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The

Mythical West
The
M
mYyT
thH iIc
CaAL
l We
EsST
t
AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF

Legend, Lore, and Popular Culture

R I C H A R D W. S L A T T A

Santa Barbara, California  Denver, Colorado  Oxford, England


Copyright 2001 by Richard W. Slatta

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without prior permission in writing from the
publishers.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Slatta, Richard W., 1947
The mythical West : an encyclopedia of legend, lore, and
popular culture / Richard W. Slatta.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1-57607-151-0; ISBN 1-57607-588-5 (e-book)
1. FolkloreWest (U.S.)Encyclopedias. 2. Popular
cultureWest (U.S.)Encyclopedias. 3. LegendsWest
(U.S.)Encyclopedias. I. Title.
GR109.S53 2001
398097803dc21
2001002784

06 05 04 03 02 01 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

This book is also available on the World Wide Web as an e-book. Visit abc-clio.com for details.

ABC-CLIO, Inc.
130 Cremona Drive, P.O. Box 1911
Santa Barbara, California 93116-1911

This book is printed on acid-free paper.


Manufactured in the United States of America

 Design by Jane Raese. Title page photo: Castle Valley, Utah ( Jane Raese)
All photos courtesy of the author unless otherwise noted.
With love, to my mother, Amy Irene (Solberg) Slatta,
now in her ninth decade of loving, caring, and sharing
Contents

List of Entries ix

Introduction xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

 The Mythical West 1

Mythical West Web Sites 397

Bibliography 405

List of Contributors 425

Index 427

List of Credits 445

vii
Entries

A Bulette, Julia
Action Figures Buntline, Ned
Action Shooting Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Adams, Ansel
Alamo C
Appleseed, Johnny Calamity Jane
Area 51 Camel Corps
Autry, Gene Carson, Kit
Aztln Cattle Kate
Cattle Mutilations
B Cavalry Trilogy
Baca, Elfego Chisholm, Jesse, and Chisum, John
Barbecue Clark, Charles Badger, Jr.
Bass, Sam Cody, William Frederick Buffalo Bill
Battles or Massacres Colter, John
Bean, Judge Roy Comparative Frontier Mythology
Beckwourth, Jim Cooper, D. B.
Bemis, Polly Copland, Aaron
Bicycle Corps Cortez Lira, Gregorio
Bigfoot or Sasquatch Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno
Billy the Kid Cowboy Poetry
Bingham, George Caleb
Bonanza D
Bridger, Jim Dallas
Brown, Molly Dart, Isom
Buffalo Soldiers Dead Mans Hand

ix
x ENTRIES

Deadwood Dick K
Death Valley Kelton, Elmer
Denver, John
Disney Frontierland L
Donner Party LAmour, Louis
Lee, John Doyle
E Levis and Rivets
Earp Brothers Lewis and Clark Expedition
Eastwood, Clint Lincoln County War
Exodusters Little Bighorn
Little Jo Josephine Monaghan
F Liver-Eating Johnson
Ferris Wheel Lone Ranger
Fields, Stage Coach Mary Lost Dutchmans Mine
Frmont, John Charles Luckenbach, Texas

G M
Gallatin Writers, Inc. Magazines
Gentle Tamers Magnificent Seven, The
Ghost Towns Manifest Destiny
Glass, Hugh McJunkin, George
Grey, Zane McMurtry, James
Grey, Zane, and the Code of the West Miller, Alfred Jacob
Gun Control Monkey Wrench Gang
Guthrie, Woodrow Wilson Woody Monument Valley
Mountain Oysters
H Movie Sets
Herding Cats Mustang Ranch, Nevada
Hill, Joe
Hispanics in Western Films N
Hoover Dam Newton Boys
Horn, Tom
Hughes, Howard O
Oakley, Annie
J Outlaw, The
Jackalopes
James, Jesse P
Johnny Kaw Packer, Alfred
ENTRIES xi

Parker, Isaac Charles Starr, Belle


Pecos Bill Steagall, Red
Pickett, Willie M. Bill Stone, Glenn
Pikes Peak Gold Rush Swallows of San Juan Capistrano
Pleasant, Mary Ellen
Plummer, Henry T
Poker Alice Ivers Tabor, Baby Doe
Politicians and Western Myth Television
Pony Express Texas Embassy
Pretty Boy Floyd Texas Rangers
Pulp Novelists Trail Drives
Truman, Harry R.
R
Ramona V
Remington, Frederic S. Van Meter, Jerry
Rendezvous
Riders of the Purple Sage W
Robbins, Marty Wakely, Jimmy
Rockwell, Orrin Porter Western Writers of America, Inc.
Rodeo Bulls White Buffalo
Rogers, Roy Wild Bunch and Winnemucca, Nevada
Roswell, New Mexico Wild Horses
Rough Riders Wildfire
Route 66 Wister, Owen, and Winthrop, Washington
Russell, Charles Marion Wizard of Oz, The Wonderful
Wobblies
S Women, Wild
San Saba Mine Women in Western Films
Selena
Seven Cities of Gold Y
Silverado Young, Ann Eliza Webb
Smith, Henry Nash
Solid Muldoon Z
Stamps Zorro
Introduction

This is the West, sir. When the legend the New so that readers can distinguish
becomes fact, we print the legend. A them from historical fact.
newspaper editor delivers this famous The deaths of Roy Rogers and Gene
line to Senator Ransom Stoddard (played Autry in 1998 made front-page news and
by James Stewart) in the 1962 classic film saddened millions of fans around the
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Stod- world. The grief over the passing of these
dard, of course, did not actually kill the singing cowboy heroes reminds us force-
notorious gunman, but in the film the fully that the West has been Americas
facts of history become less important most potent source of myth and legend
than the legend that gives rise to his since the days of the forty-niners, George
celebrity and political career. The Mythi- Armstrong Custer, and Buffalo Bill Cody.
cal West takes the contrary view, insisting Furthermore, thanks to film, television,
that we should, as best we can, disentan- and other electronic mass media, includ-
gle and distinguish between western fact ing the Internet, western myths and leg-
and myth. Why? Because everyone from ends now reach a worldwide audience.
national politicians and lobby groups to Myth is more powerful, pervasive, and
corporate advertisers invokes western alluring than history. Recognizing this re-
myth and imagery. Western images serve ality, this encyclopedia focuses not on
as shorthand symbols of patriotism, de- historical events but rather on the
mocracy, rugged individualism, and a plethora of legendary, mythical images,
host of other virtues. Thus broadly held events, people, and places associated with
but faulty assumptions about the na- the Old West and the New. This book
tions historical past shape real events traces myths through folk legends, art, lit-
and lead to real consequences. Myth can erature, and popular culture. For exam-
even influence public policy, just as leg- ple, the discussion of Billy the Kid only
end shaped the career of the fictional briefly sketches the facts of his life as we
Ransom Stoddard. The overarching goal know them. Rather, it concentrates on the
of this book is to identify, describe, and many myths and depictions that come
analyze many myths of the Old West and down to us through novels and films.

xiii
xiv INTRODUCTION

What is included in this encyclopedia? imaginary. Hence, you will find imagi-
A few definitions from Merriam-Websters nary animals, such as the famed jack-
Collegiate Dictionary (on-line at http:// alopes of Douglas, Wyoming. But mythi-
www.m-w.com) help to illustrate the cri- cal can also mean having qualities
teria for inclusion. This source tells us suitable to myth: legendary, so we
that myth, from the Greek mythos, is a examine the lives of real people, from
traditional story of ostensibly historical Cody to Autry, flesh-and-blood humans,
events that serves to unfold part of the whose careers catapulted them into the
world view of a people or explain a prac- realm of the legendary.
tice, belief, or natural phenomenon. The Lore, a term dating from before the
Mythical West includes many such tales, twelfth century, consists of traditional
such as the story explaining the signifi- knowledge or belief. Legend, a word
cance of the white buffalo and the story dating from the fourteenth century, can
of Aztln, mythical southwestern home- be (1) a story coming down from the
land of the Aztecs. A myth may also be a past; especially: one popularly regarded
popular belief or tradition that has as historical although not verifiable; (2)
grown up around something or some- a body of such stories; (3) a popular
one; especially: one embodying the ideals myth of recent origin; or (4) a person or
and institutions of a society or segment thing that inspires legends (Merriam-
of society. The West is rife with such Websters Collegiate Dictionary, on-line).
myths, most notably those relating to This encyclopedia covers many myth-
putative frontier virtues, such as rugged makers and purveyors of legend and lore
individualism, democracy, and opportu- in the popular media, from pulp fiction
nity. Finally, a myth might be a person to movies to television.
or thing having only an imaginary or un- I tried to include many mythical sub-
verifiable existence. The subjects of jects that most readers would not have
many of the entries in The Mythical West, encountered before. To paraphrase an
like Pecos Bill and Bigfoot, fit this last old automobile ad, This is not your fa-
category. thers encyclopedia. I also tried to ex-
The subjects of other entries are tend coverage in all directions to include
mythical (a word dating in English the wondrous diversity that is the Amer-
from 1669) because they are based on ican West. Thus, youll find figures im-
or described in a myth especially as con- portant to Latino/Chicano, Mormon, and
trasted with history (Merriam-Websters womens history. (See also Rafaela G.
Collegiate Dictionary, on-line). In some Castros Dictionary of Chicano Folklore
cases, such as that of Jeremiah Liver- [Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO, 2000]). You will
Eating Johnson, an actual historical fig- learn about Johnny Kaw, a personage
urethe mountain man John Johnson probably not well known outside Kansas.
becomes mythologized. Thus Liver- Youll meet Glenn Stone, Arizonas muf-
Eating Johnson is included in The Mythi- fler man, and youll learn why fewer
cal West. Usually, mythical means ex- swallows now return to the famous Cali-
isting only in the imagination: fictitious, fornia mission of San Juan Capistrano.
INTRODUCTION xv

As a final criterion for inclusion, I used not duplicated that coverage here. For
the Internet. This ubiquitous network information on Indian history, legend,
encompasses an amazing range of sub- and lore, see these excellent books: Na-
jects. In deciding whether to include a tive Americans: An Encyclopedia of His-
topic, I checked to see how many Inter- tory, Culture, and People (1998); Encyclo-
net sites treated the subject and how pedia of Native American Shamanism:
profoundly they treated it. This seemed Sacred Ceremonies of North America
to me to be a good indicator of whether (1998); Native American Literatures: An
the topic had worked its way into Ameri- Encyclopedia of Works, Characters, Au-
can or even world popular culture. For thors, and Themes (1999); Legend and
example, I included Poker Alice Ivers, Lore of the Americas before 1492 (1993);
who is commemorated by a restaurant, Encyclopedia of Creation Myths (1994);
an inn, and two musical groupsone in Dictionary of Native American Mythology
South Dakota and another in Switzer- (1992); Encyclopedia of American Indian
land. Likewise Cattle Kate has evolved Costume (1994); Encyclopedia of Ameri-
from an intriguing historical figure into a can Indian Wars, 14921890 (1997); En-
major clothing company. However, I cyclopedia of Native American Healing
dropped the mythical Cerro de Oro mine (1996); The Native American Rights Move-
because no major Web sites treat that ment (1996); and Reference Encyclopedia
topic. I am fully prepared to defend the of the American Indian, 7th ed. (1995).
Internet as a useful, if imperfect, measure The Mythical West treats images and
of cultural salience. (See History of the In- legendary figures popularized in the me-
ternet [Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO, 1999].) dia, but it does not cover media history
The geographical part of the title, The or folklore per se. These topics are capa-
West, refers to the trans-Mississippi bly handled in other ABC-CLIO vol-
American West (but not Alaska and umes: The Media in America (1995);
Hawaii). This includes the Great Plains, Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Beliefs, Cus-
Rocky Mountains, Texas, Southwest, toms, Tales, Music, and Art (1997); and
Great Basin, California, and Pacific Encyclopedia of Folklore and Literature
Northwest. (Sorry, Minnesota and Paul (1998). In keeping my focus clearly on
Bunyan, you didnt make the cut.) The the West, I have also avoided overlap
Canadian West has generated a wealth of with Jan Harold Brunvands Encyclopedia
fascinating frontier mythology, but limi- of Urban Legends (2001).
tations of time and space do not permit In sum, through this book you will en-
me to cover our neighbor to the north. ter a dreamland, a fantasyland, a land of
On Canadas mythical and historical great promise and hope, a land of broken
West, I recommend The Wild West by and fulfilled dreams, bigger-than-life he-
Bruce Patterson and Mary McGuire roes, and ghost towns. Unlike most
(Banff, Alberta, Canada: Altitude Publish- bloodless factoid encyclopedias that
ing, 1993). lack interpretation, verve, and nuance,
ABC-CLIO has a very strong existing this one strives to convey vividly the
list on Native American topics, so I have sense of wonder, power, and magic asso-
xvi INTRODUCTION

ciated with the legendary West. No sin- strongly believe should have been in-
gle book can pretend to be comprehen- cluded? Make your case! E-mail a subject
sive, but I have tried to be as inclusive as summary and source information to me
space permits, within the limits noted at Slatta@ncsu.edu.
above. Did I omit a topic that you
Acknowledgments

