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    • Barnabas listened, understanding the young mans desire to venture out, and also his hesitance to leave his sister behind. Life has those twists and turns that are possible blocks to what feels like their calling. "Well, you know, there are ways that you could manage that education, and there are ways that Lillian here could go with you." Then he cautioned, "I would certainly hesitate to travel to the Dakotas until the Indians are pacified. I'm sure they are filled with the power of their defeat of George Custer."   "Then again, should you attend the university, things could be settled before you graduated and ventured out. Education is a fine thing, Tom, whether you use it here, or the Dakotas, or wherever  you might venture forth. I only wished I had had the luxury of education beyond what I managed at my mothers knee and that one room school house in Texas." But fortune had smiled on him, the poker hand and what he had brought him, and then Em. His life was good, all things considered.
    • Their cab driver was waiting for them, he'd stayed close, alert to when they would return, and he was content, having had a wonderful lunch that Mrs. Pike had had packed for him.  Now, he helped get the remains of their picnic loaded, then made sure everyone was settled, with blankets in case they needed them, and started back for town.   "That was a wonderful outing!" Emeline declared, chuckling.  "Although I think I ended up with half the beach in my shoes!"  That had been something she hadn't thought about when going barefoot...putting the shoes and socks back on had been a challenge, especially with no way to keep the sand out!   She settled in, wrapping a blanket around her knees, since the hem of her skirt was damp, then rested her head against Barnabas' shoulder and was soon asleep.  Across from them, Lillian was also dozing.   "Thank you for letting us come with you, sir," Tom murmured quietly, "my sister works too hard and it's good for her to have some fun.  And I appreciate the advice.  College sounds like a good plan, if we can afford it.  I'd love to go to Montana or the Dakotas, but I don't want to leave Lillian."   @Flip
    • "Guess you're right about just showin' up at the ranch like that." He agree, and that is kind of you, but I've cash put by for this trip I've made. The hotel does sound good. And the local fare? Which is the best place to eat. Lookin' for big steak dinner I am. Been sometime since I was able to get somethin' like that. It was a trip to remember, long, hard, and with every temperature you could imagine."   It had been that and a bit more. There had been Molly McGuire, he was missing her, but Kalispell would not be the place for her if all that had been said came to fruition between Lost Lake and the Evergreen. He had waltzed in on what could be a real corpse and cartridge affair, and one that went on an on til they forgot what it was about, or who started it.   "I appreciate your offer, and your council about town and holdin' off till the ranch hands were in town. I'll do just that. @JulieS    
    • Benjamin gave up on the fruitless pursuit of the surviving war party, they were down a six or so anyhow and more than likely just heading back to their home village. If it was one thing the US cavalry learned about chasing Indians, you didn't catch 'em.  Best horsemen in the world maybe. So he ordered his scouts and troopers to turn back and then spent the better part of a few hours just getting back to the rest of his command. It being dark did not help at all but the scouts were up to the task.   Once back he found out that a lot had happened - almost all good too, well except another trooper had been killed. But Lt. Greene found (had lucked into it really but no criticism there - it was the great Napoleon who had said  'better a lucky general than a good one') the women and they were alive. Looking a bit worse for wear but no dangerous wounds, the saloon girl was already wearing trousers and a bluecoat lent her by eager troopers. And Greene had a face to face encounter with an Arapaho brave looking to kill the ladies. That Indian was dead. Barlow didn't press the young officer on the details, that he could read in the report Greene would have to write out later back in the fort, for the young man was wounded and in considerable discomfort. They didn't have a doctor with this detachment but one of the troopers who knew something about wound treatment assured Benjamin the boy would live and keep his leg. Well unless he didn't take care of it properly and get gangrene.   The stage driver was quite the tough gal too. She was sporting a large bruise from where the Arapaho had belted her with his gun butt but in good humor and even told him that the two women had killed their guard and escaped on their own.  Barlow was impressed.   "Well, it's a pity we don't allow women in the army, we could use a couple more like you and your friend," Benjamin remarked to Addy.   It was a tough call to make - normally traveling at night was not the wise thing to do but they had the wounded to think of and the sooner they got them back to better medical care at the fort or even town, the better. He decided darkness or not, they would head back and issued the appropriate orders.   They kept the pace deliberately slow but steady. He wasn't worried about Indian attack - Plains Indians did not attack at night and besides that war party was good as destroyed and definitely dispersed.  No, the bigger danger was loss of a horse or horses to prairie dog holes or god knows what else whilst traveling in the darkness.   Then there was a holler from ahead.   @MD  @Bongo @Flip @Javia
    • Both men had agreed, it had been a hell of a day. That Bannister came to them had been unexpected, but welcomed.  As they walked to the hotel after stabling their mounts they paused on the porch, taking up seats on the porch. Both men silent as they turned over the events of the day. Neither weary as they should be after a long hard ride back to Kalispell.   "This shapes up different than I was thinking it would. I mean hell, this is father against daughter." Cook said, "Seen a few that was father-son, never father-daughter."   "Odd one, that's fer shore. Now This Elias Steelgrave, you know much about him?" McNue asked, wonder what type of man is a threat to his own flesh and blood.   "Some, none of it good, and none of it arrestable, if that's even a word. The man skirts the law in a way he gets what he's after without consequence. Though I've heard there's a dark past with some bodies, but again, no real proof. Well, we'll check in with Guyer in the morning, see what we can do."   "Sounds to be a good idea, as dos gettin' our fair share 'o shuteye." McNue agreed. Both men got to their feet and entered the hotel. On this night their prospective of what was happening had changed.
The Old Ranger

