So the PCs find that May of 1877 marks the start of the cattle drive that proves to be the largest cattle drive season to date in Dodge history. After a relatively quiet drive last year (due to fears related to the rampaging Sioux warriors under Crazy Horse) the good conditions this year (and the fact that Crazy Horse and his men have surrendered to the US Army) means that there is a shocking rise of activity in town.
According to the accounts, during the peak Cattle Drive years in Dodge City, you could look out into the plain and see nothing but a solid wall of cattle as far as the eye could see.
Of course, all those cattle means tons of cowhands, freshly paid and wanting to drink, whore, gamble and raise hell. Violence becomes endemic on the city streets. This is also the year that Wyatt Earp solidifies his fame and reputation as a remarkably brave and effective (some would say brutal) lawman.
Sheriff Bassett is granted extraordinary powers to deal with the absolute chaos in Dodge, and so he declares one block north of Front Street to be the "Deadline". Any cowhand caught north of the deadline will be arrested, and no one is allowed to wear guns north of the line. They also take up volunteers among the townsfolk to work in "citizens' committees" who will help to patrol the streets.
Violence is not the only problem in Dodge this spring, however. Doc Baker discovers that there appears to be an outbreak of Typhoid Fever among the German townsfolk. Back then, this was seriously fatal business; one of many totally awful ways to die in the west.
When Kid Taylor, who has been apprenticing medicine under Doc, blurts out the discovery of Typhoid to the general public he causes a panic. Doc Baker manages to defuse it, but then the kid goes and starts it all up again by revealing that its being 'caused by Germans'. This leads Dog Kelly (the owner of the Alhambra saloon) to rile up a mob with the idea of driving the Germans out of town. Luckily, Sheriff Bassett and the PCs, along with Kelly's girlfriend (the famed actress Dora Hand) manage to convince Kelly's mob to stand down. The source of the Typhoid is eventually uncovered, and the crisis averted.
That's not all that happened, though! While the cowhands were raising hell and every lawman was strained to the limit trying to keep the peace, the corrupt and obese town marshall Larry Deger ended up shooting an unarmed cowhand who he claimed was trying to rob a house.
The Oklahomans that had ridden the trail with the dead man are hungry for revenge, but Deger is protected by his badge and his political influence. Deputy Young manages to at least broker a peace that he hopes will cost Deger something, by making Deger pay a compensation to the dead man's family. But Deger ends up cheating even that, by getting the local cattlemen's society to pay for him instead.
Finally, Miller (who at this time last year was working as a butcher for a cattle rustling gang) is trying to build up a career for himself as a respectable town magnate. He's bought a good amount of real estate, he's dating the highly respectable widow Mcknee, he's partnered with Jim Smith to open the Fort Bar, and he's planning to partner with the Mormon Gambler to open an hotel. But Buck, the head of the rustlers, wants Miller to come back and butcher for him. Miller has to go find a substitute, and he finally settles on recommending them a Texan he found. It looks like he's out of the frying pan, but then he throws himself into the first by suggesting that sometime soon he might open his own butcher shop, and of course Buck decides he'll want to partner up with Miller to use the Butcher shop to 'launder' his rustled meat. It looks like Miller might never get out his life of crime.
Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Rhodesian + Image Latakia