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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.

Numbers May Not Be Enough


The Old Ranger
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Mature Content: Yes, threat of violence, possible language.

With: Marshal Guyer, Deputy Pike, Layton Harris, Arlen Granger, Amos Conroy
Location: Add specific location information here.
When: Monday, April 24, 1876
Time of Day: Nearly Noon.

 

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The west was a place where men started over. Where they put aside the past, either the good or the bad of it, such as the war now eleven years gone. The trials and tribulations of moving west, such as the perils of new country. Indians, drought, lawless men and women that preyed on the wagon trains, stage coaches and the like.

 

But the men and women who built the towns in this new country were strong, brave and determined. There were no gangs of men that took over towns, with the possible exception of small start up places. There were too many men and women who had fought their way to the place they called home, and they'd be damned if anyone was simply going to come in waving a gun around and demanding surrender of what they had built.

 

But on the morning of Monday, April 24, 1876 riders from the Evergreen Ranch were headed for Kalispell with the idea of breaking Case Steelgrave out of jail. They knew that no town ever buckled under such a threat, but they came at a canter, hard men, dangerous men, armed to the teeth, riding into harms way on the orders of one man, a man that would see them shot if they failed him.

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As the day was beginning to unfold, Amos Conroy stopped for a late breakfast at the Lickskillet Cafe. The one Speed Guyer had bragged on. He took out his pocket watch noting it was nearly nine and he had a ten o'clock appointment with a Miss Ada Fetterman. Speed's office clerk about the job he had been hired for.

 

So, there was time for his breakfast. Alice would be at the ranch, awaiting the delivery of their furniture and other belongings. She was a good woman, he reflected as he entered the eatery. Stubborn as all get out, but good none the less. She had stuck with him through thick and thin to be sure. Turned down several men for reasons she kept to herself, but Amos did not worry about her. There would come a time when a man would come along for her where you couldn't say no.

 

He found a seat and sat down, a fair amount of customers were inside, a couple of hands in town for some reason or other enjoying cooking that was not the cookies, four old times drinking coffee and talking quietly, except for an occasional burst of laughter. He looked up as the waitress approached.

@Bongo

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"Good morning."  Emeline smiled as she approached the table, not recognizing the man, but always pleased for new customers.  She had to wonder if he was a newcomer to town, or just a newcomer to the cafe, or perhaps someone just passing through.  Maybe she'd ask later, but first things first.

 

"Good morning.  Would you like some coffee to start?"  She indicated the pot she was carrying in one hand, and the mug she had in the other.

 

@Flip

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“Now yer talkin’ ma’am. Coffee’d be right nice.” Amos answered with a grin. Mebee ya got some side meat an’ eggs? Like the meat medium and the cackle-berries over medium if ya do ‘em that way. Name’s Amos, Amos Conroy. The daughter and I got a place east of town. Rafter A.”  

 

So introductions were made from his side of the table, he smiled at the woman, not knowing if she was the owner or hired help.

@Bongo-Maybe move this to the Lickskillet?

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"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Conroy, and welcome to town."  Emeline smiled as she jotted down the order.  "I'm Emeline, I own the place, and we're always happy for new customers.  I'll get that order started for you.  Oh, and just keep in mind that pie is good any time of day!"

 

Giving the man a friendly wink, she headed for the kitchen, returning several minutes later with a steaming plate of steak, eggs and potatoes, as well as a fresh pot of coffee.

 

"There you go, sir.  Will there be anything else?"

 

@Flip

(Moving would be okay, but I don't know how to do that!)

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"There you go, sir.  Will there be anything else?"

 

"'scuse me, Ma'am, but Marshal Guyer has an office fer his minin' operations, where would that be?" He asked. "Have me an appointment with a Miss Ada Fetterman."

 

He looked at the plate and smiled. "Now that's a breakfast, Thank ya Ma'am."

@Bongo

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"Oh, I believe the mining office is on the other side of the road, a block or so up."  Emeline wondered if he was looking to speculate, but it was none of her business, and she certainly didn't begrudge anyone who was willing to do it. It was long, hard work, and only a small percentage ever actually made a good living at it.

