The California Gold Rush After 1849 (Part One)

        After gold was discovered in California in 1849, San Francisco grew like wildfire. Caleb Landers had come a long way from his humble beginnings as a young trader, selling his goods from horseback as he fled Bents Fort, enroute to Galveston, Texas. Common sense and good timing had served him well. He'd established trading stations wherever he settled and the word of his tremendous success, particularly in San Francisco, had reached the East Coast.

        Silas Pendegast, head of a New York syndicate, dispatched his "right hand man" - a thug named Jonathan Hoag, to San Francisco to see what they could buy or steal from the Landers Trading Company. Unable to convince Caleb to sell his enterprise to them, Hoag sent for "the widowmaker"-sexy Alice Blew, whose mission was to seduce Caleb and accomplish what money could not-divest Caleb of his accumulated properties and wealth. When Alice also went away empty-handed, Caleb made some life-changing decisions. He sells most of his holdings to Pendegast and decides to return to the life he loved most-being a trader and selling his goods from horseback. He organizes a pack train, invites his son and his nephew, Charles and Frederico, to join him and they set off into the Sierra Nevada mountains where Caleb meets Delilah, the woman with whom he wants to spend the rest of his life…and ultimately meets his fate.

Frank W. Lewis
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The Comstock Lode Virginia City 1858-1872 (Part Two)

        Charles, Frederico and Mayhew were walking down the main street of Virginia City when Charles saw a strangely clad person riding a large gray horse toward them as they waited to cross. He knew who it was, but he was puzzled because she was dressed like a Mexican peon.

        "Lu, is that you?" His inquiry was pleasant, so he was surprised when she said, "Let go of that bridle, Charles. I don't know you and you don't know me." She pulled back on the reins and rode to the back door of the Landers Saloon.

        Inside the saloon, sitting at a back table were four men. Lu entered, walking like a cripple as she approached the table where the four men were sitting. Suddenly she had two pistols in her hands and was firing--two bullets into Hoag's heart and two each for the other three men. It was cold-blooded murder, no doubt about it.

        She ran for the door as the bartender grabbed a double-barrel shotgun from behind the bar. When a bullet hit the large mirror behind him, scattering broken glass everywhere, he decided pursuit wasn't such a good idea.

        A note written on an old dirty scrap of paper in oddly scribbled Spanish was left on the table had been dropped on the table where the four men had been sitting. "They killed Caleb Landers." It was signed, "Juan M."