uffs of curling steam trailed after a train pulling into the boom town of Molson, in the gold-producing territory of the fledgling state of Washington. The spectral wisps of white vapor dissipated into the atmosphere like the legends filtered through ceremonial pipe smoke from noble Okanagan tribal chiefs for generations of how all living things were made of the same clay, and the sacred earth was the Great Mother which could not be bought or sold.
Gun-toting men appeared as a big, open-air motor carriage drove up the trail along the banks of the tributary. A distinguished-looking man climbed out of the touring car. He pulled a deed from his pocket proclaiming that he had bought a plat of land including most of the townsite and the cliff which meant the mountaineer was trespassing. The armed subordinates searched the prospector's faded and threadbare vest. The wood carving was tossed into the babbling water where it followed the path of the winding rivulet before wedging between stones.