The Train Robbery - Chapter 2
Author’s notes: The information about the St. Louis Browns was taken from the History of the St. Louis Cardinals on the St. Louis Cardinals web site.
The next day Dan and Cole stood on the train platform, a hint of fall in the air. They wore jackets and Dawn stood at their side, a light cloak around her to keep her warm and ready to embark on the train as it pulled in. Jalen and Brett had driven them to the station and Gabe had accompanied them.
Going over to his brother and his young partner, Gabe gave Dan a hug as well as Cole. “I’m goin’ to miss you two. I want you to watch out for Dawn and I want you both to take care of yourselves.” The younger man told them with a smile.
“Don’t worry little brother, we will.” Dan said affectionately mussing Gabe’s hair.
Gabe ducked out from under Dan’s hand chuckling. “See that you do. I need my big brother and his partner.”
Dan nodded. “We need you too Gabe and we’ll watch out for Dawn and see she gets off in Denver and on her way to her sister’s. We’ll also be certain to connect up with her on our way back and make sure she boards the train with us.” Dan reassured his little brother.
Gabe smiled. “All right. I know I can trust you to do that.”
Dan hugged Gabe once more as did Cole.
Gabe went over to Dawn and gave her a hug as well. “You have fun in Denver shoppin’ and stayin’ with your sister at Madam Willow’s. We’ll miss you and will be happy when you come back.” He told her giving her a kiss on the cheek.
Dawn smiled and said, “I’ll be missin’ all of you too. I’ll be sure to make the train back with Dan and Cole.”
Gabe smiled. “All right.” He gave her arm a squeeze.
Dawn smiled and waited for Dan and Cole to finish saying their good-byes to the Sheriff and Deputy. She had felt the warmth between Gabe and Dan as well as Cole as she had watched them saying good-bye. She observed now the interaction among the Sheriff and the other men.
Dan went over to Jalen and Bret to say good-bye.
Jalen leaned on Dan’s shoulder affectionately and said, “You two behave in St. Louis now…I don’t want to have to come out there to rescue you.”
Dan grinned at Jalen. “Don’t worry Sheriff, you won’t. Cole and I plan on having good clean fun while we’re there.”
Cole went over and smiled at Brett. “You behave while we’re gone; I don’t want you to get into any mischief I can’t be a part of until I get back.”
Brett grinned at his friend. “Don’t worry I’m sure Jalen will keep me on the straight and narrow the whole time.”
Cole grinned back at his friend, knowing he was quite right.
The train whistle blew and Dan put one arm around Cole and took Dawn’s arm, heading for the train. “See you all in a few weeks!” He called back to Gabe, Jalen and Brett.
The Sheriff called, “All right, take care of Dawn now.”
Dan called back “I will, don’t let the bad guys take over the town now while we’re gone!” Dan teased.
The lawman called back, “Don’t worry we won’t!”
Jalen, Brett and Gabe watched as the three mounted the steps and boarded the train, then watched as the train left the depot and was completely out of sight.
Once the train was out of sight Gabe said, “Well I need to get back to the saloon.”
The young Sheriff nodded. “We need to make our rounds too.”
The men parted and went their separate ways to take care of things they each needed to do.
As the trip from Diamond Springs to Denver wouldn’t be all that long, Dan hadn’t reserved a Pullman car for them, even though there was one available on the Denver and Rio Grande line. He had however reserved one for them on the Burlington and would be interested to see just how that would be as he and Cole had never rode in one before. He had read they were very nice though and was looking forward to the experience.
The two men talked to Dawn as they traveled along, but at first it was a bit uncomfortable for Cole. Dawn kept making eyes at him and giving him subtle invitations to have a more intimate relationship. Dan and Cole had had conversations about this kind of situation before, as it was not the first time someone had flirted with one or the other of them and Cole knew what to do and gently, but firmly rebuffed the young girl’s advances. When Dawn discovered Cole wasn’t going to pick up on her invitations she was a bit disappointed, but resigned herself to the fact that he just wasn’t interested. After that, they all passed the time together companionably. They walked to the observation car as well as ate in the dining car. They played cards together and whiled away the time. As the train grew close to Denver Dan and Cole helped Dawn to gather her things. The conductor said they’d have plenty of time to assist the lady, as they would have to wait for the Burlington train to St. Louis . Denver was the last stop for the Denver and Rio Grande railroad line. Cole stayed by Dawn as Dan got a cab and saw to her luggage. Janelle had been on the platform to greet her sister.
