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    • "Maybe, fer this special occasion," Addy suggested, "we can try a little'a each?  That way, we can get a taste'a everything, so next time, we know what our favorite is."  It was a plan that appealed to her, so she didn't have to decide which she wanted!   "Never turn down help," she declared, "but seems ta me yer th' one needs help brushin' them horses down."  She glanced at Weedy and Josh, considering for a moment if it was safe to let the boy go up into the loft, but then, his father could stop him, and, after all, he was a Chappel!  He'd grown up around horses, and was of hardy stock!   With them all working together, it wouldn't take too long to get the horses settled, and then they could be on the way to treats!   @MD
    • "We'll get on."  Addy was determined, and once she grabbed hold of the crude rope halter, she had control of the animal.  "Here..."  Cupping her hands, she made a step for Caroline, to give her a boost up.  "Just grab his mane."   TBC   @Wayfarer                    
    • Mature Content: Doubt it With: Tyrell Garret Thornton Location: Add specific location information here. When: Mid-July 1876 Time of Day: Encompasses a couple of days     Place holder
    • Anæsthesia wasn't exactly convinced by all these homilies about falling out of trees, breaking arms, and sleeping in the mud: she smiled politely, if a little tightly. Truth to tell, she felt a little bit 'got at' - the snobby girl was getting a taste of her own medicine in the form of the inverted-snobbery of these rough frontier folk.    She suddenly blurted, rather defensively "I have learned to shoot a gun!"   "I have a 1858 model Lefaucheux double action revolver, and really am rather a good shot with it." she said proudly. Now maybe they'd stop telling her that she needed to fall out of a tree to be able to claim that her life had any meaning.    Of course, the hypocrisy was that she was quite willing to tell others what they should be doing with their lives: like learning to read.      @Bongo @MD
    • Mr McVey was chattering away as Arabella grabbed her non-packable items: two dresses, spare bonnet, basket and three large round circles made of bamboo. These were very hard to carry and to manoeuvre through the doorway.    "You and I disagree on a number of things, yet, we agree on others. Mister Reeve is certainly one to keep an eye on. And I would say, he is dangerous in another way, to the political atmosphere in Kalispell. He is an odd fellow, yet, so is Mister Pettigrew. Perhaps the goal of him running is to slit the vote? I'm not exactly confident on that assumption."   "Now don't you be mean about Mr Pettigrew, Mr McVey, he's been right nice to me: teachin' me all about how to speak proper and act like a lady." she objected. Pettigrew had taught her something else, too, something more important than those surface embellishments, something at her very core.    He hoisted the trunk that was surprising lighter than he would have expected. "As time moves on, we'll have a better idea of Pettigrew's purpose in the grand scheme of the elections this fall." He added, then, "I'm following you, Arabella."   "Hold on, I'm all tangled up!" she yelped, the three bamboo circles seemed to have minds of their own and were doing their darndest to stop her getting through the doorway. "I'm takin' these hoops with me, in case crinolines come back in!" she informed him.    Eventually she got herself through the door and down the stairs, with a shout of "I'm goin' now, I'll be back at seven!" at Caroline's door. When the two of them reached the bar, there was a ragged cheer from some of the rounders who were regulars "Don't worry, I'll be back at seven, boys!" she assured them.   "Oh damn!" one of them joked.    "You movin' in with him?!" another joshed. Arabella laughed and didn't say yes and didn't say no: well, Phin had said he didn't care if people talked!   @Flip
Case Steelgrave

Back In Kalispell

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They reached the base of the mountain trail somewhere around two that afternoon. They sat at the foot of Ishmael's Gate, and that was the trail to Kalispell, but for most of the afternoon, they had been on Lost Lake Ranch property. There would be no men riding the property line to worry about, not that Case was worried, but Lost Lake Cattle  would be no where near there.

 

The idea of riding into town was not something that Case was interested in doing, instead, they could cross the corner of Lost Lake, pass by the Redmond farm on evergreen range to the Whitefish trail, if it was still called that, cross it and hightail it through whatever range was taken toward the hideout that awaited them.

