The year is 1876, and thirteen years ago, magic returned to the world. This event was known as the Reckoning, when a group of sole survivors from various native american tribes known as the Last Sons entered the Hunting Grounds to kill the Old Ones and free the manitous (evil spirits) and their masters, the Reckoners. Led by Raven, this group sought revenge on the white men who had done nothing but cause them strife. When the deed was done, however, many of the Last Sons had regretted what they had caused. At the Battle of Gettysburg, the dead rose from their graves. The coast of California was shattered, most of it collapsing into the sea, and giving way to the Great Maze.
Set into the cliff walls of the Great Maze was a wondrous mineral known as ghost rock, an efficient fuel source that produced a strange wailing noise when burned. This mineral gave rise to the New Science and awe-inspiring creations from inventors across the West, and the release of spirits both good and evil into the world again brought Shamans back in larger numbers, as Hoyle's Book of Games' hidden formulae taught men across the west the art of Hexslingin'. Monsters rose from the man's greatest fears, but the horrors of the West were kept more or less under wraps by the Pinkertons (from the North) and the Texas Rangers (from the South). Heroes rose out of the West, fighting off the fearmongers spawned by the Reckoners.
The Reckoners, their powers greatly diminished by the hope these heroes inspired with their tales of victory and by eliminating the fear that the monsters had created, were all but defeated. The Reckoners did something they could never do again: They gave their most powerful minion, a Harrowed Gunslinger named Stone who was said to give his manitou nightmares, the ability to rip through time. He went into the Hunting Grounds, and came out in the Weird West, two hundred years in the past... back in 1876. He rode through the West, hunting the heroes that would defeat the Reckoners, and killed them one by one.
For each hero that died, a fearmonger lived, and the Reckoners' powers grew. And on July 3rd, 2063, two hundred years after the Reckoning, the first Ghost Rock enhanced atomic bomb was detonated, and the Reckoners rejoiced. Suddenly, all of the 'mad scientists' in the world could sleep soundly, the information that was given to them about their technologies and inspiration vanishing. The end of the Last War had come years later, ghost rock nukes being detonated across the globe, "terrorforming" the entire world into a giant Deadland.
The Reckoners then appeared on Earth in the now Wasted West, killing thousands of the survivors, and crossed the Mississippi River into the east. The world had turned into a Hell on Earth, just as the Reckoners had planned. Lightyears away, through a (now one-way) device one of the greatest mad scientists had created called the Tunnel, the Faraway War had cooled down on a planet called Banshee, the Lost Colony. Colonists fight aliens called anouks for ghost rock they found there, and it looks like that world may be next...