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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.

A Trip To The Gunshop


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Mature Content:  None

With: Speed, Oskar Winter, Others?
Location: Winters Gun Shop.
When: July 1876
Time of Day: Afternoon.

 

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Speed had tucked the Colt into his waistband as he stepped out of the saloon and then into the street, looking for an opening to cross, the afternoons always seeming to be the busiest time of day for traffic on Main Street. He managed to cross without much difficulty, and made it to the door of Winters place of business. This might well be interesting.

 

Speed stepped through the door, and closed it behind him, seemed that every business had a bell to announce the presence of a potential customer. Of course, Winter probably had work in the back, repairing guns and such, and a bell made perfect sense based on his wares. No sense allowing some miscreant to come in and steal a gun, though the rifles were chained in their rack behind the counter, pistols were laid in his display case, easily removed.

 

He pulled Grimes' pistol from his waistband and looked it over again, pulled the hammer back two clicks, and gave the cylinder a spin. Smooth, work had been done on it.

@boshmi

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It was an airy afternoon, and to be entirely fair; Oskar was not feeling all in the mood for work. Slouched in a chair out back, he took idle sips from a little glass of something-or-other (horrible stuff that, not at all like Austrian brandy), and watched the clouds go by. Since the beginning of the Centennial States' fair he'd been receiving word by the day of new advances in the field of personal defense, and it had all become rather exhausting. That wasn't to say he was bored by any means - why, who could be bored of the grandest and boldest instruments ever designed?! His capacity for that excitement was simply experiencing somewhat of an overload.

 

That was why when the little bell trilled its greeting from the inner room, he responded with a sigh rather than springing to his feet. The little wooden bandit sitting at the opposite end of his gun range seemed to sneer, pointing his painted gun at the prone gunsmith, as though he was being goaded into motion by an inanimate object.

He set down the glass and pushed himself out of the chair, stretching, straightening his suit jacket and giving his arms a little stretch, before he wandered back into the store where who awaited him but Henry Guyer himself.

 

"Marshal!" Oskar greeted, taking in the pistol at his hand and the look on his face. Even from this distance, the click of the rotating cylinder was audible to Oskar's trained ears, and he knew that the weapon that Speed held was no stock-standard firearm.

"How can I help you this fine afternoon?" he continued, moving behind his counter to take up position.

@Flip

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"Well sir, got a pistol here, actually a fairly new Colt." He said, laying the gun on the counter. "It belonged to Frank Grimes and hard as it may be to believe, it appears to be well taken care of. Since Frank experienced another case of slow, I'd like to see what I can get for it, he has a blind sister, Francis, about town who'll need any cash that can e raised."

 

What Speed knew was Frank's horse and a fine looking range saddle that would fetch a good price, either separately or together. Far more than the pistol, and with any luck, Frank had a rifle which could be sold as well. Speed's real concern was how Francis would manage without the support of her brother, worthless as he might have been, he did see to her.

@boshmi

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"Oh, the poor girl." Oskar remarked, though already his mind was on the weapon in front of him. He craned over the counter, sizing the machine up and already disassembling it in his mind. Modern colts had gotten remarkably more robust over the last few years what with the advent of centrefire cartridges, but even a good gun could run foul in the hands of a poor owner.

 

"Let's see here..." he mused, as he worked the hammer and began to disassemble the weapon. "Not much rust or corrosion in the barrel... cylinder action is smooth... can't speak for its longevity..."

He gave the hammer a squeeze and held the weapon up to his ear, listening for the click. The mechanism sounded like it was in good shape, even if it was clear by the weapon's assembly pins that it had been disassembled several times already. The problem with an aftermarket weapon like this though, is that customers were generally more wary of them, even if they were empirically better firearms.

 

"Well, I can't say I see anything wrong with it." Oskar thought out loud. "In light of the smoothing on the mechanism-and of course the circumstances of poor Mr. Grimes and his sister, I am presently willing to offer fifteen dollars for this piece."

@Flip

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Speed smiled. "Fine, I appreciate that, Mister Winter.  The funds of course will go to a good cause.  That girl will need all the help she can get." The plight of Francis Grimes was not one he was able to fully grasp. With no sight, without her brother's assistance and support, her situation appeared to be grave. Yet, what did he actually know of her circumstance? Nothing. She must have a place to live, that all but go without saying.

 

"I've several guns over at the jail that belonged to the men that robbed the bank.  They won't be needing them, I can bring them over to be repaired where necessary, and perhaps you would take them on consignment once the town pays you for the repair work. Sound like something that you might be willing to do? That money can go to her as well." He would head over and see Matt Wentworth about the plan.

@boshmi

Edited by Flip (see edit history)
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Oskar listened to the Marshal's offer and gave a moment to think it over. Outlaws weren't known for their acumen in firearm maintenance, but as Speed said, he was being paid for the repair work regardless. He could at least distract himself from keeping up with the centennial for a time.

