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.
There seemed to have been some satisfaction in the burning of the church, and all that was inside. Yet sitting with a snifter of brandy that satisfaction had vanished as quickly as it had come to him. He sat, alone in the big house, where once he had had the company of his wife and his children, now he had bitter memories of how they had left him.
Elinor who had made her usual trip to Helena, is said to have returned but left again. It was rumored she had fled to St. Louis and the high life there, but his hired men could not confirm that. She had effectively disappeared, dropped from the face of the earth so to speak.
The Boys, they had set out to claim the empire for him, but never returned. From what news he had gathered, they had seen the folly in his plan, seen the needless killing that would have to be done at the risk of their own lives. It didn't help that Clay, with his wife and four children had cleared out and left the area. Then Zeke, the most ruthless of his sons, perhaps even more so than Case, had left it was said for the gold fields of the Dakotas, though they were certainly a huge risk especially with the Sioux out.
Benjamin, spoiled by his mother and the outright owner of a huge ranch just past where Whitefish once stood. Ben, the gentleman rancher. Married, two children and as far from his father as he could get. He wanted none of the Steelgrave plans or spoils,
And then there was Case, Case who had his own plans that didn't include his fathers grand schemes. Plans that only started with the County Sheriff post. Elias believed he was aiming much higher than that. Much higher than anything Kalispell or fledgling Flathead County* could offer. So that left him, Elias Steelgrave alone.
Of course there was Leah. Getting her back on the Evergreen would take kidnapping her and locking in chains, she had made that abundantly clear. He knew that his assault on her had changed everything between them, and even with his justifications, he knew he was morally wrong, not that it actually mattered to him, for he would again bury the truth with dink and self delusion. It was how he had justified everything he had perpetrated on people over the years.
Yet there he sat, alone with his thoughts, his anger, his explaining away and his paltry excuses. Yet, there was a plan forming, not yet concrete, not thoroughly rationalized, just the inkling of a plan.
*(Flathead County was founded in 1893 some17 years on.)
He reined in, then turned the horse back toward the rubble that had been Whitefish and galloped toward the only building still standing, the church. Unbeknownst to him the building had been the last refuge for some of the survivors, shelter for those who had been injured during the storm and the fire. He knew none of that, and could have cared less.
He was brooding over his perceived losses within what had been his family, unable to grasp the truth of the matter, he, Elias Steelgrave, had driven them away. It was their fault, they were to blame, if only they could see the wisdom in his plans and the fortune that awaited them. But no, they had abandoned him instead, all but Case it would seem.
He swung down and looked around until he spied what he was looking for, a fallen branch with plenty of pitch pine. Picking it up he looked at the forlorn structure before him. His mind was a mass of confused thoughts as he drew a match from his vest pocket and strode toward it. It's whitewash faded, one of the front doors hanging by a single hinge, scorch marks from the previous fire visible on the back portion of the structure.
Elias mounted the rickety steps and entered the church proper. The pews were scattered in disarray as they had been used as beds for the injured. The pulpit, nothing more than a lectern on a stage remained. He made his way to it, laid the branch at it's base, ran the match down the side of the lectern until the flame leaped forth. He held it a moment to ensure it would stay lit, then he bent down and laid it on the branch. Instantly the branch was ablaze, flames licking at the lectern as well as the plank floor.
Elias stepped back as the fire began to consume the dry wood of the floor and the stage. He found himself backing away more quickly as flames engulfed pews close to the stage, he began laughing as he tuned and bolted for the door, down the steps and swung up onto his horse who shied away from the fire. He sat there, looking at his fire as if mesmerized by it, the wheeled his horse and galloped a distance away, turning once again to look at what he had done, laughing. At who, or at what? Perhaps at his faded plans and schemes.
He turned the horse toward the direction of the Evergreen and walked the animal into the trees as the church burned behind him.
Mature Content: No. Location: Where Whitefish Once Stood When: April 1876 Time of Day: Mid-morning.
Still an able horseman, Elias Steelgrave rode over to what had been the town of Whitefish. Granted, his son ran the town with an iron fist, had kept his outlaw friends close, while they rustled cattle from everyone local, including some of his, but he had been paid handsomely to be involved in the ruse, plus the return of his cattle and generally several head of unbranded stock.
It was a sad sight, the utter destruction of both fire and weather had unleashed on the town that was to be the jewel of his empire. Now those that had lived there had moved on, either to Kalispell or Columbia Falls, south to Fort Somers and possibly beyond. Without Whitefish as his centerpiece, the plan for the empire and it’s expansion was now just a painful memory.
