....November 2007 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Up Coming Thunder Valley Match by Prof. Fuller Bullspit

There are five things that go into making a great Cowboy Action Shooting match. These five things are the people, the range, the stages, the targets and the weather. With the Brimstone Pistoleros Annual match coming up December 2 we wanted to make sure we had the best of each of these elements.

Now it is a well established fact that black powder shooters are the best looking, smartest, happiest, and most fun people at any match. So when planning the best ever match it only makes sense to attract as many black powder shooters as possible. Fortunately for Brimstone Pistoleros we shoot all black powder all the time! This practically guarantees that all shooters who attend our match in December will be the best looking, smartest, happiest and most fun people to be found that weekend. And because there will be so many good looking people there I’ll make sure to bring my camera!

The range is an important part of the Cowboy Action Shooting experience. If you haven’t been to the RR Bar range lately you are in for a big and pleasant surprise when you get there. RR Bar and the Lions Club who owns and operates the Lion’s Pride range in Apple Valley California have spared no effort in developing one of the nicest Cowboy ranges in the area. Be prepared to step back in time at Chimney Rock, a rough hewn mining town nestled in under the majestic chimney rock formations of the area. This town includes a boardwalk lined street with a number of imaginative and interesting shooting facades on the other side of the street. 

There has been a lot of talk lately about intelligent stage design and action on or off the clock. To be honest, the stages for this shoot are not for the shooter who likes to blaze away and be done with it. With a definite nod back to some of the End of Trail stages of the early 90’s this match will have some action, like throwing a knife and roping a post, on the clock. In another bit of homage to what some think of the hey day of Cowboy Action shooting this match will also have some fun sequences including shooting at playing cards, shooting on the move and drinking on the clock! If you have any questions about the stages they are posted online at http://www.brimstonepistoleros.com/FDDD.html for all to see. Do you think there are too many shooting categories? This year at Chimney Rock the Brimstone Pistoleros are allowing only seven categories. How’s that for simplifying? The categories include Cowboy and Cowgirl, Outlaw and Lady Outlaw, Plainsman, Monte Walsh and Real Cowboy. Want to shoot an 1897, double or lever shotgun? No problem! Want to shoot an 1895 Winchester or Marlin in a real big bore caliber like .45-70? No Problem! And for a real challenge try Real Cowboy which allows only one revolver with reloading on the clock as needed. Check out the particulars for each category on the entry form at http://www.brimstonepistoleros.com/FD.html. While you are there print that form out and send it in! These categories are set up for a lot of shooter choice as every category except Plainsman allows the shooter to shoot duelist, gunfighter or two handed on any stage they want. 

And to make your shooting as fun as it can be, no matter how you hold your guns, the RR Bar folks are graciously letting us use their fine assortment of target steel. As the hosts of the Western Regional Event RR Bar knows how to put on a good match and they have a lot of good steel which we will surely enjoy. Look for at least one stage with a lot of knock downs and another with a running target courtesy of Cliff Hanger. You are going to like the targets!

All of you who attended last years shoot will remember it was in the full heat of summer and we all felt the effects. This year the shoot is in the late Fall season in the high desert. That means night time temperatures near 30 and daytime highs near 50. This ought to be perfect black powder shooting weather! Cool enough so the hot barrel of your shotgun will feel good, but not so cold as to require a lot of bulky clothing. You might want to bring a coat and gloves to stay warm in between stages though.

All of this fun takes place Sunday December 2, 2007. But wait, there is more! Saturday afternoon we will have a chili contest and potluck and then at dark there will be a two stage black powder night shoot! Both of these are being organized by Jittery Jim Jonah who knows how to put on a night shoot. Rumor has it that there could even be a card game after the shooting on Saturday night so bring your best poker face! So if you like to shoot black powder, or have always wanted to try it, the RR Bar range in Apple Valley is the place to be December 1 and 2, 2007. Don’t miss it!

Thunder Valley Event Schedule

Sunday - Main Match
  Shooter's Meeting  9:00am
  Followed by 5 Stage Main Match then a side match that requires 4 pistols with a pocket pistol being allowed/encouraged as one of the 4.a one on one challenge.

Lunch  will be brown bag. 

Saturday Evening - Something for those who can't get enough BP shooting.  Starting about 3:00 PM
  For those shooting the Sunday Main Match  there will be 2 Stages in the Dark for those who want to play Saturday afternoon. Sounds like a pot luck & chili cook off too. This is just something extra like side match stuff for those.
Information that is not widely known.

The Brimstone Pistoleros have always donated the profits from "Thunder Valley" to Happy Trails Children's Foundation. And this year is unique.

First the Double R Bar Regulators where asked again if "Thunder Valley" could be held in their town. RRBar voted yes again this year.

Second when the Lion's Club of Lucerne was approached for a day to use their range and the plan was presented to them, they voted to provide the range with NO shooter fees.

Third Rowdy Yates, president of Brimstone Pistoleros said that he had plenty of trophies already in hand so there would be no cost associated with them.

