Large capital letter Passengers crowded the platform of a railway station as a train trailing puffs of white steam pulled into the booming town of Molson, in the gold-producing territory of the new state of Washington. On the fringe of Molson a cliff with jutting crags that vaguely resembled the face of a giant in a Rip Van Winkle slumber cast its shadow on a makeshift tent pitched beside the creek below. A prospector in shin-deep water whittled a wooden figure of himself astride his horse. Wood shavings swirled downstream past the drinking mustang. Suddenly the bronco stomped its hooves. The rugged woodsman put away the sculpture and pulled out his gold pan to sift through the shallow stream bed where the spirited stallion whickered. "Shakespeare didn't take kindly to dogs, but showed a particular affinity for horses forty-eight times in his plays," the fortune-hunter smiled. Unearthing a fat gold nugget, the frontiersman told his horse things were going to change for them now that they could settle in this place.

Cliff at the edge of Molson, WA

Gun-toting men appeared as a big, open motor carriage drove up the trail along 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 town and the cliff which meant the mountaineer was trespassing. The armed subordinates searched the prospector's vest. The wood carving was tossed into the babbling water where it followed the path of the winding rivulet before wedging between stones. The alluring gold nugget was given to the property owner. The well-dressed industrialist said they were going to blast a mine in the far side of the bluff and the prospector needed to depart this land and stay off. "Welcome to the twentieth century," the purse-proud tycoon gestured with the deed at his mile a minute automobile while he told the pioneer that it was a new age, the tin-panner's way of life was obsolete—he was a ghost.

The prospector shared a look with his four-legged friend and said, "If being a ghost means you are somewhere you don't belong, then I reckon the two of us have been ghosts all our lives."

"Outlaw, standing here and just realized I don't care about anything you're saying. Why are you still talking? How about we just not talk," said the landlord. Before speeding off in the motorized buggy he said to his lackeys, "That mine isn't going to blast itself. Shoo!"

The prospector's pale spotted horse became stubborn and would not leave. Soon a blast cloud mushroomed behind the ridge. The ground shook sending a surge of stones tumbling down the sheer face of the escarpment. The mountain man circled around to his faithful companion's flank and swung onto the saddle to desperately race from the brook, but both were buried in an avalanche of falling rocks.

Home   Back   Next