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Numbers May Not Be Enough III, Looking For Help

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Mature Content: Maybe...

With: NCP's & Characters
Location: Main Street
When: April 28-30 1876
Time of Day: Varies by post




Friday, April 28th, the Marshal’s Office


Much had transpired  since Monday, but nothing that might aid Marshal Guyer with his security issue. Oh, he had Pike, Amos was available and ready. A note had been sent that morning to Lost Lake Ranch to Shade and Quentin, he was fairly certain of their help, and perhaps some of their riders, however it was spring round up, and hands would be scarce everywhere, that included the Evergreen.

It was nearly noon when a somewhat dejected Speed Guyer dropped into the chair behind his desk. Before him was the list of businesses, some he had visited that morning trying to get the help he believed that he might need. There was the real possibility that Case’s men would come out of hiding to try a real jail break, not the flimsy excuse for the one the Evergreen hands had attempted. They were gun hands, that was a fact, but the were cowboys first off, not outlaws.

And therein lay the problem. The danger that might be faced would be hardened gunmen. Everyone suspected that Case led a gang of rustlers and robbers, but he could never be a proven part of anything illegal. Yes he was known to associate with known outlaws, but they had been the bulk of the citizens of Whitefish before its destruction. If they were to come, he would need far more guns than he had. He other fear was that they would simply turn on the town.


That morning those he had spoken to were family men, a couple of them younger, but they had their reasons, and a healthy fear of the outlaw faction. Speed understood. He was single, no business to run, no children, and no wife to leave as a widow. He knew that unlike him, everything they had, or had built was hard earned and to expect them to risk life and limb was asking a lot.

He finished his coffee, though it had gone cold, got up out of the chair, and grabbed his hat off the hook on his way out the door.



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Friday, April 28, 1876 - North-east of Town

A man like Amos Conroy had many talents which enabled him to survive in the western country. There were any number of perils in his line of work, man and beast, whether it be two legs or four, even eight, or it slithered on the ground a sharp sense of where he was and what he was about had helped in his survival over the years.


Amos sat his animal like a statue, except for the swishing of the horses tail. The mustangs ears were pricked as were Amos’ while the pair watched a party of Kootenai Indians pass by. The Kootenai hostile? Not according to most accounts about them, but the red man was notional, and the tribe was not at all happy with the encroachment into their territory.


At the moment, Amos was just making his way home after looking over some land above the ruins of Whitefish and Whitefish lake. He had bee out a bit longer than he had planned, and with the trial coming the first part of the week, he needed to get home and then on to Kalispell to assist Guyer how ever the Marshal needed him.


With the Indians past his position he eased his way beyond their line of site before spurring his mount into a gallop. Closing the distance to the ranch quickly, he knew that he would be able to reach Kalispell by late afternoon or early evening. All that remained was to check on Alice, gather extra ammunition, and then ride on. There were still several miles to go, but he was again making good time.

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The veterans were on his list, some were older than most, but there were some he would ask. So up the street he went, looking at the Church, may as well try and get the Good Lord on their side.

They may be no trouble at all, though he doubted it. Then again, it gave him pause, had he not been concerned about the gang that so many associated with Case Steelgrave, what of them?


At that moment he stopped, as, intermixed with the normal traffic, trace chains and thundering hooves announced the arrival of the coach from Helena, the new Territorial Capitol, which came once a month, but it was early, and, the Milligan coach would not be due for another week or so.

Another thing that got his attention was the figure on the boardwalk with luggage. It was Linda Everson, proprietress of the boarding house. As he watch a young man, well appointed, emerge from the coach, he crossed over.

“Ah, Marshal...” the young man began.

“A moment sir.” came the reply as he stepped up on the boardwalk. “Missus Everson, where are you off to?”

“I sold out. Not enough trade for two boarding houses in town.” She responded. “So I’ll be going back east to live with my daughter, you will let Mister Pike know, won’t you?”

“Of course, ma’am. A sad thing to see you go, but to be with kin, now that is cause for joy.” He luggage was hoisted upon top and the shotgun guard opened the door for her to board.

“Time to go ma’am.”

“Goodbye Marshal. My best to Mister Pike and Missus Blakesley, I so wanted to make their wedding, but, life has dealt other cards. Give them my best wishes. You take care Marshal, I will miss you, and this town.” And with that, she boarded the coach, and moments later they thundered out of town.

Speed stood for a long moment watching it go, then turned to the stranger. “Now, how can I be of service, sir?”

“Yes. John Goodnight, Attorney At Law. Here to represent a Mister Case Steelgrave, I believe. Do you still have him in custody?”





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Like he had been slammed with a skillet. “Well, Mister John Goodnight, I do. He’d be resting comfortably in the lock-up awaiting trial. You come far?”

“Helena. I’d like to see my client and I expect reasonable accommodations for that visit.” Came the reply.


