Chapter 1: Pride
The young man lightly flipped the reins and clicked his tongue, encouraging the horse along as the small town of Bisbee came into sight.
“Now William, there’s no need to be in any rush. I’m fairly certain Bisbee hasn’t changed all that much since last week when we were here,” Alice Evans said to her son chidingly and tucked a few stray strands of her blonde hair back into her bonnet.
“He just wants to see if the post’s got any new books or dime magazines at the store, Ma,” Mark piped up from the back of the wagon. He had just turned twelve but still had a wide-eyed innocence to his face that made him seem younger than he was.
“Shut up, Mark,” his brother ordered, a slight smile playing around the edge of his lips to soften the words. Although he wouldn’t be seventeen until the end of summer, William had a seriousness, a stillness about him that few boys his age exhibited. He had always been impatient and impulsive as a child. ‘Squirrelly’ was the word his father, Dan, used to affectionately describe his oldest son.
All that changed more than two years earlier when William followed his father to Contention, intent on helping him escort the infamous outlaw Ben Wade to the train station there. He had not been gone long, but Alice would never forget how different her son had looked when he’d returned. It was though Will’s childhood innocence had been burned out of him in a matter of days.
Alice sighed sadly as thoughts of Dan entered her mind. He’d been a good man and a good husband. Too noble for his own good as well, she mentally added with a flash of irritation and then gave a slight shake of her head. Everything that Dan had done in his life, from joining the Union army, later moving the family to Arizona, to keeping knowledge of the late payments to Glen Hollander a secret, even his decision to make the trip to Contention had been done for the sole purpose of protecting their family.
That knowledge, more than anything else, made her regret the last moments spent with him in their ranch house right before he left for Contention. Instead of being supportive and loving, she’d been cold, distant, argumentative. She hadn’t wanted him to go because she had feared the reprisal of Wade’s gang, but Alice remembered the look in Dan’s eyes, and it wasn’t that he had been afraid he’d die, gunned down in Contention. It was fear of losing the ranch they’d work so hard on and even worse, self-disgust with himself because he’d lost respect of his family.
“Ma, you alright?” Her youngest son’s voice brought Alice out of her reverie, and she blinked, looking around. They were just about to Main Street in Bisbee.
She turned slightly on the bench to give him a reassuring smile and nodded. “I’m fine. Just glad to finally get here, is all.”
Will’s sidelong glanced at her was skeptical, but he said nothing, instead choosing to flip the reins along Nate’s back again. He expertly guided the spring wagon onto the thriving little town of Bisbee.
It was hard to believe how much Bisbee had grown in the past couple of years since the railroad had come through. The Copper Queen Mine had more than proved its worth as a long-term source of copper ore, unlike the gold and silver mines that had fueled the creation of the mining towns of Contention and Tombstone to the north.
Those two cities had reached their peak and now the miners, gamblers, drifters, saloon owners, dancehall girls and more were moving on to other more promising places, including Bisbee.
The wagon had barely stopped in front of the Trading Post before Mark eagerly hopped out of the back to the ground and stretched, rubbing his hip. “Still say we shoulda bought another wagon that had a second bench.”
Alice sighed patiently as she climbed down to the ground, resisting the urge to stretch as well. Modest women didn’t roll their shoulders and thrust out their chests while standing in the middle of the street, regardless of how taut their muscles or aching their bodies were. “Mark, there were better things to spend our money on than another wagon we don’t have a use for. Besides, you know a two bench wagon would leave us even less room for carrying feed and such in the back. Anyway feed bags make more of a cushion for you than your brother and I will have on the bench seat on the way back.” She hesitated then asked her youngest son, “You feeling all right?”
Mark rolled his eyes with exasperation, “I feel fine,” watching William jump down and walk around to check on Nate, the sorrel gelding that had pulled their wagon into town. The twelve year old ducked away impatiently as his mother reached out to touch his forehead, “I swear, Ma. I’m as right as rain.”