A Note on Sources used World Book and Comptons Elec-


Traditionally, historians glean most of tronic Encyclopedia, Dan L. Thrapps En-
their data from manuscript and printed cyclopedia of Frontier Biography (Lincoln:
documents, such as diaries, letters, University of Nebraska Press, 1995), and
speeches, and myriad government publi- Robert J. Nashs wonderful Encyclopedia
cations. In the pursuit of myth, I turned of Western Lawmen & Outlaws (Dallas:
to rural and urban folklore, poems, litera- Zane Publishing, 1995). For topics on the
ture, oral traditions, and popular media. Lone Star state, the Handbook of Texas
Besides combing sources from folklore Online (http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/hand
and popular culture, I made extensive book/) is comprehensive and invaluable.
use of the Internet to analyze the diffu- For western literary currents, visit two
sion of American western images around Web sites: http://www.Readwest.com and
the world. Internet sources provide infor- http://www.ReadtheWest.com. I also used a
mation that is up-to-date, broad-ranging, variety of search engines, including Ink-
and often humorous. By using both his- tomi, Snap, Google, and Britannica.
torical sources of the past and todays In-
ternet, this book demonstrates the Print Sources
strong links between past myth and pres- Readers interested in further historical
ent popular culture. The Mythical West is background on entries relating to cow-
alive, well, changing, and growing. boys and ranch life should consult my
previous ABC-CLIO publication, The
Electronic Sources Cowboy Encyclopedia (1994; paperback,
Of the many on-line sources used, the New York: W. W. Norton, 1996), which
most important are Encyclopedia Britan- won the 1995 American Library Associa-
nica Online, Ingenta (a bibliographical re- tion award as an Outstanding Refer-
search tool), The Electric Library, EBSCO- ence and the 1994 Library Journal
host, Academic Universe, and America: award as Best Reference Source. Also
History and Life (published by ABC- useful on the history of the West is The
CLIO). CD-ROM software provided very New Encyclopedia of the American West,
basic but helpful factual background. I edited by Howard R. Lamar (New Haven,

xvii
xviii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

CT: Yale University Press, 1998). I have ments on Owen Wisters visits to Win-
taken pains to complement, not overlap, throp and the Methow Valley of Washing-
existing reference works on the Ameri- ton State. A special thanks to Guy Louis
can West. Rocha, certified archivist, and to the
Nevada State Library and Archives for
Pardners on the Range permission to reprint five delightful arti-
I extend thanks to Todd Hallman at ABC- cles from their on-line feature Historical
CLIO, who helped to shape the concept Myth a Month (http://dmla.clan.lib.nv.us/
and coverage of this book and to push it docs/nsla/archives/myth/). I also offer a
to fruition. I had excellent research and heartfelt gracias to Danelle Crowley, fel-
writing assistance from many talented low Peace Corps alum and genuine
students at North Carolina State Univer- Texan, for taking me to two of the Lone
sity: Julie J. Anders, P. S. Crane, Thomas Star States most mythical and wonderful
Edward Davis, Daniel Cornelius Gunter spots: Luckenbach (population about 25)
III, Ellen J. Oettinger, Kaleb J. Redden, and Big Earls Barbecue in Kerrville.
Michael L. Sileno, Jane Veronica Charles Finally, I thank the many dedicated
Smith, Michael Thomas Smith, Andrew students of the American West, espe-
Mebane Southerland, and William F. cially members of the Western History
Zweigart. Other contributors include Association, the Western Writers of
Dan Buck and Anne Meadows, Michael America, and the H-West on-line discus-
Crawford, Patti Dickinson, Castle Mc- sion list. Without the many fruits of their
Laughlin, and Z. Ervin. Entries written by research labors, I would not have had
these contributors carry their bylines. the pleasure of writing this book.
The irrepressible Joe Blyth, friend and
ex-student, provided constant reminders Richard W. Slatta (Slatta@ncsu.edu)
of the enduring links between western Proprietor, Lazy S Ranch, Cary, NC
history and myth. Writer Jeff Morey gen- Ride on over to the Lazy S at
erously provided important materials on http://social.chass.ncsu.edu/slatta
the Earps. Barbara S. Duffy and Lewis July 2001
Dibble provided key local history docu-
The magnificent western landscape of the United States has awed and transfixed all who have
journeyed there. The great rivers of the West, like the Columbia, well served Native Americans,
providing food and transportation, long before the arrival of Europeans.

The towering mountain ranges of the West served as barriers to travel and settlement.
But the mountains also provided habitat for beaver and other animals, giving rise to
famous mountain men, like John Colter and Jim Beckwourth, of the nineteenth century.

European exploration and settlement of the Southwest began with the Spanish in
the sixteenth century. Architecture, food, language, and culture in the West
still exhibit a strong Spanish flavor.
Immense herds of buffalo provided sustenance and shaped the way of life for
Native American plains cultures.

However, by the 1870s and 1880s, cowboys and longhorn cattle had replaced
the vast bison herds throughout the West.
Only the foresight of a few westerners saved the species from extinction.
Cattle ranchers built great empires
and fortunes, and these cattle
barons built accordingly, as
evidenced by the Littlefield House
in Austin, Texas.

The cowboy culture gave rise to many


icons of the West, including blue jeans,
chaps, boots, and the famed Stetson hat.
Donning such garments allows anyone
to participate in the magic of the
mythical West.
Economic booms, spurred by ranching, railroads, logging, mining, and farming,
gave way to busts, leaving ghost towns and deserted ranches throughout the region.

During the twentieth century, nostalgia for the Old West revealed itself in novels, films, radio,
and television. B-western cowboy stars, such as Lash Larue, shown here in a 1981 photo,
thrilled audiences as they galloped across the silver screen.
Much has changed in the West, but not the enchanting grandeur of its natural beauty.
People continue to marvel at its rugged, foreboding deserts and mountains;

Its rushing waterfalls;


Its sparkling, crystal-clear mountain lakes.

And, like the pioneers of old, people


continue to explore its vast wilderness
areas. The mythical West lives on!
The
Mythical West
A
Abbey, Edward love for the Old West to show up in this
new format.
19271989, writer. See Monkey Wrench The early 1960s also featured a strong
Gang lineup of television Westerns. With Gun-
smoke, The Rifleman, Maverick, Bonanza,
and other shows being viewed by mil-
lions of boys, toy companies realized the
Aces And Eights vast market potential of western-themed
action figures. Although action figures
See Dead Mans Hand have changed drastically in format, form,
and style over the decades, one thing has
remained: the popularity of the western
theme.
Action Figures The translation of the western mythos
into playthings corresponded nicely with
Introduction childrens play habits. Most important to
In 1964 Hasbro coined the term action children are the white hats, or good
figure to describe its new line of military guys. These characters will (hopefully)
figures, G.I. Joe. Hasbro knew that to be the ones children relate to; through
market what was essentially a doll to them children can place themselves in
boys (and their parents), it needed a the action.
fresh angle. Action figure implied a toy Next, children need black hats, or
that little boys could use in active ways, bad guys. Villains provide the conflict,
something far more manly than simply the evil that must be overcome and de-
dressing up a doll. The line was a huge feated. Finally come the secondary char-
hit, and it didnt take long for Americas acters: henchmen on the side of evil or

1
2 ACTION FIGURES

(often comic) sidekicks on the side of


good. Just as in the western movies and
TV shows that children watch, these sec-
ondary characters can be injured, kid-
napped, and rescued and can serve as bit
actors in the stories they play out.

White Hats in the Sandbox


From the very beginning, toy companies
knew the qualities required of their good
guys in any action-figure line: bravery,
integrity, courage, strength, humility,
and other laudable traits. During the
1960s, the heroes of television westerns,
like Matt Dillon, Lucas McCain, Rowdy
Yates, and the Cartwrights, exuded these
qualities. But the age of licensing well- giving his life to defend the West from
known characters from shows was still the heathen Indianstuck with his ac-
years off. Instead, toy companies, like tion figure over the decades.
Marx, developed western action-figure Why did Custer remain such a popu-
lines based predominately on fictional lar choice? Certainly there were plenty
characters they themselves created. of other names well known to the aver-
However, one real-life character ap- age child. A few figures did occasionally
peared in Marxs first line and has been get made of these characters. But none
in very many action-figure lines since: has the distinction of being represented
Gen. George Armstrong Custer starred as as a plastic icon so many times. Custer
a white hat in the very first western- even showed up when he made little
themed line of figures, Marxs Best of the sense in context, for example, in the Leg-
West series. Only two other real-life char- ends of the Lone Ranger line of the early
actersDaniel Boone and Geronimo 1980s.
joined Custer in the series of more than Custers powerful mythos and martyr-
20 figures. Custer has since been pro- dom, combined with his easily recog-
duced dozens of times, by many different nized appearance, make him an ideal
companies in many different styles, but choice for an action-figure white hat. His
one thing has remained the same: hes mythos represents everything heroic
always a good guy. about the western frontier, and dying a
Today, of course, we realize that Custer heros death added extra spice and ap-
wasnt as pure and innocent as we were peal. His long, flowing blond hair, dis-
led to believe by our grade school his- tinct facial hair, and military uniform al-
tory teachers. But the mythos of General lowed manufacturers to produce a figure
Custer as the ultimate military hero that children would know on sight as
ACTION FIGURES 3

children and companies alike back to the


tales of their heroics.

Evil in the Toy Box:


The Black Hats
Toy companies faced a tougher task in
creating the black hats. Sure, they found
some straightforward candidatesBilly
the Kid and Jesse James, the most com-
mon. The villain of the Alamo, Santa
Anna, was even produced once. In gen-
eral, however, the evil characters were ei-
ther licensed characters from a movie or
show, such as Butch Cavendish from The
Lone Ranger, or a generic baddie devel-
oped from an accepted concept of a true
General Custer. He stood out as a mar- western villain.
keters dream, a widely recognizable fig- What may be surprising for many is
ure with all the right qualities, and no that Native Americans only rarely ap-
one left to collect royalties. peared as evil characters. Even during
Other famous real-life western heroes the 1960s, Native characters, like Tonto,
did make it into plastic. Wild Bill Hickok, were marketed as friends of the cowboys.
Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, Belle When they did appear as villains, they
Starr, Annie Oakley, Wyatt Earp, Doc were usually portrayed as misunder-
Holliday, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, stood, not bad. Of course, this subtlety
Jim Bowie, and others have all been did not necessarily translate into play
made into toys for children. All were por- style. I recall many kids who used Native
trayed as the white hats. characters as their main enemy force.
By the late 1970s, licensing characters Companies strongly relied on the color
from movies and television shows be- black to create their villains. Even when
came the de facto standard. Toys from using a well-known character, such as
TV shows and movies like The Legend of Jesse James, the toy manufacturer care-
the Lone Ranger, Butch and Sundance: fully dressed him predominately in
The Early Years, Wild Wild West, Grizzly black. Sam Cobra, for example, the only
Adams, How the West Was Won, and character in the large Best of the West
Zorro became the norm, while lines set who was marketed as purely bad, was
based on generic characters slowly disap- dressed, quite nattily, all in black, com-
peared. Still, even today the most re- plete with all-black accessories.
silient of the famous western heroes In marketing, these bad boys dishon-
show up occasionally in the toy aisles. esty, cowardice, and untrustworthiness
Their myth is still strong enough to lure were their key selling points. No one was
4 ACTION FIGURES

