Authors notes: Chase National Bank was chartered in 1877.
Later that night Cole crawled into bed with Dan. Dan? He asked.
Yes my wild one? He replied softly, brushing back Coles hair.
I want us to make love. He said.
Dan sighed. I know, but its late and most people are in their rooms now and we could be heard its not a good time to take a chance. He said softly, a tinge of hurt and regret in his voice at having to deny his lover something that they had become accustomed to in their own home. It had been another reason Dan had wanted to settle down. There had been many a night in a rooming house or hotel hed had to keep himself from sharing his true love with Cole because of the restraints of society. They couldnt chance being discovered and take the consequences. Theyd be back home soon and theyd be able to make up for their lack of love making then. The couple of times they had done it in the afternoon had been taking a chance, but there werent so many people in their rooms at that part of the day and the maids had already been to make up the room so the chance Dan had took had been calculated. There was always a danger in a public place. He asked, Will you settle for cuddlin instead?
Cole snuggled close. Its not the same, but somethin is always better than nothin. He told Dan and they cuddled, knowing they couldnt go much further than this without serious consequences. They did this until they both fell fast asleep, weary from their long day at the fair.
The next morning Cole was very excited. Dan chuckled as they dressed. You sure are bouncy this morning. He teased.
Cole grinned. I cant wait for us to go shoppin for Boots new tack.
Dan ruffled his hair and hugged him tight and kissed him.
Cole grinned and kissed Dan back as he found himself pulled into a tight hug.
Dan released his young man and they went down to the restaurant to eat breakfast and be on their way.
They sauntered down the street and looked into a saddlery, not quite finding what they wanted they went on to another one.
Cole was beginning to get a bit disappointed as they looked into what seemed to be the hundredth shop, but had only been their fifth.
They either have one thing I like, but not the other or the stuff they have is what we can find anywhere I want something more unique. Cole complained.
The older man put a hand on his young mans shoulder and said, We can always go over to Herman Oaks and select the leather you like and I can help you make your own.
Cole sighed. I know, but I was rather hoping Id be able to tack Boots out and show him off once we got back home.
Dan nodded. Well we still have the rest of the day and we have several more saddleries we can visit. I think we should stop for some lunch and then continue lookin.
The younger man nodded. A nice break would be good.
The older man put an arm around his young lovers shoulders and they walked to a café at the end of the block they were in. They were seated and Dan noticed some advertisements on the table, noting a saddlery that advertised that they had unique and unusual products. Cole look at this. The older man said, sliding the flyer toward his young partner.
Cole read the flyer and grinned. After we eat can we go here and take a look?
Dan grinned back. Yes of course. Perhaps theyll have what youre looking for.
Cole nodded. I hope so.
When they were finished eating the partners went to the shop. Coles hazel eyes danced as he perused what he saw in the window. Now this is more like it! These saddles are beautiful! He cried, eyeing one that was black leather with a black leather suede seat, silver Conchos on the string ties and silver inlay on the fenders and skirt in a leafy vine pattern.
Dan grinned at his partner. I see you have your eye on one already hmm? He teased.
Cole nodded. Yes I do.
The older man took his young mans elbow and steered him into the shop.
An old man came out of the back and smiled at the two young men when he had heard the tinkling of the bells over the door and came into the main room. May I help you gentlemen? He asked politely.
Cole was about to open his mouth, but Dan gave his elbow a squeeze and said, Yes Sir. My friend and I were interested in the saddles and other tack you had on display.
The old man nodded. Yes. I can show you anything you may be interested in Sir. Was there anything in particular that has caught your eye? He asked.
Dan nodded. The black saddle with the silver inlay and points.
The old man grinned. Ahh yes, just the saddle for a young man.
Cole blushed a little.
Dan continued the conversation with the man while Cole looked at the blankets, bridles and halters.
The older man concluded the purchase of the saddle with the shop owner, asking him to have the name Boots engraved on the silver plate on the bridle.
Cole was looking at some very impressive saddle blankets of Indian design. The old man who owned the saddlery smiled. I have some Sioux people who weave those blankets by hand. Theyre very well made and last a very long time. He informed Cole.
The young man smiled. Theyre impressive. I really like this one with the reds in it. I think it would look very well on Boots along with his dark brown coloring and the black saddle. It would set things off perfectly.
The old man smiled. You have a good eye young man and I agree.
