The Whole Story - Parts III, IV, V
In which we finish mainlining the whole thing.
PART III — Back to Grantham
We land on the Preacher, who has lost his faith and is living in the ashes of his church, in a shelter he has fashioned from the giant bat creature that destroyed it. The townsfolk come to him for a sermon, but he has lost his faith and drives them away with terrible words that include this:
“Brothers and sisters, Harken unto me now in the ark of this blasphemous chapel.” He stood so that he would have the charred ribcage of that infernal beast as his backdrop. “God has a plan for you and me. It is to suffer, then to die without purpose.” A gasp went up from the congregation as members were shocked to hear this filthy man of God speak the secret they thought they had safely hidden in their own hearts.
“You disturb my lamentations and asked to know of God's plan. But how can I claim to know. He doesn't answer my prayers. Does he answer yours? Who among you have prayed for us to be brought to this?
He singles out young Penelope Mille and Laura grabs her children and runs back to the jail, where she has taken up residence with John Dance.
Preacher v Preist
We pick up where part one left off. The Priest of Ba-El leaves his jewel in the street and Dance warns him that someone will steal it. The Priest waves a hand, says a word and the stone is locked to the ground.
Inside Saloon #3 Archie, Jane, McAllister, Dance and Laura are pumping the Priest for information. As he answers questions about geography Archie draws a map on a large table with a piece of charcoal. As soon as Archie gets it right, Mac carves the line into the table with a knife so it will not be lost.
They talk about how to get back and there’s this nice little bit of handwavium to explain
“But,” Archie said, “There was a way here, so, logically, there must be a way back?”
“There are many changes that cannot be undone. A glass cannot be unbroken, a bell cannot be unrung and a truth, once understood, changes a man forever.”
“Yes,” said Speedy Pete, “But if you can catch a boat going up a river, you can catch a boat going back down the river.”
“But,” said the Priest with a smile, you can never sail the same river twice.”
“Never mind all this philosophizing,” said John Dance, “What I want to know is who in the hell attacked us from the river. Who was on that boat and why do they have beef with us?”
The Priest of Ba-El explains:
“You are under the rule of the Sahmin Eleni, Url-Lord of the Blasted Lands. He is a powerful sage from Denhya, and member of the Scithian Imperial family. And you are his subjects. You are his to do with as he wishes.”
The Scithian Empire is to the East of the River. The Wizard is north along the river in the huge tower that nearly killed Dance. Jane asks about trade and learns that at the end of their river is a large port into which most of the grain of the empire flows to be sold.
McAllister laments the dwindling supply of whisky and says, “If I had but grain and a still…”
The Priest of Ba-El and the Preacher get into it. The Preacher crying that they are tempting the wrath of the Almighty. Dance laughs at this. You mean it can get worse?
The Priest tries to lift the stone and out of kindess the Priest releases it. He throws the stone into the river. He’s totally covered in ash from living in the ruined church, so the townspeople decide to throw him in the river too.
Later that night, sick of whisky, tobacco smoke and speculation, Archie goes outside and looks at the stars, trying to make sense of how they can be both familiar and strange. The Priest comes out and asks Archie
“What far-off land have you come from?”
Archie said, “If you can tell me where we are, I can tell you where we came from.”
The Priest shrugged. “The world was founded on mysteries. It is wisest for me to take the things you can’t change on faith.”
They have a science v. magic discussion, that doesn’t rattle Archie’s empiricism at all. Priest of Ba-El goes back inside.
As Archie stares at the stars he develops a new hypothesis: instead of jumping in space, perhaps the stars are different because they have jumped in time. But how? And if they had, have they jumped forward or backward? Nothing makes sense and the words of the Priest of Ba-El ring seductively in his ears, “Relieve yourself of the burden of knowing everything.”
DANCE V. LAURA
All is not domestic bliss. The town is running out of flour.
Dance and Laura fight. Laura can’t forgive herself for cheating on Virgil. And that she’s helped to ruin a good man like Dance. Dance laughs, then confesses everything. He was a criminal on the run, and when he stumbled into a bank robbery and shot two former associates so they couldn’t identify him, the town thought he was a hero. But he’s a bad, bad man, who was only using the job to hide. But after the town jumped he realized what was important.
He tells her he loves her too, and if his advances cause distress, that she’s welcome, her kids, too. No strings attached. “I’m a bad man, but I’m trying to be better.”
