The first thing I clearly remember is riding across a hot prairie on horseback.
My awareness of even that came slowly, reluctantly, like waking from a deep sleep, or emerging from anesthesia. But a girl usually remembers having gone to her bed in the first place—or being wheeled into surgery.
I couldn't access any such background. Just a slow rocking, and the creak of leather, and the strolling clop-clop of what turned out to be horse-hooves.
Occasionally a horse would snort.
My mouth felt gritty and dry. My body ached. Heat warmed my hunched shoulders through some kind of heavy material. Something shaded my face and blocked my view of the sky—in any case, my head bowed downward. So the first visual I got was my hands clutching what turned out to be a saddlehorn; and a horse's black mane and sleek, brown neck; and, far far below me, some very overgrown grass.
The horse and I weren't on a trail of any sort.
I could smell the grass baking—that's how hot the sun was. And I could smell the horses, a rich, sweet, alive smell. Comfortingly real. But why wouldn’t it be?
Slowly, very slowly, my confused brain began to catalog other details. My awareness expanded—the soles of my bare feet registering rough lacing in the saddle's fat leather stirrups. Sometimes tall grass brushed at my exposed toes. Once I noticed that, I realized that I was barelegged, too—pretty close to nude, in fact. I wore a blazer of some kind, hence the heavy material on my shoulders and arms. The oversized suit jacket fell to my naked knees and smelled of horses and dust and sweat too old to stink anymore. I wore no bra. No panties. The only reason my thighs hadn't rubbed completely raw was that some kind of material had been laid across the leather of the saddle beneath me.
I also wore a too-large hat that rested low on the bridge of my nose, restricting my vision further. The main reason I couldn't see, though, was how I’d been staring, unfocused, hunched downward, full-body shivering despite the heat.
Increasingly focused now, aware of the oxygen in my lungs and the blink of my eyes, I still hesitated to look up. Looking up would make it real.
Something awful had happened.
So I rode along that way for a good while, half-slumped in a real saddle on a real-live horse, trying with muddled success to figure out why I was there and why I didn't automatically know why.
Deep breaths eased the shivering, if not the paranoia.
My brain, once it started to hum, tired of those few details. But when I tried to remember why, shivers and nausea warned me away from full panic. I distracted myself noticing other, safer, more immediate things, like: I held no reins. I wasn't sure I'd know what to do with them if I had some, but weren't reins a fairly vital part of horseback riding?
I had to look up. Even from beneath the black overhang of that big hat, the immediate world in which I'd found myself expanded. My horse wore a crude halter made of rope. It followed a man riding a pretty, yellowish horse with a black tail.
Danger? He didn't inspire fear, though. Just curiosity.
I couldn't see much of him except his sturdy back and his hair, almost blond on the shaggy ends against his collar but brunette against his head. His long-sleeved shirt had sweated through, bisected by a Y of suspenders, and he'd tucked his brown pants into knee-high boots. He rode bareback, thighs clenching and relaxing against the horse's yellow sides, probably because his leather-gloved hands were otherwise occupied. His right hand held the rope that led my horse. His left hand held a second lead which—I dared to turn my head, suddenly interacting with this new world—tied onto several more horses that followed behind us. Five of them trailed docilely, like dogs taught to heel, with loops loose around their necks. I imagined the suspendered man would be in trouble if they all decided to buck, or stampede, or whatever horses do when they act up. But though their ears tilted toward my movement, they didn't look like they had any plans for deviant behavior.
Not around this man. Just the way he held those two ropes and rode without reins indicated that he knew what he was doing.
I held tighter to my saddlehorn.
Around our little equine cluster stretched nothing but more tall, thick, toasted grass—rolling miles of it which we cut through like boats through water. Where was I? And who was the man on the yellow horse?
For that matter, who was I? Not only couldn't I remember—the silent question made me gag. My stomach had nothing in it to vomit.
Something truly awful had happened.
Did the something awful have to do with this man? Perched atop a horse, with no memory, I'd rather think he was a guardian than a captor. I ached all over, and my inner thighs were rubbing despite the padding beneath me, but pain? Not really. My wrists, maybe… but a glance at them showed no marks.
Still, I felt sick, and I was almost naked.
The man wearing suspenders, I noticed nervously, also wore a gun, backwards, on his hip.
Was I being rescued, or kidnapped?