Dan had stood back and listened. He stepped in now and said, Id like to put the blanket as part of our purchase and I also need a good halter as well.
The shop keeper smiled. That will be no problem and Ill give you a good price on the blanket since youre purchasing everything at once.
The two young men grinned. Thank you Sir. Cole said.
Youre welcome young man. The saddler replied.
Dan finished the transaction and said, Well bring Boots around in about an hour. You will be able to have the saddle fitted and everything ready by this evening? Were leavin to return to Colorado tomorrow on the train.
The old man nodded. Yes, I will, it wont be any problem.
Cole grinned. Thank you again Sir.
The shop keeper smiled. Youre most welcome young man. I do hope you enjoy everything.
Cole nodded with a grin still on his face. Im sure I will.
Dan smiled and shook hands with the man. Thank you and well be back in about an hour.
Youre welcome and Ill be waiting.
Dan nodded and putting an arm around Coles shoulders guided him out of the shop.
Later that evening Cole and Dan went back to the saddlery. The shop keeper had fitted Boots and Dan and Cole spent some time discussing patterns, techniques and ideas. They learned a lot from the old man and the saddler learned some from the younger men too. They spent quite a bit of time together. It began to grow late and they took their leave of each other.
Dan can I ride him back to the hotel? Cole asked.
I think we should wait until you get home. Neither of you are used to the new tack. Dan told Cole firmly.
Cole sighed, about to protest, but nodded. All right Dan. They hitched Boots to a cab and went back to the hotel.
The next day found Cole and Dan boarding the train after seeing Boots settled well enough in the stock car. Cole asked, Cant I stay here with him Dan?
Dan shook his head. I know youd like to be with him, but a stock car is no place for either of us to be spending any time in. Hell be fine. We can check on him each time we make a stop. The older man promised.
Cole nodded and stroked the chocolate velvety nose and gave the horse one last piece of carrot before leaving the car and going to the palace car with Dan.
Once the train was under way Dan and Cole amused themselves with playing cards and board games, as well as being entertained by the porter of the car.
A few days before the end of the month, Smokey, Fingers, Whiskers and Slouch arrived in Denver on the train. They found a cheap boarding house to stay in on the edge of town not far from the railroad station. Smokey said, We need to keep our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled for any sign of where the payroll will be comin from and when it will be put on the train.
The others nodded. Yeah we have to find out and then wire the boss. Slouch said.
Smokey grimaced. Yeah we will.
After the four men got settled in the boarding house they came out and each went a different way to see if they could find out the information they needed to know. They agreed to meet back at the boarding house for the evening meal to discuss their findings.
Smokey went to Chase National Bank to hang around a bit.
Whiskers went to the local saloon.
Slouch went to the Wells Fargo office.
Fingers hung around the railroad station to see what he could hear about the shipment.
Whiskers sat down at the bar and engaged some likely looking railroad workers talking to them and skillfully pumping them to see what information he could glean. As the evening came up on him he hadnt gathered very much useful information and made his way back to the boarding house for supper.
Fingers leaned against the posts and listened to the conversations flowing around him, particularly those around the ticket sales and freight areas to see what information he could gather. It got late and he found nothing of interest or importance. Just the regular railroad stuff, arrivals and departures along with delays, so he headed back to the boarding house.
Slouch had hung around the Wells Fargo office slouching against the building outside, but listening to conversations from the workers and people coming in and out of the office. When it got late he made his way back to the boarding house as well.
Smokey had hung around the entrance to the Chase National bank also listening to conversations and watching who went in and who came out, looking inconspicuous. When it got late he too made his way back to the boarding house.
After they ate the four men gathered in Smokeys room and gave their disappointing reports. Smokey said, Well tomorrows another day. Well have all day and perhaps well have better luck. I think we should switch off and not go to the same places tomorrow. Slouch you go to the railroad station and hang around, Fingers you hang around the saloon and Whiskers, you hang around the Wells Fargo office. Im going to go between the bank and telegraph office. You never know what you might overhear.
The other men nodded at their assignments.
The next day the outlaws made their way to their assigned places and kept their eyes and ears open. Smokey on one of his excursions around the bank area decided to go inside when an important looking man entered the bank. He pretended to look over some flyers on a table as he listened and watched out of the corner of his eye. When he heard the word payroll he sneakily made his way closer to hear better.
The payroll will be moved by guards and placed on the train on Friday. He heard. Smokey smiled to himself.