Riding The Country

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Mature Content:  Probably not. 

With: Marshals Cook & McNue
Location: Columbia Falls
When: Mid July 1876
Time of Day: Of A Morning..

 

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Cook and McNue had ridden north-east out of Kalispell up through Columbia Falls to Coram and just beyond. They turned back after camping a couple of nights just pretty much doing nothing but talking about what was going on back in Kalispell. Both men had been up the trail and around the bend, so what they were seeing in Kalispell was nothing they had not seen before. Ruthless ranchers ready to do whatever they had to to increase their holdings, on hang on to what they had. Maybe run off the sod busters that fouled the range and denied grazing. But in this case, what they knew was that the two big dogs were ready for a fight.

 

All that was necessary to spark the tinder and burst it into an all out range war was an incident, whether one party could blame the other or not. And from what they were seeing, it really would not take a whole lot to fan the flames. What both had trouble understanding was the hospital and orphanage plans. All of that had been settled long ago. Both men knew how all of it was done, the right of ways bought and paid for, with a written contract from the railroad to guarantee the proposed route. Yet, nothing had been done other than to stall, and for no apparent reason where someone, other than the town Council might profit, and that was sketchy at best.

 

The woman, Leah Steelgrave had seen to every detail, both had heard the stories and been witness to some. She worked hard and long hours to make sure everything was iron clad. She must have expected problems like those that had arisen. Yet their question was still, why.

 

Passing back through Corum and then into Columbia Falls, the marshals decided to stop for the mid day meal. They stopped at the Bon Ton Cafe and dismounted, tying the horses at the hitch rail and then going inside. The place had those long communal tables, but they sat down with three other men across from them, one spoke up,'

 

"Marshals are ya?" The older man said. Both men looked up. "Boone, Doctor Joshia Boone, gentlemen."

 

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TBC

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"Doc, I'm John Cook, this here's Bill McNue we're in Kalispell sort of looking out for things, you might say. This here's a nice town." Cook said eaily.

 

"You boys from the Territorial Capitol?" Boone asked making conversation.

 

"Are." McNue answered. "Sort of lendin' a hand to Marshal Guyer down there."

 

"I was down there a spell after Whitefish was destroyed. Speed's a good man." He paused, looking from one to other. "Keepin' an eye on Miss Steelgrave as well, I take it."

 

"You could say that, the Governor has an interest in seeing that hospital getting built, so he left us to be of service where we could. Seems he expects trouble about it, and from what we've seen, that's likely."

 

"Hell John, that Town Council like an anchor around her neck! They keep stallin' and foolin' about to keep the construction fro startin'." McNue added.

 

"Well now, those Steegrave's are a crooked lot, I'll give you that, and you'd think since Leah wants the hospital they'd be all for it, but I doubt that's the way things are. Elias Steelgrave is a dangerous, greedy, no account human being!"

 

"You'll not get an argument from us about that from what we've seen and heard. That she has three gun hands watching her says a whole lot." Cook stated.

 

"You need to know them's Evergreen men that left to watch her, there's a story in that." Boone relayed. "They know the old man, and that was enough for them. It won't go easy if Robinson and that bunch ever let her start the project. Daddy will have something to say about it, that's for sure!"

 

"You don't say." McNue chimed in, "No wonder the Governor has us here, an' John, we're in the wrong town to do any good."

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John nodded, "That we are. Best we finish up and head on back, maybe a bit quicker'n we got here. Hate to miss any of the excitement."

 

"Now, when you get back you give my regards to both Danforth and Miss Steelgrave.  Let 'em know I'll be along to help once the hospital's built." Boone request of them. "Been a pleasure meetin' the two of you, and the best of luck, I believe you'll be needing it, oh, and those boys watchin' out for Miss Steelgrave, you can count on them where she's concerned."

