Slim and wiry, bears himself well. Usually fancily dressed, as befits his profession. Face is dominated by the thick spectacles he wears.
Traits & Characteristics
A pretty nice fellow, all things considered. Others may disagree, but that how he sees it.
Ex Trapper, buffalo hunter, legitimate trader, cattle drover and placer miner who saw the light and turned to pimping and sharping. Now hoping to cream off some money from Canadians coming down through Kalispell for the Black Hills Gold Rush.
Sniffing out money and human frailty.
Can shoot straight with his glasses on.
Knows about trapping, mining (shaft and placer) cattle and horse-stock, but would rather others do the work and he relieve them of the profits.
Speaks a little Crow.
Aliases / Nicknames
Looking for a suitable building to open a theater/brothel/casino/you name it, in Kalispell.
Kith & Kin
Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters may or may not still be alive and kicking in Bowling Green, he doesn't know and doesn't care.
Born and raised: Bowling Green, KY 24th August 1846 - 22nd August 1864
Ran away from being conscripted by both sides in Kentucky, 1864.
1864: To avoid conscription by both sides in the civil war, he moved to West eventually making Fort Pierre, South Dakota to work as a trapper.
1867: a trader at Fort Berthold in the Dakota Territory and, for a time, married to an Indian woman, the sister of a warrior named Limping Bear. Subsequently a cattle driver, trader, placer miner.
1873: His annus mirabilis. Finally seeing the light at Frenchman’s Ford, Montana Territory, he stopped giving his hard earned gold to dance-hall managers, pimps, card sharps and underhand traders, he joined their ranks instead.
1875: Realizing that there was more money to made in the impending Gold Rush taking money off successful miners than panning for gold himself, he came to Kalispell to bottom out the options.
"You can tell those spots....where a good mine would be? How?" For all he knew rivers carried out nuggets and showed people the way but how could anyone tell otherwise?
“Hell, I don’t know! You explain it Charlie.” Crabbe said to the Chinese man. Mr. Fa nodded.
“Ah! So, …” he wet his finger and drew a wiggly line on the table and two triangles as mountains halfway down the line and either side of it. He pointed at the bends in the river on one side of the mountains. “These bends catch gold as it flow down. Very quick profit here.”
Crabbe nodded in agreement. “Good deposit like that, expert practical placer miner can clean out, ooh, $20, 000 worth of gold dust quite easy, three or four men working at it fer a month with the right equipment, sluices and what have you.”
Fa chipped in “Then gets hard work, men already rich, they sell.”
“Yep, That’s quite common” Lorenzo agreed “…those fellows’ll sell up and the next owners’ll have to work twice as hard and twice as long to totally clean it out, say another twenty thousand dollars.”
Fa now pointed to the wiggly line on the other side of the mountains. “No gold here, so Fa know where source lie. Look here, no see gold, see Mother of Gold!” he jabbed at the triangles.
“He means Gold Quartz. We mine that, mill it on site, just a boring and laborious process: just needs the right equipment and a little muscle. Takes a while, but no upper limits if we hit the right seam, and Fa reckons he’s located it. We got claim documents on it. Just need some capital.”
"I could help you, making the right mining equipment. How far away is it?"
“Deadwood? From here? Geez, I don' know - a thousand miles away?” Crabbe shrugged.
“Seven Hundred Fifty American mile.” Corrected Fa.
"How many men would you take to the claim?" His eyes dug right into the man with the round glasses as if he could tell whether the answer was the truth or not.
Crabbe leaned back in his chair, counting it out on his fingers.
“Well, let’s think, me, Charlie, couple of other fellers in case of trouble. We can hire more once we’re there if we need ‘em. Wouldn’t take Bridget back there, we’d fix her up in town here, that fancy hotel or somewhere. Her little talkative friend can look after her.” He ruminated. He couldn’t laugh too much at Ryker’s obvious susceptibility to that most infectious of diseases, gold fever. He’d been struck down with it himself before now, and on multiple occasions.
“Hell Crabbe, hardly a man in the Territory without a mustache, his hat? Could be big I ‘spose. Fairly beat up.”
