Reasonably tall, average build, with a thick but neatly trimmed dark brown beard, when Ralph is dressed up for his saloon shifts he can definitely pull off the businessman look. He has a warm smile and his eyes seem to sparkle with things are going good, he is seldom seen without a cigar in his hand or puffing away on one. Though they are normally covered by clothing, his body has it's share of old scars - wounds from the war and much more personal encounters.
Traits & Characteristics
Very calm even in the most tense situations (+)
A man of few likes (Matilda and the saloon) and many many dislikes (foreigners, southerners, politicians, lawmen, mayors,
clergymen, do-gooders, braggarts, men who can't hold their liquor, brat kids, well, you get the idea. (-)
Cannot be bullied or even intimidated. (+)
Though he would argue it's always justified, he can be quite violent. (-)
Normally to see Ralph in action in the saloon, he comes off as a smiling pleasant enough fellow who seems at ease with his job and the customers. Rile him up though and another Ralph comes out, you do not want to meet that man. Ralph never shouts but keeps his voice under control, the fire in his eyes tell one when his temper is up. He and Matilda treat each others as equals in this business partnership and they often are kidding around and teasing each other.
Position: Co-owner of the Stardust Saloon in Kalispell
Details: Ralph handles as he puts it 'the heavy work' whether it be wrestle a new beer barrel to behind the bar or toss a
troublemaking customer out of the saloon. He's always armed and he has guns hidden away within the place too, he is
ready for any sort of trouble. He also bartends and claims to play the piano. Hear him do it once though and the conclusion
is obvious, he's terrible at it.
Veteran of saloon work, all kinds of saloon work from bartending to bouncer.
Knows guns and is very competent at using them.
A brawler too if it comes to it, he can take a pounding and dish it out.
Hobbies & Interests: Likes the liquor though it does not impair his ability to do his job. Also enjoys the occasional poker game. A surprisingly
good baritone singer.
Aliases / Nicknames
Place of Birth
Small farm in upper New York state.
Kith & Kin
Parents: William, Mary (deceased)
Brother(s): William Jr., Older brother who died in the Civil War.
Sister(s): Susan, younger sister, he lost track of her when she left to start a new life.
Matilda Devereau, his only friend. They compliment each other so well, their bond is solid as rock.
None currently but over his lifetime he's made enough of them. New to Kalispell, but give him time.
| CHILDHOOD 1836-1851 |
Ralph was the middle child of three born into a farm family in upstate New York. His parents were God fearing and strict in bringing their children up but they were fair. It was a hard life and the father expected the boys to help him in the farm labors as soon as they were able. By age 12, Ralph knew he wanted to be anything but a dirt farmer. He ran away at 13 and 14 but was caught and returned to his family. He didn't hate his family, he hated the farm. Finally at age 15, he was given an opportunity to accompany a relative to New York City to work as the man's apprentice as his father surprisingly gave in to the inevitable.
| EARLY ADULTHOOD 1851-1856 |
Ralph found the city amazing with its size and endless places to explore, the huge numbers of people of all kinds who swarmed those streets and shops. As for the work, he soon tired of it for it was backbreaking labor and done with no real profit to him, he might as well have been a slave. He ran away, yet again but this time in NYC there would be no catching him. He then began a career of petty crime as he fell in with a street gang of young toughs. He found he liked a good fight and even better, he usually won. And for the first time he had some actual money in his pockets.
| ADULTHOOD 1856-1865 |
Being a criminal meant run ins with the law and eventually the inevitable happened, he got caught in commission of a crime and was sentenced to three years in prison. He came out unreformed but maybe a bit wiser about what he could get away with and what was taking too big a risk. He ended up taking a 'job' working for the local corrupt political machine which had him beating people up with legal blessings. He knew sometimes it was unfair and he didn't even like his bosses but it was money and that was the way life was in NYC.
He was 25 years old when the Civil War exploded, tearing apart the nation. Though he would never have had to go serve, he decided he wanted the new adventure that being a soldier would present to him. He enlisted in a New York Zouave regiment, they got some really colorful fancy uniforms which impressed him.
