Ah!!!! Now I understand everything much better.
The three brothers certainly had a rough time after Marie passed away. Everyone did although it seems things got a lot worse before they got better for all of them. Poor Adam - no wonder he's so hopelessly responsible! If Hoss and Joe had not had Adam for an older brother they might all have been lost for sure. It was good when Ben had finished the worst of his grief process and could go home and stay. All three boys needed him badly.
Great, fun story. Thank you so much for filling in those much needed details.
Thanks for your reviews, Sharry. Glad you enjoyed the tale. I just felt there had to be something pretty dang traumatc and deeply buried that would bring Joe to ever think his older brother would hold a gun on him and shoot him. This was my 'take' on why.