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    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!
    • List in hand, they made their way back to town and to the Anderson's Mercantile where they laid out their list of needs. John and Mary Agnes looked over the list and began adding prices, plus shipping where it was warranted.   "So, you're in the mining business Marshal?" John asked.   "We are." Alice replied with a wide proud smile on her face. Speed just looked at her.   "Amos here found a property to good to pass up, so I bought it myself." Speed said, "Actually two properties, the other on is off to the west, but this one is just north of the Evergreen Ranch a couple of miles."   "Ah that would be the Henshaw mine. Sad about his wife passing on so suddenly. Life can be hard out here, it was just too hard for Martha Henshaw, though she tried as hard as anyone could." Mary Agnes said. "Most all of what you have here we have in stock. Most all of this was on Henshaw's list as well, he just quit before he paid for it. I believe we can give you a good price on the machinery out back. Right John?"   "Yes we can, The fact is Speed I'll let you have it at our cost, plus the shipping expenses, of course. Be good to free up that room back there. Let me see here at my cost, yes, well, it looks to be just under three thousand dollars, without the things we have in stock that wasn't Henshaw's."   Fair enough John, and we appreciate it. Now, if you'll let me get up to the bank, we want to use their money until we get started, and then we'll settle up."   "Makes sense to me, it's what we did. Hated those monthly payments, but it worked for us." John agreed.   "We'll be back." Speed promised.

Wrong Place, Wrong time II

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Mature Content: Maybe language

With: Case Steelgrave, Ralph Flandry, Matilda May Devereau ?, Billy, Greer
Location: Stardust Saloon.
When: April 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon the day of the Robbery




Continued From Open Range:

Case nodded, touched the brim of his hat and said. "We'll hold the cows till your ready to head on out." Then cantered back up the street to where the two hands waited. "Bank job went wrong. So we'll hold the cows, some Lost Lake  boys'll pick 'em up on their way out."


He looked at the two Evergreen hands and said, "I'll stand you boys a couple drinks. Meet me at the Stardust after they come get the cattle."


Then he mounted and walked the horse down to the stardust Saloon and stepped down, flipping the reins over the hitch rail and stepped up on the boardwalk. He had certainly been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Folks saw him return the cows to the Lost Lake riders, but the talk of the day would be the bank robbery attempt. His attempt would be seen and mentioned, but not have the effect he had hoped for.


Before entering the saloon he looked to the porch of the hotel where he observed Bannister, Santee and now McKenny idly passing the time. He pushed through the bat wings and strode to the bar. "Afternoon Flandry. Had some excitement I hear."



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Ralph looked up from pouring a beer for another customer then nodded.


"Well, yeah it's not every day we have us a bank robbery. But those sons a bitches got a big surprise hitting this bank," he smiled.


"What'll ya have?" he did his usual bartender spiel.

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" Hello Ralph, Whiskey. I hear you people had a bit of scare today. Well, that sort of thing won't happen when I'm County Sheriff." Case stated, as if it were a foregone conclusion. "Not to demean Guyer or his Deputy Pike, but let's face it, the man hasn't the experience for the job and I have."


"Who was it  got killed, and who shot the bank robbers? Guyer? Pike?" Came the next question. "Reckon as those two had their hands full with the mayhem." As he could be, Case Steelgrave was full of himself.


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"One whiskey comin' up," Ralph reached for a bottle and poured a shotglass to the brim.


Case now blaggered the current lawmen, unfairly in Ralph's opinion and Ralph was not shy about sharing his opinions when he was a mind to.


"I disagree. Both Guyer and Pike did their jobs and with bravery. Seems to me you shouldn't be talkin' much considering you lost a whole town whilst you were at Whitefish," he commented dryly. If the man took offense he didn't care.


"Who was it  got killed, and who shot the bank robbers? Guyer? Pike?" Came the next question. "Reckon as those two had their hands full with the mayhem."


"Only casualty amongst the townfolk was Mr. Olsen, shot dead in the middle of the street when he called out a warning there was a robbery. As for the robbers, it seems one got away but he is being pursued by Guyer. It weren't my job to either count or identify the dead robbers, you'd have ta ask Pike or Guyer when he gets back. No clue when that might be," Ralph commented.


"Now as to who shot the devils, all I know is both lawmen and local citizens all did their part. That includes me. But what difference who shot 'em. Important thing is they got shot. "




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"Well, then, I figured Guyer'd back water and Pike, well, no tellin' about hm." Case said laying  a dollar on the bar top.


