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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

Case Steelgrave
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Mature Content: Add yes, no, or short info if needed (example: Yes, violence).

With:NPCs in the thread. John Anderson, The Steelgrave Brothers,
Location: Whitefish proper, Marshal's Office, Town Hall, etc.
When: September 1875
Time of Day: Mid-morning,

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Word had reached Case that the boy, Billy Holcombe, had been attacked and half eaten. Bear paw prints were said to be all over the blood soaked ground. His horse never found. It shook Case, no man likes to think of being eaten. But, as with his sister, there was business to attend to. Whitefish and Steelgrave business, all but one in the same.

 

He sat at his desk in the sheriff's office pondering what needed to get done, providing those necessary for the beginning of his fathers plan showed up as expected. He knew the plan, ever inch of it, and how easy some parts would be, and how deadly other parts could be.    He had the en for the job either way. In a week those driving the cattle north would be back in town and could be deployed where they were needed.

 

There was a rap on the door, followed by young Tyler Oats who blurted out; "Marshal, your brothers are at the Silver Dollar waitin'." Case smiled fished out a dime and tossed it to the boy as he rose from his desk. It was beginning.

 

TBC

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Case pushed through the bat wings at the Silver Dollar. There was a bite in the air, the seasons were changing. Cold in the morning, hot in the afternoon, at least for a while yet.

 

There they stood, Ben, Clay, and Zeke. Not who he'd expected, but a welcome sight none the less. "What brings you owl hoots to Whitefish, Pa kick you off the ranch?"

 

Ben, the eldest of the Steelgrave boys laughed, "nah, we come to let you know Pa wants to move on all of the open range to the north." He hesitated just long enough to let that sink in. "So we're here to get that ball rollin'. Figger you should be the first to know his plan."

 

"And that is?"

 

Ben smiled, "He plans to take hold of ever'thing east of the Evergreen to Columbia Falls, and south just shy of the Kalispell limits."

 

Now it was Cases turn to smile. "That move to the south could prove to be a bit of a problem what with Thornton and like Redmond likely takin' exception. Seems maybe Pa's bit off a big chunk."

 

"Well brother, they sure can do alla that they want." Zeke said, his hatred for the Thorntons evident. "Colonel Colt'll have a say in that."

 

"Yeah, time we burned 'em out anyways. Ain't fogettin baby brother Cal neither! We owe 'em!" Clay added.

 

"So when's this party startin'." Case asked.

 

"We'll be headed out shortly to start it, though there really ain't any ranches to take, just some sod busters to root out.. Like to have a few of yer boys, if you'll allow." Ben explained.

 

Case thought a moment, "Sure."

 

TBC

                     Ben                                           Clay                                                                Zeke
1705145818_BenSteelgrave.jpg.80606463e1364cc7cd04628390555cb3.jpg1884211576_ClaySteelgrave.jpg.14de86ecbd56f1d64fc275f1a19eeb20.jpgZeke-2.jpg.ca3b86231556b62f5395c9cc44d1b0a9.jpg

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large.1352029194_ColeLatham.jpg.538f1ca7a00c27430155c5232bd9a046.jpg

After stopping at the Marshal's office and not finding Case there, he checked his watch, and he was right on time. Well, if the man was not in his office then he probably was at the Silver Dollar Saloon. It appeared to be where Case Steelgrave handled most of his business.

 

Cole Latham was an attorney and doing quite well in Oklahoma, however things began to get a bit hotter than Latham liked. In fact, the association with a certain faction of less desirable individuals was coming to light so a quick exit to beat a rope was required. In Texas he met Case Steelgrave and the pair had become fast friends, Latham successfully defending him on a couple of occasions. But again, things began to look like he would need an attorney, so Case suggested that he head for Whitefish, Montana where he himself would be headed in short order.

 

Cole entered the saloon to see Case talking with his brothers, whom he had met on several occasions, so he stepped to the bar to wait. Family first, he understood that, he would wait his turn. It was no secret that he would become Whitefish’s Mayor in short order, being the only candidate, and cement the Steelgrave hold on Whitefish.

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

“Take who you need, I’ve some men returning here the week or so, we’ll be fine.” Case added, then looked to the bar. “Be with you shortly, Cole.” Then back to his brothers. “My attorney Cole Latham, soon to be Mayor here, lock this burg up tighter’n a corset on a skinny gal.”

 

They all laughed at the remark. Taking over Whitefish had been Case’s plan all along, though Elias agreed with it, seeing the advantage to such a move. He had been far more interested in Kalispell and Lost Lake Ranch, of course that wasn’t lost on Case at all. But to himm, there was time enough for that.

 

“Aw’right lil’ brother, wished you was ridin’ with us, but soon enough I reckon.” Ben said thrusting his had out. “ More to do that’s for sure.”

