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
"Dang. They'd be callin' for him back to the Evergreen, an sent me to fetch him." Gilcrest said.
Ralph just shrugged, thinking but not saying aloud 'not my problem'.
Then, in two swallows, the beer was gone. "Have me one more afore I go huntin' him." He laid a pair of nickles on the bar. "I thank ya, Ralph, knowin' it ain't none of your concern where that young fella is. He can shore get himself in a bind, though."
"He's young n' stupid. We were young once, don't know about you but I made my share of mistakes that age," the customer got a little bit of Ralph's philosophy on things.
"Hello Ralph, like beer, and if you know the whereabouts of young Brendan Connolly. He's wanted out to the Evergreen."
Ralph looked up from counting out some coins in the money box below the bar, it was that Gilchrist jasper, one of the Evergreen bunch. The man had never specifically caused any trouble in the saloon but still, he was an Evergreen man. Ever since that day Ralph stood with the Marshal in that street confrontation, the bartender didn't much care for that ranch and those who rode for it.
"Hello...one beer it is then," he began to pour a glassful from the barrel spigot.
"As for Connolly, I ain't seen him around. And he don't keep me informed of his comings and goings. Fraid yer outta luck."
He set the glass down in front of Gilchrist, "It's a nickel."
Ralph damn well knew Brendan slept up in Caroline's bedroom on the nights but that was none of Gilchrist's business.
Ralph looked up from perusing some whisky bottle labels, his sight wasn't what it used to be but he'd be damned if he was going to spend money on spectacles. Caroline teased him about it on occasion and he put up with it because....well it was Caroline.
A pair of young men came thru the bat doors, he recognized the younger of them, that tall spindly drink of water who rode for the telegraph. A very occasional customer. The other one he had no idea. And as long as they ordered and paid for drinks, he didn't much care.
"Howdy gents," he nodded, not exactly friendly but certainly not hostile.
"Howdy, Mr Flandry. Er, a beer please and whatever Mr Craddock here wants," the beanpole lad requested.
"Thanks Jake, beer here too." chimed in Scrappy, a little more colloquially. He looked around. "Nice place!"
If the cowpoke thought the compliment would elicit some sort of smile or pleased reaction, he didn't know Ralph.
Ralph nodded and reached for two beer glasses from the shelf, "Two beers comin up. Nickel apiece."
Another moment and two beers were placed right on the bar in front of the two men, foam slightly overrunning the brim. Ralph made a habit of never stinting on the drinks.
The boss talked with the customer while Ralph dried some glasses with a towel, minding his own business.
"Hey Ralph," Fortner asked, "Do you know where the Sheriff keeps himself? I mean where would he be if not at the jailhouse? Any guesses?"
"Sheriff Pike? No one has seen him for a long time now. He and his wife left for California or someplace after gettin' married. Ain't been back since. You want law in this town, yer gonna have to go the Marshal, he's got a place, down the street."
"I rode a long ways to get here, not sure about all that's goin' on betwixt this Lost Lake of his and them other folks, the Steelgraves, but I reckon it can be straightened out easy enough. At least I hope so, got me a future elsewhere."
Ralph had to smile at that, "Yer quite the optimist. It's been a long running feud and blood has been spilt already. But I wish ya luck, sincerely I do."
"Been near a year on the trail up from New Mexico Territory, down Lordsburg way. Hell of a ride. Be glad to meet up with this Cantrell fella, get this all ironed out and be on my way over to Oregon." He took a long drink of his beer.
"New Mexico, never been down there but you do get around some. And then Oregon you say? So what's in Oregon?" Ralph was curious.
At that moment Caroline, who had just left a table where she had been chatting (OK, flirting) with a few cowpokes, came sauntering up to the bar. She flashed a smile at the bartender.
"Geezus, I just learned more about brandin' cows than I ever knew before...or wanted ta know," she chuckled to Ralph.
Then she turned to this latest customer, a stranger, but they get enough of those almost every day.
"Well, hello there, hon. Please...don't tell me you come to talk about brandin' cows?" she asked in a teasing tone of voice.
"A beer'd be nice. Hot out there today." Ty responded.
"That it is. Better hot than freezin'," Ralph gave his opinion on it then added, "One beer coming up."
"I'm looking for a man, a Quentin Cantrell. You know where I might find him?" asked the newcomer.
"Yeah, I know the man. Lookin' for him then?" Ralph had to wonder.
"Not huntin' him. Name's Thornton, Tyrell Thornton. Cousin to Shade Thornton. He asked me to check in on him."
A relative, now that was interesting.
"I know Shade Thornton too. Not that either Cantrell or Thornton ever frequent this place. In fact, neither come inta town much period. But they have a ranch a few miles outside of town. Lost Lake Ranch, it's a big one too, lot of cattle, impressive home not that I ever been there. Just goin' by what they say," Ralph explained.
"There's another large ranch too, Evergreen, and there has been a lot of bad blood between the two. I don't pay attention to all the details of why, none of my business," he added.
"Set em up, Ralph, two whiskies," ordered Fortner.
Ralph heard of course and simply nodded, "You got it."
He then reached for a bottle and two shot glasses then filled them to the brim.
If they wanted them, they'd have to go up to the bar and take them, he was the bartender, he did not deliver drinks to the tables. Now Caroline would do that but she had already gone upstairs and did not come back down. Ralph knew why too. He might not be much of a talker but there wasn't much that Ralph missed if it went on in the bar room.
A bearded man came thru the batwing doors, total stranger Ralph thought and he usually had a pretty good memory for faces if not necessarily names. He had the look of a cowpoke or a gunman or both. If he was yet another Evergreen man, he wasn't familiar.
Ralph sighed, "There was no mystery why Matilda left. She wanted to try her luck somewhere else. Nothing more, nothing less. Don't listen to her."
As for the outhouse mystery, that was so patently silly it was not worth even addressing. There were no sweet smelling outhouses. Fortunately, another customer at the bar was calling for a refill so Ralph could go attend to that man. He'd told the newspaperman what he knew.
"New owner you say, can't say as I'd heard that, don't recall my putting that in the paper," the newspaperman declared.
"Just cuz you didn't put it in yer paper don't mean it didn't happen," Ralph replied dryly.
"Fortner, you say? Well what happened to Miss Devereau? Hadn't figured her to sell out. Liked the woman's style. Well, seems there's a great deal of news I've missed. Ought to stop by more often."
"Frank Fortner, you could always interview him ya know," Ralph pointed out then answered about his old friend and former boss, Matilda.
"Miss Devereau decided to move to San Francisco, she didn't much take to the winter weather here and wanted to start up her own place ...as she said...by the ocean. I coulda went with her, she asked to. But I told her I liked it here and I'd stay. We parted as friends," Ralph explained calmly enough, he was never one to get emotional.
Arabella was singing Dixie, she wasn't supposed to be doing that but hell, under this new boss, who knew what the man thought of it all. The girl also knew that Caroline hated it but Arabella often treated Caroline..........well, badly. Ralph didn't get it but that all was between the two gals, he never did understand women.
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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