Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Town almost flooded. USGS Came to Town to Shoot Water Tower and Tie Long Saddle Shoppe Moved and Buck Board on the way

Howdy folks, I hope y’all dried right nice following the unseasonably heavy spring rains that been fallin in Little Creek and the surround’n areas and none of yer live stock was washed away.  I tell ya, a few a my chickens thought they was ducks for awhile there but the Oasis has recovered and the chicken coop is mostly dry now.  That little creek that runs through town swelled to be a BIG creek and darn near washed the town away.  I was think’n we might need to change the name of the town to Middle of da Creek or Down the Creek on a count’a I thought the town was a go’n down the creek.  Fortunately the town is still a stand’n right where it was the last time you saw it and most all that water is gone just leaving a little mud behind and a whole lotta green grass and happy cows.  About the worst thing that come of it was the practice shoot scheduled for the 4th Saturday of March was cancelled, remember now, Little Creek is open for practice shoot’n every 4th Saturday of the month with the big club shoot on the second Saturday.  Fact is any Coyote Valley Cowboy or SASS Cowboy can come practice any time Coyote Valley is open.  If there are three or more of ya, yer gonna need an RO1 witch ya.  If you don’t got an RO1 of your own, one can be provided with a little advanced notice.

Like I said, none of da town washed away but a few things did git moved.  Ol’ Sherriff Bad Eye got a wild hair and called in some favors.  He had town’s members pick up and move that old water tower and Tie Long’s Saddle Shoppe too.  No one really knows why Bad Eye wanted that stuff moved, just that he told people to move it and they did.  Nobody dares cross’n Ol’ Bad Eye.  I guess Mayor Tom was fine with it cuz I saw him in town Saturday and he didn’t look none too upset.  No sooner had Bad Eye moved that stuff when in come a whole bunch a Uncle Sam‘s Geological Surveyors and they thought that hole in the middle of town between the Bank and the Saloon would be great place to deposit lead.  I guess they had no gold to deposit in the Bank.  Town folks say once they started shoot’n they didn’t stop for 5 whole days.  They shot so long and so hard they left 4 or 5 big scars right there in the side of the hill behind main street.  No one knows what those boys got so upset about but Bad Eye finally run ‘em off and Mayor Tom don’t spect to see them back for another whole year.  Guess word is out, if’ns ya need to do some shoot’n, the Town of Little Creek in the Coyote Valley is the place to come, just talk to Mayor Tom first.

Town filled up again this past Saturday and Bad Eye was form’n posses.  The Stage show’d up jus on time as usual and every one checked in at the sheriff’s office as they should.  On my way over to check in I tripped on some fence rails that were delivered fer those corrals that still need build’n.  I guess Jose ain’t found no post holes fer sale yet, least not none he wants to buy.  I reckon them corrals will git put up sooner or later, I just don’t recommend hold’n yer breath or y’all might turn blue.

Two posses formed up right quick and Bad Eye called a meet’n by 9:15 am.  Some 37 cowboys and cowgirls showed up to shoot and shoot we did.  I’s was feel’n like a ceeelebrity cuz Tie Long asked me to lead one of them posses while he lead the other.  The Missus, Texas Gunshow, stayed home with the young’ns this month on a count’a the boy is playing that new pastime they call baseball so I’s free to work fer the Sheriff.  We all shot four stages and if’ns things went real bad fer ya on one stage or another, the town folks were good enough ta give ya a do-over.  There must have been some sort of other ceeelebrity there named Mr. Mulligan cuz everybody kept say’n his name.  Seems like they would call him by name when things didn’t go too well when they was shoot’n.  I think his brother or cousin was there too cuz I heard some people call’n fer Moe Betta Mulligan.  I’ll have ta ask da Sheriff bout these Mulligan fellas next time I see him.  I’ll git back ta ya on that.  There was a lotta new shooters there just a shoot’n right alongside the rest of us.  Sure is a friendly place.  It was a beautiful day for throwing lead and each target rang out loud and clear when ya hit it.  I don’t know where they kept come’n from but every time someone would walk through Levi’s Livery a pigeon would fly outta da loft almost on command.

If’ns ya got a spare buck board or something of the sort, let Ol’ Bad Eye know cuz he’s a look’n fer something to fill that hole he made on Main Street before someone else comes along and thinks it’s a good place to start shoot’n.

‘Til next month Pards just remember Ta Keep Yer Powder Dry, specially wit all that rain!

Bobcat Brian-D


When Bobcat got home he filled the family in on what was taking place in Little Creek. Twister got so excited he grabbed his shoot'n irons, saddled his horse and was ready to go. Bobcat told him it would be a few hours before they headed back to town and that he should take a nap, it would pay off later. Twister couldn't sleep, not with the potential of being on a posse protecting Little Creek from villains such as Frisco Bob. Twister had never met Frisco Bob but his Pa and Jack Rojas had talked about him around campfires where Twister had listened with big eyes.

Bobcat Brian rode back into Little Creek at daybreak with Texas Twister in tow. Twister was only ten years old. He wasn't accustomed yet to riding all night and had not learned how to take cat naps while trusting his horse to take him where he needed to go. Instead he fought falling asleep as long as he could until he fell, humped over the saddle horn, fast asleep. It had been the longest night of his life.

"Let me take the horses to Levi's Livery and get them settled. Why don't you take the boy in the mine and let him sleep, he's about had it." Bobcat said as he rode up to Coyote Mann who was nervously standing in front of the bank waiting for Bobcat to return.

