Alrighty. I've got you up to 1865. The Civil War was over. There was this little fort in the Skinlands and a couple ranches around it where you could pick up some food if you were working in the mines or on your way East or West. They weren't the best-kept farms to be had, but the ground out here's for shit in case you never noticed. It takes someone with real grit to make it jump up and do anything other than swallow dead wiseguys and their cars.

Came to pass that such one such person arrived. His name was Octavius Decatur Gass, known as O.D. to most folks, and he set up shop at the Mormon fort. Before then he was a prospector whose luck ranged from abysmal to lousy. I heard he was a Mason in LA too, but I guess he kept his secret handshakes to himself. Never know with that crowd...

Anyway, he showed up with some partners and they started plowing the fields, and someone else set up a store for folks passing through. He was here through the 1860's with those folks, but by the 70's a good number had moved away or he'd bought out their interests. Came to pass he got control of all the water in his immediate area after a while, which gave him quite a grip on the money if you get my meaning.

Now, from what I hear, old O.D. was a pretty nice guy for a washed-up miner. He was on really good terms with the Paiutes. He had guns he could bring to bear on 'em, and they knew this, but from what I heard he never had to fire at 'em. He paid 'em to help with the harvests and, unlike with the Mormons, they kept up their end of the bargain. Maybe it's 'cause he didn't preach at 'em?

So, for most people coming into the Springs, it was "O.D." out there to greet them. You'd pull up, and he'd show you where you could hitch your horse and wagon, and where you could fill up the water. He had a wife, a clutch of kids, even a god-damn Chinese cook if you can believe that. But the best thing was, unlike others, he was able to get the farm to actually work for once.

He was also a pretty smart guy in politics, too. He was in the Arizona Territorial Legislature... oh, did I mention that Las Vegas used to be part of Arizona?

I didn't? Oh, well someone slap me. Yeah, this was in Arizona, but an act of Congress changed it over to Nevada in 1866. All the same, despite the change "O.D." was part of the Arizona Legislature from 1865 to 1868. He was also Postmaster General for a few of those years, and he was Justice of the Peace for a while there, too. Pretty damn busy... unlike General Jim who hasn't refilled us yet. Ah, thank you.

So the Fort was occupied again, and from the looks of things it was going to stay that way for a while. Meanwhile, on this side of things, the situation with the Indians was getting pretty bad. It might have been a lot worse a lot sooner, but the tribes didn't talk to each other that much before things were sliding right into the shitter. By the time they got the message that more people on a side meant a better chance of standing up against bad odds, the Hierarchy had a line of cohorts up and down the Mississippi River and no intention of giving up what they had.

The ghostly attacks on the wagon trains increased, and the Ghost Riders started becoming a... ah, whaddayacallit... cottage industry? Yeah, think that describes it. If you had a relic rifle and a taste for the road you could load up on any wagon train you wanted and make a name for yourself. You didn't even need to have a deathsteed, really, just climb up on top of the wagon or ride shotgun, so to speak.

After a while there were way too many Ghost Riders and not enough Indians to fight, so they stopped waiting for the Natives to come to them. They'd go out and make these raids on Natives who weren't even trying to get involved. Oh yeah, it was against the rules, but what you're going to find out as a duly stamped and press-ganged member of the hierarchy is that rules can be interpreted any which way you like if security or money's involved. Especially with money.

Then the Heretics got into the act. The Heretics, you will remember, were the same ones who caused the Third Great Maelstrom by destroying the Dark Kingdom of Obsidian to the South in the name of... well, I wouldn't call their God my God, so I'll just say they killed in the name of someone I don't know. Come to find out that some of these Ghost Riders and their hangers-on were just Heretics out to purge the American wilderness of "heathens," which might explain some of the unprovoked raids, but probably doesn't explain them all.

So it got to the point where the foundry at Las Vegas was smelting as many Native ghosts as it was Western ghosts, and then it was doing at least twice that number a year after that. The dust outside was running red with plasm and the heat was supposed to be so bad that a couple relic tents actually caught fire from being too close. I think that's just wishful thinking and a good shot of Juice, myself, but it wasn't any stretch of the imagination to say that the foundry here was oppression personified for the Natives.

Needless to say, the Natives were in a really shitty situation. If they tried to cross back to attack they were caught. If they tried to attack the wagon trains the Ghost Riders got them. If they didn't do anything some freak with a relic Bible in one hand and a soulsteel sword in the other would come along and hogtie 'em. And, sooner or later, they just knew that iron line was going to start moving West again. So they started getting desperate, and when people get desperate they either pull off something really spectacular that works like a charm or they do something so dumb that they make things about ten times worse.

Which was it? Well, look around the room and you tell me.