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Wrong Place, Wrong time


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Mature Content:

With: Case Steelgrave
Location: Night raiders hideout
When: April / Day (optional) / 18756
Time of Day: Mid-Morning

 

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Unbeknownst to County Sheriff hopeful, Case Steelgrave, the feather in his cap that might have been, was underway in Kalispell with the bank robbery which was in progress. But, he would not be there because he was at the gangs hideout examining cattle that had been rustled over the past few days. But what he was seeing from the saddle was alarming, a cold chill ran up his back.


Case stepped down among the cattle to have a look. “What in the blue blazes is this? These are Lost Lake cows! For Christ’s sake, just what the hell were you thinking!”  


Toole, head hung and shaking side to side, exhaled. “Wasn't me Case! Somma the boys musta took ‘em without thinkin'. Damn it ta hell anyways! They was told!” And they had been warned to steer clear of the Lost Lake range, and told bluntly not to take any Lost Lake cattle under any circumstances.


“This could cause an all out fight for the Evergreen. Damn it!” Case barked. “The hell! The old man don’t need a fight on his hands over some cows. You find the idiots that rustled ‘em and by God you have ‘em these them back where the belong. Whatever story they concoct to clean this up is on them and they best make it good!”


“Yes boss, I’ll get ‘em on it right now.” Toole said. He knew what was at stake, for the Evergreen, and for the idiots that thought it would be a good idea to take Lost Lake cows. “I was told the cows had roamed onto the Redmond spread, still ain’t no reason to go agin orders. They said they didn’t see no brands, but there they be, plain as the nose on their faces.” He shook his head again, “They’re new.”


“Well they ain’t gonna get much older if this is what they do!” Case fired back. It had been a long standing rule that Lost Lake was left alone, period. The Redmond place wasn’t to be bothered either, but they really didn’t play into the rustling of cattle, as the place was more a farm than a ranch. There were plenty of other spreads to hit without risking war with Lost Lake.


Then an idea came to him, an idea that might just help his victory in the up-coming election. Return the stolen cattle in person!

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TBC

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Tole stopped just as he started to walk away, "Boss? They're new hands on the Evergreen, said the cows just wandered onto their range, which makes no sense, I mean I ain't fer sure, but seems a ways fer cows to be wandering."

 

Case blinked a couple of times in disbelief of what he had just heard. "They'da had to cross some country to get onto Evergreen range, just don't seem right. I want to talk to 'em, get the straight of this. Smacks of a couple men out to lift a few beefs, maybe sell 'em, they ask for money?"

 

"Nope. ell, they didn't ask me. Was Sloan that brought 'em in, but they was huntin' a place to hide 'em. Don't believe they ever asked about money, but he'd be the one  you need to ask."

 

"The you get him for me, Toole. And them two after." Case stated.

 

"Yes sir," And with that he was moving. It didn't take long for him to get back with Sloane in tow.

 

"Yeah boss?" The outlaw asked.

 

"These two that brought in these cows. that try to sell 'em to you?"

 

"No sir, never mentioned sellin' 'em, said the needed a place to stash 'em was all. Figgered this was as good a place as any, an' we'd either move 'em north with the rest, 'er run 'em back to Lost Lake, one way 'er tuther."

 

Case smiled in spite of himself. "Run 'em back would you? Hell Sloane, likely as not they'd hang you for a rustler. From here on, don't take in nothin' from nobody that don't ride with us, including my old mans help."

 

"Got it." Sloane replied.

 

"Get me the two riders from the Evergreen." Case said.

 

image.jpeg.78bb6886aaf6f6a9e451cb8bccc0e5ef.jpegimage.jpeg.25c5169bcf132919a015147d17d4fe56.jpeg

@Wayfarer

 

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"I don't like this, don't like it at all," Greer growled as they approached the tall white haired lawman though he wasn't sure the jasper was still legal n' all as his town had been destroyed. Who knew about such things, not him.

 

"Take it easy, Sloane just said to report to the man. Maybe he just has some questions? Or maybe he wants us to do something for the Steelgraves. He's a brother of our boss afterall," Billy seemed much more relaxed but that was one of the many differences between the unlikely pair.

 

Greer was perpetually sour faced and whiny. He had a mean streak but would just as easily back down if someone stood up to him. Billy was happy go lucky, nothing seemed to bother him. Billy was quite a bit younger than Greer yet it was pretty apparent he was the brains of the pair. But then that didn't take much.

 

"You wanted ta see us, Marshal?" Billy asked as they got within easy speaking range, flashing a boyish grin.

 

Greer.jpg  billyforsaga1.jpg

 

 

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Case Steelgrave stood, looking at the two as they came toward him with Sloane.He recognized them for what they were, a couple drifters that had caught on with the Evergreen, probably better there than anywhere else in the county. Though it was clear they never would have signed on with Lost Lake, they just weren't the double L's type of riders.

 

"You wanted ta see us, Marshal?" Billy asked as they got within easy speaking range, flashing a boyish grin.

 

"Did." Case said. "Don't know if Harris or Granger told you, but Lost Lake cattle are not to be touched. My Brothers aren't around so I figure you just didn't know about that. Now, the three of us are going to drive these cows back, at least to town where their riders can pick them up."

