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Sagas of the Wild West
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The Untold Story

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Mature Content: No

Author: Flip

With: List characters and NPCs in the thread.
Location: The shanty behind the boarding house.
When: April 1876
Time of Day: Time of Day Afternoon and on.




It began with a meeting. A meeting with Marshal Guyer about the prosecution of not only the bank robbers, but of Case Steelgrave as well. One part of the equation would be quite simple, the robbery suspects, though everyone knew who and what they were.


What would be the hard part would be prosecuting Case Steelgrave, Dutton Peabody was sober enough to realize that. There were those that would side with Case, folks from Whitefish, some who were indebted to Case, or Elias Steelgrave. Hard to fathom, but as real as the nose on his face. Such feelings were not uncommon, not at all.


Marshal Guyer was seen as a law and order man, one capable of dispensing justice any way he needed to. Would that assessment change? 


But, what had not been revealed was Dutton Peabody's struggle to gain sobriety on a more permanent basis than just a day or so, in the midst of a hangover. No, what Dutton realized was, he needed to be clear of mind to prepare his case against one of the wealthiest ranchers sons in Flathead Valley. A case that would hold water. He knew that there was a chance he might face Cole Latham, but then again, maybe not. Maybe an attorney from Missoula, or Great Falls, or Bozeman.  So sobriety was a demand on him to deliver.


Therefor, with this background, we move forward.


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In the course of his practice over the years, Josiah Boone had encountered many a strange request, from many people. The latest came from a man he felt would simply careen his way through life, from one bottle to next, until alcohol claimed him. It had been a bright sunny spring day when Dutton Peabody caught up to him and pleaded with Josiah to help him through what was to come as he dried out.  Josiah Boone had done this before, several times in fact, though he had little success in the past with dipsomania, Dutton’s request touched him. It seemed that the  former jurist had given his word to Speed Guyer he would prosecute Case Steelgrave, and for that, he needed to be sober.

“You understand Dutton, this maybe a horrendous time of it for you.” He asked.

“I know, I know. I’ve tried and failed too many times before to beat this. But I’ve got to get and stay sober for this trial, Doc. I promised Guyer, an’ I gotta make good on it. The town needs me to make good on this.” Dutton pleaded.

“Alright Peabody. I’ll see you through this.” He grasped Dutton’s hand, “We will beat this, together. If you're serious and, you’re ready, we’ll start right now, today.”

“Then by the Lord Harry, let’s do it!” Dutton exclaimed with a wide smile.

Boone smiled in return. “Not going to be easy, nor pleasant. I will be with you henceforth. So, to the office for some things I will need and then to your place, and the beginning.”

At that moment a bond was forged between the two men. They were about to embark on a trial by fire.  Not just for the one man, but for both. Each with their own experience whether good or bad. Josiah was learned as much as possible about this malady, which, like Benjamin Rush back in 1784, he was of the belief that alcoholism was a disease. The New York State Inebriate Asylum, this facility opened in 1864 under the direction of Doctor Joseph Edward Turner. It was the first medically monitored addiction treatment center in America, and is considered the first alcohol rehabilitation center. Josiah cut his teeth in the treatment of alcoholism there under Doctor Turner.  So, they had a fighting chance.



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Would he be ready for the trial was the question. Dutton Peabody was already dry, at least he had been for a number of days and from what Josiah could tell the next two to three days were when the risk of delirium tremens would be the greatest. These would include altered mental status, global confusion and sympathetic overdrive or autonomic hyperactivity, which can progress to cardiovascular collapse and death.


With luck, what they would encounter would be tremors, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. If so, Dutton could pull through this , perhaps not smoothly, but with some care he could survive the worst of it and be ready for the court date which could be just after May second, depending on the Circuit Judge of course. If not, he would be fully incapacitated.


The perspiring had already begun. Along with that, Dutton was beginning to feel anxious about innumerable things, he began to slip away, babbling incoherently about several different things at the same time. Josiah began to try and feed him the juice squeezed from oranges, of which he had precious few, but of which he knew could supply some relief. Also in his arsenal honey, willow bark, bitter gourd, ginger root. At the same time, he had brought a bucket for the vomiting that would follow.




