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Morgan "Doc" Crowe

Cool-headed, tough-as-nails Civil War veteran who really wishes he didn't give a damn

0 · 191 views · located in Splitcreek, Arizona

a character in “Westward Bound”, as played by Luv-is-a-Bug

Description

Given Name: Morgan Crowe

Nickname: Doc

Gender: Male

Age: 34

Good guy or bad guy? Explain: Morgan would like to think of himself as one of the good guys. I mean, he isn’t about to go risking his life on principle or anything, but he’ll stand up for the people he cares about. He committed his share of atrocities in the war, and since then he's kept a low profile, and even tried to make amends in his own way by becoming Splitcreek's doctor. But when it comes to choosing a side, Morgan really just wants to be left alone. Still, something's been bothering him recently. If he doesn't fight to take back Splitcreek, if he allows outlaws to terrorize women and children in the streets, can he really call himself a good guy? Good people don't look the other way. Good people don't just stitch up wounds and help bury the dead, they fight to protect the people and places they care for. Morgan's greatest fear is that in refusing to declare a side...he sort of already has.

Position: Town doctor, rancher, and a Civil War veteran.

Personality:
Morgan is a pensive, thoughtful man, and he’s seen a lot in his 34 years. He's a smart guy, no question, and he's got a strong moral compass, though he'd like to deny it. The hardships he's suffered in life have made him something of a hermit, and he's not much of a talker, but when he does speak it's a careful, thoughtful response that clearly articulates what's on his mind. For a largely antisocial person, Morgan spends a lot of his time around people. When not working on patients in his office or making house calls, he's often sitting at the bar in his favorite saloon, the Silver Spur, making small talk with the barkeep.
He’d like to pretend he doesn’t give a damn about the recent uproar in town, but he really does. He’s always got his eyes peeled and a hand on the trigger, should things really take a turn for the worse in Splitcreek. Oh yes, Morgan cares a great deal about the goings on in town, but he won’t admit it. He’d rather play it cool and bite his tongue, even though the crimes in Splitcreek are starting to drive him mad. After the Civil War, Morgan moved West for a fresh start, but trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. He can't escape the ghosts of his past, and as hard as he tries to take a neutral stance, something always seems to be pulling him back in. He wants to be the voice of reason, an impartial party, but something about watching outlaws lie and cheat just makes his blood boil. Maybe it's because he's a righteous man, or maybe (and this is what Morgan really fears) it's because he sees himself in those outlaws- the parts of himself he hates more than anything. He'd like to think he can bury his old sins by treating tuberculosis and soothing fevers, but all the medical work in the world can't clear his conscious.
His cardinal sin? He smokes. Frequently, and with relish. Not that that was uncommon in the late 1800's, but he's a doctor for crying out loud. Ah well.

Skills: He thinks before he acts. That may not sound like much a skill, but in a town with more than its fair share of trigger-happy bozos, his reason and cool demeanour have served him well. He’s a pretty good shot, thanks to his brief but demanding army service, and he knows a few tricks with his gun. And, of course, being a doctor and all, he’s pretty handy in a medical emergency.

History:
Morgan grew up in the Northeast, the only son of Virgil and Abigail Crowe. Growing up, Morgan had a taste for adventure, and always dreamed of travelling to new and exciting places. Home was never all that great- his father had a serious drinking problem and his mother was an opium addict. He had just turned 19 at the start of the Civil War, and was eager to fight for the North and achieve the great glory he had come to associate with war. Fighting for the Union proved to be a sobering experience, and he turned his back on his old life for a chance to move out West and start anew. Morgan left many things behind at home- a family, his first love, the comfort and safety of civilization. He's always been a wanderer, never really tied to one place, and the horror of war was all that was needed to drive him from his home town into the unknown dangers of the Wild West.
He was one of the first to settle in Splitcreek, and set up shop as a doctor. He’s watched Splitcreek grow into a thriving town, and he’s growing uneasy with the lack of law and order. But he won’t get involved. No Sir, he’s paid his dues. He’s already got one foot out the door, and might be leaving town any day. But something keeps him here. Some part of him wants to be a hero, wants to bring justice to a town struggling to find its way. He might, just might, be convinced to play for the good guys, but he’s had too much experience playing devil’s advocate is unlikely to pick a side at all.