 

“You boys ride easy. I’ll be here waitin’ on word.” He turned then to his own men and added, “You do what your told, I’ll see you when you get back.” There was a murmur of acknowledgment as chairs scooted back on the plank floors, spurs jingling as the men stood and moved toward the door.

 

Case shook each of his brothers hands and walked the cadre to the bat wing doors of the saloon. He stopped, watching the men descend to the hitch rails and mount their horses and head out of town. He stood for a bit after they had gone, looking up the street, then turned, “Now Cole, time to put our piece of the puzzle together.”

TBC

1705145818_BenSteelgrave.jpg.80606463e1364cc7cd04628390555cb3.jpg1884211576_ClaySteelgrave.jpg.14de86ecbd56f1d64fc275f1a19eeb20.jpgZeke-2.jpg.ca3b86231556b62f5395c9cc44d1b0a9.jpglarge.1352029194_ColeLatham.jpg.538f1ca7a00c27430155c5232bd9a046.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

large.1352029194_ColeLatham.jpg.538f1ca7a00c27430155c5232bd9a046.jpg

 

 “I’m to be Mayor I take it?” Cole asked, knowing that was the basis of whatever plan the Steelgraves might have.

 

“Yes, and hopefully we have our man in place in Kalispell as well.” Case replied, adding, “let’s walk to the café, I could use something to eat.”

 

“I as well. And, yes, our man is firmly entrenched in the community.” Came the response. “A position above suspicion, and one that can and will gather all the information we need going forward.”

 

“Good. Perhaps our only problem will be the appointment of a judge here in town. I know that we have the circuit judge in our pocket, but I’d like to have a man here, full time.” Case explained as they reached the Bon Ton Café as he opened the door and allowed Cole to enter first, following and closing the door behind them.

 

“Perhaps Ogden Meyers could be persuaded to come off the trail and settle in to a full time position here,” Cole suggested, “of course, it would have to be worth his while considering how well he does on the circuit.”

 

Case nodded, realizing that yes, it would cost either the town or his father to lure the arbiter o a full time position. “A lot to consider, but not out of the question, to be sure. My father could be most persuasive were he inclined to be.” Both men shared a chuckle. “Means we could pull out of Flathead County and form our own. Keep the Thorntons out of our business.”

 

Cole smiled, “Steelgrave County, has a nice ring to it."

 

TBC

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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large.1352029194_ColeLatham.jpg.538f1ca7a00c27430155c5232bd9a046.jpgThe two men took seats at back table, Case facing the door, ordered coffee and waited for it to be delivered before Clay said; "Meyers is a good choice, that's for sure, but I'm thinking your right, an expensive choice."

 

"You have another man in mind?" Cole asked, then sipped his coffee.

 

"My thought is we appoint John Anderson Justice of the Peace." Referring to his personal attorney, and a man that had successfully represented his father more than once. "He can be trusted, and he would know a man that could take over his practice in your firm."

 

"Case, I don't have a firm." Cole responded.

 

"You do now. I'll wire him and get him out here from Billings, maybe bring his man with him." Case stated. "We'll need help going forward with the new county and all. He has powerful connections in the governors office and those would smooth the way on this project."

 

"Sounds just about right." Cole agreed, then asked, "How's the drive north going, or have you heard?"

 

"The boys should be just about back, if I've figured it right. Expect Toole, or one of them to report in with the money so I can get the payroll done and paid."

 

TBC

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

large.1352029194_ColeLatham.jpg.538f1ca7a00c27430155c5232bd9a046.jpg"Dealin' with the Canadians has been a profitable sideline for us. They pay well, don't care about brands or where the beef comes from. We only work over a brand for this side of the border. Do that out to the road house, Had no trouble so far, but we'll lay low just the same for a time. No sense pushing it." Case explained, rather proud of himself.

 

"Smart, Case. Playing it safe was never a bad move." Latham agreed, this was a sweet operation, low risk, high reward. The man played to win, not just rustling, but in running the town for a profit. Taxes were low and people paid religiously, going along with whatever it might be that Marshal Steelgrave wanted.

 

"Well, Cole, looking to keep this place wide open, and the folks in town happy. So far, we've managed to do that." Case bragged. "I've seen other with this opportunity, same as we have here blow it all to hell over greed today, nothing for tomorrow.  Then soon enough the townsfolk rise up and if you don't get lynched, or rode out of town on a rail you get shot to doll rags."

 

"Yes, exactly what can happen. I believe we both saw that in Texas." Cole agreed, adding, "wasn't a pleasant sight either. So we have the Mayor, the Marshal, City Attorney and Justice of the Peace on the way, what's next?"

 

"Well, so far the banks playing along, but if we need to, we'll make that change. Be a site easier if things just hang on as they are. Like to get someone inside, sort of help things stay the way they are. Yes sir, we've a pretty sweet deal here. Pretty sweet indeed."

 

TBC (Tag Any)

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