The Effect of Change
By today’s standards, Andrew Duggin was a relatively young man, but by the standards of the Old West, Andrew Duggin was an old man at forty-seven. Andrew had lived in a time of change. Where sidewalks were once made out of plank wood, now they were concrete. Where saloons held piano players, dancehall girls and wild Saturday night fights and shootouts; now the saloons were called eateries, and they held waitresses, no piano player, and closed early. Hardly any fights to speak about, and don’t get caught brandishing a gun any longer. It’s against the law.
Andrew use to be a lawman. He retired in 1883, and now lawmen are called policemen. Horses tied to the hitching rail are rarely seen, and the dust from cattle drives that came and went through town, to the stagecoach; nothing more than a memory since most of the cattle is shipped by train as well as passengers and the mail.
Andrew remembered how life was. He fought at sixteen in the last year of the Civil War, even got himself a medal from President Lincoln, personally, He hired on with a few cattle drives, braved dust storms, flash floods, fought off Indians and cattle rustlers. Andrew even scouted for the U.S. Calvary. One day he rode into Silver Creek and took on the job of sheriff.
It wasn’t easy. He jailed many a drunk, stopped a gang of bank robbers once. There were also be the gunfighter who rode into town to see if he could make a name for himself; a reputation larger than life. Killing Andrew Duggin, most gunfighters figured, would be like taking on Masterson or Earp. Every western town has its own Boot Hill. There’s a lot of would-be fast guns buried there who found out just how wrong they were.
After twelve years, Andrew Duggin hung up his guns and retired to make way for a new era coming. New rules about law and order prevailed.
One day, late August of 1896, a man named, John Miller, rode into Silver Creek. John was near Andrew’s age. Just out of prison. Because of Andrew, he was sentenced to ten years for robbery. John came back to settle the score.
Andrew had just stepped outside from the LiverMoore Grain & Feed store and stared at John, standing there with his gun drawn. It was the last thing Andrew ever saw as John fired three times, hitting Andrew twice and killing him before Andrew could utter a word.
John holstered his gun, got on his horse and started to ride out of town before the local sheriff tried to stop him. John didn’t see them until too late, but funny-dressed lawmen came at him from three sides, firing at him. He drew his gun to return fire, but he was beaten before he started. Bullets ripped into his flesh, ripping him off his saddle. Before the final seconds of permanent sleep over took John, he realized what Andrew knew. The end of an era had passed him by and it was over.
There wasn’t a future left for John. No more train robberies, no more banks to holdup, no more Saturday night fights; no more women to have. The old days left him where he lay, in the dust.
Andrew Duggin and John Miller, oddly enough, were buried side by side in Boot Hill.
And Silver Creek moved into the future leaving the past buried on the hill.
They were two of the many men who made up part of the Old West.
Just thought you would like to know.