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    • "Ain't hardly nothin' to do but hunker down till she blows herself out." The man squatted, "Rance, is the name. Been watchin' you, doin' a fine job. You'll do Wheeler, you'll do. Try and get some rest, might end up bein' a long night. Least you won't be ridin' drag come daylight, there's a plus for ya."   He stood and made his way to his shelter to await the grub that was coming.   @Bongo
    • Meanwhile, in the main house, Reb Culverson was visiting with his old friend Fightin' Joe Hooker, who was the ramrod for the fledgling Montana Territory Stockgrowers Association, Northern District. He was there to convince ranchers to join and support the organization, hoping it would take root.   "And just what good is this here association ya got started?" Reb asked.   "It'll give us a voice in the territorial government, Reb, that's what it'll do. Once that happens we'll be able to git us some sortta range police to protect the herds, and the ranchers." Hooker responded. "Rustlin' might not be the threat it was, but you know as well as me, it can come back."   "You get anywhere with Lost Lake, 'er that cow thief on the Evergreen?" Reb asked.   "Can't say as I have, startin' with the smaller spreads an' workin' my way up to them two. I'm well aware of both spreads, and the men that own 'em."   -------------0------------   They swept down out of the trees whooping and hollering and firing off a couple of shots as they closed on both sides of a big group of cattle, just as they had planned. The  lone night hawk knew he had no chance of stopping the raiders, or of saving the cattle while he watched the chunk of the herd moving toward and then into the trees at a run.  He emptied his Colt at the raiders, the whipped out his Winchester  and levered several shots in the area where they had disappeared.   He could not know that one of his shots had found its mark. A man that had just joined took a slug in his back and toppled from his horse. Toole and the men continued to drive the cattle toward the dry riverbed as planned. It was an acceptable loss.   The sound of the shots, mere pops at the distance to the main house and the bunk house alerted everyone, and men boiled out of the bunk house guns in hand, only to watch the night man shooting after the rustlers.
    • Out on the boardwalk they stopped, "So we managed ta git a deal right off, thet's good, it is. Now all we gotta do is convince ol' Wentworth to free up the money so's ya don't have ta use yers right off." Amos commented, "Seems a fair deal but like you say, minin's not no sure thing."   "John and Mary are good folks. It's not a sure thing, but you saw the vein, went to the floor and it looks rich," Speed responded. "And it looks to be wider where they stopped digging. I can't wait to get it assayed to see what we've really got our hands on."   "And it should assay out pretty good from the looks of it, though I know so little about copper ore." Alice admitted.   "Well, you saw the copper ore, which is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding rock due to its reddish, mottled appearance. And that surrounding rock is granite which is not easy to work, but it can be done, and, if we have hit it, the veins could be as much as a mile long, a mile wide, and a mile deep!" Speed explained with a grin. "With that equipment we'll be able to not only dig deeper, we'll be able to tunnel, and we have the property to do just that."   "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Amos exclaimed. Might oughtta buy up what ground ya can aound 'er, jest ta be certain!"   "First things first, let get on up to the bank." Speed suggested.
    • Justus was more than happy to have a chance to get out of the bulk of the wind, although he knew this was far from over.  And he knew they'd be hacking up dirt for days.     With the picket lines set, he moved over to help put up the shelters for the night, pretty quickly deciding that it was a fool's errand...they were all going to be miserable until this let up.   Squinting, he looked out toward the herd, not able to see but a few in the dust, it looked like they had been swallowed by the big, dirty cloud, and weren't even there.  In fact, he had the eerie sensation that all that was left in the world was this small circle of men and horses.   "Ya need me ta do anythin' else?" he called over the din of the wind.   @Flip
    • Doc Gilcrest walked into the bunck house to see Carson on his feet, dressed. "I may not be able to ride, but I can darn sure walk some. Tired of layin' in that bed."   "I reckon you kin do thet, sure 'nough. No body said ya had ta lie there if'n ya didn't want to. Yer stitched up plenty good. Jest leave thet hog leg where she's hangin' fer now, don't need the weight in thet wound."   "So anybody come sniffin' around?" He asked.   "Not so's you'd notice. There's four men down there keepin' watch, but it don't look like Lost Lake's lost any sleep over their man, that is if'n they even know he's gone." Gilcrest offered.   "He seen that brand an' went ta shootin'!" Carson reflected. "I jest shot straighter. Had no choice in the matter. Fool could'a rode on, but, well, that just ain't what happened. Hell of a mess."   "Oh I dunno. So far nobodies come huntin', the boss ain't upset over it, neither's Granger, so you got nothin' ta worry on 'cept gettin' better."   "I should'a been more careful, but maybe there just wasn't no way to be more careful. Up on the side of that mountain is the purdiest view a man could look at. You can see fer miles, see right where they got them cows of theirs. Now that ain't gonna be no easy matter to get to any of 'em. They're deep on Lost Lake range. Gonna be hard to get at, an' worse to get out. We'll lose some men tryin' this one, that's for sure!'   Gilcrest rubbed his chin. It wasn't like Carson to go on about the prospects of a job.

