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.
Various Business Interests
Elias is a wealthy landowner and businessman. The Steelgrave empire rivals that of any of the robber barons in the east.
Details: Duties, Elias now simply oversees his empire. He has sons to handle the family's affairs.
Skills: Still a ruthless and deceptive businessman, still capable of getting what he is after.
Responsibilities: The overseeing of his holdings and the care for his family.
As ruthless as they come. Resorts to violence, mayhem, arson, and murder in his quest to obtain what he wants.
Aliases / Nicknames
Evergreen Ranch, Whitefish, Montana Territory).
Place of Birth
St. Louis, Missouri
Kith & Kin
Wife: Elinor Steelgrave
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 Steelgrave (Late 30s)
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.
Case Steelgrave is the next in line of the Steelgrave brothers. He is probably the most intelligent of the siblings and the deadliest. Case is charming and cunning, and only comes truly alive when it is time to kill. However, he manages to goad his target into drawing first, therefore never facing murder charges. He is proud of his legend, but has one goal for the future, goad Shade Thornton into a gunfight.
For several years, Case made his home base in Texas. He recently moved to Whitefish and is now the town marshal.
Clayton Steelgrave (Mid 30s)
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 Thornton. 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 (30s)
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.
Much to the fury of the Steelgraves, the shooting was ruled self-defense and Shade was not charged. The Steelgraves vowed vengeance leading to Shade leaving home.
Age: Mid-to-late 20s
Leah is a lovely and pampered young woman with a nasty streak where men are concerned. 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, call her a witch.
Very few. He does trust his legal henchman to a certain extent (Carson Tyndall).
Others To be determined during gameplay.
Anything Thornton, friends and associates as well.
Others To be determined during gameplay.
Elias’ banner year. He kills his first man, marries Elinor Trench and greets his first child, a boy, Benjamin.
He grew up living off of his Grandfathers' investments and holdings. Now, as a father, he began his quest for more property, power, and prestige.
By the age of 27 and In a short ten years, Elias Steelgrave doubled the family holdings in the Northeast and he began looking to the west as the next step in his climb to the top. So he packed up his family that now included four sons and a wife that matched his tenacity in the pursuit of wealth and headed west in one of the family’s wagon trains. They settled in a couple of different areas, but Elias' urge for dominance and power drove them further westward.
Elias finally settled his family in the growing town of Missoula Mills. Missoula was founded in 1860 as “Hellgate Trading Post” while still part of Washington Territory. By 1866, the settlement had moved east, 5 miles (8 km) upstream, and was renamed Missoula Mills, later shortened to Missoula.
Elias built an elaborate mansion overlooking the Bitterroot River, making the eventual city of Missoula the Steelgrave family’s western headquarters.
The war in the east offered a new business opportunity for the Steelgraves. Importing rifles by the boatload, they supplied the Confederacy, so long as they could pay. When the ports of the south were blockaded by the Union Navy, Elias attempted to send his cargo overland by the wagon load. However, that became too risky with the Plains Indians attacking his trains. Even hs routes into Texas became too perilous. So, he organized a network of purveyors who dealt with several Indian tribes dealing in all manner of goods including whiskey. So guns, powder, and lead were a natural addition.
In 1862, the youngest Steelgrave son, Calvin, was shot and killed in Missoula by Shade Thornton. The shooting was ruled self-defense which sent the grief-stricken Steelgraves into a rage. Vowing revenge, Elias set out to ruin the Thorntons. Simply buying the Thorntons out was not an option. Besides, the family was very entrenched in the Kalispell region. So, Elias began acquiring neighboring parcels of land north of the Thorntons' Lost Lake Ranch. Those he could not buy, he acquired by hook or crook. Soon, he had a rival ranch that he named Evergreen and he moved his family north.
The hostilities between the Thorntons and Steelgraves continued escalating.
The Evergreen ranch continued expanding as the SGR added another parcel of range after the sixth farmer or small rancher was burned out with the act being blamed on Indians, expertly portrayed by SGR riders.
Frustrated by his lack of influence in the town of Kalispell, not to mention the fact that its founding was accredited to Ishmael Thornton, Elias set about creating the town of Whitefish.