“If you even feel a tickle in your chest, you best be gettin’ back to this wagon straight aways Mark Evans,” Alice gave him her sternest look. It was true, it’d been a year ago spring since the boy had shown even the remotest sign of tuberculosis, but she knew if he over exerted himself or caught a cold, it could return at any time. The dry air and cold winters had worked their magic on him over the years. If they’d remained in the crowded city of Boston, she doubted Mark would be alive today.
Exhaling with irritation, William began to unbuckle the gelding from the traces. “Nate lost a couple of nails on the way,” he informed them with a gesture at the animal’s front feet. “His shoe is barely hanging on. I’ll take him to Elijah and have ‘em replaced.”
“Alright, but your brother is going to need some help getting those feed bags into the wagon,” Alice reminded him.
“I can almost get them by myself,” Mark immediately responded. “If it came in forty pound bags instead of fifty pounds, I bet I could lift them alone.” He’d just started to hit a growth spurt, and Alice fully expected he’d be taller than she was by summer’s end.
Will merely nodded in response and began leading Nate toward the smithy, pausing to allow a horseman dressed in the typical clothing and broad-brimmed hat of a ranch hand and then a fancy phaeton that seemed strangely out of place on Bisbee’s dusty streets to pass before crossing the street.
Alice watched him lead the horse away. As she turned back to the Trading Post, her gaze inadvertently settled on the Land & Deed office owned by Hollander. Noting some movement behind the grimy window, the blonde-haired woman quickly looked away and walked up the stairs onto the boardwalk, with Mark following a few steps behind.
Just to the right of the doorway leading into the post, there was a large billboard. It was littered with ‘Help Wanted’ leaflets for the mines and local ranchers, ‘Wanted’ signs for the more notorious Arizona outlaws still at large, and ‘For sale’ notes for everything from bulls to barrels to boots. Alice stopped to examine it for a brief moment, more out of habit than a real desire to buy or sell anything. Finding nothing of interest to her, she continued on to the Trading Post.
“Ma, look at this,” Mark’s insistent voice called her back to the wanted board.
Alice arced an eyebrow curiously at her son, but instead of explaining, he lifted one of the ‘Miners Wanted: See foreman of Copper Queen Mine’ signs. Just under it was a Wells Fargo wanted poster for one Ben Wade.
Unlike many of the other ‘Wanted’ listings there, this one had no accompanying picture, because unlike many outlaws and gunfighters, including Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday and the infamous James and Younger gang, Wade had never allowed his picture to be taken. It simply stated in large block letters, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive, Ben Wade, for robbing the Southern Pacific Railroad Company. A reward of 2500 dollars will be paid for his arrest and conviction.’
No one had seen hide nor hair of Ben Wade in more than two years. He’d escaped from the train before it had even arrived at Yuma Territorial Prison. Rumor had it that he’d been unable to form a new outlaw gang. He had always a reputation as a tough but canny leader, one who had zero tolerance for errors and stupidity among his followers. In the past, Wade’s luck and incredible success with the planning and execution of the robberies he’d spearheaded made the risks well worth the monetary reward for his gang members.
However, once word got out ‘bout how he’d executed his entire gang in cold blood, right there in the middle of the street in Contention, even the greediest of outlaws had apparently decided there were easier and safer ways to be making money than by working with an unpredictable Ben Wade.
The theories about his disappearance varied wildly. Lawmen and Southern Pacific Railroad men said he was dead, likely out of hope that they’d never run into him again than out of any real knowledge one way or the other. Some people said he’d lost himself in Mexico, where he wasn’t a wanted man. Another rumor was that he’d headed back east, and used the money amassed from his robberies to buy a saloon and gambling hall in Kansas.
