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    • Brendan simply sat in the bed and listened to Caroline. That was the least he could do. But at least she was saying good things about him. He would have felt proud in any other circumstances, but right now he just felt guilty, as though he had somehow had a hand in Caroline's horrible fate.   His eyes widened in surprise as she kissed him. The kiss was not deep, but it was still affectionate, although not the kind of affection he had imagined when he had imagined being kissed by Caroline. But, in a way, this was better.   He lifted a hand and put it at the back of her neck. Doing that felt all right - to him, anyway. It was the natural thing to do when someone kissed you. He knew that if his hand slid down, it would be resting between her bare shoulder blades. Instead of sliding his hand down, he let his fingers slide off the back of her neck and down onto the sheets as she pulled away.   "I've never been so glad to get a consolation prize," he said in a light-hearted tone. Because that's what the kiss had been.
    • "Oh, Miz Addy doesn't scare easy," Weedy pointed out, "she even killed a bear that killed one of her horses!"  He was real proud of her for that, even though she didn't make much of it.  "Gave the carcass to the Piutes, but she kept a couple of the claws."   He led the way into the kitchen, where there was a table that (barely) seated four, although there were only three chairs, a small stove, pantry and a sink complete with indoor pump.  "Here's some water."  Carefully, Weedy used the pump to fill a tin mug that he handed to Isiah.   "We can put the horses behind the house, and you can just stay in here when she gets home."  He looked up at the man with a grin.  "Are you the brother who pushed her in the lake or left her in the tree to find her own way down?"   @MD
    • Lucinda smiled as Clara emerged from the kitchen. The girl was so young, and so solemn, even though the expression on her face was pleasant. She had been slightly nervous about asking the new Mrs. Lutz for work - never having asked anyone for work before - but how could she be scared of a woman as young as Clara was?   "Well, actually, I was hoping that I might be able to help you." She held her hat with both hands so that it touched her knees. "My name is Lucinda Dietrich. I don't know how much Emeline told you, but I'm new in town. I helped Emeline wash dishes one night and she told me that if I couldn't find work, to come back here."   She paused, unsure of what to say next. Up until now she'd just been filling Clara in, but now she actually had to ask for work. How did one do that?   "Could...could you use an extra hand in the kitchen? Or out here?"
    • "Hello? Who is there, please?" asked Frances, raising her voice that the stranger outside might hear.    "Marshal Speed Guyer, Miss Grimes," He announced.   When she realized that it was the Marshall, she let him in immediately. "Is this about my brother?" she asked, in a voice that betrayed the fact that she would be surprised if it was about anything else.   "I'm afraid so ma'am," He was not not surprised, "Perhaps you'd like to sit down." He gave her a moment before continuing, "I'm afraid that your brother Frank got into an argument with some men at the Stardust Saloon earlier.  Unfortunately for him, he drew his pistol, and was killed." That did not come out the way he had intended. It sounded hollow and cold.   "I have what money he had on him, and some from the sale of his gun totaling thirty-five dollars." He added. "Also, there is the question of his horse and saddle. If you like, Miss Grimes, it can be sold and the money would come to you." He had hoped to make the delivery of Franks death much more smooth, but he felt a failure in that department. @Javia
    • Arabella listened with rapt attention to Mr. McVay's story about how he and his late wife had met and married. Oh, it was no heart-pounding tale of wild romance, as might be found within the yellow tinged pages of a dime novel; but neither was it the cold and stodgy retelling of some arranged twinning based upon financial dowries and settlements, as was so often the case. No, it was a nice, cosy, warm story: and Arabella smiled happily through the bulk of it.   But then came the dreaded and awful denouement.    "The winter of '74 Beth took a serious fall while I was at work. By the time I got home her leg was swollen, the house was like ice, and I was in a panic."   Arabella, who had been imagining Mr. and Mrs. McVay's idyllic life together so vividly, gasped, and her face fell.   He paused again. "I got her to the doctor who had her admitted to the hospital where they tended to her leg, but within days pneumonia set in. Not having the necessary strength to fight it, she succumbed."   "Oh, McVay..." sighed Arabella, leaning forward, eyes wide, her lower lip beginning to tremble.   He fained a smile, but his now red rimmed eyes were forming tears. "And, here I am."   The girl from Virginia, who was given to wearing her heart on her sleeve and crying at the drop of a hat at the best of times, now burst fully into great sobbing tears and running over threw her arms around the hard bitten reporter and wrapped him in a chaste and heartfelt hug.   "Oh poor Beth! And poor Mr. McVay!" she wept, before disentangling herself and wiping her nose on her sleeve. "and now you're here and... you're all... all alone in the world. Sniff."    @Flip

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Posted (edited)

Mature Content:  Nope.