The ten-year span of bloodletting, rustling began to ease up as serious law was being developed in response to not only the lawlessness of the Steelgraves but other factions as well. Elias called off his riders, mostly hired guns who would only be used to secure new lands, hold water holes if and when they were found and ride the property line. But bad blood was far from over between the two, it bubbled just below the surface.
The Steelgrave clan had grown in both wealth and power but the plan to take the Chogun Valley from the Thorntons had stalled and seemed more difficult than ever.
The word 'Deputies' actually got a chuckle out of Elias. "No, I'm afraid not,, though when put upon they serve in that capacity from time to time. Let me be clear, I surmise that you are on the run, and those in my employ are a hairs breath from being on the run. So you have no worries about the law, unless it is my law!" His last words forceful to make the point.
"My son holds a tight rein over the town of Whitefish so that people such as yourself are welcome there, without worry. " He explained. "Get to the bath so you can head out for Whitefish before it gets a whole lot later."
“A warsh’ll do me a world a good,” she said as she waited for servant to return, some of her Pittsburgh accent slipping out. “Got pretty turned round out there. Mighta gone clear to California if I hadn’t run into Billy and Greer.”
“Fortuitous that you did, California’s a long way.” Elias said. “Now, before we get much further along in this deal of ours. You’ll be hired same as the rest, forty a month, plus keep. Can’t expect you to bunk with the boys, so the hotel in Whitefish will be arranged in a letter I’ll send with you.” he gave pause to formulate his next words and decided to be frank. “You’ll be no whore for the Whitefish bunch, Case included, it’ll be plain in the letter. Any romantical situations you find yourself into will have to be of your own making. I’ll not have those men there prey upon you. Is that clear?”
“Why, Mister Steelgrave, if you weren’t a married man, I might kiss you,” she said, not bothering to try to hide the fact that she felt relief at his statement. Though despite being overly forward with her words, she tried no such thing. Hell, he probably wouldn’t even want to shake her unwashed hand right now.
Elias gave here a quizical look but changed it to a slight smile.
Instead, she drained her coffee and set the empty cup back down on the tray. “I’m sure I’ll get ‘long just fine with your son,” she said.
“Let’s count on that. Case is...well sometimes hard to get to know, but we should get you cleaned up before sending you off. I’ll have a bath drawn, see if we can’t locate some clean clothes that will fit and you’ll be set.”
"Whitefish pretty close to here?"
“Yes, fairly, as the crow flies, so to say, perhaps an hour east.” Was his response as he pulled the tapestry panel that rang a bell elsewhere in the house, followed by the sound of scurrying, padded feet. A demure Chinese appeared. “Prepare a bath and locate something for here to wear on her way to Whitefish.” The Chinese merely bowed and disappeared in the direction he had come from.
Dorothy sat up a bit straighter in the seat, her smile faltering momentarily. “A marshal?” Billy and Greer hadn’t mentioned that little tidbit of information. She forced the smile back in place. No one this far north would know who she was, she reasoned to herself. Nothing to worry about. Of course, had she known there was a detective so close, she’d have been a good deal more worried.
Elias smiled, “Nothing for you to worry about Miss, the Marshal is my son Case Steelgrave, and you’ll fit right in with his Whitefish crowd.
“That’ll be good. I’m Dotty Jackson, by the way. I look forward to bein’ a help to you, Mister Steelgrave,” she said, ready to prove her worth. Suddenly, the future was looking a little brighter.
“Yes Miss Jackson, I’m sure you will be, and not to worry about any wants or warrants, Case will see that they are quashed, and if not him, we have other legal remedies to resolve unpleasant situations.” There was a brief pause, “you’ll be sure to let the Marshal know of any pending problems so they can be mitigated quickly.”
There would be many things for her to do, and perhaps the best use of this young lady rested with Case in Whitefish. With the expansion of the Evergreen holdings and the pending withdrawal from Flathead County, he was sure that she would be an asset going forward.
“But I clean up alright,” she said. “A woman can move in some circles easier than a man. Spec-ly when she bats her eyes at the menfolk.”
