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    • "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.
    • The single shot was loud, even with the traffic, the jingle of the trace chains and the people on the boardwalks conversing. It had been some time since that had been gunfire in town,  especially in the middle of the day, he was up, pad in hand and heading for the door. "That was a gunshot!" He said to Sarah. "I have no idea what it's about, but I intend to find out!"   He stepped out the door to see a crowd gathered and Marshal Guyer leading a man away, a man who looked familiar, but one he could not identify right off. He started down the street to see who belonged to the body laying on the boardwalk. There should be a story in this, it would appear someone had been murdered in broad daylight!   When he arrived at the body, it was of a man he did not recognize, not that he was aware of every drifter that passed through town, but the one being led off was familiar enough, he just could not place him at the moment. But clearly Chester and  Myrtle McIneery stood close behind the body, Chester steadying his wife who splattered with blood, no doubt from the dead man.   He then saw Arabella Mudd scurrying across the the street to the Municipal Building. He would be over there in a few moments himself but just then, the slower moving Mister Jolly and young Raymond, his other assistant, arrived on the scene. "Mister Jolly." He greeted, "Raymond. I see Miss Mudd is already at the Marshals office." @Javia

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Mature Content: Not Sure Just Yet. Language perhaps.

With: Speed, Billy, Case, Pike
Location: Marshal's Office
When: April 20, 1876
Time of Day: Morning and on.




It was nearly six in the morning as Marshal Guyer made his way to the office, not his office, the Marshal's Office. There was a situation that needed correcting as well as some plans the he needed to make.


Having Case Steelgrave behind bars might be cause for problems he really didn't need, but might have to face since word would eventually get to the Evergreen Ranch of his incarceration. And, word would surely get out that Marshal Speed Guyer was holding him for trial, a decision he had made before he went to a troubled sleep the night before/


He opened the office and taking the keys he walked into the cell block, "Billy, get up!" The key was close to the lock, but not yet in it. The other cells were were stirring. Case was alone, the robbers were together and Billy was in with Greer. "Come on son, ain't got all day, less you like it here."


Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Billy didn't need a second shout, he was more than ready to get out of that cell. He hastily pulled his boots on then stood waiting for the man to open the door for him. It looked like he was getting released. Well unless, they were going to do something else to him? Like question him or rough him up? No, they wouldn't do that. He had not actually done anything but stand there in the street and watch Greer make an idiot of himself. And now once inside the jail cell, he had behaved himself too. Been quiet and respectful, the model prisoner one might say.


"Yes sir, I'm ready. So are you releasin' me then?" he asked hopefully.

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April 21, 1876

He looked at the young man. "Follow me," he said almost quietly, and led Billy to his office. "Have a seat."


Next he went to the stove where the coffee was done and poured himself a cup, "Coffee?" He asked.


"Now, Billy, you spent a night in custody with some real outlaws. Don't know or care what they might have said to you, but I know this, you can work on the Evergreen and keep your nose clean, or you can partner up with the likes of Greer and end up spending time behind bars. That choice is up to you. Where you go, what you do, what you say, it's up to you."


"You're free to go. You can head on up to the Lickskillet and have a meal on the city or not, as you choose." Speed said.


Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"Yessir, I'm followin', " Billy nodded and did as he was instructed  whereupon he was told to sit down in this man's office. So of course he complied.


The lawman poured himself some coffee and offered him some too.


"No thank ya," Billy remembered to be polite about it. He needed to be on his best behavior.


"Now, Billy, you spent a night in custody with some real outlaws. Don't know or care what they might have said to you, but I know this, you can work on the Evergreen and keep your nose clean, or you can partner up with the likes of Greer and end up spending time behind bars. That choice is up to you. Where you go, what you do, what you say, it's up to you."


Billy had to grin a bit about the part about working at Evergreen and keeping his nose clean. That whole ranch and especially it's owner were a bunch of crooks. Almost every one of those jaspers had done far worse things than he had ever done.


"Actually, marshal, it was the ranch foreman who paired me up with Greer," he just wanted to throw that little tidbit of info out there for the man.


"You're free to go. You can head on up to the Lickskillet and have a meal on the city or not, as you choose." Speed said.


Billy blinked, "Really? I can just up and leave? Ummm, thanks."


Plus a free meal, that joint had good food. Plus it had that Redmond girl working there. Still she could hardly kick him out when he was sent by the marshal and paid for by the law.  He stood up then.


"I'll take you up on that then. I might not look like it but I'm always hungry," he declared.


"Oh, do I get my gun and holster back?"





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"You do. Wouldn't send a man out without his rig." Speed reached in the lower drawer and pulled out the young man's gun, holster, and, cartridge belt, handing it to him. Wondering if it might not be too late for him already. The outlaw trail is easy to get on, and sometimes impossible to get off of.


"Well, you take care Billy." He said in farewell, there was more he wanted to say, but he felt it would fall on deaf ears. Besides, he needed to lay out charges for those remaining in custody, And Billy's friend Geer was in serious trouble. Threatening a peace officer, would be good because unofficially, Speed had deputized Cantrell.


