The story started as many stories in the Weird West often do: On a train headed west.
The posse (though they didn’t think of themselves as that yet) was still forming, each member going about their own business and doing what they each do best.
Retired Marshal Ben Wade was chatting up some members of the fairer sex; Confederate deserter Edwin Zabel sat in his seat, staring out the window, trying to keep a low profile; mad scientist extraordinaire Dr. Hagar Fürchterlich roamed the train, trying to get some information on what sort of enhancements may have been made on it, in order to add more scientific principles to his repertoire, and classy gambler Minnesota Slim was looking for an easy mark for a poker game.
Ben made quick friends with a gal name of Penelope Brown, an impoverished 20-something from Pittsburgh on her way to meet a potential mail-order hubby. Penelope was taken with his good looks, as well as the amount of dinero he happened to have on him. She figured one big spender could pull her bootstraps up as good as another, and at least she knew this one was nice, and a looker to boot. The rest of the heroes, well, they didn’t fare quite so well in their own endeavors.
Eddie boy, in his quest to run from his checkered past, ended up accidentally chatting up nosy newshound Denise Merritt, whose driving motivation for being on the train was to get a good story she could sell to the Epitaph or possibly even publish as a dime novel. In trying to ditch her, he got roped into watching another passenger’s pair of hellion sons so their folks could get a moment of peace. The good doctor, shunned by the angry gunman in the conductor car, sat down to enjoy a nice game of poker in the dining car, only to lose every hand to Minnesota Slim and another card shark. And Slim? Well, the most money he made was what he won from the doc, since both hustlers knew not to hustle a hustler, and no other folks were willing to play the two of them, believing they were in cahoots for a scam. Imagine everyone’s relief when they heard the sound of dynamite destroying the track up ahead.