A chance meeting in the Hubbard’s General Store leads four men on peace mission with an unexpected conclusion.
Roy Goodwin, Lorne Caulfield, Steve Washington and LeVeaux (Tom), were enjoying an early evening’s meal, courtesy of Marsha Hubbard, when they overheard her husband Wallace in conversation with Reverend Henry Kelly. Soon enough they had been roped into a scheme to help defuse tensions between the bouncers of the newly opened Hoyle’s Hotel and Casino and the toughs who enforce the will of moneylender Cillian Obannan.
Obannan was their first stop. Paying the man who many credit with building the town the respect of the first call. Cillian seemed uninterested in hastening the rule of law in the town and would only encourage the de-escalation our party sought if they would do something for him. A stagecoach was rolling in tonight, he said, bound for the General Store and Cillian wanted what was in it.
Reticent to go through with this scheme, the group resolved to introduce themselves to Alicia Moreau, who they hoped would be more amenable. She proved a more gracious host, but argued that if her employees were being threatened she wasn’t about to have them give in to Obannan’s aggression. Like Obannan, she hinted an alternative solution, although hers was considerably more gruesome than that proposed by the money lender, it was aimed at creating a lasting peace in the town.
Unsure which road to take, the party gathered on the main street. As they discussed their options a gun shot rang out near Haskin’s. Investigating, the group discovered Cortez, a casino man, who had just had a near miss with one of Obannan’s gang. He said if he saw him again he’d kill him.
Realising that the town rested on an knife edge, the party devised a risky scheme. They invited Cortez and his compatriots to meet with Obannan’s men at the well that evening, to parlay and reach a peaceful settlement. “We’ll be there,” he said, storming off back to the casino.
The party returned to Obannan’s residence, hoping to convince the major-domo to allow his mend to attend the meeting. Although he greeted their proposal with suspicion he acquiesced with surprising swiftness and bid the party adieu – but not before taking Steve Washington aside for a quick private chat.
A bright spark had the idea of providing coffee for the assembled parties, in the hope that this would discourage them from reaching for their guns. The group returned to the General Store to petition Wallace Hubbard for the use of his pots and cups. He agreed, and Caulfield asked a question that was on everyone’s lips. What was in that carriage that was so important?
The answer was shocking to all assembled. On the advice on an unnamed friend, Hubbard had arranged for an out of town ex-sheriff to bring some law and order to the town. That sheriff was being smuggled in under the cover of darkness, disguised as a routine goods delivery.
Concerned that Obannan, who clearly knew of the coach’s true passenger, would strike against it, Lorne Caulfield and Washington rode off to provide escort. Meanwhile Goodwin and LeVeaux deployed themselves at the well and prepared for the arrival of the two gangs.
After a bumpy start, Caulfield and Washington eventually located the coach and convinced its drivers that they would provide them with protection on the final leg into town. Meanwhile, the gangs had arrived at the well, positioning themselves at either side. Roy, LeVeaux and Reverend Kelly – who had been coaxed out of the church by Goodwin – stood in the centre attempting to calm the situation and move on to a discussion of a truce.
Their negotiations were not successful. Obannan’s gang lured the preacher out of the line of fire and drew their pistols, pointing one at Roy while the rest trained their six shooters on the casino bouncers.
As the carriage rumbled towards town, Goodwin did his best to diffuse the situation. LeVeaux, however, decided to take a different tack. “There’s something coming you would both like to get your hands on,” he tells the assembled gangs. “You shut up!” counters Goodwin, accenting his demand with a right hook that misses its target.
From here, everything happens very quickly. More punches are thrown, one so misplaced that it leaves old man Goodwin sprawled across the well, while LeVeaux continues to tease out information about the incoming sheriff. Eventually, the levy breaks and a single shot is fired by the Obannan gang. Miraculously, the bullet does not hit its target, even at such close range. Onlookers barely have time to wonder what that bright flash that came from the casino bouncers huddle could have been before the coach roars into the town square.
A woman kicks open the doors, brandishing a double barrelled shotgun in each hand. “Drop your weapons,” she yells, “I’m the law here.”