Now Case Steelgrave was somewhat more serious and he had pulled a gun, granted his own, but it was pulled from Speed's waistband with intent to murder him, or at least cause bodily injury. Marley and Simpson would be held for attempted bank robbery and the murder of John Olson.


He turned to his stack of circulars to see what the two he had were worth as well as the dead ones.


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Billy was happy to get his gun back, a man wasn't a man without one of those. Though granted, he had never shot anybody, he had never even aimed at anyone.  But hell, there were snakes and possible Injuns who might attack.


"Thanks," he wrapped the gunbelt around his waist but did not pull out the pistol, he trusted the law didn't empty the cartridges on him.


"Well, you take care Billy."


"I try and you too, marshal. You've been real fair. And...." Billy leaned in closer then lowered the volume of his voice for the next part, "Don't tell Case but if I could vote, I'd vote for you in the election."


And once out the door, Billy headed straight toward the Lickskillet for that free meal.



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Having gone through his circulars, he calculated all together there was almost two thousand dollars in rewards for all of them. But Dade Marley would be worth a thousand dollars alone. He would print out telegrams announcing their killing or capture to the various agencies that wanted them and wait for their response.


Refilling his coffee he thought about Billy, young, impressionable, probably easily swayed. He hoped that a night in jail with the dregs of society might wise him up. Just then the door opened.


Cole Latham entered, nattily dressed, and in the office for one reason, Case Steelgrave. "Marshal." He greeted.


Mister Latham, what can I do for you this morning?" Speed responded, as if he didn't know.


"I'm here to negotiate the release of Case Steelgrave." Came the reply.


"Mister Steelgrave is being held for several charges, sir. I'm afraid he's being bound over for trial, so I'll not be negotiating any release. I'm sorry."


"And what are these charges?


"Threatening a peace officer, Assaulting a peace officer, attempting to disarm a peace officer with intent to cause bodily harm, drunk and disorderly, take your pick." Speed informed the attorney. "So he's not going anywhere." 


"We'll see about that!" Latham turned on a heel and stormed out the door nearly knocking Pike over as he rushed by him.


Pike came in  and shut the door. "What was that all about?"


"Wanted Case released. I'd say he's on his way to Roberson."


"Count on it." Pike replied.


Meanwhile, Cole Latham drove his buggy directly to retired Judge Robertson's home. He left the buggy, dropping the reigns anchor and strode directly to the door knocking heavily. It was barely a quarter past eight in the morning.




Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Retired Judge Ben Robertson, looked over at the clock on the wall of his dining room.  Whoever it was, they were disturbing his breakfast.  Getting up, he went over to the front door and opened.  A look of surprise came on his face when he saw who it was.


"Cole Latham," Ben exclaimed, "What have I done to deserve the pleasure of an early morning visit from you?"






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"Sorry for the intrusion Ben, however, Case Steelgrave was arrested last night said he's being bound over for trial and I need to get him out." Cole stated. "Before this gets back to the Evergreen Ranch and Elias gets wind of it. When are you going to hear the case? With the bank robbers?"


He was flush with anxiety about this, there would be no telling what Elias Steelgrave might do. Of course when Robertson heard the cases for those in custody, unless it was that morning, it might too long for Elias to wait . "I believe I saw Nolan Ashworth high tailing it out of town, so one guess where he's headed."


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"I'm gonna cut Greer loose." Speed said suddenly. "Most we could get him on is public drunk, and the part about Quentin being a peace officer wouldn't float with the circuit judge, hell, not even with Robinson."


"'spose yer right about that." Pike said.  "No need of him bein' locked up, but you know he'll high tail it for the Evergreen."


"Truth be told they already know, and they're already making plans for us. You let him out, I'll get his rig ad we'll be rid of him. Make Case a bit angrier than he already is."


Pike laughed, took off his guns, as a precaution, then went out the door and down to the cell block. He stepped in looking at the men in the cells. Speed had put Greer and Billy in a separate cell, probably anticipating this.


"Greer, on your feet, you're gettin' out. Marshal's got your gun rig." Pike said.


"Better open this cell door and let me out Pike, or there'll be hell to pay!" Case bellowed.


"Shut up Case, you ain't goin' anywheres, lessin' the circuit judge arrives today." Pike took Greer by the arm to lead him out.


"I'll kill the both of you when I get out of here! You hear e Pike? I'll kill you both for this!"


"Ha, no supper for you. Move Greer." he shove the man and followed him out shutting the door, leading Greer out and then into the office.


Speed handed Greer his outfit, then the cartridges from his gun.  "Get out."



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Greer smirked as he took his holstered gun, then the cartridges which he shoved in his pocket, "Bout time. You law....when Mr. Steelgrave finds out what you done to Case, well yer gonna regret it. Wouldn't want to be in yer shoes."


"Good day...deputy."


Then he headed for the door, he couldn't wait to get out of there. Actually he didn't much really care about Case and the lawmen's feuding, his thoughts were on that sonofabitch from Lost Lake, Cantrell. He would make him pay for pistol whipping and...well even worse humiliating him in front of the whole town. He would be smart about this though, Billy always said he was an idiot but this time he would bide his time and when he got the chance, ambush that Cantrell.