I considered making a run for it. Running felt right, with fighting a close second. Except… he held the rope to my horse, and I wasn't sure I could steer even if the horse and I broke free. And I was hardly dressed to scamper through the grass barefoot. Besides, I wouldn't know where to run to, or who I ran from.
Heat and helplessness sucked strength from me. Okay, so it hurt to try to remember. I'd just start from scratch, right? I could see tangled brown hair on my shoulder, against the gray material of the overlong blazer, making me a brunette. I looked at my long-fingered hands and noted that they had nice nails, but would I have accepted calluses just as easily? They weren't old hands. My calves and ankles, bare beneath the hem of the blazer, looked slim and tanned and clean-shaven. I raised a tentative hand to my face, but felt no wrinkles, and quickly regrasped the saddlehorn before I could fall. I even counted my teeth with my tongue. Twenty-six. Against what norm? Besides, wasn't it horses whose teeth tell their age?
Not enough. Concentrate on something, anything, that's happened before now.
But my thoughts recoiled, refusing to cross that threshold.
Maybe he knew. The man with the suspenders. And the gun.
Even as I watched, he twisted gracefully to look back toward the little herd of horses. I could see his close brown beard, and that the beard wasn’t to enhance a weak chin—his profile was almost too strong. Then he turned the other way and glanced casually back at me.
I met his eyes, and he stared evenly for a second. Then he said, "Ho."
My horse stopped, right there, and he dropped its rope leash to dangle to the ground. But he had to say "Ho" a few more times, and more loudly, to get the looped-together bevy of horses behind us to stop as well. Once he even said, "Ho now," and the way he said "now" sounded distinctly thick and southern. The horse he rode had turned sideways in the meantime, and then all the other animals came to a shuffling stop and stood around, swishing their ponytails and tilting their ears.
The man considered me for a moment, and I considered him—early-forties, I thought, wishing I could place my own age so easily. Sun had weathered his cheeks and nose and neck, leaving his paler forehead more smooth. A heavy brow shadowed bright eyes, a light color like blue or gray, so stern and direct that I wondered if he couldn't have just stared those horses into stopping and saved some breath.
Not that he looked to run out of it soon.
He raised a gloved hand toward his bare forehead, paused, then dropped it—an awkward movement. Then he nodded a mute greeting at me.I took a breath and realized I'd been holding it. "Hi there," I said, surprised by my uneven voice. So that's what I sounded like. Yay, for remembering language.
He nodded again. "Good day," he greeted formally, his own voice gravelly as if from disuse. "I..." he started—more a southern-sounding ah, really—but hesitated, cleared his throat. "Reckon you'll be wantin' to stop a spell."
He shifted his gaze to some nothingness over my shoulder, as if maybe he found discomfort in looking at me. Was I deformed? That suddenly didn't seem as important as the fact that I had to pee.
Oh! I nodded, considered the distance between me and the ground, and shifted to get down. Suddenly he and his horse were close enough for him to grasp my wrist, which he did with leather-gloved, iron fingers. That surprised me, but his gray eyes brooked no argument.
I froze at something that wasn’t him. No. Please, no….
He let go immediately—practically snatched his hand away—but indicated the ground on his side of me, not the other. "Best dismount left," he drawled, as if I hadn't just whimpered.
He swung gracefully off his own horse, then came around it to help me.
Ah. More clues to piece together without the threat of memory. I wasn't an experienced rider.
His hands caught me beneath the arms, strong through the heavy material of my jacket, and lowered me. This proved helpful; even before my bare feet touched the ground, my legs went wobbly. I held on to the saddle—too close; it knocked the brim of my over-large hat, which fell down my back and caught with a cord at my throat. When I put weight on my feet, my right ankle jolted me with pain, and I gasped.
The man released me again, stepping warily back so as not to be a threat. The cloth that had covered my saddle began to slide off too. I caught it clumsily, still standing on one foot, and glanced back at where he stood, watching me. "My foot hurts."
I tried stepping more gingerly on it, then drew it back up, stork-like. How was I supposed to pee, standing on one foot? Would I need his assistance?
Should I even know this man?
He stared at me, as if uncertain, then sank into a crouch in front of me and cupped my lifted foot. I let him have it, inhaling sharply when his leather-clad fingers sent another shock of pain up my leg. All I could see of him now, from above, were heavy shoulders and uncombed hair. Hat hair, minus the hat. Then I looked at the cloth, the one I’d been straddling, now in my hands. A man’s vest.