His regiment saw some bloody fighting and any glamour he imagined might occur in a war quickly disappeared. But while the conditions and harsh discipline was something he chafed at, he found he remained calm and poised during the fighting. He did his job and he even was noticed and promoted for his heroism. By 1864 he was a sergeant. Then his regiment was disbanded so he immediately signed up with another newly raised one, glad to welcome a veteran. He finished the war in that regiment and to this day proudly states that being in the war to save the Union and free the slaves was the best thing he ever did his whole life.
| LAST DECADE: 1865 - 1875 |
Demobilized one last time, Ralph didn't go back to NYC, working for the politicians didn't appeal any longer. He wandered about taking various manual labor jobs and never really taking to them either. He was restless and began to slowly make his way west to see what this frontier life might be all about. He took a job in Chicago at a saloon and found out he liked it! He was a bartender but the boss called upon him to often intervene with troublesome customers. That he did, with a zest.
That's about when he met Matilda Devereau, though she was Mrs. Matilda Osgood back then. Her husband owned a prosperous saloon in Chicago also. She saw Ralph in action one evening and took up a conversation. He was impressed by her right off and then pleasantly surprised when she offered him a job at her husband's saloon with wages higher than he was currently making. He took it.
Taylor Osgood was a fine businessman, well anyhow he looked the part with his nice wardrobe and handlebar mustache. But Ralph soon realized Matilda was the brains behind the operation. She did the day to day running of the saloon, while her husband spent freely of the profits. Even worse, he was a brute, he treated Matilda badly especially when he had a few too many. To her credit Matilda often fought back, she had gumption which Ralph liked in a person.
A few years passed and Ralph was entrenched in his position, trusted and relied upon by Matilda and at least tolerated by Taylor who often neglected the day to day humdrum anyhow. Matilda and Ralph talked one night very seriously while they split a bottle of Irish whiskey. Matilda wanted to have her own saloon but such a concept was a bit overreaching as far as society was concerned. But if Ralph would go in with her, as co-owner, they could make it work. Ralph jumped at the idea. There remained one obstacle, Taylor Osgood. Matilda decided she would ask for a divorce and work out a private deal with Taylor to get a sizeable share of the money in the current saloon. Why not, she deserved it as she did all the work.
Well, that did not turn out well at all, maybe the pair expected it would not. Osgood refused and their relationship was now poisoned beyond repair. Very soon after Osgood made his own move. He brought in a good friend of his, an off duty constable of the Chicago police known for his rough ways and attempted to throw Matilda out of the place, his life, everything.
It descended into violence quickly, as usual Matilda fought back like the spitfire she was even against two larger men and the fight spilled out into the saloon's main room itself, scattering stunned customers. Ralph now intervened. Osgood drew a pistol and fired, narrowly missing Ralph who dove for cover. The constable drew his own weapon and blazed away. Ralph withstood the quick volley then calmly popped up and shot first the constable then Osgood. The off duty policeman died instantly, Osgood remained standing and still armed. But only for seconds as Matilda had reached the bar and pulled a revolver behind the shelf then aimed it right at her despised husband. Her shot took the man right in the chest and he collapsed. He would finally expire the next day in his own bed.
This entire bloody confrontation had taken place with close to twenty customers and when the inevitable investigation opened up, even the police department could not avenge their now deceased officer as it was stated by the witnesses the dead men had drawn weapons and fired first. Ralph was never charged, Matilda was for some reason brought to an actual trial where a jury quickly found her not guilty.
Matilda had her money now, all of it even. But staying in Chicago seemed a bad bet, Osgood had other friends, a few in high places and then there was the police who never took well to one of their own dying regardless of the reasons. No, it was time to go west and start over. Soon after their search turned up an available saloon in some backwater little Montana town, Kalispell.
| The Present: 1875 |
Negotiations were done by mail and it went quite smoothly. The saloon changed hands soon after and the old sign went down, replaced by a freshly painted one. The Stardust Saloon was now open for business!
