sardonic note in her voice, "Elias has something on the Texas governor or the Rangers' head honcho." "I kinda doubt that Ma'am." Pronto disagreed. "Rangers got enough on their plate what with their own outlaws, Comancheros, Comanches, Apaches and such like. They might send one Ranger up to fetch him. It's a long trail Texas to Montana if they even know he's here. He did kill the wrong man, sure enough, but how important bringing him in is to the state of Texas? Hard to say." He paused. "The problem is likely to be right here when it comes." "He may've killed the wrong man," Hannah said, "but it's unlikely he drew first. Not the way Case does things." She tilted her head, "You said you were looking to find a place and settle in the area, Mr. Pike. What brings you all the way to northwest Montana?" Hannah was always curious about the reasons people had for settling in Kalispell. Admittedly, her travel had been limited. She had been to San Francisco once to visit relatives and to Seattle. The rest of her travels had been in and around Montana, escorting prisoners, serving on posses. Overall, she didn't mind it. She loved Montana and the spirit of its people. “Make the man drag iron first, that’d be Case Steelgrave’s way,” Pike agreed. ‘cept when the man he’s killin’ is a contract deal, then it’s all bets off. A side to him not many have seen.” Then he smiled. “Visitin’ a friend north'a here an’ sortta follered my horse's nose this way. A man has that idea of just ridin’ the grub line an’ seein’ what’s what. Then he get’s ta thinkin’ of a place of his own. Reckon that’s where I’m at, considerin’ a place of my own.” Unable to resist showing her pride in her hometown, Hannah said, "This is an amazing place. Making a go of it out here can be challengin' but if you're willing to work hard, the rewards are worth the effort." She turned her blue-green eyes toward the window where the locals were getting on with their day, some to work, some to church. "Between the night raiders, renegades, and Indian unrest, it's apt to get even more dangerous," she added because Hannah was nothing if not honest...about most things. @Flip (Pronto)
  2. Barnabas Pike

    Open Tags Could I Have This Dance?