Fourth the Dammit Gang has taken on putting on a pot luck dinner/chili cook off, a poker game and night shoot on Saturday, Dec 1st, included with your "Thunder Valley" Entry.

With all of this generosity the Brimstone Pistoleros has decided that 100% of the Entry Fees to this years "Thunder Valley" will be donated to Happy Trails Children's Foundation.

 A BIG "Thank You" goes out to the Double R Bar Regulators, the Lion's Club, Dammit Gang and all the shooters who attend. "THANK YOU".

The Dammit Gang Rides to Chimney Rock

Another Dammit Gang Short Story by Jailhouse Jim
SASS # 13104
(October 1881)


The Gunfight Behind the Jersey Lilly is over and Deadwood is once again safe. The town is doing a brisk business and everything is returning to normal. Even that temperamental Brit has put down the whiskey and poker chips, at least for a time, and is getting to know his daughter. Late at night he is seen strolling down main street with Marta on his arm and a foolish grin upon his face. Did he comb his hair? Is he planning on making Marta an honest woman? Many in town hope that is the case for Marta raised that girl doing odd jobs and menial labor by herself for the last 17 years. Many of the town’s upper crust looked down on her because of her trouble not knowing the real story. It seems as though, at least for now, Filthy Lurce has come home and is planning to stay.

The Dammit gang has hit the saddle and is riding out of town. Howdy is heading for Doodyville, Jesse and Sawmill are heading for Northern California, Mad Mike is heading to Nevada Territory, Weaver Gal and Dan Diamond are heading to Arizona Territory, The Professor Fuller Bullspit is heading back to Chimney Rock, and other gang members are heading to the four winds. The creak of old saddles and the crack of the whip over the horses heads echo in the stillness of the morning air. The dust cloud begins to rise from the well worn trail as the weary gunfighters head out of town. The dust hangs in the air settling ever so slowly as the wagons and horses pass through the valley. Laylow Curley, Double Scotch, Jittery Jim Jonah, and Youngblood stop at the edge of town and look back. Filthy Lurce is there with his family, raising a hand in a salute to the quartet of riders. The riders pause for a moment, give a final wave, and slap spurs to the horses.

The four men ride at a canter for miles before slowing down to a walk. No words are being spoken for each man is alone with his thoughts. Hours later, the men arrive at the dirty little dugout they call home. The fire is cold and the dugout smells of old hides and damp earth. Jittery Jim offers to take care of the horses as Laylow Curley and the rest head into the dugout. Double Scotch cracks open a bottle of their best home brew while Youngblood opens the windows to let the stale, dank air from the room. Laylow starts a fire and begins to slice bacon into a pan to feed the group of tired men. Soon there are potatoes frying and a slab of elk broiling. The stale air is soon replaced with the smell of fresh country cooking.
Out in the corral, Jittery Jim unsaddles each of the horses then rubs them down with a handful of straw. Each of the horses gets a big bait of grain then turned loose. One by one the horses roll in the dirt to get the feeling of the saddle from their backs. Youngblood watches his old horse from the window thinking of how many times that old horse has carried him into battle and is still able to roll in the corral after a long ride home.


After the men ate the substantial meal prepared by Laylow, they set around the fire with a stiff drink and a good cigar. The men are laughing, reminiscing about the fight in Deadwood, and talking about the new friends they made while there. “You know fellers,” Laylow began, “We always end up back here after a fight. All those folks are celebrating in a saloon while we sit in an old dugout that smells like ancient buffalo hides and dirty socks. We never just ride out to have a good time without ending up in somebody else’s trouble. What do you boys think about riding over to Chimney Rock on Saturday for a few days just to play a few cards and have a drink or two? I know we just got back but it sounded like a good idea when it came to me.” “Chimney Rock,” Youngblood started, “Why Chimney Rock? There are plenty of saloons a lot closer than that we can do the same thing.” There was a twinkle in Laylow’s eye as he grinned. The old cowhand knew there was more to the story, he always knew. He had lived too long on the frontier not to know when something was up with Laylow, something usually ending in gunplay.

Saturday morning brought the winds of hell as they blew through the cracks in the walls of the old dugout. There was a thin layer of frost on the corral boards and the grass had an icy look to it. Youngblood was up early as usual and was saddling the horses. None of the horses were anxious to leave the confines of the warm barn and were not cooperating with Youngblood. “You bunch of cantankerous old crow baits, you’re going to get saddled whether you like it or not.” Youngblood’s old horse just turned and looked as Youngblood ranted like a madman. The horse’s turn would come soon enough. The horse knew it, Youngblood knew it.

Youngblood stamped the mud and frost off his boots as he entered the dugout. The opening of the door brought an icy gust into the one-room dugout. Laylow and Double Scotch were settin’ on the edge of their bed in their long handles trying to shake off the cobwebs caused by too much Tequila. Jittery Jim had a slab of ham frying and had dug up some eggs somewhere. Jim was the only one dressed for the day and the weather with those Hair On Chaps of his. Laylow barked at Youngblood, “Close that door you old galloot, I’m freezing my a## off here.” Youngblood grinned and accepted a plate of vittles from Jittery Jim. “Laylow is in top form today isn’t he? What’s he got around his waist? Is that a pink sash with a blue palm tree?” The three men rolled with laughter while Laylow snarled.