 

"Yes, that seems most agreeable. I'd be entirely happy to." Oskar declared, sweeping the pistol below his counter and depositing it in one of the numerous slots and boxes housed therein. "Would you like the cash directly? I could hold off until the repairs are complete and then offer a lump sum in alternative?"

 

He hovered his finger over the ejector on his till, as an accentuation of his question.

@Flip

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Speed smiled, "I think that would be fine, Mister Winter. Just fine. I'll present her with what cash I've accumulated so far, and when we've got all this settled, I'll see that she gets the balance." A lump sum offer for guns that he could turn a profit on for himself was a more than fair offer, in fact, it was a most generous offer. More good coming out of the bank robbery tragedy.

 

"I'll head over and gather up what I have. Maybe the gun leather is in acceptable condition as well, I really hadn't paid much attention, except for one outfit, the two gun rig that had belonged to Kid Carlisle. A pair of nickle plated, ivory handled, Colt peacemakers in four and three quarters inch barrel lengths. Well cared for."

 

They would fetch a pretty penny separately or together. Then the rig itself polished black leather. The right man could wear it with either of the Mexican  loop holsters if he chose to. Or, buy the whole lot. Perhaps an auction for them, that was food for thought.

 

"Well, I'll be back, need to stop by and see Gunther about Grimes' horse. I'll have those guns here before days end." Speed announced.

@boshmi
 

 

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"A pair of nickle plated, ivory handled, Colt peacemakers in four and three quarters inch barrel lengths. Well cared for."

"Ivory, you say?" Oskar repeated. "Well I'll certainly take a look."

Ivory's price had been rising ever since the routes to Africa no longer ferried slaves, and such trips had become less profitable ventures for merchantmen.

 

"Well, I'll be back, need to stop by and see Gunther about Grimes' horse. I'll have those guns here before days end."

"Absolutely. Best of luck Marshal." Oskar offered, circling around to the door so that he could show Speed out.

@Flip

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"Well sir, I'll be back with those pistols as I said, and the nickle Colts. See you then." He found it refreshing to have the door opened for him as he stepped out onto the boardwalk. "Good day, sir."

 

Across the street at the Stardust stood Grimes horse and what had been an  idea earlier now was a quandary. The animal would now belong to Francis, it would be her decision as to what happened to the horse and saddle. That left him holding thirty-five dollars and wondering just where he could find Francis Grimes to give it to her, and find out what she wanted to do with the horse.

TBC

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  • 3 weeks later...

Leaving his business office, Miss Grimes and Young James Vaughn, he made his way to the Marshal's office where he encountered both McNue and Cook, lounging in the chairs on the porch.

 

"About as dull a place as you could have landed." He greeted and took up  a spot on the nearest support beam which held up the overhang-porch of the second floor. "Not sure why you were left here in the first place, not that I mind at all."

 

"We get paid whether we're here or back at the capitol." Cook said.

 

"We're planning a ride over to Creston then up to Columbia Falls and back. Sorta get the lay of the land twixt here an' there." Cook offered.

 

"We're here in the likely event Case Steelgrave returns, with or without his gang of dregs." McNue stated. "The Governor wants this place to prosper and it's got a real chance."

 

"Damn sure does Marshal," Cook cut in, "What with the hospital, the railroad coming and I noted you run a mining business, so anything found around here will bring in the miners, and them that follow along. We could be here a while."

 

"Speed laughed, "Fine point. Yes all this is possible, and don't think I don't appreciate you boys bein' here as I surely do." Speed responded. "As far as Steelgrave goes, I've considered that, and I too believe he'll head this way. But me, I need to get some guns without owners to Winter's gun shop. You boys take it easy."

 

He went inside, to the safe which he rarely had need to use and opened it, taking out half a dozen unclaimed pistols, including the nickle plated pistols and holsters. There was a flours sack inside as well, so he placed the guns inside it and then hefted the bag as he stood, then out the door he went. "You boys enjoy!"

 

He reached the shop and opened the door, stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Then to the counter and setting the bag on it. "Oskar? It's Speed.Guyer."

@boshmi

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Oskar was stooped behind the counter, already scrabbling about in the organs of the weapon. A firing pin here, a cylinder there, the parts from this one could be used to make many more sing. When the Marshal came through his door a second time, it was with relish, rather than indifference that he responded to the call.

 

"Ho, Marshal!" he greeted, raising a grease-smeared hand in welcome. When the rest of his body followed and he took in the returning customer, it was the flour sack at Speed's side that Oskar's eyes were immediately drawn to.

"I suppose that's the rest of the items in there?" he asked, indicating the bag.  "I have to say Marshal, I'm glad of this opportunity you've brought me. Working with unique guns is always interesting." he smiled for a moment, but then so as not to seem indelicate, he added; "...and of course, to provide a service to the community."

