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The Mark Inside

The End of the Beginning.

Excerpted from The New Eldorado: The Story of
Colorado's Gold & Silver Rushes
,
by Phyllis Flanders Dorset (1970)

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New Eldorado

Not all of these enterprises were controlled by the suave Soapy Smith. During his absence in Creede and in Old Mexico a portly, oily man with half-mast lids from beneath which peered reptilian, gray eyes slid into the gangland throne Soapy had vacated. Lou Blonger's bulbous nose sensed the right moment for a takeover, and in a short while, from the plush office of his gaming and drinking establishment, he ruled Denver's underworld. With the help of his brother, Sam, the wily Lou built an empire of confidence schemes that threatened to gobble up Soapy's profits. Smith stood the infiltration of Lou and Sam Blonger just so long and then one day he decided to assert his rights on the basis of seniority. Warned that the Blongers were no tinhorn pushovers Soapy nevertheless tucked his derringer in his pocket and headed for his rival's club. As he was about to enter, a squad of police, tipped off by Soapy's men, arrived to persuade the thimblerigger to give up his notion of having it out with the Blongers. Soapy protested loudly and mightily but allowed himself to be conducted away from the Blonger stronghold. As Soapy left, Lou Blonger, who had watched the proceedings from behind the cigar counter inside the front door of his club, carefully put away the loaded double-barreled shotgun he held ready in his hands.


 

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