 

She glanced up as another customer came in and settled at the next table.  "Good morning, Dr. Danforth."  Without having to ask, she filled a mug with coffee for him.  He was a regular customer, trading any manner of goods he got in payment for his services, such as eggs, milk, preserves, for meals.

 

"Are you having the usual?"

 

"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Blakesley."  Jonah smiled and sipped the coffee as Emeline went to prepare his flapjacks and eggs.

 

@Flip

 

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Amos looked up from his meal, "Doctor is it? Now that's a bright spot in this town. An honest to by-God goodness medical man. Amos Conroy." He reached across the open space, which required a bit of a lean, his hand open. "This here's quite the place. Mostly towns of this sort aren't what I've found here. Meanin' a lot more friendly than most places I've been in my time."

 

"Real pleased to meet you Doctor. Real pleased." Amos stated. "Got a daughter out to our pplace east of here, she'll be glad to hear of a Doctor in town, I can garen'tee you that."

@Bongo

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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"Good to meet you, sir."  Jonah smiled as he shook the man's hand.  "And not just one, there's another doctor as well.  I know it's unusual for a town this size, but it has its advantages.  We're even working to bring a hospital to town."  A huge advance, if Leah could pull it off, and if anyone could do it, it would be that young woman.

 

He chuckled.  "It's friendly enough here, but not without its troubles."  It was a territorial mining community, that brought all sorts of characters, criminals among them.  "Wasn't long ago some men tried to rob the bank, as a matter of fact."

 

@Flip

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 "Good to meet you, sir."  Jonah smiled as he shook the man's hand.  "And not just one, there's another doctor as well.  I know it's unusual for a town this size, but it has its advantages.  We're even working to bring a hospital to town."  A huge advance, if Leah could pull it off, and if anyone could do it, it would be that young woman.

 

“Two Doc’s in one little town.” Amos declared. “You folks are certainly blessed. And a hospital.My my. I’d believe I was in Omaha or Council Bluffs. This place’ll be boomin’ with that addition. ‘Course folks have been friendly, prices are fair, an she seems peaceable enough.”

He chuckled.  "It's friendly enough here, but not without its troubles."  It was a territorial mining community, that brought all sorts of characters, criminals among them.  "Wasn't long ago some men tried to rob the bank, as a matter of fact."

 

“You don’t say.” The bounty hunter in him came to life almost instantly. “Well I’d bet my friend Marshal Guyer got ‘em all. Know’d him since the war, I have. Odd to see him him behind a badge though. Mines an’ minerals, that was what he was doin’ last I saw of him. Got me an appointment with a Miss Ada Fetterman at his business this mornin’.”

@Bongo

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“Two Doc’s in one little town.” Amos declared. “You folks are certainly blessed. And a hospital.My my. I’d believe I was in Omaha or Council Bluffs. This place’ll be boomin’ with that addition. ‘Course folks have been friendly, prices are fair, an she seems peaceable enough.”

"Well, it was just me until this winter, but Whitefish, a few miles up the road, had a bad time during a blizzard," Jonah explained, "that's when Doctor Boone settled in here.  But I agree, it's a good thing for the territory...and me, too!"  He chuckled.  "I can only keep so many chickens and preserves I get in payment!  Just the bandits that are causing trouble."

 

“You don’t say.” The bounty hunter in him came to life almost instantly. “Well I’d bet my friend Marshal Guyer got ‘em all. Know’d him since the war, I have. Odd to see him him behind a badge though. Mines an’ minerals, that was what he was doin’ last I saw of him. Got me an appointment with a Miss Ada Fetterman at his business this mornin’.”

 

"From what I've heard, Marshal Guyer rather fell into the job as opposed to seeking it."  As was the way with a lot of the lawmen in the West.  "He's doing a good job, though, has some fine deputies helping."  He nodded to Pronto, who was a few tables away.  "That's one of them...going to marry the lady who owns this place.  I just hope I don't have to resort to my own cooking!"