 

"What you probably don't know is the two ranches are sittin' on a tinder box. Meaning, you ever lift so much as a calf from that spread and I'll kill you both!" Case promised, then his voice dropped an octave or two.

 

"You could work for us, if your a mind to. Pays decent, on top of your wages from the Evergreen. I need eyes and ears on the place since my brothers seem to be far to busy these days to give a good Goddamned. Hell, you boys could be plenty helpful, keepin' tabs on all sorts of things I need to know about."

 

@Wayfarer

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"Did." Case said. "Don't know if Harris or Granger told you, but Lost Lake cattle are not to be touched. My Brothers aren't around so I figure you just didn't know about that. Now, the three of us are going to drive these cows back, at least to town where their riders can pick them up."

 

"Oh, we just found.." Greer started up but Billy gave him a nudge and frown before speaking himself.

 

"No, we didn't know, sir," Billy was wise enough to not smile anymore but assume a more servile solemnity.

 

"What you probably don't know is the two ranches are sittin' on a tinder box. Meaning, you ever lift so much as a calf from that spread and I'll kill you both!" Case promised.

 

Greer looked like he had just swallowed something very big and his bloodshot eyes went wide.

 

Billy kept up his act better, "We didn't have no inklin' sir. But got it, we understand."

 

"You could work for us, if your a mind to. Pays decent, on top of your wages from the Evergreen. I need eyes and ears on the place since my brothers seem to be far to busy these days to give a good Goddamned. Hell, you boys could be plenty helpful, keepin' tabs on all sorts of things I need to know about."

 

Now this was interesting news alright. Billy warmed to the possibility of more money immediately. Greer, the slow one, was just confused.

 

"You mean we spy for ya, sir? I reckon we could do that alright. We know most of the hands and we know the property too, we've ridden all over it. You just tell us who you want us to keep tabs on and we'll do it," the younger one of the two  declared.

 

"Umm, yeah...sure..we can do it," Greer nodded, by now having sort of grasped the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 "You mean we spy for ya, sir? I reckon we could do that alright. We know most of the hands and we know the property too, we've ridden all over it. You just tell us who you want us to keep tabs on and we'll do it," the younger one of the two  declared.

 

"Umm, yeah...sure..we can do it," Greer nodded, by now having sort of grasped the situation.

 

Case half smiled, “Yeah, something like that. You boys cut these LL cattle out and we’ll drive ‘em back to their home range, that way, nobody gets killed over it, right?” His meaning was clear.

 

He remounted and swung his horse toward the two men. “Now the other thing, so we’re clear, keep an eye on the Evergreen, I’ll want to know what the old man, or his foreman are planning. I want to know who comes and goes, and if you can eaves drop, uh, listen in, so much the better.”

 

They would do, one was smart, the other, not so much, but they made a good pair. “So let’s get to it, it’s a long slow ride.”

 

@Wayfarer

 

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“So let’s get to it, it’s a long slow ride.” Case half smiled, “Yeah, something like that. You boys cut these LL cattle out and we’ll drive ‘em back to their home range, that way, nobody gets killed over it, right?”

 

"Sure, if you don't wanna bother, me n' Greer can return 'em for ya?" Billy volunteered, though he fully expected he'd be turned down.

 

“Now the other thing, so we’re clear, keep an eye on the Evergreen, I’ll want to know what the old man, or his foreman are planning. I want to know who comes and goes, and if you can eaves drop, uh, listen in, so much the better.”

 

That was expecting a whole lot - the Evergreen spread was a big ranch operation. Also neither cow hand ever were privy to conversations with either Mr. Steelgrave or the foreman.  Why Billy couldn't even recall him and Steelgrave exchanging a simple hello. The man wasn't exactly sociable. But Billy knew how to handle those in authority. Just nod and agree, promise 'em anything. Later he and Greer could sluff off.

 

"You got it! We will do our part to earn that extra money," Billy nodded.

 

Greer just flashed a big grin showing a bad set of teeth, well a few were missing.

 

Case then mounted up, “So let’s get to it, it’s a long slow ride.”

 

Billy blinked, guess they were going along? Alrighty, fine!

 

"We'll quick go saddle up!" he and Greer hustled to do that very thing.

 

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On the ride in with the Lost Lake cattle, Case went over some of the things the two might be able to find out. The most important thing was who was coming and going from the Evergreen. Even casual conversation with either Harris or Granger, the men who replaced his brothers in running the spread for Elias, their father. Most of the hands were long term, the Evergreen paid well, they had to, to compete with Lost Lake.

 

Then, of course, there were the rumors that would be flying around the bunk house, what were they, who were they about and, the hard part, could any of them be verified. But he might have his own sources in that regard.

 

"So," Case began, "Listening, now that's important when there's something to hear, plans that maybe Harris and Granger are talking over. I don't mean herd movements, but maybe movements against the smaller spreads, that sort of thing. I know you won't be able to just saddle up an ride to town when the need strikes, so I'll have something set up when next I stop at the ranch.

 

"Who comes and goes that aren't hands, folks from Kalispell especially. Elias has contacts there doing the same as you are. You won't be able to hear anything, or not every time, the who will tell me the what. Most of the boys up there know who comes and goes by name, so a simple question ought to get results."

@Wayfarer

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