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Sagas of the Wild West
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Mature Content: Yes

Author: @Flip

With: List characters and NPCs in the thread.
When: December 12,1875
Time of Day: Midnight into the next morning.




The Winter so far had been mild, there was a steady two feet on the ground in between sunny, or partly sunny days. Mild, but miserably cold in the entire Flathead Valley, as most liked to call the area, which included Whitefish. But to a lesser degree in Kalispell, yet nothing like what was about to hit their northern neighbor.

What they could not have known, was a heavy front was moving down from Canada with a howling wind. A thrashing wind that would drive the snow, and at the same time, cause lake effect snow to blend in with the blizzard that was about to draw a bead on Whitefish and it’s immediate area.

For the citizens, outlaws, and all those who called Whitefish home, the coming evening would be much like any other even with the average two feet of snow on the ground. The Silver Dollar, of course, was full, it’s stove glowing from the fire in it’s belly. Men crowded closer together, wearing heavy coats for additional warmth, some chose the body heat from the saloon’s whores upstairs to help stay warm.

Without warning, save for the increasing wind, the approaching winter storm slammed into Whitefish somewhere around midnight, wind buffeting against the buildings which was initially ignored. Though business was still brisk in the saloon, Case Steelgrave was secluded in his jail, his own stove radiating heat, reflecting off the stone walls of the cell block, and toasty warm. Even the wind banging the Marshall’s Office sign didn’t disturb his reading of Robinson Crusoe.

Doctor Josiah Boone was at the moment, sound asleep in his cabin, though by the door sat his bags, clothing and medical supplies. He had finally had enough of the outlaws, Case Steelgrave, and Whitefish. Perhaps he could catch on with Jonah Danforth in Kalispell. If not, he would push on. In his lean to was his buggy, and horse ready to be hitched come daylight, he would take Dotty with him, if she wanted to go.

The wind howled as it picked up intensity, immediately causing all manner of minor damage as it grew in strength. First shingles were ripped from rooftops, then loose boxes, barrels and buckets blew into the street and careened down the empty way. And with it’s sudden force, the almost fifty mile per hour winds toppled several weak trees, one of which crashed into though the back of the saloon, ripping through the wall of one of the bedrooms, smashing through the window frame as well as the clapboard wall itself. The window frame and wall crashing onto the unsuspecting couple in the bed with enough force to kill the both of them while knocking an oil lamp from the table, crashing on the floor and bursting into flames then spreading rapidly, licking at the dry wood, carpeting, cloth and furniture.



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Part 2


Bedlam spread quickly as people ran haphazardly from buildings that had caught fire in nothing but their night clothes. With no fire department, Whitefish was at the mercy of the flames, which offered none.  A couple of the weaker buildings, which had not caught fire simply caved in under the weight of the snow with a horrible crash. People trapped inside, unable to get away from the collapsing structures. It couldn’t be happening! How were the flames spreading in this snow storm? How could it be possible that the flames were fanned as opposed to being suppressed? Yet they were!


Men raced outside the Silver Dollar Saloon, a couple of them swept off their feet by the wind and the ice already formed on the porch. They scrambled off of the slick wooden porch and out onto the ice and snow covered road. Men were struggling to mount their horses who were wild with fear of the fire, covered in snow, panic stricken, and fighting to get free of the men. More than one cowboy lost his stirrup and was left on his back as his animal ran off.


Suddenly, the Silver Dollar Saloon was fully engulfed! The flames leaped to the hardware store  next door, catching hold before the swirling wind could extinguish the flames. But with the swirling wind came hot embers blowing in every direction, and suddenly, the tinder dry buildings in the path of the embers and flames lit up the night. And with it, the complete horror of what was happening to their town was realized.