With: Case, maybe some of his gang
Location: Big Flat, Montana
When: Early July 1876, Not 1896
Time of Day: Not sure yet

 

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Big Flat, Montana. Not much of a town, but then, neither had Whitefish been when he stepped in. This would be the same. Sitting on the Flathead River there were men hard at it panning, and they were showing some color. It really wasn't enough to start a rush, or a boom, but it was enough to keep the saloon, the general store, the hardware store, and even a couple of ladies of the evening busy.

 

The trial had been a joke, well, as far as he was concerned it was, Goodnight had eared whatever it was his father paid him to get Case off with a genuine slap on the wrists, and, a pocket change fine. He wanted to stay in town, just to rub Guyers nose in it, but that would certainly have gotten him killed. If not by Guyer, certainly by Deputy Pike. Dying was certainly not in his plans, so, he decided to relocate to somewhere that offered possibilities for he and the boys. Big Flat was that place.

 

The first order of business was to ensconce in the town and get some of the prominent locals, and there were a couple, thinking he was exactly what they needed. A good honest marshal for their fledgling town of four buildings and perhaps a dozen tents. Someone to keep the peace. And that would be  the man that single-handedly ran off the Guthrie Gang. No small feat the town believed. Though the gang had not killed anyone, nor had they beaten anyone, what they had done was intimidate and threaten. They usual tactic in gaining what they wanted. Of course, they were not above killing or beating anyone, there had just been no need. So the blacksmith made him up a star, attached a pin, and presto! Case Steelgrave was Big Flat's Town Marshal.

 

Slowly the rest of Case's crowd filtered into town as the town itself slowly grew. By the time he'd been in town a month, it had grown to twice it's size, one hundred hearty souls. Men were panning in the Flathead River and show some color, not enough to start a rush, or a boom, but enough to support the saloon, the general store, the hardware store and even a couple soiled doves. Big Flat was beginning to prosper, as was Case and his crowd. And to help that along, Billy Barnes, flush with cash, bought the saloon which had no name, Case fixed that, calling it the Buckhorn Saloon, which had everything, whiskey, women all two of them, card games and card sharps to go with them. And Dyer Howe to ensure everyone behaved.

 

Case Steelgrave was once again in business.

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Billy Barnes & Dyer Howe

TBC

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Just six weeks later...

It is a fact that no two places are the same, no two places tolerate the same things that another place might just be fine with. Now Whitefish had been a town that Marshal Case Steelgrave could ride roughshod over, rule with an iron fist and do as he damn well pleased. Of course that was before Mother Nature decided she'd had enough of Whitefish and destroyed it!

 

Big Flat Montana was never destined to be another Whitefish, it was a mining camp more than a town. And like most mining camps of the day it would boom and go bust. Yet while it seemed to prosper under the Steelgrave rule, there was an undercurrent of anger and frustration with Case and his friends. An undercurrent that began to spread and to swell until by mid-August the unrest exploded on the streets of Big Flat, all four of them.

 

Dyer Howe and several of  the gang could read the handwriting on the wall, the miners and business people had had enough and would take the law into their own hands. They mounted up and rode out as fast as their horses could ride!

 

Case, being no fool slipped out of Big Flat in the middle of the night, relieving the assay office of a dozen sacks of gold destined for the smelters in Virginia City. Gold he could sell off anywhere in the state. But he was not headed just anywhere, no, he had a score or two to settle up north. He would take his time, there was no rush, he would get there when he did, and then do what he had a mind to do. Simple as that.

 

With the gang already on the run, Billy Barnes, not the sharpest pencil in the box, stayed a bit to long before realizing the party was over. They came for him in broad daylight, drug him from the Buckhorn Saloon, and promptly, unceremoniously, hung him.

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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Spring Creek Montana, a trading post of sorts, dependent on the local Flathead Indians and occasional white travelers, miners, and trappers for it's survival. There were no rooms, no saloon, no cafe, just a small trading post. There was plenty of ground to set up camp, plenty of game to hunt, and cold water from the creek. It would have to do.

 

Toole, who never seemed to have another name, either first or last, and Dyer Howe led the rest of the gang north to this spot knowing that Case would be along. For Toole, the destination was fixed, the hide out north-east of the remains of Whitefish, which had served as the gang's headquarters and base of operations. From there they could strike at the smaller ranches and rustle what cattle they could. And, there would be plenty available.

 

Guthrie was talking stagecoaches and banks but, it was clear, they would need a place to spend the money. They would be marked men in Kalispell unless Case took out the Marshal and his deputy, figuring the rest of the town would just roll over once that happened. Then too, there were the three that watched over Leah Steelgrave, Bannister, McKenny, and Santee. Three tough men, but they had all dealt with tough men before, it was simply part and parcel of the lifestyle.