Laura is moved, but she mocks the idea that Dance is a bad man. He asks how she could be sure. And she says, because I married a bad man.
From outside, Pete yells that there’s another boat coming up the river.
Capturing the barge
Archie, Dance and few others watch the barge pass.
“Not a ship of war, I should think. Supplies of some kind?”
“Yeah, that big evil tower, probably just full of hungry people.”
“We have rather a lot of hungry people,” said Archie, “It would be a shame if anything happened to that slow-moving, lightly defended boat full of badly needed supplies.”
Dance took the telescope from his eye and looked at Archie. “We might just make an American of you yet.”
“Please, privateering is one of England’s finest traditions. And for this, we have the undisputed moral high ground.”
“They attacked us first,” said Dance.
“Totally unprovoked, one might say.”
Dance put the spyglass back to his eye and observed, “Only problem is, that river is wide and deep and fast. And they’re on the other side of it.”
“Ah, yes. Well I have something for that.”
Archie gets MacAllister, who used to be a sailor to swim the river with a rope. Then he creates a reaction ferry () by converting a freight wagon to a boat.
As they put the raiding party together — including Wlod and Marus two large, brutish ex-miners. Jane forbids Archie to go. But he goes anyway. MacAllister says Archie is in trouble because she has set her cap for him. Archie says that the infatuation will soon fade, but Mac just laughs at him.
The Raid and aftermath
Jane can’t sleep. She’s in love with Archie and worried sick about him and mad as hell at MacAllister. She thinks that Archie doesn’t want to have anything to do with her because he’s royalty and she’s not.
So she sits in Saloon #3, drinking the only thing that’s left. Peppermint Schnapps. But it’s awful so she can’t even get drunk.
A little after dawn, the barge comes drifting back to town. Jane meets it, looking hopefully up at MacAllister as he jumps down and makes a line fast to the shore. He sees her and shakes his head.
Then he tells her how they split into two parties to capture the barge, but when they went to free the slaves, they discovered that the slaves were not people, but monstrous, pale ape creatures. Marus panicked and shot one and they all attacked and fled, their chains as much of a danger as their teeth and brutish strikes. Wlod is also killed.
When Archie and MacAllister release the chains from the barge, a robed figure emerges from a cabin on the deck of the boat and grabs Archie. In the struggle, Archie and the man in the robe fall into the water and there is a strange, smokey explosion and they are gone.
When Jane protests that that can’t be right, things don’t happen that way, MacAllister loses it. None of this should be happening and he can’t take it anymore.
They choke down the last of the awful schnapps and Jane weeps for Archie.
Archie and the Wizard
But Archie didn’t explode. He was teleported to the Wizard’s tower where he and the robed figure fall to the floor with a few hundred gallons of river water. The robed acolyte reports to his master that the barge has been captured. The Wizard, Sahmin Elini, vaporizes the acolyte on the spot.
Then the Wizard demands to know who he is. Archie Archie stiffens his upper lip, and with all the coolness he can manage, announces himself with his ancestral titles as Earl of this and Protector of that, and the designated emissary from her Majesty Queen Victoria of the British Empire.
Then he drolly observes that the Wizard has ill-used his poor servant. Elini, who’s a bit out of it, waves it off — now, not upset — and says there are more. There are always more. What matters is the work. He takes Archie to the balcony and as he looks down he sees slaves working a massive excavation.
The Wizard says “Before you join the diggers, I will allow you to tell me of this British Empire that I have never heard of.”
But Archie is entranced by the digging works. Some gigantic statue is slowly emerging from the bank of the river. And he explains to the Wizard how inefficient his digging is. He does calculations, estimating how long it will take to finish the dig. And this math seems like magic to the Wizard.
Archie draws him a mechanism for raising loads of dirt faster — people walking in a hamster wheel, basically — and then engineers the rest of the process. Concluding with, “Say what you will of your mystical powers. But I have just shaved — if our assumptions are correct and my plan is implemented — three and a half years off your excavation.”
Dig on the River Kwai
Archie takes charge of the excavation and learns all he can from the Wizard. They become friends of a sort, but this is tough because the Wizard is stoned out of his gourd most of the time. He uses ceremonies and rituals and drugs to ease his chronic pain and discover new arcane knowledge. Archie is both upset and intrigued by this. It offends him that the Wizard doesn’t conduct experiments. But intrigues him because he wants to know it works.