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The struggle to defeat dipsomania is hard fought. Both by the drunkard and anyone attempting to help in this battle not so much of the wills as most would say, no,  it is a battle with the obsession of the mind coupled with a bodily allergy.


Most anything and everything man can conceive has been tried at one time or another, most of these methods have failed miserably. But freeing the drinker of the alcoholic haze they seem to revolve in is but the beginning, that is once the subject is free of drink and it's residual effects. Effects that had included vomiting and the dry heaves in those first twelve to twenty-four hours, then the most dangerous time. During the following twenty-four to seventy-two hours withdrawal-related seizures and possibly delirium tremens, which can kill.


As he came awake the morning of day four, Dutton Peabody had experienced the majority of side-effects of what is known as the detoxification of the body. The shaking was still present, but not to the uncontrollable degree that they had been in the first hours and subsequent days.  The sweats had ceased, the vomiting was gone after the first night, but he suffered a number of light to moderate seizures.


Dutton had been able to keep down broth and then light soup. Slowly he graduated to fresh bread. He was a physical disaster from the ordeal. He needed a bath and clean clothes and perhaps solid food.


"Good morning Dutton, my friend. Well, we've made it out of the woods." Doc Boone announced. "What say we try some solid food, maybe get that tub filled with hot water and get you bathed. What do you think of that."


"I'll tell you what I need, Doc." He stated. "Coffee, hot coffee, black as the night and strong as Atlas!" He forced himself upright. "Have I missed the trail Boone? Have I?"


"No Dutton, you have not missed the trial. And as far as I know, you are still the prosecuting attorney." Boone informed him with a smile. His methods of treating Dutton had been successful. Now, for the arrangements to fill the tub and get some food for the both of them. Dutton Peabody was almost ready to take on his return to the world of Kalispell.

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"No Dutton, you have not missed the trial. And as far as I know, you are still the prosecuting attorney." Boone informed him with a smile. His methods of treating Dutton had been successful. Now, for the arrangements to fill the tub and get some food for the both of them. Dutton Peabody was almost ready to take on his return to the world of Kalispell.

“You know Doc, that was no un whatsoever. I have no desire to go throyugh that again, for any reason.”

“No reason to, unless you start drinking again, and then the next time around will be much worse. But that is up to you.” Boone said seriously. “Your best hope iss to stay sober and give Harriet Mercer some competition, when she gets back, of course. But you need to win this Steelgrave case to get yourself back on your feet, and it may not be easy. It is open and shut, but only so long as there’s no interference, like a better attorney than Cole Latham!

“Be like that old rascal to go an’ hire himself a big city lawyer, wouldn’t it? Well, we’ll see about that right after this bath you got started. Them Chinese hauling the water?”

“Yes sir they are, and then we’re going to get something to eat.” Josiah acknowledged. There came a knock at the door, “Best get yourself ready, believe it’s the whole family lugging your bath water, so them clothes need their tending too as well.”




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In fact it was the entire family delivering he steaming water and filling the tub. The dirty clothes were whisked away to be washed dried and returned, though Dutton had clean clothes to dress in.


Dutton climbed into the tub  and relaxed, letting the hot water relieve the tensions in his body before he began washing. He had not missed the trial after all, and aside from being hungry, he felt fit as a fiddle and ready for the challenge of facing Cole Latham, or whoever was to represent Case Steelgrave.


There would be a plausible defense for case's actions, plausible,  but not likely a legal defense.  Assaulting a peace officer, two counts, with that of Quentin Cantrell, and attempted murder of a peace officer, those were the thee main charges besides the drunk in public, and, resisting arrest. He could see that the judge might forego the drunk in public. or find him guilty and allow him 'time served.'


Dutton would press every charge available against the former Whitefish Marshal. It was a matter of principle ans certainly what would have been done were the roles reversed.

And the Circuit Judge, this Harland Bryant, Dutton knew of him, and of his reputation as tough jurist. He felt that that would work in his favor. Of course there was no telling how it might go. A jury trial was a possibility, but highly unlikely, as the Judge would have a schedule with other cases in other towns.


Yes, the outcome should be a simple guilty verdict on all charges, but there was the human factor to take into account. The mood of the judge on the day of the trial, all of that sort of thing which always made the verdict a chance thing, yet Dutton Peabody was certain justice would prevail.




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