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The Old Ranger

The Brothers Wentworth

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Sam Wentworth stood at the entrance of the saloon, partially dreading what he had to do next.  It wasn't going to be easy but they we're going to need his help for the next part of the journey.  He glanced over to his younger brother Charlie and told him to stay out of sight, while he smoothed things over.

 

Going inside, Sam looked around until he saw the man he was looking for.  As he walked over, he noticed that the man hadn't changed much but then it had only been about 18 months since he last saw him when he dropped in to North Platte and paid him a visit on his way back here.

 

Seeing a spot at the bar, he began to approach when the man turned around and saw him.  "Sam?"

 

Smiling, Sam moved closer, "Brother Mike!"

 

Mike's eyes narrowed as his brother came closer.  "I don't recall you writing and telling me that you were coming."

 

"Ahh...no I didn't.  This was kind of short notice."  When he reached the bar, Sam ordered a beer.

 

"Short notice?  You're not in any kind of trouble?"

 

Sam took a sip of his beer before answering.  "It depends on how you define trouble."

 

"Trouble as in the woman kind."

 

"No, no...nothing like that."  After taking a longer drink of his beer, Sam turned to his brother and half-smiled, "It's much worse than that."

 

Turning around to face the entrance, he shouted, "You can come in now."

 

Not knowing what to expect, Mike turned around to see who was coming in.  When he saw who it was, the anger on his face was evident, "What the heck is he doing here?'

 

Nodding, Sam replied, "That was the same thing I asked when he turned up in North Platte."

 

Charlie stepped up to Mike, "And I'm going to tell you what I told him.  This was my idea and nothing either you have to say on it, won't make me change it."

 

The initial anger, Mike had, faded away.  So, Charlie was just like the rest of them and that made him glad.  "You know the old man's not going to like it."

 

"Yeah, we know," Sam answered, "and that's why we came here.  Safety in numbers and that the fact the further we get away from the train line the better."

 

"Pa's going to be busy in Washington for a while with his work and with Mary having another baby.  He won't be leaving before she has it."  Charlie walked over to the bar and waited for Mike's response.

 

"I understand,"  Mike paused for a moment before continuing, "Pa's not going to like this."

 

While Sam ordered a beer for Charlie, Mike thought about what they should do next.  He knew that Sam in his own way had done the right thing by bringing Charlie to Medicine Bow.  Their father was a man you could confront on your own in minor matters but something like this would mean they would have to band together.  Sam, even though he hadn't said it must have given up the job he had in order to help Charlie and Mike would do the same.  Family loyality was more important than earning a living.  There would always be work for good, experienced, ranch hands like Sam and he was.

 

Motioning to his brothers, Mike led them to a table.  After taking their chairs, he sighed heavily, "Alright then, what we need to do is find someplace that will take a while to reach.  Some place far, far away."

 

Grinning, Sam nodded, "Somehow I thought that it was going to take a lot more to convince you to join us."

 

Mike raised an eyebrow, "Let's just say, we're all in the same boat.  Father still hasn't forgiven either of us for destroying his plans.  Now that Charlie is with us, it going to be a lot worse and I would rather be someplace else.  It's time we all gathered round the one who started this in the first place."

 

"How far is Kalispell from here? "Charlie asked.  He felt relieved that at least two of his brothers weren't going to send him back.

 

"It will take a few weeks to get there."  Mike stood up, "We leave at the end of the next week as I will need to give in my notice.  It'll give you two time to find decent mounts that will last the trip."

 

Sam got up and shook Mike's hand, "Thanks."

 

"I'll see you two later." Mike smiled, ruffling Charlie's hair as he walked passed him.

 

"Hey!"  Charlie said, "I'm not a kid anymore."

 

"No, you're not, " Mike replied " And when we reach Kalispell, one of the first things you'll be doing is getting a job."

 

Smiling, Charlie answered, "I can't wait and I also can't wait to see Matt's face when we turn up."

 

Mike and Sam looked at each other, both acknowledging the uncertainty that lay ahead.

 

 

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One Week Later...

 

Mike checked his saddle and things to make that they were secured.  He hadn't accumulated much during his time in Medicine Bow - only enough to fit in the small carpet bag that was hooked onto the horn of his saddle.  It was a little bit sad to be leaving the place where he had finally settled down after a years of fighting in the war and then going from one ranch to another to learn his trade.  His family needed him and in a way he needed his family.  Maybe this was a good thing and in Kalispell they could find a ranch where all three of them could work together.

 

He smiled as he remembered his boss telling him that if he ever changed his mind there would be a place for him here.  Over the years, he had risen to the position of foreman and so going back to being just a normal ranch hand again was something  he was going to have to get used to.  Still, he kept going back to the thought that he would be with his family again, especially his older brother, Matt.