“Yeah, I know, that was sort of …" he looked back at the line of men behind him who, except for some of the younger recruits who couldn’t grow one, invariably sported a wide brimmed hat and a bushy moustache, just like MacIntosh and the Captain. “… a joke.”
He himself eschewed the current fashion. He had raised a fairly decent mustache himself once, but it tickled his nose and put off the women folk, so he’d consigned it to the shaving bowl.
“Yes, speaking of the man. Who is this Klinzing anyhow? So you just stumbled onto him out there?” questioned the officer.
Crabbe shut up and listened, the man’s name was unfamiliar, and not so commonplace that you would forget it.
"Buffalo Hunter, he said, and dressed like one. Seemed to know about the man, well men we’re looking for, and where Black Kettle’s village was. ‘Course, a man aimin’ to keep his hair would be likely to keep track of the Indians in the area."
Crabbe was unimpressed with this Klinzing’s occupation, anyone could hunt buffalo, he’d done it himself for a season, even with his less than perfect eyesight. They didn’t run away. You could ride right up to the brutes and blow their tiny brains out at virtually point-blank range. Sure, the rest of the herd would amble off at the report, but a few minutes later they would be settled again, not even aware of the danger they were in. That’s why they were no longer as numerous as before.
“We spotted him from atop a hill. He was well below us, but he saw us alright, a man out here ain’t likely to miss a couple men higher up, especially with one who’s obviously out of place in these parts.”
Crabbe nodded to himself – yep, MacIntosh did have that look about him of someone who might originally have hailed from somewhere like Wisconsin or Michigan.
Crabbe gave up on talking to Barlow. It was depressing, to be blunt. The thought of an evening in playing checkers with the man sounded about as much fun as a funeral … and one with no wake afterwards, to boot.
"Column halt," he raised one hand and pulled on the reins of his horse who knew this drill and stopped.
The sergeant bellowed out that same command in a loud voice and the column lurched to a stop. Then they all waited until the veteran scout rode up within hearing.
"Captain. Think we've got a lead on the village and the traders."
Lorenzo had to admit to himself, that was pretty quick work! He’d picked the right outfit to travel with here, all right.
"Very well, Mr. MacIntosh, fill me in on how you came about this information. Oh, and your Indian, is he alright?"
“Ke-Ni-Tay’s fine, gone on ahead following Joseph Klinzing’s directions. Can’t be sure this is it, but from what he told us, there were three men and a wagon. Said that if we headed that way,” he pointed in the direction he had come, then off a bit to the east, “to a bluff just below a creek where we would be able to see what he said was Black Kettle’s village."
“Jesus, they got here fast” exclaimed Crabbe. “They must’ve caught the railroad train!” Nah, must be some other off-shoot of the tribe, he told himself, not Eagle Woman’s people.
“Say, MacIntosh. This Klinzing feller. Did he have a moustache and wear a big hat?” asked Crabbe with an air of faint recognition of the name.
Finally his brows shot up as he whistled. "Who drew this up? You?" If so the man clearly had skills and a good idea.
“Fa. Oh, I did the writing!” Crabbe added, making sure that he got the fair share of the praise for the detailed plans.
"This looks promising. I can work with it. For sure."
“Promising? This is genius!” corrected Lorenzo.
If this really worked, he should be asking for a little more than he was. It was a money printing machine, basically.
"Gold dust and small pieces aren't worth a lot but if you can actually get a whole pound with this tool...it'll make you a very rich man.
He pursed his lips, then looked at the Chinese. "And your associates."
Lorenzo grinned at Ryker. “By the time the fellers who buy these from us reach Deadwood, they’ll find out that all the worthwhile claims have been cleaned out. These rockers are so good, they’d ‘show color’ if we all just pissed in ‘em right now...” he exaggerated. “... so at least they won't come back complaining to us. But there’s a big difference between getting a few specks of dust, and a claim making enough money to pay for the cost of working it.” he explained.
“Listen” he waved Ryker in, speaking in confidential tones even though there was nobody else to hear but Fa, who was sitting right there with them.
