Wyoming Territory in the 1860′s was the Wild West
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.
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. He was, as one man put it, “a sudden kind of man.”
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.
On a cattle buying trip on a large ranch in nearby Colorado, Teague meets Abitha Claymore and falls madly in love. In fact, he follows her to New York City, where she lives, to court her. Her father is a rich railroad tycoon who also has a large interest in a shipping company, and owned the Colorado ranch where Teague met her. The romance that bloomed between them quickly grew once Teague arrived in New York. He proposes and she accepts, and within a matter of a few weeks, they are married and back in Wyoming on his ranch.
But, trouble soon arrives at the ranch in the form a James Wood, a disgruntled suitor of Abitha. He’s also the foreman of her father’s Colorado ranch. Although Abitha is obviously several months pregnant, Wood, along with several men working for him, kidnap Abitha and her Mexican maid. Wood heads to Colorado.
Teague begins tracking them and catches them in the mountains. Unfortunately, he is forced to surrender to Wood after the man threatens to kill Abitha. Wood coldly shoots Teague out of the saddle as the man is crossing a stream. The scene went something like this:
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.
This is a tale of vengeance, but it’s also a tale of enduring love. Rob a man of his money, and he’ll forgive you. Beat him and hurt him, and he’ll get over it and move on, perhaps even forgive. But, hurt the woman a man loves and he’ll not forgive, and if he’s a man like Weston Teague, he will do far more than hurt you.
You’ll like this tale of western adventure done in the tradition of Louis L’Amour, the Dean of Western Fiction.
Some Facts of Interest about Early Wyoming
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.