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    • "I suppose it will dissuade any trouble makers to have more men guarding the interests.  And I'm glad she doesn't want you out in the Winter, you'd fall into a drift and we wouldn't find you until Spring thaw!"   “Tha’d be the idea. ‘cept’in it’s our idea an’ not theirs.” Was his reply. “Cain’t do no buildin’ in the winter, an’ fact is, ol’ man Steelgrave ain’t got wind of it yet. Come the thaw though, things’ll shape up differ’nt. ‘Course now, if he has him eyes an’ ears here, might find out afore the thaw, which I don’t like, since they’d be free ta figger a plan afore we get set. But I need ta parlay with Speed on this afore it goes any further."   Tag @Bongo
    • Ben smiled, "No, what I have can wait.  What is it that you would like to discuss with the town council?"    “Well then, Ben, best you take a seat, the lady has quite a proposition for you.” Speed said.   “Judge,” She began, I do have a proposition I believe will benefit everyone concerned. You know that the railroad had plans to cross the state, but no one knows where. I know where, but not exactly when. Now before the questions begin, perhaps you best have a look at these.” With that she looked to Speed who handed the sheaf of papers over to the Judge.   She gave him a few minutes to look over the papers. “As I had mentioned to Marshal Guyer, Doctor Danforth and I are planning to build a hospital, and later, an orphanage. Both will be privately funded. Then, what we need from the Town Council is the land to build them on. So, in exchange for the work done on the right of way, we would like to select some sites for the Council’s consideration to grant us for that purpose.” She cocked her head and smiled. “No strings attached.” Tag @JulieS
    • "Have you seen the Gulf, then.   “Have. Pa wanted to look at some land on Matagorda Island, so we rode on down fer a look-see. Water as far as the eye kin see, an’ nary a drop ta drink. Fact was it was too far from the mainland fer Pa. I mean runnin’ cattle on a island jest ain’t practical, ‘er so he said.” Barnabas explained. “Couple hundered mile ride.     An’ yes, Texas is hot, mostly too hot, but I guess folks get used to it, like I had ta get used to differ’nt weather in ma travels. Cold was the hardest thing but time spent up on the Comstock in Nevada, got both and well, I liked thet.” He looked at her and slowly smiled. “I’m glad I stayed on too, ain’t never been a bonafide food taster afore, nor a dish washer. An’ I’d’a surely never met you had I left.”   Tag @Bongo  
    • He laughed at the dishes remark. “ Yes Ma’am, glad of thet. Was a good ride, needed ta get a few things worked out, an’ the best place fer thet’s in the saddle, least ways fer this hombre it is.” He paused.   “Would ya step on outside a moment, Em?” He asked.   Pronto openened the door for her, and tied to his saddle horn was was a lead rope to the horse she ridden on that Sunday they shared, with a large red bow in it’s mane, saddled and ready in the fading light. “A mite early, but the feller at the stable said he’d not be gettin’ outta bed come daylight fer me ta fetch it.”   Tag @Bongo  
    • Emeline nodded slowly.  ...anything that’s worth doin’.   That said a lot, and certainly a hospital was 'worth doing', and she knew that few good things came without the prospect of sacrifice.  Besides, Barnabas knew what he was doing, and after all, Andrew had been killed in a stupid mining accident, for nothing...life out here was dangerous, and a man had to stand up for what he believed was right.   "I suppose it will dissuade any trouble makers to have more men guarding the interests.  And I'm glad she doesn't want you out in the Winter, you'd fall into a drift and we wouldn't find you until Spring thaw!"   @Flip

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Pronto studied her a long moment, “Then we’ll jest have us a bang up picnic by that waterfall!” He stated. He knew that he hadn’t brought up bad memories for her, sad ones at the loss, but no more bad ones than his with his own loss, Julia Dey, his own fiancé who passed from pneumonia.

 

“I reckon I know a bit about loss, the kind that takes a love away. So, I understand a plenty, an’ most o’ them memories ain’t bad ‘uns, it’s jest the end that snatches yer breath away, jerks ya up short, an gets ya misty eyed.” He confessed. “Jest so’s ya know I understand thet pain, understand it real well,” He paused, looked to her and smiled.

 

“The Good Lord does know what he’s doin’.” Then he laughed, “Guess I didn’t answer yer question, ‘bout what else would I rather to do. Me, I plumb love ridin’, seein’ the country. I mean look at it. Pure, clean, beautiful, and empty. Won’t always be, but she is now, in my time.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"It would be a shame to lose all this."  Of course, 'civilization' encroached, it was just a fact of civilization, but it was a pity that pristine land was lost in the process.  "But this is a big territory, so maybe parts will be spared. Besides, maybe the Winters will chase folks away!" 