Dawn smiled as she pulled her cloak around her and spotted her sister and waved her handkerchief to gain her attention.
Scanning the crowd for her sister Janelle smiled when she saw the handkerchief and pulling her own cloak around her, made her way over to Dawn.
Dawn cried, “Janelle! Over here!”
Cole smiled as the two women came together and embraced.
“It’s sure good to see you Dawn. You’re lookin’ quite well.” Janelle said, putting her little sister away from her a bit to look at her.
As are you Janelle.” Dawn turned to Cole. “I want to introduce you to Cole Tucker. He and his partner Dan Fairmont are traveling to St. Louis ; they own the saddlery in Diamond Springs and are goin’ to visit the leather company they do business with. They graciously offered to see me to Denver . We’ll hook up together on their way back and we’ll travel back to Diamond Springs together.”
Janelle looked the men up and down with an appreciative eye. “You do know how to pick ‘em little sister.”
Dawn shook her head. “Cole is Dan’s partner at the saddlery. They don’t frequent us girls as Gabe, the saloon owner who I told you about is Dan’s little brother.”
Janelle shook her head. “It’s a cryin’ shame. Such good lookin’ men and off limits.”
Dawn nodded. “Yes it is, but its okay. We get plenty of business from the railroad.”
Janelle nodded. Noticing that Dan had obtained a taxi and had seen to her sister’s luggage she said, “Thank you Mr. Fairmont. I appreciate you takin’ good care of my little sister.”
Dan said with a smile. “It was my pleasure Miss Janelle and we’ll get together with her on the way back and see her safely home.”
Janelle smiled. “Thank you both.” She nodded including Cole.
Cole said, “You’re welcome, like Dan said, it was our pleasure.”
Janelle smiled and taking her sister’s hand led her to the waiting cab and the women were on their way.
Dan and Cole stayed on the platform and waited for their train.
In the tiny town of Mountain Grove Colorado about three miles northeast of Glenwood Springs Canyon in Garfield County , the Falcon Raiders had taken over the town. The gang leader Falcon had made his headquarters in the local Saloon, the Silver Stein and through intimidation and threats took control over the entire town. The saloon keeper scurried about bringing beer and whiskey when called for. There were a couple of poor farmers who came in from time to time and there were a few residents who frequented the small general store, but scurried in and out like frightened mice. The outlaws had taken over two abandoned ramshackle houses at the edge of the tiny town. Falcon, Smokey, Fingers and Stony lived in one house and Slouch, Chewy, Whiskers and Red lived in the other.
It was mid September and the whole gang was sitting in the Silver Stein Saloon. Falcon looked at Whiskers and asked, “What do you hear from the miners Whiskers?”
Whiskers grinned. “There’s talk of a large payroll shipment bein’ sent from Denver to the rail workers and the mines near Aspen . They were talkin’ ‘bout how the railroad line for the Denver and Rio Grande was goin’ to beat out the Colorado Midland line. They were sayin’ they were goin’ to finish by October and the Colorado Midland was nowhere near Aspen yet.”
Falcon grinned, showing yellowed, tobacco stained teeth. His dark brown eyes were sharp and he missed little. He pinned them on Whiskers and asked, “You sure ‘bout you’re information?”
Whiskers nodded, stroking his beard. “Yeah Boss…I’m sure.”
Falcon nodded. “Any idea when the money will ship or how much it will be?”
Whiskers looked at Red. “Did you hear anythin’ Red ‘bout that?
Red scrunched up his eyes and thought. “I think I heard at the Smuggler mine that there was goin’ to be ‘bout twenty-five hundred dollars in gold and silver coins. There are a lot of rail workers at Aspen and the Molly Gibson and the Smuggler mines will be sendin’ their representatives to collect their portion of the money for their payrolls.”