Screams of trapped victims could barely be heard as the second floor of the Silver Dollar collapsed with a horrible sound, sending sparks, embers, and flames sky high and into the wind. And into other buildings along to street as men tried to scoop water from the frozen water trough as their efforts fell short. Breaking the ice proved near impossible as buildings burned, Case Steelgrave fought to help suppress the flames, but there was little he or any of them could do, and before anyone could start, they were overwhelmed. Case began shouting for people to get out of Whitefish, to head for Kalispell or even Columbia Falls. The screams of horse and people including Cases directions were all but drowned out by the blizzard at hand, yet he continued hollering as he ran from building to building urging people to attempt their escape from the double edged sword they faced.


Case saw the Doc Boone whip into the street. The buggy sliding side ways before straightening out with the Parsons woman along side of him. The man drove as fast as the rig would go, dodging, people, fire, and falling trees, as many were not only burning, but the wind was taking them down like match sticks. He disappeared into the night as case continued to battle. When case looked, Doc Boone’s cabin was a blaze, as was his office. He cursed the man as he would be needed. Yet, wasn’t he doing what Case as was directing others to do, and wasn’t he trying to save the woman?


Others, mounted on horseback, some in wagons and rigs of various types, were all racing with the wind out of town, toward Kalispell, and the trail toward Columbia Falls, it was a sheet of snow and ice driving forward across the face of Whitefish.


The only hope was Kalispell!




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(Oh, man, there goes the neighborhood!)


The offer had been too good to pass up, a chance to make a great deal of money for just a week of effort, so when a merchant from Whitefish proposed to her, she agreed at least to a 'trial run', a week to see if they were compatible -- more for her to see if she could stand living with a man for more than a day and find a way out of cooking and excessive housework.  Alcohol wasn't a problem, she figured, he was a merchant, after all, and lived over the store. 


There was no sense in taking her son, nor even mentioning him at this point.  Porter was accustomed to getting by on his own, the tow-haired boy known to most as 'Weedy' had many friends in town, and she knew at very least that the stage driver Addy would look out for him.


So Copia Bridge had spent the last of her coin on a few bits of clothing so that she didn't appear destitute, and let Richie Love cart her home to Whitefish.


Strangely, for the first time in her pitiful life, Copia was starting to believe that her life had turned around.  She actually didn't mind the cleaning, Richie was very clean to begin with, and he had agreed to hire a cook.  While alcohol was plenty, Copia was finding that she needed it less than she'd imagined, and when she'd finally worked up the courage to mention that she had a son, something she had been certain would ruin the deal, but Richie had surprised her and actually been enthusiastic about having a son.


They would head to Kalispell in the morning to fetch the lad, then come home and make the relationship legal.


Funny, how life works...or doesn't...





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Case stepped sideways to avoid a falling timber when he was struck in the head by another. He crumpled to the frozen ground, out cold. He had done all that he could to try and save as many as possible, but the wind and fanned flames were too much for any of those to tried to help. Including Case Steelgrave.

The wind began to die out as the storm moved on to the south-west, skirting the major ranches as well as Kalispell, but leaving heavy, deep snow in it’s wake. Everyone would be digging out from under the weighty white blanket, but damage was minor, if any to the ranches.

The same could not be said for the town of Whitefish. Most of the buildings were either damaged, from moderately to severely, or destroyed. The fire had crisscrossed the main street, touching some, avoiding other buildings. As with most disasters, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason for how it had played out, just that it brought death and devastation to the town people had called home.

Perhaps it had been prophetic, but the church, scorned by the outlaws, was spared, as were a mere half a dozen buildings. Thirty children, almost all of those in town were inside with their mothers and almost half again that many women. The men who were spared were out on the street ensuring that the last of the flames were out, the toll had been heavy and not just the men, women and children had been lost as well. With the storm finally exhausted, and the fires most all extinguished the people came out of the church under heavy, leaden skies to view the devastation in the morning light. The stores and shops that were not burned were blown apart to one degree or another, roofs caved in or ripped off, some buildings heavily damaged with snow forced inside by the wind burying whatever was inside. Not much was spared.