    So he entered the building, stood inside the door for a moment then headed to the food. As he perused the buffet offerings and began loading a plate, he spotted both Shade and Quentin already seated. He wondered what the afternoon’s brawl might inspire, and those two would be the ones to ask. He had no illusions that all would be forgiven and forgotten, no matter what was said at the end. At least there had been no gunplay, but there was any number of bruised egos with retaliation on any number of minds. Seeing that there was an empty chair at Shade and Quentin's table he walked over to it. "Gentlemen, mind if I take this seat?” Shade grinned a greeting, "Sure, have a seat. The ladies have put on an amazing spread. I see you survived the dust-up in the beer tent." Quentin nodded. "We sure do appreciate you wading in and helping us. The numbers were not looking good there for a minute." "Yah, couldn't hardly believe that puncher'd hit a female." He said seating himself. "Whot wuz worse, all them men standion' 'round gawkin' an doin' nuthin about it." He shook his head. "This here's a migh-T-fine spread." He took up a drumstick. "Them two from around here?" Knowing the word of any kind of celebration traveled far and wide, and a dance? That would bring waddies out of the woodwork. Quentin shrugged. "I doubt it. We get a lot of saddle tramps wandering through...looking for a steady job or just some pocket money to keep on moving. The better question is how mad will they be after what just happened. They just might try something very foolish." "Hell, thought they' already done that! 'er you meanin' the townsfolk wantin' ta stretch their necks some?" He asked. "Mostly where I come from, a man lays hand to a woman, any woman in public he's likely shot dead afore he kin explain. But, didn't have a gun." Pike explained between bites. "Wimmen's a rare find in any country an' oughtta be treated as such!" Shade nodded his agreement although it had not escaped his notice that Hannah and Harriet had both joined the fray. In fact, Hannah was sporting a black eye and was moving a bit carefully too, just like Quentin and Shade himself. "Regardin' those two low-lifes, I think they worked for Evergreen. At least a few of Evergreen's hands waded in on their side." He picked up his coffee and took a drink, "Figure the Steelgraves will cut them loose now though. They don't much care for overt attacks...their methods are usually far more subtle." "Steelegraves is it? That'd be the law dog up ta' Whitefishes relations I take it." Pike responded. "Been havin' problems with these folks I take it. Didn't take to the one I run onto, seemed kinda full of himself. On the prod, like he had somethin' ta prove." Then Pike laughed. "Got you some wimmen folk hereabouts whot'll be glad ta show ya whot's whot alright." "Right, James "Case" Steelgrave is the town marshal. Most people say he won't take on a fight he isn't paid for in advance," Shade told the other man. "He has never been brought up on charges for his killings either." He stretched his back and looked around, "If you ask me, the entire family is a load of trouble waiting to happen." "Charges? Ah, arrested and tried. Nope, reckon yer right about that." Pronto agreed between bites. "Man that tries that'll need to be both fast and accurate. Hold court in the street, likely as not. Doubt he's one to be taken without a fight." He took a drink of water and he too looked around, not that he'd know anything or anyone was out of place. But he would know trouble. "The small ranchers. How they fare in this deal?" "Honestly, I haven't been here long enough to comment on that," Shade told Pronto. "There was an incident at the Redmond homestead. Two of their hands claimed to be ours and harassed Clara Redmond. You saw the end result of that in the drinks' tent brawl. And, I know there were some major land grabs and fights back when I was a kid. My father, our ranch, usually came down on the side opposing Elias Steelgrave." "Seen this before," Pronto said, laying his fork on the empty plate. "Man ain't satisfied with what he's got. Decides he can ride roughshod over the little rancher. Mebee he burns out some homesteaders, sodbusters, you know. Folks that mean no harm to anyone, just tryin' to get buy. Yah, I seen it before, a number of times." The story was not new, he had seen it, as he said, a number of times. It was almost always the same. "So what's been done about it?" Shade glanced at Quentin for a moment, then shrugged slightly, "There hasn't been any major incidents since I've been back - that I am aware of anyway. I'm sure Marshal Cory will do what he can. Ranches will probably band together. However, even up here, there's often hard feelings toward the homesteaders." "Reckon that'd be the proper thing ta do, alright." Pronto agreed. Best to have the law ramrodding a deal like that." He paused and smiled. "If ya got yerself a man of means, then most of his hands are hired guns to deal with. An' as far as sodbusters go, they already got a rough way ta go without gettin' mixed up in no range war. Don't fool yerself, it'll be just that, a range war." He put his hands up. "Not tryin' ta say anythin' 'cept ya need to know what yer up agin afore ya get ta tryin' ta arrest anybody." Shade nodded his understanding. He had been in his fair share of range wars and did not want to see that happen here. Sadly, it might be unavoidable. "Lost Lake Ranch will work within the bounds of the law as much as possible. In the end, though, we'll do what is right." Then he grinned at his dinner companions, "I think I will head outside to the dance floor." "Well gents, been a real pleasure," Pike stated as he rose to his feet. He looked around at those in their fineries, the ladies in heir colorful dresses. "Got me too many days on the trail dirt to be spreadin' it out on thet dance floor. Believe I'll head on out, catch some shuteye an' a bath come the mornin'. You boys take care now. He grinned shook hands all around and walked to where his horse waited.
  3. Barnabas Pike

    Open Tags Could I Have This Dance?

    Having been questioned and released after the brawl by Marshal Cory, Pronto cleaned himself up as best as he could. He'd not found a place to lite as yet, but there was always his bedroll. He had used that a number of nights, more than with a roof over his head. He was glad to see Greer shackled an led off to jail. The man deserved worse, but he was not Pike's problem any longer. His nose was a bit swollen, there were a couple of discolored scrapes on his face and his knuckles were a tad swollen, other than that, he felt pretty fair. So the dinner and the dance appealed to him somewhat. The meal more than the dance, but it was something to do, and a dance was not to be missed when one was held. So he entered the building, stood inside the door for a moment then headed to the food.
  4. Barnabas Pike

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    Slowly Pronto came around, his vision somewhat blurry, began to clear. He lifted himself to one side, a bit of a struggle, but he was close to being back to normal. Before he could push himself back to his feet, Greer took aim and lashed out with a boot toward Pronto’s head. Pike grabbed the boot and pulled his assailant to the floor, spring atop of him and delivering a barrage of blows to the man's face and head. He leaped to his feet and ducked a punch, grabbing a chair and smashing it across the wrangler's face and chest. Then, turning to see that Shade and Quentin appeared to have the situation well in hand. But just to make sure he moved toward them as added insurance against interruption.
  5. Barnabas Pike

    Complete Let Me At 'em !