Elias considered what had transpired over the past year, he lost both his daughter and his wife, not to mention the crushing blow to his plans. His sons who should be at the home ranch were off somewhere, Clayton who was supposed to be the foreman of the ranch was in and out, working with his underling and acting foreman Layton Harris, who actually ran the place. Clayton, busy with his wife and four children, had lost his taste for blood letting, or so it seemed. And Zeke, Zeke who ran most all of the Steelgraves non-ranching businesses was now in Missoula with Elias’ actual lawyer, Carson Tyndall, and whether or not Zeke was still in contact with his mother was unknown to him. Perhaps, he needed to find out.
The only one of his family he could count on was Case. Yet, could he rely on a man that had his own plans and ideas that most times did not ally with his fathers? That was the question. True, his boys had been there in the beginning, had been willing to use their guns to further their fathers plans, but as he turned his horse for home he wondered if they too had abandoned him.
Well, there was Case, and there were Case’s men. He might just have to cut his other children out, permanently. Elias had become an angry, empty man. And that made him very dangerous.
“Time that we headed back to Kalispell. Big doin’s in town today and tonight. I’d like to be there as much as I can.” Ashworth said with a smile.
“Yes, I should hope that while you’re fooling about at this dance of theirs, there will be loose lips to aid in our situation. Elias stated, always looking to enrich himself, be it money or information.
“Oh, I’m sure the liquor will take care of that, well, if there’s anything to learn. The Town Council has yet to meet, but I’m sure there is a great deal of talk between the members.” Latham added. “In fact both of us will most likely be on hand and perusing the inebriates who might have some idea of what he council is up to.”
“Good, good. Yes, this might prove to be a valuable event, after all.” It was clear that Elias had no use for social events, unless of course he could profit from them. It did appear that perhaps there would be invaluable information to be gleaned from loose lips at this affair. “Then I will hear from you when you’ve something worth reporting, and do beat the Union to it!” The men shook hands and departed, Case pausing at the door.
"I'll be seeing you." He walked out pulling the door closed behind him. Meanwhile, Elias poured himself a brandy.
Elias' brow furrowed, he eyes narrowed, then he looked up suddenly, "Yes. However, I cannot be involved, though you two might well pull it off, beings you're a part of the community. I say we do what we can along those lines. At least we'll know what their plan is and how best to toss a wrench in Leah's plan."
Case nodded, but from the look on his face, he was not all that invested in the plan, after all, she was his sister, blood relation, he would have to think on this course of action.
"I believe we can just worm our way right into the middle of their plans without being a part of the council, that might prove exceedingly difficult." Latham stated, "I mean, hey are aware that I am from Whitefish and a likely ally of yours, but Ashworth here can certainly finagle his way into their trust."
"Yes, actually pretty easily as I'm known to all of them, and, there's no real connection to you." He smiled. "Just Nolan Ashworth, Assistant Postmaster. I should be able to glean whatever information is available. I might even be able to attend the meetings, McVay from the union does. Not a real stretch."
"Then, by all means, involve yourself with those fools!" Elias agreed, Case simply nodded, the other two smiled.
"The last damn thing I want is a war in town, of course, if it comes to that, well, sometimes terrible thing happen. But we will be forced to do whatever is necessary to reach our goals." Elias stated flatly. He did not want gun trouble in Kalispell, burning any progress that was made, that would be one thing, killing would be a whole nother matter and that could get really ugly, really fast.
"Elias," Ashworth said almost wearily. "What we need to do is see what assitance we can be to the Town Council. It seems they want the credit for this whole project, and whether or not the build anything is not as important to them, or so it seems, as the right of ways for the railroad."
"By the Lord Harry Ashworth! I believe you're on to something! Yes, yes, we can work with the those people to stop what may happen." Latham exclaimed.
Case looked quickly to his father, "They may be right, Pa. Siding with those old fools may be just the ticket to begin the take over!" At last, one of them stated the obvious, Elias Steelgrave wanted to take over Kalispell, just as he had Whitefish. The question really was, who would stand in their way?
"I see from the Union that there's a shindig in town." Elias looked to each of them, "I want no trouble from any of our boys that might decide to attend. If there is, I'll kill them personally. There are bigger fish to fry than some stupid incident." He paused and looked to Case, "You let Layton Harris know what I've said, if you would."
"Sure Pa, the last thing we need is a problem in Kalispell." Case agreed.
"And what of your daughter?" Nolan Ashworth asked painly. Indeed, what of Leah Steelgrave?
"I'll attend to Leah, in my own way." Elias stated. "I'll see an end put to this notion of the hospital and the orphanage, don't you worry." Big talk considering who his daughter was and how she had been raised before the molestation, and how she responded afterward.
"We need to be clear on all of this Elias, her, the project, the local law. There has to be a plan where we are protected from charges. We will always be suspected, but without evidence, well, no convictions, not even a trial." Latham stated. The men laughed, knowing he was right about that.