“Well then, I can let you into the cell block where he’s being held, that’s for sure and plenty reasonable.” Speed did not like this John Goodnight from Helena, and even less when the mouthpiece handed him his card. “No need of that, you’d be the only citified pettifogger in town. Now, The man paying you is close to twenty miles north on the Evergreen, in case yoou need to see him as well.”

“No need to be disagreeable Marshal. I’m here at the request of Mister Elias Steelgrave to defend his son. I intend to do just that. Now I believe I’ve made a request of you that is both legal and reasonable. So, I would like to see my client, and in private.”

“The geography might be some difficult Mister John Goodnight, but we’ll certainly let you see your client, and in as privet a setting as we can. Follow me, sir.” What had started out as a walk to the church had turned into a return to the Municipal Building. and the juggling of prisoners for this shyster. But then who else would Elias Steelgrave hire, but a dishonest lawyer.

They walked to the Marshal’s office without another word until Speed took up the keys and instructed, “you wait here.” He went to the County Sheriff’s office where he had three available cells, once he moved Miss Caroline Mundee downstairs, made that move then went to his cell block and Case’s cell.

“Get up Case, your mouthpiece is here and I have to move you next door. So, you try anything, anything at all, there’ll be no trial.”

“Big talk, Guyer. You know you’re finished here.” A bold statement. But one a free Case Steelgrave could see through. He didn’t threaten Speed’s life outright, but it was there.

“Yeah sure, Case.” Speed unlocked the cell door and opened it, then stepped back, “Come out.” He ordered. Case did as he was told without another word, none were necessary. Once the transfer was complete, Speed returned to his office and the waiting John Goodnight.

“The bag stays here, Need to check you for weapons, then you can take all the time you need.” There was a pocket pistol, nothing else, so Speed escorted the layer to the cell with Case Steelgrave. He pointed to the chair. “Have at it.” With that he stepped out, pulled the door closed and locked it. “Give a holler when you’re done.”




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With the surprise visit of Mister Goodnight out of the way, it was back to the security issue. So once again he started for the door. Just as Pike walked in.

“Who’s that feller just walked out?

“John Goodnight, Attorney for Case. Headed up to see some folks about securing this trial.”

“I’ll take care here, then. Got the crew going out the ranch, have ‘er finished afore the weddin’ so they promised. We’ll see.” Pike said, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“Good. That’s real good. Best get to it. Be back.” And out the door Speed went. A big town attorney might change things, then again, this was a small town, with small town moralities and ethics. Big city people didn’t impress them much, they were looked on more as an interference, than anything else.

Not a particularly religious man, having witnessed as well as caused so much death and destruction during the war, he was fairly regular at Sunday Service. He believed in God, and gave Him proper respect, the carnage of the war and what he saw of it’s aftermath had given him pause in beliefs. But this was not about rectifying beliefs, this was about insuring the safety of those that would be involved in the trial from any interference from the Steelgrave riders, or Cases outlaw friends.

With that thought in mind, whether real or conjured up, Speed made his way up to the church, stepping inside he called out, “Padre? You here?”




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Guest boshmi

It was a Friday, early, which meant that Thomas would be in town for the next few days to write and host the Sunday service. Situated in Pastor Evans' little nook out of the chancel, he sat, considering what he might present as the topic of discussion this week. Perhaps something on hypocrisy? Topical, considering the man locked up in the Marshall's office, and well... considering himself.

Matthew - he wrote, then quickly scribbled it out.

John 4:20 - If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.


The old priest winced, the ache in his arm playing up a little. It had been causing trouble ever since this round of ranch visits, though he knew from experience that it would fade in a week or so. For now, he merely gave it a quick rotation, working the stiffness out, before getting back to the sermon.


"Padre? You here?"


A voice from the narthex, and an excuse to put this thing off. He could find his repentance later.

Thomas emerged from the side room, past the lectern and out by the pews. At the far end of the church, there stood Marshal Guyer, or Speed, as most folk seemed to call him. Authoritative and just, the Marshal was often here on Sundays, but to see him on a Friday was new ground.


"Marshal!" Thomas greeted, as he walked forward to meet the lawman. "You're not often here on a weekday, are you? To what do I owe the pleasure?"


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"Marshal!" Thomas greeted, as he walked forward to meet the lawman. "You're not often here on a weekday, are you? To what do I owe the pleasure?"

“No sir, I’m not, but it seems I’ve got a problem. Not sure you can help out with it, but I wouldn’t know without askin’.” He began, feeling a bit uncomfortable. “As you probably know there’s going to be a trial shortly. True there will be more than one, the men that were captured in the failed bank robbery, they’ll hang, that’s sure.” Here he paused.


"Far be it from me to interrupt the law's machinations, Marshal. I'll be there to give them their last rites, don't you worry." Thomas replied, though Speed continued on, implying that his further services may be required;

“Case Steelgrave will be tried on a number of charges, several are quite serious and could mean prison time or worse, depending on the Circuit Judge. He has brothers, he is associated with outlaws, and there are always the riders from the Evergreen Ranch. That would be his fathers spread North of town.”