Education Details: Barely educated, his mother taught him to read from the Bible, otherwise he did farm work so no formal schooling for him. He still hates to read as he is very poor at it. He lets Matilda handle all that sort of thing for the business.
Languages Spoken: English of course, none of them foreigner ones.
Animals & Pets: Saloon has a dog named Bruno and a few cats lurk about too, he's not partial to cats but tolerates them because Matilda points
Ralph heard the piano playing, the girl wasn't half bad at it, not at all. He was almost back when he suddenly heard the child again only this time crying out in some sort of distress? What the hell now?
“Help! Leave go of me, Sir, you are drunk! Release me this instance* you dastardly man!!” Arabella yelped.
Some man was standing with her, well it seemed like she had just pulled away from the jasper and she was clearly upset.
"I'd watch yourself, mister. If I have to use my gun I will kill you, make no mistake on that," Ralph now warned the man as he stood in a perfect position behind the pair.
Even if the man spun around quickly, he'd have his revolver out of it's holster and he would gun the fellow down.
"Girl, move aside, fast!" he added a quick order, wanting to get the child out of the line of fire.
Though he wanted to laugh, Ralph settled for a nod, "Yeah, losing his head probably did the trick, that would kill most men."
She begged his indulgence to ask just a couple more questions, Ralph didn't mind. The child was just naturally curious like most children he figured. Not that he was an expert on children but he was one ...once.
"Sure, ask away."
" I was wonderin’ if you ever saw the elephant, and if them critters is as big as everybody says they is and can they really pick things up with their noses?”
"Oh, that! Actually in the war seein' the elephant meant you got involved in seeing your first battle, that's all. However, I did happen to see real elephants - once - there was this circus in New York City. And yes, they can pick things up with their noses, amazin' creatures really," he fondly recalled.
"Oooh, did you ever have any doin’s with cantinières in your outfit?”
"Ummm, well....not sure I should be talkin' about those.... ladies. We didn't call them that though. They were forbidden in the army til Fightin' Joe Hooker took over control of the Army of the Potomac. He brought in official...ladies. They became known then as hookers," he smiled.
“Because I reckon if I ever go to a fancy dress party, and I can dress up as anything I like, I’m goin’ to make myself a cantinière outfit, and I was going to do one like the Louisiana Tigers uniform, like poor ol’ Buford, but some folks round here already calls me ‘The Reb’ - maybe I could make one like your New York Zouaves, so maybe you could help me get all the colors and look of the thing right.”
He waved off that one, "You'd have to enlist Matilda on that one. I can tell you the colors but how you make one of them outfits, way beyond me. Tildy might be able to do it though. She likes fashion and clothes and such."
"Actually there was quite a lot of cheering and enthusiasm when we marched on out of New York in a big parade, off to save the nation for the Union. I was excited, younger and too stupid to realize what I was in for. But looking back on it, yeah, it was grand and glorious times, the beginning," Ralph recalled.
"Marion? I know I was in plenty of Virginia, we fought all over that state. But it's not like they gave us ordinary soldiers maps so I had no idea half the places we went thru. Of course the big cities, we knew when we got there but nope, I can't recall no Marion," he was sure of that much.
Now Ralph had to chuckle a bit at her description of the balloon and the signaller in that basket.
"Nope, girl, that weren't me. I kept both my feet on the ground the whole time. Those men up in the balloons were experts at what they did. He wasn't waving at you, he was sending signals to some faraway unit or column by the way he waved those flags. I have no idea how those signals worked though before ya ask. Me, I just carried a rifled musket, pointed it at the enemy when it came to it, and did my job. "
"It weren't pleasant but I got paid and did my bit for the country. Unlike a lot of men, I stayed in too, til we won. I might not be all that good a person but I think I was a damn good soldier," he nodded.
Well, ignoring the girl didn't work for long as soon she was up by the bar.
“Mr. Flandry, can I ask you a question…”
She didn't give Ralph a chance to answer but went right into it - a nice long question. About the war or at least pertaining to the war. The veteran paused to let her finish.
