The Atcheson Topeka and the Santa Fe. Founded by one Cyrus K. Holliday. The West was built by railways. Boom towns rising, falling. Money. Striving for monopoly.

John, loyal, was soldier in the Railroad Wars between rival companies for rights to mountain passes. Armoury was excessive and included Gatling guns.

Assembling an army in Dodge, he tried to recruit even his friend, Eddie Foy.

"But it doesn't matter if you can shoot. What we're looking for is a show of force, and you'll get your pay just the same."

"I am an actor, not a gunman."

"I am a dentist."

Year: 1878
The night of the Philpott murder John hired a horse, tied it to the rail outside the Alhambra. He waited to ride with Wyatt in posse at his word. John had earlier been lured to a nonexistent poker game in Galleyville, and returned with his other horse tied companionably to the water wagon.

Wyatt did not call, for he did not want to ask him to break loyalty, choose between friends. They rode after Billy Leonard.

When they tried to frame him for the murder, the horse at the rail was prosecution evidence. The horse behind the wagon exonerated him.

Year: 1881
Thirty seconds. From his striving, his heart, his life, all that remains is thirty seconds of dust, determination, scuffle. From rumours and elaborations all the truth that survives is guns, death and names. All the reasons, will, even the sides have become confused.

When he shot McLaury John threw his shotgun away, not realising it had been effective without the expected bloom of red in his enemy's stomach. Shotguns toss his ruined frame with their recoil. It was the only thirty seconds he handled such a weapon. Now he hears it is his favourite. There hadn't even been a corral.

Year: 1881


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