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Sagas of the Wild West
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New In Town II - More than one town

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Mature Content:  No

With:  Walt Shannon, Injun Charlie, Wally Oldham, others?
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: July 1876
Time of Day: Mid Day on




Eastern Montana presented a few towns and each of those towns had a bank. Walt Shannon and his partners rode through them, stopping only for supplies and the occasional meal, or a brief stop at the saloon. They kept their eyes open, not actually casing each of the banks, but noting how they sat, where each was located, and how close they were to the local constabulary, be it Marshall or Sheriff.


Of note was the activity, how busy each of those towns was, and were there mining men on the street, which might indicate there would be a payroll. Of course cattlemen, cowhands and the like meant money in the bank to operate those ranches. Every town they passed through had those types of men on the street. Men looking for silver and gold, others in town for supplies be they farmers or cattlemen of one kind or another.


The towns, Columbia Falls, Coram, Hungry Horse, Briggs, and Melville, all the same except in size, but different in what they supported. Mining, ranching, farming, or a combination. Each with some sort of law, but none with the office of said lawman close to the bank. This was a series of good signs for the Shannon Gang, not they they were known as such, but it was who and what they were.


They had not forgotten about their deal with Case Steelgrave, not at all, in fact part of what they were about was to see which of the outlying towns would be ripe for the taking when the time came. As it stood, that would be all of them. They made camp near the edge of Flathead County, not that county lines meant anything to them. State lines meant nothing either. All those line meant were the end of one jurisdiction and the beginning of another, however, rarely were they ever chased by a posse. So far they had been to clever for that to happen.


With their camp set, looking very much a miners camp site. They of course had the tools of the trade, and they were on display as they had seen done many times.


"Okay, I think we've seen everything we need to know about these towns." Walt began as he took out a hide bound tally book he used for notes on jobs he had scouted, not that he bothered on very many. "Five towns, all different in size and all the same except the last one, Melville. The bank was ten yards from any other building. That one is almost too easy, so on the way back we need to find out a bit more about why. I mean, hell, they can build it wherever they want, that's for sure, away like that? Makes a man wonder."



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  • 2 weeks later...

They rode into Melville separately, it was big enough it would go unnoticed, or so they hoped, it had worked many times before in smaller towns. Injun Charley always presented a problem though. He was extremely tall, and an Indian which attracted the eye, if not the ire of some folks, especially after the red man had decimated the Seventh Calvary and Custer, even though it was the general's tactical error that cost the lives of his command.


While each man had a place to visit in town, it was Shannon who would visit the bank and case the place as best as possible. His excuse for being there, break a twenty dollar gold piece into smaller denominations, which was fairly common.


He stepped down and tied his horse at the hitch rail, stepped up on the boardwalk and strode to the door. It would require the man inside with the shotgun to open the door for him to allow entrance.


"Unbuckle that rig and lay 'er on that table there. You'll get it back when you leave." The guard stated flatly.


"Sure thing." Shannon responded and did as he was told. This was different. Unlike any small town back he had ever cased. One the gun and holster were laid on the table, Shannon marched to the short line waiting at cashiers cage, this gave him time to look around at things, like the second guard in the corner, also armed with a shotgun.


One by one the three men in front of him did their business and finally it was his turn. "Help ya?" the young man behind the cage asked.


"Like to break this double eagle down." Shannon replied. "You boys are forted up like your expecting trouble or something."


"Just precautions. Mason & Neff Mining has 'em here. So, an eagle, half eagle, and five silver dollars. Anything  else?" (a ten, and a five gold coins)


"Nope, thanks. He pocketed the coins and went to the table to retrieve his pistol and gun belt. It seemed to him that Melville's bank was holding at the least a payroll, and possibly some raw gold and-or silver. Guards would present a problem he thought as he stepped outside, then belted on his gun. If they were there overnight, things could go terminally awry should they decide to hit the bank.


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  • 2 weeks later...

He wasn't two steps from the Melville Bank and Trust when he decided that they would meet outside of town, which was normal, and discuss casing the place after dark, somewhere near midnight. He wanted to know what they would be up against should they decide to hit it.


He stepped into leather and thought about the loaded pack animals. There was a good deal of cash that belonged to Steelgrave and his crowd, if they tried the Melville Bank and Trust and somehow failed, were killed or captured all the money would be lost, even if the escaped and were pursued, the chances of losing the pack animals were great. Speed would be of the essence, pack animals would only slow them down, no matter what they were carrying.


Melville Bank and Trust would have to wait for another day and time, when they were not encumbered with pack animals. They had taken more than one bank where each of them had full saddlebags for the escape, so it was not something new to consider, but, they would have a look-see at what they would be up against for the time they would come back to try it.


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Darkness came and crept toward the midnight hour, and three men were moving slowly toward the Melville Bank and Trust. This was not  to take the bank, but to see just how much trouble taking it would be.


It was decided over a cold supper in a dry camp that they would ride for Steelgrave's hide-out with the money they had been promised, and that the Shannon gang did not want to loose should they be taken or pursued. Actually a move that benefited everyone concerned. So, with the pack animals in tow, they moved cautiously toward the brick and stone building sitting off from the town like some mausoleum build for the town founder.


There was a light burning which shown through the windows, but that meant nothing, they had seen that before, many times in their careers. What it did was show shadows of any one moving about inside, so, they sat their horses and watched to see if there was any movement to be seen. A night watchman trying to stay awake would be moving about.


Time passed slowly as the tree outlaws sat watching, but there were no shadows, so if there was a night watchman, which they expected after Shannon's experience earlier in the day, he was not moving about. Few men were able stand the watch at night for more than a couple of hours.


Injun Charlie slipped out of the saddle and onto the ground soundlessly, then crept toward the building, leaving his top hat on his pommel. Almost silently the Indian made his way to the building, flattening himself  along the wall close to the window. He would be tall enough to look inside, he had his white father to thank for that, even though his Cheyenne heritage would have given him height.


Ever so slowly he eased his way to the corner of the window and peered inside.



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"They got 'em a damned dummy with a broomstick propped up like a rifle 'er a shotgun. Ain't no body in there. All show." Charlie explained. "Not get this show of force, but maybe they not really have much to protect sometimes. Maybe only once in a while is money in vault,"


"Shit!" Shannon stated in disgust. "Fakers! Goddamned fakers! But you got a point, maybe thee payrolls come through at different time, different days, something like that. I got a mind to blow a hole in the wall just for meanness!"


Wally and Charlie laughed because that was just the thing Walt Shannon would do and then hightail it. Walt looked at the pair. We need to dust outta here. But we'll pay this burg a visit before too long. I owe these peckerwoods! That's for damn sure. "Let's go."


And with that they mounted and disappeared in the night, headed for the hideout of Case Steelgrave to deliver their share of the recent robberies, and maybe to plan some others.


End Thread

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