The Wizard is also something of a pathetic character, a member of the royal family who sought dark knowledge and was horribly mutilated and transformed by the evil forces he tried to harness. The Wizard always wears robes and cloaks himself in spells of darkness because he does not want anyone to see his true form. He and Archie find a bond over this, because Archie’s father rejected him because of his true form as well, but he’s, vague about what ‘true form’ means.
Throughout this, he steals knowledge of magic from the Wizard, bit by bit and tests this knowledge to flesh it out. He learns to work a kind of sympathetic magic, transferring a force or quality across a distance. So he can use a falling weight to raise another. But he cannot figure out how the Wizard generates power in defiance of the laws of thermodynamics.
As he asks questions of the Wizard, he tells him about his experience in the mine/temple with the giant bat. The Wizard is pretty out of it on drugs and it doesn’t fully register with him.
The next day, the Wizard takes Archies best crew and sacrifices them so he can use their blood in a ritual. When Archie protests that these are important, useful people, the stoned Wizard scoffs at him, saying, “All slaves are the same.” Archie cannot save them, but all illusions about what he is doing and his friendship with this monstrous Wizard are shattered.
After absent-mindedly having Archie tortured for his insolence, the Wizard brings him once again to the top of the tower to show him the dig and all the progress they have made. The Wizard tries to patch things up. Archie jumps over the edge, but as he does, he infuses a large, loose stone with sympathetic magic and as Archie goes down, it flies up on a “pulley system” of conjuration. The Wizard, still stoned out of his gourd is confused by this. Archie settles to the ground and flees from the tower. Only the stone crashing back down snaps him out of his daze and reminds him to call the guards. But by the time the guards get there, he can’t remember why he called them. Archie gets away.
Virgil fights his way through the underworld, defeating monstrous creatures, eating Kobold, escaping traps, and fighting his way upward. Reverse dungeon crawl. In his travel upwards he passes a circle of ill-formed creatures worshiping a large glowing orb. He heads upward, thinking that he can smell fresh air for the first time.
Jane and Laura have taken an expedition and opened up trade along the South of the River. While Dance and others argue that the land is hostile and should be treated as such, they point out that they can’t survive without trade.
They try to keep their weapons secret clothing a bit of sniping has magic from the Gods. This is funny as the timing of Laura calling down gunshots from the heavens during a delicate negotiation provides us some comic relief.
With a flow of grain from the South, MacAllister has set up a distillery, and uses the barge to do a brisk trade in spirits, which are unknown to this place. They use the newfound wealth to buy slaves, who they promptly free and give land to, and fortify the town. A couple of the freed slaves steal and kill, and Sheriff Dance puts them down saying, “Every man gets a second chance in this town, but not a third.”
Mack and Penelope start to warm up to Dance and he and Laura hold hands and kiss. For the first time, it seems like things, while still weird, will be okay for this small town. (Spoiler alert: They're not going to be okay.)
The Wizard Attacks the Town
Back at the Tower the dig has ground to a halt. Sure, a lot more of the skeleton of that massive creature is visible, but since Archie left it’s all gone to shit.
The Wizard comes down off the drugs enough to realize that it’s all wrong and calls for Archie. He’s been so high, he forgot he escaped. He misses Archie, and as he thinks back on their conversations, he remembers a key bit that Archie told him about his experience in the mine/temple cave-in that convinces him that there is a source of great power buried beneath the town. Perhaps the very thing he sought by coming to the grasslands initially.
He summons his forces and opens a massive portal to Grantham. His thugs and some of his horrible creation render the town’s fortifications useless because they come through right on main street.
The town does a pretty good job of fighting back until the Wizard comes through the portal and with equal measures of lightning and telekinesis, gives everyone the beatdown. But he doesn’t kill many. Instead, the townspeople are rounded up as slave labor.
The Wizard walks to the site of the mine cave-in and raises his hand. There is a rumbling and the large glowing orb — the same one that Virgil saw creatures worshipping — bursts forth from the Earth. Using the power of the orb, with a wave of his hand, the Wizard flattens a whole section of wall on the North side of Grantham. There he constructs a new portal, and as his prisoners are marched back to slavery. Then, he revels in his newfound powers by flattening what is left of Grantham. Bam, zap, kaboom. What an asshole.