Alice definitely couldn’t imagine that last one being true. He just didn’t seem the type to go into business as a saloon owner. Although she’d spent less than an hour in Ben Wade’s presence, that had been more than enough time for Alice to see what an intelligent, cunning, and complex man the outlaw was. Like a tiger, she thought to herself, remembering the first time she’d ever seen one of the huge striped cats in the Philadelphia. Fascinating and frightening at the same time.
William refused to say a bad word about the man. He insisted that Wade had saved Dan, himself and the others (with the exception of that thuggish bastard Tucker and the Pinkerton agent) from attack by the Apaches and from a posse of railroad men hell bent on torturing Wade out of vengeance. Dan and Ben had worked together to escape, but poor Doc Potter had died in the attempt.
Her son was also adamant about the fact that Ben Wade had gunned down his own gang in a fit of rage because they’d killed Dan Evans. But why would Wade care one way or the other about a man who had not only helped capture him, but was literally his prison escort? And why would he be mad enough to shoot his own gang, some of whom were presumably his friends, for helping him escape? Not that he’d escaped, instead the man had climbed into that railcar and headed on to Yuma as though he were still under guard. None of it made any sense.
Giving a slight shake of her head, Alice pulled the ‘Miners wanted’ poster back down to cover the outlaw notice and said firmly, “We’ve got things we need to be doing, and they don’t involve standing around looking at notices for junk we don’t want or need. I’d like to get home in time to have dinner on the table by five o’clock.” She brushed her fingertips along the edge of her bonnet, making sure no more swathes of hair had escaped, and led the way into the Trading Post.
Bisbee’s Trading Post had doubled in size in recent months. The store’s owner, Jacob Turner, was spry old man who had to be nearly sixty by now. While he took care of the store, his wife Ethel kept jars in the store well stocked with delicious candies and cookies that she made every morning. The miners loved them nearly as much as Mark and William did.
The store was fairly empty, save for a couple of miners milling around and a neatly dressed older woman with a pinched expression, who happened to be holding a few spools of thread. The woman was walking toward the doorway to exit the store, and Mr. Turner was completing a candy sale to a pair of grubby faced boys. Despite the fact that neither child was more than eight years old, Alice strongly suspected they were helping out in the mines. Her suspicion was confirmed when one of the miners called, “Hurry up, Jed, we gotta get on back to the camp.” Ranching may have been long hard work, but it had nothing on the conditions miners lived and worked in. The two boys were already stuffing licorice sticks into their mouths as they headed out the door with their father and the other miner.
“Ms. Evans. I hope this afternoon finds you and your boys well?” the other woman said as Alice began to move past her, her sharp birdlike eyes flickering to Mark expectantly as though expecting him to break into racking coughs at any moment.
The boy gave the woman a quick smile and a respectful nod before hurrying over to the counter to examine the candy and cookie jars.
Mrs. Agnes Newsome was a notorious busybody and gossip, one of those people who delighted in hearing other people’s bad news. She also happened to be the wife of the only preacher in Bisbee, and believed that anyone who missed her husband’s fire and brimstone sermons, for any reason, was potentially doomed to eternal damnation.
Alice smiled politely, assuring her, “We’re doing quite well, thank you, Mrs. Newsome. Splendid sermon this past Sunday, wasn’t it?” She’d learned long ago not to ask Mrs. Newsome how she was doing. That simple question inevitably would lead to a long drawn out complaint about everything from her husband’s gout to her recent battle with a foot bunion.
Nothing pleased Mrs. Newsome more, though, then hearing her husband’s sermons praised. “It was indeed. No one preaches a sermon like my Archibald,” she stated, puffing her ample bosom out with pride.
Jacob Turner cleared his throat and Alice hastily said to Agnes, “Please excuse me. I’ve simply got to get a few things from Mr. Turner before we head back to the ranch. It was simply lovely seeing you again so soon, Mrs. Newsome. We’ll see you on Sunday at church.”
“Lovely.” Without saying goodbye, Agnes bustled out of the store.