 

She glanced at him with a soft smile, not wanting to ask about his loss -- she didn't need to know, just that he understood the dichotomy of grief and memory. 

 

"The picnic is meant to be 'bang-up'," she commented with a grin, "and if it proves not to be, I'm sure you are gentleman enough to declare that it is anyway!" 

 

She laughed.  "So, how much farther to the falls?"

 

@Flip

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“It won’t be lost while yer alive, parts maybe, you know, ranches an’ such like. Likely sod busters as well. Heard talk of the fort they’re plannin’ on. Not sure I’d be all wild eyed over a bunch a’ sojers.” He wanted to add Yankees, but thought better of it. “Nope, you’ll have this country long after were de-parted.”

 

“Now the falls, we been steady risin’ and shortly she’ll level off, then of a sudden, there she’ll be, just as purdy as you please.” He explained, “be a bit yet, see thet ridge yonder, well, that’ll be where she plateau’s, so not to long.” He gave thought to the country and her concern about it, vanishing. He was firm in the thought that Montana was going to be fairly wild for some time to come.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Tooo long!"  Leaning back in the saddle, Emeline rolled her eyes, sighing dramatically, but then she sat upright.  "I think I can fix that!"  Laughing, she gigged her horse's sides, letting out a loud, "WHOOP!"  Now she leaned over the mare's neck, letting the animal have her head as she encouraged her into a full gallop!

 

@Flip

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Pronto’s roan crow hopped, turning half way around before lunging after the mare at a full gallop. His animal was tough, plains fed and fast. She could ride though! He closed on her but did not quite catch up, instead he chose to rein in some so that she would retain a lead.

 

Her roan mare was ot about to give out on her, hardly. The mare reached the plateau and picked up speed, Pronto now doing his best to keep up as he had missed his chance to catch to pass her. The man had been correct, this horse was exactly what Emeline had wanted.

 

They dashed across the flat, heading for the water fall. An exhilarating run without banditos or Indians in pursuit.

 

Tag @Bongo

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It had been an impulse to break into the gallop, but once the horse started moving, Emeline felt the exhilaration of the speed, the power of the animal beneath her and the sheer freedom of it all, and the mare seemed to be enjoying it as well.  Laughing for pure joy, something she hadn't done in a very long time, she only pulled the horse to a stop as they rounded a bend, coming into sight of the falls.

 

Still excited from the gallop, the mare stamped a hoof impatiently, but held her ground, her sides heaving from the run.

 

"It's beautiful," Emeline murmured, glancing at Barnabas with a big smile, then looking back at the falls.  "This is perfect!"

 

@Flip

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“Yes Ma’am, perfect’s how I’d describe it.” Pronto agreed. “I’d say that horse plumb lived up to it’s billing. Runs like the wind, she does.” His own horse was dancing about having enjoyed the run. But 'perfect" had little to do with the scenery and more to do with the company


“Well, reckon we should step down and have ourselves a look around? Plenty of grass for the horses ta keep ‘em busy. Man said yer mare weren’t one to run fer the barn an was ‘spose to be ground hitch trained, guessin’ we’re about to find out.”


It was a beautiful spot alright, the falls were majestic, the plateau lush with grass and a few trees, an outcropping of rocks and some scrub brush, but it was the spending time with Emeline Blakesly that mattered most. So, in that vein he unbuckled his gun belts one by one, re-buckled them and draped them over his saddle horn.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"She is a fine girl, isn't she?"  Emeline patted the horse's neck affectionately, then stepped out of the saddle, loosening the cinch just a bit so the horse had more room to breathe.

 

"Goodness, places like this can chase away all ills, can't they?"  She breathed in the fresh air, looking at the falls, then glanced over at Barnabas, smiling.  "Should we have our picnic, hike to the falls or do both?"

 

She surely wouldn't mind getting a closer look at the falls, although it might be a challenge to find a place out of the mist where they could have their picnic.

 

@Flip

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“She’s a good’un alright. Liked’ta left me in the dust, ‘cept ma horse weren’t havein’ none of it.” Barnabas said with a broad smile and a fait laugh. “I’d say we find us a spot fer this here picnic then we kin do whatever we’re a mind too.”

 

He had scouted for just such a spot on the plateau and toward the falls, he hadn’t realized that the mist carried so far, but then he had not been scouting for a place to have lunch with a beautiful woman.

