Deadlands: Riders on the Storm

Town Under Seige!

July 23,1876

The Paiute Springs Sentinel

Sunday Edition

July 23, 1876
"Ever Vigilant, A Beacon of Truth!"
$0.05

Town Under Siege!

by Oliver Milhouse

A goodly portion of the town of Paiute Springs had to take cover in the Town Hall for four days as the streets were filled with insane marauders during this past week. The siege conditions were for "the safety of the town" claims Town Marshal Lila Kimsey, though the close quarters surely bred rampant disease and other discomforts.

The troubles began can be traced back to the arrival of claim miner, Phineas Johnston, formerly of Pioche. He arrived in Paiute Springs on July 8th and set up his camp on the outskirts of the township proper. That night, the man shoots up the mining camp, killing three men and two women before being subdued and drug into the town jail. We list his victims below so that they won't be forgotten:

  • Dalton Schofield
  • Sheila Scranton
  • Norman Potts
  • Chip Durant
  • Maggie Sutton

Johnston was held in the town jail for three days. According to a report by deputy town marshal Ethan Jennings, on the first day the prisoner as "wild, violent, and mean—a real ornery old cuss. He beat about the cell 'till his hands were bloody. I had to knock him out with a rifle butt 'afore he hurt himself." The next day, Mr. Johnston was "quiet as a churchmouse." On the third day, they found him hanging in the cell by his own suspenders, "deader than a plank."

Meanwhile, other trouble was brewing in our fair town.

While Phineas Johnston sat "quiet as a churchmouse" in his cell, another miner, Lazlo Dupinski, strode boldly into town, walked into the bank, and punched out Bob Lund. Then he shoved poor Petunia Davis into a countertop, breaking her arm, and proceeded to rob the bank, bold as brass. Town Marshal Lila Kimsey and Deputy Jennings arrived to put a stop to it and were forced to shoot Dupinski in the leg to get him to comply with their demands. "Damn fool got stubborn," was all Marshal Kimsey would say on the matter. Dupinski was bandaged up and taken into custody.

Now, friends, is when things start getting interesting.

On the day that Phineas Johnston was found dead in his cell, Marshal Kimsey answered no fewer than five calls regarding local acts of violence. Johnston's place in the cell was quickly replaced by another violent unnamed perpetrator. Then, that afternoon, Marshal Kimsey was forced to apprehend her OWN DEPUTY for shooting up the Imperial Saloon! As the jail was full, she was forced to chain Jennings to the central column of the building.

Frankly, friends, the violence in our town was growing to the point to where it was more than our Marshal could handle on her own. "People were going plumb crazy. My own deputy had gone loco. So I did what anyone would have done. I went to the next level of authority," Marshal Kimsey said by way of explaining herself. She wired the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office in Pioche for help.

That was the day she called for a general evacuation of the town and gathered us all into the Town Hall. Doc Fabry set up an infirmary in the corner of the large building, as he was still treating the gut shot victim Leo Stammer, another townsman fallen to the "loonies."

It was truly a sad day, my friends, when we handed our town over to the "loonies." When our Marshal gave up.

Nevertheless, we gathered together as a community and barricaded ourselves up against the onslaught of senseless violence.

Two days later, on the 17th, as we subsisted on whatever canned goods people had the good sense to bring with them, the posse from Pioche arrived with a deputy sheriff. They lasted about fifteen minutes against the band of loonies that assaulted them from all points. The posse was killed. The deputy was drawn and quartered.

Later than night, the Imperial caught fire. Owner Karl Schmidt and his friend, Willie Huddleston, as well as a couple of "working girls," managed to get out of the building before it collapsed. They took refuge with the rest of us in the Town Hall. Apparently, the loonies set the bar on fire.

Things began to turn around on the morning of the 18th. A stage arrived from nearby Fort 51 with two soldiers and none other than our local gadgeteer Miss Geraldine Keeler and her companion Mr. Roland Dupre.

The soldiers, Mr. Dupre, and Miss Keeler managed to dispatch two of the loonies—Dwight Bolger and Tom Ewing—and make it inside of Town Hall. There they were briefed on the situation by Marshal Kimsey and Doc Fabry.

Not satisfied with the holing up in the middle of town, Miss Keeler formulated a plan to fix the situation. You see, the Marshal and the Doc had observed a few things about these "loonies." And the Doc thought that they were infected by some kind of insect. Miss Keeler decided to try and capture one to find out. Full of spit and vinegar is our Miss Keeler.

She, a Sergeant Milo Philips, and Marshal Kimsey, went into the local mercantile to get supplies and then Miss Keeler fashioned a series of snares with which to trap one of these loonies.

Before they got the snare to work, they managed to catch one of them, though Sgt. Philips, in his zeal, managed to blow the man's leg into uselessness with a Winchester.  They brought him back to Doc Fabry, who used alcohol to remove the bizarre creature from the back of the man's neck. Marshal Kimsey trapped it in a jar.

Other than the leg, Cole Laramy is expected to make a full recovery.

Meanwhile, Miss Keeler got her snare to work. They placed three of them out in Main Street and began catching the "loonies" in earnest. By midday on the 19th, all of the loonies in town had been caught and cured of the strange parasite.

