Here's my concept:
Mathew Cutbhert was born in Oregon, son of a prosperous horse rancher. He wasn't afraid of hard work growing up, but liked to get into al kinds of trouble when he had free time, from climbing trees to putting snakes in girls' wardrobes.
He wasn't cruel, just mischievous. In fact, a few of the local boys and girls went to him for help when the genuinely cruel local children had it in for them.
Now Mathew’s maternal uncle was a freewheeling good for nothing named Able Cory. Able had been a compulsive gambler ever since he found his grandmother’s first edition of Hoyle’s Book of Games. They said he couldn’t go five minutes without fiddling with the deck of cards he always carried—unless it was to fondle a saloon girl.
When Mathew was Nine, Able came home missing an eye—he said something about a poker match with the devil himself, but was never more specific. Settling in with his sister’s family for a few years, he taught all the kids their letters and numbers, and taught Mathew everything he knew about cards, knives, six guns, women, and Hoyle’s book of games.
It was surely no surprise that, by the time he was nineteen, Mat could be found far from Oregon, gambling, wenching, and getting into trouble…