A generation ago, the O’Malleys and the Padmores signed for adjacent homesteads and moved west after the conclusion of the Civil War. The two patriarchs of the families had served alongside each other in a Union Kentucky regiment.
Life was hard in the sagebrush valley tucked between two craggy arms of the Rocky Mountains, but the families worked together to cultivate a living through cattle ranching. By the late 1860s, they heard coal was being discovered not far away and Jack O’Malley and Simon Padmore, younger brothers of the Civil War veterans, went to work searching for a coal seam. They were successful by 1875 and began building an extensive mine on Padmore land attracting other people to begin settling on parcels around the initial homesteads. The town of Black Rock, Wyoming territory was officially founded.
Wagon load after wagon load was transported along a guarded route to connect to the nearest stop on the transcontinental railroad to send the goods east and west. Modest wealth began to pour into the Padmore family’s coffers. The Padmores became focused on coal, leaving the O’Malleys to manage the cattle herds. Feeling left out of a success they helped build the O’Malleys wanted their cut of the Padmore mine, but the Padmore family refused creating a rift that is still not healed nearly a decade later.
The town has been steadily growing as a rail line funded by the Padmores is slowly making its way up the twists and turns of the Wyoming landscape to remote Black Rock. Newcomers and established residents alike are often swept up into the conflict between the Padmores and the O’Malleys.
It is in the spring of 1885 that the story begins when a new wave of residents come to town as soon as the snow begins to melt…
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