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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.

Starting All Over Yet Again


Aurelian Redmond
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It had been a long day and a warm one also but then it was July after all. The family had been hard at work since morning arrival at the cabin of their new property. Aurelian had been very pleased with the structure itself, the cabin had been well built especially important in that Montana supposedly had brutal winters. The former owners had started on a well too, but since there was a nice lake very close, water was less of an issue he figured. There was also a chicken coop and then little more than a shed, but it would house the milk cow and the three horses he owned. Two of the horses were used for the buckboard and could also pull a plow. The other was for riding. After all, every man in Montana needed a horse, least that was his belief. The cow and the chickens came with the place as the couple gave him a more than fair price on them given they were heading back East on a train and had no further use for such.


All things considered, as far as animals they were well enough off but it was still going to be a struggle to make this place a go, and he knew it. They lacked so many things even over and above their lack of funds. Their clothes and most personal belongings had been destroyed or stolen in the Indian attack. Only by the generosity of a few kind locals in the last community did he and the children have at least two sets of clothing to wear. More wardrobe would have to come later when he had some purchasing power, and he did not want to even think about the winter to come.


Clara was fixing some beans at the fireplace, an actual stove was a luxury he could only dream of now. He had traded his old cavalry saber for some tin plates and a handful of cutlery, three cups. Again for now it would have to do. There was plenty of forest about, and he already planned on putting meat on the table by doing some hunting. Even on the way out here, they had seen enough deer about. All his thoughts and worries were suddenly interrupted by a familiar voice.


"Pa, supper's ready," it was his boy, Wyatt, a smallish skinny lad who was always hungry it seemed.


"Very well, then might as well sit down and eat it," Aurelian smiled as he took a few steps to the small wood slat table and sat down.


Clara brought the small pot over to them and dished out three heaping helpings onto the tin plates then joined them at the table.


"We are going to need quite a few things at the store, Father. We cannot live on beans. The Sidwells did not leave us much of anything," Clara pointed out.


"We have a roof over our heads and a cow and chickens, be thankful for what we have, child of God," Aurelian smiled as he waited until Clara was seated and comfortable then glanced over to his son, "Your turn to lead us in prayer."


Wyatt paused, "You sure?"


Clara frowned, "Oh just do it. Honestly, you are so forgetful."


The prayer was simple and short, and soon they were eating.


Mouth half full of beans, Wyatt piped up after a moment, "So are we going into ...what is it called....tomorrow?"


Clara sighed, "Chew, swallow then speak. And it is Kalispell."


Aurelian had pondered the best plan of action and had already decided, "Yes, we will....all of us together."


"But what about here?" the boy asked immediately. 


"Would you suggest we leave someone behind for the Indians to pick off by his lonesome?" Clara countered in that annoyed tone of voice of hers.


Aurelian raised one hand, he had to do that a lot to head off those two and their bickering. It was never serious, but it was definitely something he could do without most times.


"Now, now....Clara is right. As usual, might I say," he flashed a grin at her.


That brought a smile, a slight smile to his daughter who then forked some beans into her mouth.


"We stick together and don't worry about Indians coming here. The cabin has around now for what....the Sidwells said they built it over a year ago and no Indians have come to burn it down. It'll be fine. Besides, will give all three of us the chance to look the town over. We only rode thru it twice and once was at night. We will need to know where places are after all," he reasoned.


"They have a schoolhouse," Clara announced, looking straight at her brother whose turn it was to frown.


"Awww, I don't hafta go, do I?" he didn't ask his sister for he knew her answer, his pleas were to his father.

 

"Oh yes, you do!" Clara smirked.

 

"We will see, children. We will see. I need you both for all the work we have to do here yet. But down the line, yes, I want you to attend school, son," Aurelian declared, and his son knew well enough to know whining or arguing about it wouldn't work.


"What about Clara?" Wyatt added.


"I do not need school. I imagine I know as much as any schoolmarm they have managed to secure for that leafy burg," Clara contended with her usual self-confidence.


Thing is Aurelian couldn't argue. She was fifteen now, and he believed she pretty much knew all she would ever need to when it came to educational subjects. 


"Clara is correct, she doesn't have to go," he pronounced much to Clara's satisfaction.

Edited by Stormwolfe (see edit history)
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