 

+++++++++++++

"Who's the gent talkin' to Doc Danforth?" Curious as a man of his background would be. "Don't believe I've seen him before."

 

"His name is Conroy," Emeline answered as she poured Barnabas coffee, "he and his daughter bought the Rafter A...and he's going to talk to the folks at the mining office."  She grinned as she leaned in close to his ear.  "Competition!  Should I poison him?"

 

@Flip

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"Whitefish was it?" He'd heard some odd names out in the west, so it wasn't a surprise to him.

"A bad time of it you say, this Doc Boone, he was the Doc up there then?" A flurry of simple question, mostly repeating what he had heard. A common trait in the west it seemed.

 

"A man fallin' into a job he didn't seek, seen it many a time out here. And especially lawmen. There's those cut out for it, to be sure. Some come to it naturally, been a number what changed trails, from bad to good, some, well, some changed jobs but kept on the way they was headed in the first place. Still an all, seein' Speed Guyer as a town Marshal, not that's one for the books." Then he laughed as he lifted another fork load toward his mouth.

 

"Man saved my life back durin' the war. An Infantry Captain he was, so maybe bein' a lawman ain't so far a stretch as one would think. " Amos added. "So there here hospital you're plannin', tell me about it."

@Bongo

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Pronto finished up his breakfast and thought another cup of coffee would help with tiredness as there was still a full shift to go. He wasn't complaining, Guyer had to do the same. So he flagged down Em holding up his cup.

 

When she arrived he asked, "Who's the gent talkin' to Doc Danforth?" Curious as a man of his background would be. "Don't believe I've seen him before."

(moved it)

 

"His name is Conroy," Emeline answered as she poured Barnabas coffee, "he and his daughter bought the Rafter A...and he's going to talk to the folks at the mining office."  She grinned as she leaned in close to his ear.  "Competition!  Should I poison him?"

 

"Oh sure that's a great idea. You poison him, I'll have to arrest you, and then we can have the weddin' in the jail!" He teased. That'd be the way ta start our life together. "He smiled. "Good to have a bit of time together, the ride yesterday was great. Be glad when that circuit judge gets here and we get them trials over with and Kalispell shifts back to normal again. Hard bein' in that office everyday and every other night. Easier just to shoot 'em an be done with it." May second was still nine days away.


@Bongo

 

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"Doctor Boone was in Whitefish for a long time, as I understand," Jonah explained.  "His offices there were as close as the territory had to a hospital.  When the blizzard went through, what it didn't blow over ended up burning."  Jonah shook his head, he'd never seen the like.  "Folks say it was the mountains around Kalispell that saved us from the same fate."

 

Had Kalispell been hit as badly as Whitefish had been, there would have been  nowhere for survivors to go...it would have been catastrophic.

 

"I can keep patients at my clinic, but it isn't really set up for that, nor do I have the equipment for advanced testing and procedures..." he chuckled, "or the funds for staff, especially since I'm paid more in goods and labor.  So there's a drive to establish a hospital, as well as an orphanage, eventually."

 

He sipped his coffee.  "That should be happening pretty quickly, I'm hoping."

 

@Flip

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"Oh sure that's a great idea. You poison him, I'll have to arrest you, and then we can have the weddin' in the jail!" He teased. That'd be the way ta start our life together. "  He smiled. "Good to have a bit of time together, the ride yesterday was great. Be glad when that circuit judge gets here and we get them trials over with and Kalispell shifts back to normal again. Hard bein' in that office everyday and every other night. Easier just to shoot 'em an be done with it." May second was still nine days away.

 

She knew that he was joking...mostly...about just shooting the prisoners, but she would be happy when that was done with, however that was.  "Well, if you did have to arrest me and lock me up," she pointed out, "then you could be there day and night and see me all the time." 

 

Grinning, she kissed his cheek.  "And, if you shoot those men, they can lock you up with me and we'd never have to be apart!"

