First cry for help:
I had my first ever go at running a sandbox RP. Set in the Wild West, I have created a small town called Gator's Crossing, with everything in it one might expect in a small Wild West town in Texas in the 1880s.
Additionally, outside this town, I have placed a power-hungry rancher called Tom Gator on the GX ranch to the south. To the North are a number of smaller ranches and farms. The land to the immediate South of town is cut with gullies and canyons and a swamp, while to the North it's fairly flat and level.
And guess what? The Railroad is coming through! And of course they are going to pay good money to purchase the land they will be building on... And guess which side of town they are going to go? And Mister Gator is not happy!
Sooo.... I have in my control: the Town Marshal, the Saloon Keeper, Gator and all his men, the man from the railroad, and a rancher who wandered in to town to buy some goods from the general store. I have also just created a "red-shirt" (trekie term). Basically one of Gator's hired guns, who has ridden into town because he's bored, and if the player with whom he is picking a fight comes back, he is hopefully going to get shot!
But I think I may have left it a little too long before bringing this NPC in to play. I'm a patient sort, but one of the two game threads hasn't had a post in ages, and the other seems to have died out too.
I was doing what I believe one is supposed to do in a sandbox, and leaving the players to write their own story, only intervening with my characters in order to move things along where necessary and to introduce details of the back-ground plot as and when required.
Firstly, did I do anything wrong, other than leave it a bit long to respond to a player's request for someone to shoot...?
Second, should I start PMing the players and asking if they are still in yet, or should I leave it a bit longer?
Third, is there anything else I can do?