portrayed as a murderer, not even an ac- ters that were evil on the show were nat-
tual felon such as Billy the Kid. Rather, urally evil in toy form as well. Butch
they were often thieves, and gambling Cavendish, the nemesis of the Lone
was one of their usual pastimes. The Ranger, is possibly the best example.
prevailing mythos represented the west- Dressed predominately in black and rid-
ern bad guy as a stagecoach, train, or ing a black horse, he was the antithesis
bank robber or as a cowardly, dishonest of the Masked Man. Specific play sets de-
poker player. Probably for fear of offend- veloped with Butch Cavendish in mind
ing parents, the manufacturers down- almost always involved robbery as the
played the idea that these men were real crime. These figures represented a less-
killers. violent evil. The description of El Lobo,
Sam Cobra, from Marxs Best of the another villain in the Lone Rangers
West line, personified this type of charac- West, is a perfect example: El Lobo, the
ter. A no-good, cheating gambler, he Mexican Outlaw, scheming enemy of the
came with many deceitful accessories. A Lone Ranger. Deceitfulness, either in
special knife could be hidden in his stealing or while playing cards, was the
sleeve, a derringer could be hidden in his predominate trait of the western bad guy
belt buckle, and another could be cached action figure.
in a cue ball. No ideal western villain
would be complete without his bundle of The Portrayal of
dynamite to blow up the banks safe. Co- Western Minorities
bra was an oddity, though, being mar- The American West had many minority
keted very clearly as a bad guy. Most oth- members, many of them not as much in
ers, even Jesse James and Billy the Kid, the minority as traditional depictions
were simply sold as one more player in would have us think. Native Americans,
little Bobbys dugout of characters, allow- African Americans, Hispanics, Asians,
ing the child to decide the role they and women of all nationalities played
would play. major roles in the story of the American
Once licensing characters from major West. Surprisingly, all have been repre-
shows became the norm, those charac- sented in the toy box as well, and not
just as villains.
As noted earlier, although Indians
were present in almost every western
line produced, only rarely did they ap-
pear as bad. In general, they served as
sidekicks, buddies, compadres. Any neg-
ative elements in their personas were
usually presented as the result of a mis-
understanding, as in the case of Red
Sleeves, part of the Lone Ranger series,
billed as the noble foe, the fierce
Apache. The packaging explained, Few
who lived in the Old West were more
ACTION FIGURES 5

given some credit, however, for outfit-


ting these females not just with com-
pacts and lipstick but with .45s and Win-
chesters. Native American female figures,
in stark contrast to their Caucasian
counterparts, did not appear as armed
warriors.
It may seem surprising at first to see
such diversity in toys, particularly when
it was clearly not intended to broaden
the market audience. Toy companies
knew that although children were their
market, parents held the purse strings. If
feared and less understood than Red little Johnny pointed out an action figure
Sleeves, the Indian who rode alone. that did not appear different enough
Driven from his tribal land by Butch from others in the same line, a parent
Cavendishs outlaw band, Red Sleeves might tell him, You dont need that; you
mistakenly blamed all men for the evils already have one. A sale would be lost.
of a few. Even during the 1960s and 70s, Distinctly different clothes, hairstyles,
toy companies largely avoided stereotyp- and skin colors helped toy manufactur-
ing minorities. ers convince parents that little Johnny
Although African Americans played a really did need just one more figure.
major role in the real Old West, they The best representation of such mar-
played a far smaller one in the plastic keting diversity was a line called The
version. During the last 40 years, there Ready Gang, produced by Marx in the
have only been a handful of black west- late 1970s. The three characters included
ern figures available, mostly fictional. the Sundown Kid (the blond Caucasian),
The only real-life example is Nat Love, Ringo (Mexican), and Trooper Gibson
one of the most famous African-Ameri- (the black ex-soldier). This line is today
can cowboys and perhaps the model for very sought-after by collectors, not only
Deadwood Dick. because of its quality but also because of
Female figures enjoyed a more promi- its diversity.
nent role in the toy box because manu-
facturers hoped to lure little girls as cus- Conclusions
tomers. Real-life characters, such as The mythos of the American West lends
Calamity Jane, Belle Starr, and Annie itself perfectly to the fantasy world of ac-
Oakley, served as action figures, and tion figures. In every line, good guys and
companies created many other fictional bad guys are necessary for childhood
characters as well. Even if girls had little role playing. With the well-known myths
interest in them (Barbie provided fierce of characters such as General Custer,
competition), the female figures pro- Billy the Kid, and Geronimo, some real-
vided damsels in distress for little boys life western people fit the archetypal
to rescue. The companies should be roles perfectly. The ambiguity of the real
6 ACTION SHOOTING

West, where the lines between good guy tors play the parts of mountain men, sol-
and bad guy could be extremely blurred, diers, dance hall girls (and prostitutes),
has at times made it difficult to place and gunfighters, thereby vicariously en-
people in clear-cut roles. Manufacturers joying life in the Old West. Among the
didnt try to pigeon-hole their charac- more colorful, noisy, and action-filled re-
ters; they simply produced a variety and creations are action-shooting contests
let the kids sort it out. held at various locations around the
It is in the characterization of these ac- country. Mike Venturino describes one
tion figures that we see the bare mythos such event:
of the American West. Good guys are
honest, brave, and trustworthy. Bad guys In a blur of movement, the cowboy
are liars, gamblers, cheats, and thieves. jumps up, draws his gun and starts spray-
We may recognize the historical inaccu- ing hot lead around the saloon. As he
racy, but this mythos is so ingrained in hammers away, the bad guys begin to
our society that we accept it as a given fall. The first six-gun empties, and the
even in the toys we buy our children. cowboy pulls out a second. But even
Western toys produced by foreign com- when that one is spent, hes not out of
panies in foreign lands carry these same danger. He grabs a shotgun off a nearby
ideals. The American West has been table and blasts his way toward the exit,
marketed and sold to the entire world in firing so rapidly that the guns side-by-
this fashion through TV, movies, books, side barrels sound nearly as one. When
and even our own history classes. For he finally clears the room and kicks open
some, these deeply rooted stereotypes the double swinging doors, theres more
may seem outdated or even dangerous, trouble outside: Another band of outlaws
but for most little kids and big kids alike, lines the street. To make matters worse,
its just about playing cowboys and hes out of ammo. Amid a jangle of spurs
Indians. and a swish of chaps leather, he runs to
Michael Crawford his horse, where his trusty Winchester ri-
fle waits. Whisking it clear of the scab-
See also Butch Cassidy and the Sundance bard, he levers in the first round and lets
Kid; Earp Brothers; Lone Ranger fly, swinging the gun from side to side
with incredible speed and accuracy. At
References last, he squeezes off his final shot.
Western Action Figure Archive: http://www. Breathing hard, he waits for the dust to
atomgroup.org/WAFA1.htm. settle. His heart sinks. One of the bad
guys is still standing. (Venturino 1988)

Action shooters generally dress the


Action Shooting part, wearing period cowboy costumes,
handlebar mustaches, and other sartorial
Each year, a host of reenactors dress up touches. They might be firing authentic,
in period costumes to re-create historical historical weapons or recent-vintage re-
eras, battles, and other events. Reenac- productions. But most importantly, they
ACTION SHOOTING 7

are firing at targets, not at other human their play re-creates historical reality. A
beings. The Single Action Shooting Soci- few shooters, however, are more savvy.
ety (SASS, 15,000 members) and the Na- Floyd D. P. Oydegaard offers wonderfully
tional Congress of Old West Shootists detailed and informative Internet in-
(NCOWS) serve as organizing bodies for struction on How to Be a Pistolero: A
groups in some 40 states and many for- Guide to Old West Historical Reenact-
eign countries. An estimated 50,000 peo- ing. He details dress, mannerisms,
ple, probably more than 75 percent of weapons, aliases, and other critical parts
them men, participate in these contests of re-creating the persona of an Old West
worldwide. Even countries without a his- gunslinger. However, he also reminds
tory of Wild West violence enjoy the ac- practitioners that for virtually every Old
tion. For example, the Western Action West gunslinger, The Legend was much
Shooting Society bills itself as New worse than the real man. That was what
Zealands premier cowboy action shoot- the public wanted to believe. . . . the
ing group. truth was never so interesting.
The governing organizations specify Indeed, western films are rife with ref-
the types of firearms permitted. Cowboy erences to the gunplay and mayhem that
action shooters must fire single-action characterized the mythical West. (Peggy
revolvers that require cocking the ham- Thompson and Saeko Usukawa have
mer manually before each shot. The de- gathered more than 100 pages of great
sign of rifles and carbines must predate western film quotes into Tall in the Sad-
1899. Arms manufacturers Winchester dle: Great Lines from Classic Westerns.)
and Black Hills produce ammunition de- Jerry Valance (played by John Ireland) in
signed specially for cowboy shooters. Red River (1948) expresses the usual
Colts famous single-action Army Re- worshipful attitude toward guns ex-
volver, The Peacemaker, is the hand- pressed in westerns: You know, there
gun of choice. The gun has undergone are only two things more beautiful than
only minor changes since its 1873 intro- a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman
duction for the U.S. Cavalry. Todays from anywhere. In the 1939 film Dodge
models, priced at about $1,200, are pro- City, trail boss Wade Hatton (Errol Flynn)
duced only in .45 Colt and .44.40 cal- asks the towns barber, Well, whats the
ibers, the most popular rounds with ac- news in Dodge? Well, just about the
tion shooters. same as always, replies the barber.
Contest design shows great creativity Gambling and drinking and killing.
and challenges competitors with the Mostly killing.
novel and unexpected. Contestants In El Dorado (1967), gunslinger Nels
might have to shoot from fake horses McCloud (Christopher George) delivers a
that roll on tracks. They might take aim bit of pop philosophy to his gang: Faith
from atop stagecoaches, around obsta- can move mountains. But it cant beat a
cles, or running or rolling. Both speed faster draw. As a counterpoint, feisty bar
and accuracy count, as in an authentic owner Vienna (Joan Crawford) warns in
Old West shoot-out. Johnny Guitar (1954) that boys who play
Many action shooters assume that with guns have be ready to die like men.
8 ACTION SHOOTING

An exchange in The Last of the Fast Guns more representative of the Old West
(1958) injects another healthy dose of re- than is the stereotypical glint-eyed,
alism to movie fiction: You wanted to mano-a-mano gunfight.
see me? asks gunfighter Brad Ellison A panel of experts on violence in the
(Jock Mahoney). I wanted to see the Old West discussed the issue at the 1999
winner, replies John Forbes (Carl Benton Western History Association meeting in
Reid). Nobody wins in a gunfight, Portland, Oregon. ExSecretary of the In-
replies Ellison. terior Stewart L. Udall moderated the dis-
The most famous parody of action cussion. Quoting the late Arizona histo-
shooting and Old West role playing came rian Bert Fireman, Udall reaffirmed that
in the campy 1973 science fiction film the West was not won by guns. It was
Westworld, which provides a delightful, won by shovels and sweat (How the
dark, bizarre story of action shooting West Got Wild 2000). Historian Robert R.
gone bad. Michael Crichton wrote and Dykstra agreed that the uniquely savage
directed the film, set in a high-tech and homicide-ravaged Old West is a con-
theme park of the future. Vacationers, for struct as phony as Americas favorite in-
$1,000 per day, interact with lifelike ro- vented traditionthe quick-draw street
botic cowboys, prostitutes, and more in duel reenacted every day in a score of
an Old West setting. However, owing to tourist venues.
unexplained malfunctions, the usually In the same panel, Michael A. Bellesiles
obliging robots begin killing the visitors. quoted Robert Warshows observation in
In a brilliant casting touch, actor Yul his 1954 analysis of western film: The
Brynner reprises his persona from The two most successful creations of Ameri-
Magnificent Seven as one of the gun- can movies are the gangster and the
slinger robots programmed to always Westerner: men with guns. Bellesiles
lose the shoot-out. pointed to Owen Wisters novel The Vir-
What is fascinating about the new ac- ginian, which popularized the gunfight,
tion-shooting pastime is that it has very the standard of any western. The fact
little to do with the realities of the Old that such gunfights were incredibly rare
West. Blazing gunfights rarely happened. hardly mattered when compared with
Aware of the danger posed by guns, fron- the enormous romantic power of such a
tier towns passed and enforced strict gun man-to-man face-off. Historical reality
control laws. The famous duels, with notwithstanding, legions of action shoot-
gunslingers facing each other down on ers continue to replicate movie fiction,
Main Street, are much more a product of while imagining that they are partaking
filmmakers than of history. The notori- of western fact.
ous inaccuracy of side arms left most The mythology and fictive nature of
men loath to trust their lives to them. If action shooting, however, does not blunt
someone needed killing, ambush or back the enthusiasm, as shooters expend an
shooting, rather than face-to-fact com- estimated 24 million rounds of ammuni-
bat, generally prevailed. In this sense, tion per year. Recreational, pretend gun-
Jack McCalls murder of Wild Bill Hickok play, however, is not without its critics.
with a cowardly shot from behind is In the wake of the horrific Littleton, Col-
ADAMS, ANSEL 9