“See, old Charlie there, he used to be erm, a whatdya call 'em, Mandarin back in China, see. In charge of this Province with a whole lotta silver mines. He’s a God damn expert on all o’ this stuff. When we were up in the Black Hills a couple of years ago – ‘sooners’ they called us – he spotted a place where we can sink a shaft and hit the mother lode, not just a few shitty nuggets and specks out the river placer mining.”
He gestured around them.
“That’s what all this is about, raising enough capital to go back there and sink a sure fire Million dollar gold mine!”
Fa didn’t look so enthusiastic.
“It still big risk!” he admonished the excited Crabbe “Still plenty Indians round them parts. Last time we there, Mr Ryker, redskins nearly took Fa’s pigtail for scalp!”
"You asked because you were interested in getting your hands on this innocent young lady. Bet she would bring a good price, fresh n' all," Matilda sneered.
“Well, to be honest with, ya, Mam, in some quarters? … er, Yes. But honest injun…” he said holding up the palms of his hands “I just need a pianna player right now!” Arabella did have that girl-like, innocent look about her that appealed, not just to men of ‘certain tastes’ but also those who had contracted syphilis. It was a wide held misconception that sexual intercourse with a virgin would cure a man of that pernicious disease, and underage girls were the obvious target to serve in this capacity. Of course, the ‘cure’ didn’t work, it just infected the unfortunate girl who, lost in a world of prostitution, then went on to infect future customers. It was a vicious circle that wasn’t about to end anytime soon.
Now the man was played the 'indignant' card as he finished his drink. “Well, if this is the way you treat all of your paying customers, I don’t think I got too much to worry about."
"My paying customers don't go asking for young girls, now I said 'git'!" snarled the fiery saloon owner.
The slicker and the waif made ready to depart, but not without first giving Arabella a taste of the riches that might await in the burgeoning rival establishment.
Matilda wasn't quite done yet either then leaving him with one final warning.
"Mister, if I see you or find out you been even attempting to talk to this young girl, I will shoot you. I mean it, we'll see who's bluffing."
Bridget wondered why they were walking backwards out of a place (again!), but managed the maneuver adroitly enough, even with her false leg.
"And if she misses, I won't," Ralph added his bit to their parting of ways.
Crabbe dragged his eyes away from the fiery Ms. Devereau just long enough to glance at Ralph and utter a depreciating laugh of “Oh, sorry, I’d forgotten about you.”
Now they were at the swing doors and Crabbe raised his hat once again.
“Well, nice meetin’ you folks, maybe see you at Church on Sunday? Do drop in at my place if you ever get kinda…” he made a show of glancing around the Saloon “… bored here.” Then, with the ginger haired girl smiling and innocently waving bye-bye, they were gone through the doors.
Of the three saloon personnel left standing there, the ever-loyal and high-minded Arabella was the first to pipe up.
“Did you see that? A WHOLE SILVER DOLLAR!!!” she exclaimed, holding up the shiny coin.
"If the commanding officer allows it, yes there can be some short leaves on occasion. Not my call either way," the veteran captain answered.
“Sounds like a good idea.” Nodded Crabbe, approvingly “Blow off some steam, sow their oats. Go back to their soldierin’ with a spring in their step, huh?”
He looked back again at the column of men. Half of them looked like young recruits who’d probably never even known a woman, and would probably pay good money to do so. The other half were rugged old timers who would definitely pay good money to do so. Problem was, he was yet to find any suitable ‘ladies’ in Kalispell. He might have to go farther afield to recruit to his remuda.
"And the United States cavalry does not pay their men in scrip. Out on the frontier or on campaign, the men might not get their money right away but they are paid in cash," Benjamin frowned.
Lorenzo looked at the mustachioed officer long and hard. “Yeah, … that’s good. Good they get paid. Say, you seem to take life pretty serious, Cap. Don’t you ever have a little fun? Take a drink? Flirt with the ladies? Little sociable game o’ chance with your friends?” he asked, like the feller probably even had any friends. He wasn’t just pitching his trade, he was genuinely interested in whether this man ever actually enjoyed himself or just lived to follow army orders.