After breakfast, the four men closed up the dugout to keep the critters out while they were gone. One time Double Scotch left a window open and a raccoon got into the dugout. There wasn’t one thing that the coon hadn’t gotten into. Flour, salt, sugar, coffee, and such was scattered from H#** to breakfast. Worse part was, the coon was still in the dugout when Filthy Lurce opened the door. That coon when up over Filthy’s head biting, snarling, scratching, all the way. Filthy was fit to be tied and given his generally unpleasant disposition, it is a wonder the coon got away alive. Everyone makes sure the dugout is closed up after that little trial. The men gather up their traps and head out into the bitter cold. Cinches were pulled tight with bedrolls and slickers carefully tied onto the saddles. Provisions were stuffed into saddlebags along with plenty of extra cartridges.

Youngblood led the small cavalcade out of the warm barn into the misery mother nature had provided. As Youngblood cleared the gate, he felt the old Paloose bow his back, the show was about to begin. The old cowhand gathered the reins in one hand just as the Cayuse started to buck. “You feelin’ your oats today fella?” Youngblood laughed. The old horse bucked, jumped, sun-fished, crow-hopped, spun to the left then to the right, and took off across the prairie at a dead run. Youngblood sat in the saddle as comfortable as if in a rocking chair. How many times the duo had gone through this little morning ritual. The other three men sat their horses havin’ a smoke while Youngblood provided them with this little rodeo. As the horse finally tired, Youngblood cantered back to the group with a grin. He liked these cold morning romps as much as the horse did. The riders pulled their jackets up under their chins and rode away from the dugout to whatever Laylow had come up with this time. It didn’t really matter, they would follow Laylow no matter what or where.

The wind swirled dust around the riders, sand blasting their faces raw, as they headed east to Chimney Rock. The dust storm got so severe in places, the cowboys stopped and tied kerchiefs over the horse’s muzzles to help them breathe. This little romp has turned into a miserable ride just to have a little fun. What did Laylow know about this town he wasn’t telling? No matter what is was, there was probably trouble coming with it. The miles seemed to just fall behind the merry band as they traveled east from the valley into the desolation of the high desert. Landscape of grasslands and trees gave way to brush and rocks, then just to rocks. Why on earth would anyone live up in this Hell Hole? Over the Cajon pass and down into town they went. The town was nestled agin’ some rocky, sand-blasted, miserable looking hills, that held a certain desolate beauty in the fading light. It was just past dark when the gang rode up to the livery stable. There was no one about so they stabled their own horses, fed them, and carefully wiped the debris from their backs. They gave each of the horses a generous bucket of grain and only then did they stop to look and listen to the town.

Lights started appearing in the windows of the buildings in town. The tin-panny sounds of the saloon piano broke through the evening air. The town seemed normal with folks hurrying around, trying to finish their daily chores. Several horses were tied to hitchin’ rails, and there was still a wagon at the general store. What is up with this town? The men held to the shadows as they went to the hotel for a decent night’s sleep in a bed with a real mattress. Ah the good life at last.


The cowboys riding for the RR Bar (RR) Ranch in Apple Valley just finished fighting the worst range war in recent history with the Last Stand at Chimney Rock. A good rest is what they needed but knowing the cowboys from Lucerne Valley, the weary cowhands would be rarin’ for a party, dancin’, courtin’, and getting the ranch back in order. That rest would be short-lived though because some no account is settin’ fires all over the southwest. The fires during the summer nearly burnt the town of Chimney Rock to ashes. The cowboys from the RR Ranch fought the flames to a standstill as they licked at the outskirts of town. Once again the RR cowhands thought they would be able to let their hair down. Surely nothing else was going to happen.

The gayety was going to be short-lived as Professor Fuller Bullspit called a town meeting and announced the news. Jittery Jim Jonah had sent him telegraph to warn the town the Dammit Gang was lookin’ fer a game and some fun and were coming to town the first weekend in December. For those folks who have happily never heard of the Dammit Gang, they’re a bunch of hard-cases from all over the western United States. They come from all walks of life. There’s law officers, wagon menders, blacksmiths, nurses, doctors, retired folks, spinners of yarns, soiled doves, and many other professions. Many of these hombres were on a path down the outlaw trail but turned off before they got too far. The worst of the bunch, and their leader, was a surly hombre who’s goes by Laylow Curley. Laylow’s Segundo’s are none other than Jittery Jim Jonah, Double Scotch, Filthy Lurce, and Youngblood. Whenever the call is put out by any of these hombres, the Dammit gang fork their broncs and slap leather to meet up with Laylow.

