Title: The Judith Basin Cattle Roundup
The Year: 1883
Synopsis: This episode will open up with Kid Russell (Charles Marion Russell) among the five or six players in a poker game at one of the saloons in Helena, MT. His regular saloon gal Dutch Leina is hovering nearby. Accusations of cheating eventually erupt and, while the Kid’s friend Charlie Bowlegs gets shot down, Russell himself manages to blow away the attacker. (The Kid’s real-life friend Charlie Bowlegs really did get shot to death in saloon card-game violence.)
After a few days in jail, Kid Russell’s case comes up and he is found not guilty on self-defense grounds and released. While cooling his heels in stir the Kid got to talking to some cowhands getting ready for the upcoming Judith Basin Cattle Roundup, an annual event which was, even then, achieving legendary status.
Russell, always a romantic, can’t shake a desire to once again try the cowboy lifestyle he once aspired to. After his initial run at a sheep ranch getting leaned on by the Cattlemen (Episode One) and his two years guiding tycoons and European Blue-Bloods on big-game hunts with Lucky Boy Hoover (Episode Two), Charley finds himself itching for a change.
With all of the additional skills he picked up from Lucky Boy, to whom the Kid says his goodbyes, our protagonist gets caught up in the “Renaissance Fair Meets Rodeo” excitement of the Judith Basin Cattle Roundup.
Amid all the action and competition Charley meets Gros Ventre Johnny and other real-life staples of the region. He makes his biggest impression on Indian Charlie Contway and his boss, THE Horace Brewster.
Kid Russell is hired by Brewster and, as this episode rolls along he eventually tangles with some would-be rustlers and shoots them all down. In the middle of all that, one of Charley’s well-to-do cousins from Saint Louis shows up for a visit.
Ironically, despite the well-to-do man’s warnings to the Kid, the cousin dies of mountain fever. (This really did happen.) This episode would present Kid Russell riding for medicine for his cousin but getting delayed on the ride back by vengeance-seeking fellow rustlers of the ones he blew away earlier.
Shaken by all the deaths which struck so close to him this time around, the hard-drinking Kid would return to his art through it all.
I’LL POST ANOTHER EPISODE SOON, SO KEEP CHECKING BACK.
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