 

Riding the way he wanted, would pretty much avoid any contact with anyone. Not just those he did not want to see, but being seen by anyone. It was possible, and for Case Steelgrave, and the men riding with him, the chance of riding through undetected would be very helpful to the actions they planned for the near and immediate future. It would mean, they were back in business!

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Now a body might just ride unnoticed by the route Case had laid out, slipping by the Redmond place would be a bit more difficult, especially with he and the others, fifteen men and horses tend to make some noise in their passing. there had been no objections, not that there ever seemed to be to a plan of Cases.

 

The problem with the route was up until that corner of the Redmond place it was all Lost Lake, slipping by the Redmond farm might be difficult, depending on how  deep they rode on the Evergreen, where case may be unknown to any Evergreen riders, but is was possible, and with better than average odds. The plan was to follow Chogun Valley Road, almost to Harper Meadow, then ride north to the Redmond fence line, then northeast, past the small lake that sat on the property line of both the ranch and the farm, then due north again to the end of Redmond's fence and due east to the Whitefish trail.

 

He could deal with any Evergreen riders, if they saw any, which he doubted, by telling them who he was. Not something he wanted to have happen, not just yet. Redmond might see them, that too was possible, but what Redmond might or might not do was the unknown of his plan. So, they pushed on.

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Because they had not met up with Steelgrave and his bunch, or even crossed paths with them, Walt Shannon pulled the plug on hitting anymore banks, though there were several towns in their path. He had directions to Steelgrave's hideout and figured that was the best course to take.

 

They rode at a steady pace, one that would not raise eyebrows. Three men, now with a pack mule they had bought along the way. In fact, they had bought it with a pack tree, tent, spare canvas, some tools, and a couple spare canteens. This transformed them into miners, at least they now had the appearance of miners.

 

They rode past an Army fort, which they had no name for, or interest in, other than to realize there were soldiers there. They pushed on. Walt was all to aware that Case would not be stopping in Kalispell, which he reckoned was not to far ahead of them. But they could., and would. The hideout could wait, as it was another chance to eat food they didn't have to cook. A bath and maybe clean clothes, even if they needed to buy them first.

 

They would simply be drifters, miners by the look of them and the country was filled with them, and with any luck at all, they would just blend in

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Far as it went, they saw no one as they followed the route Case led them on, They had made camp for the night in the rocks where the fire would be a bit more inconspicuous, visible, but not as easily. yet the question would remain, who would be out looking for anything in the dark. Better safe than sorry.

 

The next morning the pushed on to to what had once been called the North Trail, or the Kalispell trail until it reached the town, and then the Whitefish Trail, but since it's demise, it was likely the North Trail once again. But they would not take it north, they would cut cross country as they had so many times before, yet on this trip they noted new outfits, and several farms that had popped up since they had last been there.

 

But they pushed on, staying out of site when they could, riding easy. They would be far from these new outfits  long before the day was through. But they were seeing new targets for rustling, along some of the older ones which would be revisited. It appeared that life would be good in the near future, and when Shannon and his boys showed up with whatever they had taken along the way, things would be richer!

 

Case Steelgrave smiled to himself, things were working out just the way he planned. Speed Guyer? He was working that out. He would have a plan in no time for the town Marshal.

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Killing the town Marshal would be something that would require a plan that would not immediately shine the light of suspicion on him, if that was even possible. The feud between the two was not a long one, just since Guyer had humiliated him, jailed him and had him bound over for trial, but he had beat him in the courtroom, shown him who was the top man in Kalispell. Yes Kalispell, if thing broke right, he could be top dog in the town. He could be strutting the streets wearing the badge and running things his way.

 

His way, just like Whitefish had been, yes. The businesses that wanted to stay in business would pay for protection, his "Deputies" would see to that, and speaking of Deputies, Pike would need to be dealt with as well. But he could see it all, yes, he could run Kalispell, with an iron fist and there would be no one to stop him!

 

They cleared the ranches and barbed-wired homesteads, which would be among the first to go. The range was no place for sodbusters, and he would see to that. Tilling the soil, rolling under good graze that cattle needed, no, there was no place for farmers out here, so change would have to come to the prairie, as it were. Case Steelgrave change!

