Chapter 30, “Welcome to Tombstone”, October 24th, 1881, 1:00 P.M.:
The Wells Fargo stage rides into the community of Tombstone. The city itself is rather small, consisting of two main streets named Allen and Freemont that are intersected by six other streets named First through Sixth (a map of 1881 Tombstone can be found at the following link: http://ferncanyonpress.com/tombston.../tombsmap.shtml
). The Stage lets the group off at the corner of Allen and Forth streets, with Newton Gilly pointing out to Hank where the County Sheriff’s Office is located.
Arcade’s Gang enters the brick building, finding it to be about twice the size of the Deputy Sheriff’s Office back in Promise City. Both jail cells are currently unoccupied and the only one present is a Deputy Sheriff who introduces himself as Jeb Dalton. Hank steps forward to shake his hand saying, “Hank Hill, and I tell you what. I’d like to introduce you to the group responsible for killing Billy the Kid.” Dalton’s jaw drops and he exclaims “Arcade’s Gang. The Deputy asks to hear the story but Arcade only answers, “He met an untimely end.” The Deputy then says, “The Sheriff has been expecting you.” “Well, go get him,” Morgana comments.
Dalton leaves and quickly returns with Sheriff Johnny Behan. Behan dismisses his deputy and asks the Gang to have a seat, thinking them for coming. He says, “The United States Cavalry commander over at the nearby Fort Huachuca is wondering when the soldiers can head back into the Dos Cabazes and Chiricahua Mountains. They had agreed to stay out while the Apache who lived there stopped all Caucasians in order to prevent the James Gang from coming through there. That was almost three months ago, and the James boys now seem to be long gone.”
Morgana had arrived wearing her Native American garb, and speaks up, using her bard abilities to add a level of persuasiveness to her appeal. She tells the Sheriff that the threat to the County from the James Gang still remains, what with a beloved cousin of Frank and Jesse having been killed in the Promise City robberies. She also reiterates that there have been no skirmishes of any kind between the Caucasians and Apache since the travel ban into the mountains was enacted, which is making life easier for both the Cavalry and the County Sheriff. She emphasizes that the current agreement should remain until they have definite proof that the James Gang are not planning to return on a quest of vengeance.
Sheriff Behan concurs with her assessment and says that he will speak to the Army about maintaining the present status. Several party members sense that there will be a quid-pro-quo to his acquiescence, which then follows. He asks them to do him the favor of handing around Tombstone for the next several days. “Any particular reason?” Arcade asks.
Behan says, “Well, yeah. Deputy Hunter has told me about the two factions that have developed over in Promise City, with the cowboys who like the rough-and-tumble lifestyle as opposed to the Promise City Civic Association..” “Who want us run out of town,” Morgana interjects. “You want us to stay here so that they get their way?” Louie inquires. Behan interjects, “Oh no, this isn’t about Promise City at all. We actually have the same situation here in Tombstone, only worse. The tension between the factions have been escalating and I’m afraid that things are about to fly off the handle ” “So you asked for us to make sure that they do?” Arcade asks.
Behan replies, “Oh no, I think your presence in town will help to defuse the situation.” All of the members of the gang burst out laughing at that suggestion. The Sheriff states, “Don’t laugh, I’m serious.” Morgana comments, “You expect us to be a claming influence?” Arcade points to Louie and says, “This guy gets shot at just for going into the grocery store!” Hank adds, “Yeah, and another member of our group is seventy-five percent horse, and he’s the nice one!” Behan replies, “Dagnabit, don’t you underestimate yourselves. Your reputations precede you. Both sides will think twice about causing trouble with you around, at least until they can figure out whose side you’re on.”
Morgana asks, “Exactly where do you fit in?” He replies, “I’m on neither side, but I am a bit more sympathetic to the cowboy way of life. I admire folks who live off the land and put in an honest day’s work. That law-and-order group is nothing but a bunch of money-grubbing bullies who take advantage of those who are less fortunate.”
“So who exactly are these folks?” Arcade asks. Behan replies, “The law group is comprised of three brothers known as the Earps. Virgil Earp is the Marshal of Tombstone and his brothers Wyatt and Morgan help him out. They own a number of business interests in the town, including a saloon, a number of buildings and stakes in several local silver mines. They tend to push people around and act like the own the whole place, although I guess they do own a fair share of it.” Arcade comments, “I’ve heard of those Earps.”
“Who heads the Cowboy faction?” Hank asks. Behan answers, “A group known as the Clantons. Newman Haynes “Old Man” Clanton started a ranch out by the San Pedro River eight years ago. Most of the cowboys in the region work for them at the Clanton Ranch. They are rumored to also be involved in some less-than-honest practices, such as cattle rustling, but nothing has ever been proven. The patriarch of that group is a man named Ike Clanton, and he doesn’t taken kindly to being pushed around by anyone, let alone the Earps.”
“And if they don’t take kindly to authority figures what makes you think they’ll listen to us?” Morgana asks. Behan replies, “Well, I think they’ll think twice about taking any shots at the people who killed Billy the Kid. Rumor has it that back when the Clanton Ranch got started William Bonney was one of their ranch hands.” Arcade interjects, “Hold it, are you saying that we killed one of the only guys who ever put in a good days work around here?”
The Sheriff says, “Look, I’m not asking you guys to do anything except hang around the town for a few days and intimidate both groups of potential troublemakers.” Morgana says, “Fine, but we’re only staying a couple of days. Any longer than that and I’m sure Louie would get shot.” Behan glances at the half-orc and says, “My, my, I believe the little lady likes you.” Louie answers, “She supports the whole gang, and I’d watch the ‘little lady’ comments if I were you. She was the one who actually killed Billy.”
Hank says, “So, will any of the bars in town actually let the half-orc in?” “Sure, as long as you’ve got cash. There are around a dozen bars in town, three of the main ones right on this Street.” Arcade says, “Sounds good. If we get thrown out of a bar we’ll just move onto another one. We’ll make sure that people know we’re here before the night is through.”
Morgana says that she would like to freshen up before they go anywhere. Hank says, “I tell you what, why don’t we find us a place to stay before we do anything else. I’m sure one of these taverns must have some rooms.” “Actually, I’ve already found you a place to stay,” the Sheriff interjects adding, “Head down the street a block to the Harwood House, near the corner of Freemont and Third Streets. It’s right after Fly’s Photo Gallery and Boarding House and near Jersey’s Livery Stable.”
“Any particular reason why you picked that place?” Arcade asks. Behan replies, “The owner, Jake Howard, is a friend of mine and he said he had some rooms available. If I’m paying for your stay here I want it to be where I can get a good rate. Besides, it’s safer for you to stay somewhere that doesn’t have a tavern, especially given your group’s reputation.” Sam comments, “Yeah, some drunk might try to make a name for himself by killing us in our beds.”