Friday, March 26, 2010

Justice in the Old West –or- A Day in Dodge City Court

Ran across this doing some research today--thought it was too good to pass up!

From—Great Gunfighters of the Kansas Cowtowns 1867-1886, page 171,
Nyle H. Miller and Joseph W. Snell

“The Marshal will preserve strict order,” said the Judge. “Any person caught throwing turnips, cigar stumps, beets, or old quids of tobacco at this court, will be immediately arranged before this bar of justice.” The Policeman Joe W. Mason looked savagely at the mob in attendance, hitched his ivory handle a little to the left and adjusted his moustache. “Trot out the wicked and unfortunate, and let the cotillion commence,” said his Honor.

Ah—the good old beet and turnip throwing days. How I miss them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Old West and Root Beer too

Just for Fun – Spring is Here

The tall stranger bellied up to the counter and watched as the patrons lowered their heads and shuffled away. A wry smile turned the corners of his mouth into his drooping mustache. He dug in his pocket and pulled out a weathered dollar bill, unfolded it and placed it on the counter. He didn’t have to say a word—they all knew and they all watched.

The bar-keep reached slowly, after first making eye contact he couldn’t hold, under the counter and pulled out a clean mug, filled it, and carefully sat the still foaming mug in front of the tall stranger with the big thirst. Then he turned again reaching low, a glint of metal showed in his right hand. His hand came up quickly, but not too fast and placed a large scoop of vanilla ice cream into the glass.

The stranger nodded, pulled the paper end from his straw and shot the barkeep with the paper in the center of his chest. The patrons fell silent and moved farther from the action as the tall stranger took a long cool drink. Man-oh-man how the stranger loved the first Monday of spring—Root Beer floats, only a buck every Monday until June 1st.

Five minutes later it was all over, as fast as it had started. The glass was empty, the stranger smiled and wiped the dripping root beer flavored ice cream from his mustache with the back of his straw paper shooting hand. He stepped back as the other patrons held their breath—what would happen next.

He turned walked three steps, pushed open the glass door and walked once again into the stifling mid-day heat. Inside the patrons let out a collective sigh and ordered floats all around.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wyoming Bad Guy and a Fun Guy

I have put together about 200 pages of Wyoming stories, working today on this guy.

Wyoming bad guy George W. Pike was once accused by a neighbor of stealing a pot of stew cooking on a stove in the wall tent they were temporarily calling home. When the neighbor went to find the town marshal Pike reportedly watched him go then stole the stove the stew had been cooked on. Reportedly there was not enough evidence to convict Pike on either charge. Pike was better known as a horse and cattle thief but was never the less well liked by people in and around Douglas Wyoming. (At least the ones he did not steal from)

George W. Pike (Born around 1863- died 1906)
Grave Stone, Douglas Park Cemetery - Douglas, Wyoming

Underneath this stone in eternal rest
Sleeps the wildest one of the wayward west
He was a gambler and sport and cowboy too
And he led the pace in an outlaw crew
He was sure on the trigger and staid to the end
But he was never known to quit on a friend
In the relations of death all men are alike
But in life there was only one George W. Pike

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Cowboy Ethics

The Wyoming legislative session just ended for another year. They passed the Cowboy Code of Ethics as the official state code. Pretty neat! But it is what they didn’t pass that has me fuming, I had great hope that they would pass an anti-snow in March law. Didn’t happen, states regulate everything else why not the weather? Five inches of snow Friday and Saturday—oh my aching back.
The Cowboy Code—Taken from the Laramie Boomerang 2010
Live courageously
Take pride in their work
Finish what they start
Do what's necessary
Be tough but fair
Keep promises
Ride for the brand
Talk less and say more
Remember that some things aren't for sale
Know where to draw the line

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ranch Research

Working on a short non-fiction magazine story on the Swan Land and Cattle Company in Southeast Wyoming.
-Some facts on the ranch-
Over 3 million acres
100+ brands and nearly 100,000 cattle (actual count not book count).
The ranch was owned by investors in Scotland and managed by Alexander Swan. They paid him $10,000 per year (about that per month in todays money)
It was Wyoming’s largest 1880’s ranch.
Some of the original buildings still stand.