In the midst of the American Civil War, Dr. Campbell, the owner of the Cross of Coronado, was living in the plains between Dodge City and Empire with his Apache wife and his newborn son, later revealed to be Colton, running a hospital that served mainly Native Americans.
One day, a group of soldiers on horseback led by Thomas Magruder appeared at the doorstep, asking for the cross. When the doctor claimed he didn't know about the cross, Magruder ordered Corporal Clay Allison to search the house. When Many Wounds' father (a friend of the doctor) objected and insulted Magruder, he shot and killed him; Ned, who led Magruder and his men to Campbell's location, angrily protested at this needless death stating he didn't agree to this. Magruder shoot him as well, and apparently killed him, too.
As Clay returned with the cross; Campbell told Magruder that the cross was no good to him. Refusing to be denied of his "destiny", in a fit of rage, Magruder decapitated Dr. Campbell. After Campbell's wife (Colton's mother) shot Magruder in his eye, a massacre broke out, which saw Magruder's men slaughter the hospital's entirety and ransacked the area before leaving.
However, before this had happened, she had given the baby Colton to the son of the Apache Chief, the future Chief Many Wounds (Colton's brother), and ordered them to hide behind a nearby rock. After the massacre, Many Wounds found the body of his father, and swore to avenge his father's death.
The wounded Ned, then woke up and confessed, in Apache language, that he felt terrible and regretful for giving the cross' location to Magruder. Ned told Many Wounds to start his revenge with him but Many Wounds simply handed the infant Colton to Ned, saying to repay his debt to the Apaches by raising him as his own. Ned agreed, and adopted Colton on the spot. Colton, however, would not learn of this until his adulthood.
Life With NedEdit
Many years passed. By 1880, the game's starting period, Colton and Ned were making livings as mountain men in the mountains of Montana, hunting game and selling it to the passing Mississippi steamboats. They had no permanent home, instead camping where ever they went. On a warm fall day, Ned and Colton went out hunting. During this hunting session, Ned tested Colton's gunhand by releasing Quail, which Colton shot down using his Quickdraw. The couple were then attacked by wolves, but easily fended off the attack.
After this, they went to kill some elk with use of their sharpshooters. After another attack by wolves, Ned was knocked to the ground by a furious Grizzly Bear. Colton, who's rifle was too weak to penetrate the bear's thick hide, used Ned's rifle and killed the bear. As Colton started skinning the bear, the steamship SS Morning Star showed up on the nearby river.
Attack on the MorningstarEdit
When on the Morningstar, Ned entered a room with a woman that Colton had never met before. Since Ned failed to close the door all the way, Colton saw the woman open a safe and show Ned something inside of it. When Colton was caught looking at them, Ned managed to shut the door all the way.
With nothing to do but waiting for Ned to finish up, a middle aged preacher approached and struck up a conversation with Colton. Later, the preacher grabbed the woman Ned had been with earlier and asked her where "the item" is. She refused to answer him and slapped him. She scurried away when he pulled out an axe and threw it into the back of her head causing her body to fall overboard. He then gave a signal for his accomplices to attack.
Colton and Ned fight their way to the back wheel to unblock it. As they do that, the boat becomes under attack by cannons which kills the pilot and set fire to the boilers. Ned begins to tell Colton, "Son listen close, cause there ain't much time. I done my best to raise you right, but all your life I've b'een lying to you. The boilers are going to blow. Quick, take this." He hands Colton a token and says, '"That's a token to the Alhambra, the cathouse in Dodge City. Go there and ask for Jenny." Colton replies to Ned with, "I ain't leaving you Pa!" Ned answers, "God damn it, that's I've been trying to tell you. I ain't your father. Now go!" He then throws Colton off the boat. With no ammo, Ned then attackes the enemies around him with the back of his rifle. Colton shouts to him as he swims in the water, "PA! PA... JUMP!" The ship then explodes, killing everyone on board.