From early childhood at the instruction of his mother, Case was taught that he was better than anyone not associated with his family. His other complexes and disorders began to show up early as well. Case was unable to feel remorse for the things that he had done to others, feeling he had the ‘right’ to do whatever he wanted. This was where his superiority complex blossomed. Followed in short order by his narcissistic disorder reared its ugly head.
However, it was when he got older and had a gun that he became a man to fear, even if one thought they were his friend. The exceptions are the Steelgraves, for whom he would do anything, and possibly already has without the family knowing.
Case Steelgrave is handsome and charming. He is also a cold-blooded killer. If met on the street or in a social setting, most people would say, “He’s so handsome and pleasant. I just can’t believe he’d kill anyone that wasn’t threatening him.”
As a child living in St. Louis, Case was fascinated with the tales of life out west. He wanted the glamorous life of a high stakes gambler and the homage he perceived to be accorded to gunfighters. Case also has avoided jail by always managing to goad his target into drawing first, therefore the killings have all been in self-defense.
Case is always well dressed in the latest style. Having taken on the role of town marshal in Whitefish, he takes great pride in displaying the shining badge on the breast of his jacket or vest. He’s finding that being a marshal gives him a perfect niche for continuing his true calling, being the most feared gunman that ever lived. His most distinctive feature is his voice. It is deep. rather slow in intonation, and very classy. The accent is rather undefined but is most similar to the British accent of one who has been classically educated.
Method of Operation
Case’s former base of operations was El Paso, Texas. He still subscribes to and uses the El Paso Chronicle to get job notices.
The prospective employer puts a personal ad in the El Paso Chronicle (newspaper) that names a city or town.
Case responds to the ad by mailing in a response that names a bank, usually in the city or town listed in the ad.
Steelgrave travels to the place specified and retrieves his fee. Then goes to the post office to pick up a letter (addressed to him via general delivery). The letter has the name of the person he is supposed to kill.
Currently, Case then spends as much time as it takes to goad his target into a fight, forcing the other person to draw on him so he can claim self-defense. However, he has the town of Whitefish in his pocket so there is no one willing to stand against him.
Employer Name: Whitefish City Council
Position: Town Marshal
Case uses the position of town marshal to cover his real profession, gunfighter.
Gunfighter - Fast and accurate with either hand, with fists or pistols.
Very good with a knife.
Gambler (Card Sharp) - Excellent with cards, practiced at every method of cheating.
Hobbies & Interests
Killing. Getting Shade Thornton, or any of that lot, regardless of sex or age.
Aliases / Nicknames
Kith & Kin
Spouse / Partner
*Gayal Dorset (deceased)
*Elsie Carpenter (deceased)
*See history for details.
None he is aware of.
Elias Steelgraves will do whatever is necessary for him to get what he wants, to advance his station in life, to increase his holdings.
He often purports to one thing but will do the exact opposite. He can never be trusted to be truthful. At seventeen, he decided that Elinor Dressin was going to be his wife. And although she was being courted at the time, he began his own courtship, knowing that her other beau, Harlan Knowles, would confront him.
When that happened, acting stunned and injured, Elias challenged Harlan to a duel, allowing Harlan to select the weapons. Dueling was pure sport to Elias, and Harlan was not a man of weapons.
Although Elias knew he could defeat Harlan, he let on publicly like he was against the duel idea. So convincing, even those who knew him, believed him. So, in order to eliminate the competition, he lay in wait for Harlan. The secluded area was perfect. When the man crossed the bridge, Elias sprang from hiding and slammed him in the head with a rock and then shoved the lifeless body to the rocks below. The following day he went to Elinor complaining that he had waited an hour past the time Harlan was to show, he never did. Though she did not believe him, she saw in him a man that would get what he was after, and as his wife, so would she. They were married and before the year was out Benjamin was born.