 

“There’s a spot just outta range of the falls back this way a bit, or, there’s a nice spot near the trees over that way a mite. He explained pointing them out. “Be yer choice. Plenty a grass fer the horses to graze on, so they won’t go far, ‘er I kin picket ‘em’, whichever you’d be most comfortable with. Either way, we kin get as close as ya like to the falls.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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"How about over where we can still see the falls?"  No sense in passing on such beautiful scenery on such a pleasant day.  Following him, she laid out a small blanket, then settled with her knees folded under her before unpacking lunch.

 

"This is a bit of an experiment," she explained as she unwrapped the meat pies she and Clare had made, but then he nose wrinkled up at the result.  While the pastries were fairly intact, the crust that encased them was mangled, and in some cases crumbling.  "Oh....well...need to work on that, but they should taste good!"

 

She hoped!

 

@Flip

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“Over here might do, a bit of a slope, not too bad.” Was the reply. “Dandy view of the falls an’ no spray.” She laid out the blanket and began unpacking the lunch for them.

 

Pike took off his spurs before seating himself in a manner similar to hers, no sense sitting on the large Texas rowels, setting the aside. He observed te condition of the meat pies, realizing that perhaps it was his inexperienced handling of them that was at fault.

 

“Far as I kin tell I ain’t, er, haven’t ever noticed where a crumbled crust effected the taste of anything.” He had suddenly become aware of how he talked, how easily it had been to slip into trail lingo. He needed to clean up his vocabulary, especially around her.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Well, then, we'll see about the quality, then."  Emeline laughed, not really noticing his speech patterns, since she was used to that, and far more crude language from many of her customers.  "Miss Clara and I made these yesterday, sort of...hand-pies, I was thinking of selling them to men on their way to the mines and mills in the morning."

 

She placed one of the pies on a cloth napkin and handed it to Barnabas, then took one for herself.  "I suppose the taste is the paramount thing...then maybe I'll have to think of a better way to package them, so they don't fall apart so easily...maybe a bit thicker crust."

 

Looking at Pike, she chuckled again.  "Well, at least the scenery and the day are lovely, if nothing else.  And be honest...don't hold back, I can take it, I promise to only cry a little!"

 

@Flip

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Before Emeline could utter another sound Pronto took a good sized bite of the meat pie and took his time chewing. “Ain’ta gonna be no cryin’ over this meat pie!” He exclaimed. You’n Miss Clara done yerselves right proud, ya did, I ain’t foolin’ neither.” And he wasn’t, they had done themselves proud, perhaps the crust needed to be somewhat stronger for traveling, but as a dish served in her café? It was perfect.


“You tell Miss Clara what a fine job you’ve done with this. Oughtta sell a whole passel of ‘em, ‘specially to miners an’ such like. Got yerselves a winner here, I’ll take my oath on it.” He grinned.

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"Wonderful!"  Of course, they had tried the pies, and they had been tasty, but to get a non-involved opinion was a good thing!  "I do believe I'll start adding these during the week, help boost the business."  It was always good to have an experiment work out, and this should make things easier for the miners.  "Just a matter of remembering what we did!"

 

She laughed then, and added, "We just sort of threw things together by instinct, so I may not be able to replicate them.'  Well, they were fairly basic, might not be exact, but anything she made would be good!

 

"This would be a nice place for a house, don't you think?  Maybe a bit loud, but it would be amazing to have this to look at every morning.  Have you heard about the fort that's coming in?  That could be a boon to the community, I mean, besides the protection...it should be good for businesses."

 

Even if they had their own services and supplies, there still would be things they needed, and the men would have leave to come into town.  But then, that was just another level of rowdy on top of miners and drovers...

 

@Flip

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He watched her as she spoke, took in her words, the voice inflections, the gleam in her eyes. “Might take some time, but it’ll come back to ya. Most things like that do, least ways that’s how I see it. Well, that’s been my experience is prob’bly a better way of saying it.” He smiled.

 

“Was it me, I’d set me a house right up there. Have the view, have the sound of the falls, yep. Maybe set the barn off to thet side over there, with a corral along side. A man could run some cows up here, though come winter might be a mite touchy. But it would work, no doubt about that.” He could see it clearly as if it were standing at that very moment.

 

“Did hear about the fort. Not quite sure why they call it a fort when she’s actually a camp. They got building, just no walls around it. An’ yer right about it bein’ good fer bidness. Keep Marshal Guyer hopin’ that’s fer shore. Them boys do like to cut loose once they’re free of their post.”

