Clearstone is a quiet town, or it was when my daddy was my age. We were a small town that served as a watering hole for coyotes and cowboys in those days. That all changed when gold was discovered in the hills west of town. We went from a small village on the western frontier, to the center of the gold rush. The mines brought in all sorts of crowds, from thieves to businessmen. It wasn't long after the first mine was established until there was a war over them. That war was won by Mad Dog Roberts. My daddy says that they call him that because he is meaner than a coyote. He is now the mayor, the sherif, and the judge around here. People used to come to Clearstone and make their own destiny happen, now most of us are corporate salves to the Roberts Mining Co.

Some people don't mind Mad Dog Roberts, but most of them are the people whose pockets he lines with gold. The rest of us fall into line out of fear. There is nothing ole Roberts likes more than to make an example out of people that oppose him. One year someone ran against him for mayor, that man wasn't elected after we found him hanging in front of town hall on election day. He stayed up there for two weeks before someone took him down in the night. There was another time that a thief got caught stealing gold from the mines, he got to keep it, but Mad Dog Roberts melted that ore down into bullets which he used in a public execution the next day.

I mostly avoid him and help my father in the shop. My name is Wyatt James, the son of the local blacksmith of Clearstone. I know the stories about Mad Dog Roberts are true, because I help my dad make the golden bullets for his revolver. He prefers to shoot gold ever since the execution. He always says it flies straighter than lead. Behind closed doors my daddy talks about the days before Mad Dog Roberts and how peaceful things were. Unfortunately, he is too rich and powerful to get rid of at this point. No one from around here will even so much as disagree with him publicly.

That aside, business is going well at the shop these days. We manage to get the business for most of The Roberts Mining Co. operations, so now we make them everything from rail road tracks to guns. My dad does not like working for Roberts, but it is that or starve in this town. We do get the occasional request from some of the towns folk, and the rare request from travelers that stumble into Clearstone by mistake. Today it looks like we will have one of those requests as a stranger throws open the doors of the shop and rings the bell my father always put on the counter while we are working. I put down my tongs and go around to the desk to greet him.

The stranger looks to be the same height as me and is clearly not from Clearstone. He is covered from head to toe in cowboy gear. From his well-worn leather boots, to his leather wide brimmed hat. He is wearing a red handkerchief that covers his face except a pair of crystal clear blue eyes that peer at me suspiciously from the shadow of his hat. "How can we help you?" I ask starting to wonder if I should call for my father to come around with the shot gun. The stranger doesn't say a word but reaches for his belt where two revolvers that look well used sit in their holsters. For a second I think he is really going to rob us, but he slides his belt off and drops the revolvers on the counter along with a small pouch of coins. "So, repairs and ammo?" I ask. This guy doesn't seem like much of a talker, but he does nod and make his way to the back of the shop looking at various horse shoes and saddle accessories we have hanging on the wall.

I can't help but think he is a strange character, but his money is good, and we take what we can get. I quickly check the caliber of the revolver and stack the appropriate bullets on the counter to match the amount of money the stranger provided, minus the cost to repair his rather old looking guns. I am about to take the revolvers to the work bench when the door flies open again. Mad Dog Roberts himself walks in, along with his posse. I forgot we had made him a set of bullets for a 'special event' he was having this evening. "Is your father here boy?" Roberts says with an ominous smile. Just being in his presence makes me feel uneasy.

"Yes-sir Mayor Roberts! He is in the back I will get him right away," I stammer nervously as I turn to leave. As I do I catch a glimpse of the stranger who is lurking in the back of the shop. He pulls the brim of his hat down and keeps a sharp eye on Roberts. He seems like he is sizing up Mad Dog Roberts, and it makes me even more nervous. I hurry up and find my father, who quickly quenches the horse shoes he is hammering and heads to the front of the shop. He is up front for a while, Roberts always inspects each bullet before he accepts them. During the time he is in the shop I do my best to stay busy in the back, something that is easy this time due to the repair job I had just received. The stranger’s revolvers are in surprisingly good shape, considering they look like they are the first set of revolvers ever made. Fixing them up is a quick task, it takes just long enough for Mad Dog Roberts and his posse to leave the shop after some sort of commotion.