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    • "We'll have to get on over to the dinning room them. Afraid it's liable to be a bit more like Kalispell than Frisco." He said. "But it'll be good food, just not what we've been used too. Will be up on the hill, for sure.  I was told this is the best hotel because it was a ways out across the river from town, and it was solid built."   "The wealth on the hill is such that all most everything around it is growing at a fast pace. You'll really see that when we visit the Capitol, Carson City. Supposedly discovered by Kit Carson and General John Freemont on their way to Sacramento in. At least Freemont named the river after him back in '43 or '44. Nothin' was there then."   "All that made me hungry too, let's go eat an then take us a walk across the river, or along it, which ever you want." @Bongo
    • That did not take long. Cookie rang the triangle and shouted his best but in the end he sent the kid to roust all but the closest to him. Rance joined young Wheeler in the line, a bit out of the wind, but mostly in it for the moment. It seemed calmer up by the wagon.   "That had ta be bad back there. The wind drivin' the dust an' the smell, but should this wind let up you'll be on flank, left flank, then right, then back to the drag. It'll be me, Dallas, an' Dixie. eatin' dust tomorrow. But at least we got hot grub, won't always be that'a way out here though, every trip is different."   And they moved up steadily. @Bongo
    • "Nothing to discuss? I am surprised, Jonah. Why, if we have time for breakfast, there will be much to discuss regarding the hospital as well as the start of the orphanage. Hopefully that the railroad will be completed, or close to it by then." She smiled brightly. "Things will be different by then."   "My hope is that we get through all of this without my fathers interference causing delays, or real problems with the builders. You know we could get well into October before the snow flies, but I'm not counting on that. The winter will stop construction until the thaw." She stated, but the smile was still there, "But it will be well underway!" @Bongo
    • "Pleased ta meet ya, Rance."  Justus gave the man a nod, then lined up with the others for grub.  Maybe he could get some sleep despite the wind.  He surely was tired enough, and until there was something that concerned him, he didn't need to be concerned.   First, though, a full belly!  As the line progressed, he he nodded to the kid who was the cook's help.  "Times like this, I bet yer glad ya don't have ta be on th' downwind end of a herd'a cows!"   @Flip
    • "It's good to know you'll have the best working on the project, you've come this far, you don't need to risk the quality with less than the best working on it."  Even though he had no doubt that the crew would be excellent, it was reassuring to know that the man hand picked for the job would actually be on site overseeing it.  That way, too, he'd be there if Leah needed to discuss anything with him, and Jonah had a good feeling that was going to happen!   He grinned and took a sip of coffee.  "Just think, this time next year it will all be over!  We'll have a fine hospital with the best equipment...and nothing to discuss over breakfast!"   @Flip  

Cattle To Move, Questions To Be Answered


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With: Case Steelegrave, Toole, Robbins, Billy Holcombe
Location: Hideout, Silver Dollar Saloon Whitefish
When:  1875
Time of Day:  Early Afternoon





Case and Robbins rode into the hideout where most of the men were in the final stages of saddling up. Toole had ordered the men not out with the herd to get ready to move out. They had far to many to hold, and there was really no profit in holding them. Actually, they would simply be making room for more.


The two riders stopped at the cabin where Toole stood waiting "We're about ready to move 'em out, boss."


Case dismounted and dropped the reins. "Good, holding too many, and there's more to take." He stated. "Robbins here shot a fella but lost tack of him. Need a man to go look for the body, or the mans trail, I need Robbins here with the herd."


Toole rubbed his chin in thought before he said, "Young Billy Holcombe could track a snake over rocks.
 He offered, looking at the boy who sat on the edge of the roughhewn table twirling  a length of latgio and smiling.


"Yes sir, Mister Steelgrave, I can find 'em, dead 'er alive." Billy offered.


"The get to it, son! Toole, Robbins, get the herd moving. I'm headed back to town. Billy you report to me when you find him. Billy simply nodded and went to his horse as did both Toole and Robbins. As they mounted up and headed out, Case scanned the valley which on day would be his ranch, but, that would need to wait a bit. There was other business to attend to first.




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Billy Holcombe was just shy of his nineteenth birthday when he mounted up to find the tracks of the man Robbins had shot. He thundered out of the cap in the direction Robbins gave him. He was young, but tracking had come natural to him at the age of ten when he was sole support for his mother and sisters.


He topped out on the hill and looked down to where Robbins said he saw the man and fired on him, so Billy eased down the embankment noting that there were no tracks following the line of fire, if Robbins said he followed, he was a liar.


The hoof prints were fairly clear in the grass as he had expected and he saw where they were deeper where the animal had bunched up when the riders weight shifted from the bullets impact. Billy stepped down, crouching and touching the nearest indentation, then looking above it where the other tracks led down into the trees, at a walk. That meant the rider would have been easy pickin’s had Robbins stuck around to finish the job.

The trail came out of one stand of trees to a small meadow. There were flecks of dried blood almost indistinguishable from the rich soil, but clearly evident to the lad. He stepped down, trailing the reins to examine the ground. He saw where the horses hoof had struck a stone and for some reason turned onto the rocky ground, the man was alive!


In a matter of seconds, Billy’s horse bolted and headed into the trees below at a dead run. He sprang to his feet as a crashing sound from behind made him turn...a good six and a half feet on it’s hind legs, maybe 600 pounds of raw fury!


The giant paw came out of nowhere as Billy reached for his Colt. The last thing he ever saw or did.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Case Steelgrave had watched the heard started moving out of the valley and off to “market” just over the border in Canada. It was just as lucrative as in the states, but far less risky, and with fewer questions asked. The other thing, the distance was far less than anywhere else.


He mounted his horse and headed out. There were a number of things that waited on his attention in Whitefish, things he needed to get taken care of. Young Billy would have the story on the man Robbins shot. And that could be put to rest quickly and hopefully quietly.


Then there was a civic matter to take care of, a Mayor needed appointing and after that a town council of like minded individuals, but first the issue of a Mayor. His father, Elias had given the word to place man that could be trusted in the position, and that was what Case was going to do.


And there were the small ranchers, sod busters, and squatters to deal with, and that alone was going to be a planning nightmare. It had to be done with no reflection on the Steelgraves, he had planned to use the Barnes boys for that, but, they had to hold up the stage, and they had to pay for that, so, he’d need to figure out something else.


And then, he thought of the girl, the school teacher fresh from the east. And matters became complicated, or at least they seemed that way for the moment on the way to Whitefish.

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  • 4 weeks later...


"Yer sister's down ta Kalispel lookin' fer some gent fer yer paw." Dex McKenny announced as Case walked into the Silver Dollar Saloon. "Jest did gey back from the ranch. He seems almighty steamed 'bout somethin'."


"When ain't he steamed?" Cash asked shaking his head. "Some hombre followed me toward the hide out, Robbins got lead in him, sent young Billy Holcombe to find the body or find the tracks. Who's rankled my father enough to send my sister to kill him?"


McKinney shrugged, "Man name'a Pike. 'sposed ta be somethin' fierce with a gun, but don't they all say thet? Got a couple of the boys with 'er per usual. Bannister and Santee, both good with the iron."


Case looked at McKenny a long moment. "Sending the better guns? He expecting some kind of trouble?"


"Didn't say, but I think he wants to be more than prepared, if'n this fella wants ta make it a corpse an' cat'ridge affair."


To which Case merely nodded. That would be like his father, send the best if there might be trouble, even though everyone of his men were good with a gun or they wouldn't be in his employ. Besides, he had more pressing business than whatever his sister was up to.




Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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