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On 3/5/2021 at 12:01 AM, The Old Ranger said:

"Sorry for the intrusion Ben, however, Case Steelgrave was arrested last night said he's being bound over for trial and I need to get him out." Cole stated. "Before this gets back to the Evergreen Ranch and Elias gets wind of it. When are you going to hear the case? With the bank robbers?"


He was flush with anxiety about this, there would be no telling what Elias Steelgrave might do. Of course when Robertson heard the cases for those in custody, unless it was that morning, it might too long for Elias to wait . "I believe I saw Nolan Ashworth high tailing it out of town, so one guess where he's headed."

Ben Robertson shook his head slowly, "I'm sorry, Cole.  If Montana was a state I would be able to help you out but since its a territory any criminal charges, as you well know are handled on Federal level.  You'll have to do your wheeling and dealing with Harland Bryant when he gets here."


He paused for a moment before going on, "However, if you have any reasons that come under civil law, then I might be able to do something.  As the only judge in the area, I still have some authority in those cases."



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"My God Ben, we've got to do something. Half this town witnessed what happened, Case was drunk, I'm sure that was civil, but the main charges involve Case threatening not just his rumored opponent for the upcoming elections, Quentin Cantrell, but pulling a pistol on Marshal Guyer. I'm not sure how to get past those two charges, among others less severe."


It looked bleak from where Latham stood, Robinson was truly unable to assist in the release of Case Steelgrave, but there was the dealings of Elias's daughter, which prompted,


"The town Council? When are we meeting, and how do you see this hospital plan evolving, if I may be so bold as to ask." Anything positive on that front might quell Elias's anger about Case, at least for the short term.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Ben Robertson nodded as he listened to Latham and then the question of the hospital came up.  "We're planning to meet during the second week of May as we needed time to look into it a bit more.  Some people are still not convinced that Leah is doing this on her own.  Now that Scott Cory has been elected mayor, we can get on with it decided whether or not Kalispell wants a Steelgrave in charge of a community project such as this."


He looked at Latham intensely, "I have feeling whatever way this decision goes, a Steelgrave will get what they want and we will be powerless to stop them from getting more."



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"The second week of May, oh for God's sake, Ben. The Circuit Judge will be here by then. This place will be a circus with Case on trial and his sister before the Council.  My God, and what of Elias, what if he does something stupid during all this?"  Cole was seemingly on the verge of panic, yet he simply shook his head. "I know that you don't see eye to eye with either Elias or Case for that matter, and Leah? Just a spoiled hussy dressed up as if she were a proper lady, but we've got to do something."


He stood then and began to pace, stopping and looking at the retired jurist. "Think on it Ben, please. I best get out there to the Evergreen and see what I can do."


@Juls or just end it.

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Monday, April 24th, 1876, 6:00am


Things had been quiet around Kalispell for  most part. There had been some serious rumblings of breaking the robber out and lynching them, but nothing had come of it. Both Speed and Pike had taken turns at being on guard which meant sleeping on the pallet on the floor with a shotgun close to hand.


Pike had spent a good part of the day out at his spread with Emeline, looking at the progress that had been made, but had returned in time to feed the prisoners, and then lead them, one by one, to the outhouse. 


He was up and had the coffee on when Speed arrived to receive the same report he had given, nothing had happened. He sat at the desk sipping the hot liquid when Speed arrived from the Lickskillet.

"Mornin' boss." Pike greeted as Speed closed the door behind him. "Quiet night, as usual."


"Good." Was the reply as Speed poured himself a cup and Pike rose from the desk and moved to the chair along side it. "Circuit Judge should be here Tuesday, May 2nd. Trials should be shortly there after and you and me can get back to sleeping in our beds, town can see the outlaws swing, and things can drift back to normal."


"That suits me just fine. Better things to be doin' than sleepin' on the floor and nursemaidin' the\m galoots in the cell block."  Pike said. "I would'a thought we'd a heard somethin' outta  the Evergreen by now, not so sure I like that. Hardly makes any sense."


Speed looked up, "Been thinking the same thing. That does make it a bit too quiet. for my liking. Well we got a week to go before the judge arrives." He paused, "You best get breakfast before Emeline thinks something happened to you."


"Right you are, she's not been any too comfortable with the past few days." Pike said. "I'll be back shortly. Looks to be a right fine day out, don't it?"


"Does, best hurry along, I'll never hear the end of it if you don't get there pretty quick!"





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With his horse at the livery, Pike walked to the cafe. The morning air that filled his lungs was crisp and fresh. It was good to be alive. He picked up his pace, the sound of his boots on the boardwalk just about the only sound at that hour, though he suspected many were rising and preparing for the day ahead.


There were thoughts of the the coming wedding, of the house that was coming along faster than he thought, and of Em. Life had surely turned out differently than he had ever expected it would.


Continued in "A Sunday Ride."

End of thread.

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