Wyoming Territory was the Wild West in 1860
[stextbox id=”manonhorse”]Wyoming Territory was a pretty wild place in the1860’s and right into the 20th Century. The entire Territory was open range to various tribes of Indians, including the Cheyene, Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone. Some have said the Comanche found their way that far north, too. One thing is certain, though. Wyoming Territory was a dangerous place to be in those days.[/stextbox]
Against this backdrop, Voyle Glover has written Bloody Wes Teague, a novel set in Wyoming Territory. Cheyenne is little more than a rail head and vigalantes rule many of the smaller towns and camps. Some men are buying land, starting ranches, bringing in small herds, and beginning the settlement of this wild territory.
Weston Teague fits into this setting well. He’s a big man, muscular from the hard work on his ranch, and hardened by the harsh environment he’s worked and lived in all his life. Teague is the son of a former Sheriff in Texas who was gunned down in front of Wes when he was still a child. He’d later grow up and become a lawman known for his fairness, but perhaps better known for being very good with a gun. Indeed, after a gun fight with five outlaws in which only one of the outlaws survived, he became known as “Bloody” Teague to many in Texas.
Wyoming was good for Teague. It brought him out of the blistering heat of Texas, something he’d grown weary of, but it also brought him to a land where he could earn a good living not having to shoot other men. He quickly became a pillar of the growing Cheyenne community. His ranch was only twenty miles from Cheyenne.
Teague meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman on a Colorado ranch. He had come there to buy cattle. She is there visiting her father’s ranch. Abitha Claymore is the daughter of a rich rail magnate who owns a ranch, but who lives, with his family, in New York City. Teague follows Abitha to New York City, proposes, and in a very short time, they are in Wyoming, settling that Territory with other men and women who came to the American West to make a new home for themselves, and to bring law and order.
But, one day trouble arrives. Abitha is home with her main, Maria, when James Wood, the foreman of her father’s ranch, and a man bitter over losing Abitha to Teague, rides up with several men. In spite of the fact that Abitha is very obviously pregnant, he kidnaps Abitha and her maid., forcing them to ride into the mountains, intending to take her back to Colorado over the mountains.
Teague takes up the chase and soon catches up with them. He is forced to surrender after Wood threatens to kill Abitha. This scene follows:
[stextbox id=”manonhorse”]He had Teague’s hand tied in the front which permitted him to hold the reins of his horse, then walked over to Abitha, who was still sitting on the ground. “My, my, it was touching seeing you two.” He turned and looked at Teague with a grin, then patted Abitha on the swollen stomach and said, “I’ll raise the kid for you, Teague.”
It was too much for the big man. All the anger and rage he’d controlled erupted like a pent up dam that had burst. He leaped at the smiling man with the strange green eyes, then went crashing to the ground as the man behind him smashed the butt of the rifle against his head. When he awoke, he was sitting in a saddle. He could feel the moist blood that soaked his shirt, and his head ached with a dull throb.
The riders moved out of the grove of trees keeping close to the river, with Wood’s man in the lead, followed by Abitha, then Maria, then Teague, and at the rear, Wood. They reached the crossing. Wood ordered the women to cross first, with the other man.
They reached the other side and were made to get off their horses. Then, Wood motioned for Teague to move into the river. At the crossing, the waters were shallow, but downstream, the water crashed into a broiling froth against large boulders lying hidden just beneath the surface in the river. Teague moved his horse slowly into the river.
He’d just reached midpoint in the river when Wood called out, “Hold up, Teague!”
He turned in his saddle and looked back at Wood. The man had pulled his revolver, and it was pointed directly at Teague’s back. The man was grinning, and a maniacal laugh sounded from him. The man was laughing as though someone had just told him a joke.
Teague said, “I really thought this is what you meant all along. Frankly, I expected to be shot when I walked out of the trees.”
Wood shouted, “Abitha! You watching this? Watch your husband die!”
Teague didn’t wait for the shot. He flung himself out of the saddle. Something akin to the kick of a horse thudded into his side as he fell, and knew he’d been shot. He heard Abitha scream, then the shock of icy cold water hit him, and he was tumbling down the river, rolling, trying to stand, getting bowled over, and groaning with pain as he slammed into rock after rock. He managed to wrench a hand free from the rope, but it seemed to make little difference.
He rolled down the river like a small log, hitting one obstacle after another. Teague could not see the pitiful sight of his wife standing there watching him disappear, heartbroken, the tears flowing freely down her dirty face, and suddenly so tired and so empty that she slumped over in a dead faint. He could not see the spreading stain of red that darkened her dress, nor could he hear the scream of anguish from Maria as she tried to help Abitha.[/stextbox]
You can steal from a man and he may forgive you. Beat a man, and he may try to hurt you. But, harm someone he loves, touch his family, and he’ll not forgive you. And, if you harm the wife of a man like Weston Teague, he won’t just hurt you. One man, a marshal in the little town where Teague finally catches up with Wood, said this to Tyrel Claymore, Abitha’s father:
[stextbox id=”gunman”]“Your foreman shore made a fool’s play when he tangled with that man, sir. I know who he is, and I reckon if your foreman had knowed what I know, he’d have never took up a hand against that man. There’s some men in Texas still get nervous when there’s talk of Wes Teague.” He wiped the gun and stuck it into a soft deer casing, then continued, “Had a rep for bein’ a fair man, mind you, but sudden. Awful sudden. I reckon ‘Bloody’ Teague was ‘bout the hardest man Texas ever saw, Mr. Claymore.”[/stextbox]
Enjoy this magnificent western fiction tale of the Old West where hard men ruled, and where it took tough men who were fighters to tame the outlaws and the lawless riders who flooded the West after the Civil War.
Interesting Facts About Wyoming History
After the Union Pacific Railroad had reached the town of Cheyenne in 1867, the region’s population began to grow steadily, and the federal government established the Wyoming Territory on July 25, 1868. Nearly all of Yellowstone National Park lies within the far northwestern borders of Wyoming. Wyoming was the location of the Johnson County War of 1892. On December 10, 1869, territorial Gov. John Allen Campbell extended the right to vote to women, making Wyoming the first U.S. state to grant suffrage to women. In addition, Wyoming was also a pioneer in welcoming women into politics. Women first served on juries in Wyoming (Laramie in 1870); Wyoming had the first female court bailiff (Mary Atkinson, Laramie, in 1870); and the first female justice of the peace in the country (Esther Hobart Morris, South Pass City, in 1870). Also, in 1924, Wyoming became the first state to elect a female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, who took office in January 1925. The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone were but a few of the original inhabitants.