Prairie Roses Collection Book 7 Kate: Meet the Villains and Learn the History – with Giveaway
One tip every writer is encouraged to follow through on is to create a villain worthy of the hero and heroine. In Kate, I created two villains, one fictional, and one based in fact.
Clem, the owner of the saloon and the pimp for the saloon girls who work for him, is a bully. He runs his bar and his brothel with an iron glove, which he uses liberally to keep drunks, deadbeats, and floozies in line. Mess with Clem, and he messes with you.
He makes his money in two ways: he waters down the rotgut, and he buys women. Most of his girls are immigrants from Ireland and other impoverished countries where families cannot afford to raise their children. Kate’s mother came to America with the promise of a good job, only to find herself indebted to Clem for her passage, her clothing, and then her room and board, as well as lost work when she falls pregnant with Kate. When her mother dies, she still owes Clem money, at least according to him, and he expects Kate to step into her mother’s place. However, Kate has other ideas. Dreams planted in her heart and mind by her mother, of living somewhere wide open and free.
The other villain is Lame Johnny, the leader of the stagecoach robbery gang. A lot has been written about him, including that his early attempts to live a righteous life were thwarted because of a deformity caused when he was young that gave him a permanent limp. At one time, he worked for the Homestake Mine, and it’s supposed that he knew the schedule and route of the stagecoach carrying gold and gold products to the bank in Deadwood.
As with most crimes, there are conflicting reports about exactly what happened during the stagecoach robbery, but what is known for sure is that Lame Johnny and several others escaped and hid out in the Badlands.
In Kate, Tom, the hero, helps the law locate two bandits. When Johnny hears about this, he vows revenge, and comes after Tom. Without spoiling the ending, suffice it to say Tom and Kate live another day, and the epilogue wraps up Johnny’s change of heart.
Whether Johnny managed to spend any of the loot in real life is not known. He was later captured, but on his way to Deadwood to stand trial, vigilantes hijack the stage, haul him out, and hang him from the nearest tree. A bad end to a bad man. Although my story makes him out to be slightly better, he still faces the same end.
Basing a fictional story on real history can be tricky. The time and setting have to be the same, but details related to where the real life characters go and what they do can be adjusted. I found this story so compelling because of the aftermath of the robbery, which included outlaws trying to spend the gold and then getting caught, as well as the fact that most of the loot was recovered. The largest ingot, weighing in at over 16 ounces, was never found. Some accounts wonder if it was ever in the stage. Perhaps it was stolen before it ever got on board. Or maybe one of the guards took it. Or could be it never existed, and the mine simply collected the insurance. We will likely never know.
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And, if you’d like a copy of a cookbook Kate could have used along the trail, containing recipes that can be prepared on a wood stove, over a fire, or in a Dutch oven, email me: donna AT Historythrutheages DOT com
A prostitute’s daughter, an outlaw’s brother, and a stagecoach robbery—can anything good come out of Deadwood?
Kate Benton, daughter of a saloon floozy, runs away days before her official introduction into that sordid life, straight into the arms of Tom McBride, fleeing from his outlaw brother’s past. Can these two young people, damaged and labeled by life experiences, tear down the walls of guilt and mistrust that separate them? Will they allow God to change them forever from the inside out? Or are they destined to remain alone forever?
Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests.
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