Alice allowed herself to relax and gave Mr. Turner a warm smile, reaching into her reticule and withdrawing a piece of paper. She handed it to him, saying, “We just need a few things, what with summer nearly here. Just the usual, nothing out of the ordinary.”
Adjusting his spectacles as he perused the list, Jacob bobbed his head. “It’ll be no trouble at all.” He squinted his warm brown eyes and looked over her shoulder.
“Where’s young William at? You didn’t leave him at the ranch, did you?”
“Nate lost a couple of nails and Will had to take him over to see Elijah,” Mark
responded for her, and then gestured at the jars with a disappointed expression. “You already sold out of the cinnamon and sugar cookies?”
Laughing lightly, Alice apologized for her son, “I’m sorry Mr. Turner, but he talked of nothing but those cinnamon sprinkle cookies the entire way here.”
“Sorry, lad, but the last one sold about an hour before you got here,” Jacob informed him with a smile as he walked around the store, gathering up the supplies as he went. “We’ve still got the oatmeal cookies, but if those aren’t to your liking…”
“Oh no, sir,” Mark hurriedly said. He loved the oatmeal cookies just as much as he did the cinnamon topped ones. “Oatmeal is wonderful, thank you sir.” The boy reached into his pocket and unfolded a clean red hankerchief to wrap the cookies in as he withdrew four of them from the jar.
Alice wasn’t a woman who enjoyed standing around feeling useless, so she gathered a few of the smaller items she had on her list. Peppercorns, leavening, and a tin of coffee were added to the other items on the counter.
A few moments later, everything, with the exception of the bags of feed, was piled on the countertop. Jacob reached under the counter, smiling up at Alice. “I’d hoped to give these to him myself, but since William’s not here yet…”
“Yes I am,” Will said, walking into the store. “Sorry it took so long, I had to wait for Elijah to finish up on another horse before he could get to Nate.” The teenager’s eyes skimmed over the stack of goods piled there, checking to see if anything had been forgotten. “You were saying you had something for me, Mr. Turner?”
“Indeed I do. Ethel managed to pick these up for you a few days back when the train came through,” Jacob lifted a small stack of dime novels and smiled when William’s face lit with excitement at the prospect of more reading material. “She also thought you might like this…” and here he lifted a real book. “She already finished reading it, and said it was very exciting.”
Alice examined the rag-edged novel. “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” she read the title out loud. “Well it certainly sounds exciting, that’s for sure.”
William beamed at Jacob as he accepted the books. “I’ll give ‘em back as soon as I am done with them, so you can trade them for others.”
Grinning, the old man gave him a wink. “No rush. I know you’ll take good care of ‘em. Now then, let me add all of this up…” He went down the list of paper, making small notations as he did the math and lifted his head. “That’ll be five dollars and six bits,” he informed her, almost apologetically.
Feeling her smile falter briefly at the amount, Alice quickly recovered. “My goodness, was it that much last time?” she inquired as she handed over the money, though she already knew the answer. “You boys get the supplies loaded into the wagon, I’ll be out in a minute.”
“I’m afraid not,” Jacob replied, watching the boys carry the goods out the door. “Prices keep going up. I expect they’ll peak here soon though, it can’t get much worse than it is.”
The heavier sound of a man’s boots came from behind her and Glen Hollander’s familiar voice spoke up. “You runnin’ out of that money Butterfield gave you already? I never did meet a woman with any kind of sense when it came to buying stuff, they’re always more interested in getting that pretty dress and sewin’ and the like.”
“Mr. Hollander,” Alice’s words were accompanied by a slight nod that conveyed the barest hint of courtesy. Across the counter, Jacob excused himself and hurried off to help a young woman, who was struggling with a wiggling toddler in her arms.