Now the RR ranch hands are a proud bunch of cowboys who ride for the brand originated by Roy and Dale. They’re also real proud of an orphanage they support so they are not about to let a bunch of no account drifters tear up the town. Who are these Dammits to think they can just ride into town and have their way with them? Rowdy Yates steps up with the Professor and raises his hand to settle the crowd down. “Hold it down folks. You don’t understand. Whether you know it or not, there’s Dammits that live here among you right now who are your neighbors and friends. You have lived and worked alongside these Dammits without even knowing who they are. Why even Weedy and Howdy Doody are among the Dammits.”

Cliffhanger steps up in front of the crowd as well, “That’s right folks, this gang is not comin’ to town to tear it up. You need to understand who they are and what their idea of fun is. This bunch of miscreants get their greatest pleasure from riding and fighting at night. They like to pull a cork, smoke a good cigar, and play a few hands of poker.” M.C. Ryder shouts from the crowd, “Professor, you know that bunch down to the saloon runs a crooked game. Don’tcha think there will be trouble if they start playin’ with them.” The professor doesn’t answer right away. “MC, We have those kids at the orphanage to think of you know and that has spread us pretty doggon thin. The Last Stand at Chimney Rock, the fires, and the Gunfight Behind the Jersey Lilly has us all worn-out. That bunch down to the saloon is getting bolder by the day and soon, if something doesn’t happen, they will be taking over the town. We haven’t been able to get them to leave on their own and that no-account Sheriff is on their payroll so he needs to be rooted out too. It wouldn’t hurt ‘em none to get their feathers clipped a bit and that Dammit bunch is just the one to do it. What I do know fer sure is, we can’t do it ourselves and I don’t want another murder in town by that bunch. Remember the last man to stand up agin’ them. If’n ya don’t, head up to Boot Hill and look for the fresh grave.”

A non-descript man slips out the back of the meeting and heads directly to the saloon. The man heads to a table at the back of the saloon where three men are settin’. The men were unkempt, dirty, all sporting scraggly beards, and carried their guns tied down. These were men not to be toyed with for they were bad, bad men with ill tempers and who were too quick to shoot rather than listen. The men looked up slowly at the new arrival to the saloon. The man was shaking and having a difficult time tryin’ to talk. “Boss, I was just over to the town meeting and they were talking about this here Dammit gang coming to town.” “The Dammit gang,” Bucket of Blood growled, “Just who is the Dammit gang?” “I’m not sure,” the man whined, “But it sounds like fer sure there a comin’ and they’re probably going to want to get into a game.” “Well then, they can help us along with fattening our kitty then,” Bucket of Blood laughed. Little did these men know, over in the corner was a feller eavesdropping on them. They paid him no never mind cause he carried two little guns. No gunfighter used little guns in this town


Laylow Curley slowly opens his eyes and looks towards the hotel window. The sun is full up as he rubs the sleep from his eyes. How long has it been since he has slept this long and this well? He rolls out of bed and looks out the window while he attends to an itch. Youngblood is setting in front of the saloon in a chair. It’s just like him to be up and about already. Does that old man ever sleep? Laylow gets dressed, shakes out his boots then pulls them on, and slings his gunbelt around his hips. He quickly checks the loads in his six-guns as he always does. You never know when they must be counted on. Laylow runs his fingers through his hair then slams his trail-worn hat on. He gently opens the door, looks both directions, and slips down the hall to knock on Double Scotch’s door. There’s some rustling in the room but no response. Laylow turns the knob and the door gives way. Inside is Double Scotch, still in bed. Is there someone with him? Sure enough, “When you get done there boy, I’ll be havin’ breakfast down to the Boarding House. Laylow heads down the hall and meets up with Jittery Jim. “Double Scotch is a little busy still but will be along directly.” Both men laugh and head down to meet up with Youngblood. As they exit the hotel, Laylow signals to Youngblood to meet them at the Boarding House for breakfast.

The three men set at a table in the corner soes they can watch the door. Kentucky Gal comes up with a pot of coffee and a plate piled high with hot cakes. “Morning boys, I expect you’ll want the works for breakfast?” The men nod as she heads back to the kitchen. In short order, she comes back with bacon, eggs, home fried taters, and a big slab of beef for each of the men. Double Scotch finally arrives and grabs the coffee pot to pour a cup. The hombre with the little guns shows up and low and behold, it’s Phantom. Kentucky Gal brings them both some food as well, but has a big Ole smile for Double Scotch. How come she wasn’t as NICE to us like she is to Double Scotch? That boy has sure got a way with the wimmin. A tough looking hombre comes into the room and makes a beeline to the corner table stopping just short of Laylow. “Hello Laylow.” “Howdy Desert Dawg,” Laylow quipped. Desert Dawg sat in the open chair and poured himself a cup of coffee while Laylow introduced the gang. “We heard you were coming Laylow. What have you got planned?” Laylow’s eyes have that twinkle in them and he has that mischievous grin again. “Why, we just rode over here to have a few drinks and a friendly game of cards.” Desert Dawg fired back with, “You never just go out to have a friendly game and drink Laylow. You know that bunch over to the saloon runs a crooked game so why would you want to have a friendly game with them?” Laylow grinned again, “Well, I was talking to Rowdy Yates at the Howling Wolf over in Deadwood and he said I might enjoy playing a friendly game with those fellers. I’m downright sure those fellers will play honest with me.” “Well boys, if you’re asking fer trouble, that’s the place to find it in this town. Don’t never say you haven’t been warned,” Desert Dawg said as he got up to leave.


