Despite the rise of the Rail Barons, the mighty Mississippi and Missouri Rivers still provide the most direct and comfortable routes to Missouri's capital city. The war put an end to the gaudy showboats that used to ply these arteries of muddy water but the recent ceasefire has allowed a few enterprising souls to once again return to the business of ferrying passengers and freight up and down the rivers. Gone are the jazz bands and dancing girls, replaced now with the grim scenery of a war ravaged country.
The city of St Louis, once a boomtown supplying the westward expansion, is now little more than a sullen outpost of the Confederacy, an armed camp awaiting a renewal of war. A bit further north is Jefferson Barracks, the primary base for the Confederacy and still honored among many Missourians for its most famous commander, Robert E. Lee. Turning east and heading up the Missouri River, passengers are met with the sight of a rich river valley where farmers till the soil to fill the granaries of the state. Yet as the miles slip by the farms become fewer and a greater number of field lay fallow, a silent testament to how the end of slavery has caused a change in the power based of this once prosperous state. The lack of cheap labor has brought the sprawling plantations of Little Dixie to an end and now small farms dot the land, scraping a living from fields that once allowed many established families to live in relative opulence.
Stepping from the gangplank of the riverboat you are confronted with Jefferson City. Wood and brick structures spill down the hills to present a rough warehouse district at the river front while the capital building stands vigil over the whole. To someone from Back East, such a sight is almost laughable but here on the edge of the West such a town is an outpost of civilization that would be near paradise if it weren't so close to the more polished city of St. Louis.
Shouldering your bag you turn your back to the early winter wind and begin the hike up the hills to meet Captain James Heivilin of the Texas Rangers.