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They came into town slow and easy, looking the town over as most travelers would do. They rode past the Municipal Building, the Town Marshal was seated at his desk oblivious to the riders. Across the street several businesses and a hotel, but the saloon, the Stardust, and next to it, the Lickskillet Cafe. They pulled up and stepped down at the cafe, tying their horses.

 

Drinks might be good, but food they didn't have to cook, that took precedence to men who'd been on the trail for sometime, even though they ate cafe food in Rollins, but that was a while ago. There were no words of caution or care to be taken, they knew what they were about. First a meal, then a couple of drinks and some information on mining in the area and then, ride on. The word was, leave the bank alone. Case had been firm on that. So it would be.

 

They went to the door, opened it and stepped inside, removing their hats as they found a table and took seats to wait on the waitress, or whoever.

@Wayfarer(Clara)

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Continued in "New In Town."

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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In a way it was good to be back 'home', if that's what he could call it. Familiar territory, familiar people, familiar law. One might say that that was home. For Case Steelgrave it was about as close as he would get. Whitefish had been home, or the only home he had known as an adult. There was the Evergreen of course, but that was his fathers home. It had not been his since his teen years when he was away at school. He had hated it. Yet now, as a grown man, he was grateful for the education that had to be beat into him.

 

Too many people could not read or write, but that was his advantage. Numbers, words written and read, things many could not do, other than make their mark. One day he supposed all of that would change, as would the country. In the near future Montana Territory would be added to the United States and things would certainly change with the arrival of the Federal Government. But he had little to worry about, the  new state would be a ling way off from changes that would threaten him.

 

True, the army was there, but then, they were  all over the unsettled west trying to keep the peace with the Indians. But they could do very little as far as enforcing local and territorial laws, another advantage for him, and his lawless ways. The red man could be bartered with, the Army or the local law not so much, unless the local law was owned, that was not the case in Flathead County.

 

As the sun faded in the west, they arrived at the old hide out. It was deceptive as there was but a single building visible, in the notch, and behind the hills, were three other cabins, holding pens and a barn. Everything looked exactly the same as when they left. All that was necessary with to clean out the buildings of intruders and move in.

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I suppose you might call them Lieutenants, perhaps something else, but three men met with Case in the main cabin to discuss what they were going to do, and perhaps how. Toole, Dyer, and Sloane. Before them on the table was a hide that had a rough image of the Chogun Valley complete with not only Lost Lake and The Evergreen ranches but every piece land that was owned, from above White Fish Lake south to just above Somers and Big Fork. East through the pass and beyond the town of Coram, and west, well there just wasn't  much cattle raising going on to the west. too mountainous, though there was grasslands, but getting a herd or herds there would be a difficult task as one would need to cross Lost Lake land to get out there.

 

"So," Case began, we get out and see who's who and where they are. We've plenty of men to get the job done. We need to see about fences, if there are any, what ranches there are and how big their herds are. We need to know who and where the sod busters are, Goddamned farmers!"

 

There was a time when may pa wanted to extend the reach of the Evergreen, I don't care  a hoot about doin' that, I like bein' fancy free, able to move when we want or need to, free to come back when we please. That means we're free to hit who we want, when we want, including both Lost Lake and the Evergreen herds." Case now had far different ideas than he had had previously. The boy was not out for land, but for riches gained from others hard work, even his own fathers. Of course with his brothers all settled down he had little worries other than the Evergreen riders.

 

"Lost Lake, well boys that's just something  we can do to put a burr under their saddle. Maybe even shoot up a few of their riders while running off some cows."

 

It was not uncommon that no one spoke while Case was laying out a plan of action, and what he was putting out was a lot to take in. "We'll call the boys together in the morning and start diving up the territory so we know which outfits are where and how big. Comprende?"There were murmurs of agreement. The three standing there looking at the hide liked what Case was planning.

 

"Question boss." Toole spoke up, About Kalispell and about Guyer."

 

"We leave it be for now. Guyer? Well, I want to think on that. Need a new man to drift into town and see what's what there. We need to see how things are being run these days." Case explained. "No sense gunnin' folks down, 'less we have to, I'm none too keen on startin' trouble down there, just yet."