Personal Relationships: Morgan does his best to avoid personal relationships at all costs.

Appearance:
Morgan is your typical rugged rancher type. Tan skin, rough hands, a good strong jaw. His cool grey eyes, shaded by a heavy brow, appear to be in a constant squint, as if he were intently searching for something. For a man who makes most of his money associating with people (albeit injured/dying people), Morgan doesn’t smile very often, and when he does it tends to look rather unnatural- a very forced, tight-lipped gesture. He’s a very stoic, statuesque man, and being 6’3”, he can cut a pretty imposing figure. He has a scar on his left cheek that he doesn’t like to talk about; it’s rumoured to be a battle wound. He’s not big on flashy clothing, and prefers the simplicity and comfort of work shirts and his wide brim tan hat. He’s had the same boots for 12 years, and doesn’t plan on replacing them any time soon. Really, he could care less what you think of his lack lustre ensemble.


Image

So begins...

Morgan "Doc" Crowe's Story

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It was only midday and Morgan was already exhausted. His day had begun long before dawn, and his tiredness was easily read in the bags under his eyes and the deep lines in his face. It wasn’t the sort of tiredness cured by a good night’s sleep (not that Morgan had those very often) or a hot meal or even a day’s rest. No, this was the sort of deep-down fatigue that becomes as much a part of you as your own skin, a tiredness you drag like a ball and chain wherever you go.

Morgan had started the morning by making a house call to a rancher who lived on the outskirts of town. The rancher, a Mr. John Hooker, had come banging on Morgan’s door at half past four, screaming that his child was dying. Groggy and disoriented, Morgan had grabbed his medical bag and stumbled out into the inkiness of a still-dark morning, where he was greeted by more frantic yelling and pleading from Mr. Hooker. After assuring the man that he would do all he could, he saddled up his tired gelding, Tex, and rode out to the modest ranch house where the Hookers resided. Inside the squat cabin he’d found a young child, no older than 7 or 8, burning up with fever, and a sobbing mother mopping the child’s brow with shaking hands. Now fully immersed in the crisis, Morgan reverted to his war-time calm and set about his work, swiftly unpacking the necessary supplies from his bag. He’d gently but firmly ushered Mrs. Hooker from the room (doting mothers tended to get in the way), and set about examining the feverish child. The infection that had caused the fever was intense and acute, and the longer Morgan worked on the child (whose name, his mother tearfully informed him from the doorway, was Billy), the more apparent it became that he was little to nothing he could do for the suffering boy.

Finally, after an hour of applying salves and administering medicine and feeling generally useless, Morgan stepped back with a grim expression and informed Mr. Hooker there was nothing more he could do. He’d left Mrs. Hooker with instructions to help get the boy’s fever down, and felt a sharp pang of guilt in doing so. He was fairly certain the boy wouldn’t make it to nightfall, but had found it impossible to say so in front of the boy’s weeping mother. Instead, he’d quietly told this to Mr. Hooker in the doorway, before tipping his hat and stepping out into the weak morning light. He’d ridden home with the rising sun, and made it back to his home/office on Splitcreek’s main street just as the last drunken gamblers were stumbling out of the saloons.

