Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The life and times of Jack Landar

A bit of background for this story. This is the introduction for BlackJack Landar for the Deadwood reset.

May 5, 1844, Chillecothe, Ohio

Reverend Joseph Landar heard the sharp cry of a baby and a smile spread over his face. He knelt beside his chair and gave a short prayer of thanks. Moving to the door of the bedroom, he knocked before opening the door. The midwife looked, wiping a sweat from her brow with her sleeve, "Pastor Landar, come in and greet your son." Joseph smiled and looking down at his newborn son resting in his mothers arms, said, "We will call him Jack."

September 15, 1861, Columbus, Ohio

Jack took his place in line to enlist in the 2nd Ohio Infantry Volunteer Regiment. He had left the farm just outside of the little village of Grove City, where he had grown up and with his cousin Bill Gant made the short trip to Camp Dennison in Columbus in order to enlist in the Union Army. At 18 Jack was 5 feet 8 inches, 160 lbs. with dark hair. He was of sturdy build like many other young men who grew up working on a farm.

After signing his name, Jack looked around and spied his cousin who had accompanied him. Bill Gant was easy to spot, standing 6 feet and weighing 200 pounds, he was one of the bigger men around. No sooner had they started toward them than several sergeants began to yell, curse, and push the newly enlisted men into a semblance of a line and moved them off.

November 25, 1863 Missionary Ridge

Bill Gant nudged his cousin as they waited for the order to form ranks and begin the move up the mountain. "Jack, just in case I don't make it, give this to my parents." Jack took the proffered package with a nod of his head. Jack did not try to tell Bill he would live to see the end of the war, let alone this battle. They had both seen too many men die around them, they having escaped harm only by chance or Providence.

Jack stood near the center of the line as his commanding officer gave the order to advance. As they moved up the toward the crest of the ridge, he could hear the howls of the Rebel yell. As often as he had heard it, it still sent shivers down his spine. Then came the puffs of smoke and the bang of the muskets from the Rebel positions. Men began to scream, holes appeared in the line. Jack heard the officers encouraging the men to keep moving.

Bill caught Jacks eye. Jack smiled and started to say something when he heard a wet smacking sound. Bill Gant stopped in his tracks, a confused look on his face. Then he crumpled to the ground a pool of blood began form on the ground. "NOOO", Jack screamed. He dropped down by his cousin to try to help him. The captain came running up, "Landar, you stupid son of a bitch, get up and back in line." Jack stumbled back into the line, firing his weapon and reloading, moving ever closer to the top of the ridge.

The battle was was won. The Confederate forces had been routed. While the others celebrated the victory or more to the point having survived the battle, Jack sat in his tent. His mood somber, Jack made up his mind that this was the last fight of the war for him. At morning roll call, Jack Landar's name went unanswered.

August 1870, Texas Panhandle

Four men sat astride their horses, watching the herd of cattle with several men riding slowly around them keeping the herd from straying. "Jack, you figger them other fellers are ready yet?" Jack Landar raised his head to meet the gaze of the man who had spoken. "I tell you what Jake, if they are not ready, they will regret it for the rest of their short miserable lives" With a last look around Jack spoke again, "Everyone remember what they are supposed to do?" No one answered him and smiled slightly, "Alright, lets go get those cows. When we sell them we will all be rich men." Jack pulled his bandanna up to cover his face, then pulling his scatter gun and a flick of the reigns he headed toward the herd.

December 1875, Great Bend, Kansas

The night air was cold as the deputy made his rounds. Making his way down the street, he saw the glow of lamp light in a cafe and headed for it. Opening the door, the deputy looked around and saw only the proprietor, "O'Malley you Irish son of a bitch, get me a coffee if you will." The big round faced man turned, pushing a lock of red hair out of his eyes, "Jack Landar, you good for nothin piece o' shit." Both men grinned, Jack leaned his shotgun against the counter and sat down. "A bit cold out there tonight Lad." Jack nodded as he sipped the coffee, "Yeah, cold and quiet as a tomb. I think I have had enough of this place, from what I hear the cattlemen aren't going to be coming this way again." O'Malley nodded, "Aye, I hear the same. Been thinkin on movin over to Dodge. Where you thinkin on headin to Jack?" Jack replied, "I think I will head for the Black Hills. I'm no prospector, but, I can be resourceful when it comes to making money." Both men laughed as O'Malley refilled his cup.

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