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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"So here's what I want done, Slone, I want you to take some men, not a bunch, maybe one or two and start looking over who has what. Take your time,  wait, no, you and one other. Take it east, Dyer, you and one more head south and try not to be seen as looking them over to heist their cattle. And Tool, you're too well known to be riding into town, so pick one no one would know and send him to just look it over, see what, if anything has changed down there.' Those were the orders being laid out.

 

The plan, see who had how many  steers were on the range without regard to who owned them, that was unimportant. He was looking at going back to the same methods as before, cut out the herds, not take them all. That would insure that there would be other cattle to rustle in the future.

 

"But Toole, I saved the best job for you, I want you and whoever you want to take with you, to scout out the Evergreen and maybe, Lost Lake as well. Cattle's cattle, Lost Lake might be harder to move their steers, but not the Evergreen."Case directed. "You can make the call on Lost Lake, cuz drivin' their cows our way, might just be more trouble than it's worth."

 

There were a lot of "Yes Bosses" They knew the bigger picture, hit the herds cut out some, leave the rest then drive a good size herd north to Canada and sell then. Just like they had never left.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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Sizing up what was available to rustle was the first thing to be done, and Case laid that out well, not knowing that his father was already sizing up Lost Lake's cattle situation. But Case realized, because of the way the land was, with its mountainous terrain, that might be more trouble than it would be worth, and he had said as much.

 

As far as outlawing was concerned, Case Steelgrave would be considered a good field general. He liked the risks to be as little as possible. To do what he wanted to do, he needed men, getting them killed, or putting them in harms way was not a good business practice, and it was a business. So they would scout out places, note the size of the herds, the number of men that they could see and so forth.

 

They would only be able to do their scouting once, because once they started, there would be no casual checking the other herds, as all of the ranchers and their hands would be armed and ready for any attempt on their cattle. This would be where men would find themselves in peril, no matter which side they rode for. Case was determined to risk as few men as possible for the most gain. It wouldn't be long now, and where was Shannon and his money?

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With the men out as he ordered, Case decided it was time to pay dear old Dad a visit. Time to set the boundaries of who was doing what when, and, where. Not a threat to the old man, just letting him know what his boys would be doing now that they were back.

 

He knew that his father had been drinking a lot after his mother left him and may well be a drunk with his foreman running the ranch for him while he laid about in a drunken stupor. Perhaps he could just waltz in and take over the place, but then he would be tied down to running the place whether on the up and up, or as a front for his illegal operation. That thought appealed to him, yet, the Evergreen had enemies, he had enemies so the idea quickly lost any luster it might have had.

 

Moving rustled cattle from the meadows hideout would be far easier than from the Evergreen. That was the first thing that came to mind as he considered his options, then, there could always be a fight, and both he and the evergreen would lose men in the ensuing gun battle. Not a good outcome. Considering that he could lose not just the fight, but men as well. So as he rode closer to the Evergreen, he dismissed the idea of taking, rather trying to take the ranch.

TBC

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The ride over to the main house gave case time to think and reconsider any plans concerning the place or it's livestock. The risk would be greater than most other ranches because of the men on his fathers payroll. They were fighting men, and they would pose a real problem and that kind of attrition he did not need.

 

On his way he not accosted by any of the hands which told him Elias was confident that no one would attempt to raid the ranch. Had something happened that perhaps reinforced the feeling of invulnerability his father prided the ranch as being? Good question, but riding in unmolested said something.

 

At the house he stepped down, looking the place over before marching to the door. He was aware that his father killed Layton Harris for not busting him out, so Arlen Granger was now foreman. Senseless killing of a good man, but not one he would have done. He liked both men.

 

He simply walked in without knocking. It was, after all, the house he was raised in, "Father? It's Case." He called out just as his father came into the foyer where Case stood waiting.

 

"Welcome home, son. I had heard you were back in the territory." Elias greeted, extending a hand, which Case gripped firmly, and pulled his father in for a hug, much to Elias' surprise. Seemingly to Cases as well. "Are you here for a while?"

 

"I am. A lot has changed since I was here last. Whitefish is just rubble, a couple places still standing, and, there are squatters there. Might have to do something about that." Case explained. "I thought maybe someone would have started to rebuild the place. Like my sister. She still holdin' out for that hospital I heard about?"

 

"She is. Thought I had that under control, but apparently not like I thought." Elias replied as the two walked into the front room.