The four old friends bantered back a forth a bit then get up to leave the boarding house to take a tour around town. As their feet hit the boardwalk Phantom whispered, “Laylow, those galloots know yer comin’ and are planning a skinnin’.” Laylow grinned that grin again, “I like it better when they know what’s comin’, or do they?” The men laughed as they made their way down Front Street to look the town over. There wouldn’t be a game until this evening so there was plenty time to take a look around and get any supplies they might need for the trip home. Phantom headed over to the Dry Goods Store to get some extra cartridges for his guns, lots of extra cartridges. The town Sheriff watched as the gunfighters lazed around town all afternoon. Desert Dawg had been by to see him earlier in the day so he was well aware of what the evening had in store for him and the card sharps. The Sheriff’s biggest problem was his own however. He had been taking money from that no account bunch of want-a-be card sharps to look the other way when they fleeced unsuspecting folks from their hard earned money. The Sheriff knew the shyster’s game was to hide extra chips in their clothing and when a game looked to have a big pot, the dealer would declare it a table stakes game. Now everyone knows table stakes means you can only play with the amount of chips you have showing. The card sharps would simply keep raising with hidden chips until no one had any chips left to call the bet. The sharps could win by default. The Sheriff didn’t know what Laylow Curley had up his sleeve but he knew Laylow would not allow the sharps to cheat him. There’s where the trouble will come from and with Laylow’s Segundos in town with him, it will be big trouble.

The sun set crimson in the west as Laylow and Double Scotch headed for the Saloon. Youngblood and Jittery Jim would come in separately to watch from a distance. Laylow pushed the batwing doors open and surveyed the crowd. Cigar smoke was thick in the air and the lighting was limited at best. Laylow and Double Scotch eased up to the bar and ordered a drink. Both gunfighters turned and rested their elbows on the bar watching the game as it was being played. Near as Laylow could tell, there was the dealer and at least one accomplice in the game. The road agent was stashing chips in his sleeves and pants cuffs. Why was he doing that? Laylow would find out soon enough. So far all of the pots were small. It looked like there may even be another road agent in the crowd looking at the other gamblers hands and signaling the dealer. Double Scotch already had a girl. Man that kid works quick! Is that Shush Dammit on his arm? How did she get here? It didn’t take long to fleece the miner for his gold so now there was an open chair. The old miner got up and said quietly to the dealer, “You cheated me and I’ll see you are well paid for your deeds.” The dealer stood up as if he was going to draw on the miner. Laylow calmly intervened, “He’s not heeled friend.” The dealer’s look was incredulous as his face flushed with anger, “He shouldn’t be callin’ someone a cheat unless he is able to back it up.” Phantom ushered the old miner from the bar and to his camp, “Keep a cold camp tonight if’n I was you friend.” The old man nodded with obvious signs of relief as he too knew how close he came to his maker.

Laylow sat down and bought his chips. After organizing his chips, Laylow signaled he was ready to play. Laylow scrutinized the dealer closely during the first few hands. This man was dirty and smelled like an old buffalo hunter, he smelled of death. Laylow instantly despised this man and what he represented. The man had no couth or demur what so ever, clearly bred from the loins of border trash and river scum. Men out on the frontier were generally honest, hard working, and pious. Even as a gambler a man could be relatively honest. Smooth card handling is the way to successfully play cards and make a living at it. Set-up style cheating was not tolerated and when a gambler is caught, it usually meant gunplay or a rope. This worm was the latter of these. He knew very little about smooth card handling as he fumbled the cards with nearly every shuffle. He was obviously going to have to cheat to win. Laylow saw that he carried his belt gun tied down but figured on this snake as having a hide-out as well. The dealer’s road agent was another dirty hombre wearing a buckskin coat and the same smell of death as the dealer. Laylow could see a bulge under the road agent’s sleeve suggesting a sleeve-gun. He would need to watch for that.

Double Scotch and Shush Dammit worked their way behind Laylow to keep the crowd off his back. One problem cured, figure Double Scotch to know where he would be needed most. Youngblood was near the piano with his Springfield and Jittery Jim was cruising the bar creating a diversion. What is he wearing?. Wait! That looks like Filthy Lurce up on the catwalk and isn’t that Howdy Doody on the other catwalk. Rowdy is over on left side of the bar and Marshall Phil De Grave is now tending bar. Phantom had worked himself in behind the dealer. Well now, it looks like the gangs all here. Laylow was ready to play for keeps now. Laylow kept winning small pots and had a pretty substantial pile of chips in his corner. All the other men had bowed out of the game one by one until the dealer, his road agent, and Laylow were all that were left. The dealer was starting to get cocky now and they were getting ready to set up the sting. Laylow caught the dealer trying to deal off the bottom of the deck but stopped him before he could lay the card down. “Burn that card mister. I won’t be dealt off the bottom. You be real careful now cause I won’t take kindly to you doing that again, “Laylow snarled. The dealer was visibly shaken and he was infuriated at being caught cheating. This saddle tramp isn’t that clever to beat him at this game. The cigar smoke was getting so thick in the saloon it looked as if there was a fog settling on the table. That was fine with Laylow. He has been in smoky gunfights before and he liked it that way.