“Oooo! You in love!” nodded the Chinese man “Heavenly state to be in, if Lady feel same way! Feel like Hell, if Lady not feel same way. You seem like happy man Mr Ryker, Fa thinks Lady feel same way!” he chuckled as they walked down the stairs.
"Drinks sound good right about now. I need one." After that weird little interaction up there.
“Yeah, sit down here…” said Crabbe impatiently, pulling his chair up to a large table that had plans unrolled upon it, and various can and tools placed on each corner to stop it rolling back up. “Get the rocker, Charlie.” He called to Fa.
"So, I've met two of your associates...any more working with you?" He was wondering what the Chinese man's position in the whole 'company' was.
“On the mining stuff?” Lorenzo asked, clearly he had a few more ‘irons in the fire’ than just this project “Nah. Not yet. Might need some hired muscle later on, but this here part just needs us three.” More profit that way, he grinned.
Charlie brought the rocker and placed it on the table. While Crabbe took a swig of his whiskey.
“Oh, well , actually... Charlie’s added a few improvements to the standard model, see here…” he pointed to the riffles that would catch the gold dust as the river sludge was washed through the contraption “Gonna cover that in canvas instead of plain wood, that’ll need some sewing up.”
“Perhaps Miss Bridget can do sewing?” suggested Fa.
“Ah, she’s too slow!” Crabbe shook his head dismissively “There’ll be some old biddy in town who’s a whizz at sewing and’s got idle hands. ‘Devil makes work for idle hands’, Mr Ryker.” he said the old adage to Jay “We’ll be giving her the chance to make a few pennies and keep out of mischief at the same time!”
Mr Fa looked slightly disappointed that he hadn’t found something useful for the crippled girl to add to the project.
“Whataya think?” Crabbe’s magnified eyes looked at Ryker, hoping the man would feel a lot more positive about the product, and producing its metal parts, now that he had seen one assembled.
"Well, I am the owner ....yes. Ralph doesn't sing, the world is thankful for that," Matilda responded dryly.
“He he he, that’s … funny.” Grinned Lorenzo. He didn’t sound convinced at the end though, she didn’t look like she was joking. Oh oh, like a lot of women, seems this one didn’t have an actual factual sense of humor, just a patch of sandpaper sarcasm that passed for one. He tried the pious approach, though it seemed out of place for a saloon.
“Appears that we have both taken on the heavy mantle of caring for a poor waif and stray, cast adrift in this cruel world and lost in the shuffle of life.”
"I am the child's guardian, yes," Matilda knew this sort of spiel, she had heard most every trick in her line of work. But she was still a bit confused at what he was going on about. Ralph could sense it.
“Sings and does ventriloquism, too! Don’t ‘spose you’d consider hiring her out for few hours every night? Top rates, o’course!”
And why not? They were probably using her as slave labor anyway, that’s the reason most folks took orphans on. Wash the pots, clean the floor, peel the spuds: all for a total cost of nothing, except their bed and board. They'd earn even more off her this way.
"The man is going to give us some competition, drinks, wimmen, music, askin' about whether we got whores here," Ralph now chimed in.
“Course I asked if there was whores here!” said Lorenzo, looking affronted “I’d hardly want to bring my ward, an innocent young lady, into a house of ill repute!” That was pretty slick, even for him: he gave himself a mental pat on the back. And as for that big beardy feller: why, he was just a tattle-tale and a sneak!
"Ah, so that's it," Matilda flashed a terse smile with an edge to it. "Sizing up your opposition huh? And trying to recruit right out from under me?"
“Whoaaa Nellie!” recoiled Crabbe, stepping back a pace from the feisty firebrand. Boy, if she was a looker under normal circumstances, she was fantastically attractive when her dander was up. “Sizing up…!? Why I was just trying to give your little girl here her first start on the glittering road to fame and riches, I don’t see how …”
“Well, Arabella is not for sale or rent. Now you get out of here right now before I lose my temper. You don't want to see me do that, I can assure you," she snapped.