Ill let Aspen know then Ill wire them to expect it then late Friday afternoon if the train is on time. Smokey made a mental note of this as well, smiling to himself. He surreptitiously made his way out of the bank, not wanting to be noticed and went to gather the other men.
When they were all gathered at the boarding house Smokey said, Ill send the boss the wire that his mother will arrive around mid afternoon. If the train is supposed to arrive in Aspen no later than late Friday afternoon, then it should be in Glenwood Springs either early or mid afternoon. We need to board that train on Friday.
The other men nodded. Okay Smokey. Slouch said. Whiskers and Fingers nodded. Ill need to know where on the train the safe will be kept so Ill know where to go to get the money.
Smokey nodded. Ill try to find out.
Fingers smiled. All right Smokey. The boss is going to be pleased. He told him.
Smokey said, I saw a nice looking place we can all visit tonight Madam Willows establishment.
The other men leered at each other and Whiskers remarked, You always do find the best places Smokey.
Smokey grinned. Ive heard several men talking about it and so I thought it would be worth visitin now that we got our work done.
The other three men grinned and nodded.
Later that evening the four men arrived at Madam Willows. Dawn Belden opened the door and smiled prettily at the four men. Welcome to Madam Willows gentlemen. Come in Ill let Madam Willow know youre here and she can let you know which girls are available.
Smokey leered at Dawn. I already know which girl I want you.
Dawn smiled and shook her head. Im sorry Sir, Im not available. Im here as an escort and hostess only. She explained.
The outlaws Smokey blue eyes darkened. Why cant I have you?
Dawn said quietly, Because thats not what I do here. She explained. I can serve you drinks and show you to the parlor and talk with you, but I cant give any favors.
Smokey grabbed her. Cant or wont.
Dawns blue eyes widened and he shook her. Answer me you whore!
From her office Madam Willow heard a commotion in the foyer. She signaled her bouncer Brad to come with her and coming upon the scene Madam Willow said, Please Sir unhand my escort girl I have others who may appeal to you more than this one.
Smokey shook his head. I want this one!
Brad came silently up on Smokey and in a few quick moves had him unhand Dawn and carried him outside protesting loudly and dropped him into a nearby horse trough. Smokey came up spluttering and cursing a blue streak. Brad stood there calmly and said, I suggest you and your friends leave.
Smokey was helped out of the trough by Whiskers and Slouch. He glared at the big man, but knew better than to confront him. They all went on their way and returned to the boarding house.
The next morning Smokey sent a telegram off to Falcon. Your mother will be arriving on the train either early or mid afternoon on Friday. He smiled and paid for the wire to be delivered.
Falcon grinned as he opened the telegram. Stony, Smokey says the payroll will be on the train from Denver Friday and should be here either early or mid afternoon.
Stony said. Okay Boss Ill go scout out a suitable spot to stop the train.
Chewy said, I can go with you.
Stony nodded. All right, come along.
The two men rode along the railroad tracks to see where the best place would be to build a barrier to stop the train. There were several fallen trees from a storm that had passed through the area a few days ago and Stony nodded as he studied things. We can drag some of these fallen trees across the track and that would effectively stop the train even if the boys dont have the engineer subdued this would stop him.
Chewy nodded. Im sure it would. Theyre pretty good sized ones.
Stony glanced at Chewy and said, Lets go back and report to the Boss.
Chewy nodded. All right everythin looks pretty good. We have some good paths too for the get away.
Stony studied the area once more and nodded. Yes and it will take a while for the trees to be moved off the track and before they can get any help.
Chewy nodded. It should give us plenty of time to get away.
Stony agreed. Yeah lets head on back.
The two outlaws made their way back to Mountain Grove and reported their findings to Falcon.
Falcon listened and nodded. Sounds like the perfect place. Just out of the canyon where it is a bit more flat and far enough between Glenwood Springs and Diamond Springs that it will take a bit of time to get to either one and well have plenty of time to get away from the scene.
The other three men nodded, Red grinning at his two other companions.
Friday morning Smokey and the other outlaws arrived early at the train station. They assigned slouch, as he was the most inconspicuous to hang around and see if he could let them know when the payroll was on the train and where it was being held for later.
Smokey gave them all their tickets to Diamond Springs. Falcon had told them to board there and then their return tickets would be back to that destination and the robbery would take place before theyd ever arrive there.