Case Steelgrave had been lucky to survive, first knocked unconscious, then buried under several feet of snow until the wind that moved it there moved it partially off again. He was found by a pair of ladies that would have just as soon left him to die, they recognized that the Marshal had actually been fighting to save as many people as possible. Trying desperately to fight the fire to no avail, and instead of running as so many had, he stayed.


They were Christian ladies, and his demise was just not going to happen. Everywhere men and women, even some children were busy digging for bodies, as they knew there would be more than they would like to find. Stores were being searched in the hopes of finding clothing for those who needed it, and food for everyone that would be needing it. As well as any and all supplies that were to be found

Two men were out gathering horses and what mules they could find as they would need to consider moving out for Kalispell themselves, it was a long walk south and none of the survivors were prepared for what would amount to a forced march.

The large Studebaker wagon needed to be stood upright, and a wheel repaired, but once repaired it would hold the women and children. Luck was with them in that the wagon was not it worse shape, or a pile of ashes for that matter.

Case began by pitching in wherever he could instead of directing and shouting orders to people who were aware of what had to be done. His head being bandaged slowed him down not one iota. There was work to be done, lives that hung in the balance and Case Steelgrave was their Marshal, the man who they would ordinarily look up to, but he was well aware that he had long past failed them, for everyone knew who and what he was.

The rattle of steel rimmed wooden wheels on the snow, along with the jingle of trace chains and the steady clip clop of hooves on the packed snow gave cause for most to at least look up from their tasks if not simply sand and stare. Doc Boone made his way up what once had been a street, weaving in and out of boards, limbs and all manner of ruin. There came a point when he could go no further so, he drew up his horse, climbed out of the buggy and attached the anchor weight to the halter. Then he reached in and took up his bag. Doctor Josiah Boone was back in Whitefish.

He was quick to explain that he had placed the woman Dotty, with another wagon so he could return, and with that, Doc Boone went to work.




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  • 2 weeks later...

The snow was slow to melt and it had been deep, just about to the belly of most of the horses in town. So it had been over most of the hubs on wagons, buckboards and buggies which required digging out a path wide enough for the wheeled conveyances and the horses.

But melt down it did, and with almost everyone in town pitching in with the shoveling of the street as well as the boardwalks they were ready to mount a serious rescue mission. Marshal Guyer organized it as best he could, enlisting most every able bodied man or woman. First on that list was Addy, he also enlisted every available wagon besides Addy’s.


A week had passed before the procession rolled out of Kalispell praying the trail to Whitefish was clear enough to allow them to pass. It was cold, but the sun shown brightly as was helping, a mile out of town they came upon the first stragglers from Whitefish who notified the cavalcade of the dead the littered the trail just ahead of them. They also relayed stories of horror and of bravery, from looting by the outlaws to care administered in town and along the way.


Of the greatest concern were the survivors still in Whitefish. Of which they were told were many, a number of men, but specifically the women and children that had remained behind for one reason or another. Marshall Guyer insured that the food that was brought along was shared, along with the coffee that was carried in anything that could be capped except for glass.


It was a ragtag affair, but the citizens of Kalispell were on a mission of mercy and fully intended to rescue all those that were stranded.


Meanwhile in Whitefish, every effort by those who remained to right the Studebaker failed. Food supplies dwindled rapidly as there were not a lot that survived the storm and sickness was beginning to take hold while a few of the outlaws began to take liberties with the stranded, especially the women, and with Marshal Steelgrave down from his head injury there was no one to stop them.


Tag @Players


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  • 2 weeks later...

As soon as the alarm reached Kalispell, Addy had gone into action, frustrated, just like all the good folk in town, that they couldn't get moving sooner.  But it would be near impossible to get any conveyances through until the snow was cleared at least a little.