“You sure?” frowned Lorenzo. If the flashes of incandescence he’d witnessed so far were anything to go by… He finished his drink. “Well, if this is the way you treat all of your paying customers, I don’t think I got too much to worry about.” he concluded, and turned to where Bridget and Arabella were now whispering and giggling together.
“Come on, Honey, we gotta go now!” he called.
Arabella awwww-ed sadly and gave Bridget back her dolly, as the ginger girl tried to drink up her sarsaparilla rather than waste it.
Lorenzo looked down at the black-haired girl, reached in his pocket and flipped her a nickel … no! She caught it and realized with a gasp that it was a whole dollar.
“That was real pretty piano playing and singing, Miss. You come and see me when you’re sixteen, I’ll give you a job doing that.” He advised her and raised his hat to her, as Bridget joined him at her side, smiling innocently at Ralph and Matilda.
Ralph immediately answered, "This here jasper wants to ...acquire Arabella."
Matilda's eye flared, "What?"
Crabbe gave a nervous laugh and removed his hat. “Ah ha ha ha, a mere jest dear lady , a mere jest. Lorenzo Crabbe, theatrical entrepreneur, at your service.”
It was clear from her reaction that the idea was not a welcome one. “And you must be the owner of this wonderful emporium, Ms Devereau. Your barman here’s been singing your praises, but he never mentioned that you were a beauty as well as a talented businesswoman.” said the slick visitor with a smarmy smile, using that form of mashing commonly known as ‘laying it on with a trowel.”
“Appears that we have both taken on the heavy mantle of caring for a poor waif and stray, cast adrift in this cruel world and lost in the shuffle of life.” he intoned, gesturing with pious concern to the two young women.
The pair were a contrast in some ways, not only in their hair color, and the fact that Arabella was dressed in a simple work smock and toted a mop bucket, whereas Bridget was ‘done up like a dog’s dinner’ and carried a fancy and rather useless looking parasol; but, in all fairness, they both looked healthy and happy.
Bridget was now sitting with her mouth gaping in amazement, as Arabella took her doll and with some skill was making it look like the doll was singing the tune that she had just been playing on the ramshackle piano.
“Sings and does ventriloquism, too!” salivated Lorenzo, clearly distracted from Matilda’s ample charms by the moneymaking possibilities of the showbizzy teenager “Don’t ‘spose you’d consider hiring her out for few hours every night? Top rates, o’course!”
"Already had lunch," Ralph dryly responded as he scooped up the coin, he had seen a few as a matter of fact.
“Oh! Ha ha!” Crabbe laughed, gushingly, “Very swift, Sir, very swift.”
"The town has an undertaker, the man was quite busy when Whitefish up and died in winter," he informed the fellow.
“Lucky bastard” grumped Lorenzo, what a windfall for the lucky man! “Still, I could always open up a rival outfit: cheaper coffins, quicker services, that sort of thing…”
Crabbe quipped, "If I can work out who’s dead and who’s alive around here.”
"Might not look like it now but we do damn good business. Most men are at work now, we get our crowds in the evenin'," Ralph wasn't sure he liked the man's snide attitude.
“Oh sure, sure!” the stranger nodded, not sounding entirely convinced. He looked around the place again. “No whores, then?” he asked, matter-of-factly.
Just then the piano struck up a tune, it was Arabella of course.
“That your pianna pounder? I could use a girl like that!”
"We have a gent who comes in some evenin's. But she's pretty good alright.
“She’s more ‘n all right!” Crabbe commented, taking an interest in the girl. “She your daughter?” the man asked.
“No, she ain't my daughter, she's an orphan girl from Whitefish. Matilda took her in and agreed to be responsible for the child," Ralph explained.
“Oh, don’t talk to me about waifs ‘n’ strays!” Lorenzo shook his head, and jerked a dismissive thumb at the red haired lass, who was still sitting there, watching Arabella’s antics with child-like pleasure. “I tossed that one a nickel in Ogallala and she’s been following me around ever since. She ain’t no use t’ me, though.” He added ruefully.
Crabbe looked from Arabella to Bridget and back again, finally twisting back around to Ralph with a thoughtful look on his face.
“Say … I don’t suppose you’d consider swappin’?” he asked seriously.
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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