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Mature Content: No

With: Charlie Wentworth, Marshal Guyer (and maybe Deputy Pike)
When: Early July 1876
Time of Day: Morning

 

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Charlie took a deep breath as he approached the door to the Marshal's office.  There had been rumours flying around town for weeks now that the Marshal might have to get himself another deputy now that Barnabas Pike had a wife and a ranch to look after.  He wasn't sure when he decided to find out if the Marshal would be interested in taking him on and teaching the ropes, all he knew was that he wanted to give it a try.  The appeal of working as a ranch hand had dimmed and he was ready to try something else.

 

In his mind, he had already worked out that he would do what he could to get the job, even if it meant a cut in pay or not getting paid at all.  It would take some time for him to learn the trade of being a lawman and he could think of no better teachers than Guyer and Pike.

 

As he opened door, he could see Guyer over at his desk.  "Good morning, Marshall.  Do you have time for a talk?"

 

@Flip

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Lost in thought about Pike and Em pulling out for their honeymoon to wherever they might be headed, he was startled by the young man's greeting.

 

"Sure enough." Speed replied looking him over, thinking he had seen him before, but not in a troublemaker type situation, he just knew that he had seen the younger man in passing somewhere at sometime. "So, what brings you in this morning? You in trouble, or are you having some trouble I might be able to help with?"

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"No, no trouble," Charlie said as he held his hand, "The name's Charlie Wentworth."

 

Since this was the man he was hoping to work for, Charlie decided to get straight to the point.  "There's been talk around town that you might be interested in getting some more help now that your deputy is married.  I've come to find out if that is true and if it is would consider taking me on as one of your deputies."

 

@Flip

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Speed smiled. "Well, yes as a matter of fact, I am looking to replace him while Pike's gone." He remembered the name and it was associated with drunkenness. not that it mattered if the young man was willing to do something about it, not that there was much more than his taking the pledge.

 

"I ever have you in jail, Charlie? Even overnight?" he asked. "Not that an overnight stay to sober up would hold you back from the job, I just need to know. If not, then we'll forget I asked."

 

"Now, the job pays seventy-five dollars a month, we pay for your ammunition, provide shotguns and rifles, if need be. We tend to work long hours sometimes, split duties, make rounds in the evening. Rarely are we ever out late. Still sound like something you'd be interested in? Oh, and yes, you could be shot at, on occasion."

@JulieS

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"No sir, I've never been in jail.  Thankfully, I've had family to take of me when...well when I've indulged too much," he replied.  Knowing he would have to be up front with the Marshall, he continued, "The last time I slept it off in a barn and found out later that I had gotten myself into a contract with Lorenzo Crabbe.  That's the only thing, that you might not like.  I have to fight in an organised match some time within the next month or so."

 

Going over to a vacant chair, Charlie sat down and looked up at Guyer, "The last I got drunk was the last time.  A few things have happened because of my drinking that I have cause to regret and I aim not to let them happen again.  All I can say, is that I'll do my best to make sure that you don't regret taking me on."

 

@Flip

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"A fight? Well, I don't suppose there's anything illegal about that. Lorenzo Crabbe? Now that name sounds familiar, not sure from where or why, just does." Speed  gave pause. "So, now, the drink problem, sounds to me like you've learned a lesson some never do about it."

 

"I'm no teetotaler and I've no problem with it unless it's a problem, mine or anyone else's in this office. So long as it doesn't become one here, you've nothing to worry about, so that can be the last we ever mention it." Speed looked at the young man, then said, "Ever kill a man?"

@JulieS

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Charlie shook his head, "No sir, I haven't had any call to do so.  I know that it's part of the job and when...if the time comes I don't know how I'll react.  All I know is that I'll do my best to avoid killing someone if I can.  I promise you that I'll never shoot any on purpose."

 

He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts.  He did really want to give this a go.  Maybe this was he was meant to be and if it wasn't, then he could look for something else to do.  All he knew was that the life of a sedate rancher or farmer was not for him...at least for the foreseeable future.

 

"Marshall Guyer, all I can say is that try my best and learn as much as I can from you," he said humbly, "Thank you for giving me this opportunity."

 

@Flip

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"Well Charlie, tell you what," He slid open a drawer and took out a badge. "I'll hire you on a trial basis. Meanin' we'll give this a try for the next month, and see how it goes. If you work out, we'll take you on permanent." He paused a moment, "Not sure Pike'll be back as a deputy. Since he's married and building that ranch of his there's just no telling what he'll want to do."

 

He smiled, but there was already a sense of loss, and a sense of gain. Of course, what would happen if he didn't run for re-election? But that was a ways off, and he would have Charlie to train as best as he could.