The tall man’s gave her his most charming smile, admonishing her, “Now I know I’ve told you a few times to call me Glen.” His eyes brushed over her bonnet and her face, “Not that you don’t look as pretty as a picture, a fine woman like you.” His expression turned slightly more speculative, and he noted, “I heard that it’s not just bonnets and dresses you’ve been buying. One of my boys told me you got yourself a couple of new bulls brought in from back east, some of them Hear-fords.”
“They’re called Herefords,” Mark informed him as he hefted a bag of sugar to his shoulder to carry outside. William was in the wagon, shifting the bags around in the bed to even out the weight.
“Mark,” Alice gave him a look. As much as she disliked Hollander, she felt the need to show some respect for the man when interacting with him face to face, since he still held the deed to their ranch. She mustered a smile for the older man, lifting her chin slightly. “It is Hereford though. It’s an English name.”
The man made a disgusted sound, “Whatever. Ain’t like the English know anything about cattle. You really think those bulls are going to survive an Arizona summer? Longhorn cattle are your best bet out here, Alice. They’re big, mean, and tough enough to eat cactus. If you had a man around the house, he’da told you the same.”
“She does have a man around the house,” William retorted, glaring at him from the doorway. “And we all made the decision to get those bulls together, after reading about them in a magazine. They were one of the top breeds in the Chicago Fat Stock show in ’83 and…”
Hollander broke into uproarious laughter at that, interrupting anything William had been about to say. “A magazine? You read about them in a magazine and decided to buy some?”
On the other side of the store, Jacob and young woman he was assisting stared at Mr. Hollander curiously. William merely stood there, fists clenched at his sides, while Alice arced an eyebrow up at the man, crossing her arms as she patiently waited for his laughter to die down. The guffaws were so loud that they must have been heard clear outside the store, for a roughly dressed man wearing a broad-brimmed hat who’d been looking at the ‘Wanted’ ads peered around the corner into the store to see what all the fuss was about.
It was a few moments before Glen finally regained control of himself and he wiped tears away from his eyes with his thumbs. “Son,” he directed his words at William, grinning broadly, “a man that needs the help of a woman to make decisions around the ranch ain’t much of a man.”
Instead of responding to that dig, William squared his shoulders and looked at his mother. “The wagon’s loaded up. We can head on home whenever you’re ready.” Turning on his boot heel, he brushed past the man at the Trading Post’s door with a muttered “Pardon me.”
“Mr. Hollander,” Alice was proud of how composed she sounded as she followed the tall landowner toward the entrance to the Trading Post. The drifter out there had turned back and was examining the ad boards again. “You wouldn’t happen to know why our stream has dwindled down to a trickle despite the fact that it’s not even summer yet, would you?”
“It has?” Glen’s eyes widened with what was almost certainly feigned surprise. “I’ll have my boys look into that. Could be that spring is finally drying up. That can happen, you know.”
Inclining her head slightly, Alice retorted, “Yes, I was aware of that. However, I’m also aware that it usually happens after a summer drought, not after the spring rains.”
She allowed the faintest smile to touch her lips, “I told William that you were a man of your word, and as such you wouldn’t dam up the creek intentionally, not after promising Mr. Butterfield you’d keep the water flowing for as long as we were on that land.”
Hollander’s blue eyes flickered with irritation, but he gave her a smooth even smile that flashed his teeth. “Mr. Butterfield ain’t been in Bisbee in more’n a year, Mrs. Evans. And I said I’ll look into it.”
That had actually been more of a response than Alice than she’d expected, so she merely nodded politely at him. “Thank you, Mr. Hollander.” She headed out of the store and to the wagon where her boys were waiting for her.
The drifter just outside the Trading Post turned slightly away from the ‘Wanted’ boards, watching Alice step off of the boardwalk from under the brim of his hat.
William offered his mother a hand up into the wagon, and resettled onto his side of the bench seat, while Mark comfortably arranged himself on a large sack of feed with one of the dime magazines. Clucking at Nate, Will gave the reins a shake to get him moving.