The three intrepid hunters, Miss Keeler, Sgt. Philips, and Marshal Kimsey, went looking for any other parasites lurking about. They found two and dispatched them with bullets. Finally, they went to Phineas Johnston's camp and found, beneath his bed, a strange, narrow, burrow. Putting a stick in it revealed a strange ichorous ooze. They filled in the hole and plugged it up.

The town has been extremely calm, having taken a collective deep breath after the trauma of the past week.

The Sentinel wishes to offer a big "Thank You!" to Miss Geraldine Keeler, Sergeant Milo Philips, and Marshal Lila Kimsey. Without your efforts, our town would surely be no more.

An Unknown Species

by Oliver Milhouse

Your intrepid reporter sat down with Miss Geraldine Keeler, resident scientist and, let's be honest, town hero, to talk about the recent troubles that beset our fair town.

In the course of bringing things back to normalcy in Paiute Springs, it was discovered that the strange behavior of the "loonies" that had taken over the town was due to some kind of creature that had infested their body. Once this creature was discovered and removed, the poor souls were their old selves again. Miss Keeler was on the forefront of eradicating this parasite from the town. This is what she had to say about the creature.

"This 'bug' is actually a previously unknown species of some sort that has found its way to us. It's behavior, parasitic as it was, was it's own form of survival. Perhaps it fed on spinal fluid or some other nutrient only found in human brain matter. It's hard to say. The behavior of the victims was surely a side effect of its actions, not its intent. This was not 'mind control' but simply a newly discovered natural phenomenon. The important thing to remember is that the town banded together to survive. Only united can we stand against such threats."

Words of wisdom from a smart lady. 

A Visit from Sheriff Yates

by Oliver Milhouse

On July 20th, our town received a visit from Sheriff Brody Yates of Lincoln County. He brought a posse of 10 men with him in search of his missing deputy. He met with Town Marshal Lila Kimsey and Mayor J.P. Jefferson at a private meeting in the Prince Royal Arms Hotel.

"We sat down with the Sheriff and broke the news about his deputy as gently as we could," Marshal Kimsey reported. "But as we had no suspects for who perpetrated the crime, and our explanation for the violence was unsatisfactory in his eyes, he was quite upset. Pissed off, even."

According to Mayor Jefferson, "The man came unhinged. He threatened to gather a posse big enough to take the whole 'damn lying town'. I managed to talk him down from that course of action, but he just wouldn't believe us about the creatures. That was one bridge too many."

Sheriff Yates was not available for comment directly to the Sentinel. He and his posse rode out of town like the Furies of old in a cloud of dust and indignation.

Local Inventor Wins Honors

by Oliver Milhouse

Our very own tinkerer, Miss Geraldine Keeler, brought home kudos from the First Annual Smith & Robards' Grand Exposition in Salt Lake City! Displayed proudly in her home is her certificate for "Best in Division: Engineering" regarding her project entitled "Demonstration of Surveying Pods for Intake, Detection, and Retrieval."

Also, according to a story from the Deseret News, Miss Keeler was the recipient of a special "Distinguished Service" award at the Expo for her exemplary behavior during some troubles they experienced during the event.

Congratulations Miss Keeler!  Your town is proud of you!

Lee Accepts Whig Nomination

—Wire Service

Retired General Robert E. Lee has accepted the nomination of the re-constituted Whig party to run for President of the Confederate States of America (CSA). The general, who retired in 1870 to run the Dixie Rails company, accepted the nomination by letter, which was read at the convention of the Whigs on July 12, 1876 in Memphis, Tennessee. "I am honored and humbled by this nomination and accept this call to service," he said.

The Whigs have been putting the 70 year old Lee forward as their nominee for some time. He is a favorite among the various veterans of the War and many of the populace. However, concerns about his age and his health have dogged him in recent months. The elderly general has already suffered one near-fatal heart attack and his more partisan detractors often point out that it is only a matter of time before he suffers another.

President Jefferson Davis issued no comment at this time.

Tilden Shouted Down in Pennsylvania

—Wire Service

Democratic presidential-nominee Samuel Tilden, the Governor of New York, was shouted down by Union veterans groups at a speaking engagement in Philadelphia this week as he travels the Union in search of votes against the incumbent, President Ulysses S. Grant.

This was not the first time for such an occurrence. Tilden, who is running on a platform of a "peace movement," has been dogged by displays such as this and has struggled to get his message out. Many of his supporters are intimidated by the displays of wounded veterans that frequently heckle his events.

Unless Tilden can address these issues, his campaign may be dead in the water.

Schmidt Seeks Partner to Re-Open Imperial

by Oliver Milhouse

Local businessman Karl Schmidt is seeking an investment partner to help him re-build and re-open the Imperial Saloon. "Oh, she'll re-open. It's just a matter of whether or not I'll be in debt up to my eyeballs or not," Karl says.

The original Imperial, Paiute Springs' only saloon, burned down in the recent troubles with the "loonies," as detailed in this noble publication.

Interested parties can contact Karl at the Higginbotham Boarding House on Main Street.

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