    Greer shook his head to clear it from the initial punch. Using both hands to steady himself he launched himself at Pikes legs, sending the gunfighter to the floor with the bald man on top of him suddenly diving punches with both hands, wildly striking Pronto with both fists in the head and face. Struggling to keep his sense the Texan did the only thing he could, which way to block what punches he could as Greer struggled to better his position atop Pike, and that was a mistake. The moment the opening appeared, Pronto need him in the groin. Greer fell off of Pike with a loud groan. Pronto sprang to a crouch but before he could do any more damage to his opponent, a chair splinted as it smashed across his back sending shards of wood flying and Pronto sprawling, quickly rolling aside as the remains of the chair descended, but missed its mark. Pronto lashing out with a boot to the aggressors kneecap resulting in a howl of pain as yet another man punched the chair wielder hard in the nose, crushing bone and sending blood flying as the man crumpled to the floor. Pronto shook his battered head and pushed himself up to his feet only to be hit square on the jaw by a female. Everything went dark as Pronto collapsed in a heap.
  6. Barnabas Pike

    Complete At the Fair

    Pronto pulled up and looked toward the two men. “Howdy. Just got into town was lookin’ to speak with the law hereabouts.” He replied. “Got no guns, meanin’ no harm.” He automatically held his arms away from his side to show he wasn’t heeled. “Would that be one of you?” Quentin made a long step off the side of the dance floor and walked toward the stranger. "'Fraid not, we're just ranchers..." Quentin wiped some sweat from his forehead with a sleeve and then stuck his hand out to the other man. "Quentin Cantrell...this gentleman with me is Shade Thornton..." Cantrell left the introduction open for the newcomer as his eyes moved down along the man. noticing the cleaner spots for holsters on his hips where they had kept the trail dust from his clothes. “Pike, Barnabas Pike, but folks call me Pronto.” He extended his hand. “Shade Thornton? Bartender in town spoke right highly of you. We spoke some about the area as I had a run in up to Whitefish with their lawman. Unpleasant fellow to be sure. Me, I’m lookin’ to lite n’ set a spell. Not lookin’ for no trouble.” Shade was a bit surprised that anyone would speak about him one way or the other. Maybe it was a case of him being associated with Chance and Regina. His late brother and his wife had been well-liked, even loved, by the residents in and around Kalispell. He closed his eyes very briefly as a wave of grief hit him. It was getting better, but it still hurt. Taking the Pike's offered hand, Shade smiled briefly. At least his past was not dogging him for now. "Good to meet you. Whitefish? That'd be Case Steelgrave." He shook his head, deciding not to propagate the Thornton-Steelgrave feud for the moment. "Deputy Marshall Hannah Cory is on-duty for the marshal's office today. Saw her heading toward the vendor's tents awhile back." "Got an ear full 'bout this Steelegrave down to the hotel," Pike replied. "Got you a female deputy do you? Interesting. Heard tell of that sort of thing. Have to look 'er up, like to check in first thing in town." He noted the looks from both men. He chuckled. "Ain't wanted if that's what yer thinkin'. Just easier to have the law know I'm about if'n there's any rumors 'er tales poppin' up." Shade's gaze sharpened a bit at the man's last comments. He was the last one to judge simply because a man's face showed up on a wanted poster. He knew from personal experience that it did not always mean the person was guilty. Even when he was not wanted for anything, he was often questioned if the description of a miscreant included black hair and blue eyes. Shade was also no stranger to having his reputation proceed him into a town. "Wasn't the first thought I had, Mr. Pike," Shade said affably. “No sir, don’t expect it was.” Pronto agreed. “Just an old habit of mine.” Quentin watched the byplay between the two. "You must have a bit of trouble staying on the right side of the law whether you mean it or not...Shade understands what that is like..." Quentin gestured and began walking. "We'll help you find Deputy Cory. I need something cold to drink anyway, so we'll solve both problems at once." “Some might say that. Sure enough, there’s those what might have that opinion.” Was Pike’s response to the man’s observation. And it was true enough that there were those that believed Pronto Pike straddled the legal fence. “ Appreciate you helpin’ me out. I’ll stand you boys a cold drink for your trouble.” Quentin grinned as the three men walked along. "Friend, you certainly know how to start fitting in...keep that up." "Quentin's right about that one," Shade agreed. "I also need to check in with Clara Redmond. She's looking after her little brother and the twins for a bit, giving Kate and their nanny a break." He had asked Clara to look after the children while he rode the horse race and attended to a few chores. She had readily agreed - for a price - and had taken charge. However, she was fifteen years old and Shade did not want her to miss out on enjoying the fair because she was babysitting. "We'll likely find Hannah close to the trouble areas." He did not come out and say the saloon tent. "Trouble spot, you say. Thought this was a family affair." Pike queried as they walked along. The folks about them seemed to be having quite the time, and there weren't any signs of trouble, but then there seldom are until something explodes. To be continued in Let Me At 'Em
  7. Barnabas Pike

