Of course Missouri in the 1850s was in the throes of a war between anti-slavery settlers in Kansas and pro-slavery settlers from the South known as "Bleeding Kansas." The rival factions were known as Jayhawkers (anti-slavery) and Border Ruffians or Bushwhackers (pro-slavery). Years ago I read R.H. Wilson's memoir With the Border Ruffians. Wilson was an Englishman who came to America and lived in the mountains of Virginia, tried settling in Kansas, and was a rancher in Texas during the 1850s and '60s. It gave me my first idea that the West was a good deal different from movie-Westerns.
Incidentally, I have long believed that the bitterness of "Bleeding Kansas" lingers on. I vividly recall Attorney General Ashcroft, a Missourian, announcing after 9/11, "We've secured the border with Kansas. I mean Canada."
Well of course. In their day men like James Lane, John Brown, and William Quantrill were regarded much as Osama bin Laden, George Bush and other GWOT luminaries: heroes dedicated to a principal to some, blood-thirsty fanatics to others. Though lacking the scope of our modern GWOT-warriors, they left a trail of death and destruction.
In this story, I have focused less on the politics than the economics of slavery, specifically the monetarization of people.
Pulp Spirit is a companion to Planetary Stories, their homepage is PlanetaryStories.com.