Age: Mid 50's
Elinor Steelgrave is a handsome woman in her sixties. She is very petite, almost delicate looking, but her appearance disguises a spine of steel. In demeanor, she is invariably polite in a condescending manner. She is highly intelligent. Like Elias, Elinor manages the family with an iron fist. This steel is applied in her business dealings as well.
Benjamin ‘Ben’ Steelgrave 39, 1836
Benjamin Steelgrave is the eldest son and his father’s right-hand man when his mother allows him to be. Along with his wife, Nona, and two young sons, he has moved to the new ranch in Whitefish. Benjamin would be considered a gentleman rancher as he has no inclination to actually work the range. He is a rather handsome and elegant man who, like his mother, has a somewhat condescending air when he speaks. He is not unintelligent, but he is not the brains of the family.
Clayton ‘Clay’ Steelgrave 34, 1841
Clayton is employed as the foreman of Evergreen Ranch, the Steelgraves’ ranch in Whitefish. He is the family member that is least interested in perpetuating the feud with the Thorntons. He has longed for a ranch to work and, under other circumstances, would have likely gone on the drift. He is generally good with horses, cattle, and people. He enjoys working and playing hard. Clayton is also good-natured, usually quick to smile and laugh. Despite the fact that Shade Thornton killed his younger brother, he would like to see the feud ended.
He is married to Janet Redmond and they have four children (two boys, two girls).
Zeke Steelgrave 32, 1843
Zeke has taken over the management of most of the Steelgrave’s non-ranching business interests. Of course, he answers to Elinor when it comes to business decisions, but as he has a very keen business sense, she does not interfere often. Zeke, like his elder sibling and mother, loathes everything Thornton and does not bother to disguise it. He is also cunning enough to interfere with the Thorntons’ various business interests without being overt or having it easily traced to him.
Calvin Steelgrave (deceased, a. 22 at TOD)
Calvin “Cal” Steelgrave was spoiled, arrogant, and truly psychotic. He was the family hellion and used to getting what he wanted or taking it if there was resistance, women included. He also considered himself as good a gunfighter as any that’d ever been born. While carousing with his brothers in Missoula, he spotted Regina Cantrell being escorted by her future brother-in-law, seventeen-year-old Shade Thornton. He caught her coming out of a store and tried to drag her into an alley and assault her. Shade heard the struggle and beat Calvin severely, even though he was younger and less experienced. A few hours later, Calvin lay in wait, intending to shoot Regina. Instead, Shade killed him.
Leah Steelgrave 26, 1849
Leah is a lovely and pampered young woman with a nasty streak where men are concerned. And likely the deadliest of the clan. She seems to enjoy luring them into her web and then crying foul, forcing her brothers to send them packing, usually not very gently. Most men call her bewitching. Those that have been caught in her trap and survived, call her a witch, and worse.
None that have survived to this point.
ADVERSARIES & ALLIES
Other than immediate family, to be determined during gameplay. Likely to be few.
Shade Thornton. Any that attempt to stand against the Steelgraves, or the Evergreen Ranch.
Others to be determined during gameplay.
1837 to 1847 (age: Birth - 10)
Once in school some of his future traits began to be displayed. Of course being the child of a rich family didn’t help.
1848 to 1851 (age 11 to 14)
Case was beginning to display his cruelty to others with continual fights and disobedience to his teacher. The final straw came after his fourteenth birthday when he wore the brand new gun and holster his father had gotten him to school and threatened the teacher. He was removed by force and delivered to his home with the message he would not be welcome back. The result of reading dime novels. He began developing an insatiable interest in gambling.
1855 (age 18)
Having run away to Texas, Case Steelgrave began his career as a professional gambler, as well as his rise as a gunfighter. There were several stand up fights where the competition was dispatched quickly. Some were not close to him in ability, but he had goaded them into it and allowed them to pull their gun first.
1857 (age 20)
His reputation continued to grow. He was beginning to be compared to Dallas Stoudenmire and Cullen Baker, though he would never face either. He was busy with the life of a gambler who would kill at the drop of the wrong word. He was then recruited as a gun for hire. The newspaper method was developed.