orado, student massacre and similar cial photographer for 30 years, but his
school tragedies, many people have visually stunning, mostly black-and-
asked whether gunplay should be pre- white photographs of western land-
sented as a lighthearted pastime and a scapes brought him fame.
tourist attraction. Parents, in particular, An only child, Adams was perhaps more
feared that children might become en- than a little spoiled; his formal schooling
amored of the glorification of quick- ended in his early teens as he chafed un-
draw violence and perhaps act on those der the regimentation of school. His par-
impulses. ents employed private tutors to complete
his studies. He enjoyed the piano and
See also Wister, Owen, and Winthrop, considered music as a career. In 1916 he
Washington visited Yosemite Valley and took his first
landscape photographs. The grandeur of
References Yosemite lit a fire in him, and he deter-
How the West Got Wild: American Media mined to capture and share its stunning
and Frontier Violence. Roundtable discus- beauty on film. He studied photography,
sion. Western Historical Quarterly 31, no. 3 returning to Yosemite each summer.
(Autumn 2000): 277296. Like John Muir and other early conser-
Oydegaard, Floyd D. P. How to Be a Pistolero: vationists, Adams realized that the natu-
A Guide to Old West Historical Reenact-
ral wonders of the West could easily be
ing: http://www.sptddog.com/sotp/persona.
lost. He joined the Sierra Club in 1920
html.
and served on its board of directors from
Thompson, Peggy, and Saeko Usukawa. Tall
1934 until 1971.
in the Saddle: Great Lines from Classic West-
Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, his
erns. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1998.
Venturino, Mike. Slingin Lead. Popular Me-
first portfolio, appeared in 1927. The
chanics 175, no. 4 (April 1998): 7680. work of Paul Strand would exert a strong
influence on Adamss photographic vi-
Sources of Further Information sion. The following year he married Vir-
The Gunfighter Zone: http://www.gunfighter. ginia Best and began working as an offi-
com. cial photographer for the Sierra Club. By
The Single Action Shooting Society: http:// the early 1930s, his work enjoyed con-
www.sassnet.com/. siderable exposure and success. He
Western Action Shooting Society, New Zea- joined with Edward Weston, Imogen
land: http://www.wass.org.nz/. Cunningham, and others to found Group
f/64. They devoted themselves to excel-
lence at all elements of photography,
from composition and lighting to careful
Adams, Ansel exposure and exquisite printmaking. He
also codified his meticulous approach to
19021984 exposure, processing, and printing into
what he called the zone system. In
San Franciscoborn Adams spent his life 1933 the Ansel Adams Gallery opened in
taking pictures. He labored as a commer- San Francisco.
10 ADAMS, ANSEL

Adams extended his range from Cali- ness of the need for conservation around
fornia across the West. On his first trip to the world. In later years, he gave up the
the Southwest, in 1928, he wrote from rigors of traipsing through the wilder-
Santa Fe, New Mexico, to his wife that ness he so loved and settled in Carmel,
the photographic material is simply im- California. In 1980 he received the Presi-
mensebeyond any imagination. I would dential Medal of Freedom from Jimmy
not be in the least surprised were our Carter, on the recommendation of Ger-
destiny to establish us here (Adams ald Ford. The citation reads:
with Alinder 1996). He published not
only portfolios of his work but also in- At one with the power of the American
structional guides to photography. He landscape, and renowned for the patient
also taught courses and helped establish skill and timeless beauty of his work,
one of the first departments of photogra- photographer Ansel Adams has been vi-
phy at the California School of Fine Arts sionary in his efforts to preserve this
(later the San Francisco Art Institute). countrys wild and scenic areas, both on
In 1941 Secretary of the Interior film and on Earth. Drawn to the beauty
Harold Ickes commissioned Adams to of natures monuments, he is regarded by
take photographs for murals to grace the environmentalists as a monument him-
Interior Departments new building. He self, and by photographers as a national
traveled throughout the West, shooting, institution. It is through his foresight and
among other things, his most famous fortitude that so much of America has
picture, Moonrise, Hernandez, New been saved for future Americans.
Mexico. His environmental ethic grew
even stronger. Photography, he wrote In July 1983 Adams tried to encourage
in 1945 for the Sierra Club Bulletin, Carters successor, Ronald Reagan, to
more than any other visual medium, ef- show some concern for the environment.
fectively reveals not only the aspects of He recorded his disappointment and very
the natural world, but also the tragic re- negative impressions in a letter to fellow
sults of its violation. photographer David Hume Kennerly:
Thanks to a Guggenheim Fellowship
in 1948, Adams spent the year taking The meeting with RR was not funny; it
memorable photographs in national was very discouraging. He is very gra-
parks and monuments. A portfolio of cious and persuading, but it was like
those prints appeared in 1950. Although confronting a stone wall. . . . I was told I
he is best known for his landscapes, in had 15 or 20 minutes but I ended up
1953 he collaborated with skilled peo- with 50! He talked for a time at first and
ple photographer Dorothea Lange for a I was scrambling for my priorities. I said
Life magazine study of Mormons in Utah. most of what I had to say. I think it is a
The tonality, saturation, range, and marvelous country when a citizen can
richness of an Adams print are immedi- talk with the President and tell him he
ately recognizable. His works, gracing (the citizen) thinks he is seriously misin-
countless posters, calendars, note cards, formed. I felt with a sinking feeling that
and other media, carried his conscious- this country is in very poor hands. The
ALAMO 11

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

subsequent interview might do some Sources of Further Information


good; it has been published all over the Masters of Photography Biography: http://
world. wake up, america (and ken- w w w . m a s t e rs - o f - p h o t o g ra p h y. c o m / A /
nerly!!) We are facing disaster! all best, adams/adams.html.
as ever! Ansel (Kennerly Web Site)

The master photographer and activist


died on 22 April 1984 of heart failure ag- African Americans
gravated by cancer. However, his vast
corpus of beautiful prints remains See Beckwourth, Jim; Bicycle Corps; Buf-
among the most important and stunning falo Soldiers; Dart, Isom; Deadwood
visual records of the great American Dick; Exodusters; McJunkin, George;
West. Pickett, Willie M. Bill

References
Adams, Ansel, with Mary Street Alinder. Ansel
Adams: An Autobiography. Boston: Little, Alamo
Brown, 1985, 1996.
Alinder, Mary Street. Ansel Adams: A Biogra- Along with the battle at the Little Big
phy. New York: Henry Holt, 1996. Horn, the defense of the Alamo ranks as
Kennerly, David Hume. Ansel Adams: An one of the two most storied battles in
American Icon: http://www.enn.com/fea western history. Since 1905 the Daugh-
tures/1999/11/110299/ansel_5302.asp. ters of the Texas Republic have safe-
12 ALAMO

guarded this state and national treasure The Texan uprising against Mexicos
located in downtown San Antonio. More central government brought renewed
than 2.5 million people visit the 4.2-acre fighting to the Alamo. In December 1835
complex each year. Plays, pageants, Ben Milam led Texan and Tejano volun-
films, and a plethora of books continue teers against Mexican troops in San An-
to commemorate and, in some cases, tonio. After several days of close fighting,
hotly debate what transpired at the they defeated the Mexican forces, occu-
Alamo on 6 March 1836. Men remove pied the Alamo, and strengthened its de-
their hats in respect when entering, and fenses. On 23 February 1836 Gen. Anto-
interior photographs are only permitted nio Lpez de Santa Anna and his army of
once a year, on 6 March. several thousand arrived outside San An-
The priests and mission Indians who tonio, nearly taking the force at the
inhabited the Alamo, first called Mission Alamo by complete surprise.
San Antonio de Valero, could never have Why Santa Anna concentrated his con-
foreseen the importance the humble siderable force on a strategically unim-
mission would take on. The mission was portant target stirred conjecture and leg-
originally established at another location end. Hidden treasure, perhaps? Based on
in 1718. Construction at the present site thin evidence, in 1992 Frank Busch-
began in 1724, and workers laid the cor- bacher concluded that Jim Bowie must
nerstone of the church on 8 May 1744. have succeeded in his quest to find a
In 1793, after some 70 years of operation large cache of silver from the fabled San
marred by frequent Apache and Co- Saba Mine and that he had carried the
manche attacks, Spanish officials secular- fortune to the Alamo and hid it in the
ized the Alamo and San Antonios four fortress well. At Buschbachers urging,
other missions. In the early 1800s the archaeologists from St. Marys University
sites purpose changed from religious to in San Antonio excavated the Alamos
military as Spain stationed a cavalry unit well in early 1995. Alas, only a few
there. Soldiers began calling the old mis- shards and other fragments appeared;
sion the Alamo in honor of their home- not the San Saba treasure.
town, Alamo de Parras, Coahuila, Mex- The Alamos 182 defenders, under the
ico. The Alamo continued to have command of Col. William B. Travis, held
military significance and use through out for 13 days. Travis sent out a plea for
Mexicos war for independence from reinforcements, signed Victory or Death.
Spain and after. Only a band of 32 volunteers from Gon-
Even the sites popular name is colored zales arrived, on the eighth day of the
by legend. Many insist that the name siege. They swelled the ranks of the de-
Alamo, Spanish for cottonwood, came fenders to nearly 200 fighters. Texas de-
from the rows of trees planted along the clared its independence from Mexico
Alameda, a prominent nearby San Anto- during the siege on 2 March.
nio street. However, the term appears Travis offered his men three options:
well before the stately cottonwoods were rush the enemy outside the fortress, sur-
planted. A cause cannot come after its render, or remain inside and defend the
supposed effect. Alamo to the death. The men chose the
ALAMO 13

third option. According to legend and model for his hero Nimrod Wildfire in
film, as hope faded, Travis drew a line on The Lion of the West. The play opened in
the ground and asked any man willing to New York City on 25 April 1831. Books
stay and fight to step over. All except one supposedly based on Crocketts life and
complied, agreeing to fight to the death. exploits began appearing soon thereafter.
In the early morning of 6 March, Mexi- Disenchanted with political life, Crock-
can soldiers overran the compound, ett headed west with several other men
killing or capturing all the combatants. on 1 November 1835. He planned to ex-
The exact facts concerning those final plore the Texes [sic] well before I return
hours remain vigorously disputed. (Lofaro). In his last letter, written to his
Santa Anna did not savor his victory family on 9 January 1836, he called
long. Spurred by cries of Remember the Texas the garden spot of the world. He
Alamo, Texan forces dealt his army a closed his letter with the admonition,
swift, devastating blow at San Jacinto on Do not be uneasy about me, I am
21 April, capturing the general in the among friends.
process. Mexico held San Antonio until It is the manner of Crocketts death at
May, then demolished much of the the Alamo, not his life, that has inspired
Alamo and its outer walls before with- long-standing controversy. Susanna
drawing. Capt. Juan N. Segun reoccu- Dickinson, wife of army officer Almaron
pied the town on 4 June 1836. Dickinson, said that Crockett died out-
Among the heroes of the Alamo, sev- side the Alamo, one of the first to fall in
eral have ties to other western legends. the fighting. This seems unlikely, how-
One of Gene Autrys ancestors, 42-year- ever, because Travis had written that
old Micajah Autry, died there. North Car- during the first bombardment Crockett
olinaborn, he left his family and ven- had ranged widely in the Alamo, ani-
tured to Texas, arriving in December mating the men to do their duty. Later
1835. I go whole hog in the cause of reports laud Crocketts deadly gunfire,
Texas, he wrote his family, as he became including a near miss on Santa Anna.
part of the Texan army (Alamo Official Colonel Traviss slave Joe, the only male
Web Site). He fell in love with Texas and Texan to survive the battle, reported see-
its opportunities, relishing the 5,000 ing Crockett lying dead, surrounded by
acres of land that military service would slain Mexicans. According to Joe, only
net him and his family. In a letter to his one man, named Warner, surrendered to
wife, Martha, he noted in a postscript the Mexicans, only to be promptly shot.
that Col. Crockett has joined our com- Other wild tales of the 1830s had Crock-
pany (Alamo Official Web Site). ett clubbing Mexicans with his empty ri-
David Davy Crockett had already be- fle or even surviving as a slave working
come a living legend before his death at in a Mexican salt mine.
the Alamo. The consummate frontiers- In 1975 the translation and publica-
man, hunter, teller of tall tales, and con- tion of a diary kept by Mexican Lt. Col.
gressman from Tennessee had already Jess Enrique de la Pea (18071841)
made his way into literary legend. James added another version of Crocketts
Kirke Paulding used Crockett as the death. The translation included several
14 ALAMO