 

"You should have paid more attention to her, Pa, she's a canny one." Case said. "Guyer still the law?"

 

"He is, I understand he as a couple of Territorial Marshals to help out And young Charley Wentworth as his deputy while Pike is out of town, maybe permanent."

 

"Really?" case asked, not liking the fact he could not have the two of them together to take them both, and the idea of territorial law rankled him, but he added, "Good to know. I take it Pike will be back then?"

 

"He will, but no one knows when. Seems he's well to do, silver holdings in Nevada."Elias informed him."

 

"Uh," Case grunted.

TBC

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"And my brothers? What do you hear from them? Anything?" Case asked, it had been some time since there was any word from them that he had heard.

 

"Nothing, son, not a peep. Guess they're off raising their own broods. Making their own way. Why do you ask?" Elias quizzed.

 

"No reason, just wondered since I've been away, I thought maybe they had come around. That's all. I mean, they're family and all." Case responded.

 

"Well they ain't showed their faces around here in quite a while, but I wish they would, Case. I wish they would. They'd make a difference in how this country shapes up." Elias said, meaning with his sons he believed his could change the course of things, ride rough shod over Flathead County and have things his way. Yet he had whar=-t amounted to a small army already, just no plans to use them, yet.

 

"Hell, Pa, you could do whatever you want, whenever you want. You've got the men to pull off whatever you're a mind to." Case smiled the smile of a viper, "Me and the boys I've got could throw in with you, if you wanted. I mean, hell, who'd stop us? Guyer?" The idea of hitting the Evergreen seemed to have disappeared and his idea of joining forces with his father seemed to be taking hold. He also thought that perhaps locating his brothers and bringing them home, well that alone could change everything.

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Elias, wary of his son, for good reason, liked the way he was talking. Like the way he was thinking. Yes, it was true that he could do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, which was part of his plan to attack the herds on the Lost Lake, but Case's arrival, that threw a different light on the subject. His offer to throw in with his father surprised him.

 

"That could work well getting at the Thornton's." He observed.

 

"Sure as shootin' it would. Why we could thin out their hands, take their cows, whatever we're a mind too, and who's to stop us? Not Guyer, his deputies, an' no two Territorial Marshals are gonna have much say about anything we do. To top that off, I've got three of the best bank robbers out this way. If Guyer and them are occupied with a bank job in the county, well, while the cats away, the mice will play, and maybe lay an ambush for them!"

 

"Now where'd you find them?" Elias asked, always ready to make more money by any means possible.

 

"Back south of here, they found me. They hit the banks, keep some and divvy the rest with me and the boys who do absolutely nothing. They take all the risk, and pay us for the pleasure." Case added with a grin.

 

"Now that sounds to be a sweet deal if ever I heard one. There's gotta be a catch though." Elias countered.

 

"If there is, I haven't heard it yet." Case replied.

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TBC

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So , have you been to town, or not? I mean, who's  seen Shade anyway. Maybe, like you, he just sends his men into town for his needs. And Quintin Cantrell, what about him" he was sided up with Guyer there when I was jailed, son of a bitch."

 

"Well no, I haven't had word on either. Some speculation that Shade has left the country along with that lawyer woman, Harriet Mercer, and God knows who else. Odd, but, well folks got a right to move about as they choose. Even old Scott Cory and his daughter Hannah haven't been seen. Guess he's retired." Elias presumed.

 

"Don't seem right, that many pillars of he community not around. You know, I thought sure I would have seen them at my trial, now that I think about it." Case reflected, "Say, you don't think that maybe they're not up at Lost Lake? That they skedaddled and left the place with their hands, now do ya?"

 

"It doesn't seem like Shade to do that, but I suspect it's possible, given a pretty powerful reason." Elias agreed. "I'm not sure what that might be, but I have a couple men , you know Latham and Ashworth, right? If anybody might know it would be them. Hell, I never thought to ask after them, really had no reason to."

 

"Well Pa, time we found out who's up there." Case stated.

 

"I got a man laid up who was just up there and would know where the herds are, maybe a head count on the hands, and if we're real lucky he saw Thornton or Cantrell, if the rumor isn't true of him being out of the country." Elias added.

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About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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