Glen watched the wagon as William drove it down Main Street and out of Bisbee, commenting, “That there is one beautiful woman. Smart too, though she needs to learn how and when to speak when there’s a real man about.” He hitched up his pants, leaning against the door frame as he commented, “I’ll never understand it, what she saw in that spineless bootlicker Evans. The man didn’t have a lick of pride in his scrawny body.”
The roughly dressed man lifted the ‘Miner’s Wanted’ ad and stared at those blaring letters beneath that proclaimed, ‘Wanted Dead or Alive, Ben Wade.’ His lips twisted with irony as he quoted softly, “By pride cometh contention,” and allowed the leaflet to drop back down.
“’Scuse me?” Hollander blinked, not sure he’d heard the other man correctly.
“Proverbs,” the man responded simply. He was at least a couple of inches taller than Hollander himself, and perhaps a few years younger. Bluish-green eyes edged by crow’s feet squinted at him out of a clean-shaven ruggedly handsome face. His clothing was worn and typical to most of the ranch hands found in Arizona would wear, from the bandanna around his neck to the duster coat on his back and slate grey pants. And like most ranch hands in Arizona, he was armed. A holstered Colt single action army revolver hung low on his right hip.
Removing his broad-brimmed hat to reveal short, neatly cut black hair, the stranger asked, “You Glen Hollander?”
“Who’s asking?” Hollander demanded. The drifter’s face was vaguely familiar, but with how many people had been coming and going in Bisbee, especially over the last couple of year, Glen doubted he’d ever be able to put a familiar name to the face in front of him without some help.
“Joshua Mason.” The man held out his hand for Hollander to shake in greeting, a slight smile playing across his lips. “We haven’t officially met before and I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but I feel like I know you already.”
Glen took the offered hand and pumped it a couple of times in greeting before releasing. “That right?” The balding man had the faintest inkling that he was being teased, but he had no idea why. Mentally shrugging off that impression, he nodded amiably at the taller man. “What can I do for you?”
Mason flashed a quick grin, responding easily, “I hear you’re always in need of good ranch hands, thought I might could apply for a job.”
Hollander immediately nodded, “It’s true, good ranch hands are hard to find, especially during summer time. You got much experience? The Double Bar-H don’t take no greenhorns,” he declared, looking Joshua over.
“I had a feeling you’d be asking that,” Mason reached inside his duster to withdraw a small piece of paper and offer it to Glen. “I’ve been spending the last six months working for a fella by the name of Bill Gardner. He said you two were friends from way back.”
Taking the note, Hollander grunted, “I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that we were friends. More like friendly competition, if you get my meaning. So how’s Ol’ Bill doing, anyway? He still got that same old taste for ‘lil Injun girls? He used to go on and on about how much fun they were to ride. Like breaking in a wild mustang, he’d say.” He gave Joshua a quick and sly wink before lowering his gaze to read the paper.
The amiable smile remained on Joshua’s face, but his eyes had gone cold and hard. He ducked his head slightly and eased his hat back onto his head, the broad brim blocking his expression from view. “Word has it he’s been having trouble with that the last couple of years. His… supply chain suffered some setbacks.”
The landowner’s eyebrows rose with surprise. “Oh? How’d Bill take that?”
“Gardner isn’t doin’ too good his own self, to be honest,” Joshua informed him.
“Rustlers and Indians have been hittin’ his herds hard recently. A couple of months ago, we found him on the side of the road. Apparently, some bandits thought he’d make good target practice. They robbed him of everything he had on him, even his clothes, and then shot him up good, got him in the arms, legs. Hell they even shot him in the stones.”
“Christ almighty,” Hollander recoiled at that piece of information.
“He’s still alive. Made it through, that is. All of the hits were just through flesh, he didn’t get gut shot or anything like that.” Mason paused and looked down at his feet, allowing his hat to hide the dark amusement on his face. “Though I guess you could say he’s half the man he once was.”