"Exactly my point. There are some situations where you could be most useful to me." Elias said taking up his cup of coffee. "Whoring is not what I had in mind, to set your mind at ease. Those pistols of yours may well come in handy, but for the most part it will be your charms that will come into play. How far you are willing to take those charms is of no concern to me, but I would expect you to complete the task at hand." He paused for effect. "Since I am married and have an adult daughter living here I am not able to offer you lodging, and I certainly wouldn't expect you to live in the bunk house. So, I will have one of my men escort you to Whitefish, my son is marshal there, and with a note from me, he'll set you up with whatever is needed."
Layton Harris came back into the study bearing a tray with two cups and an ornate silver pot. He set it on a table and proceeded to pour both cups, the stood erect waiting on the next instruction.
Elias looked his way, "Layton, see to the men that brought her here and find out how the search for strays is going."
"Yes sir." Came the crisp reply and with that he turned on a heel and was gone. All were trained that when Elias Steelgrave was interviewing, hired hands were not welcome, no matter the interviewee.
"Now then, about you and your desire to work for the Evergreen Ranch." He began, a thoughtful look on his face. "I'm not quite sure just where you might fit in, but there is something that tells me you could be quite useful where others could not." Pausing again. "Of course we'll have to get you cleaned up, and see how you would appear as a lady...of sorts."
“Don’t mean to intrude, mister. I’d gotten myself pretty turned ‘round out there and was glad enough to run into Mister Greer and Mister Watlow. Sure hope any job openin’s ain’t for navigatin’” she tried, taking a jab at herself.
“I don’t believe that’ll be much of a problem, miss.” Harris said as the walked into the study.
Before Harris could speak, Elias turned to face them, giving the pistol packing girl a long once over. His eyes narrowed at the guns. “Ever kill a man?” He asked casually, setting the paper in his hand on the desk. :Let’s begin with what type of work you’re prepared to do, and then we’ll move on to what I see as available.” He gestured to a cowhide covered chair. “Have a seat, Miss. Layton? Would you get us some coffee please?”
Foreman Layton Harris was talking with Elias about range conditions and having men out rounding up strays when there was a rap on the front door. An odd sound as there were rare visitors to the ranch, and family simply walked in.
Elias looked up, brow furrowed at the sound. "Now what in tarnation is this about? Who'd be coming out here? Layton, get that."
"Yes sir." Harris said already heading for the door. He pulled the heavy oak door open to see young Billy and a woman. "What the- Billy you know you ain't supposed to bring your lady friends out here." He shook his head, well she wasn't bad looking, needed cleaning up, but not bad.
"What is it Layton?" Elias called out.
"Billy brought some female out here lookin' for work."
"Well? Bring her in."
"Miss, if you'll follow me. Billy, you get back to work." Layton Harris said, the last part an order.
Elinor was in the surrey that was making it's way toward Kalispel and the stage stop that would get her to Missuloa. Elias stood on the porch watching the surrey until it, and the riders with it, disappeared through the trees and down the slope to the Whitefish-Kalispel road.
He turned slowly and reentered the house, it would be a long several months without his partner, even though she made this trip every couple of years, he hated it when she was gone. The house was large but now it would be just he and Leah, with the boys out expanding his holdings. The thought drew him back to the map on the wall, the future of his holdings witch would dwarf Lost Lake Ranch and the Thornton's holdings.
By his own hand he had drawn the new boundaries and, as his son case had suggested, perhaps use his connections to create a new county, and a new county seat making Kalispel just another town along the way, ripe for the taking when ever the whim struck. Meanwhile, his sons were getting signatures from the current homesteaders to withdraw from Flathead County as a part of Evergreen Ranch. Which, of course, was a part of the county, but not for long. Some may die, however that was simply a part of progress.
"Perhaps I should be honest, I've sent the boys, our boys to Whitefish to get some of Case's men to go along with them as we take everything north and east. Now there shouldn't be a problem, well, yes, there shouldn't, but one can never predict what others will do, squatters and all. So we're prepared." Elias explained.
"Well I suppose that this will take what it will take to get done." Elinor agreed. "The Whitefish Lake will be ours, I've always loved it."
"Yes and quite a bit more if all goes as planned. "But you go ahead on your trip, the sooner you leave, the sooner you'll be back and then you'll see the progress we've made." Elias smiled and kissed her on the forehead. "I will miss you my beloved, truly I will."
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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