 

"Been good meetin' you too, an' we'll surely deliver yer regards, count on it." McNMue promised.

 

"Well sir, been a pleasure, and we'll see if we can't have words with those men, providin' the badges don't get in the way of it. I heard tell they've stood by Marshal Guyer when needed, so yes, I've wanted to talk with them about all of this." Cook explained as he got to his feet offering his hand.

 

After hand shakes with Doc Boone, the two lawmen left the cafe and mounted their horses, trotting out of town, they had a ways to ride so they would measure their animals strength and pace accordingly. If there was already trouble, they were the better part of a day from getting back to Kalispell.

 

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Posted (edited)

It was late evening before they returned to Kalispell, having pushed it, only to find the town still standing, the streets deserted and only the hotel and the Stardust showing lights. They pulled up in front of the saloon, light spilling out of the open doorway and front windows. Both men weary from the ride, and the thought of a beer and maybe something to eat lifted their spirits.

 

Standing and stretching form the trip they said nothing at first. Then McNue said; "Damn that was some ride. I'm plumb tuckered out, but I could use a bite ta eat."

 

Cook smiled, "Shorely beat hell outta us, and them horses! And we got it to do over't the livery after." Referring to tending to their mounts, as the stepped up onto the boardwalk. "Well, best we get to it."

 

Pushing through the bat wing doors into the room, they looked around and walked to the bar. "Couple a beers." McNue said.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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After they drank their beer both men left the Stardust  and led their horses to to livery where they stripped off the saddles and tack, then proceeded to rub them down while the animals fed on oats and hay. They checked the horses hoofs, ensuring that the shoes were good. Proper care was vital for these men.

 

"So what do make of the Doc over't Columbia Falls?" Cook asked.

 

"Seemed like a good man, well intentioned sort." McNue answered as he brushed his horse. "I reckon these Steelgraves are all they're cracked up to be then."

 

"Would appear that way wouldn't it. I just don't understand a father gettin' in the way of his daughter doin' somethin' like buildin' a hospital. Seems to me a man oughtta be proud of her."

 

"You'd think, wouldn't ya?" Both men whirled around. "Easy there, name's Bannister, with them that's keepin' and eye on Miss Steelgrave. We've been meaning to palaver with you two for a spell now, just never got to it."

 

"John Cook, he's Bill McNue. Just up Columbia Falls where we met with Doc Boone, he had high praise for you boys. Pleased to meet you."

 

""You know they'll be meeting in the morning about this hospital, and it seems Matt Wentworth will be ramroddin' the Town Council meetin', so sure as shootin', it'll get done for her, and then I'm thinkin' at some point, the trouble's gonna start. So we wanted you to know, we'll stand with you and Guyer when need be."

 

"He short a deputy?" McNue asked. "That Pike fella?"

 

"Yep, an I wished he was here, but then, you know, trouble might be a ways off yet, like till they start buildin' an' there's enough to burn down, that sort of thing." Banister added. "I know most of those men, an' we won't be takin' 'em lightly, neither should you."

 

"Appreciate that." Cook said.

 

"Didn't figure they'd be the type to take lightly." McNue added.

 

"I gotta get back, she's eatin' with Wentworth, but you can count on us." Bannister assure them.

 

"We will, thanks Bannister." McNue stated.

 

"Give a holler when you need us, we'll be right there!' Cook promised.

 

They watched as Bannister disappeared in the darkness. "Son of a bitch! This could be quite the show!" Cook considered.

 

Damn sure will!" McNue agreed.

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Both men had agreed, it had been a hell of a day. That Bannister came to them had been unexpected, but welcomed.  As they walked to the hotel after stabling their mounts they paused on the porch, taking up seats on the porch. Both men silent as they turned over the events of the day. Neither weary as they should be after a long hard ride back to Kalispell.

 

"This shapes up different than I was thinking it would. I mean hell, this is father against daughter." Cook said, "Seen a few that was father-son, never father-daughter."

 

"Odd one, that's fer shore. Now This Elias Steelgrave, you know much about him?" McNue asked, wonder what type of man is a threat to his own flesh and blood.

 

"Some, none of it good, and none of it arrestable, if that's even a word. The man skirts the law in a way he gets what he's after without consequence. Though I've heard there's a dark past with some bodies, but again, no real proof. Well, we'll check in with Guyer in the morning, see what we can do."

 

"Sounds to be a good idea, as dos gettin' our fair share 'o shuteye." McNue agreed. Both men got to their feet and entered the hotel. On this night their prospective of what was happening had changed.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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About Sagas

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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