Laylow knew the game was for keeps now. The dealer had regained his composure and the pot was starting to build. Bet, raise, bet, raise, it kept going around the table until Laylow’s chip pile was beginning wane, the chips were nearly all on the table. Here was the showdown. Laylow noticed the other man’s chip pile didn’t seem to be going down as quickly as his even though the bets were steadily increasing. SOOOOO, that’s why this man was stashing chips in his clothes. The dealer declared this game to be table stakes only and this is how they would try to fleece him of his money. Laylow knew his men had identified any other potential road agents in the crowd and was ready to or already had neutralized any threat. Laylow couldn’t know but the Sheriff, even as he played, was riding hell bent for Texas. The game was over here and he didn’t need the Dammits after him. He had a grubstake, his life, and he was making little time getting out of town. Four other hombres were locked in the town jail and the ones left in the saloon were well covered without even knowing it.

By now a large crowd had assembled around the game. This game was the biggest ever seen in this saloon and is causing quite as stir. Laylow’s six-gun leaped suddenly into his hand and pointed towards the road agent. The road agent’s eyes flared wide instantly with the realization he was in deep trouble now as the man behind the gun was prepared to kill him. The area behind the road agent cleared, as if by magic, of innocent bystanders. The road agent looked around the crowd but wasn’t able to find a friendly face. The dealer’s face dropped as if he had been shot when he saw Laylow’s gun. His face was crimson red with fury and he began to sweat profusely. “Friend,” Laylow growled’ “Pull out every chip you have hidden and put them on the table.” The road agent was beginning to panic “I don’t…” Laylow grabbed his sleeve and dumped a handful of chips onto the table. “The hell you don’t, I said NOW!” Laylow barked, “Or you won’t see the sun rise again unless it’s through 6’ of dirt.” The road agent’s hands were shaking so hard he spilled chips on the table, floor, and across the bar. Laylow said to the dealer, “Let’s get back to the game. My friend has bet all of his chips.” “Then place your bet friend,” the dealer offered seeing Laylow didn’t have enough chips to cover the other gamblers bet or to call the hand.

The road agent had counted out his chips and it was clear to all the spectators Laylow was going to be short. Everyone groaned as they thought the game was over. The dealer and road agent’s faces beamed as they thought they had the game in the bag now. Laylow pushed the rest of his chips into the pot. “You don’t have enough to call cowboy,” the dealer said smugly. “One minute friend,” Laylow said quietly, “I have one more chip.” “One is not enough,” the dealer replied sarcastically. “One of his chips is plenty to call any bet,“ someone in the crowd yelled. Laylow reached into his pocket and slowly placed a Dammit Chip onto the pile, “CALL!” The dealer looked at the chip as if the devil had rode in straight from hell and was sitting in the middle of his table. Everyone west of the Mississippi knows what a Dammit Chip is. It has no limit, can call, or raise any bet, and is covered by any Dammit gang member. There has never been a dispute over the use of a Dammit Chip in any game, ever, at least by anyone living to tell the story.

Both the road agent and the dealer were clearly in a panic now. All their work has come down to this one hand. Everything they had put together these last months was about to come crashing down if they couldn’t find a way out. Who is this saddle tramp they had happily never heard of until tonight? Suddenly, the road agent makes a try. A derringer appears in his hand from nowhere pointing towards Laylow. Laylow could have killed him fair and square but instead grabbed the gun, quicker than a rattlesnake, then smashed him square in the mouth with the other. Broken teeth and blood were strewn across his chest and the table. In the background you could hear a pin drop. As Laylow cracked the road agent, every Dammit weapon was heard being cocked. The dealer and his cohorts were disarmed. “We are going to finish this hand fair and square friends, show your cards.” Youngblood eared the hammer back on his Springfield and pointed it towards the dealer. The road agent, with his face beginning to swell and eyes turning blue, laid his hand down, he had one pair. The dealer was smug, seemingly undisturbed by the rifle pointed at his brisket, as he laid his cards down revealing a full house and said, “Beat that friend.” Laylow sat expressionless as he took his own sweet time to show his cards. The dealer thought he had won when Laylow didn’t show his cards right away. As he started to rake in the pot, Laylow said, “Wait friend, I need to show you my cards.” Laylow spread the cards in his hand, one at a time, and gently placed them on the table. “Straight flush” someone yelled, “You win mister”.

The dealer fell back into his chair, beaten at his own game. He scans the crowd looking for any sympathetic face. All of his men were covered or had disappeared. The dealer, totally dejected now, asked, “I have to know friend, What is your name?” “Why, I thought you would know by now, I’m Laylow Curley.” “I should have known. I had heard you were coming” the Dealer said, “May I take my leave.” Laylow was curt, “You may leave this table, this saloon, and this town in that order and right now. If I see you or your cur friends come daylight, you may be sure, you will stay permanently planted here until you turn into worm food.” The dealer and the road agent, along with their cohorts, slowly get up and walk out the doors like stray dogs with their tails between their legs.