    Complete At the Fair

    Pronto stepped back through the batwing doors and out onto the boardwalk. He paused and took in the town, a nice place, wide street, well-maintained buildings. Perhaps a place he could call home, maybe even put down some roots. Then he smiled, almost to himself. He already heard there was range trouble between the big spreads, and that meant the small man was going to get squeezed out. He’d seen it before, too many times to his liking. The hammerhead roan stood three-legged at the hitch rail, waiting. Well, a ride out to this Founders Day Fair and back, then a good rub down and a bate of oats at the livery would be his reward. He stepped down to the dusty street, taking up the reins as he went, then stepping into the saddle. He wheeled the roan north and walked a bit before raising the horse's gait to a trot. In no time he reached the trail the bartender had told him about and saw the hand-painted sign that announced the event. He turned in and moved toward the sounds of people. It was not all that far and from what he could see as he got closer, the town populace was there in full force. He moved to where a picket line had been set up and dismounted, tethered the animal to the line. He gave thought to his appearance and decided that it might be best to take off his guns. He removed them and tucked them in his saddlebags, then used his hat to knock off the trail dust as best he could from his clothing. Resetting his hat, the walked toward the crowds, looking for a badge so as to check in. His common practice. Quentin finished nailing down a few boards on the incomplete dance floor and stood, arching his back and rubbing down at the small of it. He paused and watched a man he did not recognize walking across the meadow. He seemed to be a little lost but the fact he was here and was also a stranger made bells ring faintly in the back of Quentin's head. He turned and gave a low quick whistle at Shade. When the younger man looked up at him Quentin tilted his head in the direction of the newcomer as he walked closer to Shade. "You recognize him?...I sure don't." Shade paused in the act of securing one of the dance floor boards that someone, probably some of the older kids, had yanked loose. They probably planned on hiding out and watching the dancers get dumped on their behinds when they stepped on the insecure planks. He looked at the man and shook his head at Quentin, "No, but look at this place!" He gestured at the people moving about all over the fairgrounds. "There are people from everywhere." Shade added with a lopsided grin, "Probably the biggest event this side of the Snake River." Straightening, Shade stepped out so the man could see him. Quentin would not be happy until they had made sure he wasn't a threat. Probably a good idea with the twins off their leash and wandering the fair with Kate or Josephine. "Hey," Shade called out to the stranger with the dusty red hair, "Can we help you find something?"
  8. Barnabas Pike

