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Sunday, 26 August 2018

Wild West Campaign: The Kidnapping

Our game this week began with a brief shootout in the Oriental Saloon, where deputy town marshal One-Armed Kelly got his brains blown out by an old rival from Leadtown.

This really couldn't have come at a worse time because his boss, Kid Taylor, was campaigning for John Clum and the Republican party to try to win him the post of Town Mayor on a "law and order" ticket. Their opponent was Crazy Miller, who was running for the Democrats and had Johnny Behan (who had just made himself county sheriff) as his campaign manager.  Behan was distracted on account of having been thrown out by the famed singer Sadie Marcus after she caught him in bed with her best friend, but Miller was still leading in the polls.

This was causing some distress to the Republicans, in part because Crazy Miller had previously agreed to a secret pact with them where he'd throw the race. Only, he wasn't giving any indication of wishing to do so. He was making campaign promises with the best of them, and had pegged crack lawman Jeff Young as his pick for town marhsal when he wins.

No one was more upset by this than Wyatt Earp. He'd been double crossed in the last elections for the county seat by Behan, who had promised him the Sheriff's badge.  When Jeff Young confided in him that he thought Miller was running to win, Earp actually kicked down the door to Miller's room in Fry's Boarding House, and threatened him that if John Clum didn't win the election, Earp would consider Miller his enemy. And he didn't want Earp for an enemy.

The truth is Crazy Miller was toying with the idea of winning, because he's crazy. But Other Miller quickly realized that Crazy was being crazy; if he ran and won, he'd need to be a toady for Old Man Clanton and the Cowboys or they'd kill him. But if he just resigned from the race, they might kill him too. Fortunately, he came up with a plan. He arranged for a couple of men from Tuscon to fake Crazy Miller's kidnapping. Other Miller was getting married two days before the election, and he reckoned that just after the wedding party would be a great moment for Crazy Miller to get himself kidnapped; he convinced Crazy that this was the best way out of this mess.

The wedding went off without a hitch, and so did the "kidnapping". While Other Miller headed off to the Las Vegas springs for his honeymoon, Crazy Miller was rushing off through the desert with his escorts.  No one else knew this was planned. So naturally, when the town figured out (a day before the election) that the Democratic candidate was missing, accusatory eyes turned to the Republicans. The cowboys came this close on two occasions to starting a shootout with Kid Taylor, and Wyatt Earp was threatened too. John Clum was only kept from retribution because even the cowboys knew he was too straight-laced to have possibly had anything at all to do with this.

John Clum won the election. In spite of everyone thinking Crazy Miller was missing, possibly (probably?) dead, Clum only won by 72 votes.

While every single cowboy was searching for Crazy Miller (or his corpse), Clum got straight to work. He reaffirmed Kid Taylor as town marshal and hired on Jeff Young as his new deputy. He also made sure Virgil and Morgan Earp would help keep the peace in town as well, and keep an eye on Kid Taylor in case any cowboys were out for blood.

Curiously, Young's first action as  deputy didn't involve cowboys. Instead, in involved Doc Holliday. He'd gotten into a big fight with Big Nose Kate, who wanted them to leave Tombstone (she was worried for Doc's health, and expecting the town to descend to violence soon). Now he was wandering drunk (much more drunk than usual) through the streets of Tombstone, threatening random people. It was only a matter of time until he killed someone, or got himself shot to death by cowboys.

Now Jeff Young is amazingly fast. And Doc Holliday was amazingly drunk. It would be a very close fight. Jeff was trying his utmost to talk Doc down, but of course Doc has a death wish on the very best of days, and Young was someone who maybe, just maybe, could actually grant it to him. Fortunately, Kid Taylor saw what was going down and rushed to get Wyatt Earp who was just down the street. Just as Holliday was about to draw on Young, Earp jumped Doc from behind and wrestled the gun out of his hand.  They put Doc in the drunk tank for two days, by which time he'd calmed down. He decided to leave town for a while, heading to Charlton for a poker game.

Other Miller was in Las Vegas, relaxing, but he got news that the town was going nuts over Crazy Miller's disappearance.  Not wanting some kind of massacre to happen, and wanting to avoid arousing suspicion at the same time, he told his people to stay calm and take no action until he returned from his honeymoon, and to give himself extra cover, he hired a Pinkerton agent to try to "find" Crazy Miller.

The Pinkerton man arrived from Tuscon, and quickly started making inquiries. True to his company's reputation, he was leaving no stone unturned, and was annoying a hell of a lot of people in the process.

Crazy Miller arrived safe & sound in Bisbee, where he sent word to Tombstone that he was alive. He concocted a story about having been kidnapped and having killed his captors in the desert several days away from civilization (far enough away that they wouldn't try to go find the bodies). Then, in a fit of Crazy, he decided to add that he knew they'd received $500 each by someone, he claimed not to know who.

Naturally, this created quite the stir in town, as everyone suspected everyone else of having paid for Miller's kidnapping. The Cowboys suspected Kid Taylor, or Wyatt Earp, or both of them together. Earp and Taylor suspected each other, or possibly even the Cowboys (on the assumption that maybe Miller had told them he was resigning from the race). No one suspected Miller himself. Well, almost no one.

Crazy Miller was heading back on the stagecoach from Tuscon, where he ran into Bat Masterson, who'd been doing some business for the Oriental. The two were traveling in the coach with a couple of ladies, and at a slow turn they heard someone calling from outside the coach "halt". The driver, a surly sort said "this coach halts for nothing!" and sped up. Soon shots were being fired. Bat and Crazy started firing back when they noticed that the driver had been hit.  Crazy Miller tried to climb up to the driver's seat but fell off the cart. Bat had better luck and took the reins but with four desperados firing at him he couldn't stop to save Crazy.

Crazy was injured with a bad sprain on his ankle, and one of the robbers was right above him on horseback. He wasn't wearing a red sash, but Crazy thought he recognized him as a Cowboy. He recognized Miller too, and so spared him and rode off.

News of the robbery reached the town, and Virgil Earp formed a posse with his two brothers, Kid Taylor and Jeff Young. Sheriff Behan insisted on coming to make sure nothing happened to Crazy Miller. They got to the way-station where they learned the driver was dead and Crazy Miller was missing. Bat joined them and they headed up to find Miller. Bat figured he might be dead, but they found him mostly unharmed, though pretty cross at Bat.

Kid Taylor and Jeff Young got Miller back to town while the others tracked the criminals, but unfortunately wouldn't be able to find the robbers, only arresting a guy who sold them fresh horses. For his own (crazy) reasons, Crazy Miller didn't reveal that he'd recognized one of the thieves, or that they were Cowboys who were in disguise. That last note was curious because the Cowboys almost never committed their crimes in disguise, and certainly never hiding their trademark red sashes.

The Pinkerton interviewed Crazy Miller, catching him in a couple of inconsistencies. He gave his final report to Other Miller, making it clear that while he didn't have enough evidence at the moment to prove anything, he strongly suspected that either Crazy Miller or Other Miller himself had arranged the kidnapping. However, he proved his company's confidentiality by assuring Miller that the Pinkertons didn't share information from their cases with anyone.  The Millers were very impressed with the Pinkerton's expert detective skills, and agreed that they'd be likely to hire them on in the future.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Egg + Gawith's Navy Flake 

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