The child’s illness weighed heavily on him, and he’d spent the next few hours tossing in turning in a fitful sleep. At 9 in the morning he’d awoken again, this time to make himself some breakfast and tidy up his office, which, with its empty liquor bottles, discarded newspapers, and slew of random items, was looking the worse for wear. Morgan spent many days like this, restless and irritable and feeling guilty for one shortcoming or another. His inability to cure Billy Hooker had left him feeling utterly useless, and he wondered for what must’ve been the thousandth time why he’d taken up medicine in the first place. It was supposed to give him purpose and direction after the war, perhaps even help to clear his conscience, but more often than not his job as the town doctor only served to remind him that there was little he could do to help the innocent.

From nine to noon he’d seen patients in his office, distracting himself with setting broken bones, stitching up wounds from nasty bar fights, and prescribing medicines for sore backs and chronic headaches. By the time the sun was hanging directly overhead, Morgan could take it no longer. He needed out of his stuffy office and away from the nagging patients, whose aches and pains seemed trivial compared to those of the small boy fighting for his life at Hooker Ranch. He’d made his way down the street to the Silver Spur Saloon, the one place he was sure to find respite from his patients’ gripes. Perhaps noon was a little early to be drinking, but Morgan reasoned that his trip to the saloon could serve multiple purposes. The saloon was a good place to catch up on the goings-on in the town, and Morgan could sit and listen to the chatter around him without having to directly engage anyone in conversation.

Morgan was now seated at the worn, vaguely grimy surface of the Silver Spur’s bar, his back to the saloon’s double door entrance. “Whiskey for me, Ed,” he said to the barkeep, a man who looked to be about as old as the dirt of Splitcreek. The bartender, an old friend (if you really want to call Morgan’s acquaintances friends), gave him a curt nod and poured him a whiskey. “Rough day, Doc?” he asked, wiping down the bar’s surface. “You have no idea, Ed,” Morgan said, shaking his head. “You have no idea.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Samuel Cole
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The sun beat down above them as Sam wiped the back of his neck with his kerchief for what seemed like the hundredth time. He'd been steadily riding for a few days now, coming in out of Yuma in search of this little town. The gold rush was hitting big here, and he figured he might try making a little money to put in his own pocket. Who knows, the town was growing big with the influx of gold miners. And a fast growing town meant trouble. Maybe he could get work as a sheriff's deputy or some such.

He looked out at the empty desert around him, finally seeing the town in the distance. He pulled out a canteen which held the last of his water. He took a gulp for himself, then poured out a little into his hand, offering it to his horse. The horse was an American Quarter horse, a young gelding he'd had for two years now named Sager. He watched as the horse drank the last of the water greedily from his hands, chuckling a little. "Easy now boy, you'll take my hand hand off." He wiped his hand off on his trousers and put the canteen away.

He eased his horse into a steady trot, only letting up once they'd arrived at the edge of town. He sat up more in the saddle, his back was sore and he was covered in dirt and dust from the few days ride, but at least he'd made it. A new life, a new beginning. Well, at least that's what some would say. For Sam, most of his experiences with moving around some amounted to just a change of scenery and jobs, no new life. Nothing like that. No place where he didn't go to sleep at night and remember that winter.

He finally climbed off his horse, and lead it over to the hitching post closest to the saloon. He tightened up his pistol belt and stretched a little, then loosened the saddle on the horse some before turning and heading inside the saloon itself. He eased up to the bar, largely ignoring the older man a few seats down from him, instead glancing his eyes towards the long mirror hanging along the top of the bar, allowing him to keep an eye on his horse while he rested.

"A beer." He said to the ancient looking bar tender once the man gave him his attention. The man nodded, pouring him a tall beer that Sam accepted, glad for something cool after the heat of the day.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock Character Portrait: Samuel Cole
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#, as written by Coupons
Shortly after the others had settled into their seats at the Silver Spur, the doors swung open for the town sheriff. He stood out compared to the road-worn visitors who sat at the bar, sharp-eyed as he was, bathed, with a trimmed beard, and wearing a clean, pressed suit. He was all in black, but for a white shirt and cravat which were tucked underneath his vest. He strode up to the bar in polished shoes and took a seat a few stools down from the other patrons, where he had a good view of the main entrance. He unbuttoned his jacket as he shifted to get comfortable on the stool, revealing, pinned to his vest, the silver star which was his badge of office; his revolver rested not far below it, in a leather holster on his hip.