"A Zouave is a kind of uniform, in New York the firemen who volunteered to serve wore it. But from what I heard the French made that uniform for special units in their army. It was quite fancy I will give it that but once it wore out and fell apart, our replacement uniforms looked like the rest of the army - lots of Union blue. But we kept the name anyhow," he did his best to answer, it was a reasonable question to him.
"Oh! And also, did you have a beard when you was in the war, er, unpleasantness?"
"Yes I did, I grew it during the war as when we were on campaign, it wasn't always easy to shave. Most of the men grew 'em, cept for the drummer boys," he chuckled, "Either that or mustaches were popular too. "
"Mr. Flandry, don’t you know that this place is haunted?” she piped up as she carried on with her work. “Ain’t you never seen the Old Lady?” she asked in as matter of fact voice as she could muster.
"I missed that news in the paper," Ralph shrugged, he didn't believe in ghosts, least not that kind.
The girl hadn't missed a beat but went on with her outlandish story but Ralph wasn't listening. It's not that he didn't like the child, he just didn't much care. But Matilda wanted to take her in so he wasn't going to argue.
By the time the girl was done with whatever she was palavering about or taking a breath, Ralph was behind the bar and polishing a few of the glasses with a hand towel. Arabella could have told him she found a hoard of gold on the floor and he wouldn't have heard a word of it.
Ralph ambled on in, soon enough he'd be opening the place up for the business day and he would be manning his usual behind the bar station. He had a plate in one hand and a fork in the other, wolfing down the contents of said plate. Once his hunger was satisfied, he was pretty much ready to begin work. Though customers on the other side of the bar wouldn't see it once he got behind the big counter top, he wore a holster on his hips with a Colt Army Single Action revolver on the right side. Also behind the bar on a shelf outside of the customers' view was a double barreled sawed off shotgun. Finally, was a less drastic form of weaponry, a hardwood chair leg which would function for Ralph as a club to batter some sense into an unruly customer. Yessir, all the tools of the trade.
He glanced at the girl, "Humppfff, guess we must have ghosts or somethin' in this place? I heard that piano playin' and now there ain't no one sitting there. Strange. "
"Yankee huh? Me too. I was in two regiments. 146th New York Regiment....we had us those fancy Zouave uniforms ya know," Ralph grinned, "Johnny Rebs could see us a mile off but damn we looked pretty."
"When those wore out though, we got regular replacement uniforms. Then when the regiment mustered out last year of the war, I joined another regiment - the 5th also out of New York and finished the war with them."
He sighed, "I know the war was terrible and all that. Saw a lot of men die. Killed me some rebs too. But you know what? I think fighting in that war was the finest thing I ever done in my life. I'm proud of my service."
Ralph decided to let Tildy be then with her bookkeeping since the lawman had no pressing interest in wanting to talk to her, simply being social it seemed. He did ask a couple of questions though, hoping that saloon gossip might have reached Ralph's ears over a couple of occurances.
"Nope, afraid I can't help you about any cattle drive. You know which ranch or ranches?"
As to the second item, Ralph shrugged, "We've heard off and on that the Army is thinking of building a fort closer to town. When and exactly where though seems to be a mystery. It might bring this place some more business but the down side is sometimes off duty soldiers can get a little....you know ... rambunctious."
"I ought ta know, I was one in the late war," he smiled.
"Fine then, I'll be right back, gonna put the coffee on the fire," Ralph nodded then retreated into the interior of the building.
He returned quickly enough, "Be a few minutes and it should be plenty hot by then."
Ralph hadn't forgotten the man's question about that young man though and immediately set about answering it to the best of his ability.
"Yeah, I think I know which one you mean. Course could be other prospectors about nowadays," he shrugged.
"Last week we had us a young man, Irish no doubt about that - all you had to do was listen to him talk. I don't know his last name but his Christian name is Robert.... Bobby....what have you."
"He lives outside of town, he said that much. He also said he looks for gold but by the look of his clothing, he ain't very successful at it. One thing he is good at though is using his fists," Ralph grinned.
"A bigger man picked a fight with him and Bobby boy dropped him like a sack of grain with a good right left combination," he recalled it with obvious amusement.
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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