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Seward City was in roughshod, chaotic Dakota Territory. The day he arrived by stage, Jud Parker looked impressive, physically a big man, dressed in the best clothing with a tall silk hat. Despite appearances, however, in his pocket he had less than one hundred dollars. Renting a dingy room for ten dollars a week seemed like a fortune to Jud. Yet there was a restlessness here that Jud had noticed imbued the entire countryside. Everyone had something to do, some place to go, some means of making money. Banker Heber Caldwell had accumulated the most money and lived in a house that had cost $30,000. Jud knew that nothing compared to the mansions he had seen back East, but the Caldwell home was what he wanted for himself, and using his ingenuity and his physical prowess, he intended to have it. The first friend Jud makes in Seward City is Buck Loring, a small rancher whose property is mortgaged to Caldwell. When Jud notices the beautiful Miss Mary Alice Curry, Caldwell's cold, efficient secretary and chief assistant at the bank, Buck wagers twenty dollars that Jud won't be able to get close to her. Jud sets his hat for Mary Alice, overcomes her rebuffs, and is able to use information from her to make the first of his long gambles towards making his fortune in this new land.  Read more...

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Lauran Paine

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