"Where's Crap Shoot, is he coming?" Coyote Mann questioned anxiously.

"He'll be along, Coyote Mann, don't worry. Just lay the boy down, he's had a hard night." Bobcat spoke slowly and calmly now as he does when trying to ease a colt under saddle for the first few rides.

After dropping the horses at Levi's Livery Bobcat walked back to the bank. Crap Shoot was there now along with Springfield Slim. "Where's Filthy Phil?" Bobcat questioned.

"He's waiting in the Mine." replied Coyote Mann, "We should get in there too and fill everyone in on what's happened."

"What about the sheriff?" Bobcat asked directly. Now he was going through a checklist in his mind.

"He's more nervous than I am! He's in the Mine also waiting to deputize us." Coyote man commented while lifting his signature hat to wipe his brow with a well worn bandana.

"Well, let's git going then.", Bobcat urged them all as he put his hand on Coyote's shoulder to help him understand that everything will work itself.
The four men headed to the mine where Sheriff Bad Eye Bobolu nervously waited with the remainder of the forming posse. Once everyone was inside, Bad Eye started by introducing himself as the Sheriff.

"We know you're the Sheriff Bad Eye." explained Springfield, "Can you please get to the details of why we are forming this posse?"

Bad Eye explained all about the good fortune Coyote Mann had found in the very hole they were now meeting in. He told them about the San Francisco Mint and how U.S. Grant himself was coming to deliver the gold. Then he cautiously revealed that Frisco Bob was most likely headed their way with two hired guns and intentions to take the gold no matter what. With that Bad Eye deputized the five men and one boy and christened them the Coyote Pack Posse. Next he instructed El Vaquero to hand out the badges. El Vaquero handed Coyote Valley Cowboys badge #6 to Coyote Mann, #12 to Bobcat Brian, #13 to Texas Twister, #60 to Filthy Phil and so on down the line until each man, now deputized by Sheriff Bob Eye Bobolu, wore the shiny silver star of the Valley of the Coyotes.

With nothing left to say, the sheriff and his deputy left the Mine, mounted up and headed south to rendezvous with the General and his Garrison.

Bobcat stepped into the doorway of the mine and faced the posse. With the now bright sunlight pouring in through the doorway, Bobcat appeared as just a dark silhouette facing the posse.

"Things will probably be quiet for awhile," Bobcat started, "I imagine Frisco Bob will make his move Friday night. I've never met Frisco Bob, but my cousin Jack Rojas has. Jack done run him outta Jim Town, but not before he heisted the Bank of Sonora and fleeced the gold fields of Columbia before that. It's been quite some time since that all went down and I'll bet Frisco Bob needs a new grubstake. I'm sure he's thinkin this is going to be an easy heist with the sheriff gone and just a few town folk left to defend the gold, but he's got another thing coming. Let's keep a low profile and not stir up the town. I imagine he'll make his move after the sun goes down so everybody be ready when night falls."

Wednesday and Thursday passed quietly without incident and the posse grew by two more members. Coyote Mann's son, Yoke, arrived Thursday afternoon along with his buddy Chaos Kid. The posse was more than happy to take on two new members as trusted as Yoke and Kayos. The posse members took turns sleeping during the day and all stayed awake at night. Friday mid-day Springfield Slim spotted a man with a white shirt, red vest and black coat make his way down Main Street. Behind him followed two rugged looking gunmen. All three eyeballed the bank pretty heavily as they rode past. Springfield Slim was on the porch of the Sheriff's office right across the street from the Bank. "Mornin Gents." he offered as they rode past. "Can I help ya find something or someone?"

"No thank you, Deputy," Frisco Bob offered back, "we's just passin through and thought we might spend a night of rest in this fine, quaint little town of yours. It looks like some thunder heads are buildin up and it might be nice to have a roof over our heads if they decide to open up."

"The saloon is right there next to the bank, they have some rooms upstairs." Slim commented. Filthy Phil had been inside the Sheriff's Office and saw Slim approach the strangers. He stepped out onto the boardwalk with his shotgun cradled in the crook of his right arm.

"Right next to the bank, that's nice Deputy, I think we will give it a go." Frisco Bob replied cordially.

"It's also right across the street from the sheriff's office, Frisco Bob." Slim's words cut like a knife. The three strangers had their backs towards the Deputy when the comment was made and the men just froze in place. Filthy Phil reached up with his left hand and cocked the mule ears of his shotgun slowly so no one could hear the clicks of the triggers setting.

Frisco Bob could sense the hairs standing up on the necks of Terrible Ted and Jail Bird Jay, even under their neckerchiefs. Both of his new outlaw partners seemed to stiffen as they had done that night on the Barbary Coast just before they drew those horse pistols. Frisco had too much riding on this job though and decided it would be best to act before they did.

"Deputy, I'm afraid you have me mistaken for someone else," Frisco Bob replied, " but I do believe we'll take your advice on the saloon across the street from the Sheriff's Office. Good day Deputy, don't let the rain get you." With that Frisco Bob nodded his head slightly to the left and down in a sign of "thank you" for the directions before all three rode on again.