Monument to the fallen at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

errors, indicative of the dangers of rely- by Richard Penn Smith, Col. Crocketts Ex-
ing on a translation rather than an origi- ploits and Adventures in Texas . . . Written
nal document. According to de la Peas by Himself, gave what may be a reason-
eyewitness account and corroborating ably accurate account of Crocketts cap-
documents, Mexican forces captured ture and execution.
Crockett and about six other Alamo de- According to Crockett hero worship-
fenders at six oclock that morning. Santa pers, such as New York firefighter/arson
Anna, furious that his order to take no investigator turned amateur historian
prisoners had been violated, quickly or- Bill Groneman, the Mexican officers di-
dered the men executed. According to de ary was a forgery, not to mention a smear
la Pea, they were bayoneted and then on Crocketts heroism. In his 1994 book
shot. The Mexican soldiers thrust them- Defense of a Legend, Groneman leveled
selves forward, in order to flatter their the forgery charge, based on very flimsy
commander, and with swords in hand, evidence and no expert forensic exami-
fell upon these unfortunate, defenseless nation. He has since backed off some-
men just as a tiger leaps upon his prey. what from his assault on the diary.
Though tortured before they were killed, Joseph Musso, a Los Angelesbased his-
these unfortunates died without com- toric illustrator, likewise has questioned
plaining and without humiliating them- the diarys authenticity. It doesnt have
selves before their torturers (de la Pea 110 years of human records behind it
1997). Interestingly, although rife with (CNN News Report 19 November 1998),
errors, lies, and plagiarism, an 1836 book he charged, pointing out that it appeared
ALAMO 15

mysteriously in the hands of a Mexican points up errors and oversights in Linds


coin dealer in 1955. explanation and offers effective rebuttal
Intrigued by Gronemans assertions to the poets points. Roger Borroel has
and concerned by his lack of evidence, translated and analyzed a number of de
James E. Crisp, a Texas native and associ- la Peas writings, adding further cre-
ate professor of history at North Carolina dence to his reports.
State University, delved into the question The diary that gave rise to such con-
of the diarys authenticity. Through troversy had resided quietly at the John
painstaking research throughout the Peace Library at the University of Texas
country, Crisp unraveled the diarys at San Antonio for nearly 25 years. Then
many mysteries and effectively shredded John Peace III, son of the man for whom
Gronemans arguments against its au- the library was named, decided to put
thenticity. The central points of Crisps the 700-page manuscript on the market.
rebuttal can be found in his introduction In November 1998 the original manu-
to a new edition of the diary, With Santa script sold at auction for $388,000.
Anna in Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Charles Tate and Tom Hicks, two alumni
Revolution, which reprints the 1975 of the University of Texas at Austin, pur-
translation by Carmen Perry. chased the famous document and do-
Others weighed in against the Mexi- nated it to their alma mater.
can officers account as well, including The Butterfield and Butterfield auction
CBS News anchorman Dan Rather, a na- house had the document tested scientifi-
tive Texan who grew up in Houston. In a cally. According to the auction houses
letter to the New York Times (30 March Gregory Shaw, the memoirs paper is of
1997), he criticized those who would high rag content, typical of papers of the
take the word of a Mexican officer, some- early nineteenth century. We were able
one who would have had the most to to determine, unequivocally, that the pa-
gain by discrediting the defenders of the per was manufactured between 1825
Alamo. In response, historian Garry and 1832 and, perhaps more impor-
Wills shot back that Rather illustrated tantly, that the ink when applied to the
the fact that Texans are rarely sane on paper was fresh and the paper has not
the subject of the Alamo (Wills 1997). been treated or tampered with in any
Wills pointed out that de la Pea, cer- way (CNN News Report 19 November
tainly no apologist for Santa Anna, de- 1998). I have no doubt that they are au-
plored Crocketts execution and admired thentic, added Crisp. They have passed
his stoic conduct in the face of death. every test (CNN News Report 19 No-
Texas poet, critic, and Harpers Maga- vember 1998).
zine contributing editor Michael Lind Rice University filmmaker Brian Hu-
also waded into the fray. Among other berman even created a documentary
things, Lind disputes some of the docu- about the controversy. His film, Davy
ments that corroborate de la Peas ac- Crockett and the Pea Diary, premiered
count, notably a letter written 19 July on 29 April 2000 in Austin. It traces the
1836 by George M. Dolson, a Texan army many controversies and fascinating char-
officer and translator. Once more, Crisp acters involved in the famous diarys past
16 ALAMO

and present. And to add to the confu- Production problems plagued the ven-
sion, Stephen Harrigan, a writer for Texas ture. According to critic Brian Garfield,
Monthly, published yet another novel- Wayne spent nearly thirteen million
ized version of the famous story titled 1960 dollars to make this interminable
The Gates of the Alamo. Harrigan has ex- epic which is by turns adolescent, lusty,
pressed skepticism about the diarys glutinous, ribald, simpering and flabbily
authenticity. actionful. Garfield terms it a good ex-
Hollywood, of course, has also taken a ample of Hollywood at its worst: nearly a
hand in creating and spreading Alamo classic for students of awful movies
myths. A Houston attorney, Donald (Garfield 1982). Its strongest feature
Burger, assembled an on-line list of ma- turned out to be its music, written by
jor recent films and television shows Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Webster. Their
about the Alamo. Both film and televi- hit song, The Green Leaves of Summer,
sion treatments appeared in 1955. Frank received an Oscar nomination. The film
Lloyd directed the movie version, The also received nominations for Best Pic-
Last Command, which featured Sterling ture, Best Supporting Actor (Chill Wills),
Hayden, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Rich- Best Cinematography (Color), Best Score
ard Carlson, and Ernest Borgnine. In one (Drama or Comedy), and Best Editing.
of the most famous portrayals, Fess However, it only won in the category of
Parker and Buddy Ebsen starred in Dis- Best Sound, and certainly would have
neys Davy Crockett, King of the Wild won no prizes for historical accuracy.
Frontier. Originally shown as three seg- As the Web site The Nitpickers Site has
ments of the television series The Won- pointed out, Wayne took considerable
derful World of Disney, it spawned a very liberties with Alamo history. The entire
popular, separate TV series. The Alamo: assault took place before dawn, so the
Thirteen Days to Glory (1986) starred Mexican Army could not have paraded
James Arness (of Gunsmoke fame), Brian down the streets of San Antonio in day-
Keith, Alec Baldwin, and Raul Julia. light beforehand. In Waynes version,
Without question, however, the most Bowie is wounded and carried to a cot in
famous treatment came in 1960 at the the chapel. Crockett has to force Jim
hands of John Wayne, who directed and Bowie back to his hospital bed. Actually,
starred as Davy Crockett in The Alamo. Bowie was confined to a cot before the
The film also featured Richard Widmark, battle with either pneumonia or tubercu-
Richard Boone, and newcomer Frankie losis and a broken leg. These ills, not
Avalon. Stock western character actors Crockett, kept him on his cot.
Ken Curtis, Denver Pyle, Chill Wills, and Crockett arrived at the Alamo with 13
Waynes son Patrick also appeared. men, not 23 as depicted in the film. Like-
British actor Laurence Harvey played wise, Juan Segun did not arrive at the
Colonel Travis. The original cut of 199 Alamo with the Gonzales volunteers, nor
minutes ran nearly as long as the epic did he die at the Alamo. Rather, he left
battle itself. Wayne had to cut some 38 with messages and did not return until
minutes for the version shown in movie well after the battle. In Waynes dramatic
theaters. version of Crocketts death, he swings his
ALAMO 17

long rifle Betsy at his attackers until a myth. The reality of the Alamo is far
Mexican lancer stabs him. He gamely more complexand ultimately, I think,
staggers through the chapel door and far more interesting.
torches several kegs of gunpowder,
which blow out the chapel walls. Like so much of western history, much of
This last dramatic touch may not have the turf remains controlled by buffs, am-
strayed as far from the historical record ateurs, and ideologues. So too, with the
as other creative touches. According to Alamo, ideology, hero worship, and myth
writer Lon Tinkle, the Texans planned to emerge far stronger and more vibrant
create such an explosion when their than historical reality.
numbers dwindled to the last man. At
the end of the battle, Maj. Robert Evans References
dashed for the powder cache in the Alamo Official Web Site: http://www.the
chapel, torch in hand. Mexican gunfire alamo.org.
cut him down before he could reach the CNN News Report 19 November 1998: http:
powder. (However, its worth recalling //www.cnn.com/US/9811/19/alamo.auction
that in his 1958 book Thirteen Days to /#4.
Glory, Tinkle also mangled the diarists de la Pea, Jess Enrique. With Santa Anna in
name, altering it to Gonzalez Pena.) Texas: A Personal Narrative of the Revolu-
Thus, battles about the Alamo, its tion (1975). Trans. Carmen Perry, with an
events, and its legacy continue to rage. introduction by James E. Crisp. College Sta-
Even though de la Peas manuscript is tion: Texas A & M University Press, 1997.
authentic, we can still ask, Is it accurate? Edmondson, J. R. The Alamo Story: From Early
Do other key pieces of historical evi- History to Current Conflicts. Plano: Repub-
dence exist, awaiting the diligent re- lic of Texas Press, 2000.
searcher? Don Carleton, director of the Garfield, Brian. Western Films: A Complete
Center for American History at the Uni- Guide. New York: Da Capo, 1982.
versity of Texas, put the problem suc- Lofaro, Michael A. Crockett, David. Hand-
cinctly: Many Texans like to hold on to book of Texas Online: http://www.tsha.utex
their historical myths. as.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/CC/
Novelist Stephen Harrigan recognized fcr24.html.
the same social phenomenon: Wills, Garry. Texas Pride. Outrider, 20 June
1997.
The Alamo is a very well cultivated
myth, and as such it speaks to our deep- Sources of Further Information
est hopes that we are capable of heroism Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at
and selflessness. Simply put, we remem- the Alamo, select bibliography: http://www.
ber the Alamo with such fervor because drtl.org/alamorev.html.
it continually inspires us to believe that Donald Burgers List of Films and TV Shows
there is something worth dying for, and about the Alamo: http://www.burger.com/
if the time ever came for us to cross the alafilms.htm.
line we might be able to find the Lind, Michael. The Death of David Crockett.
courage to do so. Of course, that is the Wilson Quarterly, Winter 1998: http://
18 APPLESEED, JOHNNY