    Complete The Trail To Kalispel

    Kalispell was in site, a mass of structures rising up out of the prairie. Fact was, it started out the same as Whitefish had. But as he drew closer it was different, much different. A church greeted him first, at least the steeple did, and then the other buildings began to take shape. Kallispellappeared to be a more organized town that Whitefish, but there was one problem, it looked deserted. The roan plodded ahead, neither he or the rider in much of a hurry. The main street was wide, buildings on both sides of the dirt thoroughfare, apparently solidly built and well maintained. He reigned in at the Belle-St. Regis Hotel whose saloon front door stood wide open. Pronto stepped down and flipped the reigns over the hitch rail, then stepping up on the boardwalk, and entered the saloon and strode up to the bar. "Kinda dead ain't it?" Zane McGhee was not a typical bartender. For one thing, he was younger than the going average. He had a thick crop of curly red hair, worn slightly long, and merry blue eyes. McGhee enjoyed his job. He genuinely liked people. Zane grinned at the man, taking careful note of his rather dangerous looks. Beyond that, he preferred not judging people simply on looks alone. "Most everyone is at the Founder's Day Fair. Makes for a quiet day until the festivities end." That was the other thing that set Zane apart. He was a college-educated lawyer from Boston. "Have me a beer. No sense both of us standin' 'round." Pike ordered, dropping a nickel on the bar. It was cool in the room. Nice bar, the set up looked spendy, though that wouldn't be much of a problem. "Still a nickel, right. Now, the law in town? Out to the fair, I'd reckon." Zane scooped up the coin, nodding at the man's questions, "Yes. I don't think Marshal Cory is on duty until the dance tonight. His daughter, Deputy Marshal Cory, is at the fairgrounds keeping an eye on things today. You can't miss her. Hair like the main of wild mustang's mane. Pretty enough, though," he winked at the man. "If you need the marshal, he's probably at his house - just at the edge of town - or sleeping in the backroom at the office." Pike smiled. “Not like that lawdog up to Whitefish.” He sipped the beer, then set the glass aside. “I knew of a Steelgrave down Texas way. Gun hand for hire. Never seen him in action mind you, but heard tales of his graveyards.” He paused. “I’m thinkin’ this might be the same hombre. Know anything about the man? Tryin’ ta put my mind at ease one way ‘er tuther." "I have seen him in here a time or two, real elegant looking gent with the eyes of a rattlesnake. The talk I've heard is that everyone knows he's a hired gun, but he's really slick. Never draws first so it's never murder." Zane paused in the act of wiping the bar down with a wet rag. "The Steelgraves are a nasty lot. Wealthier than Midas. The Thorntons have more land and are wealthy enough too, but they are good people. Shame about what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Thornton and those oldest two young'uns of theirs." He gave the stranger a steady look, "I think Case Steelgrave lived in El Paso for a lot of years. Not a man to cross - so I hear." Zane knew he was repeating himself, but it was something he felt needed said again. “El Paso was it? Then I reckon this Case Steelgrave is the same hombre what I’d heard of.” He smiled, picked up the glass and took a swallow. “He come at me lookin’ for a fight, he did. Pushin’, but me bein’ seated an’ him towerin’ over me gave me no chance. Figger’d I’d get buffaloed at least an’ come to in the jail.” He appraised the golden liquid and then had another swallow. “Or get shot outright. What’s this about the Thorntons?” "Back in early June, Mr. Chance Thornton, his wife, and their two oldest children were ambushed. They were on their way back from Missoula. Wagon burned, bodies burned beyond recognition. It's a miracle the little boy got away and was found. They say it was a renegade band of Indians. Our marshal isn't sold on that theory though. Thorntons always had good relations with the natives. After all, they have Blackfoot blood in 'em." Zane reached for the man's beer mug and topped it off, waving off any offer to pay. It was a hot day and a slow one for business. Besides, the conversation was good. “Abliged.” He took a slow sip, letting the new information sink in and sort of swirl around. It wasn’t a new trick, far from it. The Indian ruse had been used almost everywhere in the west. Even the Mormons were suspected of using it. Convenient way of getting rid of a problem. A problem that most times dealt with either land or mining or both. “Not the first I’ve heard of such suspicions. You thinkin’ mebee these Steelgraves got their hands in it? Mebee wantin’ to take property from these Thorntons?” He took a swallow, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “How about the small spreads? They gettin’ pushed about too?” Zane thought about his answer for a moment, "There's bad blood between the two families. Started back when Ishmael Thornton settled the Chogun Valley, really heated up between old John Caleb Thornton and Elias Steelgrave." He paused for dramatic effect. Zane loved an interested audience and sharing local history, "Now, as I heard it, it got even worse when the youngest Thornton boy killed the youngest Steelgrave boy after he tried to rape Thornton's future sister-in-law. Happened down in Missoula. The boy was cleared, shot Calvin in self-defense. Old man disowned him though." There was another pause while Zane once again sized up the stranger, "Shade Thornton's now half-owner of the ranch and guardian of the twins who now own the other half. He came back here a few weeks ago. Heard he made a name for himself with his gun too." Zane finished wiping down the bar and began drying glasses that had just been washed by the backroom boy. "I would not put killing a family above old Elias. He's far meaner than even Case. And the Steelgraves want Lost Lake. Heck, they want everything so I'm sure they've harassed others." “Yah, sounds like a right friendly place to light ‘n set.” Pronto quipped. “So blood’s been bad for some time then. Sounds about right. Now this Thornton fella, he all wound up in this feud, or just waitin’ ta see how she plays out?” None of this, of course, was his business. And that sort of fit. There had been other places where it hadn’t been his business, but he made it his. As he sipped his beer he recalled the look in Case Steelgrave's eyes. That look of disdain, I’m better, faster than you. A lot of fast men had died. Since he was considering Kalispell as a place to light, maybe this Thornton was a man to talk with. He’d get the answers to his questions then ride on out to the Founders Day Fair and see what’s what. "To be honest with you, mister, I don't really know that much about Mr. Thornton. Seen him in time a few times with that little niece and nephew of his. He worked as hard as anyone getting the meadow ready for the fair. Seems an affable enough sort." Zane reached up and scratched his head. "Come to think of it, never heard anything about any of the Thorntons going looking for trouble, just they won't back down if it comes looking for them." "Well, ain't gettin' nothin' done loafin' here. Thanks for the beer an' conversation." Pronto said as he pushed the half-empty glass away from him. "Reckon I'll have me a look-see at this here fair, an' mebee hunt up this Thronton character. Been a help." And with that, he turned and walked to the batwing doors. Zane nodded at the man's comments, wished him a pleasant day and turned back to his work as another customer hailed him for a refill of his beer.
  9. Barnabas Pike