Laylow Curley gathers up his chips, especially the Dammit Chip, and heads to the bar for a celebration toast. The town was ecstatic. The gamblers had been ordered out of town. Everyone wanted to buy Laylow and his men a drink this night. Everyone was well lit in short order, all but a few including Laylow. Laylow knew the gamblers may want payback so he posted a couple of men to watch the town while the celebration raged on late into the night. After several hours of celebrating, Laylow eases up to his room. This has been a very productive evening he thinks but those shysters left out of town too easy and too quiet. Laylow know he is not done here. As Laylow crests the top of the Hotel stairs, something or someone ghosts across the window at the end of the hall, or was he mistaken?

A shot rings out as glass shatters into the hallway. A bullet flips Laylow’s hat off his head as it zings into the open space of the lobby. Laylow blew out the lamp and crouched against the wall while his eyes adjust to the darkness. Laylow could hear the sound of boots running down the boardwalk and up the stairs behind him. BOOM! Ole Youngblood is firing with his Springfield. Dammit! He got away. Howdy Doody and Double Scotch bound up the stairs two at a time shouting, “Are you alright Laylow.” Laylow is p+**ed. “That bunch of worthless lizard belly scum shot a hole in my only good hat. Get the gang together at the Saloon. They had their chance to leave peaceable, but their lust and foolish pride is going to let them stay and feed the worms.” Howdy’s toothy grin could be seen easily in the half darkness, “We goin’ after the curs tonight Laylow?” “Yes Howdy, we are. Go get your best pyrotechnic night loads and a shotgun. Tell all the boys to get ready for a night fight.” The whole Dammit gang meets at the Saloon within minutes. This night fight is going to be different for the gamblers have holed up inside the town itself. This is going to be old-fashioned street guerrilla warfare.


Laylow steps into the crowd of gunfighters with a stone face. “Men, I won that game fair and square but those lousy vermin wouldn’t let it go. Now they’ve gone and shot up my good hat. We are going house to house and we are going to root all of them out of town for good. The town knows what we are doing and knows not to get involved. You have any resistance, any atall, use your shotgun first and finish it with a rifle or six-gun.” Rowdy Yates steps up to Laylow, “If’n you’ll have us, the Brimstone Pistoleros are in town and want to join this little scrap. We’re neighbors to the RR and want to help them git their town back.” Laylow grins. He knew there would be some residents wanting to join up. “Welcome to the fold my Pistoleros friends. We are always willing to accept a hand from a neighbor. Onliest thing is, you will be considered a Dammit after a night with us. You could call it guilt by association,” Laylow laughted. As the gunmen filter out into the night, horse’s hooves could be heard thundering down the trail out of town. Well, at least some of them had some sense. Doors were being kicked in, followed by shotgun blasts. Huge balls of flame could be seen as the gunfighters advanced through the town. Even Rocky Shush Dammit is out in town helpin’ clear out the gamblers. That gal may look real lady-like and she can cook, sew, and cut hair, but she can twirl and shoot a six-gun with the best man out there too. Rumor has it she sets a pretty good horse as well No wonder the gang has grown fond of her, good in the kitchen, with a gun, and on a horse, it don’t get no better than that.

There goes one of Howdy’s booming shots, followed by almost demented laughter. Was that the crazy Limey laughing? How did he get here anyway? The flash from Howdy’s shotgun blast reflects off the rocks behind the town creating an almost eerie glow of shadows dancing on the rocks as if demons were celebrating the demise of the gamblers. The demons would know there would be worthless souls for the taking after this night had ended. Those boys sure were having a time of it, good time that is. “MORE SMOKE,” someone yells. There was no hiding for the gamblers when Howdy touched off his Pyro loads. The sky would be lit up and the riflemen would clean the building of gamblers with surgical precision. Clouds of sulfurous black powder smoke were everywhere. There was so much smoke, some of the buildings looked to be on fire. Rooting out the gamblers was as if chasing ghosts in these noxious white clouds. Some of the gamblers were able to escape because of the smoke but the results were the same, they were gone.

In a back alley behind the Dry Goods Store, the dealer waits for his expected prey. The gambler’s men were getting beat back as if they were nothing. This was one bad bunch they had tangled with like nothing they had ever encountered before. The dealer was waiting for one man, Laylow Curley. Even though the town has turned against him and he had lost his foothold here, Laylow must die tonight. Laylow was watching from the Saloon as the last of his men charge into the night. He sees the dealer beckoning him into the alley. Is this a setup or a showdown? Laylow checks his loads again and thumbs a cartridge into each of the empty chambers. This was going to be the final showdown for the gambler. Laylow ghosts along the walls of the General Store and into the alley from the opposite direction the dealer would be expecting him. He saw the dealer crouched behind a water barrel and slowly slipped up on him. “Raise your hands and turn around, you no account piece of snail pus (Laylow was obviously still P’off about his hat).” The gambler did exactly what he was told to do. He turned slowly only to look down the barrel of a .38-40 Colt. The gambler’s hands were beginning to sweat. He carefully wiped them on his shirt, careful not to get too close to his gun, yet.