"Have me another. Now you mentioned that citizens did their part, don't sound to me like Guyer or Pike responded to the call. Sounds to me like the you townies had to defend Kalispell, shame. More of you might of been hurt. What you needed was a County Sheriff with gumption." He laughed at his own remark. It was time to let the town know that he would be running for County Sheriff.


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Ralph dutifully poured him another shot glass, straight up to the brim, he did not stint on drinks, even to customers he didn't much like.


"I was involved, I know what I saw. You weren't there so you can say  'sounds like' all you want but the townsfolk know what happened. We got us a couple of fine lawmen already," Ralph countered.


"As for runnin' for County Sheriff, it's a free country, you do what you want," he shrugged. Matilda and him stayed out of local politics. Unless it would affect the business.


Just then two cowpokes came thru the swinging doors and went straight for the bar. Ralph knew 'em alright, two Evergreen hands, a rather odd couple they made. The young one always smiling and laughing and the bigger older man surly and sour faced most of the time. He also well recalled the older one, Greer, had been arrested back during the fall festival when he hit a local teenage girl. Not much to be proud of there.


"Well, the Lost Lake boys took their cattle, they're gone," Billy announced.


"Without so much as a thank ya, " complained Greer.


Billy leaned against the bar right next to Case, "Gimme a shot too, barkeep."


Then Greer chimed in, "Me too."


"You got it," Ralph set up two more shot glasses, he was trying to figure out what was going on with these jaspers. Was Case into cattle ranching now? Or just helping out old man Steelgrave with the Evergreen affairs.



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He dropped another dollar on the bar, "These boys an' me drove some LL stock in to town here, and a couple Lost Lake boys headed them home" He bragged. "There's rustlers about." He tossed off his drink. "Just keep 'em comin', Ralph. You know, after the election I'll be able to put a stop to all that. Guyer can't do anything, got no jurisdiction."


"So, they take the cows alright?" he asked Billy and Greer.


Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"These boys an' me drove some LL stock in to town here, and a couple Lost Lake boys headed them home" He bragged. "There's rustlers about."


"Yeah, we found the cows," Greer was quick to explain to Ralph under the false assumption the veteran barkeep even cared.


"Just keep 'em comin', Ralph. You know, after the election I'll be able to put a stop to all that. Guyer can't do anything, got no jurisdiction."


Ralph nodded, leaving the bottle then right on the bartop, he had a feeling at the speed Case was downing his drinks, plus two new thirsty jaspers, that bottle might just end up empty.  The two Evergreen cowpokes took up their shot glasses. Greer downed his in one big gulp but seemed more prepared to take his time. Ralph doubted that the youngster was much more than seventeen, eighteen at the most.  Again not that Ralph cared, hell he had been drinking already when he had been thirteen.


"Well, if you're runnin' for his office, why will you suddenly have this here jurisdiction yer talking about? Or you planning on holding more than one office at a time?" Ralph asked.


Case was momentarily distracted asking the Evergreen hands, "So, they take the cows alright?"


"Yeah, it makes a body feel good ta know we went and done the right thing, givin' em back to their rightful owners n' all, "  Billy grinned.


"Yeah, yer saints, you are," Ralph drolled sarcastically.






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"County Sheriff, I have jurisdiction in the county, even here in town, it's part of Flathead County an' that means I'll be able to deal with whatever problems crop up, whether Guyer an' Pike like it or not." Case stated flatly, he saw himself as already elected, having the believe no one would be running against him.


"Of curse I'll need deputies as there's a lot of ground to be covered, but it'll be worked out and they'll be deputies in every town within the county. We'll tighten it up good and proper."


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Ralph listened to the man explain things, Case sure seemed to have already assumed he got the job. There was however an election to be won, little detail that. Ralph knew one thing, he would NOT be voting for him.


"And these new deputies? Would you be hiring the likes of these two fine specimens?" Ralph jerked a thumb at Greer and Billy.


Greer just pushed his empty shot glass forward, "Gimme another!"


Ralph poured him one as he listened to Case's reponse.

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"Them? Ha, no. Good hands, able ta do what needs doin', but not deputy material." He down the drink in front of him, "'nother I got some boys in mind that are cut out for that sort of work."


A lot could be said about Ralph Flandry, but the man made quality whiskey. Somewhat stronger than any place in town or within fifty miles. Case and his cohorts were beginning to feel the effects.


"You see Flanders, keeping the peace ain't quite as easy as some would have you believe. I mean, the County Sheriff can't spend his time up to the Lickskillet, like the Marshal, no matter how pretty Emily Blakesley is." He laughed. "Might have to have another look at that one."


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