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    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!
    • List in hand, they made their way back to town and to the Anderson's Mercantile where they laid out their list of needs. John and Mary Agnes looked over the list and began adding prices, plus shipping where it was warranted.   "So, you're in the mining business Marshal?" John asked.   "We are." Alice replied with a wide proud smile on her face. Speed just looked at her.   "Amos here found a property to good to pass up, so I bought it myself." Speed said, "Actually two properties, the other on is off to the west, but this one is just north of the Evergreen Ranch a couple of miles."   "Ah that would be the Henshaw mine. Sad about his wife passing on so suddenly. Life can be hard out here, it was just too hard for Martha Henshaw, though she tried as hard as anyone could." Mary Agnes said. "Most all of what you have here we have in stock. Most all of this was on Henshaw's list as well, he just quit before he paid for it. I believe we can give you a good price on the machinery out back. Right John?"   "Yes we can, The fact is Speed I'll let you have it at our cost, plus the shipping expenses, of course. Be good to free up that room back there. Let me see here at my cost, yes, well, it looks to be just under three thousand dollars, without the things we have in stock that wasn't Henshaw's."   Fair enough John, and we appreciate it. Now, if you'll let me get up to the bank, we want to use their money until we get started, and then we'll settle up."   "Makes sense to me, it's what we did. Hated those monthly payments, but it worked for us." John agreed.   "We'll be back." Speed promised.

The Ride To The Rafter A


Henry S. Guyer II
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Mature Content: Nope

With: Henery S. Guyer & Alice Fletcher
Location: East of Kallispell
When: Early July 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon into evening

 

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The pair walked out of the Lickskillet, Speed holding the door for Alice. Stepping down to the hitch rail and untying their mounts, then swinging into the saddle. They turned their horses while Speed said, "Need to tell Pike I'm gonna be out of town." They trotted their horses to the Municipal Building where Pike came out to meet the pair. When Speed told him of his plans,  Pike nodded and smiled. Seeing Alice was reason enough for Speeds absence.

 

Once out of town, they turned east where the Rafter A would be. They fell into a conversation that was much lighter than the one from the cafe. It began with him asking, "Well, how big is this spread of yours?"

 

"A hundred acres, give or take, but it's all open range out that way. Pa wants to build a herd, but he needs money to get that done. Money cattle and for the hands to work the herd, and the place, money for the food that will feed us and them, money for a stock of ammunition, just in case, this is still wild country and aside from Indians, there's rustlers, and other desperadoes to consider."

 

"True, it takes money for everything, but a couple good finds and Amos will be in pretty good shape. Truth of the matter is, if he runs across a man that's wanted, well, that will deter him from mineral hunting."

 

She laughed at Speeds words concerning her father. "He's a man hunter, give him one to hunt ,and he'll be after him. Of course a couple of good rewards might set him up with the cattle. But I don't know what he would do, really."

 

"He gave his word he'd be headed west for timber rights, and if we can turn a couple of them at a profit, well, his commission would be substantial. I've several men who to this point have found some success with claims and other resources that are in demand in the east. That's good money in their pockets. And those are the ones we, as a company, are after." He disclosed.

 

Alice looked at him and asked point blank, "Why are you wearing a badge instead of out hunting these resources that would make you rich?"

 

He cracked a smile, "I sort of fell into the Town Marshal job, but I opened the business and hired men, which even with me out looking, I would have done anyway."

 

"So then, you would as soon risk your life for what? A hundred, hundred and fifty dollars a month than to be out striking it rich?" She argued. "I mean, you just said my Pa could easily set himself up with a couple of finds, but you'd rather nursemaid the town?"

 

"I get a handsome stipend from my partner in New York, and the town needs a lawman." He responded.

 

"And that's better than having your own, what? Mine? Timber business?" She queried.

 

To that he laughed, "The right thing comes along, well, I'll buy that for myself, and then continue with both, whatever it is, and the business."

 

Topping out on a knoll, the valley to the river opened up, and there sat the house below. The beginnings of a ranch.

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TBC

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

"That's it." She said with a note of pride in her voice. "Not much right now, but we've plans for it Pa and I." With that said, she looked at him. Watching his response to what she said, and what lay just below "A man could do well on a place like that with a good woman at his side to make it what it could be."