Falcon’s sharp dark brown eyes focused on Red. “You’re sure ‘bout the amount of money?”
Red said, “’Bout as sure as I can. I heard it at both places when I was playin’ poker at each one.”
Falcon nodded. He turned to the others. “What do you think Stony, Smokey, Chewy, Slouch, Fingers?”
Fingers said, “I can crack ‘bout any safe, and if I can’t I can blow it.”
Falcon nodded. “I thought I could count on you.”
Fingers grinned, a couple of teeth missing. “Thanks Boss.”
Stony said, “We’d have to have a way to stop the train and we should have a few of us board the train at Denver to take out the people who run the train, the Engineer, fireman, brakeman and conductor, as well as anyone else like a cook or a porter.”
Falcon nodded. “Yes, I’ll send half of you to Denver and the rest will work with me on stoppin’ the train.”
The others nodded. “That sounds like a good plan boss.” Stony said.
Falcon nodded and looked over his men. He’d need ones that would blend in and not stand out. He knew Fingers would have to go, but who else? His sharp brown eyes looked at each man and he thought to himself, “Not Red…he’d stand out and not Chewy. There probably weren’t spittoons on the train and spittin’ out the windows would be remembered, particularly by the women. Slouch could fit in probably as he wouldn’t be that noticeable. Smokey too would be a good choice…that was three…who else? He pondered this for a little bit. He tried to decide between Stony and Whiskers and decided to send Whiskers. There were lots of men with full beards that traveled and he wouldn’t stand out much either. So he said, “Smokey, you’ll be in charge. I’m sendin’ Slouch, Fingers of course and Whiskers with you. Stony, Chewy and Red will stay here with me and we’ll build the barrier to stop the train. We can haul fallen trees from the last storm across the tracks and that would stop the train for sure. Derailin’ it would be dangerous…we don’t want the train with the payroll to crash down a ravine or somethin’. I’m thinkin’ we’ll stop the train ‘bout ten miles outside Glenwood Springs after it makes it’s stop there and before it gets to Diamond Springs on it’s way to Aspen area where the rail workers and the mine representatives will meet the train to pick up the payroll. Diamond Springs is a small town and I doubt there will be much they’ll be able to do once we get the payroll. The area will still be fairly rocky but not as bad as if we tried to stop the train in the canyon, so our trail won’t be so easy to follow.”
The others nodded. Smokey puffed on his cigarette, Fingers cracked his knuckles, Chewy chewed on his tobacco plug vigorously, slouch slouched against the table they were sitting at, Stony as usual, had a blank rigid expressionless look on his face, Whiskers stroked his beard and Red picked his yellowed teeth.
Falcon again perused his gang members and nodded. “All right…Whiskers, Red; did you hear any word about when the payroll shipment would be put on the train?”
Whiskers and Red looked at each other and then shook their heads. “No, just that there was a payroll comin’.”
Falcon looked at the others. “Anyone else hear anythin’?”
Stony and Fingers shook their heads. Slouch shrugged and Chewy shook his head as well.
Smokey said, “I ain’t heard anythin’ either, but I think they receive the payroll at the end of the month for the next month as they get paid weekly.”
Falcon thought about this. “Hmm…that sounds about right. I’ll send you Smokey along with Fingers, Slouch and Whiskers to Denver a few days before the end of the month. You can scout around and keep your eyes and ears open for any information as to when the payroll will be put on the train. You can wire me. We’ll use a code…” Falcon thought for a moment, and then said, “You can say, “Your mother is comin’ to visit.” And the date of the shipment. Then we’ll know when to stop the train and expect you four to be on it.”
Smokey smiled. “I like that idea Boss. I think that will work well.”
The other three men nodded. “Yeah…it’s a good code.” Whiskers said and sniggered.
Falcon arched an eyebrow at Whiskers, pinning him with his sharp dark brown eyes. “Are you sayin’ it’s not possible for my mother to come to visit me?”
