In today's adventure, the PCs found Dodge City in a state of panic, as news filtered in of the Indian army of Crazy Horse defeating the U.S. army sent to fight them. The town is practically on lock-down, some local farmers were abandoning their homesteads, and the local wealthy ranchers were hiring guns to turn their little manors into fortresses. Among these was the Bar-T, where one of the PCs (Miller) was hired in an illegal cattle-rustling operation already; another PC ("Kid" James Taylor) was hired for added security.
To make things worse, reports came in of a nearby farmstead that was apparently massacred by an Indian war-band. The farmer, his wife, and two young children were killed, and the teenage daughter apparently taken by them.
The town got in an uproar and formed a posse of amateur locals. But Sheriff Bassett wanted to check out the site of the attack first, and took a couple of the PCs with him (a deputy town marshal and the local bullpen foreman who Bassett felt was good in a pinch). Meanwhile, Wyatt Earp will lead the posse along, which includes the Long Branch's Mormon Faro Dealer.
Poor Morgan Earp is left behind, always the neglected younger brother, to watch the town (along with the obese and corrupt town Marshal, Larry Deger).
Sheriff Basset's group quickly finds out that the attack was only made to look like it was Indian. There were real Indian arrows used, but they were Comanche, not Sioux or Cheyenne.
Meanwhile, Earp's posse cuts through the Bar-T ranch, where they pick up Miller, and end up realizing that the way the "indians" got through the ranch's increased security was through an inside man (spotted by the "Kid" claiming to be fleeing the ranch out of fear of the Indians). Earp leaves Mormon Gambler in charge of the posse, with strict orders not to ride north of the Pawnee river, and heads with the "kid" after the inside man, thinking he's figured it all out.
Bassett's group catches up to the Posse around the river, and they realize (thanks to some of the PCs' tracking skills) that the "war band" did indeed double back. They wanted to make it look like they were heading north to join up with Crazy Horse, but were in fact heading back south, toward the Red Hills. Bassett realizes that these aren't Indians at all, but Comancheros, renegade outlaws of mixed American, Mexican and Indian extraction that trade in guns, whiskey and women with the Comanches. He gets the Mormon Gambler to lead the Dodge Posse around in circles so they don't get in the way or get themselves killed, and rides off with the other three PCs present to hunt these men down before they can escape.
Earp and the Kid catch up to the Comancheros' inside man just south of Dodge, and chase him down; catching him when a bullet from Earp scares the rider's horse into bucking. After a fairly violent interrogation at Earps' hands, the guy spills the beans; and Earp has the Kid take the prisoner back to Dodge while he rides on to try to apprehend the other seven Comancheros, possibly all on his own.
As it happens, Bassett's group and Earp catch up to the banditos on the same night, and manage to catch them mostly unawares. A couple of the outlaws take a bullet, but the girl is saved and the rest are captured for hanging.
The PCs get themselves a bit of fame and reputation, and share a bit of reward money for outstanding bounties on the prisoners.
The group deduced a few things from the adventure today:
1) Townspeople are mostly useless. You generally don't want to have amateurs on a posse as they can be more trouble than they're worth.
2) Morgan Earp sure is an unlucky bastard.
3) The general theory was that in the adventure, Wyatt Earp took the Mormon Gambler with him because he knows he's destined to have a gambler as his best friend at some point, and just doesn't know which gambler it is yet.
4) Charlie Bassett, Wyatt Earp, and Larry Deger are three main archetypes of what the Western Lawman is all about.
Deger is basically this guy:
Neutral Evil. Corrupt, lazy, self-serving, mostly cowardly, he'd be charging protection money from every business in Dodge if Bassett didn't stop him.
Bassett is this guy:
Lawful Good. Does everything by the book. He'd rather put himself in danger than risk the townsfolk. He'll take his man alive if he can. Trying to always do the right thing, because the badge means something.
And Wyatt Earp is, well, this guy:
Chaotic Good, at best. Will gladly bust a few heads to get his man. Wears the badge more than anything because its the one thing he's good at, and he's amazing at it. But when the badge is on him, he is the law.
Stay tuned in a couple of weeks for more!
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Volcano + H&H's Beverwyck