 

Worst case scenario, hire on with old man Steelgrave's outfit. They would have a plan when Case joined them, and would be soon.

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              Toole                                Guthrie                        Howe

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Posted (edited)

Case, who had left ahead of the others had to double back to meet up with his men. He was angry that Big Flat had fallen apart on them, it certainly was not how he had planned it, but, it was the way it went. He was angry, yes, but he also looked at it as it was what it was and he couldn't change it. Unlike his father who would often try to change the unchangeable.

 

He was well aware that Toole would see rustling as a way to bring in cash, and supply themselves with meat. He wasn't against that, and there were still the contacts in Canada to buy the rustled cattle with no questions asked. He considered it a good move, and he would see what the laws response was, and thus be able to gauge the strength of law enforcement in the county, if there was any at all. He would reach his men before nightfall.

 

Then, there was Guyer.

 

 

 

Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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As luck would have it, his horse threw a shoe, forcing him to stop and replace it. Not the toughest job, but on that took time done right, and he was dead against slipshod work on an animal he may have to rely on for his life.  So he took the time and realized he'd be with the men come morning.

 

He quickly set up a makeshift camp with a a hat full of fire, his bedroll laid out, and a couple of other comforts. He stretched out, considering his dinner option, jerked beef in a tin cup with water and hard tack. Not the best, but it would do.He knew he was low on supplies, and he's have to make that right. He knew the boys were at Spring Creek and there would be the necessities available.

 

"Hello the camp!" A voice called out, "I'm peaceable."

 

"Come ahead then." Case called back.

 

Out of the brush stepped a man he's not seen before, "Names Marley, Dade Marley."

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Edited by Flip (see edit history)

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"Dade Marley is it? You got a brother name'a Bill?" Case asked, not bothering to either pull his pistol or get up.

 

"Do." Marley answered, "Know 'em?"

 

"Some, watched him swing. Spent time in jail together before the trial." Came the answer.

 

"Figgered. That was a big'a mistake as we ever made. Got away, but, I'm thinkin' I'm the only one that did." Dade confessed.

 

"Light an' set. Coffee's on as are the beans. I'm Case Steelgrave. Got some boys back down the trail, but I could use another man, seems we have some common ground. We're headed back north near Kalispell, maybe do some rustlin', got buyers up Canada way so we don't hold 'em long. And from there we can branch out, stage coaches, army payrolls, now that the fort's manned regularly. Banks, but a ways away from Kalispell.  Far as I know they just got Guyer and Pike, town law, no county Sheriff, but that could change." He looked at Marley. "Plenty to do if you want to throw in with us."

 

"Beats the hell outta what I got goin' at the moment. Believe you just got yourself another man Case Steelgrave. Pleased to make yer acquaintance." Marley agreed with a smile.

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It was the next morning,  which dawned cold and dark, with heavy black clouds hanging over the country. Both men were rolling up the 'soogans' in the tarps that served as the beds ground cover. To roll it up quickly would trap all manner of debris in the 'packers,' which were pants, shirts long-johns, what have you, inside the blankets. That would make for a number of uncomfortable nights on the trail, so slow and careful were the watch words.

 

Breakfast was coffee and jerked beef as they donned whatever was handy to keep them warm. Both wore chaps, but once the leather got cold, it stayed that way. Neither was talkative as they sipped the hot liquid. There was no telling if rain was coming, if not, it would miss a great chance!

 

Case got to his feet and kicked dirt on the fire, then dumped what coffee there was left in his cup as he said. "Best we get in the saddle, couple ours back to pick up the rest of 'em."

 

"Sure thing." Marley agreed, tossing the remainder of his coffee on the now dead fire.  Both men went to saddling their horses, this was not going to be a day for travel, but there would be no place to get inside out of the weather anywhere close by, so riding was what they had to look forward to.

 

Once saddled they mounted up and headed out to meet up with the rest of the gang, who undoubtedly would be surly on a morning like the one they faced. Maybe a day, day and a half  to get to the hideout outside what remained of Whitefish.

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TBC

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There was moisture in the air, and that alone made things just a bit more miserable. The leaded clouds hung heavy and dark and though it was not as cold as one might suspect, it was cold enough to make the long ride that much more dismal ride north, and that meant that the men would be sullen and morose. But they needed to move, there could be no doubt about that.

 

That hideout was big enough to hold he and his men, and it offered refuge against the weather, that is if it followed them all the way there, which it might. Then again it could be nice and sunny in the Kalispell-Whitefish part of the territory. True, Whitefish was gone, which made that part of the country even safer than it had been when Case ruled the town. Weather wasn't always the same everywhere, except come winter and the snows.

 

The two men rode into the camp, where the men had already saddled up and were waiting by the fire, a good sized one. And, at first sight, they were exactly as Case had thought they would be, sulky. He took a deep breath as The men walked toward him and Marley.