 

@Flip

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“Mother nature can be as deadly, if not more than any man. To have not just the blizzard but a fire as well. Now that was a warning from the good Lord that this whitefish was not to be tolerated. Sorta like Sodom & Gomorrah in the good book, if ya subscribe ta thet sortta thing.” Amso offered. “But havin’ this place here fer the survivors, now there tars a blessin’ to be sure.”

 

“Them plans fer yer hospital and orphanage, don’t you worry none about it. It’s the right thing, a good thing , a necessary thing yer doin’. Tell that to yer lady friend was she to get discouraged. You’ll get ‘er done, mark my words.” Now Amos wasn’t much of a religious man, but, there was the part of him that recognized a God that did right by the righteous.

@Bongo

 

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Grinning, she kissed his cheek.  "And, if you shoot those men, they can lock you up with me and we'd never have to be apart!"

 

"We'd swing tagether, that'd be the outcome. Affraid Speed'd insist" He replied. Well, they ain't payin' me ta be lollygaggin' with the purtiest gal in town. Best get on down to the jail. get to the days, business."

@Bongo

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Speed Guyer stood before the window looking out at the street, a cup of coffee in his hand. It was another beautiful spring day, but one with a dark cloud, the prisoners in the holding cells. It would be  yet another nine days before the Circuit Judge made his way to Kalispell, and they could look at trial dates. Likely the same day for all of them as the judge  was on a schedule.

 

On his mind were his actions with Case Steelgrave. He wondered about his motives. Yes he had made a move against Quentin who was an acting Deputy, no matter what anyone said. But, then too, Case had gone for a gun, his own, granted. But as sure as he stood looking out the window, Case would have shot him. So maybe he didn't go to far. Maybe he didn't go far enough, but that could have been called murder.

TBC

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The cavalcade of riders paused at the outer edge of what could be called Kalispells city limits. Fourteen in all, to get Case Steelgrave out of jail, one way or the other. If hat meant killing the town Marshal and his deputy, that was what it meant.

 

Layton Harris, and Arlen Granger sat at the head of the group, neither liking what would lie ahead. Not that either was a good man per se, not that they objected to killing when they had to, it was the idea of bucking the whole town, and bucking the whole town included the Lost Lake Ranch, and that meant Shade Thornton, Quentin Cantrell and the riders  they had.

 

No matter, it was do this or face the old man, which none of them was willing to do. Layton Harris looked around, then spurred his horse, and the riders rushed forward into the mouth of the main street.

TBC

 

 

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“Mother nature can be as deadly, if not more than any man. To have not just the blizzard but a fire as well. Now that was a warning from the good Lord that this whitefish was not to be tolerated. Sorta like Sodom & Gomorrah in the good book, if ya subscribe ta thet sortta thing.” Amso offered. “But havin’ this place here fer the survivors, now there tars a blessin’ to be sure.”

 

"I'm not that familiar with Whitefish," Jonah commented, "but I don't think it was so overly wicked that the Good Lord would see fit to raze it."  He shrugged.  "And at least when Mother Nature lashes out, she does it without bias or thought.  When man lashes out...it's a conscious act."

 

“Them plans fer yer hospital and orphanage, don’t you worry none about it. It’s the right thing, a good thing , a necessary thing yer doin’. Tell that to yer lady friend was she to get discouraged. You’ll get ‘er done, mark my words.”

 

"I have no doubt, considering Miss Steelgraves tenacity."  Jonah chuckled, nodding to Emeline as she sat his food down, then refilled both men's mugs with hot coffee.  "Thank you."  He turned his attention back to Amos.  "Most of the logistics are in the works, but the city council just needs some convincing."  He shook his head.  "Politicians!"

 

@Flip

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"We'd swing tagether, that'd be the outcome. Afraid Speed'd insist" He replied. Well, they ain't payin' me ta be lollygaggin' with the purtiest gal in town. Best get on down to the jail, get to the day's business."

 

"All right, then, Mr. Pike."  Smiling, Emeline kissed him on the cheek.  "Be careful, and you know where to find me."  She was still getting used to his profession, but at least she had her work to distract her.  As he left, she started gathering the dishes so she could get back to work.

