Disclaimer: This is an original amateur story based on the characters and situations created in the TV series, The Magnificent Seven. No profit is derived from it and no infringements upon any copyrights held by any organization or individual are implied.
Author's Notes How does an AU get started? In this case, by coming across, in connection with another project, the phrase "Must be good riders--orphans preferred." This brought to mind the other requirements of the Pony Express ("young, skinny, wiry fellows") and inspired the realization that, if JD Dunne had been born 20 years earlier, he would have been perfectly suited for the position. From there I quickly thought up rationalizations for the presence of the other six in the pre-Civil-War West, and so made up my mind to give the idea a try. This story, which is set in 1860, is intended as the first of a series that will take the group through the War.
All guns mentioned actually existed and had the attributes given; Vin's Volcanic carbine was in fact the direct ancestor of the Henry repeater, and through it of the Winchester, and looked very much like both. I am deeply indebted to Atlas Editions, creators of the Classic Firearms collectible card set--a treasure trove for anyone writing the Seven in either OW or ATF stories. (Visit their Web site at http://www.atlaseditions.com.)
The Physio-Botanic and Physio-Medical Reform Systems of medicine existed, and the latter did graduate female students ("Mother" Mary Ann Bickerdyke, who during the War came to be known as "the Bulldog of the Sanitary Commission," was one of them). Whether it actually admitted blacks I don't know, but for the reasons given it seemed logical to suppose that it might have. Chris's assertion that military regulations do not forbid him from exercising civil functions is correct for the time of the story: not until June 15, 1872, did an act of Congress go into effect providing that any officer on the active list who did so was thereby vacating his commission unless the specific act was performed by direct order of the state or Territorial governor.
The town of "Jamesburg" is located where the actual community of Julesburg was (and in fact still is), and has the same reputation as its model. Fort Sedgwick actually existed and lay only a mile upstream from the town-- doubtless contributing to that reputation, soldiers being what they are. (I have taken slight artistic license with it, in that it actually wasn't established until 1864; it seemed logical, given that the Platte River route was the most used into the "diggings" at Denver, that a post to protect the "home stretch" would have been emplaced at an early date.) Basic historic information regarding the setting was obtained chiefly from http://www.over-land.com/julesbrg.html. "Road ranches" like Nettie Wells's did in fact come into being in the manner described and were abundantly strewn all along the overland routes by the outbreak of the War. All information regarding the Pony Express is as accurate as 35 years of research into the American West can guarantee.
Size: Approx 370K
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