wwics.si.edu/organiza/affil/WWICS/OUT soul (Hillis 1917). Chapman lived sim-


REACH/WQ/WQSELECT/CROCK.HTM. ply, carrying only a bag of seeds and a
The Nitpickers Site: http://www.nitpickers.com/ shovel. He used neither gun nor knife
movies/titles/1219.html. and never chopped down trees or killed
Texas Military Forces Museum Web Site, animals. Indians and settlers alike wel-
maintained by Gary Butler: http://www. comed and respected him.
kwanah.com/txmilmus/tnghist3.htm. At age 70, John Chapman died of
pneumonia at his friend William Worths
home in Indiana. His estate revealed
that, far from being poor, he had owned
Appleseed, Johnny and leased vast amounts of land, which
he had already covered in apple trees.
17741845 His grave is located near Fort Wayne, In-
diana. The epitaph reads, He lived for
John Chapman became famous in Amer- others.
ican myth as Johnny Appleseed. He A welter of myths surrounds Johnny
roamed the frontier, planting apple trees Appleseed. One portrays him as wearing
to nourish future pioneers and settlers. a pot for a hat and walking barefoot
Chapman believed that the apple tree through the snow. He is also depicted in
would help alleviate hunger and starva- rags, sometimes dressed in a potato sack
tion as the West became more populated. with holes cut for arms and legs. Johnny
Born to Nathaniel and Mary Chapman Appleseed is characterized as the tough-
in Massachusetts in 1774, Chapman re- est yet gentlest frontiersman to ever
ceived an unexceptional education and grace the West. Johnny supposedly sang
lived a relatively uneventful life until he the same song repeatedly: Oh, the
converted to the Swedenborgian religion. Lords been good to me, / And so I thank
He became one of only 400 members in the Lord, / For giving me the things I
America at the time. He swore off all need, / The sun and the rain and the ap-
evils, including women and alcohol, pleseed. This verse became a popular
and began his task of planting orchards song and prayer, used by Girl Scout and
in frontier regions. He planted his first Boy Scout programs, among others. Dis-
apple orchard in western Pennsylvania ney immortalized his story in a 1948 car-
around 1796. From there, he continued toon. Johnnys tradition of singing con-
to Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois. tinues with the Johnny Appleseed
Johnny Appleseed covered nearly District Barbershop Competition and a
100,000 square miles of land in apple string of festivals across the United
trees. Although he worked east of the States.
Mississippi River, Chapman became Several government and commercial
strongly identified with the American entities have honored Johnny Appleseed
frontier, and thus, the West. His biogra- and capitalized on his name and reputa-
pher, Newell D. Hillis, described the pio- tion, as well. The U.S. Postal Service pro-
neer as having the sweetest smile, the duced commemorative five-cent stamps,
most wondrous face, and the greatest and the federal government made 11
AREA 51 19

March official Johnny Appleseed Day. ico, in 1947, as well as the diminutive
The Johnny Appleseed Trail in north cen- bodies of the alien pilots. Air Force scien-
tral Massachusetts promotes itself as the tists have supposedly used these artifacts
path that he followed, even though he to reverse engineer (that is, to develop
never planted orchards in that state. The based on the evidence of the wreckage)
Johnny Appleseed all-hemp catalog sells flying saucerlike aircraft for the U.S.
all-natural products. military.
The apple lies at the center of many of Many details about aliens and UFOs at
the myths. Supposedly, Johnny Apple- Area 51 emanate from the stories of
seeds deep love for the fruit stemmed Robert Lazar. In 1989 Lazar claimed to
from an apple blossom that he first saw have worked for the federal government
upon his birth. By some accounts, on secret alien technology deep in the
Johnny gave a bag of seeds to the young Nevada desert. He reported that the gov-
Abe Lincoln. His fame even extended be- ernment housed nine different types of
yond the earth. According to legend, flying saucers there, the result of a long-
when he died God called him to heaven standing collaboration with mysterious,
to plant apple orchards there. Today his otherworldly visitors. Fearful that his for-
namesake apple, the Jonathan, remains mer employers intended either to erase
among the top-ten sellers in the United his memory through drugs or hypnosis
States. or to simply kill him, he decided to go
Julie J. Anders public with his claims.
Lazars credibility has come under
References question. The self-proclaimed MIT-
Hillis, Newell Dwight. The Quest of John educated physicist actually graduated
Chapman: The Story of a Forgotten Hero. from a California community college. His
London: Macmillan, 1917. long-standing efforts to encourage a film
Nissenson, Hugh. The Tree of Life. New York: version of his story suggest financial
Harper and Row, 1985. gain as a motive for his actions. His 1990
conviction for pandering (he set up a
computer system for a Las Vegas brothel)
further embarrassed him. Supporters,
Area 51 however, see his legal problems and the
lack of documentation to support his
The top-secret U.S. Air Force base at story as further evidence of a govern-
Groom Lake, Nevada, has long fascinated ment conspiracy to discredit him. He re-
UFO and conspiracy buffs. Books, arti- mains an important, controversial figure
cles, and Web sites have proposed vari- in the development of the legend of Area
ous theories about what really goes on at 51.
Area 51, also sometimes known as The Dreamland myth entered the
Dreamland or the Ranch. The most public arena largely through television
prevalent theory is that Area 51 houses and films. The television program The X-
the wreckage of a spacecraft that pur- Files located parts of two humorous
portedly crashed at Roswell, New Mex- 1998 episodes at Dreamland. The TV
20 ARGENTINA

program derives much of its popularity budget and ahead of schedule) led to a
from the clever use of interrelated story number of other secret Air Force projects
lines about alien visitors and govern- at the base. Scientists there developed
ment conspiracies. This interplay fits both the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117A
well with the supposed activities at Area Stealth fighter. During the 1980s the
51. The hugely successful motion pic- government probably conducted tests of
ture Independence Day similarly played advanced antiballistic missile technology
with the mystery of Area 51. In that film, at Groom Lake as part of the Strategic
the military kept the existence of the Defense Initiative program (the so-called
base and the alien technology stored Star Wars program).
there secret even from the president, Recent sightings of bizarre objects fly-
who expressed outrage when he learned ing over the bases restricted airspace
of the deception. probably indicate the development of
The intense public interest in Area 51 even-more-advanced aircraft. The very
is understandable; the unknown fasci- secrecy that necessarily attends such
nates and inspires us. Most of the worlds research, however, will undoubtedly
cultures have created myths about continue to fuel speculation about extra-
strange, alien beings with extraordinary terrestrial links to Area 51. Perhaps gov-
knowledge and powers, beings who de- ernment counterintelligence agents, as
scend from the heavens. The idea that some conspiracy theorists propose, en-
those in power would cover up such courage such speculation in order to
matters for their own benefit is hardly deflect attention from the real technol-
new. Conspiracy theories are as old as ogy used there. Regardless of its origins,
the Bible. Previous generations have the myth of Area 51 shows no signs of
blamed sinister events on a variety of disappearing.
scapegoats, including Freemasons, Rosi- Michael Thomas Smith
crucians, Jesuits, and Jews. In the mod-
ern world, many people see the federal References
government as the likely villain. The Darlington, David. Area 51: The Dreamland
many scandals that have plagued na- Chronicles. New York: Henry Holt, 1997.
tional leaders in recent decades further Good, Timothy. Alien Liaison: The Ultimate
stimulate such suspicions. Secret. London: Random Century, 1991.
Area 51s documented history is nearly Patton, Phil. Dreamland: Travels inside the Se-
as fantastic as any theory. The CIA and cret World of Roswell and Area 51. New
the U.S. Air Force first created a small York: Random House, 1998.
base on the remote Nevada site in 1955
to test the experimental U-2 spy plane,
which soon began surveillance flights
over Soviet-controlled areas. Subsequent
land acquisitions allowed Dreamland to Argentina
grow to its present large size. The suc-
cess of the U-2 (which came in under See Comparative Frontier Mythology
AUTRY, GENE 21

his guitar. Autrys early singing style re-


Australia flected the influence of the father of
modern country music, Jimmie Rodgers,
See Comparative Frontier Mythology the Singing Brakeman.
No overnight success, Autry got off to a
faltering start in New York City show
business. In 1927 he returned to Tulsa,
Autry, Gene Oklahoma, to sing on radio station
KVOO. In 1931 he recorded his first hit
19071998 song, That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine
(written with Jimmy Long). He moved to a
In many ways, Orvon Gene Autry, born bigger radio market with WLS in Chicago,
in Tioga, Texas, lived the rags-to-riches performing as Oklahomas Singing Cow-
dream that many people still associate boy. There he met Smiley Burnette, the
with the American West. Even his family talented, rotund comedian who would
background reflects links to western become Autrys sidekick in a long string
popular culture. His father, Delbert, of radio and film performances.
worked as a tenant farmer, cattle dealer, Autry and Burnette first sang in a Mas-
and horse trader, a storied profession of cot film that also starred the screens first
the Old West. The family moved to singing cowboy, Ken Maynard. In Old
Achille, Oklahoma, and later to Ravia, Santa Fe (1934) marked the beginning of
Oklahoma, about 20 miles east of the Autrys long cinema singing career. The
present town of Gene Autry. (Autry was film also boosted the career of another
to purchase 1,200 acres on the west side soon-to-be-famous sidekick, George
of Berwyn, Oklahoma, to graze his live- Gabby Hayes. Autry appeared in Mys-
stock. Acknowledging his celebrity, in tery Mountain, another Maynard film that
1941 the town changed its name to Gene appeared later the same year. In 1935 he
Autry, Oklahoma.) rode across the silver screen in a sci-
Music entered Autrys life early, thanks fi/western serial titled The Phantom Em-
to his mother, Elnora, and his paternal pire. Autry then moved to Republic Pic-
grandfather, William. The latter, a Baptist tures, where he shot 58 pictures, from
minister, prompted young Gene to sing Tumbling Tumbleweeds in 1935 to Robin
in the church choir and bought the 12- Hood of Texas in 1947. By 1940 Autry had
year-old his first guitar. Gene worked as risen to become one of the nations most
a telegraph operator and traveled with a popular movie stars, a network radio star,
medicine show, another staple of Old and a top-selling recording artist. He
West popular culture. He met living leg- would star in 91 westerns produced by
end Will Rogers one night in Chelsea, Republic and Columbia from 1935
Oklahoma, when the comedian dropped through 1953. Only Mickey Rooney,
by to send out a few messages. Rogers of- Clark Gable, and Spencer Tracy out-
fered encouraging words when he heard ranked him as a career box office
the youngster singing and strumming attraction.
22 AUTRY, GENE

Autry also played a leading role in elderly, and animals; is tolerant; helps
shaping another huge area of western those in distress; works hard; respects
popular culture, the American rodeo in- women, his parents, and the law; is clean
dustry. He became involved in rodeo as a in his thought, speech, and habits; and is
performer and producer through his Fly- patriotic.
ing A Rodeo. As a rodeo producer during Autry showed his patriotism by enlist-
the 1940s, he changed the nature of ing in the Army Air Corps in 1942. Every
modern rodeo away from sports compe- movie cowboy ought to devote time to
tition and toward popular theater. He the army winning or to helping win until
marginalized the contestants in general the war is donethe same as any other
and women in particular. Autry helped American citizen, he said (McDonald
reduce women, who once starred and 1987). Autry made a sincere patriotic sac-
competed against men, to secondary rifice. His annual salary of $600,000 in
roles as barrel racers and rodeo queens. 1941 fell to little more than $100 per
He also spiced rodeos with his own month in the army. In his absence, a
singing performances. The introduction singing newcomer named Roy Rogers laid
of singers and other entertainers shifted claim to the title King of the Cowboys.
the focus away from contestants and to- The war years and changes in the
ward celebrity performers. movie industry set Autry to thinking
Autry often played himself in his films, more seriously about his financial future.
which helped increase the audiences He invested skillfully and displayed the
identification with him. He understood good economic horse sense that would
the charm of the B-western and how to make him a multimillionaire. From the
deliver it to an audience. Autry listed his late 1940s through 1953, he made 32
recipe for success in his autobiography more movies with his own Gene Autry
Back in the Saddle: a good story and Productions. His half-hour television
good music, a dash of comedy and ro- program, The Gene Autry Show, ran
mance, and fights and chases played out weekly on CBS from 23 July 1950 until 7
under vast western skies. He added his August 1956. His credits eventually in-
own special touches: lots of singing, his cluded his popular Melody Ranch radio
wonder horse, Champion, a good dose of program, more than 90 films, an equal
humor, and touches of modernity, with number of television episodes, and hun-
telephones, automobiles, and other dreds of recorded songs.
twentieth-century gadgetry. In 1960 he put Champion out to graze
Autry used his popularity to preach and hung up his spurs. His business in-
rock-solid values, mandated, he says, by terests in the electronic media, the Cali-
Herb Yates at Republic Studios. The Ten fornia Angels baseball team, hotels, and
Commandments of the Cowboy, aimed ranches kept him busy. The Country
at admiring youth, well summed up the Music Hall of Fame inducted Autry as a
values that Autry and other cowboy he- member in 1969. He still had time for old
roes represented. The hero never takes friends, however. He continued to give
unfair advantage; never betrays a trust; money to a destitute, alcoholic Ken May-
tells the truth; is kind to children, the nard until the actors death in 1973.
AUTRY, GENE 23