 

 

 

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"All right, then, Mr. Pike."  Smiling, Emeline kissed him on the cheek.  "Be careful, and you know where to find me."  She was still getting used to his profession, but at least she had her work to distract her.  As he left, she started gathering the dishes so she could get back to work.

 

The thunder of hooves on the hard packed street drew Pike’s attention as he whirled to look out the window as the cavalcade of riders passed by. “What the sam hell?” He asked as he started to move, recognizing a couple of the men as Evergreen riders. “Damn!” and he was moving.


"I have no doubt, considering Miss Steelgraves tenacity."  Jonah chuckled, nodding to Emeline as she sat his food down, then refilled both men's mugs with hot coffee.  "Thank you."  He turned his attention back to Amos.  "Most of the logistics are in the works, but the city council just needs some convincing."  He shook his head.  "Politicians!"

 

Amos’ head snapped up at the sound, his eyes darting to Speed’s deputy and his reaction. This was trouble! Trouble for his fried, no doubt. “‘scuse me Doc, looks ta be trouble, best I go see if I might lend a hand.” Amos said as he rose, dropping a half dollar on the rough hewn table top, worn smooth from use as he moved toward the door.

image.jpeg.8e3821e2336d47f2bb9f42cdb110d9a4.jpegimage.jpeg.3290e825ad2129dedcc0214c697c8a2e.jpeg@

@Bongo

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At first, the sounds of so many horses roaring into town wasn't particularly alarming, after all, there were always groups coming in from the outlying ranches, although it was a bit unusual this time of day.  But when she saw Barnabas' reaction, and the newcomer jumped up and dashed out, she felt a chill spike of fear go through her.

 

Glancing around at the few remaining customers, she darted for the front door, snatching up the shotgun she kept there.  "Everyone just stay inside," she chided as she herself stepped onto the boardwalk out front, closing the door behind her as she stood guard, ready to do whatever she had to, and anxiously watching Barnabas.

 

Across the street she could see Addy coming out of the big Millegan Stage barn, then ducking back in and reappearing a moment later, brandishing her own shotgun.  Emeline caught her eye and gave her a slight nod.  Then she spotted the three men at the hotel, professional gunmen, if she wasn't mistaken. 

 

These men were up against more than they bargained for, and Emeline could only hope that they had the good sense to just ride out.

 

Inside the diner, Jonah was more than happy to stay where he was.  He was no gunslinger, and was only armed with a two-shot derringer, worthless in this sort of situation.  Of course, the noble thing to do would be to insist that the lady owner turn over the shotgun and her spot to him, but what if there really was trouble and a doctor was needed?

 

addy-chappell.jpg.c26f11a3d27e5a156fb033jonah2.jpg.afb96ea5d8d2cdabeec1ac6f21e4e

 

@Flip

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Pike was at the Lickskillet in minutes. He came through the door looking for Emeline, and spotted her quickly. As he strode toward he he said, "So you took up a shotgun to get out there and get yerself shot? After we jest went out to the spread yesterday? What was you thinkin' aside from you thought you'd be protectin' me from them jack wagons?" He simply shook his head. "Whot am I gonna do with you, woman?"

@Bongo

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"I was protecting my business," Emeline defended, squaring up her shoulders.  Yes, she'd been watching him, praying that he stayed safe, but regardless of their relationship, she would have been out there on the boardwalk, ready to get involved if the need arose...you didn't survive long as a woman alone in these parts without some resolve and backbone, and she wasn't about to let rowdies tear up her town!

 

"You can take care of yourself, and I know that!"  She was a bit riled, maybe a little angry that Barnabas seemed to be chiding her.  Certainly, he knew she wasn't the sort to stand by and watch, and he'd have to accept that, as much as she had to accept that his job put him in constant danger, and every time he left, she'd never see him again.

 

His last words, though, a subtle way of saying he understood, had tempered her anger and she reached for his hand.  "I will only intervene if it's absolutely necessary," she assured him, "but I won't be idle."

 

@Flip

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