Case interrupted the laughter, "Don't forget Bannister and Santee. They've gone over to Leah's side. And they ain't no push overs!"
Elias glared at him. “I may disagree with my daughter, and I may disagree with that Town Council, but, I’ll not sit by and have her disgraced, lied about, and dragged through the mud on this.” He growled. “I’ll kill any man that has part in this!”
“Elias, for Christ’s sake! You can’t threaten the Town Council like this. What the hell are you thinking?” Latham demanded.
“Listen, They want to take on my daughter, they take on me! And where the hell is her brother?”
“He’s there. He had a serious head wound, that was slow to heal, and he’s not quite the same as yet.” Ashworth commented. He dare not say that Case had secluded himself, that he had tremendous headaches that all but disabled him. “There are two doctors working with him. Doc Boone you know, and Doctor Jonah Danforth, the local doc. Anyway, there’s been talk of him going to Great Falls, or a specialist in Denver, but that’s all hearsay.”
Elias fell silent, thinking. “Latham, I want you to hunt down Leah and offer to represent her in this. If anyone will destroy her dream it will be me! But you push this, take it to the capitol if you must! Those self-important, small-minded little fools! They have no idea who they’re toying with. They will rue the day.
The attorney simply nodded that he understood what was expected, which was a better option that threating to kill the Town Council.
“There’s another problem, well, possible problem. They have a new owner of the bank, one Charles Wentworth who may just present a problem in all of this. Seems he has family in town, owner of the Belle St. Regis and three up at Lost Lake. One is Thornton’s foreman.” Ashworth explained.
Elias’ head snapped around to look at the man. “Yes, this could be a problem.”
And there it was in black and white, his daughter, Leah Steelgraves name with that of two doctors, one he had considered to be in their camp.
"How the hell did this happen?" He bellowed, "A hospital? And, an orphanage? She's involved in the pursuit of these entities?"
"Up to her pretty little neck" Latham stated. "It seems she somehow through hook or crook managed to get the right of ways for the coming railroad and has given, mind you, given them to the town, supposedly for property to build these structures."
"But," Ashworth interjected, "Judge Ben Robertson is leading the charge for the town council to finagle the right of ways as if they had procured them."
Elias thought for a moment. "Fools! She will have made copies, or had duplicates produced to prove it was her, not them, stupid, stupid little man! And the Town Council? How do they stand on this?"
"They have not met as the Council yet, but there has been talk among them, that's for sure." Latham explained.
"Well, let them start construction and I'll put an end to it!" Elias threatened.
"We need to wait on the council meeting to see what happens. I will request an injunction. See if we can prove an impropriety with the rights she obtained, or in the manner in which she obtained them. I believe we'll have the Council's backing for that. In fact legally we can stall this for months, even into next winter if need be."
Mature Content: Language?
Author: Put your OOC username here ONLY if posting with a Shared NPC. Location: The Evergreen Ranch House When: April, 1 1876 Time of Day: Mid-morning
The big house seemed a mere shell of what it had been to Elias Steelgrave. His wife, Elinor, and run off and promptly disappeared. His best efforts to find her were rebuffed by a typically harsh winter with transportation at a near standstill. His suddenly rebellious daughter was in Kalispell, refusing to return to the ranch, and then barred from such action by the winter.
Even his sons, Ben, Clay, and Zeke were rare visitors and where they had spent the winter was not known. And Case, he was on the mend in Kalispell from injuries suffered during the disaster which was the demise of Whitefish. Though it was possible to get through to the ranch and had been for a number of weeks, he had not done so.
So, Elias Steelgrave was alone. Alone for the first time in some forty years, and he didn’t like it. Oh he’d made some mistakes along the way, but none he didn’t believe he had or could repair. The incident wit Leah, well hadn’t he been drunk? It was not something he repeated, and he had regaled her with money, accounts in town, in Helena, wherever she wanted to go. Always first class. Still she refused to return.
Seated across from him were his attorney Cole Latham and Nolan Ashworth, a man ensconced in the fabric of Kalispell and it’s citizenry. Neither had a pleasant look on their faces.
“A rebuild of Whitefish is simply out of the question.” Latham said wearily. “There is no backing for such an undertaking. No backers are interested in funding it.”
“And why not?” Elias demanded.
“Interest is now to the south, in Kalispell.” Ashworth interjected in reply.
“The hell you say! Why if it weren’t for Lost Lake Ranch and the Thornton-Cantrell bunch Kalispell would be a speck and Whitefish would be resurrected.” Elias stated. “And what’s the big deal with Kalispell?”
“Perhaps you should see this.” Ashworth volunteered, holding out a copy of the Union.
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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