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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: Nope

With: Amos and Speed
Location: Marshal's Office
When: April 21, 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon




The man sat his horse near the end of the street. A grizzled man of some age, but as much as he was grizzled, he was hard, tanned deeply by the sun, a gratified top hat sitting atop his long greyish mane, and a full beard to match. His clothes showed their age as well. Pieces were of military issue and well worn civilian type. Trousers of cotton duck as opposed to wool, knee high cavalry boots that had seen service as well as repair.

His mount? A grulla stud, a mustang by lineage, as tough as the man on his back. A black stripe down his spine, and black stockings added to his grey color, and an aged McClellan cavalry saddle. The pair had seen many a mile together, that much was obvious. Both alert to all that surrounded them, almost out of place in a town setting.  

This was Amos Conroy, and he was in town on business, bounty business.

Just outside of town in the trees was a body draped over horse, wrapped in his ground sheet. That man was two hundred dollars, cash money, name of Jethro Dollarhide, wanted by the Allen and Millard Bank of Virginia City Montana, dead or alive.

He eased the mustang toward the large building in the center of town as people stopped to look at the man wondering if he was trouble or not. He stopped, reading the painted sign announcing “Municipal Building 1868.” Then he looked at the glass window with words “Town Marshal” in gold leaf and at the bottom, David S. Guyer, Marshal.

A smile cracked the craggy face and he stepped down, casually flipping the reins over the hitch rail, then stepping up on the boardwalk, nodding and tipping his hat to a couple walking past. He stretched and then stepped to the door, opened it and went inside. The door on his right was ajar, so he simply pushed it open and stepped through saying, “Not THE Captain Guyer is it?”

Speed looked up and after a moment his eyes went wide as he leaped from his chair and the two embraced. “Amos! Amos Conroy! What are you doing in Kalispell?”

The two separated, “Got me a circular and the man to go with it. Lookin’ to collect on it.”

“Damn! Well,” he said as Amos handed him the poster, “The bank will honor it since it’s from Millard Bank. It is good to see you. You’re a long ways from home.”


“Nope, got a spread east of town. Lookin’ to quit huntin’ men an’ maybe set some roots. Maybe hunt a bit of gold ‘er silver.” He said with a smile. “Might ought ta drop around, Alice would like to see an old friend.”


“Alice, you drug her out here?” Speed asked. He remembered her, she was mid-twenties back then, and married.


“Nope. Was the other way around actually. She did the draggin’, I did the follerin’.”


“Wish I could, got me a cell block full that needs my attention, but you bet I will.” Speed was thrilled to see Amos, he had not seen him since the war. Right near the end of it.


“Well, I’ll be up to bank, after I drag the carcass so’s it can be seen, and then to yer undertaker fer proper burial." He started for the door, then stopped and looked back, “Speed, you come out, Alice was widowed back in seventy, no account, well, you come out.”


“Count on it, Amos.” Came the reply. He watched him leave, then saw him mount up and head back up the street.

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