 

"You're just not real subtle are you Alice Fletcher?" He said suddenly. "Yes, that place has all the potential anyone could want, but you just said I should be out seeking my fortune, in the next breath you're inviting me to make this my home and develop it, like Pike's doing with Em on his spread. So which is it Miss Fletcher? What is it you're after."

 

"Subtle? I suppose not, but Mister Guyer, neither of us is getting any younger, and there's no sense in the two of us thinking of one another when we are right here. It is what we make of it from this point on, Speed. Rancher, businessman, lawman, no matter. You and I is what matters." Came her response. "You and I. Then you don't have to think of me, you'll have me, right here, next to you as I am now."

 

"That surely sounds like a proposal Alice. And you're right, one hundred percent right on all counts. We're here, in Kalispell, together. We have found one another after a long spell, whether we were actively seeking one another is beside the point, and I would think not very likely, but, here we are. I'd say our feelings are known to one another  and  there are steps that surely need to be taken." Speed agreed with an explanation .

 

"Then we need to ride down to the place so you can have a proper look." She suggested.

 

'Funny how things change.' He thought.

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He had yet to dismount, sitting his horse in the yard looking over the lad from a different vantage point the from above, although it was not all that high up, it was a different look. Here he could tell what she and Amos had.

 

A nice place. Plenty of range, the corrals would need some attention, the former owners had obviously not been cattle people. Looking he could see where there had been an attempt to put in crops, of what he could not tell, and whether or not they had been successful or not would remain a mystery. The house might need a handful of shingles, maybe  a nail or two here and there, but otherwise it looked to have been built to last.

 

"He stepped down, flipping his reins over the hitch rail, "Nice place, not much needs doing as far as I can see." The house he stood before was the standard box. but a room had been added on at some point, as he walked around. "Looks to be plenty big enough for the time being, that is if you had plans to add on."

 

She looked at him, still evasive. "Yes it is, and yes, we may find a need to do just that, you and I. Speed Guyer. You can sashay around the facts all you want mister, fact is, you have a decision that needs making. You say all the right things, that's for sure, but you avoid some pretty important ones while you're at it."

 

It was then he took her in his arms, something he had only dreamed of, and kissed her hard on the mouth. Not a peck, but a full on kiss. he slowly pulled back. "Reckon I've made that decision Alice Fletcher." And he kissed her again, her arms encircling his neck in response.

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"I thought it would be like that, kissing you." She said as they pulled away from one another. "And this decision that you've made? That would go beyond a couple of kisses I take it."

 

Speed smiled at her, "Yes Ma'am, it does." He responded. "I plan to court you properly, the way a man should. Perhaps six months or a year." But he could not hold the straight face. "as forward as you are, I doubt I could hold out that long for proprieties sake. But at the moment I'm not prepared to ask you to marry me. I certainly didn't expect to be discussing our future today. But very soon. Very soon."

 

"Oh, so you've taken advantage of a spinster out here in the middle of nowhere, and you plan to just ride off and leave everything dangling?" Came her retort. "Speed Guyer, I'm surprised at you, and here I had such a high opinion of you."

 

"Dangling? I wouldn't call it dangling, Alice, not at all. I've yet to ask your father for your hand, and well, I mean, what if he were to say no? Dash our plans before they even begin?"

 

"Plans? What plans? We've made no plans that I recall." She countered, looking at him apprehensively.

 

"Why, our plans to marry. A honeymoon, maybe stocking this place with cattle like you and Amos want. You know, those plans, the ones for our future."

 

"I must have missed those, being delirious from your kisses. But please, do go on. Perhaps embellish on them a little, convince me that I was agreeable to these plans we made." She said, smiling as she looked up to him., waiting on the inevitable.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speed looked at her and a smile crept over his face, his eyes perhaps twinkling a bit. She had him and he knew it. There was no doubt about what was to come. There was probably no way to avoid it, well, not unless he mounted up and rode out of the country. And that certainly was not going to happen.

