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Monday 25 September 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: Uncle Fancy

The session began with a couple of PCs absent: the Mormon Gambler was off doing some errands for Beattie in Kansas City, while Kid Taylor was off doing some patrolling work in the countryside.

Cooter was in a panic, on account that he'd gotten news that his Uncle Fancy was arriving in town for a visit.  The PCs already knew that Cooter had been very creative in his stories sent back to Cooter County, and his entire family had the impression that he was actually the Sheriff around here.  Last time, when his Aunt Henry had come to visit, then-Sheriff Bassett had helped Cooter out by playing along.  But this time the Sheriff is Bat Masterson, and he's not interested in playing make-believe that Cooter is the boss while his uncle is in Dodge.

When Marhsal Jeff Young doesn't prove to be any help, Cooter goes to talk to Crazy Miller, who concocts a plan: the local townspeople willing to help will create the illusion for Uncle Fancy that Cooter is the chief lawman, and then as soon as possible Cooter will take his uncle out of town on a 'routine patrol' where they'll do some sight-seeing and fishing until it's time for him to get home.

This seems like a good plan, and when Cooter's uncle shows up in the noon train, it initially works. There were enough people calling Cooter sheriff that it all seemed credible, and Crazy Miller didn't even flinch when it turned out that this wasn't the only fib Cooter had told; he had also claimed that him and Miller were partners and Cooter was a half-owner of the Palace Saloon.  So things were going well.
But then it turns out that Uncle Fancy brought several jugs of "the Recipe" (the infamous moonshine that the ladies of the Cooter clan concoct), and things go somewhat askew when a good part of the participants as well as the Cooters themselves get considerably drunk in the Alhambra Saloon.

Things get even crazier when the alarm comes through the town that Doc Baker has been shot!  The town doctor is still alive, the shot hit his shoulder and the bullet is still in; unfortunately, with the doc himself being the victim of the shooting and with Kid Taylor being out of town, the only two people in town with any kind of medical qualifications at all are Crazy Miller (who learned a tiny bit of medical training in the army) and Doc Holliday.  Deciding that he doesn't want to trade removing a bullet for catching consumption, Doc Baker decides to have Crazy Miller remove the bullet under his instructions while Baker is still conscious.  Fortunately, it works, though not without considerable agony for Doc Baker.  It turns out that the doctor has a strong suspicion about who took a shot at him: a few days ago he tried to treat the wife of a farmer named Henry Calhoon. Calhoon already hated doctors after his brother had died on a surgeon's operating table during the Civil War, and when his wife had got an infection he refused to call on the Doc, but when he went out for a couple of days on a job to raise money for his struggling farmstead, the farmer's son went and got Doc. But it was too late, Calhoon's wife died, and Doc is sure that it was the grief-stricken enraged farmer who tried to murder him, blaming him for his wife's death.

During the whole ordeal, Cooter has just barely managed to skillfully maintain the illusion that he's the town lawman. When the real lawmen agree to go looking for Calhoon, he acts as though he approved of their suggestions and that he and his uncle would stay at the Doctor's office to stand guard.

The lawmen (helped by the two Millers) don't find anything in town. When they find Wyatt Earp (who had been off in the Red Light District when the shooting took place), Earp suggested that the farmer probably rushed back to his farm right after shooting the sawbones.

They decided to go look for Calhoon on his farm, but needed to go ask Doc Baker exactly where the farm was (the only lawman currently in Dodge with a very intimate knowledge of the rest of Ford County is Bill Tilghman, and he had gone out with Kid Taylor).

When they got to Doc's office, they found that the Cooters were gone; they'd left Baxter (the manager of the Wells-fargo office) keeping guard, and had apparently already figured the same idea, having left with almost an hour's advantage to the Calhoon farm.  Wyatt and Jeff Young took Crazy Miller and Other Miller to head off after the Cooters. Wyatt tried to get Doc Holliday to come along, but he was decidedly uninterested.

When they got to the Calhoon farmstead it was already dark. Earp and Crazy Miller went around the back of the farmhouse, which was lit, while Jeff Young and Other Miller headed to the front door. But before they could get to the door, one of the farmhouse windows was broken and someone was threatening them with a rifle!

They assumed it was Calhoon, but as they started to draw Young noticed that the wielder's frame was way too slight; and they heard Cooter shout from inside the farmhouse that it was Calhoon's 13-year old son about to fire on them.

Wyatt started running to the front, telling Crazy Miller to break the window and get in from behind. Other Miller rushed to try to grab the rifle and pull it out of the kid's hands. He missed his grab, though, and the kid shot. He missed Miller, but then Jeff Young tried to shoot the rifle and accidentally ended up hitting Other Miller in the leg.

Other Miller wasn't seriously injured and he tried to pin the rifle against the window frame. The kid shot again but missed as the rifle was pinned. Wyatt Earp got to the front, bashed the door down and drew on the kid just as Other Miller finally managed to pull knock the rifle out of the boy's hands. The kid surrendered, he'd just been doing what his Pa had told him to do. Cooter and Uncle Fancy were both tied up in the farmhouse and Cooter frantically told the PCs that Calhoon was headed back to Dodge; when they'd gotten the jump on the Cooter, Calhoon realized that Doc Baker was still alive, and (still enraged by grief and thoughts of revenge) went back to town to finish what he started.

Other Miller and the Cooters stayed to keep an eye on the boy, while Crazy Miller, Jeff Young, and Wyatt Earp rushed back toward Dodge. Crazy Miller was the best horsemen of the three and quickly left the others in the dust.

He got to Dodge and galloped up to the Doc's office, only to find Baxter unconscious and the door ajar. He rushed up the stairs to the door and heard a shot, but from a derringer. Then just before he got into the exam room he heard a second shot, this time from a rifle. As he got through the door, he saw that Doc was bleeding on the floor and Calhoon was also bleeding, re-cocking his rifle and getting ready to fire. It turns out that Calhoon had come into the doc's office intent on killing him, but had words with him first. He didn't realize that Doc Baker, always prepared, was resting on his sickbed with a derringer under his pillow. He got his shot off but only injured Calhoon, who then shot him in the other shoulder.  Calhoon spun around when he saw Crazy Miller rushing in, intent on firing on him, but Crazy Miller was faster, and dropped Calhoon with a shot to the head.

Miller then treated the ever-complaining Doc Baker, who once again lucked out with the shot not having hit anything too serious.

As for Uncle Fancy, he had such a great time with his adventure in Dodge that he considered bringing over his whole branch of the Cooter clan to live in the city where Cooter had obviously done so well. Cooter only managed to convince him otherwise by pointing out that Dodge city is no fit place for Cooter-clan women-folk, and that the life Cooter had chosen as a lawman and rich saloon owner had to be a solitary one.


Currently Smoking: Neerup Crown Cutty + C&D's Crowley's Best

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