Whiskers sobered immediately, “No Boss…not at all.”
Falcon gave a curt nod. “All right.”
The other men looked around uncomfortably. No one wanted the Boss to get mad.
Falcon stayed quiet, going over the details in his mind as he sipped at his whiskey. The others drank beer or whiskey and stayed quiet, knowing from past experience the Boss didn’t want a lot of noisy conversation when he was thinking on something.
Falcon finally glanced around at all the men and then said, “Smokey, you decide which men will take out which of the railroad operaters, Engineer, Fireman, Brakeman and Conductor. The train cook, the dining car waiter and the porter on the Pullman car will also need to be subdued.” He added.
Smokey nodded. “All right Boss, it’ll be taken care of.”
Falcon nodded. Then he turned to Stony and said, “Once the train is stopped you and I will take care of the engineer and fireman, freeing up whoever is guardin’ them so they can go through the train and relieve the passengers of their valuables. Once we subdue them, I’ll go to help Fingers load the money on the horses and Stony can help the others relieve the passengers of their valuables. We should probably take a hostage with us. A young, pretty woman would be good.”
Stony and Smokey both nodded. “I can scout out a prospect.” Smokey said. “We can take and knock the conductor unconscious. Then once the train is stopped we can do the same for the brakeman. The porter and cook can be tied up and gagged so no one is the wiser. We need to have time to allow Fingers to do his job as well.” Smokey remarked.
Falcon nodded. “Yes…we do. Getting the brakeman and the conductor out of the way will help.”
The others nodded as they listened to the Boss outline how the robbery was going to come down.
Falcon went on. “Once we have our hostage and the loot from the passengers as well as the payroll we’ll head back here to Mountain Grove. We’ll meet at the house I’m using. Smokey, you can take the hostage as you’ll have already have selected her. You take Stony with you in case of any trouble.”
Stony nodded and Smokey gave his boss a leer. “Sure thing Boss.”
Falcon pinned him with a sharp look. “No messin’ around…you bring her here untouched…we all want to have a chance to make nice to the lady.” He said with a leer of his own.
The rest of the men grinned, exchanging glances. “Can we all have some fun with her Boss?” Chewy asked.
Falcon said, “We’ll see.”
Chewy nodded and the rest of the men exchanged looks. They knew it would be the boss’s choice how the lady would be handled.
The gang boss said, “Chewy and Red, you’ll go with Stony and meet up with me at the rail where we’ll build the blockage.”
The men selected nodded. “Okay Boss.” Chewy replied.
Falcon nodded his acknowledgement, then turned to the other men and said, “Fingers, you’ll collect the money and take the sack of loot. We’ll split the load, giving some to you, Whiskers, Red and myself so it’s not a burden on the horses and slow us down. We’ll make straight away here and Whiskers and Red, you’ll drag branches behind your horses and wipe out our trail as we go.” He looked at the other men and said, “Chewy, you and Slouch take branches and cover Stony and Smokey’s trail.”
Whiskers, Red, Chewy and Slouch all noddedand said in unison, “Yeah Boss.”
Red remarked, “Takin’ the long way back is a good choice. Most of the ground is rocky and the trail would be hard to follow.”
Falcon nodded. “Yeah, that’s true. Hopefully we’ll be able to have our fun with the girl and then do away with her. We don’t want any witnesses. We can’t hang around too long. We gotta make for the border. Once we cross over into Mexico we’ll be safe.” Falcon said.
The other gang members murmured among themselves then assented as a group. “You’re right Boss, so once we’re done with the girl, get rid of her and then head for the border.” Stony confirmed.
Falcon nodded. “Yes, we can hang out there until we got no more money, or we can go our own ways and do what we want with our cut of the money.”
Smokey nodded. “Sounds like it will be a fun time Boss, all them pretty senoritas.” He grinned.
Falcon smiled. “Yes, but let’s get the money first before we start makin’ any other plans.”
Smokey nodded. “Okay Boss.”