@Flip

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"Yes sir, that's the lot." He reached into the bag and removed to rig with the two nickle plated pistols. "I'd be willing to say that these will bring a a nice price, with or without the holsters." He smiled as he laid the  black leather two gun rig on the counter, the pistols filling the holsters, and evident as to what they were. "Now Mister Winter, we need to come to an agreement on how we might split any profits on these guns. Of course the town will pay for any labor from repairs or refurbishing them before they are sold."

 

Speed Guyer only hoped to bring in a bit more cash for Francis Grimes. There was no hint that he wanted to cheat Oskar Winter out of anything. He was willing to hear what he would be willing to offer for the weapons and go from there. After all, they were not his and he certainly was not out anything.

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"Now Mister Winter, we need to come to an agreement on how we might split any profits on these guns. Of course the town will pay for any labor from repairs or refurbishing them before they are sold."

"Hmm, yes." Oskar mused, eyes watching the ivory-handled weapons. "Well, I'll have to check them over, but six pistols, two fine pistols, and leather... I could suggest to pay you a hundred dollars upfront for the lot? Oh, and consider the cost of the repair work waived. I'll do fine enough from these."

 

It was true; he would do fine from these. The parts would allow him to sell several more guns which would have been otherwise rendered worthless, and the ivory handles would fetch a very good price, even if they were sold separate from the gun.

@Flip

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Speed smiled. One hundred dollars would make a good nest egg for young Francis Grimes, that was for sure.

 

"Mister Winter, that is a very generous offer and it is much appreciated. I would gladly take it and see that Miss Grimes gets it. She's with my associate, James Vaughn who has some legal background and I'm hoping that he will win her confidence and be able to help her going forward."

 

Should James be able to win her confidence, then he hoped that he could guide her along a financial path, insuring that she was not taken advantage of, yet that would really depend on Miss Grimes and her willingness to trust.

@boshmi

 

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"Mister Winter, that is a very generous offer and it is much appreciated. I would gladly take it and see that Miss Grimes gets it. She's with my associate, James Vaughn who has some legal background and I'm hoping that he will win her confidence and be able to help her going forward."

"My pleasure." Oskar replied, gathering the proffered weapons and depositing them behind the counter. "I... hope you'll forgive the bundle of notes." he continued, as he turned to access the safe behind him. "I don't believe I have anything larger than a few tens."

 

Even some years after the treasury's new notes had come into circulation, they were few and far between all this way out west. Oskar knelt down to his safe and spun the lock three times, counting the clicks until the heavy iron door swung wide. From within he drew those valuable sheaves of paper - six tens, six fives, and ten ones. Standing back up at the counter, he licked his finger and thumbed through the notes, checking them twice, before cordially handing them over to the Marshal.

 

"I believe I have a band around here somewhere, if you'd like..." he offered, glancing around as he searched for it.

@Flip

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Speed looked at the "greenbacks" he had just received. It occured to him that without sight, paper money would be impossible for Francis Grimes to deal with, and easily abused by the unscrupulous. But, it was cash money.

 

"Excellent, sir. And I see that these are backed by gold, so I can take them to the bank and perhaps convert them to coin. Miss Grimes is blind, and I'm afraid that paper would be a further hindrance for her." He smiled. "This will be just fine Mister Winter. And this should last her quite sometime, I would think."

 

Coin of course, came in different sizes for the different denominations, that should make it much easier for her to deal with.

@boshmi

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"Yes, I, well, I'm sorry I can't directly offer coin. All that metal... you know." Oskar rambled absentmindedly. "Aha!" he suddenly cried, picking out the elusive little counter drawer where he stored his bands. "Here we are."

 

With that, he selected one denoting '$100' and reached over the counter to wrap it around the sheave he had just handed to Speed. "That should keep it all together." he commented happily. "Do give my well-wishes to that poor girl. Wie unglücklich."

 

He rounded the counter once more to show the Marshal out, stumbling only slightly on an errant nail, which provoked a string of profanities spared from Speed's ears only by virtue of them being entirely in German. "Oh, this store is going to ruin... er... thanks again for the guns." he continued, opening the door. "I wish you well, Marshal."

@Flip

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"You are too kind Oskar. I will pass along your well wishes to Miss Grimes." Speed said, offering his hand as they reached the door. "Best drive that nail back into the floor board. Dang things have a habit of working their way out just enough to catch on everything or trip you." He grinned.

 

Board floors had that habit, But square nails of the day were better in most respects to the wooden pegs that had been used.

 

The next stop would be the bank, and that meant figuring out the best breakdown for the coinage.  But then he paused. Perhaps that was best left to Francis Grimes and how she would prefer to have it done. Either he or James could escort her to the bank where she could make those decisions for herself.
@boshmi if you'd like.

 

 

 

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