 

When Matt had gotten up the courage to tell their father no to being a lawyer, the relief he felt was immense.  He had dreaded the thought of going to college and ending up stuck in some stuffy job in a stuffy place like Washington.  His dream was to be out in the open air doing what he wanted to and not what his father wanted him to do.  So, he had gone through the motions of pleasing his father, so that he could be sent to Yale and out of his father's reach.  Within weeks of arriving, he had quit and joined the army.

 

Over the years, he had gone home a few times to see his mother, sister, and brothers but those visits didn't last long due to the fact that sooner or later his father would bring up his displeasure and contempt of the course that his son's life had taken.  The last time that they had all been together was Thanksgiving, five years ago and by then Sam had joined both him and Matt in the disobeying and rejection of their father's plans for each of them.

 

The last he had seen of Matt, was about six months ago when he was passing through Medicine Bow.  It had been a brief visit of only a few hours while he waited for a stage to take him north to Montana.  Matt had told him that he was heading up there to check out a few business prospects.  About a month ago, he had received a telegram from Matt saying that he had bought a hotel in Kalispell and planned on staying there for a while.  Thinking over the many places, Matt had been over the years, Mike hoped that this time his brother had finally found a place to make roots.  Maybe, Kalispell was a place where they all could settle down where each of them could have a place of their own.

 

Pulling out his pocket watch, he checked the time and then looked around.  In the distance, he could see his two brothers approaching.  Taking off his hat, he waved it at them until they waved in return.  After putting his hat back on his head and placing his watch back in his vest pocket, he got on his horse and made his way to them.

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Sam stretched a little before getting down on the blanket he had laid out on the ground.  The night was clear, and he could hear an owl hooting in the distance. Thankfully the weather had been good for the last few days and he hoped that it would continue until they reached Kalispell.  He didn't particularly relish the idea of riding in the rain or sleeping in it either.

 

The journey had been uneventful so far and he reckoned that they must be getting close to Virginia City which was located in the southern end of the Montana Territory.  The trip from Medicine Bow had taken them along the Sweetwater River to South Pass.  From there they had headed northwest following the Green River until they had reached Fremont Peak.  Thinking that it was best to avoid the Crow Indians they headed over the mountains and into Idaho.  They had stopped at Eagle Rock to replenish their supplies and to rest for a couple of days before starting out for Montana.

 

So far, it had been a long trip and there was still some way to go and he was beginning to think that Mike had underestimated how long it would take them to get to Kalispell.  The mountains had slowed them down considerably and there were still more to come.  Still it was worth it as they wouldn't be going any for a while especially with winter only a few months away.

 

He wondered how Matt would react when he saw them.  Sure, he would be angry, but it wouldn't last.  Matt was the one who understood most of all the reason why Charlie wanted to quit school.  None of them wanted what their father had planned for them, but Matt had been the bravest of them all since he had been first to say no.  Even though, their father's contempt for them grew with each son afterwards, it had been a bit easier as Mike and he had someone leading the way.

 

As his eyes started to close, Sam thought about Kalispell and what he was going to do when he got there.  A smile crept slowly on his face as he drifted off.

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As his horse slowly made its way up another hill, Charlie took a look around.  Montana was certainly an interesting place with and had a uniqueness all of its own.  He was not used to seeing so much open land with only a few homesteads along the way.  Growing up in the city hadn't prepared him for how big it was out here.

 

They had left Virginia City a little over a week ago and had been following various trails that were heading north to Helena.  From there it would only be short ride to Kalispell.  It would be good to have a break from all of this riding, he thought as his horse reached the hill's summit.

 

Going down the hill, his horse continued to follow the two up ahead.  Charlie could hear Sam and Mike arguing over whether or not to telegram Matt when they got to Helena.  He could understand Mike's point of view as he didn't like surprises either and their arrival would be that.  Sam was arguing that if they just turned up, Matt would have to just accept the fact that they were there, and it was too late for them to go back since winter would be not long off.

 

To Charlie, the argument was a bit on the silly side.  They were still going to Kalispell no matter what.  Matt would say something and then be okay with it, just like Mike and Sam had done.  Family was important and supporting each other was part of it.  All three of his older brothers knew and understood why he wanted to get out from under their father's control.  In a way, it was inevitable, and Mike had told them that Matt knew it was.  So their arrival would probably not be unexpected but more of inconvenience.

 

Matt was a kind of mystery to him.  He knew that his brother was a businessman who had bought a lot of places in the past, only to move on after a few months.  He hoped that Matt was planning to hang around Kalispell for a lot longer than usual.  Having the opportunity to get know Matt and his other brothers was something he was looking forward to.  As the youngest he had always admired his brothers and wondered at the stories they would tell of their adventures.  He wanted to be a part of their lives just as much as he wanted them to be a part of his.

 

A signal from Mike, indicated that he had found a place for them to rest overnight.  Charlie gently kicked his horse as he and his brothers made their way to the site.

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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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