The trail was a grotesque mixture of dirt, manure and ice. It simultaneously crunched and slid under your boot. We'd spared the womenfolk - putting them up in the wagons. That was part of this life, this journey we'd chosen. It was a life of dirty, thankless work.
We'd left the preacher, and his never ending line of kin, back at Independence Rock. Apparently all there was in his life was praising God and fucking his wives.
I'll admit there were nights when they'd all batted down, that I was a bit jealous, thinkin' of him having his pick of who shared his bed out on the trail on a late winter's night. But there was always a next day where what you left behind the night before - was standing there waiting for you. No life on the journey was easy, even if you had God to play at the gambling table.
He was going to set up a church on the prairie - thinking that someone might appreciate a little Jesus in the wilderness. Figurin' he'd make his mark out on the frontier rather than joining the rest of the Mormon folk at the Great Salt Lake.
The thing with religion though, is one man's savior is another man's sin. I smiled occasionally at the thought of him saying or implying the wrong thing to one of these Plainspeople Indians. Him violently and completely meeting his maker, so much sooner than he'd originally planned. His kin blowing the wind to the west and the south. That was the truth of life out here, don't plan anything to awful into the future - ya never know what 'right now' is waiting behind a corner.
Our Sunday stroll, as we'd come to call it, proceeded down the west face of the Rockies. We'd arrive at Pocatello in another couple days. There, these families would decide on California Gold or the unexplored Northwestern woods and rivers leading out to the new ocean.
For me, I'd get my pay and sit a spell. All them unknowns would still be there when I'd made up my mind. A rifleman could make a living on any of these trails. For what it was worth, fear still paid a really good wage.