So this week, one of the PCs (Deputy Young) got caught up in what started as a hilarious comedic mix-up; a mail-order girlfriend arrived in Dodge to meet with the beau she'd been writing to for months. Only she believed that beau was Deputy Young, only she knew of him as Deputy Cooter. While Cooter, the county jailor, had actually been the author of the love letters, and used Young's photograph to win her over (Cooter himself being a short, goofy looking gap-toothed one-eyed yokel with an eyepatch).
Meanwhile, a black barber by the name of Tyler had bought a storefront on Front Street (the main thoroughfare in Dodge). This caused some controversy, which only got much more controversial when Tyler shot a young farmer named Uriah Lawrence, killing him with a shotgun when Uriah was crossing his back alley. Tyler claimed he mistook Lawrence for another black man, who he'd been waiting to shoot on account of said other man cheating with his wife.
Apart from a few southern yokels, much of the townsfolk were relatively reasonable (no lynch mobs were formed), probably because of their confidence in Sheriff Bassett, who arrested Tyler (and possibly because Tyler did not resist or try to flee). But everyone was quite surprised when a coalition of the City's "Better People" (the group of the non-saloon business-owners and other town fathers) put together bail money ($1000) for Tyler, and got him the best lawyers. They were arguing that Tyler was a victim of the general sense of insecurity in Dodge; that crime and rampant drinking and vice had created a situation that brought about this violence.
Now, these town fathers were not doing this out of some kind of sense of fairness or justice for Tyler. They had their own motives. The "Better People" included George Hoover (who had attempted previously to run for mayor), Marshall Larry Deger (the 300lb corrupt town lawman), the Reverend Wright, and a number of other business owners of a conservative bent. They were trying to take over the town, and bring the drunks and gamblers to heel, which set them directly against the saloon owners and their team. So the Tyler case was a great opportunity to win friends with the Republicans (the party of emancipation) and to showcase the criminal levels of violence and drunkenness in town.
(George Hoover, looking like a barrel of fun)
Meanwhile, Young and Cooter were trying to get the whole town involved with their elaborate plan to try to trick the young lady who came to visit. Cooter's plan was to get Young to gradually try to lead her to fall in love with him instead. He got help with this from Young, from the gang at the Long Branch Saloon, from Player-Characters Miller and Smith (to be fair, Miller was reluctantly backing the play; while Smith was encouraging it because he was looking forward to seeing it all come crashing down), and just about everyone else.
It turned out, though, that it was Young himself who screwed things up. He started liking the girl a bit too much; Cooter's attempts to turn her off him by talking about how Young was a lawman in love with his gun only turned her on. She turned out to be mostly interested in her pen-pal beau because of his supposed violent heroism, and seemed to be sexually attracted to bloodshed.
Young ended up sleeping with her, about one minute before realizing she was actually a batshit-crazy stalker.
Not just any kind of stalker, but one who was desperate to see Young get involved in gunfights and kill people, so they could get it on after that.
And while this is going on, the Saloon-owners decide that if the "Better Class" of town have gotten together to campaign for a takeover of the town in the coming elections, they better do the same, and better. So they get Bat Masterson to organize a meeting of all the power-players who stand to lose if Deger and his group take power.
The dashing Masterson gathers Mayor Beatty, mayoral candidate James "Dog" Kelly, Sheriff Bassett, "Colonel" Norton, and billiard magnate Arnold Peacock, as well as (player character) Miller (owner of one and a half saloons and tentative business partner with Beatty) and plan to set up a whole slate of candidates to oppose Deger.They decide to name themselves something friendly and inviting, so they call themselves the Dodge City Gang.
Cooter finds out that Deputy Young slept with his pen-pal beau, and comes looking for him with a shotgun. There are some moments of tension, but finally Young admits that he's done Cooter wrong (something that costs him a few points of Reputation, but he agreed that the loss wasn't worth shooting Cooter dead over). The stalker girlfriend gets incensed that neither man was willing to shoot the other over her, and walks out on both of them. Oh well, easy come, easy go.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Horn + Argento Latakia