South Dakota, Winter 1888
Elias shivered against the icy wind and pulled his overcoat closer. He rewound his muffler tighter around his neck and pushed at the fingers of his fur lined gloves. He thought, for the thousandth time, “it is colder here than in Norway.”
After landing in New York four years ago, Elias had made his way slowly west, always searching for his golden ring. It remained frustratingly out of reach. He worked as a stevedore in Chicago for a while, then got bored, or dissatisfied, he didn’t know which. He had itchy feet. He kept heading west. He landed and lost numerous jobs. His current job as a ranch hand paid good money and he was on his way to meet his fiancée. Sarah was a pretty young woman, a Norwegian immigrant like himself. Unlike him, Sarah was strong, humble, and hard working. Elias was a dreamer, always in search of the next adventure, sure that riches were right around the corner. His handsome face and easy smile made him friends, got him jobs, and, way too often, got him in trouble. They were married on December 4, 1888, a cold, white, wintry day on the high plains of South Dakota.
Elias’ feet were itchy again. He was tired of the cold winds off the plains and the endless fields of wheat. He was tired of ranching. “Sarah” he called, “pack up the baby. It’s time to move on. Westward Ho.”