    Complete The Trail To Kalispel

    Odd to have covered this distance that he had without so much as the rumble of thunder. That was until he rode into Whitefish Montana. He had stopped at the café for some beef and beans and coffee he didn’t make himself. It wasn’t exactly trouble he faced, but that feeling that it could be at any time. The man leaning against the post of the Marshal’s Office overhang. It was a look he’d seen too many times before. A silent challenge one to the other. He sat looking out the window when his plate of food arrived, and a refill of his half-empty coffee. Like most cafe’s along the way, as a stranger, he had paid in advance. The man stepped off the porch, hitching up his gun belt as he started across the street. Pronto went to eating the beef and beans. The chair across from him made a scraping noise as it was pulled back, Pronto taking another fork load into his mouth. “Yer new around here.” “I am.” Pronto replied. “I’m Marshal Case Steelgrave and I run a nice quiet town here.” He stated, almost as a challenge. “Glad to hear it, Marshal. Me? I’m just passing through, headed south to Kalispell.” Pronto responded, continuing to eat. “Thought to have something to eat.” “Why two guns? You a gun hand?” Case probed, eyes narrowing. “Cuz sometimes one’s not enough. I’m a waddie. You know, a ranahan. Puncher, whatever the job calls for.” All the while the name Case Steelgrave tumbled over in Pike’s mind. “You got a name waddy?” Case asked rather unpleasantly. “Sure Marshal. Barnabas J. Pike. Late of Nevada.” Pronto responded cheerfully. Steelgrave was a bully, he knew the type. He was on the prod, looking for a fight. Then it came to him. Case Steelgrave was a known man in Texas. The kind other men good with guns would know of. “You’re a long way from home Barnabas J. Pike.” The tone was menacing. “Wasn’t home. Just a stop along the way.” He dropped the fork onto the empty plate and picked up the cup, draining it. “Well, got me a ways to travel. Been real nice meeting you Marshal, real nice.” He said getting to his feet and extending his hand. Steegrave stood and gasped Pronto’s hand in a vice-like grip. “You take care Pike, these are uncertain times, what with Kootenai being notional about white men.” Steelgrave advised in a thinly veiled threat. With that, Pike dropped an extra quarter on the table and left the café. Steelgrave hung with him the rest of the way to Kalispell. He was on guard for an ambush which never came. That man was a known hired gun, but not a man to hire on for fighting wages, no, it would seem he was a hired assassin. A man to be wary of.
  10. Barnabas Pike

    Complete The Trail To Kalispel

    Pronto Pike had left Virginia City Nevada and headed north for Montana, Kalispell Montana to be exact. But Pronto Pike would not make a direct line from Nevada to Kalispell, no, he would swing west to see an old friend somewhat farther north. True, he’d then have to turn east, then south to reach this new town Cap had told him about. The ride was a long one, but Pronto was in to hurry to get anywhere. The big strike? Well, he’d had enough of boom towns, and with his one-third interest in the Yellow Jacket mine, he was more than comfortable as a man of simple tastes, and few needs. Though, should he like what he saw in Kalispell, well, he could invest in land, or perhaps a business. The thought of his own spread was a sobering one. He’d never had more than what fits in his saddlebags, war bag, or, was rolled up in his soogan. Oh, he’d had two or three horse remuda a time or two. But mostly one horse, his guns and maybe a change of clothes. So having a place to light and set other than another man’s outfit seemed a stretch. The trip to his friend Nolan Woods’ place coved both desolate and beautiful country. It included working on a number of spreads for twenty-five dollars and found, meals and a bunk. The money was spent on supplies when in a town along the way. Nolan Woods lived on five hundred acres. His intent had been to run cattle, but since there was a herd of buffalo that called the range home, he had held off convinced there was more than enough time to get back to work. Pronto stayed a week, then saddled up and rode out, swinging due east toward a trail that would lead him to this Kalispell town.

About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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