1858 (age 21)
Case took the first of two wives, a saloon girl by the name of Gayal Dorset. She was an asset to his gambling and fulfilled his needs. Finding out she had cheated on him, he whisked her off to Mexico on a supposed vacation. He returned without her stating she had left him. many suspected Gayal was in a shallow grave somewhere.
1859 to 1869 (age 22 to 32)
Not much changed for Case, with the exception of the 1861 marriage to Elsie Carpenter, and the 1862 murder of his brother Calvin. This marriage lasted for five years. Lasted until her continual use of Laudanum (tincture of opium) turned volatile with loud knock-down drag-out fights almost the order of the day. When Elsie pulled a pistol on him, a bullet cut a furrow across his right arm, he shot and killed her. The killing was ruled as self-defense. With that, Case cleared out of Texas and headed for Evergreen Ranch and the family.
1871 to 1875 (age 34 to 38)
He was well received and brought back into the fold which was rustling cattle, burning homesteads and killing nesters. Ever expanding the Steelgraves holdings. And to ensure that they were not apprehended, Case was installed as town Marshall of Whitefish. He was also on the prowl for any of the Thorntons, especially Shade! And, he still was able to pursue anything that turns up in the El Paso paper.
Dorothy wasn't quite sure what to make of Case's non-committal response about her (lack of) doctorin' skills. Maybe he wanted some time to think on it. That was fine. She didn't mind time to get settled before they put her to work.
“We’ll get it sorted out in the next day or two, give you some time to get acquainted here in town.” Case decided. “You needn’t worry, your room and meals are taken care off, same at the Chinaman's laundry. Now, about those pistols.”
She gave Case a sly smile when he asked about her pistols. It was almost disappointing that the test of skill hadn't happened, but she could give him a different demonstration. "Well," she began, letting the extra feminine tone come through that she knew men liked. It tended to put men off their guard and was a trick she'd learned early when she'd come west with James. That, combined with the pretty blue dress and the nicely combed blonde hair, a man might actually mistake her for just a sweet and naive young woman. "Won't claim I'm the best ever, Sugar, but I know how to use them and I'm better than most men would guess."
Case’s expression changed, eyes narrowed, jaw line taught. “ Word to the wise girl, you wanna talk like a loose woman, then you’ll get treated like one. I may have orders where that’s concerned, but the old man doesn’t run this town, I do. So knock off the “sugar” talk and we’ll get along just fine.” The look probably would have sufficed, but Case wanted to make himself clear from the start. I wasn’t personal, it was not the way the women in his employ talked to him.
At that moment the waitress came with Dottie's breakfast. “Eat up and enjoy, I’ve business to attend to.” He rose and walked out the door.
"Some kinda stew if ya got it? Not picky, long as it ain't too spicy..." she requested.
“Yes Ma’am.” the waitress said and walked away.
"I ain't squeamish or nothing," she said, hoping to sell Case further on that idea. "Helped deliver a baby once too,"
Case took in the response ad again, a fleeting smile crossed his face. “Whatever we decide now will change what we’ll do with you after the Pink is out of the picture. I think you’ll do just fine. You can use those pistols I presume, as in the future you’ll probably need to, but for now they need to be packed away.
The Pinkerton man was, of course, alone, much like the Rangers in Texas, but that fact spoke to their effectiveness. He was of concern to the Whitefish operations, even though he was not in Montana for any of them, he certainly would stall things for a while. Killing him out of hand was not an option, at least for the time being.
"Didn't think the Pink would follow the rest 'a us this far. Guess they won't be happy til we're all hung."
Case laughed tightly, the smile quickly vanished. “They do tend to hound their prey, as it were.” He paused for a moment. “Sorry about your friends, one needs to consider that outcome before getting into this line of work. There was a hesitation when the waitress came and refilled his coffee.
