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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Wild West Campaign Update: Elkhorn Ranch

About a year since their last adventure, the PCs were brought back together out of curiosity, when Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock offered them a chance to work for an eccentric easterner who had purchased a ranch near Deadwood and was looking for "famous shootists" to help him track down some thieves.



The PCs made their way to Deadwood and met up with Bullock, and then made their way to the Elkhorn Ranch.  On the way, Bullock told them that this rich easterner was "not your typical greenhorn".

Of course, at first glance on arriving at "Elkhorn Ranch", that greenhorn sure looked like a pretty typical clueless easterner, doing his best attempt at 19th century wild-west badass cosplay:


Then he introduced himself, in a thick knickerbocker accent. His name was Theodore Roosevelt, and he was glad to meet these "true men of the American west".

Yes, in the 1880s, not yet 30 years old, Teddy Roosevelt decided to "retire" from his career in politics following some personal disappointments, and left New York to go start a ranch in the old west.  He would later claim that it was his time in the West that truly made a man of him.



The PCs joined Teddy and Bullock in a posse to hunt a crook named "Crazy Steve" (who the PCs would later discover had actually taken that nickname because he was a huge Crazy Miller fanboy). Along the way, they quickly gained a good deal of admiration for Teddy, who was certainly green but no fool and quick to learn. The adventure played out like an origin-story of how Teddy Roosevelt became the man he was, complete with foreshadowing of things like Mt.Rushmore and "walk softly and carry a big stick".

Of course some of the adventure was played up for laughs, but a great deal of it was based on truth. Roosevelt's adventures in the West didn't turn out to be the permanent new life he'd planned, but it did shape the rest of his life. And the friendships he formed with some of the Old West legends like Seth Bullock, Bill Tilghman and Bat Masterson would lead to some of these legends becoming long-term associates of his, receiving special government commissions, and some even joined him in the Roughriders.

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