The men continued to drink and talk among themselves. Some planned to return to the mines to gamble and relieve the miners of their hard earned money and others just drank and relaxed, thinking about the upcoming robbery and thinking about what they were going to do with their share of the money.
Standing on the train platform Dan saw the women were safely on their way and smiled at Cole. “Well they’re on their way. The Burlington will be here soon.” He remarked.
Cole said, “We have a little bit before the train comes…I see a shop where we might get some candy and a bakery, perhaps we can get some goodies to take along?” He asked with a boyish grin.
Dan chuckled. “Well, perhaps some candy, but the Pullman car we’ve reserved will have fine food and I’m sure fabulous desserts as well. Its part of what we pay extra for besides sleepin’.” Dan informed him.
“Really?” Cole asked amazed. “How do you know?”
Dan smiled. “I read about them in a flyer at the train depot in Diamond Springs. They’re actually called Palace cars. There will be a dining area right in the car where the cook will prepare our meals and they will be freshly made. The bunks when it’s time will come down from the walls and rest on two seats below. There separate washrooms on each end of the car, one for men and one for women. It also has carpeting and upholstered seats and Negro men who they call porters who take care of everything. He’ll wait our tables, provide entertainment, clean our boots, and mend tears we may have in our clothin’ and any other thing we may ask. There will be card tables where we can play cards or games and there’s also a library. At least it’s what the flyer said.” Dan shared.
Cole’s hazel eyes widened. “You’re not funnin’ me are you? They really have all those fixings in there?”
Dan smiled. “As far as I know. I’ve never been in a palace car before so it will be a new experience for both of us.”
Cole smiled and nodded. He said, “Let’s go get some candy then before the train comes.”
Dan smiled and they walked over to the confectioners shop.
After choosing their favorite treats and some they were unfamiliar with, but either sounded or looked interesting they returned to the depot. The train was running a bit late and Dan told Cole, “You know that ain’t anythin’ unusual.”
Cole nodded. “I know, but it's annoyin’.”
Dan just put an arm casually around his shoulders in a manner of a good friend and acceptable in polite society.
It wasn’t very long before the train arrived and they boarded. Cole and Dan’s eyes both Widened at the luxury of the palace car. “Man alive…I never thought it would be anythin’ like this!” Cole exclaimed in surprise and delight.
Dan grinned. “Neither did I.”
They explored the car as the other passengers arrived and eventually found their berths and seats.
The ride was pleasant and the other passengers were cordial. Dan and Cole played cards, played some other games, read and took a walk to the observation car. It was interesting to be able to pass from car to car easily. The trains they had been used to were nothing like this and the vestibules that connected the cars kept the wind and any weather from affecting them as they passed through. It was like the train was one big railroad car. Later that night, the porter lowered the bunks and turned the day car into a sleeper. Cole had watched and marveled at the skill they displayed. The entertainment was provided, the porter singing, playing the banjo and dancing. As it became quite apparent to Dan that his young partner was tiring he suggested they get ready for sleep. “Cole, I think it’s time we got ourselves prepared to climb into our bunks and get some sleep.” He said quietly. Many of the other passengers had already retired to their assigned sleeping areas.
“Aww…Dan, I’m not tired yet.” Cole protested.
Dan gave Cole a stern look. “You’re tired and so am I. I think we should prepare for bed.” He told him firmly.
Cole bit his lip. “Uhm…where are we goin’ to change into our nightshirts…everyone can see everyone else.” He said quietly.
Dan looked around and saw there had been privacy screens set up near each of the washrooms and said, “We can change behind the screens. Get your things and come on.”
Cole hadn’t noticed the screens that the porter had set up for this purpose and obediently went and got his nightshirt, along with his robe and slippers and went with Dan to change.
When they stepped out the porter said, “I can clean and polish your boots and press your clothes for tomorrow Suh.”
Dan, a little startled at the sudden appearance of the porter smiled. “Well, thank you Sir, it would be appreciated.” He handed over his and Cole’s clothing to the porter with a smile.
“You’re welcome Suh…I’ll take real good care of ‘em.”
