Many a folk has moved out to the west to get away from it all. From the crowded big cities, and all the problems that come with cramming people together like herring in a can. They come to small towns like Carson City to have peace, prosperity, and a little land to themselves. But while a frontier town like Carson City is peaceful and quiet much of the time, it is still very much in the middle of nowhere. This creates a haven in the outlying areas for some of the most lawless men in the country. Thankfully, there are brave men with respect for law and order in Carson City.
On an unusually warm January night, Sheriff Richardson entered the saloon on the bottom floor of the St. Charles Hotel. As he had hoped, the guys he was looking for were here. Doc Fleming, Sergeant Russel, and Pecos Potter were playing cards in the back of room as he suspected they might be. In fact he could hear them before he could see them. From the back table he could hear the Sergeant whooping and hollering, singing along to Camptown Races between sips of whiskey. Sergeant Russel, or “The Sarge” as he is sometimes called, likes to visit Carson City on the weekends, as the strict rules of Fort Churchill get to be too much for him after spending all week cooped up at the desert fort. The Sarge is known for his love of firearms, always showing off the latest in weapon technology. Being connected with the government has its privileges.
Sitting next to the Sarge was Doc Fleming. The Doc is Carson City’s local medical practitioner. He’s settled down some since he moved in with that lawyer lady from Reno, but don’t let his calm and professional demeanor fool you. A master at cards, the Doc is also an expert rifleman from the years he spent hunting raccoons in the Ozarks as a young man. There is more than one man buried in the Lone Mountain Cemetery that underestimated ol’ Doc!
Sheriff Richardson was here to enlist the help of these men, but most of all he was here to see Pecos Potter. Not much is known of Potter’s history, only that he is a bounty hunter, tracker, and a good friend of the local Shoshone tribes. He is very soft spoken, when he speaks at all, and is known to disappear into the wild for weeks at a time. Many say Pecos has grit.
Yes, the Sheriff would need the help of all these men. Richardson certainly does not shy from danger, and is even fond of showing off his knife and bullet scars. He needed help going after a notorious outlaw though, requiring the skill of more than himself and a few green deputies.
El Espléndido, the Greasiest Man in all the Great Basin, was seen stealing horses from the Proctor ranch over on Carson’s west side last night. Sheriff Richardson interrupted the men playing cards, and made his proposition. Pecos and Doc rubbed their chins in thought, but the Sarge just got a big grin. He couldn’t wait to try out the new guns he just received shipment on. He hadn’t even had a chance to sight them in yet! Pecos and Doc agreed to go after the outlaw. Stealing horses may just be the beginning of what El Espléndido is planning. Something big may be about to go down! They’d ride first thing in the morning.
The next morning, Pecos and the rest of the gang, known locally as the Iron Mountain Boys, met at Meikrantz Mercantile to pick up some supplies. They bought rope, bullets, whiskey, and a few victuals. They found Scott and Lester hamming it up behind the counter, drinking beer before the sun had even had a chance to climb into the sky. Lester bagged up the goods, and invited Pecos and the Boys to go to Reno with them. Scott and Lester planned to close early and take the V&T to Reno to watch the Dancing Girls show. Some new show in from San Francisco they said. Pecos declined and they all went on their way, riding past Empire, and into the hills towards Iron Mountain.
While the rest of the boys were finishing their drinks last night, Pecos met with a Shoshone scout named Coyote Paw. He had seen El Espléndido in the Iron Mountain area as recently as two days ago, and thought he had a crude camp near Jackrabbit Springs. Pecos was grateful for the intelligence from the watchful scout as usual.
Taking El Espléndido would be no easy task. Taken prisoner at an early age during an Apache raid in the New Mexico Territory, he ended up spending many years with the tribe. El Espléndido was at home in the mountains, and very skilled with raiding and surprise attacks. Nobody remembers his birth name, but the name El Espléndido was acquired during his years in Mexico, running all sorts of illegal and unnatural crimes from a sleazy cantina.
It wasn’t long before Pecos found the trail he was looking for. A little game trail, heading up towards Jackrabbit Springs. One man and a couple horses came this way recently. They’d get to higher ground for a better vantage point. El Espléndido would be watching the trail.
Once on top of a high hill, Pecos Potter and the Iron Mountain Boys began surveying the land. Coyote Paw’s intelligence had proven to be valuable. Not far from the springs was El Espléndido’s camp, and what looked to be the Proctor’s horses! El Espléndido and some other dirty looking bearded fellow were in the camp. It would be stealth mode from here on out, something the boys were good at.
Pecos and the boys went around the backside of the hills, so they could take positions around the top of the camp without being spotted. They waited until dusk before getting into final position. El Espléndido and the other bearded man seemed to be drunk and arguing about something as they sat around the fire. As the argument got heated, the other bearded man stood up. That’s when Sergeant Russel decided to try his new gun. Since it hadn’t been sighted in, the shot went slightly astray, only taking off the poor bastard’s arm, and sending the rest of his body flying back into the bushes. The Sarge squeezed the trigger again, and the thrashing in the bushes disappeared in a big cloud of dust.
El Espléndido couldn’t see where the shots came from and began firing at random in all directions. He made his way down the trail to get out of the trap of the canyon, and seemed like he might make a getaway in a dry riverbed. Sheriff Richardson moved on an intercept course, planning on making an arrest if he could. Before he could get too far though, the crack of Doc’s rifle was heard in the distance. Doc was over 100 yards away, and couldn’t have had a very good chance at hitting the outlaw. But nonetheless, El Espléndido seemed to slow all of a sudden. The slowness became a stagger, and then the stagger became a fall, like a tree falling in the forest. The boys moved in cautiously, just in case he was bluffing, but El Espléndido made no further movement.
Sheriff Richardson was a little disappointed he wouldn’t get to bring El Espléndido in for a fair trial, but at least he wouldn’t have to fool with a lot of paper work. They slumped the remains of El Espléndido over one of the stolen horses, but had no luck at finding much left of the other guy. “Buzzards gotta eat too…”, said Pecos Potter. “Reckon so.”, said the Sarge. Doc said nothing, only nodding his head and spitting his tobacco. On that note, they headed back for Carson City to celebrate Doc’s 50th birthday!