 

"You ever do much shooting? Target shooting, or hunting, that sort of shooting?" He planned to take him out to where he and Pike liked to practice, make use of that paid for ammunition, see what he could do. Of course, it would be different against a man than bottles or cans, but it would give him an idea of what Charlie could do.

@JulieS

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"I've done some shooting but I guess I can always use the practice," Charlie answered, "I don't expect to become some sort of gunslinger but I would like to know how to defend myself if I ever get in a position that I need to."

 

Leaning over the desk, Charlie picked up the badge and twirled in around in his fingers for a moment before shining it on his pants leg.  He then pinned it to his vest and looked over to the sheriff.  "I guess all that's left to do for now is to swear me in."

 

@Flip

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Speed smiled at the young man as he handled the tin badge, shining it, then pinning it on. "Raise your, oh, hold on." He opened the lower drawer and produced a bible. "Now, left hand on the 'Good Book,' and raise the right hand. Then repeat after me,"

 

"I, state your name, swear to uphold the laws of Kalispell , the County of Flathead, and the Territory of Montana to the best of my ability, so help me God." Not a long winded, flowery oath by any means, but direct, simple, and complete.

@JulieS

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Placing his hand on the Bible, he replied, "I, Charlie Wentworth, swear to uphold the laws of Kalispell, the County of Flathead, and the Territory of Montana to the best of my ability, so help me God."

 

Now that he was a sworn deputy, Charlie felt a sense of pride in that he was accomplishing something that might turn out to be worthwhile.  Maybe the Reverend was right in saying that sometimes you have go to through a bad time to get to the good.  From this day on, he was determined to make sure that he would be the best lawman he could possibly be. All that was left was to tell his family.

 

After taking a quick glance around the room and back to the Marshall, he wondered what to do next.  The most logical thing to do was ask, "So, do I start now or would tomorrow be fine?"

 

@Flip

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"You need to get something done? Not a problem, Charlie, do what you need to." Speed said with a smile. "So as of four minutes ago, you are now on duty. You are now my Deputy, so anything happens, we in it together. That being said, if you really need to be off the rest of the day, sure thing, I doubt there'll be any threat to the peace if you're not here. Fact is, this is generally a quiet job."

 

Speed was really easy to work with. A tour of the building, upstairs and down, that sort of thing, could be done anytime, If he wanted to show off his badge, that was alright too. He was young, and being a Deputy was important, and somewhat impressive, to the fairer sex, if in fact that was his plan.

@JulieS

 

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Contrary to what Marshall Guyer was thinking, Charlie had no intention of using his new position to attract the fairer sex.  For now, all he was interested in doing was getting his life straightened out and learning to curb his desire for strong liquor.  Having a safe job like a ranch hand was all good if you intended to have a safe life which included marrying and raising a family.  Now that Clara was out of the picture, Charlie felt that he wanted to try other things and he found something that stuck.  Hopefully, being a lawman was it.

 

"The only thing that needs to be done is to tell my family, especially my mother.  The last thing I would want is for her to find out about this second-hand," he replied, "As for it being quiet, I reckon that might be a good thing while I'm learning the job. When or if a storm does comes, I hope I'll be up to it."

 

@Flip

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Speed suppressed a laugh, but could not contain the smile. "No, I didn't mean you keeping quiet, not at all. It's the town that's quiet, most of the time. Fact is, trouble is actually rare around here, you'll do a lot of making rounds, talking with the merchants, folks on the boardwalks, that sort of thing. And maybe a fight to break up on Saturday night."  Though even that was uncommon anymore.

 

No, Kalispell was a quiet little wide spot in the road. Even with the initial influx of folks from Whitefish, that had dissipated once the thaw took hold. People moved on, some stayed and became a part of the fabric of Kalispell, most offering goods and services that were needed, or rebuilding their farms where there was land available, small ranches and the like.

 

"Letting your Mother know is the proper thing to do, for sure. Is she local?" Speed asked.

@JulieS

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  • 2 weeks later...

"She's local now.  Only arrived in town at the beginning of May shortly after my Pa brought the bank," he smiled, "Mother hasn't done much since arriving but I get the feeling that she' been getting the lay of the land and might be getting some ideas on what the town needs."

 

"Well, I guess I'd better going now," he said as he held out his hand, "Thanks again for giving this opportunity, I hope I don't disappoint."

 

@Flip

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"We start early around here, see you about seven." He advised. "Take care of what you need to. We did somethings, maybe get in some target practice as well. Glad to have you on board, and I seriously doubt you'll disappoint. Make some mistakes? Sure, we all do, and have done, but we learn."

 

Speed knew that yes, Charlie would make mistakes, however, it was up to him to make sure it didn't cost Charlie life or limb, if at all possible. Kalispell was not Dodge, or Abilene. The action he and Pike had seen were exceptions, rather than the rule. Yet danger was out there and to be on guard about from bar fights to drunks brandishing a gun.

@JulieS

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