His clothes, I realized dully as he used a handkerchief to bind my injured ankle. When he jerked the knot tight, he felt particularly real too.
Well why wouldn’t he?
He drew quickly back and stood. "Try that," he suggested, avoiding my gaze, so I did.
It still hurt, but I could stand on my own, now. This man had given me his hat, vest, and jacket—though why anyone needed to layer in this heat was a mystery. Now he’d helped me stand, literally on my own two feet. When he ventured a glance back at me, I smiled my thanks.
He looked quickly away again, stepping no closer than to slide a hugely long rifle from a scabbard on my saddle. Surprise! I'd been armed too. "Best check th'animals," he announced, and disappeared around the other horses. For a moment I felt disoriented by his absence. Stranger or not, he at least seemed to know who he was and what he was doing. And he hadn't tried to hurt me.
That I knew of.
Oh yeah—nature's call. I started to limp around my own horse too, for extra privacy, but the horse gave me a mean look, tossed its head and snorted. It seemed like a very big horse, and it really didn't want me on that side. Got it.
Rather than risk further gaffes, I made do pretty much where I was, putting most of my weight on my left ankle and, afterward, carefully wiping myself with dry grass. I hoped there weren’t bugs or poison ivy in there. Whatever awful thing had happened, it had left me naked and gimpy and toilet-paperless. That didn’t bode well.
An accident? Somehow, the idea of an accident didn't seem so bad compared to—what?
My mind wouldn't cooperate and welcomed the distraction of a bird flying by. The sun-paled sky overhead seemed like an empty, clear-blue tent, pegged down close enough on the horizon to touch. I stood there, weak in the heat, waited until my well-armed companion returned, and felt wary relief when he did. His presence gave me distraction from poking at the lost memory that part of my mind so desperately guarded against. He touched a horse on the shoulder, and checked another one's foot. That gave me a chance to watch him a moment. Every movement was sure. Though he walked a little stiffly, he didn't seem arthritic or injured. He just looked like he'd just rather be on a horse. As he got closer I searched his plain, no-nonsense face for some sense of familiarity. I found nothing, nada, zip. He didn't exactly scare me, but with his beard and stern expression he looked fairly foreboding. So did his firearms.
If we did know each other, I sure hoped we were on good terms. That he’d bound my ankle was a hopeful sign, wasn’t it?
The hat string cut at my throat, so I took the whole thing off. When he came close enough to holster the rifle onto my saddle with a leathery swoosh, I extended the hat to him.
He glanced from the hat to me. "Best keep yer head covered." Despite the slow drawl, he didn't sound stupid. Just deliberate.
"It blocks my view," I insisted, but his expression didn't waver. And okay, the sun was already starting to scald my head through the hair, but I welcomed the sensation. Real. Heat must be baking his head, too, and I'd had the hat longer. Noticing the red cloth at his bearded throat, hanging in folds halfway down his shirt, I added, "I could wear your bandana."
He considered that, then lifted the material over his head and handed it to me, reclaiming the hat. When I moved to shake the oversized bandana out, he suddenly had my wrist again.
"Spook the horses," he warned. Despite his near-monosyllabic conversation, I felt like the dumb one as I smoothed out the scarf more carefully. For his part, he put on the hat—they were made for each other—and lifted a canteen from my saddle. He hesitated, then wiped its mouth on his shirt sleeve before handing it to me.
Though I had finished slipping the bandana over my hair, I wished he'd gone first so I could see how much to drink. Ladies first, I guess. I took a swallow of the best-tasting warm, tinny water I've ever had—I imagine—then paused to okay it with him, then took another few swallows. He reached for the canteen, so I gave it back.
He took one long draw without wiping, then closed it—it didn’t screw shut—and hung it back on the saddle.
"Where am I?" I might as well ask it; even if he was my father or uncle or brother, he might as well know that I wasn't running on full power.
"Kansas," he said. That alone seemed somehow… ironic.
"Who are you?" I tried.
After a moment's pause, he removed the hat again. "Jacob Garrison, ma'am." He held the hat in both hands between us, like a shield.
Now for the biggie. "And who am I?"