He took off his bowler hat, setting it on the surface before him. His brown hair was long, but tied loose in a knot behind his head. He got the barkeeper's attention with a raised hand. “Breakfast for these fellows,” he said, pulling a half-dollar coin out of a vest pocket and placing it on the bar, “if they haven’t already had it.” He offered a knowing nod towards the doctor, along with a brief flash of a comforting smile. “I’ll have some, as well. And coffee, please. Too early for anything else.”

Image was important, Clif knew. It was part of the job, being a spark of hope in an otherwise grim existence. No matter how cynical he’s felt at times, he’s always believed there’s no harm in paying it forward, especially towards someone who might save his life one day. “You look like you’ve seen a lot of shit this morning already,” he said, his tone matter-of-fact. “Have to keep that energy up, for your sake.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock
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Sam glanced over to the sheriff, listening to what the man said. He was honestly surprised, the last town he'd spent any time in had a sheriff who'd threatened to shoot him if he did anything that the man didn't like. So to see one dressed like this and willingly buying a total stranger breakfast was... new, to say the least. He nodded to the lawman before taking another sip of the cold beer. "Well, I think I'll take you up on that offer. My thanks to you sheriff." He said, Missouri accent slipping through.

"I'll take an order of egg's, some sausage, and toast." He told the man behind the counter, seeing what they had cooking on the stove. Compared to the clean cut sheriff, and even the tired looking man across from him. He was pretty rough looking. A few days without a shave had left quite a bit of scruff on his face. His clothes were doused with dust and some sweat. He planned to get a room and a bath after this, then change into some fresher clothes.

Sam stretched a little popping his back some after so long sitting in the saddle. He'd need work soon, preferably somewhere he could put his gun to use and actually help people. He glanced back into the mirror, keeping an eye on his horse. He was also slightly worried, wondering what the sheriff would say about him carrying openly in the town. He hadn't seen any signs, but many towns he'd been to were upholding a no guns inside town policy. Soon, the smell of his food cooking hit his nose, and a plate was set before him. Realizing how tired he was of hard tack and beef jerky, he pretty quickly grabbed up his fork and started digging into his meal.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock Character Portrait: Samuel Cole
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Morgan had just taken the first sip of his whiskey when a tall, scruffy stranger strode into the saloon and sat down at the bar. Caked in desert dust and wearing a thin sheen of sweat, Morgan swore that he could smell the man from where he sat. His filthy clothes and half-grown beard told the tale of a hard ride through the desert, and the doctor briefly wondered where the man had come from. Splitcreek drew all sorts, and with the way things were going these days, you could never tell whether the strangers who rode in were friend or foe. Morgan didn't attempt conversation, just kept the man in his peripheral vision and sipped his whiskey, which was just strong enough to dull the throbbing pain that had started up in his head. Morgan was used to these headaches; they tended to pop up when he was feeling guilty or upset, which, due to the shortcomings of small-town medicine, he often was. He took a long drink and stared down at the bar, his mouth set in a hard line.

The saloon doors swung open a second time, creaking on their old hinges. This time Morgan didn't need to look up to recognize the purposeful footsteps approaching the bar. There was a crispness in the way the sheriff walked, a gait that wasn't exactly stiff, but was far from the easy stroll of any old cowboy. He was a big man, but he moved with intention, never expending more energy than was necessary. He was watchful and ominous, a presence that, depending on one's outlook, was either comforting or foreboding, and he had a way of clearing the street when he went walking by. The sheriff appeared in the corner of Morgan's vision, a sharp contrast to the stranger at the bar. Somehow Clif looked more intimidating in a smart suit than any rough-and-tumble outlaw in a filthy bandana.