During the lull, folks in town had started organizing, so that when they finally did get on their way, she had her recruited Barnabas Pike to drive her wagon, loaded with relief supplies -- blankets, clothing, bandages, shovels and picks, among others -- and she was driving a stage, also laden with supplies strapped to the roof while the inside was full of townspeople eager to help.  In addition, she had two teams of horses along.


As they made their way to Whitefish, she was horrified by the trail of frozen bodies, men, women and children who had last their bid for safety.  And it was just a small taste of what was coming once they reached the town...



Wrapped tightly in her coat, with a scarf wound around her neck, face and head, Emeline sat beside Barnabas, wishing, like everyone on the rescue party, that they could have left earlier.  She kept her gloved hands clenched to hold back her emotion as they passed body after body, although she couldn't keep tears from misting her eyes.


"This is horrible," she whispered, "the town must be..."  Taking a breath, she tire do steel herself for what they would find.


@Wayfarer; @Flip; @Longshot; @Stormwolfe; @JulieS; @Juls; @Grimscythe; @Nuclear



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"Yes 'em, it shorely is." Pike said, himself wearing a heavy Buffalo coat, heavy hair gloves and like Emeline, his face was covered by a borrowed scarf which was wound about his head and over his hat to keep in on. "Doubt it'll get much better, though the bodies oughtta lessen the close to Whitefish we get."


He was glad she was with him, but sorry she had to see the results. Yet women of the west were tough, they had buried their men, their children and complete strangers. They had defended their land as well as any man, and under all that which was perceived as softness was a core of steel. Emeline had that too, this trip was just real hard on everybody The woman had her own business up and profitable, no easy task for anyone. He let go of the reigns with one hand and gave hers a squeeze.


"It'll be alright."


Tag @Wayfarer@Longshot@Stormwolfe@JulieS@Juls@Grimscythe@Nuclear and anybody that was missed.

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Quentin held the telescope in his gloved hands and squinted through the tube. He picked out the group of wagons and riders in the distance. A tight smile moved across his face as he lowered the telescope and turned in his saddle to look back behind him. A double column of Lost Lake riders were pushing along the road, their horses trudging along, clearing the snow with their legs and chests for the group of ranch wagons that followed. The children and a small skeleton crew had remained back at the ranch to deal with the aftermath of the snowstorm. Quentin watched the town party approaching as he sat Paladin on the small knoll and remembered the events that had transpired...


The snow had finally blown itself out, leaving behind the typical painfully blue skies but icebox frigid temperatures. The snow had been too deep for the children to go out and play so the only outdoor activity had been the ranch chores that could not wait and to check on the ranch livestock. The hands had stayed in the bunkhouse when not doing the necessary work of the ranch. Everyone had shared food, making sure everyone got to enjoy some hot home cooked meals with the weather as opposed to the usual fare.


The first indication to reach Lost Lake of what had befallen Whitefish had come one morning. The house was bustling with typical activity, enhanced by the cabin fever attached to being snowed in by the drifts outside. Quentin at that time was on his hands and knees in the living room, rubbing his chin as he looked over his array of toy soldiers set up before a low table that was currently serving as the fort garrisoned by the soldiers led by Cody, his nephew. "I am pretty sure I regret how much attention you paid to me when I was telling you how to play with your armies..."


The boy grinned widely and then reached, fussing over some last minute positions of his cannon. Quentin's lips quirked up. He had seen that same look of concentration on the faces of young troopers...checking and rechecking tack on their mounts...checking everything from the angle of their hat to the edge on their saber during that time before the bugles blew and none of the details mattered anymore.


Quentin's planning was interrupted by the sound of a horse outside as it galloped up and stopped outside. He was already getting to his feet and moving toward the front door when he heard the fist knocking hard on the wood. Quentin opened the door to see a bundled shape that bustled into the foyer, tugging off his hat as he stood steaming in the warmer air of the house. "Cup of coffee, please!" Quentin called toward the kitchen as he sensed movement at the doorway. He looked the rider over. "You look like you've been riding for hours...where the Hell have you been?"