There was no doubt in either of the men’s minds. Only one man will walk away from this alley tonight, the best man. Neither man had any delusion of the outcome. They were clearly facing an adversary capable of ending either or both of their lives. The time seemed to be passing unbelievably slow as they faced each other in the alley. There were only shadows of light at best it seemed but each man could envision the other’s face. The gambler wipes his hands again as Laylow slips his six-gun back into his holster. It was time to finish this. The gambler’s draw was lighteningly fast. Laylow’s was only a fraction slower as he watched a crimson flame blossoming from the barrel of the gambler’s handgun. Laylow’s hat goes spinning from his head again. Dammit! What has this turd got against Laylow’s hat? Laylow fist is jumping from the recoil of the big Colt. He doesn’t hear a sound as everything appears to be in slow motion. A red stain is starting to spread on the gambler’s chest through four small holes that are nearly touching. The gambler’s gun is firing harmlessly into the dirt at his feet. Clouds of smoke have filled the alley yet Laylow can see the gambler is still standing. As Laylow stooped to pick up his hat, he noticed another hole in the crown, Dammit! He turned once again to the gambler. The smoke had finally begun to clear. As Laylow walked towards the gambler, he fell to his knees, then to his face without a sound, his life draining into the sandy soil of the town. Laylow stares at the man’s motionless body for several minutes, then, tosses a lone poker chip onto his back. Laylow thumbed shells back into his six-gun and heads back to the saloon. They boys should be filtering back there by soon. Now he would have that drink.


As the Dammit gang enters the saloon, the mood is victorious. The men and wimmin are recounting the night’s action as if it was happening in front of them again. Some of the gamblers had gotten away, hidden by the smoke, but they would be found in the morning when the rest of the town turns out. Men with long range rifles would drive the gamblers from the rocks above the town while the men with short guns would clear the town itself. For now, the Dammits would have a drink to another successful night action. Sometime during the night, the men would find their bedroll if even for just a few minutes sleep before the sun will once again shine, only this time, it will shine on a free town.

At the Boarding House, Kentucky Gal brought the nighttime warriors their breakfast. “You boys played hobb on those gamblers last night fer sure. Professor Fuller Bullspit found the gambler in the alley, dead. No one knows who got him but there was a single poker chip layin’ on his back. Who ever did that showed him a gambler can live by the chip or die by the chip. What an irony and a final insult. Youngblood looked at Laylow with that all knowing look he always had when he knew Laylow had been at work albeit unseen work. Only Laylow and the gambler would know what went on in that alley last evening, or did Youngblood know something? “The Sheriff left town before the fray too. That was his horses you heard running from town last night. You know he was a company man on their payroll. He was the smartest one of the bunch though by getting out of town before the fray,” she said. Laylow stood up and addressed the roomful of men, “Thanks for coming boys, you saved my hide again. Did you all have a good time last night?” Howdy hollered, “Boy did we, this was one of the best. We are going out and finish what we started last night and the town is going to help us. By afternoon, the RR hands will have their town back.” The day’s engagements would be uneventful and almost mundane compared to the previous night’s action. The town was grateful to the men for liberating their town and for giving them the chance to start over fresh.

The mood is subdued as the Dammits saddle their horses for the lonely ride home. Each rider is methodical in saddling his horse or hooking up his wagon taking more time than would normally be necessary for the task. None of these cowboys want to leave this town. This is the life they want, life in the western lands where justice is delivered by Sam Colt on the prairie, not in a courthouse. A life where wimmin and kids can walk the streets and travel unmolested. A life where a man’s word was bond and stronger than any piece of paper with scratching on it. A life of brutal work with long hours and little pay. A life of honor among friends. Back these warriors must go to their surreal lives, modern clothes, real jobs, and real problems. Back into storage go the cowboy clothes, boots, spurs, and guns. Many of their closest confidants haven’t a clue as to the adventures these un-noticed cowboys live each time they ride for the Dammit brand.

Back into real society to their wives and children these heroic gunfighters will go unnoticed. They will be temporarily disguised in uniforms, business suits, and dresses until Laylow Curley or his Segundos once again call them forth to ride the range alongside Hoppy, Roy, Audie, Gene, John, Randolph, Gabby, and so many countless other childhood heroes who made the world right and good. What will remain with these “Cowboys” as they ride the trail through their real lives, are the friendships forged and the memories of valiant battles they fought alongside their new found friends.

One by one the Dammits step into the stirrups and touch spurs to the willing steeds. Laylow Curley, Jittery Jim Jonah, Youngblood, Double Scotch, Howdy Doody, Filthy Lurce, Shush Dammit, and all the rest trail out of Chimney Rock and back to that other life until the west comes alive again, if only in their dreams.

The End?

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