He watched Clif remove his hat and set it down on the bar, Ed ready and waiting for the sheriff's instructions. Morgan smiled faintly as the sheriff ordered breakfast for him and the stranger and raised his glass in quiet thanks. Morgan and Clif had an unspoken understanding between the two of them, and a mutual appreciation for each other's service to the town. The doctor might have quietly disagreed with some of the sheriff's methods, but who was he to talk when he spent most of his day holed up in his office, trying to forget the last time he'd had to choose sides? War was a terrible thing, and it had scarred Morgan in ways he still didn't fully understand. No, he was thankful for the sheriff- thankful that there was at least one person in this town willing to take action. Things weren't so dire yet that Morgan felt he had to choose a side, and he prayed that day never came. For now the sheriff served as the dam that held back the filthy tide of outlaws from spilling into Splitcreek. How long that dam would hold exactly, no one knew for sure.

"You look like you've seen a lot of shit this morning already." Morgan felt another sharp pang of guilt at the sheriff's words. "Billy Hooker," he began, "John's youngest...he's not well. Infection." The heavy sigh Morgan heaved made it clear he thought the prognosis was grim. "Wish he'd come to me sooner," Morgan muttered. "There was no helping it by the time I finally got round to him..." Another heavy sigh. "Anyway, cheers, Sheriff" Morgan said half-heartedly, raising his glass once more. "And to you too, stranger," he said, acknowledging Sam. "Welcome to Splitcreek. You ought to stay on the good side of this man here." He gave Clif a wry smile. "May look smart in that suit, but he's handy with a knife."

"What brings you to Splitcreek?" he asked Sam, moving along to a lighter topic. The inquiry was innocent enough, but these questions were often telling.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wildcat Kate Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock Character Portrait: Samuel Cole Character Portrait: Oliver Hope Character Portrait: Johanna Baker
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Oliver wiped the handkerchief across his brow, the sweat trying to force its way into his eyes. Shoving the cotton square in his pocket, he pushed his shirt sleeves up to his elbows and out of the way before hoisting the barrel onto his shoulder. Jo's fingers tapped a quick beat out on the railing behind the saloon.

"You could help," Oliver suggested. Jo laughed aloud.

"Now why would I help when I have you to do all the heavy lifting?" she asked playfully. He just sighed and hauled the barrel up the steps. All the other saloons were cutting their whiskey with turpentine or gunpowder, but the Old Man had never done that. So Oliver and Johanna never did it. In fact, they were almost religious about keeping the Silver Spur the same way he had kept it. Very little had changed. Neither sibling could decide if they were honoring the man that helped them when they needed it most or if they just weren't quite ready to let go of the way he did things. Or to let go of him.

One by one, Oliver rolled the barrels onto the back deck. He would load them behind the bar in the evening, but at the moment they needed to get back to the bar. Ed could handle a lot of shit, but leaving anyone alone to run the Silver Spur for too long was just asking for the kind of trouble that brought buildings down in flames.



Jo traipsed through the doors behind her brother. "Late breakfast, boys?" she greeted the men at her bar counter. She stopped in front of the stranger, ignoring the dramatic goings on of those she already knew. There'd be time enough for that any day. "You're new. You should answer him," she said in reference to Morgan's query. Oliver huffed a laugh from where he was cleaning abandoned glasses off the tables, but he didn't say anything to stop his sister from prying. After all, he was curious too. He'd take any way that he could satisfy his mind and still save some face.

"Yer cheating!" Oliver's head whipped around to find the gambler clobbering the table with his grubby fist and yelling. "Yer a goddamned theif! Ain't nobody that lucky!" Johanna's back straightened, and her mouth pressed into a thin line.

"Watch yourselves over there," Oliver snapped, but the gambler pulled out his pistol on the woman anyway. Guns were not something Oliver was really ever prepared to deal with. Drunks, yes, arguments, yes, but guns made him freeze up every time.