Frisco Bob, Terrible Ted and Jail Bird Jay tied their horses up outside the saloon and went in for a drink. Springfield sat on the porch for awhile so as to not look too anxious. Filthy Phil stood behind him leaning against the wall still clenching his double barrel. Both Filthy Phil and Springfield Slim knew they had to let the rest of the posse know that Frisco Bob had made it to town and was now in the saloon with two additional gunmen. After about an hour, Springfield stood up and stretched, then slowly turned and walked into the sheriff's office followed by Phil. They woke Texas Twister up and told him to sneak out the back and make his way to the Coyote Den Mine where the rest of the posse was resting and let them know Frisco Bob and his two gunmen were in the saloon. Twister jumped up and did as he was told. He went out the back door and all the way down and around the Oak Coralls and back up to the Mine where he woke his Pa and the rest of the posse.

By this time the sky had grown dark with the thunder heads that Frisco Bob pointed out to Springfield. Soon the rain started to fall and the streets became muddy. This was odd weather for spring time in Alta California, it took Bobcat back to the time he had spent in Texas and up in the Rockies. It kind of gave everyone an odd feeling in the bottom of their gut.

"We need to get to Springfield and set up a plan." Crap Shoot said to break the silence.

"If it is all the same to you, I think I'd like to stay in this mine with the gold that's here." Coyote Mann replied.

"Chaos Kid and I will stay here with my father." Yoke added.

"That's good," Bobcat concluded, "Crap Shoot, Texas Twister and I will head to the Sheriff's Office and sit there with Springfield and Filthy Phil. We can keep a good watch on the bank and you three can protect the gold in the mine."

"How will we know if something starts to happen?" questioned Chaos Kid. As Chaos glanced over at Bobcat he could swear that he saw Bobcat's eyes light up.

"Don't worry, you'll know by the fire and smoke." he replied with a wry smile.

With that, the skies opened up and the rain fall hard. It came down in sheets with lightening flashing across the sky showing it's wicked, boney hands and thunder rolled through town shaking buildings and rattling the glass windows in the few stores. Crap Shoot, Bobcat and Twister used the rain as cover to make their way to the Sheriff's Office undetected by Frisco Bob and his crew.

So much rain fell, the little creek next to Main Street swelled until it overflowed and began to run right down the middle of town. Springfield was glad to see the other posse members. He wanted to know what the plan was and what to do next. Crap Shoot pointed out that the three gunmen had not broken any laws yet and nothing could be done until they did.

"Coyote Mann, Yoke and Chaos Kid have the mine covered and we can watch the bank from here." Crap Shoot explained. "Let's just sit tight and see what happens; the sun will go down soon."

Filthy Phil was worried about his friend, Coyote Mann, and the gold in the Mine. "The Gold in the Mine isn't even in a safe." Filthy Phil blirted out in a concerned voice. "I think I better go back to the Mine and help them protect that stash."

"That sounds fine. Why don't you stop by the saloon on your way and let them boys know you still have the scatter gun with ya." Bobcat replied. "That way they will think there's only Springfield left in this office."

Filthy Phil pulled on his slicker and headed across the street with the mule eared coach gun setting in his arms in the same manner as it did earlier in the evening. The rain was still coming down and the street was more like a river than a the middle of town. He walked in the saloon and made eye contact with each of the three strangers. Once again the tension grew and Frisco stepped in to avoid a gunfight before he could get his loot. "Evenin Deputy, we're glad we took your friends advice on the saloon." Frisco offered to ease the room. "Did ya git wet come'n over ta see us?"

The conversation was making Filthy Phil sick to his stomach so he decided to leave before he did something he regretted. He left through the front door, nodded towards the Sheriff's Office and headed to the Mine to help Coyote Mann protect his stash.

Shortly before sunset, the rain slowed then stopped, leaving the town with a fresh rinse and a muddy street. As the sky darkened, Frisco Bob, Terrible Ted and Jail Bird Jay made their move. They slid out the back of the saloon and made their way behind Spitfire Sam's vegetable cart between the buildings and all the way up to the side of the bank undetected.

El Vaquero built the bank with no back door so no thieves could slip in or out the back. This forced Frisco and his men to come out to the street and enter through the front door. Even though the sun had set and the light was fading, the Coyote Pack Posse could see the would-be thieves making their way to the front of the bank.

Springfield grabbed his 66 with its long octagonal barrel and said, "Now they're breaking the law." And he headed across the street shooting twice at the last two men as they scurried through the broken in front door of the bank.

He ran to the doorway firing in two shot bursts. When his rifle was empty, he turned and Crap Shoot tossed him a side by side. Springfield gave each man a double burst from the big shotgun in his hands. Springfield put so much lead into the bank it literally blew a hole in the back wall big enough for Frisco and his gang to escape the bank. After tossing the shotgun to Springfield, Crap Shoot freed his pistols from their holsters and fired double shots through the window at Frisco Bob and his gang.

Filthy Phil and Coyote Mann heard the ruckus and headed out of the Mine to get some of the action. They met Frisco Bob, Terrible Ted and Jail Bird as they rolled out of the back of the bank empty handed. Coyote and Phil rewarded the thieves with yet more gunfire as they hit the dirt behind the bank. Not knowing exactly where all the gunfire was coming from Frisco and his men drew their weapons and started firing crazily in all direction as they took off back towards the saloon thoroughly confused and bewildered. A wild ricochets caught Filthy Phil in the left arm. Unable to fire his long arms, Filthy Phil resorted to shooting his handguns with his right hand only.