Autrys longtime first wife, Ina Mae petuates the mythical and movie West
Spivey, died in 1980. In 1982 he married that he helped to shape. A superb facil-
his second wife, Jackie Elam, and he quit ity, the museum also offers an engaging
drinking. look at western history and culture and
Autrys fame and fortune never went includes excellent research materials. As
to his head. Cowboy singer Michael Mar- the museums Web site notes,
tin Murphey tells the following story: In
1936 Autry The galleries also present the story of
the West by contrasting the historical
got together with John Wayne at a movie with the mythological. Art, film, and ad-
opening, and they got drunk together. vertising have shaped perceptions of the
John Wayne, a little bit tipsy, said, You region, and The Autry explores contem-
know, Gene, had I been able to sing, porary culture, as well as historical reali-
your career woulda been history. You ties. Whether it is the art of Albert Bier-
would never have made it. And appar- stadt, Frederic Remington, or N. C.
ently Genes retort to that was, Hey, its Wyeth; the tools, clothing, and firearms
not my singing, its my extra-fine acting of people who inhabited the West; or the
that has carried me through. Gene costumes, scripts, and props of western
never considered himself a very good ac- film and television, The Autry offers an
tor and never considered himself a very enjoyable and engaging opportunity to
good singer either. He was very humble discover the legacy of the West.
about that.
On Autrys eighty-fifth birthday on 29
Autry remained vigorous and active September 1992, 100 schoolchildren
throughout his life. In 1993 his theme gathered at the museum to serenade
song, Back in the Saddle Again, enjoyed him with Happy Birthday. A cowboy
a popular revival on the sound track for riding a galloping steed topped his birth-
the film Sleepless in Seattle. The sound day cake, big enough to feed far more
track stayed on Billboard Magazines than 100 hungry children. As Autry ob-
charts for more than a dozen weeks, sell- served, Kids have always supported me.
ing more than 2 million copies. Autry Ive always had a great following of kids.
coauthored the song with Ray Whitley Outfitted with his usual white cowboy
and first recorded it in 1939. hat, Autry expressed a special birthday
Autryville, in Sampson County, North wish: My wish is that everybodys
Carolina, commemorates the singers dream would come true.
name and memory. Located just east of The Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum of
Fayetteville, the tiny town is populated Local History is located in the old Gene
by about 79 families, totaling 166 people. Autry School building in the town bear-
More prominently, two museums also ing his name. Each September, the mu-
feature the story of Autrys life and seum, funded solely by donations, spon-
legacy. The Autry Museum of Western sors a film and music festival that
Heritage in Los Angeles near Griffith attracts many B-western film stars and
Park opened in November 1988. It per- fans. In 1997 Rhino Records honored the
24 AVERILL, JIM

singer with Gene Autry: Sing, Cowboy, LeCompte, Mary Lou. Cowgirls of the Rodeo:
Sing, a three-CD box collection that in- Pioneer Professional Athletes. Bloomington:
cludes an informative booklet. Indiana University Press, 1993.
Autry died, after a prolonged illness, in McDonald, Archie P., ed. Shooting Stars: He-
Studio City, California, on 2 October roes and Heroines of Western Film. Bloom-
1998. His passing, just three months af- ington: Indiana University Press, 1987.
ter that of Roy Rogers, saddened fans
around the world. His second wife, Source of Further Information
Jackie, and his sister Veda survive him. Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum of Local His-
The only entertainer to earn five stars on tory: http://www.cow-boy.com/museum.htm.
the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he is re-
membered fondly for his films, musical
recordings (635), television episodes, ra-
dio (16 seasons of Melody Ranch), and Averill, Jim
live performances.
Its fitting that a modern-day cowboy Ca. 18551889 (also Averell), accused
legend like Gene Autry should also be rustler. See Cattle Kate
tied to older western legends, such as the
Alamo. One of Genes ancestors, North
Carolinaborn Micajah Autry, fought
and died at the most famous battle in Aztln
Texas history, the Alamo, on 6 March
1836. His name is prominently inscribed Aztln is the legendary first city of the
on the tall granite monument that tow- Aztecs, apparently located in what is
ers in front of the old San Antonio mis- now the American Southwest. No physi-
sion/fortress. cal location has even been found, and
However, a living link also connects much of the Aztec oral traditions have
Autry and the Alamo. Joseph Blyth III, a been lost. Like the Seven Cities of Gold,
retired automotive industry consultant, Aztln has acquired a magical reputa-
is also related to Micajah and Gene tion. According to Aztec tradition, the
Autry. Furthermore, Blyth acted as an ex- Aztecs left Aztln in 1111 c.e. and jour-
tra in a number of B-western and other neyed southward for some two cen-
films. Thus, myth connects with myth, turies. Once in a permanent and secure
but so do flesh-and-blood human be- location in the central valley of Mexico,
ings, like the Autrys and Blyth. they destroyed their written records and
rewrote them in a manner favorable to
References the tribe. The Aztecs created a rich body
Autry, Gene, with Mickey Herskowitz. Back in of myth and legend, illustrated with
the Saddle. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, much symbolism. They reported no de-
1978. feats or weaknesses and portrayed them-
Autry Museum of Western Heritage Web Site: selves as a messianic people chosen by
http://www.autry-museum.org/. the Gods.
AZTLN 25

The name Aztln may be broken down the University of California at Los Ange-
into two words in Nahuatl, aztatl, les has published a well-known journal
heron, and tlan (tli) place of. Tlantli lit- named Aztln, which focuses on Chicano
erally means tooth and denotes being issues, lifestyles, and history. LUChA (La
rooted in place. This word is often used Union Chicana por Aztln) provides a
to indicate a settlement or home. Words popular focal point for Chicano student
in Nahuatl have three meanings: literal, pride at many universities. The club uses
syncretic, and connotative. The connota- Aztln as a symbol both of its members
tive meaning of Aztln is place of white- origin and of their future goals of cul-
ness. Several theories surround this tural identity and acceptance as Mexican
meaning. These include the idea of a city Americans.
built in a land of white-skinned giants or Several groups and companies capital-
in a snow-covered land. The myths also ize on the automatic recognition and
contain repeated images of the number identification of Aztln with people of
seven. The Aztecs believed they crawled Mexican heritage. This symbolism has
from the center of the earth to arrive at been used in several political campaigns
the city. It is often called Aztln of the over the years as well. Representing lost
Seven Caves. Or it may be depicted as Mexican lands and identity, Aztln re-
having seven temples: one central large mains a potent political symbol. Compa-
step-pyramid surrounded by six lesser nies in the American Southwest, such as
sanctuaries. After the arrival of the Aztln Archaeology, Aztln Graphics,
Spaniards in Mexico, a parallel myth and Aztln Productions, take advantage
emerges of the Seven Cities of Gold. of the names broad recognition. Even
Like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the arts make the most of the name. The
Aztln was supposedly built on an island. Ballet Folklrico Aztln travels with pro-
It has even been suggested that Aztln ductions of historical representations of
was the legendary Atlantis. It may be as- ceremonies and tribal dances believed to
sumed that Aztln was located in north- have begun in Aztln and continued
western Mexico or southwestern Amer- throughout the Aztec culture.
ica near the coast or an estuary. One Julie J. Anders
historian has posited the exact site to be
San Felipe Aztln in the state of Nayarit,
Mexico. References
Aztln symbolized the beginning of Azteca Web Page: http://www.azteca.net/aztec/
the Aztec civilization and Mexican her- index.html.
itage. It signifies acceptance and cultural Meyer, Michael C., and William L. Sherman.
pride for all Mexican Americans (Chi- The Course of Mexican History. New York:
canos). To many Mexicans and Mexican Oxford University Press, 1999.
Americans, Aztln presents a venerable, Sitchin, Zecharia. The Lost Realms. New York:
dignified heritage. Since the mid-1970s, Avon Books, 1990.
B
Baca, Elfego him as a baby. Living up to his porten-
tous childhood, Baca matured to be a
18651945 true prodigy of frontier skills, especially
with firearms.
Elfego Baca is among the most colorful One memorable event supposedly oc-
and controversial figures in New Mex- curred in October 1884, when Baca
icos history. A true Renaissance man of served as a deputy sheriff in Socorro
the American Southwest, during his long County. Only 19 years of age, he had al-
life he worked as a frontier gunfighter ready earned a reputation as one of the
and ruffian (in his youth), a lawyer, sher- best gunmen in New Mexico. In the
iff, district attorney, school superintend- small town of Frisco, about 125 miles
ent, mayor, and perennial candidate for southwest of the town of Socorro, a gang
state and national office. Born during the of cowboys from the Slaughter Ranch
last days of the Civil War and dying at got drunk and began terrorizing the
the end of World War II, Bacas action- Mexican townspeople. When the deputy
filled life is interesting enough. However, sheriff of Frisco sent for help, the young
this did not stop friends, authors, jour- lawman went to the rescue.
nalists, and even Walt Disney from em- Baca persuaded the justice of the peace
bellishing and mythologizing his life. to deputize him, and he immediately ar-
Myths about his life even surround rested and jailed one of the cowboys. The
Bacas birth. According to one account, next day, a gang of 80 bloodthirsty men
his 19-year-old mother gave birth to him fired on the jail. Backed into a log jacal
while playing baseball. Unknowingly (simple hut), Elfego single-handedly held
pregnant, she jumped to catch a ball and off the siege for 36 hours, killing four and
out popped little Elfego with a thud. An- wounding six of the attackers. During the
other story claimed that a hostile south- barrage, the cool-headed Baca even took
west Indian war party had kidnapped time to cook breakfast. Some of the cow-

26
BACA, ELFEGO 27

boys later pressed charges against Baca residents that he ran for several district
for the killings, but the judge acquitted offices, and even for the U.S. House of
him after he presented the door to the ja- Representatives (unsuccessfully). During
cal as evidence. It contained more than one of his campaigns, he printed up a
400 bullet holes. pamphlet highlighting his gunfighter
The standoff against 80 cowboys fol- days. It became so popular that he began
lowed Baca for the rest of his days and selling them for ten cents apiece.
earned him a reputation for bravely up- In 1928 Kyle Crichton, a local advertis-
holding the law. Many accounts of his ing executive, wrote a book titled Law
early life, however, reveal a more ruffian and Order, Ltd.: The Rousing Life of Elfego
side. New Mexican judges tried him for Baca. He based the work on personal in-
murder three times; each time he was ac- terviews and Bacas pamphlet but added
quitted. Baca claimed to have been ac- further embellishments to the already
quainted with Billy the Kid and Pancho outlandishly mythologized stories.
Villa. The latter supposedly once put a Elfego Baca died in 1945 at the age of
$30,000 reward on Bacas head for steal- 80. In 1958 True West magazine pub-
ing one of his guns. lished yet another brief biography of
According to contemporaries, despite Baca. According to the article, he had
his shortcomings Baca earnestly desired been run over by a fire engine, stabbed
to be the best lawman in the Southwest. with an ice pick, and wounded critically
As sheriff of Socorro County, instead of in a knife fight, and he had survived an
chasing indicted criminals, he would automobile accident and some 50 gun-
write them a letter. He warned that if fights. Thirteen years after the gun-
they did not turn themselves in, he fighters death, Walt Disney produced a
would understand that they were resist- television series titled The Nine Lives of
ing arrest and would feel justified in Elfego Baca. The series, starring Robert
shooting them on the spot. Loggia, did for Bacas life what Disney
Baca went on to study law, and the did for many people and events of the
New Mexico Bar admitted him in 1894. A western frontier: delivered yet another
tenacious campaigner for justice, he ex- bigger-than-life mythical being to Ameri-
celled in the courtroom and soon earned can popular culture. The mythical Baca
an appointment as district attorney and can still be seen today on weekly reruns
was elected mayor. Once a friend being on the Disney Channel.
tried for murder in El Paso enlisted his In 1959 Disney released another film,
help. A local journal quoted Baca as re- Elfego BacaSix Gun Law. It featured a
plying, Im on my way with three eye- promising young actress named Annette
witnesses. This quote stuck with Baca Funicello in her big-screen debut. Re-
throughout his life, although he admit- cently, the History Channel produced a
ted to a newspaper in 1939 that he had more factual account of Bacas life, at-
never said it. tempting to demythologize him. In 1994
In his later years, Bacas stories and Howard Bryan wrote Incredible Elfego
folklore became so popular with local Baca: Good Man, Bad Man of the Old
28 BARBECUE