Glen cleared his throat nervously, finding himself quite uncomfortable with the subject matter. No man liked to think about getting his balls shot off. He focused his attention on reading the piece of paper. “Well Gardner says here you’re a hard worker, and a capable ranch hand, so I’d be happy to hire you on. I pay 30 a month, but I have a ranch house set aside for my cowhands, so you’ll be bunkin’ down with the rest of the boys.” He squinted at Joshua, “Shame you weren’t here ‘bout a month ago, we coulda used you in the spring round-up.”
Mason gave a slight nod, acknowledging, “Outfits can always use extra hands during round-up. Sorry I missed it.”
“Well I need to head on back to the ranch anyway,” Hollander announced. “Let me get a couple of things from my office here in town, then we’ll head on out.”
A few minutes later, the two men were on their way out of Bisbee. Hollander tried a couple of times to strike up a friendly conversation with Mason, but the monosyllabic answers he received convinced him that this cowhand was more interested in reaching his destination than in making polite chit chat along the way. He had no problem with that, most ranch hands were more used to the company of their horses and cattle than they were other people anyway, so he allowed his bay stallion to pull a bit ahead of Mason’s and give the man some space.
They were still a few miles away from Bisbee when Joshua clicked his tongue at his black horse and then started singing, softly and almost under his breath. “They’re gonna hang me in the mornin’, a’fore this night is done. They’re gonna hang me in the mornin’ and I’ll never see the sun…”
Trivia and Chapter Notes (some of this is common knowledge, the rest is courtesy of Wikipedia)
- “Only by pride cometh contention: But with the well advised is wisdom.” Proverbs 13:10, KJV
- One of the translations of the name Joshua is “Deliverer”. What can I say, I thought it was appropriate ;)
- The cinnamon and sugar cookies that Mark desires are what you and I would know as ‘Snickerdoodles’. That name wasn’t coined until the 1900s.
- The town of Bisbee was a copper, silver and gold mining town created in 1880, due to its close proximity to the Copper Queen Mine. It still exists to this day, and is the county seat of Cochise County, AZ.
- Tombstone is actually even closer to Bisbee than Contention, (all 3 are in Cochise County) but there was no railroad to the city in the mid 1880s on any of the maps I researched. The population of the city had already peaked and was in a decline, in part due to two large fires that swept through the city in 1881 and 1882. The silver mines had run out of ore, and then the mines themselves were flooded out by groundwater.
- Contention would eventually die out and become of Arizona’s many ghost towns. It is purely my personal speculation that the city died out as a result of the gold and silver mining drying up. I figure if Tombstone can die as a result of the mines running out, so can Contention ;)
- Tuberculosis was one of the deadliest diseases in the US in the 1800s, and still kills thousands of people the world in present day, especially in third world countries. Expensive sanitariums were the common treatment for the disease in the 1880s. The disease has a latent period during which the person’s symptoms are virtually nonexistent and the disease is in a non-contagious state. Despite hours of internet research I failed to find any mention of what medication Alice and Dan would have been giving Mark to help his symptoms (likely because no medicine treatments really worked until the 1920s). TB thrived in urban conditions, and by moving out West where Mark would have been exposed to a dry climate and lots of bright sunshine, the boy would have been given the best chances to improve his overall health that a family such as Dan’s could afford.
- Longhorn cattle were the preferred choice of many Arizona cattlemen following the Civil War. They were large, aggressive enough to protect themselves from predators, hardy, could survive a few days without water, and would thrive on scrubland many cattle would die out on, all of which made them uniquely suited to the Arizona climate. Those characteristics also made it possible for cowboys to drive large herds from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona north to places like Oregon, Montana and where beef was rarer, and thus the prices for cattle were higher. However, they also took longer to mature than ‘newer’ cattle breeds like Angus and Hereford, and the quality of meat was lower as well, which lowered their value. They quickly declined in popularity by the turn of the century, at one point becoming even rarer than the buffalo in the West.