 

"Who the hell is he?" Toole asked without so much as a 'howdy.'

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TBC

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"Him? Name's Marley, Dade Marley. His brother swung for the bank job gone to shit in Kalispell. He's with us now."  Case explained.

 

Howdy," Dade said with that ever-present smile of his.

 

"Yeah, sure. We're ready for whatever you want to do next." Toole said flatly. "Like get out of the cold if it don't run all the way north!"

 

"Alright!" Case shouted, "Boys this here's Dade Marley, he's ridin' with us. Now, let's get the hell outta here!" That was all the men needed, shelters came down quickly. The ground sheets that had been pieced together to build their shelter were quickly taken apart and each returned to it's owner as bedrolls were done up and tied behind the cantles on the back housing of the saddles. In a matter of minutes, the camp fire was doused, the twelve men were mounted and riding out, headed north and hopefully clear skies.

image.jpeg.78bb6886aaf6f6a9e451cb8bccc0e5ef.jpegimage.jpeg.2045f4da88d74a1188507af693f76208.jpeg

TBC

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image.jpeg.d22697045e4b633dbea35bf5844fa397.jpeg

Riding north, a group of angry men looking to continue their life of crime on the frontier, angry at the weather, angry at their lot in life, not that they would admit that to anyone, let alone themselves. They were the dregs, for the most part, but the best of the dregs. The top men at what they did.

 

Led by Case Steelgrave who was on a mission of revenge, not really sure of who, or what, was the object of that revenge. His father? The town of Kalispell? Marshal Guyer? Even his sister? The fact of the matter was, Case Steelgrave did not even realize he was operating out of revenge. The tenure in Whitefish had seen him as the iron willed leader of  his men, and of the entire town. He did as he pleased. Though it was unheard of for a gang, any gang, to take a town, any town, by force on the frontier, Case simply took it over quietly and effectively, as he had done in Whitefish, and as he had begun in Big Flat.

 

He was not dissuaded by the recent setback in the mining town, not at all. Sometimes, he knew, things did not go as planned, or as desired. Often, it was simply time to move on and start over.  That is what his plan was. But, there was no Whitefish to shelter him and his men, they would have to rely on the hideout they had used over the previous years. Perhaps build on if necessary. Any plans for Kalispell did not include trying to muscle in, Guyer had seen to that. Exposed him as an outlaw. That was a debt to be collected at some point, carefully, and discretely.

 

And, there were other communities out there with banks ripe for the plucking, ranches with cattle, ripe for the taking, not to mention stagecoaches to rob. There was plenty to do, and he had the men to do it, all of it, whenever he was a mind to. And, with no county Sheriff, at least not to his knowledge, there would be no posses to contend with. The smaller towns, Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Creston, Big Fork, or Sommers, they lay within in Flathead County, appearing to be safe bets.

TBC

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Posted (edited)

His band now numbering and even dozen, would be a formidable gang in almost any situation, committing almost any crime. However, Case was not dumb enough to think they could ride into any town and simply take it over. Too many men in these places had fought in the war, against Indians, as well as other outlaws like his men, and were hardly going to kowtow to a bunch toughs without a bloody fight.

 

Big Flat had been different, Whitefish had been different. They slowly took over those towns. He no longer had the time to waste easing into anything. Now it was strike hard and fast! In and out quickly, when it involved a town. Rustling was another matter altogether. Perhaps easier that a bank in that there might be one or two riders to deal with instead of a whole town where even the women could shoot.

 

Toole was still his top lieutenant, and he had contacted some of other men he had met along the way and felt he could trust. That was before he'd been forced out of Big Flat, but he sensed it coming and the would pick them up along the way north. Men on the dodge met men on the dodge, even if Case was free to go wherever he wanted, he had a knack for finding hard men. Once they connected the group would number some fifteen desperadoes. It made Case smile.

TBC

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Boyer's Crossing was just that, where two trails intersected and Hiram Boyer thought to establish a saloon with rooms where travelers might spend the night. Hopeful too that the stage-lines might also use the spot to change horses, which would be lucrative for him. That never came to fruition.

 

The saloon enjoyed a brief success when a small silver strike caused a sort of boom, but it petered out faster than a bottle between two drunks. Waiting for one case Steelgrave was Walt Shannon, Charlie Whitmore, and Johnny Knox. Three more men to add to the gang but these three were specialists, it there was such a thing. They took banks at night! Although Shannon and Knox were killers, Whitmore could be homicidal at the drop of a hat.

 

Perhaps Case might have decided against those three at one time, but men who took banks at night, that was all but unheard of, and those assets would add to the men that already rode with him. So, they waited, and Case and company rode toward them as fast as they could.

TBC

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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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