 

"The way I see it Miss Fletcher, excuse me, Missus Fletcher, I have yet to properly propose to you, and for that I am sorry. In my own defense, I was unaware that I would be overcome by you, and that talks of plans, and of marriage seemed to have gotten out of hand, perhaps moving faster than either of us intended." He  explained contritely. Then the smile replaced the serious look  and he went on. "I have no ring to give you today, but I will have come tomorrow." He dropped to one knee. "Alice Fletcher, I proclaim my love for you here and now, and ask you, will you consent to become my wife?"

 

Alice smiled as she looked into his eyes, "A ring? When you bring it, I will wear it, and yes Mister Guyer, I would be honored to become your wife. And, what's more, don't think for a moment tat you need to give up Marshaling on my account. You seem to forget what my father has made a living at these past years. I have no plans to try and change anything about you. I want you just as you are."

 

"Well," He started to say, just as he drew him up to his feet, "The job, either one is just that. I like being the Marshal, serving the town, and, I like my business, serving the company I am part of. What I will love is building the place to what we want it to be, and a family if that's what you want. But..." She kissed him then.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As surprising as the sudden kiss was, the pleasure in it far exceeded the surprise. He instinctively put his arms around her and drew her closer to him before the kiss ended, he held her for a long moment. "I always wondered how that would feel." He said softly.

 

"And?" She probed.

 

"Does wonderful cover it?" He asked as they drew apart. "I would allow that destiny has taken a hand in all of this. I mean, you and your Pa were far away from here, across the country, and yet, here you are. And, here we are."

 

"To that I would agree, and for that I am grateful." She replied. "Would you agree that we were meant to be? Even though I was married, even though I was as close as Great Falls, it never occurred to me that you were not back east somewhere, married, raising a family, all of that. Yes, destiny is a good word for it, and I'd not change a thing as this is how it is supposed to be."

 

"It is." And he kissed her in reply.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"So Mister Guyer, Town Marshal and businessman. What now?" She asked looking into his eyes. "And what is it you will do 'bout your careers? You know you don't have to make a choice, well unless you want to. I'm saying I can live with you being Marshal, It's not like the place is overrun with badmen. And your business? That wouldn't be a problem at all either."

 

"You're  pretty accommodating, Miss Fletcher, I should say Missus Fletcher. That will keep me in town quite a lot, you realize that, right?" He asked in response. "I'd be little to no help with the ranch running both offices, even with Pike backing me up. But if this is really something you want to do?"

 

"Yes, yes it is." Was her answer, "I know that you will be in town a lot, like everyday, but you'll be home every night, and with a couple of hands to help out around here, and Pa when he drifts in, we'll get by until things change."

 

"Come fall I could always lose the election, or maybe by then I either don't run, or drop out. Pike and I have talked about that. He said he wouldn't stay on if I were to quit. That would be a real blow to the community, or, so it seems. A change might be good." He suggested. "Now the minerals business, that's some dfferent. The difference is, regular hours, and Ada can handle the place if I'm not there."

 

She studied him a long moment, even stepped back to take in the man. "You are a good man Speed Guyer. You value the town, I hear that in your voice. You're not worried that you could lose an election, and you seem to have the mineral business under control. I don't know what more I could ask. You seem to know what your priorities are."

 

"And, now we add you to those priorities." She put her finger to his lips.

 

"A nice place to be." She said softly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

He studied her a long moment, here was just possibly everything he had ever wanted, whether he knew it or not.  It seemed as if he could do no wrong, that anything and everything he wanted was right in front of him and that was when he jerked awake, sitting bolt upright in his bed above the mining office.

 

But he had met her on the trail, had lunch at the Lickskillet he remembered that plain as day. That they walked out together, She had mounted up, just what happened after that was a bit blurry. He was at the stable, yes, at the stable tending to his horse and that was when he was hit from behind.

 

Caleb Barnes! That was who did it, saw him plain!

 

"Mister Guyer?" It was Ada, "Mister Guyer, your horse was recovered outside of town south of here, but not Caleb and any money he might have taken are long gone. Doctor Danforth left some headache powder for you and advise me to look in on you from time to time and make sure you were alright." He heard her moving about on the landing. "If you need anything shout out."

 

"Thank you Ada, believe I'll be alright." He touched his head, toward the back where he'd been hit, there was a lump, but no bandage, so there was no open wound, his hat just might not fit as well as he liked it for a few days, but such is life, not to mention a really great dream...

 

End of thread~

 

 

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