His bright, shadowed eyes returned to my face, concern momentarily overriding the awkwardness of his courtesy. "You don't know?" he rasped.
Apparently not, and I suspected from the way he turned to scan the horizon as if for help, putting the hat back on, that he thought the second question even sillier than the first. Maybe it was. If he had known, he hardly seemed the type to say, You tell me first! Still, I didn't love feeling stupid with a man who pronounced "you" like yee-ew—almost two syllables.
Okay, so feeling sick and lost and weak made me cranky.
An idea formed in my head, such a simple, blessed thing that I almost smiled. "Maybe I should see a doctor," I suggested.
"Best ride," he decided, taking hold of my horse's rope halter so that I could climb aboard. Best this, best that—Cowboy Garrison knows best.
"To a doctor?" I insisted, so that he either had to answer or just stand there.
He chose standing there for an amazing amount of time before answering. "Ain't none."
"No doctors at all?" At last I was good and surprised. Shouldn't doctors be everywhere?
Thank goodness I could talk, and knew what doctors and horses and bandanas were. That argued against, say, brain damage, didn't it?
Still, something bad had happened. My body and soul remembered it, whether or not my mind shied away.
"Week's ride," he conceded.
That surprised me enough that I gave up and tried to mount the horse. Clutching the saddlehorn, I bounced several times on my left toes, thinking I could maybe hurl myself across the saddle on my stomach without help from my right ankle. I didn’t come close. It was so embarrassing.
"Herd's only a day on," Garrison volunteered, bending to grasp my left knee with his leather-clad hands, then boosting me right up into the saddle. He let me find my own stirrups. While I tried to discreetly rearrange the vest between my legs, he all but levitated onto his own naked horse without stirrups or saddlehorn. Yeah, yeah, make it look easy. He gestured ahead of us. "Thataway."
From him that seemed positively chatty, but apparently the mood for gab left him just as quickly. He applied his spurred heels lightly to his horse and headed out, me and the five others in tow.
The herd... and he wore a cowboy hat. Maybe I was on a ranch. Though somehow disconcerting, that thought also pleased me—that I independently knew about ranches, too.
"If you don't know who I am, how come I'm riding with you?" I asked. Wearing your clothes, I added silently. Using your saddle.
For a minute I thought he wouldn't answer at all. He didn't turn to face me. Then he said, "Found you."
After a similar pause, he said, "Mornin'."
"Where?" He'd better not say Kansas—I had access to his rifle.
"Creek bed," he admitted, and his voice took on a hollow, confused tone. "No wagon. No tracks. No flood sign. Jest you."
He must have put clothes on me, hoisted me onto his horse, and ridden on. I wasn't sure what to feel about his having seen me naked. Modesty diminished in importance somehow, compared to lying unconscious in a creek bed with no memory.
Compared to fear, compared to abduction, compared—
I threw up some of the water, coughed on it, fought to catch my breath. Don't think of that! It's not real!
Not anymore, anyway. Not at this hot, blue-skied, horse-scented moment.
I caught him peeking over his shoulder at me—disgusted? Concerned?
"Couldn't rightly leave you." He didn't sound particularly enthusiastic. The same statement would work about helping some injured animal he might find. Couldn't rightly leave it.
Maybe enthusiasm is overrated. Whoever I was, whyever I was here—I was with someone who'd given me water, and a bandage, and a potty break, and who kept me from getting sunstroke. Someone who could handle seven horses when I couldn't handle one. Someone competent.
The short answer would be: My head. My wish fulfillment. The world of imagination from whence all creativity bursts forth. But I don't have to be that vague.
1) I've loved the West ever since I spent two wonderful years of my childhood in Window Rock Arizona, the Tribal Seat of the Navajo Nation. At the time--the very early 70s--my Dad worked for the B.I.A, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. When we lived in Illinois, outside of Chicago, his job was to help Native Americans fresh off the reservation to adapt to city life. Then, we got to move to their world.
This was great for so many reasons. For one thing, I learned what it was like to be in the minority--our family was one of only a handful of Anglo's in a hundred mile radius. For another, I learned that being different did not make a person wrong. And then there ws the land--dry heat, big sky, rocks for climbing and pinion trees to graze nuts off of. My big brother even had a horse!
We moved on before I'd finished the 3rd grade and, with the rose-colored gaze of a child, I longed for the Western climes ever since. It's no coincidence that, once we reached Texas, in my teenaged years, I set down roots and stayed.