A cloud of smoke engulfed the terrified, fleeing men as they headed towards the saloon hoping to find their horses and make an escape. Half way between the bank and the saloon Bobcat was waiting for them at the vegetable cart with his shotgun, rifle and pistols laid out in front of him loaded. There was so much smoke in the air that Bobcat couldn't actually see the men, it was just a cloud slowly moving towards him. When he heard one of the men call out, "Can ya see the horses yet?" Bobcat yelled back, "No horses for you, DAMMIT!" and proceeded to empty all of his weapons into the cloud as fast as he could shoot.

Frisco Bob, Terrible Ted and Jail Bird Jay realized they were out-gunned by this sleepy little town and decided to cut and run. The Coyote Pack reformed with all its members on Main Street. Choking from the smoke of the gunfight, Bobcat asked the posse if they had any ammo left. He instructed them to load any gun they could find and help him give Frisco Bob and his hired guns a DAMMIT send off. Each posse member loaded his rifle, pistols or shogun and lined up in front of the bank. With a nod from Bobcat they unloaded all at once at the fleeing thieves and gave them a resounding, "DAMMIT!"

With the immediate threat run out of town, Bobcat lead the posse back into the saloon where Coyote Mann bought several rounds of whiskey and beer for the Pack. The clinking of the piano keys could be heard up and down Main Street as Danville Dove sang everyone's favorite ballads throughout the night.
Frisco Bob and his henchmen had been run out of town and the gold was safe......for now, DAMMIT!


Bobcat Brian settled with his wife and three kids on a small ranch and vineyard a half a day's ride southeast of Little Creek. They came to town weekly for Sunday Worship, to lay in supplies from one of the local mercantiles and to generally catch up on the goings on. With so much happening so fast in this little town, Bobcat founded the "Little Creek Dispatch" in order to chronicle the fast paced growth of Little Creek and the general good nature of its inhabitants. As with any small town paper, its publishing was not that regular.

Bobcat and Coyote Mann met one fall years earlier when they camped next to each other while hunting south of Coyote Valley. They enjoyed each other's company and remained good friends ever since. When Bobcat made it into town he would always take time to check in with Coyote Mann to see how things were going. If Coyote Mann was not in his blacksmith shop, Bobcat would walk on into the Coyote Den Mine looking for him. Most people stayed away from the mine on account of the gruff response Coyote Mann always gave when asked about his diggings.

One week Bobcat came into town on a Tuesday to fetch some flour and coffee from the General Store. After placing his order he had a few hours to kill so he swung by the Sheriff's office to say hi to Sheriff Bad Eye but he wasn't there, neither was Deputy El Vaquero. Bobcat checked his pocket watch to make sure it wasn't supper time yet. Finding it a little odd that the sheriff and the deputy were both gone in the middle of the day he headed over to see what Coyote Mann was up to. Coyote Mann wasn't in his shop either so Bobcat headed to the Mine next. The Mine was open so Bobcat walked on in. It had been quite some time since he had been inside the Mine and he was surprised at how deep it had gotten. He heard voices up ahead and could tell there was a lantern burning around the corner so he kept going. When Bobcat came around the large timber at a corner in the tunnel he ran into the back of Coyote Mann who dropped a cloth bag. When the bag hit the ground the side split open and gold dust spilled from it. The light of the lantern hit the gold and caused it to sparkle brilliantly. There was no mistaking what it was. Shocked to see the gold, Bobcat stood beside Coyote Mann speechless. "What's the matter wit you? Ain't ya seen gold before? And what the hell ya doing sneaking up behind me like that?" Coyote Mann barked as he recovered from the surprise of being run into.

Bobcat had to stop himself from instinctively drawing his sixgun down on the old trapper. Any other time on the frontier the use of such a tone would force him to use his guns to regain the proper respect but he could tell that Coyote Mann was nervous 'bout the Dust from the look on his face. "I ain't seen that much all in one place! I thought this old hole was worthless like most of the others." Bobcat said apologetically.

"You thought wrong, I guess." Coyote man snapped back.

Sheriff Bad Eye and Deputy El Vaquero appeared out of the shadows deeper in the mine. Trying to take it all in Bobcat questioned the three men in the mine, "Are y'all having a town meet'n in here?"
The Sheriff, El Vaquero and Coyote Mann all knew and trusted Bobcat but no one knew what to say next as the first sign of gold fever became apparent. Bad Eye and El Vaquero were relieved when Coyote Mann broke the silence.

"Let me explain Bobcat. I started this hole cause I was kind'a bored. I wasn't expecting to strike it big, but I guess I did. I wasn't more than 20 feet inta the hillside when I found color." he tried to explain through a dry mouth. "I been mining like the devil every night since. I just kept following the vein of gold and before I knew it I had enough to make me a bit nervous about get'n robbed. You know how this town has changed since the gold was first found down in the creek. Anyhow, RW Sloan's been let'n me cache my roadstake in the bank safe and I got quite a pile of it in there now. The vein seems to have run out now, but I got all this gold. I told the Sheriff 'bout it and he has arranged for the San Francisco Mint to take it. The problem is get'n it up there."

"Wow," Bobcat exclaimed as he continued to stare at the spilled gold dust, "what is your plan for get'n it all the way to San Francisco? There's a whole lotta trail twixt here and there, and gold is pretty damned heavy."

"I've been working with the Mint for the last few months trying to figure this out." the Sheriff offered. "They didn't take me seriously until I rode up there last month with a small sack of the find. I tell ya what, that sure got their attention. They contacted the US army and are sending General U.S. Grant and some of his troops to escort the gold all the way to San Francisco."