The Good Guys regroup
Dance and Pete crawl out from a flattened building, having escaped slavery by hiding. As they survey the mess of the town, Dance breaks down because it’s all so hopeless. Pete lets him go, but when he sees a rider approaching from the East, he nudges the Sheriff and he pulls it together. Tunks and Spence ride into what used to be the town on one of the riding lizards. The two parties can’t find anything to say. How in the hell do you start either of their stories? Until Dance says, “Boys, is that a giant lizard you’re riding?”
And Spence says, “Better eatin’ than ridin’ but we was in a pinch.”
Tunks says, “Damn thing tries to take a bite out of you every couple miles.”
Jump to that evening where the lizard is roasting over a fire made from the wreckage of ruined buildings. The men have told their stories. And are debating what to do. Dance allows as it is hopeless and maybe they should head West. Tunks and Spence say West is good because it’s going to get them as far away from those lizard-riding tribes as possible.
Pete objects saying’ “It don’t seem like what heroes would do.”
Dance sighs and admits defeat, “We ain’t heroes Pete. We was just fooling themselves.”
There is a noise in the rubble, they whirl with their guns. A voice with a distinct accent says, “Don’t shoot.” Archie magics a bit of their fire into his palm and reveals himself, dripping wet from his float down the river. He says, “The longer I stay in this country, the more astounded I am that we lost a war with you. We will we go rescue them.”
“How? There ain’t no way past that lightning. And even if we could get in the tower, he’s got us outnumbered.”
"Ah, lightning," says Archie with a knowing smile.
Since the Orb tore past him through the earth and now he’s crawling upward like a mole, powered by little more than hope. He breaks the surface into the light of a new day.
He stands and sees the wreckage of the town, unable to comprehend. He hears a noise and turns. It’s Pete, just awoken, taking a leak on the burned wreckage of what used to be his store. A growl escapes Virgil’s throat. He draws his pistol, murder in his heart, but Pete turns and, unaware, says, “Mr. Miller?”
Virgil asks, where’s my family?
They all get on the same page, and Virgil joins the rescue effort. Pete asks Dance if he’s going to tell Virgil about the fact that he’s shacked up with his wife. And Dance says, if we survive, I’ll deal with that.
Pete says, “If we survive, he’s gonna kill you.”
Building sequence/Irulan attack
Archie salvages what he can from his pumping engine and the wreckage of the town to build a steam engine and convert the barge into a paddlewheel steamboat. The plan is simple. They will assault by the river. When they break into the tower, they will free the slaves and use them as their army. They put their chances at 1 in 3. But they have guns and they don’t have anything else to live for, maybe they do have a chance.
As Archie is finishing the steam engine, he fires up the boiler and checks for leaks. The pressure is holding good and he is pleased, but when he looks up from his work, he sees a raiding party, galloping in from the East. It is the Irulan come at last. Archie blows the steam whistle and all come running.
Archie leaves the steam engine at full boil and they go to face the charge. Walking out in a line, guns at the ready. Spencer asks, “What if they don’t stop?”
“Then all our troubles are over,” said Dance.
Virgil says, “What in the hell is that?”
Spencer says, “Injuns riding lizards.”
Virgil says, “If that aint the damnedst fool thing I ever saw. Where in the hell are we.”
Tunks cocks his rifle and the others follow suit. Archie says, "They’ll stop."
Dance asks, "Why?"
Archie flings his hand at the ground and curtain of steam leaps forth from the Earth. And the charge skids to a stop. One rider doesn’t stop in time and is horribly scalded. He and his mount fall over dead.
At the river, the boiler goes cold and frosts over.
Virgil lowers his rifle and walks forward. He points right at Goyaate and says, “I know you.” Looks back to Tunks and says, “You know him?” Back to Goyaate, “How in the hell are you younger than when I met you?
“The Apache has learned to age backward so to trick the white man,” says Goyaate. "What is the point of losing your strength when only when you are old you know who best to kill?"
We learn that Virgil knows Goyaate from his outlaw days in Oklahoma. Red Sleeve is impressed, because he has heard the stories. "This is the one who rode with you?"
Goyaate answers, "He didn't ride with me, he rode against everyone else."
“We came to destroy the town,” says Goyaate.
Virgil says, “Ain't much ruin left in this one.”
Goyaate asks, “Is this your doing?”
