"The Blue Hotel" is a short story by American author Stephen Crane, first published in 1898. It tells the story of a man who comes to a hotel in Nebraska, and the troubles he finds there.

Scully is the proprietor of The Palace Hotel, the "Blue Hotel" of the story. He invites three men from the train station to spend the night at his hotel. These men are called "The Cowboy", "The Easterner" and "The Swede". They launch into a friendly, no-stake card game with Scully's son Johnny, but "The Swede" quickly turns paranoid, claiming the others are out to hurt him, and to cheat him at cards. After leaving the hotel in a scuffle, he goes to a nearby tavern, where his continued belligerency ends in violence. Although the story seems to build him up as a villain, a postscript of sorts to it seems to suggest that there was more to his actions than is shown at first.

"But" said the cowboy, deeply scandalized "this ain't Wyoming, ner one of them places. This is Nebrasker."

Although I don't know if it is a primary point, the most interesting point in the story for me was how geography is used as a symbolic liberation from normal rules of human conduct. The Swede apparently thinks because he is in the wild back country of Nebraska, he is in a world where wild gunfights will automatically break out over a card game, even if the card game is basically a form of Go Fish. This attitude is treated with a mixture of discomfort and astonishment by the people who actually live in those places, and don't view their lives as the set-up for someone's wild west fantasies. This is especially notable because the story predates much of the mass media portrayal of "The Wild West".

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