"U. S. Grant is coming here, ta Little Creek?" Bobcat sounded surprised. Unknown to these men Bobcat was a member of the Dammit Gang and the previous year he had answered the call of the Chip and rode down to Arizona Territory. Together with the rest of the Gang he helped run the Dooley Gang back to Texas. U.S. Grant was commanding the Arizona Rough Riders during that campaign and was in the Valley of the Sun at the same time as Bobcat Brian but Bobcat never had the chance to meet the famous soldier.

"Yes he is. He wants to see what all the fuss is about and see that the gold is delivered safely." replied the Sheriff.

"When's he coming?" asked Bobcat

"He arrives in Monterey, Thursday morning by rail. El Vaquero and I are riding out tomorrow morning to rendezvous with him and bring him to town."

With that, El Vaquero broke in, "I got a ranch about a day's ride south of here. Grant and his men are going to be pretty weary after all the distance they've come from Camp Founders Ranch in New Mexico. I figure we can make it to the ranch by Thursday night. We can muster a camp there and give the men a good meal and good night's rest. If we get back on the trail Friday morning we will be in Little Creek some time Friday night or worst case at first light Saturday morning. The problem is, who is going to protect the town with both me and the Sheriff gone?"

"Aw hell, I sure wish y'all had told me earlier about the bind you was in. I could have sent a wire to my cousin. I could have thrown down the chip and collected a hand full of DAMMITs to protect the town." Bobcat was still trying to collect his thoughts and put it all together.

"I don't want you to think I didn't trust ya, Bobcat, I just didn't want to tell anyone I didn't hafta. I ain't never had so much before so I never had so much to lose." Coyote Mann offered after thinking on his actions.

"Don't worried about it Coyote Mann, I ain't mad at ya, I'm just trying to figure out what we need to do next. How much gold is there?"

"Remember that safe I built fer RW Sloan? It's full!"

"It's FULL?" Bobcat exclaimed as he put a hand on each side of his face in disbelief.

"It's full and I got a small pile of it stored in the back of the mine." Coyote Mann continued, "I was showing Bad Eye and El Vaquero how much is in here when you found us."

Bobcat removed his hat and sat on piece of timber on the ground next to the earthen wall of the mine shaft. "Here's what we're going to do." Bobcat started, "We need to form a posse, but we need to do it quietly so's no one gets an idea of what's going on. I will send a wire to my cousin, Jack Rojas. He might be able to come down with some of the Hog Mountain Riders."

"Didn't you tell me you used to ride with them?" questioned Coyote Mann.

"I still do when they need me." Bobcat decided to clear the air. "You see, we all wear the DAMMIT Gang chip. Once you shoot with the DAMMITs after the sun has gone down and you swear to help whenever a DAMMIT throws down the chip, you are a DAMMIT. Jack and I shot with the DAMMITs for the first time over in Crumville clearing out Robbers Roost a few years back. I tell you what, I saw fire and smoke come outta guns like you never seen. Last year we lit up the night sky with our shoot'n irons with them DAMMITs again at Winter Range down in the Valley of the Sun and shot a tribute to our fallen leader, Lay Low Curly, God rest his soul." With that Bobcat bowed his head and tipped his Stetson briefly.

"Now I'll throw the chip down and send the wire to try and get some help. My only concern is that time is short. Jack Rojas and whomever he can find might not be able to get here before Friday night, maybe even Saturday morning. I'll also send a wire up to Shaniko Jack. I'm bettin he can muster a small posse of Sunnyvale Regulators to ride down." Bobcat was feeling better now that his mind was wrapping itself around the problem at hand, "Coyote Mann, you can trust Filthy Phil, can't ya? Let's bring him in. Who else do we trust?"

"Yeah, you're right Bobcat, we can trust Filthy Phil. Springfield Slim is another good man, I'd trust him with my life. I'm sure he will posse up for us. I can send word to my son, Yoke, it will take him a day or two to get here but he will come." Coyote Mann started to feel a little better now realizing he was not in this alone.

"El Vaquero, you and Bad Eye get ready for your ride, me and Coyote Mann will figure up a posse to stand guard in your absence." Bobcat then turned his attention towards the Sheriff. "Bad Eye, you can deputize us in the morning before you ride out. I promise you, we'll have enough guns with shooters behind them to run anyone outta this town who even thinks about goin near the bank or the mine. We'll drive them out with HELL's fire and smoke if nothing else.

"Alright Coyote Mann, I need to ride home and let Texas Gunshow know what's happening." Bobcat was now feeling the urge to get a move on. "At the very least I'll bring my boy back with me, Texas Twister. He wears the DAMMIT chip also. I think I can swing by Crap Shoot's place and get him to join us, and Kayos Kid also. I'll even try and get word to Draw Dead Dan but I am not sure if he is down here or up in the mountains."

"There's one more thing you need to know Bobcat," Bad Eye started with a concerned look on his face. "The folks at the Mint think word of the shipment has leaked out. One of the guards tied one on pretty good a couple of weeks ago and he was shoot'n his mouth off in the saloon about the General coming to bring a shipment of gold from some little valley to the south. They don't really know what sort of details were given but any are bad."

"Yeah, I'd say that's real bad!" Bobcat grew a bit concerned.

"There's more," Bad Eye continued. "Frisco Bob shot up a saloon on the Barbary coast along with two other fellows last Friday night. They've been seen headed south."

"All the more reason to contact Shaniko Jack, maybe he and the Regulators can cut them off on their way down if they haven't already passed through." Bobcat concluded.

