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Old 11-22-2020, 05:17 AM   #1
Racer
 
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Default Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

Trying to help a GM friend with this information , but web searches are conflicting & don't give dates .

Current games involve investigators on trails of two lost locations in North America - think Lost Dutchman Mine , McKenna's Gold or Valley of Gwangi type discoveries .
One is near the West Coast and stumbled upon by group of cowboys & a priest during a heavy snowstorm in late 1800s . They return after spring thaw & can't find correct area .
Fast forward to modern day , where documents , detailed notes by the priest & cine film of last survivor giving testimony are presented to players .

Timeline becomes very important as whether this individual would realistically live into the Space Age & satellite imaging of landscapes etc . Topography of land features is crucial to game plot , but drawing together these separate plot devices is tricky .

Game is online due to lockdown & players are smart . GM didn't want to look like chump if a quick google by them derails the whole plot . Thus he asked me for ideas & an help/advice/suggestions .

Game is Black Ops/Cliffhangers/Tome Raider type , with elements of Da Vinci Code & Nation Treasure thrown in .

So has anyone got ideas on this ? Plus any other ideas to improve game plot & overall campaign setting will be very welcome . Trying to avoid well used clichés to avoid scenario feeling stale .

Thanks .
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Last edited by Racer; 11-22-2020 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

So if the mine is found in 1880 (pretty late), and the cowboy was 20 at the time, and he lives to be 90 years old, that's still 1960, which won't have satellite imaging.

Of course, the youngest cowboy doesn't have to be that young, live quite so long, or find the location quite so late in the exploration of the west
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

I can recall a Texan farmer who had extensive interaction with 'Wild West Era' still being alive at age of 105 . Can't find any information on him or death date . He was notorious for being 300lbs , drinking whisky & smoking even at that advanced age .
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

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Originally Posted by Racer View Post
I can recall a Texan farmer who had extensive interaction with 'Wild West Era' still being alive at age of 105 . Can't find any information on him or death date . He was notorious for being 300lbs , drinking whisky & smoking even at that advanced age .
Sure, but there’s no reason to assume this particular character would be such an exception. If the GM needs the character to have survived into the satellite era, this might be usable as a justification. I had thought the GM wanted this to not be the case, but rereading the original post, I can’t tell. Does he want the character to have survived into the satellite era, or not?
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

Commercially available civilian-accessible satellite imagery is probably more like mid-late 80s or 1990s. (Landsat from the early 80s; SPOT 1 launched in 1986.) Government had been doing so a couple of decades longer, but I don't know whether the PCs are supposed to have that kind of access.

There's also aerial photography, pretty easy to accomplish after WW II. Probably not easily-accessible databases of random places in the Western mountain ranges, but the PCs perhaps the resources to contract the work if they know in general where they're looking and just need to pin down details.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

I've emailed GM to see what details & time range he needed .

Some one messaged me that some 'cowhands' were incredibly young too . They mention John Wayne film Cow Boys (1972) , set in 1880's where one of kids on the cattle drive is only 9 years old . I don't think I've seen the film in 40 years , so can't recall much of it . Also he mentioned Henry Richmond , who drove the wagon for his mobile Ironworker father from age 6 , after his mother passed from TB in the 1870s .

Thanks for your help guys :-)
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Old 11-23-2020, 12:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

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There's also aerial photography, pretty easy to accomplish after WW II. Probably not easily-accessible databases of random places in the Western mountain ranges, but the PCs perhaps the resources to contract the work if they know in general where they're looking and just need to pin down details.
Visible light satellite data is probably no better than the USGS quadrangles. If satellite images would be useful for finding it, aerial photos would usually be as good or better, and by 1950 there would have been a lot of them - for the USGS (which began checking their maps periodically from aerial photographs in the 1930s, though World War II probably broke out before they got to everything), for the Forest Service, for the national and state Agriculture departments, for the county tax assessor....

Multispectral data is publically available from Landsat after 1976, but at roughly 60 meters resolution you aren't going to be finding landmarks from it, so it's basically of no use for comparison against testimony of what somebody *saw*. If you're looking for a surface mineral deposit it might help.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

Alright after couple of emails and some research , a 'tagalong farmhand' is with initial discovery group . Born in 1875 & caught up in 'Great Plains Blizzard of 1887' could reasonably still be alive in early 1980's .
If said individual has relatives in 'US government' & they provided detailed aerial & satellite mapping & landscape photos , this would significantly narrow players search area . That make sense ?
Landsat & data from later satellites would be icing on cake regarding information provided to them . Without making it too easy , of course .
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Old 11-23-2020, 08:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

If it helps, many cowboys were very young. Thirteen years olds weren't a rarity. But that still only gets a 90 year old to 1967.

Perhaps one of his great-nephews took aerial photos of a large section of the mount range but never recorded where he took the photos that his Great Uncle pointed out. Satellite imagery could be squared up with the photos.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Background : When did 'Last Cowboy' die ?

In impoverished parts of the American West, you could easily have a fellow grow up riding horses, working the land, and in near all respects considering themselves a cowboy well into the 50s.... But you specify that it happened no later than 1890.

I'm that case, the satellite images would have to come from 1960, which still puts it forgot in the aireal photography realm, sorry.

Actually, if he was part of the group in 1895, at the age of 15, he would be 92 when landsat was launched. Give him special contacts in the government and maybe they might have the satellite photos you need one or two years later.

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