“You want something to eat” He asked as the waitress paused in her move to leave the table.
“I like the name Anna Jackson, like it real well, now to figure out where to sequester you where you can be of the most help, and in a place this Pink wouldn’t think to look. Maybe with Doc, or the mercantile, something like that. Not the stables and damn sure not the Silver Dollar, too public. Places he’s certain to go when he gets here, and he’ll get here.”
“Dunno 'zactly what he knows," she said, brow furrowed in slight worry, and took the offered seat, slouching back a little, then sitting upright again. "Guess a new name wouldn't hurt 'til he's gone."
“No, a new name would actually be a good idea, since we don’t know exactly what he knows. And, he can ask around for Dottie or Dorothy and get no where” Case agreed. “So, I’ll trust you to come up with that name, one you like. Makes it easier to remember.”
"Ain't never had much of a real job 'fore," she said, seeing no need to mention the whorehouse. "You ever heard a Robert Baker? Some folks called him One-Eyed Bobby."
“The name sounds familiar. From my days in Texas.” He said looking at her. “Well then, maybe we could get you trained at a job while we wait out this Pink, before we get you involved in what we are doing.”
He considered her for a long moment. “Yes, that’s what we’ll do. We can either look for who needs the help, or find something where the time taken to train you won’t be a hindrance to the business. We’ve several folks here that are off the outlaw trail for whatever reason, so you won’t be the only one.”
"Dottie is it, well, have a seat." Case began. "Have you eaten? If not, please order what you wish. Now, I understand that a Pinkerton is on your trail, so to say. We'll need to figure out how best to secret you from him. I assume he's alone." He exhaled.
She was a lovely young lady, and there were ways he would be able to use her, that was certain, but first he'd need to know what she was good at. What her work history was and that would give him some idea of possibly hiding he in plain sight. If necessary, there was always the line camp, which was empty for now. There were no cattle there, and none of the men, they were all in town or out with his brothers.
"So, as far as working, what have you done? Clerking? That sort of thing? I'd really like to keep you here in town, if possible." He continued. "The name Dottie, is the Pinkerton aware of that name? Would you be willing to use a different name for the time being?" He smiled, "I know, a lot of questions."
"The Miss Jackson it is, I don't Case will have any objection to whtever you want to call yourself." He agreed, guiding her to the front door of the cafe. "Now," he began as they reached the door, "be yourself and don't worry. I guarantee everything's going to be just fine." He reached for the white porcelain knob and turned it.
Case looked up as the door opened and smiled, the bare inflection of a smile. She was pretty, he granted her that. More importantly she moved well, dressed appropriately and, could be used in a myriad of ways.
The door open, Harris let her enter first. the warmth of the room engulfing him as he saw where Case was sitting, at the back of the room facing the door. "This way." As if she could not see the star on his chest. "Case, the woman your father sent. Goes by the name Jackson." He pulled out a chair for her.
Case rose to his feet and took her hand. Welcome to Whitefish, is there a first name to go with Jackson?" He greeted.
Layton opened the windowed door and stepped inside the mud room closing the outter door and pushing through the batwings to the saloon proper and there they were, Case, Santee, Latham the lawyer and several others. They all turned when he walked in.
“What in blazes are you wet nursing this woman for?” Case demanded. “There’s a gawddamned Pinkerton in Kalispell lookin' for her!”
“Easy Case, your Pa sent me, wasn’t my choice and,” he drew out a folded note from his pocket, “he give me this for you.”
Case snatched the note and opened it. ‘Case, this woman, Dotty or Dorthy Parsons is on the payroll, use her like one of the boys but no whoring. We can use her. Dad.’ He sighed, “I’ll be go to hell. You read this?” Shoving the paper toward Harris. Old fool’s lost it, a woman! Use her like one of the boys for chrissake.” He paused dropping the note on the table where Cole Latham snatched it up.
“She’s outside, waitin’. Harris stated.