Johanna's hand found her own pistol under the bar, the rest of her body not moving an inch.

"You know the rules," she said. "If you're in here, you're pistol's in its holster. I'd hate for something bad to happen, and I'm sure the sheriff here would hate to have his breakfast get cold."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wildcat Kate Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock Character Portrait: Samuel Cole Character Portrait: Oliver Hope Character Portrait: Johanna Baker
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Sam kept eating for a moment longer before wiping his mouth and chin. Cocking an eyebrow a little when more dust came off than anything else. He looked over to the doctor for a moment before nodding and offering the man a handshake. "I reckon I'll be trying my best to stay out of any trouble. 'Specially with the sheriff. I'm Sam, Sam Cole" He said, chuckling a little before eating some more.

"As for what brings me here?" Sam thought for a moment. "I guess it was just time for a change of scenery. Got tired of shoveling coal into a fire box all day, even if it did pay good. Heard about this place and figured I might be able to make a little pay. Might even settle." He told the older man and the young woman who'd joined their conversation, pulling out a simple looking pocket watch with the Union Pacific Rail Road logo on it. He had a little money saved up, enough to buy a plot of land he figured, traveling like he did, you didn't spend a lot of money. He noticed that the young woman seemed fairly interested in hearing what he had to say, figuring that it was just part and parcel since she was working behind the bar. News was news, and a new face showing up in town was always of interest to others.

"Yer Cheating!" Sam heard the drunken man call out behind him. He slipped the pocket watch back into his vest pocket as soon as the commotion started behind him. He turned around in his bar stool, watching as the man slammed a fist down onto the table, staring at the woman across from him. Poker chips and cards clattered to the floor from the force.
The woman looked about as rough and trail worn as he figured he did, her braid had bits and ends sticking out at angles, and her face and clothes were streaked with dust. She hurriedly stuffed the money into her pocket and said something to the man.

As soon as the drunks hand went for his pistol, Sam slipped his hand down carefully, unbuckling his holster to free his gun to draw. He watched the exchange closely, waiting for the sheriff to take action first.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Wildcat Kate Character Portrait: Morgan "Doc" Crowe Character Portrait: Sheriff Clifton Wheelock Character Portrait: Samuel Cole Character Portrait: Oliver Hope Character Portrait: Johanna Baker
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#, as written by Coupons
The sheriff was calmly eating his meal until the card game went wrong. All of the locals knew him as the quiet type; though usually friendly enough, he was a man of few words. Upon hearing news of the boy, “I’m real sorry to hear about that,” was the only reply which came. Once iron cleared leather, though, Clif put down his fork, turned towards the commotion, stood up from the stool, and spoke some carefully-selected words. “You just put that gun down on the table, now.” His voice was calm, but authoritative. His hands made no motion for his gun, his arms hanging idly by his sides. “If I think you’ve been cheated, I’ll see you get your money back, but you let me get a feel for that stranger first, before you go shooting her. Alright? Whatever happens, your worst choices start with pulling that trigger. I mean, sure, you could shoot her, shoot me, and shoot whoever else you think is a threat, but you ain’t got enough bullets to keep yourself from running, in the end. Nobody wants that. . . Not even you, if you think real hard about it. . . She ain’t worth it, and neither’s that money, so put it down.”

Out of words he thought might be useful, the sheriff just took a deep breath and closed his eyes. His hand drifted slowly to rest on the grip of his pistol as he exhaled slowly, just listening to the quiet stirring of the saloon. He hoped that quiet wasn’t the last he’d hear before his life was snuffed out in a flash of drunken anger. He’d been ready to die for a long time, truth be told. If he went now, he’d be fine to retell his own story on the other side, whether he arrived at the gates to Heaven or Hell. He was content, and he’d lived a good life, and that was all he could have hoped for, until now. Now his only hope was that what he’d said would get that man to put down his gun, and that he’d live to see mid-day.