From the mine Bobcat went straight to the telegraph office to get the right people coming. "I need to send a telegraph, NOW DAMMIT!" he said as he slammed his hand down on the counter with the DAMMIT chip in it.

Z-Shooter was the telegraph operator that day. She had never actually seen a DAMMIT chip before but she had heard of them. "Is that what I think it is?" she questioned.

"You're DAMM straight it is. You know about the chip?" Bobcat demanded.

"I've seen wires come through make'n mention of that chip. I-I wasn't sure they really existed?" the nervousness in Z-Shooter's voice was obvious.

"Well they do, and that's one. Now let's send a wire to Jim Town."








"I need to send one more wire, this one is going to Shaniko Jack in South San Francisco." Bobcat directed.










To be continued. . .

Monday, March 31, 2014


Terrible Ted was an ex-Union soldier now living in San Francisco. Terrible Ted started his career with the US Army in 1845 just before the Siege of Mexico City and left the US Army shortly after the Civil War ended because he had had enough of being told what to do and where to go by the Army. He thought he would be happier as a civilian. Unfortunately Ted bounced around from job to job never really feeling like he fit in as a civilian either. He seemed to always get let go after only a few weeks of working or he would quit because he and the Boss Man couldn't see eye to eye.

Jay Bird was another drifter who now found himself living in the City by the Bay. Jay Bird was the son of a businessman who had done well selling building supplies to the rapidly growing San Francisco Bay Area. Jay Bird felt he wanted to make his own way so he left his father's business and struck out to be his own man. Without the experience of his father, things had not gone well for Jay Bird and soon he found himself with no work and nearly broke.

Word of the gold had made it to San Francisco and as most stories of gold go, it had grown. The talk in San Francisco was that gold nuggets lay in plain sight in the bed of the creek that followed the main street in some town in Coyote Valley named Little Creek. Coyote Valley wasn't more than 70 miles south of San Francisco and seemed to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Jay Bird and Terrible Ted met one night in a saloon on the Barbary Coast. At this point they were both unemployed and running low on cash and figured that gambling with the remainder of their money was the best bet to turn it all around. Jay Bird entered a saloon near the piers around nine pm and started his evening with a beer. Terrible Ted entered the same saloon about thirty minutes later and went straight to whiskey. Each man stayed at either end the bar building his nerve with alcohol for what felt like one last run. There were six tables with active poker games but no empty chairs in sight. The pots on each table were big. Big enough that if gambling didn't pay off, each man figured he could draw his gun, grab the money on the table and make a run for the door before anyone could react. The problem was there were no open tables.

Finally, at the table in the middle of the saloon two gamblers went all in on a hand of Texas Hold'em. This hand would have to open a chair at the table so Ted and Jay both threw back one more shot of whiskey each and prepared to lay it all on the line. As the final card was played, one man sank in his chair as the man across from him sat quietly with his hat pulled down so all that could be seen from under the brim was a slight grin. The grinning man had hair as white as clean bed sheets sticking out below his hat. He wore black britches and a black sack coat over a white shirt and a red vest. As he reached out and pulled the pot towards him the loser went from whimpering to yelling. He began to accuse the winner of cheating. The room grew quiet and the winner slowly reached down and slid one of his two nickel plated Colts out of its leather and laid it on the table pointing towards the hysterical loser. "I suggest you leave slowly and quietly, Friend. No one forced you to make that bet and I didn't cheat ya," said the gambler. With that, the loser slowly stood, turned and walked out without making another sound.

Jay Bird and Terrible Ted both arrived at the table at the same time. Neither man was interested in being polite and they each carried a Colt's Walker on his hip. The tension in the saloon was already high from the episode with the loser leaving and now there was one chair and two armed men who wanted it. Due to their general bad mood and the handful of shots of whiskey in each of their bellies' they palmed their Walker's. There were five men sitting at the table when Jay Bird and Terrible Ted approached but as the scene unfolded four of the men decided no card game was worth a gunfight and having seen those Walker's they didn't want to be close when they cleared leather. Before the guns were drawn, the table gained four additional empty chairs. There was one man left at the table now with a deck of cards in his hands, the winner from the previous hand. He looked the two men over and said, "Them Walker's are pretty big guns for shoot'n indoors. Why don't you men sit and play cards instead of shoot'n each other." With that he shuffled the cards and dealt out a hand of Texas Hold'em to the two men. Terrible Ted and Jay Bird sat down across from each other and ante'ed up. The dealer slid his Colt back off the table and returned it to its resting place on his right hip and said, "I sure hope I don't need this again tonight!" With that the piano started playing again and slowly the volume of the room returned to it prior level. The three men silently played the first hand of cards and let the tension fade. "Frisco Bob is my name, gentlemen," said the dealer as he won the first hand and passed the deck of cards to Jay Bird on his left.

Jay Bird shuffled and started dealing the second hand and offered up, "People call me Jay Bird."
"Pleased to meet you, Jay Bird," replied Frisco Bob. "And your name?" he directed at Terrible Ted.
Ted checked his cards and continued to size up his new companions. Ted didn't trust people easily and didn't like meeting new people. "Terrible Ted," he grumbled as he called the bet.
Frisco Bob kept the conversation going, "Are you two men willing to finish something with those Walker's or only willing to start something? If you can finish, I might have a job for ya." That got their attention.

"Jay Bird is my given name, most people I work with call me Jail Bird Jay." Jay Bird offered to keep the conversation moving in the direction it was heading.