 

Tag @Bongo

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Emeline's eyes followed his vision for a ranch, and she couldn't help but smile as she pictured what he was saying, adding her own touches, like a rabbit hutch, a little picket fence around the house, that had flower boxes under the windows. and a tree with a swing.  A wistful smile crossed her lips...it was the sort of place where you could make a good life and raise a passel of children.

 

Someday...

 

"Well, hopefully the soldiers will be inclined to behave if they have officers to be accountable to," she commented.  "I don't begrudge them some fun, of course, but within reason." 

 

She looked out toward the falls for a moment, then asked, "Were you a soldier, Barnabas?"  As soon as it came out, she regretted it, there was no need for politics, but now it was out there.  "I'm sorry, it's none of my business.  Try a peach pie...or apple, I'm not certain which is which."

 

@Flip

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“So’jers behavin’? Not real sure how that’s gonna go. Believe Marshall Guyer’ll need him a depity ‘er two, ‘course that’ll depend on what the command is like. Most, well, most don’t care much when the men are off the post, others, they do care, and let it be known.” Pronto explained. “Yes ‘um rode with the Eighth Texas durin’ the late fracas.”


The memories of those years were for the most part pleasant. But then all memories of fighting have both good and bad memories. At her apology Barnabas smiled , “No need to be sorry Miss Emeline, none a tall. That was some years back an’ long over with, thank the Almighty. Now, the pies, they’d be of a more serious matter.” Then he laughed.


He did not live in the past, neither about the war, or the years after with the Rangers. He was truly in the moment, right there with Missus Emeline Blakesley, enjoying a picnic and the waterfall. Day dreaming of a ranch sitting a stones throw from where they were seated. Perhaps not as a couple, but as two souls with a desire for something more.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Of course...food is the great equalizer, everyone has to eat, so if you can make something palatable, all the better!"

 

Well, she had to admit, the fruit pies were decent as well, so there was a new venture for her.

 

"So, a cattle ranch?"  She glanced at Barnabas.  "I don't know what would be easier, ranching or farming, but I think I'd prefer not having to break the land."  Farming was hard, back-breaking work, but then, ranching was hard in other ways, and all were subject to the whims of nature.

 

"Cows stink, though."  She laughed.  "They are so cute when they are little, but then they grow up!  I've always been interested in Morgan horses, but I don't know anything about breeding...I mean, besides the...breeding."  Her cheeks went bright red as she hastily asked, "Are the fruit pies to your liking?"

 

@Flip

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"Of course...food is the great equalizer, everyone has to eat, so if you can make something palatable, all the better!"


“Eatin’s one of them things a body’s gotta do purdy reg’lar, that’s fer sure.” He agreed. “You got competition with place a body can eat, but that bein’ said even Missus Evensome at the boarding house cain’t hold a candle to the food you put out. Jest don’t tell ‘er I said that or I’ll be out on my ear.”
 

"So, a cattle ranch?"  She glanced at Barnabas.  "I don't know what would be easier, ranching or farming, but I think I'd prefer not having to break the land."  Farming was hard, back-breaking work, but then, ranching was hard in other ways, and all were subject to the whims of nature.


“Tell ya the truth, Maw had her a patch, but I never worked it much, sortta her little patch a ground. But I’m a fair hand with cattle


"Cows stink, though."  She laughed.  "They are so cute when they are little, but then they grow up!  I've always been interested in Morgan horses, but I don't know anything about breeding...I mean, besides the...breeding."  Her cheeks went bright red as she hastily asked, "Are the fruit pies to your liking?"


He looked down at the half gone fruit pie so she would not see him smiling. “Yes ‘um, hardly get my fill of fruit, and these? Now these, these set you a part from anyplace else in town, maybe the whole county.” He paused a moment and the said, “Cows an’ their leavin’s do tend to smell, but, was a body to start a place up here, there’s a meadow more ‘er less down wind that could hold mebee a couple hund’erd head, and sales well, a body could do alright.”  

 

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"Do you think so?"  She glanced over at him, pondering.  "I have no real knowledge of ranches, but I always thought that you had to have a thousand head or so to make a herd.  Back home they'd come through town and stretch for miles, on their way to the stockyards."  Her nose wrinkled up.  "I have no interest in finding out what happens after that...at least until I make them into pies!"

 

She laughed.  "I admit, I do like the end product!  So, a hundred or so cows, a half dozen Morgans, a small vegetable garden and a dog...oh, and Buster, of course!  It sounds really nice."

 

Owning a cafe hadn't been in her thoughts until Andrew died and she needed to find a way to support herself.  Emeline had been looking forward to getting to Oregon and having a small farm where they would raise a family.  That hadn't worked out, but she wasn't going to pine over it.  She was doing well for herself, and maybe she could save enough to buy some land.