2) But then there are the cattle drives--and, more important, the trail bosses. As a fan of Westerns, I'm sure I'd seen trail-drive episodes of Bonanza or High Chaparral. But I really went on my first fictional cattle drive in 1978, with the miniseries Centennial. (Hmm... '78? I wonder if my subconscious later drew me to that year, as surely as Lillabit gets drawn?) Based on a great book by James Michener, which I read several times afterwards, the miniseries was chock-full of characters to love, from Robert Conrad's voyageur to Timothy Dalton's British entrepreneur. But the segment I loved the most was segment in which Cliff de Young's John Skimmerhorn goes south to Texas and hires a trail boss to take a herd of longhorn cattle north to Colorado.
That trail boss? R. J. Poteet, perfectly played by Dennis Weaver, who not only handles everything that can go wrong with crusty competence, but becomes a mentor to the youngest cowboy on the drive, Jim Lloyd. This segment had everything, and I'm not talking about the dry runs, stampedes, bandits, and Indian attacks. It had cowboy humor. It had camaraderie. It was a world, in and of itself... and I was hooked.
After that, I looked for cattle drives. My most important find became a TV repeat of the classic 1948 Red River, starring the even more classic John Wayne. The tough Tom Dunson (Wayne) builds a cattle empire and, at the same time, adopts the orphaned Matthew Garth (who grows up to be the delicious Montgomery Clift). But on a desperate cattle drive to Missouri, Dunson goes power crazy, and Matthew has to take over. Things are complicated by a woman, Joanne Dru's Tess Millay--only years later did I realize her character was a prostitute (hmm, more parallels!) But in the meantime, all the details of the cattle drive, from the chuck wagon to the laconic, competent trail boss, felt like coming home....
...which is probably why, when I belatedly discovered the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove(in 1992) I was so quickly and immediately hooked. Again, we had the older man/young boy hero worship/mentorship. Again, we had the cowboy humor, and a world that swallowed me up, with me happy to go. I rushed out to buy Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and read it three times in succession. It wasn't enough. I needed more, more, more....
So I began writing. As a romance reader and writer, I replaced the boy character with a young woman, my place holder. I tried several versions of her, as a historical figure, and she just didn't work--until I realized she wasn't a historical figure at all!
But that's another write-up, for once you know more certainly where Lillabit is from!
3) And then there was the family trip. My family used to make long drives every summer, but once I and my sister, the two youngers, went off to college, it rarely happened. Still, Mom and Dad kept taking trips, and when they invited me along to go visit my big brother Bert at his hat-making shop in Sheridan, Wyoming, I decided to ride along.
And thank God.
We were coming from Texas, remember -- where most cattle drives started as well. At first, we were going to cut through New Mexico, like the drive from Centennial. But at the last minute, Dad decided to cut up through Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. At first, I was disappointed. I love New Mexico. I'm a big Billy-the-Kid afficianado. Kansas just didn't sound as Old Westy. But then, perusing our route, I saw the two-word name that changed everything:
Even better, when I asked to stop there, my Dad--who used to be so much of a "no stopping until we get where we're going!" guy--was willing. So we spent an hour exploring the historic recreation of Front Street and Boot Hill, and the museum. I stood in a cell of the old stockade from Fort Dodge, and the scenes that end Chapter 9 and start Chapter 10, especially the sound of the familiar bootsteps from outside the cell? It came to me, almost fully formed--so I wrote it.
Driving past hundreds of miles of Kansas, and then Nebraska prairie, I saw the cattle drive moving slowly through as well. I envisioned the scene at the end of Ch. 6, "Night, Boss," and wrote it too. I jotted more and more notes, and once we arrived in Sheridan, I knew that was where Jacob Garrison was headed, as well. That trip cemented OverTime, despite that I'd written very little.
Then I made my first book sale--Waiting for the Wolf Moon, to Silhouette Books--and was busy writing other stuff for four years.
4) Time. When I came back to OT, in 1997, the first two and a half books of Lillabit (and Garrison's) story flowed from me. It was, and is, the book of my heart... and nobody wanted to buy it.