The rider's face did much to silence the rest of Quentin's question. "I got bored and decided to ride out to the main road...just to see the conditions and maybe...maybe see if the way was clear into town..." Quentin nodded. He knew this hand had recently met a girl in town and had been looking to get back to her as soon as possible. "...I got to the main road and...and...there's bodies, Boss..."


Quentin's jaw dropped. "Bodies? What do you mean...who? How many?"


The rider threw his arms out in anguish. "I don't know! I could see several from where I sat. They were scattered along the road from Whitefish and going towards town. I didn't...I didn't get too close..."


Quentin heard footsteps behind him and watched as the hand took the cup of coffee and drained it quickly, savoring the heat and he handed the cup back for a refill. Quentin stood quietly for a minute before he looked back at the young hand. "I need you to go rouse the bunkhouse. I need you to have the Foreman come up here and you pick someone who can make their way to Kalispell. Make sure they pick a good horse and dress very warm. Tell them to get to town, find out what has happened, and get back as quickly as they can..." The hand turned and dashed back out the door. Quentin closed the door and turned back to the people who had gathered behind him.


@Stormwolfe and anyone I missed (open tags and insert any other characters)

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As Mike lead the Lost Lake riders, his mind drifted back to when he had first heard of the disaster...


"There you go gentlemen, a royal flush," Mike said with a smile as he put down his cards.  It was too bad that they were only paying with matchsticks or he'd would have most of the wages of the men he was playing poker with.  There wasn't much to do on days like this except the odd chores that involved taking care of animals or chopping wood.  Besides the men would need any money they did get to buy clothes to keep them warm as this winter was turning out to be one of the worse he had seen in years.


Just as Mike was scooping up his winnings, a loud banging on the door surprised everyone.  Stan told Marty that it was his turn to open the door, a job no-one really wanted to do as the cold air was just that. Marty got off his bunk and wrapped his blanket tightly around him.  He grumble something about how he thought it was Sam's turn and not his.  Opening the door, wide enough to let whoever it was in and keep the cold, Marty was taken aback, "What the heck?  I thought you would be in town by now."


The young hand, whose name was Pete, shook his head, "So did I but...well there's no easy way of saying this.  There are bodies out there just lying in the snow on the trail to Whitefish."


Mike got up and went over to the man, "What do you mean by bodies?"


Pete went over to the stove to get warm, "Bodies...men, women, and even little kids.  It was bad.  I told Mr. Cantrell about it and he said to get someone to ride into town to find out what was going on."


Sam grabbed his gloves, "I'll go.  Matt or Hannah will know something,"


Mike nodded, "All right, but take it easy the snow will be piled high enough to make it difficult."


After Sam had left, Mike turned his attention back to Pete, "Was there anything else?"


Pete nodded, "Yeah, Mr. Cantrell said he wanted you up at the house."


Just before he headed into his quarters, Mike went over to Stan, "Make sure the men are ready to ride just in case."


"You bet," Stan replied.


When he had gotten his coat, hat, scarf and gloves, Mike had made his way up to the main house where he waited until Sam returned.  It had taken a few hours but Sam came back with the news of the disaster that befallen Whitefish.  Not long after, a group from Lost Lake were on their way to help.


@Longshot (or anyone else who feels the need to jump in)

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Quentin heard snow crunching and turned back from the telescope to see Shade climbing the small knoll to stop beside him. Quentin handed the telescope over to Shade and pointed. "There is the town rescue party. Looks like we timed it about right..." Quentin looked back at the Lost Lake group then to the town group. "I think our mounts are probably fresher. We should get ourselves in front to help clear a path for them to follow. What do you think?" Quentin swore softly and tugged his scarf up over his nose to protect his face from the biting cold. "I forgot how much I hate winter..."


@Stormwolfe for Shade

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