The session started out with the consequences of the death of Ed Masterson. After some discussion among "The Gang", it was decided that Charlie Bassett would take over as city Marshall, while Jeff Young would move over to the office of under-sheriff.
It almost went the other way, and Bassett would have been OK with that, but he told Young that he thought Young should take the lesser job as Masterson's deputy, because Young needed to know how to work outside the town and connect with the people in the county, if he ever wanted to run for Sheriff. He also felt Young would, in the long run, become a better lawman that way. He basically guilted Young into it.
The real story started out at a high-stakes poker game put on at the Palace Saloon by Miller. No one thought much of it at the time, but there were two ranchers there, by the name of Dawson & Jennings, who clearly had a long feud going on with each other. At the end of the game, they went onto the street and fought it out with fisticuffs. Jennings won.
Around the same time, Miller found that his friend the "reverend" Tilghman was selling out his 'church' on Front Street. Clearly, the preacher's path wasn't working out for him. Tilghman decided he'd be heading off to try to find his future abroad.
A few days later, the PCs heard that the rancher Dawson was up in arms (literally, with a bunch of his men) because he thought Jennings had something to do with the disappearance of his 18 year old son, Freddy. He'd come riding into Dodge, looking to rough up any of Jennings' men who happened to be around, and to generally cause trouble. Jeff Young, who had been warned ahead of time by his jailor Billy Houston, had gone off to Dawson's ranch to ask some questions. He didn't get much from the caretaker there, but the caretaker's Mexican wife, who had all but raised Freddy, confided with Younger that he had a beau, one Freddy's father wouldn't have approved of. A nearby farmer's daughter.
Said Farmer, meanwhile, had come into town asking for help from the Reverend Wright. His daughter had disappeared and he didn't know who had taken her. Reverend Wright went to seek out the help of his newest parishoner: Kid Taylor. Taylor, who had just started attending church as a way to try to find some eligible girl from a good family to marry (or some eligible man of almost any standing to marry off his troublesome sister to), agreed to help the Reverend Wright, hoping to get on his good side.
Young found out from the farmer girl's mother that she'd gone missing, and realized that Freddy and the girl had run off together. He headed back to town. When he got there, he let the other town lawmen know and they faced off with Dawson and his men at the Gillie Bar, letting Dawson know that the lovers were probably halfway to Elkader to get married by now. Dawson and his men headed off that way hoping to intercept his son before he made the 'mistake of his life'.
When Kid Taylor and the farmer found out, the farmer pleaded with Young to come with him to find his daughter, but Young said it wasn't any of his business. The farmer and the Reverend Wright then pleaded with Kid Taylor, and for whatever reason, Taylor agreed to go with the farmer in search of his daughter.
It's lucky he did, too. Because when they caught the trail, they found that the two young lovers appeared to have been intercepted by a trio of horses, which then led them off in the direction of Jennings' ranch. At top speed, Taylor (on his horse, "General Stonewall Jackson") and the farmer headed after them. They intercepted them at a creek where three of Jennings men (with Freddy and his girl tied up with them) were facing off against Bill Tilghman!
Tilghman saw that the three cowhands were taking Freddy and his girl against their will, and even though he was just one man to their three, couldn't stand to let them pass. Just as Kid Taylor and the farmer arrived, the shooting started. There was a quick shootout, at the end of which the three men were all but dead. Tilghman had been the only one hit on the other side, but it was just a graze to his hip.
They headed back to Dodge, where Tilghman quickly commandeered his former chapel to conduct a wedding ceremony for the two lovers. The farmer had been made to accept his daughter's marriage to Freddy Dawson, when he realized that she wasn't "in trouble", that Freddy intended marriage and not just seduction, and of course, when Kid Taylor reminded him that his future son-in-law was the only heir to a very sizable ranch!
As for Bill Tilghman, when the story came out of his brave stand, Charlie Bassett convinced him to stay on in Dodge through the summer, as a town deputy.
Currently Smoking: Missouri Meerschaum + Gawith's Aged Virginia Flake