Virgil says, “It was like this when I got here. They say an evil Wizard…”
Red Sleeve says, “I say we scalp these others, feed them to our mounts and ride on in search of plunder.”
Tunks says, “If it’s a fight you’re spoiling for, we got one for you. We aim to tear up that wizard.”
“Why would we help you?” ask Goyaate.
Virgil says, “Because we are few, against many. What more reason do you need?”
“If you join us, the Wizard will still be many, and we will still be few.” says Goyaate.
One of the Irulan asks, “How will you get past the lightning?”
Archie tells them about the boat, and when they object that they all won’t fit on the boat, Archie says, “Actually, I have something for that.”
The Assault and Rescue
Under Archie's direction, they build “1000 Volt boots” with large insulators made of leather and wood on the bottom. Basically, a kind of stilt. 10 pairs are given to the Irulan and our heroes go upstream in the boat. The Irulan charge on foot, and the lightning forks harmlessly around them because they are not the fastest path to ground.
At the same time, they attack using the steamship. On two fronts the attack is successful. The Irulan free their people and the townsfolk, while Archie and the others disable the lightning device at the top of the tower.
They rise up and defeat the Wizard’s thugs. In the chaos of the victory celebration, Laura finds John Dance and runs to him — kissing him passionately. Then she turns and sees her husband.
Virgil tells her to step away from him as he sets his hand over his pistol, classic showdown style. But Pen and Mack run up and hug him, interrupting the duel. The reunion is tear-filled and heartfelt the showdown is postponed.
As the people walk out onto the plain together in victory. But the Wizard appears before them, blocking their path to freedom. Everyone with a gun fires at him, but the bullets bounce off harmlessly. Energy crackling from his fingers, the Wizard is on the verge of destroying them all.
Archie still has no gun, but he steps forward anyway. Telling the Wizard that he is not going to kill anyone. The Wizard unleashes his full fury on Archie. But Archie, with his one kind of magic that he has tested and mapped with tireless experiment instead of mysticism, directs the lightning to the to the disabled mechanism on top of the tower. Unable to discharge, it explodes, obliterating the top of the tower.
The Wizard’s true and hideous form is revealed (his robes burn away) and his powers are drained. He curses at them and disappears in a pillar of fire. The townspeople and the Irulan are freed!
The aftermath - relationships are hard.
That night they all camp in the ruins of Grantham, Laura talks to Virgil. She apologizes, telling him that she thought he was dead, that, that. Virgil says that he sees that John Dance is a good man. How he fought like a demon to free the town. How he made sure everyone was taken care of on the way home and how everyone looks up to the Sheriff. Me, all I was ever good at was kilin’ folks.
Laura asks if he is going to kill John Dance. Virgil looks up with tears in his eyes and asks if it would win her back. She shakes her head no. “Tell him he’s got a fight comin’ at dawn.”
In another part of the came, Jane corners Archie and her unrequited love boils to the surface. He asks him why? Why can’t they be together? “It’s cause I’m no damn good. A horse-faced wagon-hauler of woman and no kind of princess.”
Archie tells her that it is because he is not fit for her. And then he tells her his secret, that which caused his father to disown him. He is gay. And because he refused to get married for appearance's sake, he was effectively disowned by his father and brother. And so he has come to America, to flee his shame. He had an affair with an Irish playwright name Oscar. It became one of those hushed-up scandals that everyone knew about. The playwright was eventually imprisoned and Archie fled to America.
Archie falls to pieces as he confesses this, deeply ashamed and fearful what everyone will think.
Jane laughs at him. She laughs so long and hard, tears streaming down his face, that Archie starts to laugh without knowing why. She tells him that this is frontier and nobody cares about that at all. Women is scarce and there’s a lot of things that happen in a bedroll.
Archie doesn’t totally believe, but his burden is relieved and, for the first time in his life, he has told someone who he really is and has been accepted for it.
The Wizard’s Revenge
In the dead of night, the Wizard emerges on the top of his ruined tower. Amid the ruins below he sees the orb he took from the mine/temple at Grantham. He draws it to him and its power restores him. Then he looks down upon the giant statue creature in the ground and works a spell upon it.
Fire fills its joints and it struggles to rip itself free of the earth. It is gigantic, much bigger than the Wizard realized, and as all the power in the orb is used up, the tower collapses and he falls to Earth, managing to soften the blow with the last of his power, but still breaking a leg.