"I've been kill'n since the Seige on Mexico City. Seems like kill'n is the only thing I am good at." Terrible Ted continued with.

The men continued to play cards. Even though there were three empty chairs at their table, no one in the saloon dared to sit with them. They were fine with that though, it gave them time to talk about jobs pulled off in the past and fortunes stolen and lost. Frisco Bob told them how he had fleeced the gold fields of Columbia and knocked off the Bank of Sonora on his way out of the Sierras.

"70 miles south of here is a small town known as Little Creek." Frisco Bob offered. "Yeah, I heard of it. It's in the Valley of the Coyotes and there's gold in the river." Jail Bird Jay replied.

"I've been to boom towns before. I don't believe that talk about gold just lying in the creek. There ain't nothing but a lot of damn hard work in a gold rush town." Ted snapped back.

"There's gold there alright, but it ain't lying in the creek, it's in the bank safe. In fact there is so much that General U.S. Grant is coming with his troops to deliver the gold to the San Francisco Mint next week." Frisco Bob said. "One mine has hit a big strike and they have been storing it up in the safe in the bank until General Grant can get there to move up here."

"You're damn crazy if you think the three of us can take on General Grant and his troops. I fought under that man in the war, he's a hell of an officer." Ted said. "Besides, his men wear the uniform of the US Army. I got no problem kill'n men for money, but I ain't about to shoot men who wear the same uniform as I did. It was bad enough shoot'n Confederate soldiers."

"I'm not talking about hitting General Grant and his men, I am talking about hitting the Bank before the gold leaves Little Creek. Grant arrives in Monterey with his men on Thursday. The Sheriff and his deputy are riding out to meet the General and plan to be back in Little Creek Saturday morning to take the gold to the San Francisco Mint. I figure Friday night is the time to make our move and hit the bank. With the Sheriff and his deputy gone, the gold will be easy pick'ns."

Terrible Ted and Jail Bird Jay looked at each other and thought for a minute. "Almost sounds too good to be true," Jail Bird questioned as he took a sip of his whiskey.

"I'm sure they'll have local folks guarding the bank but they oughta be pretty bored and maybe even drunk by Friday night and not much of a problem at all," Frisco Bob replied.

"Where did you learn all this from Frisco?" questioned Ted.

"If a man spends enough time in saloons near the Mint, he can pick a number of things up," Frisco answered.

The hour was late and the three men had been playing cards, drinking and talking for hours now. They decided to head south in the morning and discuss the details of the bank job on the trail. Frisco Bob covered the bar tab as the men were heading for door. Before they reached the door they heard yelling coming from the back of the saloon. The saloon was mostly empty by now and quieted noticeably since the peak. The yelling came from the rear. The voice was familiar but not placeable by any of the three men.

It was the gambler who lost all his money to Frisco Bob earlier in the evening. He had come in the back door now drunk with his Henry rifle and was in no mood to talk. Yelling and screaming about being cheated, he swung the rifle from side to side threatening to shoot Frisco Bob and his new compadres who were slowly making their way to the door.

Frisco Bob reached the door first. Before walking out, he turnaround and said, "I didn't cheat you!" The irate loser didn't want to hear it, he actioned the lever on his Henry and went to shoot, but Frisco was faster and drew his Colts and started shooting. The entire saloon erupted in gunfire. Jail Bird Jay and Terrible Ted each dove out the windows on either side of the door as Frisco Bob stood in the doorway with a Colt in each hand shooting the place up.

Terrible Ted rolled on the walk after diving through the window and stood up near his horse where he grabbed his rifle out of the scabbard and started firing into the saloon as his walked back towards the window. Jail Bird grabbed his side by side and did the same through the window to the left of the door. When the weapons were empty there was too much smoke in the saloon to see anything so the three men, now bonded by this gunfight, mounted their horses and headed hell bent for leather out of town using the heavy fog as cover.

To be continued. . .


Hidden away in the coastal range of the Santa Cruz Mountains some twenty miles inland from the Big Water lies Coyote Valley. In the heart of Coyote Valley stands the town of Little Creek. Mayor Tom founded this site in the hopes of establishing a better foothold for American Democracy to take root in the heart of the new Republic. Although Alta California was included in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, much of the land was still controlled by the native Mexican population and was distributed under Land Grants.

When Mayor Tom established Little Creek he turned to his friend Bad Eye Bobolu and asked him to be the sheriff. Little Creek started with nothing more than a saloon and sheriff's office, both run by Bad Eye Bobolu. The town folk were mostly farmers and ranchers, good, hard working people who would lend a hand to anyone in need. The town was growing and with the addition of a school and church, families were steadily moving in and settling the Valley. Not more than a year after the town was established gold was discovered just downstream from Main Street. The discovery of gold can never be suppressed even in the remote area of Coyote Valley. All too soon Little Creek was showing up on hand scratched maps and before anyone knew it, the Stage Coach was coming to town regularly. As the word of gold traveled, the town flooded with miners and treasure seekers of all kinds who had simply grabbed a shovel and headed out to strike their claim. Only small amounts of color trickled out of a handful of holes dug by these desperate men. It didn't matter much though; all it takes is a little color anywhere to keep people coming. These would-be miners came with their heads filled with dreams of riches and visions of easy money. Some stuck it out but most grew discouraged quickly and abandoned these dreams of gold after just a short time of digging. Once spring passes the rains stop and most creeks dry up and all there is left to do is hard pan until late fall when rain might fall again. Many of those who keep mining through the summer find themselves with bloody knuckles and finger tips.

