Pale Rider
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Club had been beaten in a fair fight by the Preacher & must have developed a certain amount of respect for him. Club was likely the kind of thug who'd rarely had anyone stand up to him, much less best him. Plus, Club must have realized that what LaHood, his son Josh & their marauders were doing to the gold miners was wrong. And there's the short scene a few minutes before where Josh had tried to rape Meg & Club stopped him as further proof of Club's change of heart.

Hull says that he'd thought of drilling & blasting the rock with dynamite but he knows it could damage the stream the camp is using to mine gold. They need the water to sift thru the dirt & rock to separate the gold. Blasting the rock could damage the stream & either ruin their mining operation or make it more difficult to continue it. After the Preacher stands up to & beats Club, who broke the rock, the prospectors realize that working together they can finally break up the rock & remove it.

The Preacher was referring to the vote that the miners took & how they decided to stay on their land instead of accepting LaHood's offer to buy out their claims. The prospectors refused because they believed that the gold they'd eventually find would be worth a lot more than LaHood's offer of $1000 for each of their claims.

Indeed, Spider was drunk & disorderly in town & Stockburn & his deputies wanted to scare him into leaving. However, Spider, in a fit of drunken rage, drew his pistol on them which was just the excuse the gang needed to kill him. Their punishment was pretty excessive & atrocious but they could also claim self-defense because Spider had drawn first.

LaHood is panning for gold but in a much more mechanized way than Hull Barret and his colleagues. The water from the high powered hoses breaks up the gravel and, as it flows down the hill and through the sluices, any gold, which is heavier than the gravel and dirt, is separated out.

Additionally, LaHood's business also includes selling the soil and gravel that's cut out of the mountains. Gravel can be a useful supply material for construction projects and other endeavors in bigger cities in California & likely in the eastern United States. LaHood's gravel business is probably very lucrative as well.

LaHood wanted the prospectors land to further his business. The prospectors, like Hull Barret says, have their claims on file in Sacramento legally. LaHood knows this fact & knows he can't legally do anything to force them out so he has his thugs terrorize them repeatedly to scare them off. The prospectors know that there's gold to be found in their stream that will be worth more than what the Preacher negotiated for them, $1000 each, so they vote to stay. As it turns out, both Hull & Spider find gold, Spider finding a large chunk that was obviously worth more than $1000.


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