The Behemoth bends town and speaks with him in a voice that shakes the earth. “What boon wilt thou ask of me.” The Wizard tells it to “destroy the town and return to me.” The Behemoth tells him he can only be granted one boon. The wizard protests, saying that he created it and it is bound to him.
“Foolish mortal,” says the Behemoth, then it opens its mouth and yawns fire. The Wizard tries to use his powers to ward off the flames, but they keep coming and coming and then the wizard is incinerated.
The Behemoth lumbers towards Grantham to keep his end of the bargain.
Just before dawn, Tunks comes to see Virgil and asks him not to have this fight. Virgil tells him that there ain’t no other way. He has knowledge of my wife. Honor demands it.
Tunks says most things that folk do ain’t mean, it’s just a mistake. You kill that man and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.
Virgil nods and reveals to Tunks that he’s going to go into the duel with an unloaded pistol so that Dance kills him. he can’t bear living anymore and he wants to make sure his boy hates Dance enough to grow up and kill him.
Tunks is horrified by this. It’s the most evil thing he’s heard. Destroying anybody’s chance to be happy with your own suicide.
Dance and Virgil face off in the street. Dance says, “We don’t have to do this.”
Virgil says, “You don’t do this, I’ll shoot you down like a dog.”
Dance asks if he needs a count. Virgil shakes his head. As the tension builds, the ground starts to rumble. Someone screams, but neither man takes their eyes off the other, waiting for the first move. A furnace wind blows between them and finally they look, and behold the Behemoth, bringing doom.
The fight postponed, they rush to evacuate the townspeople. As people flee, Laura gathers up her children and starts to run. But Mack shouts, “No” and runs back into the burning wreckage of the town.
Archie stands in the middle of the street, seemingly so horrified by the Behemoth, that he can’t move. Dance yells at Archie to get moving. But Archie isn’t terrified. He’s been calculating. The thing is coming towards them at nearly 30 miles an hour. There is no outrunning doom at best they can scatter and save a few.
The Behemoth roars fire and the wreckage on the far side of the town ignites.
No says, Dance, we’re saving everyone. And slaps Archie to get him unstuck.
Archie tries everything he can think of. He redirects the creature's own fire against it, but it’s stone, so no effect. He uses the motion of the river, to try to douse it with water, but while it cancels out some of the fire, it does not stop the creature.
In one last desperate attempt, he manages to shatter a part of the creature’s gigantic stone chest plate revealing a large glowing orb of compressed flame inside. But still, the Behemoth comes
Faced with the choice of running to Dance or running to Virgil, Laura runs to Virgil with Penelope in her arms. “You are my husband, and my place is with you.
As Tunks and McAllister try to drag Archie to safety, Dance and Spencer ride off to try and buy the fleeing townspeople some time. But this is really stupid. Gnats dancing around the feet of an elephant. From the distance, it looks like Spencer is trampled and Dance is engulfed in flame.
Out of the wreckage, Mack comes running, holding the gigantic, buffalo rifle over his head. Just as Virgil is about to load the rifle, Archie stops him. Placing a hand on the bullet, Archie links it with the river, then gives Virgil the nod.
Virgil cocks the rifle and puts it to his shoulder, saying, “Run.” But nobody does.
Virgil fires and hits the Behemoth in the Orb. Archie diverts water through the bullet fragments and the Behemoth is defeated. The stone crumbles and falls away and curious skeleton of strange metal falls to the ground. Everyone is knocked from their feet and dust goes everywhere.
Some years later, a battered American flag flies over a fortress they have built out of the creature’s bones. Boats come and go from docks and warehouses along the river.
Archie works in the distillery, helping MacAllister solve a technical problem.
Tunks and Spencer bring a herd of cattle in which are haggled for by Penelope as Laura and Virgil look on.
Jane and Dance are shacked up together. Dance bears burn scars down the left side of his body, but it hasn’t affected his easy smile. Pete comes to call the Sheriff Dance away and Dance says, “Another one? You think word would have gotten around by now.
Dance and his deputies face off with the owners of the slave galley. They are restrained by his deputies, Mack is among them, and the slaves are freed. Dance gives a speech, “This part of the world is free. There are no slaves on this land.”
The last scene is all the characters gathering for a drink of McAllister’s whiskey in the recently completed Saloon #4.
Amazing story. Honestly, this was very good.