One of the early residents of Little Creek was a man who went by the name of Coyote Mann, at least that is what everyone called him since he wore a coyote skin on his head. He and his wife were descendants of the Chippewa Indian from the Sault Ste Mare Tribe in Upper Michigan. Coyote Mann was a trapper and learned to work with iron by making his own traps. His skills with a hammer and anvil became more valuable than the pelts he could trap so he eventually turned to blacksmithing for a living but continued to trap for food and furs. To escape the cold winters of Michigan, Coyote Mann headed out west where skilled craftsmen were needed to help tame and settle the west. A growing town is a good place for a blacksmith. As people build their homes and businesses they need hardware for building. Coyote Mann could take a simple piece of iron and with a little heat from his coal fired forge and the pounding of his hammer he could work magic. He happened upon the Valley of the Coyotes while hunting to feed his family. He learned quickly where the best places to hunt were to find game for food and fur bearers for trapping. When he discovered the town of Little Creek in that rich, beautiful valley he moved his family there and set himself up a makeshift shop under an oak tree at the end of town and has never left since.

RW Sloan was a long time friend of Bad Eye and a man with good business sense. Knowing he would bring only good things with him, Bad Eye could not wait to tell RW of the new town he and Mayor Tom were establishing. Once gold was discovered, Little Creek needed a bank and RW Sloan was just the man to put one in. He was a self made man with a bit of financial means. This is not to say RW Sloan was loaded but he had just enough backing to get a bank going. The first step was for RW Sloan to purchase a lot to build the bank on. He knew the Bank had to be in the middle of town on Main Street to be successful and he had his eye on the lot right next to the saloon. This was really the only vacant lot left on Main Street but was owned by Harlan Applebee. Harlan had given mining a try but had not struck gold and was none too happy about it. He had secured the Main Street lot with the hopes of opening a hardware store with all the money he was going to have from mining but now Harlan Applebee wanted nothing more than to sell the lots and say good bye and good riddance to Little Creek. With the town now bustling with gold seekers, Main Street dirt commanded a handsome price. Harlan figured if he couldn't make his money from gold he would get it for the lots so the only deal RW Sloan could strike with Harlan was to purchase the lot he wanted and the adjoining lot behind it. The additional lot really had no value because it was not on Main Street but Harlan Applebee wanted full value price for both. RW Sloan was stuck between a rock and a hard place and was forced into buying both at full price. The deal took more of RW's funds than he had anticipated and he was now concerned about having what it would take to complete the bank. RW Sloan was a tenacious businessman though, and when he started something he finished it.

Now that the land for the bank was acquired, RW Sloan approached El Vaquero to build the bank building for him. He explained the financial situation he was in and hoped for the best. El Vaquero could see the bind RW had gotten himself into and felt the need to help. RW may have been a good, or even a great businessman but he knew nothing about construction. El Vaquero explained to RW that constructing a building was a little more involved than just tacking up a few boards. A bank needs to be a secure building with bars on the teller window and a safe. But before any of this could happen a foundation would need to be dug and drainage established. RW Sloan went to the Mayor the next day and explained his situation and requested a town meeting. The town founders came together in the saloon and together came up with a plan. El Vaquero and Jose would take care of the foundation and the building itself and Coyote Mann would get to work on the required iron for bars and most of all, the safe.

The idea of building the safe excited Coyote Mann. He had never taken on a project as big as building a bank safe. He literally moved his blacksmithing equipment to the lot behind the bank and went to work. Coyote Mann, El Vaquero and Jose all knew RW Sloan would not be able to pay them what their work was worth but they knew the town needed a bank if it were to keep growing and lending a hand to someone with good intentions who needed it was really what Little Creek was built on. When the work on the bank was complete, RW Sloan met with the men to discuss payment. Since Coyote Mann had moved all his equipment to the lot behind the bank and he looked pretty comfortable there, RW offered the land to him as partial payment. Land off of Main Street in Little Creek carried little value but Coyote Mann was a fair man and he could see the town was growing so he took the lot on the speculation it would have good value one day.

With the bank complete, Coyote Mann moved his blacksmithing tools back under the oak at the end of town and resumed life as it was before the excitement of building the bank. He had been busy all day every day while the bank was under construction but now had time on his hands and little work to keep himself busy. With all the talk in town of gold, Coyote Mann caught a little bit of the gold fever and he started digging a mine behind the bank. After all, he owned the lot and had nothing else to do with it right now. He pounded a stick into the ground in front of his mine and nailed a sign to the stick that said "Coyote Den Mine." He had not dug more than twenty feet into the hillside when he hit pay dirt. It started as just a little color in the bottom of his pan but the further in he got, the larger the vein became. Coyote Mann was not a drinker so while the rest of the men in the town headed to the saloon in the evening to drink, Coyote Mann would head into his mine shaft. He continued to be a blacksmith by day and a miner by night. When anyone would ask him how the mine was treating him, he would just grumble and shake his head. Everyone was so used to seeing useless holes that they figured he was about as successful as everyone else at mining. Within a couple of months of mining at night, Coyote Mann filled a small pouch with gold dust. Not wanting anyone to know about his big find, he quietly met with the RW Sloan and arranged for the gold to be stored in the bank's vault. This would even out any debt RW Sloan owed to Coyote Mann and gave him a safe place to keep the gold. As he pulled more and more gold from the hillside, Coyote Mann was glad he had built the safe so well.

To be continued. . .