Not without punching up the romance--but these particular characters needed to take time. What romance there might be was a saga, not a sprint. Not without making it an action/adventure--but I'd done enough research to know that a cattle drive chock full of action and adventure is a money-losing proposition and, often, a poorly run cattle drive. I wanted this to be a story that drew the reader into the reality of the Old West, rather than just using the Old West as a set design. And I wanted this story to explore a person being forced to slow down, after coming from a world that has been so artificially sped up.
Finally? More than one source told me that "first person doesn't sell."
So I used the world of OverTime, just adding 18 or 19 years, to write some straight historical novels instead. They were called "The Rancher's Daughters" series, and every one of them includes spoilers for OverTime.
And now, finally, enough time has passed. Books like Twilight and Hunger Games show that some readers are willing to follow a couple over a series of books, instead of demanding a Happily Ever After in 300 pages or less--and that first person isn't taboo.
And because of resources like CreateSpace and Kindle and Smashwords (after September!), I can publish OverTime for whatever readers might enjoy it, even if that's only a small handful. I'm trying to be honest about what this series is--and isn't. It's not Silhouette Bombshell (though I loved that series to pieces). It's not a Romance, unless you think of it as an EXTENDED romance. It's... a cattle drive. With a twist.
Now I can only hope that at least some people love it the way I have.
A girl doesn’t wind up naked in a Kansas creek bed without asking herself the tough questions. If the first one is “Who am I,” she’s in for a rough time… or maybe the wrong time completely!
Despite the reluctant help of an 1870s trail-boss, “Lillabit” finds only contradictions. Though she’s guileless, her language shocks Texas cowboys. Though independent, she can’t rein a horse. She’s smart, but not about “current” events. And her dreams feature elevators, electricity, plumbing—and impossibility.
Something awful has happened. So as Lillabit acclimates to the slow, steady world of an Old West cattle drive, is she really finding herself? Or is she, just maybe, losing worlds more than her memory?
OVERTIME 1: SEARCHING is the first part of a continuing series about Lillabit, the cattle drive, the Old West... and how she got there from her own, more modern world.
Written by Rita award-winning author Yvonne Jocks, OVERTIME can be seen as a very loose prequel to her series of historical romance novels (if you look those up, consider yourself "spoiled"). However, OVERTIME--despite its romantic subplot--is not a strict romance. It is a journey...
A journey that may draw you into the world of the Old West, complete with cattle drives, Army forts, and the infamous Dodge City, as thoroughly as Lillabit was drawn in.
This map is not meant to be exact. That said, I'm pretty proud of it. I had a hard time finding any available maps of the Western trail for quite some time. Now I've made one that also includes:
RIVERS - Notice how the trail would veer off route or even go all the way through Indian Territory--aka the future Oklahoma--instead of just cutting across the Panhandle, specifically to stay near the rivers.
The significant rivers Garrison's herd crosses with Lillabit are, from Dodge City up:
*The Arkansas River (just south of Dodge City)
* The Smoky Hills River near Hays City, Kansas
* The Republican River, on the border of Kansas and Nebraska
* The Platte River, leaving Ogallala
* Niobrara River, just south of Fort Robinson
* The White River
* And then they follow the Belle Forche into Wyoming
The railroads that Garrison's herd crosses in OverTime are:
* The Atchison, Topeka, & Sante Fe (yes, the one from the old song) runs through Dodge City.
* The Kansas Pacific runs through Hays City
* The Union Pacific runs through Ogallala and Julesburg
For what it's worth, the Texas and Pacific railway had reached Forth Worth by 1876, but it was still cheaper to ship cattle by the Kansas and Nebraska railroads.
OverTime 2, TURNING, is twice as long as OverTime 1. It is also available in Kindle and Paperback on Amazon.com. OverTime 3, SLIPPING, is twice that length, so hopefully you want to spend time in the Old West. It is currently only available to be read for FREE in episodic form on WattPad.com (since JukePop went kerflunk). I hope to have it out as a book in mid 2018. Click on the book covers for links or information.
ALSO: Please feel free to follow Lillabit and Garrison's further adventures on Wattpad with new chapters every Monday for OverTime 04: SETTLING!
NOTE: Partway through OverTime 03: SLIPPING, Garrison changed his mind and turned west, continuing to follow the North Platte into Wyoming and Fort Laramie. Then he turned north. Someday, I will create a correct map to reflect this! Also -- there was not yet any South Dakota or North Dakota -- only Dakota Territory (see below)