Dan nodded. “All right.” He then took Cole by the elbow and steered him to the bunk he was assigned which was next to Dan’s. “Up you go. No talkin’. I want you to try to sleep and to be quiet now.” Dan said softly.”
Cole nodded. “All right Dan.” He climbed up onto the bunk and grinned at Dan like a little boy.
Dan grinned back and climbed into his own bunk. To his surprise the bed was very comfortable. The gentle rocking of the train as it sped through the night lulled them both to sleep very quickly.
In the morning Dan found his freshly pressed clothes at the foot of his bunk and his boots cleaned and polished on the floor nearby. He grinned and watched as Cole also awoke. They changed into their clothes and went to the dining area. They were again surprised at the variety and quality of breakfast provided to them. Fresh eggs, fresh cream and good coffee along with crisp bacon and fried potatoes and sweet rolls, cinnamon buns and other delicacies were placed on their table for their enjoyment.
Dan said, “This is the life, who’d thought we’d get such fixings on a train? None of the trains we’ve traveled on before have been this nice.”
Cole grinned taking a bite out of a fresh, still warm cinnamon bun. “Yes…it’s more than I ever expected. This will be the most unforgettable vacation I’ve ever been on.” He told Dan.
Dan grinned and nodded.
The next few days on the train were filled with interesting things and people and Cole didn’t get bored at all. The longest stretch was from Denver to Quincy Iowa . Once they had left Iowa and were heading toward Kansas City in Missouri Dan pulled out some fliers he had brought with him about St. Louis . He and Cole sat down at one of the card tables and spread them out. “After we get to the National Hotel, first thing in the morning we’ll go to the Herman Oaks Leather Company. We’re expected there for the tour. We’ll also be able to place orders for other types of leather we might see.” Dan grinned.
Cole smiled and nodded. “I’m excited to see what they have to offer in leather and supplies. Perhaps they’ll have some new stamps, tools and even some decorative items we can use and can’t find in other places.”
Dan nodded. “We’re prepared for any purchases we may want to make from our business account. I had Mr. Fisher at the bank prepare a bank draft for us.” Dan smiled.
Cole grinned. “That was good thinkin’.”
Dan chuckled and went on. “We have another draft we can take to the bank for cash for our personal use as well from our savings account at the bank. This money we can use to shop for things we may want for ourselves, I thought perhaps we can go to the horse auction and see what’s available. You’ve been wantin’ a horse to go ridin’ with Brett and we have enough money saved for you to do that.”
Cole’s hazel eyes widened and a big grin spread over his face. “Man alive! I never thought you’d do somethin’ like that! Can we bring the horse on the train?” He asked anxiously.
Dan laughed at his partner’s exuberance. “Yes we will be able to transport the horse in a stock car on the train. I already looked into it.”
It took all that Cole had to not fling his arms around Dan and kiss him. He knew it would cause them lots of trouble if he did so in the public setting of the Palace car. He settled instead for twinkling eyes and a big grin.
Dan showed Cole another flyer. “I thought we would go to a baseball game. The St. Louis Brown Stockings, according to the schedule in this flyer, the Browns will be playing at Sportsmans Park .”
Cole grinned. “That would be fun. We’ve never seen a baseball game.”
Dan nodded. “I’ve read about baseball games and herd of them, but it will be a new experience to see one in person.”
Cole nodded. “It will be fun.”
Dan produced another flyer and said, “I thought we’d like to also go on a riverboat ride along the Mississippi . It looks like it could be fun. There are stops along the way and we can choose something that we could go and visit and come back in a day I would think.”
Cole grinned. “That sounds interestin’ Dan. We’ve never been on a riverboat before.”
Dan nodded. “I’ve heard about the riverboat gamblers though and we should be sure to avoid getting’ into that.”
Cole sighed inwardly. He had heard about them as well flashy interesting men, but knew if Dan said it was off limits, then it would be. He nodded. “All right Dan. I’ll be sure to stay close to you and avoid any trouble.”
Dan smiled. “All right. Well it looks like we have things planned out fairly well.”
Cole squeezed Dan’s arm and Dan did the same in return.