 

"What do you know about the Homesteading Act?"

 

@Flip

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“I do, I mean about the pies. Hundered sixty acres fer free. Well, gotta file an pay a fee which I understand ain’t much.” Pronto replied. “‘bout all there is to it.” He paused with a smile. “You plannin’ on filin’ on this here land?”


“First thing is buildin’ the house, plenty of trees to fall, but we’d need us a wagon ta git ‘em to town to get sawed inta boards. Then there’s a well ta sink which might not have ta go to deep. You kin foller that by the out buildin’s you’d need, so ranchin’ ‘er farmin’, jest a lotta work long afore the seeds get sewed, ‘er the first cow arrives. But, danged if it wouldn’t be worth the effort.”


It set his mind to wandering about doing it, maybe setting some roots for the first time since he was a boy in Texas. And maybe that was what she was thinking too. He liked Kalispell, hard winters or not. Liked the people, especially one Missus Emeline Blakesley. Though he had to remember who and what he was, and that the time would come when he would be called on to use his guns. Or, called out to use them. Still...

 

Tag @Bongo

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"That would be a lot of work with the cafe," Emeline mused.  Homesteading really wouldn't be possible while she was working in town, but she didn't have the means yet to give up the cafe. 

 

Then she chuckled.  "Well, it sounds like a lot of work anyway.  House wouldn't be too bad, just a simple square to start, right?"  Her wheels were turning, however slowly.  "So initially it comes down to having the funding to buy your cows and have...or my horses...and the equipment to care for them...but that means a barn for the Winter since there aren't really any lower pastures to keep them over the cold season..."

 

Homesteading sounded like a good way to have some independence, but as a single woman, she'd need a decent savings built up first.

 

"I might try that someday.  Have my own place, raise Morgans and donkeys...because they're cute!"

 

@Flip

 

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He snickered at the mention of the most stubborn animals on earth, but they were good for an number of jobs one would not want to use a horse for. He could see her dreaming of what it would take to get a ranch off the ground while trying to run a business some miles away. Not an easy thing to do.

 

"Well granted yah gotta be able to get the buidin's up first, and thet jest takes time an' hard work. 'course now, hirin' a couple men ta help out, thet'd get 'em up right quick." He offered. "Not ta mention ya gotta pay 'em, though it'd shorely be worth it." Mentally, Barnabus 'Pronto' Pike was way ahead of her. He knew what it would take, and most likely how long.

 

Tag @Bongo

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"Oh, well then, it's just a matter of finding a couple of desperadoes who are willing to work in exchange for bunks, good grub and a place to hide from the law!"

 

Emeline laughed, then shrugged.  "Well, I have all Winter to plan and save, so I should have it figured out by the thaw!" 

 

Thing was, she was really starting to think about it, although she knew there was a lot to consider.  Still, under the right circumstances she might actually be able to make a go of it.

 

"At least I do have a good business for now, and I can set some money aside."  Grinning, she glanced at him.  "I don't suppose you're a wanted desperado looking for a hide-out that has amazing pies?"

 

@Flip

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Posted (edited)

"Oh, well then, it's just a matter of finding a couple of desperadoes who are willing to work in exchange for bunks, good grub and a place to hide from the law!"


Pike could not help but smile and shake his drooped head, “Now the first lesson in ranchin’ is ya don’t never hire no no accounts as hands. Not never, less’n you don’t mind losin’ yer herd. ‘sides what yer talking about doin’ll cost ya.
 

Emeline laughed, then shrugged.  "Well, I have all Winter to plan and save, so I should have it figured out by the thaw!"


“Figgerd out ya cain’t quite pull it off by yer own self. But then again, ya mite run onto a partner what has some experience with such like.” He said seriously, not to dissuade her if that was what she’d set her mind to do. Ain’t sayin’ you cain’t do it, ain’t sayin’ thet at all. I’m sayin’ might take longer’n a winter.
 

Thing was, she was really starting to think about it, although she knew there was a lot to consider.  Still, under the right circumstances she might actually be able to make a go of it.

 

"At least I do have a good business for now, and I can set some money aside."  Grinning, she glanced at him.  "I don't suppose you're a wanted desperado looking for a hide-out that has amazing pies?"


“Ain’t sure about bein’ wanted, but I surely don't answer to the description on no wanted circular, but a hide out thet has amazin’ pies, now you might just’ve found a hand. Yes ma’m, I’d be plumb interested in ridin’ fer thet brand!” She might be kidding, but he wasn’t.

 

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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