Case had been thinking. “Stash her up to the hotel, no wait, here,” Case handed him a double eagle, “Let her get some woman duds and the mercantile then up to the hotel. I’ll get her lined up with a job, and all but out of sight job. Yeah, we can sure as hell use her, if she’s up to it.”
“On my way, Case.” Harris replied and retraced his steps out of the saloon. He mounted his animal and said, “Over to the Mercantile, Case wants you outfitted with female clothes and out of those guns for the time being. Said he has a plan, so he'll be looking you up before long.”
"Dealin' with the Canadians has been a profitable sideline for us. They pay well, don't care about brands or where the beef comes from. We only work over a brand for this side of the border. Do that out to the road house, Had no trouble so far, but we'll lay low just the same for a time. No sense pushing it." Case explained, rather proud of himself.
"Smart, Case. Playing it safe was never a bad move." Latham agreed, this was a sweet operation, low risk, high reward. The man played to win, not just rustling, but in running the town for a profit. Taxes were low and people paid religiously, going along with whatever it might be that Marshal Steelgrave wanted.
"Well, Cole, looking to keep this place wide open, and the folks in town happy. So far, we've managed to do that." Case bragged. "I've seen other with this opportunity, same as we have here blow it all to hell over greed today, nothing for tomorrow. Then soon enough the townsfolk rise up and if you don't get lynched, or rode out of town on a rail you get shot to doll rags."
"Yes, exactly what can happen. I believe we both saw that in Texas." Cole agreed, adding, "wasn't a pleasant sight either. So we have the Mayor, the Marshal, City Attorney and Justice of the Peace on the way, what's next?"
"Well, so far the banks playing along, but if we need to, we'll make that change. Be a site easier if things just hang on as they are. Like to get someone inside, sort of help things stay the way they are. Yes sir, we've a pretty sweet deal here. Pretty sweet indeed."
The two men took seats at back table, Case facing the door, ordered coffee and waited for it to be delivered before Clay said; "Meyers is a good choice, that's for sure, but I'm thinking your right, an expensive choice."
"You have another man in mind?" Cole asked, then sipped his coffee.
"My thought is we appoint John Anderson Justice of the Peace." Referring to his personal attorney, and a man that had successfully represented his father more than once. "He can be trusted, and he would know a man that could take over his practice in your firm."
"Case, I don't have a firm." Cole responded.
"You do now. I'll wire him and get him out here from Billings, maybe bring his man with him." Case stated. "We'll need help going forward with the new county and all. He has powerful connections in the governors office and those would smooth the way on this project."
"Sounds just about right." Cole agreed, then asked, "How's the drive north going, or have you heard?"
"The boys should be just about back, if I've figured it right. Expect Toole, or one of them to report in with the money so I can get the payroll done and paid."
“I’m to be Mayor I take it?” Cole asked, knowing that was the basis of whatever plan the Steelgraves might have.
“Yes, and hopefully we have our man in place in Kalispell as well.” Case replied, adding, “let’s walk to the café, I could use something to eat.”
“I as well. And, yes, our man is firmly entrenched in the community.” Came the response. “A position above suspicion, and one that can and will gather all the information we need going forward.”
“Good. Perhaps our only problem will be the appointment of a judge here in town. I know that we have the circuit judge in our pocket, but I’d like to have a man here, full time.” Case explained as they reached the Bon Ton Café as he opened the door and allowed Cole to enter first, following and closing the door behind them.
“Perhaps Ogden Meyers could be persuaded to come off the trail and settle in to a full time position here,” Cole suggested, “of course, it would have to be worth his while considering how well he does on the circuit.”
Case nodded, realizing that yes, it would cost either the town or his father to lure the arbiter o a full time position. “A lot to consider, but not out of the question, to be sure. My father could be most persuasive were he inclined to be.” Both men shared a chuckle. “Means we could pull out of Flathead County and form our own. Keep the Thorntons out of our business.”
Cole smiled, “Steelgrave County, has a nice ring to it."
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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