Thomas nodded along, though he was beginning to feel an inkling of where this might all be leading.

"Now, I know it would seem to be none of your concern, but then, it is. There might not be any trouble, then again, it is possible. I need to protect the Judge, the attornies, the jury, if there is one, and, Case Steelgrave through the trial and after from whatever might happen. I need help with security for the trial. I know it’s not your line of work, nor is it what you profess, but I have to ask, will you stand with us?”


The priest was silent for a time, breathing out a long sigh. It seemed like a lifetime ago that he'd last shed blood. Coming to Kalispell was meant to be a new start; far from Palo Alto, from the dusty plains of Mexico, and from the outbuildings of Fort Laramie.


The Lord did not forget, though, and neither would he, for as long as he lived. He had repented, yes, but he did not regret. The truth of the fact was that Reverend Thomas Reed was a priest, yes, but also a soldier, a hunter, and a killer. At least in defense of a trial, he would be on the side of the law.


"Of course." he said, quietly, then with more certainty he repeated; "Of course."

A more regular, easy smile crept back onto his face, and he seemed a mite more relaxed.

"I'll stand with you, Marshal. What day is it scheduled to begin?"




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With the jail locked up, Pronto Pike mounted his horse  and start out on a mission.

He knew right where to find them, loafing in front of the clapboard house on East Washington Street, so he rode up to the place at an easy pace and stopped.


He looked at them, and they looked back at him. Both sides knew why he was there. "Lite an' set, Pike." Bannister said, "Reckon we know why your here."


Pronto stepped down, holding his reins, "I come lookin' fer help come the day of the trial. I know you boys pulled Speed's iron out of the fire with them Evergreen hands, but, well,  could be Cases friends come callin', 'er his brothers, maybe even the boys from the ranch again,"


"We did that, didn't like the odds." Santee stated. McKenny just nodded. "Looks to me like maybe you and Guyer'll be up against it come the trial." At that moment the door opened and Leah Steelgrave stepped out.


"Ma'am." Pike greeted.


"How many men does the Marshal need, Deputy Pike?" She asked.


"Many as he can get, I 'spose. May not be an easy day of it, that's for shore."


Leah looked to the three men, then back to Pike and said, "These boys are free to make their own decision, as for me, I'll be there." She smiled. "What's the Marshal's plan?"


"Hold on!" Bannister interjected, standing up. "Cain't let you set yerself up ta get shot! No sir, that just ain't gonna happen." The other two joined him quickly, all concerned about her declaration.


"I don't recall asking you, Bannister. My place will be where they think I can do the most good." She fired back.


"Miss Steelgrave, I'm afraid we can't ask you to ..."


"I don't recall my asking your opinion either, deputy. This is my brother, and yes, perhaps my family will decide  to  come to Case's aid. I'll not stand for them further disparaging the family name as the lawless brigands that they are. No, I will stand with the Marshal. And I will do what must be done, family or not, so I ask again, what is the Marshal's plan?"


"I seen his plan, well, a rough sketch of the street. He'll be talking with Flandry at the Stardust, he wants to put people on the roof there, on both sides, and at the St. Regis. Plus  some covering the back of the Municipal Building. Planning a regular Winchester Quarantine of the building, an' less risk fer the defenders."


"Count me in." McKenny said suddenly.


"yeah, me too." Santee added looking to Bannister.


"Hell, shootin' downs easy, up, not so much. I'll throw i with you. But I'll be where she is, just in case."


Leah smiled. "I knew you'd throw in with us. I'm more stubborn than you are. It's why I get my way. And you tell Speed Guyer I'll not hear any of his  reasonings, I'm in."


"Yes ma'am.I'll be sure to tell him. He looked at his unlikely recruits, "Appreciate it." And climbed abroad his horse.We'll surely let you knpw before hand." and with that he turned and rode back to Main Street.



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Leaving the church with no idea what Pike had been doing he headed to see Ralph Flandry at the Stardust Saloon, a place he would need to use to cover the front of the Municipal building, and a man he could use with his rifle. Then too, Flandry would want to be paid for his time, and possibly the use of his roof top, as well as any damage his building may receive.  A bit mercenary, but, not beyond reason.


He pushed through the bat wings and stepped up to the bar, with a deep breath he said, "Hullo Ralph, guess you know why I'm here, but maybe not the whole of it."



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Ralph glanced up from wiping a freshly rinsed glass. It was the local law, Guyer. He nodded acknowledgement then listened for a moment.


"Hullo Ralph, guess you know why I'm here, but maybe not the whole of it."


"Well, I am guessing you aren't here to have a drink? So.....fill me in then,"  Ralph answered.


"Wait! Don't tell me....Arabella git herself into some trouble?" he wouldn't put it past the girl, she certainly was a handful.



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