West, which portrayed both the good birthplace of (American) barbecue, ow-
and bad aspects of his character. The fol- ing to its long history of hog farming.
lowing year Bryans book won the cov- Another report of barbecue comes
eted Spur Award from the Western Writ- from Brazil more than 200 years ago.
ers of America, Inc., for Best Western Gauchos on a ranch roasted a cow on a
Nonfiction. spit in celebration of the arrival of a pop-
Andrew Mebane Southerland ular priest. They completed the party
with music and a large gathering of
See also Disney Frontierland friends. The Portuguese and Spanish tra-
dition slowly spread up and across the
References Western Hemisphere, finally reaching
Bryan, Howard. Incredible Elfego Baca: Good the American West. The practice is still
Man, Bad Man of the Old West. Santa Fe, embraced for the great flavor it imparts
NM: Clear Light Publishers, 1993. to meat and for its ease of cooking.
Crichton, Kyle. Law and Order, Ltd.: The The Great American Barbecue Instruc-
Rousing Life of Elfego Baca. 1928. Reprint, tion Book defines barbecue as meat
New York: Arno Press, 1974. cooked in the dry heat of wood coals at
temperatures of about the boiling point
of water (Hale 1985). Herbal rubs, mari-
nades, bastes, or sauces flavor the meat.
Barbecue The most popular type of western sauce
begins with tomato catsup and brown
Barbecue is one of the American Wests sugar or molasses. The chef then inven-
favorite foods and pastimes. There are as tively adds whatever additional flavor-
many different ways to cook it as there ings he or she wishes.
are myths about its origin. Barbecue may Cooks in the West barbecue beef,
have originated with Cro-Magnon man game, fowl, goat, and even mutton, while
somewhere in France around 30,000 southerners generally use pork. A 1995
b.c.e. He occasionally cooked his meat Barbecue Industry Association survey
over an open flame. A more recent source claimed that nearly 85 percent of Ameri-
is the Arawak culture that Columbus met can families own a gas grill, which they
upon his arrival in the Caribbean in use more than once a week on average
1492. These people cooked meat over a to do what they call barbecuing.
rack of wood and flavored it with avail- Barbecue has made its way into popu-
able fruits and herbs. They built a large lar culture throughout the nation. Many
fire and put barbacoa (meat) over it, thus restaurants all across the West specialize
creating the modern-day barbecue. in this style of cooking. They range in
Yet another source claims that barbe- theme from down-home, sawdust on
cue came from a tribe of cannibals in the floor places to upscale, five-star din-
South America. The term barbecue was ing establishments renowned for their
commonly used from about 1660 for- chefs and cuisine. Some widely known
ward in the Carolinas and Virginia. barbecue eateries include The Pit in
North Carolina proudly claims to be the Duncanville, Texas, where diners can
BASS, SAM 29

choose their meat before they cook it, Hale, C. Clark Smoky. The Great American
and Elk Country Bar-B-Q in Pinedale, Barbecue Instruction Book. McComb, MS:
Wyoming, just outside Yellowstone Na- Abacus, 1985.
tional Park. The Texas Beef Council, the _____. The Great American Barbecue and
National Pork Producers Council, and Grilling Manual. McComb, MS: Abacus,
1999.
the American Poultry Association all pro-
_____. Origins of Barbecue. Gourmet Con-
duce pamphlets and have special Web
nection Magazine: http://gourmetconnection
sites addressing the many tasty ways to
.com/ezine/articles/697bbori.shtml.
barbecue their products. The U.S. De- Origin of Barbecue: http://www.barbacoa.
partment of Agriculture promotes barbe- com.br/ingles/churrasc.htm.
cuing as a healthy and delicious method Raichlen, Steven. The Barbecue Bible. New
of cooking. York: Workman, 1998.
The influence of barbecue has even
extended to the music industry. In the
1920s Barbecue Bob performed as a lead-
ing jazz and blues guitarist. One of his Barker, S. Omar
biggest hits was Barbecue Blues. The
Internet hosts many barbecue-related 18941985, poet. See Cowboy Poetry
sites. Barbecuen.com is an excellent
source of recipes and information on var-
ious brands of equipment, as is the
BBQ.COM home page. One of the most Bass, Sam
enjoyable, comprehensive, and insightful
books produced recently is The Barbecue 18511878
Bible by Steven Raichlen. It examines the
art and culture of barbecue in 25 coun- Born in Mitchell, Indiana, Sam Bass left
tries around the world and also shares home at age 18 and headed for Texas.
several recipes and techniques. During his brief life, he worked as a
The art of barbecue has reached leg- teamster, farmer, cowboy, gambler, and
endary status owing to its widespread robber. In 1874 he befriended Joel
popularity and excellent taste. Back in Collins, and two years later they trailed
1898, the news editor of the Rushville north on a cattle drive. They pushed the
Standard lauded barbecued meat as the herd all the way to Deadwood, South
finest we ever tasted. Since then, appre- Dakota, where they tried their luck with
ciation has continued to grow, making a saloon, casino, and mine. Failing at all
barbecue a staple of western culture and of them, they decided that robbing
cuisine. stagecoaches and trains would yield
Julie J. Anders riches more quickly. In September 1877
their gang of six stole $65,000 in gold
References coin and other valuables from a Union
Barbecuen on the Internet: www.barbecuen. Pacific train in Big Springs, Nebraska.
com. Back in Texas, Bass and his new gang
BBQ.COM Home Page: www.bbq.com. successfully robbed several trains. In July
30 BATTLES OR MASSACRES

1878, however, a gang member named reward for his treachery: What a
Jim Murphy tipped off the Texas scorchin Jim should get when Gabriel
Rangers. The lawmen ambushed and blows his horn.
wounded Bass as he tried to rob the Old West fans still visit Basss grave
bank in Round Rock. Ranger George site at the Round Rock Cemetery located
Harrell is officially credited with firing in Old Town on Sam Bass Road. The town
the shot that eventually killed Bass. also hosts the Sam Bass Community The-
However, Dick Ware, credited with atre, a nonprofit drama group, and the
killing outlaw Seaborn Barnes, may have Sam Bass Youth Baseball League. Tiny
actually been the one to shoot Bass. Law- Rosston, Texas, a supposed Bass hideout,
man A. W. Grimes also received mortal celebrates Sam Bass Day on the third Sat-
wounds during the fight. Bass, shot urday of July.
through the torso, managed to escape What happened to Basss treasure? Sto-
but could not ride far. He used strips of ries abound. One legend locates his hid-
his shirt to bind up his wounds, but a den gold in a cave in East Mountain at
posse found him resting under a tree the Mineral Wells. Another tale argues that
next morning. He died the next day, on Bass hid his gold in a cave west of Prairie
21 July, his twenty-seventh birthday. His Dell near Big Blue Spring. It is unlikely
dying words are recorded thus: Yes, I am that Bass could have spent all of his gold,
Sam Bass, the man that has been wanted given the spare retail opportunities of
so long. It is agin my profession to blow Texas. Perhaps he did rob more for sport
on my pals. If a man knows anything, he than for profit, which only adds to his
ought to die with it in him (The Story celebrity.
of Sam Bass).
Like that of many outlaws, Basss References
stature grew after his death, aided by a Gard, Wayne. Sam Bass. Boston: Houghton
sense of injustice over his betrayal. A few Mifflin, 1936.
years after his death, his sister had a Miller, Rick. Sam Bass and Gang. Austin, TX:
tombstone erected engraved with this State House Press, 1999.
epitaph: A brave man reposes in death Reed, Paula, and Grover Ted Tate. The Tender-
here. Why was he not true? Souvenir foot Bandits: Sam Bass and Joel Collins,
hunters chipped away the monument, Their Lives and Hard Times. Tucson, AZ:
which was later replaced with a granite Westernlore Press, 1988.
tombstone erected by the Sam Bass Cen- The Story of Sam Bass: http://www.ci.round
tennial Commission. rock.tx.us/planning/rrcollection/mainstreet/s
Texas and the nation still remember ambass.
the fallen bank robber as Texass
Beloved Bandit or Robin Hood on a
Fast Horse. During the 1930s, a popular
cowboy song, The Ballad of Sam Bass, Battles Or Massacres
by John Benton, added to his heroic leg-
end. According to the lyrics, a kinder- At dawn on 29 November 1864, at Sand
hearted fellow youd seldom ever see. Creek, Colorado, Col. John M. Chiving-
The ballad also made plain Jim Murphys ton ordered an attack by 700 volunteer
BATTLES OR MASSACRES 31

soldiers. Their target: a village of about lic, Sand Creek has come to be seen not
500 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho In- as a battle but as a massacre.
dians. Although village chief Black Kettle It is not entirely clear why some
desperately waved a pole with both an clashes between white soldiers and Na-
American flag and a white peace flag at- tive Americans are remembered as bat-
tached in an attempt to deter them, the tles and others as massacres. One reason
soldiers charged and fired, determined to may be that official reports by the officers
wipe out the village. They very nearly involved sometimes succeeded in depict-
succeeded. After their initial surprise, ing the engagement as a battle. Chiving-
some Indians resisted rather than simply tons official report on Sand Creek, for ex-
allowing themselves and their families to ample, stated that his soldiers pressed
be killed. At the end of the day, about forward rapidly in their attack and that
150 Indians and nine soldiers lay dead. his subordinates ably handled their
Women and children comprised some men. Chivingtons second-in-command
two-thirds of the dead Cheyenne and wrote proudly, The historian will search
Arapaho; most had been savagely muti- in vain for braver deeds than were com-
lated by the volunteers. mitted on that field of battle. Many such
Chivington ordered his men to take no reports did succeed in mythologizing a
prisoners. This order was so common- massacre as a battle. However, in some
place in Indian warfare that Chivington cases other witnesses left key accounts
apparently thought it required no expla- that did not coincide with the official mil-
nation in his official report. The politi- itary record. At Sand Creek, most impor-
cally ambitious former Methodist minis- tant among these truth seekers was Maj.
ter commanded a regiment of untrained Edward W. Wynkoop.
Denver citizens who had enlisted for Wynkoops report condemning Chiv-
only 100 days. He wasted no time in an- ington and the barbarous conduct of his
nouncing that he had won a glorious command succeeded in preventing Chiv-
victory over the savages. Back in the ingtons fabrication of events from enter-
mile-high city, the discharged volunteers ing the American cultural memory. Many
triumphantly displayed souvenirs of the massacres, however, were not exposed as
slaughter, including severed ears, fin- such at the time. Officers who had won
gers, scalps, and genitals. fame and honor for their services in the
Public sentiment in Colorado and Civil War sometimes ordered and led
much of the West firmly supported the massacres. The reputations of these he-
actions of Chivingtons men, but the rest roes lent a veneer of respectability to
of the country expressed disgust and their attacks on Indian camps and au-
horror. Chivington probably only es- thority to their official stories.
caped being court-martialed by resign- On 27 November 1868 George Arm-
ing. The scandal and public outcry also strong Custers Seventh Cavalry regi-
forced Colorados governor, John Evans, ment attacked a Cheyenne village in Ok-
to resign. A congressional investigation lahoma. Ranald S. Mackenzie led the
detailed and condemned the atrocities Fourth Cavalry in an assault on a Kick-
carried out by the Colorado volunteers. apoo village in Mexico on 18 May 1873.
To most historians and much of the pub- John Gibbons Seventh Infantry charged
32 BEALE, EDWARD F.

a Nez Perc camp in Montana on 28 July Josephy, Alvin M. Jr. The Civil War in the Amer-
1877. Highly respected former Civil War ican West. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.
generals commanded in each of these Utley, Robert M. Frontier Regulars: The United
encounters. Each resulted in substantial States Army and the Indian, 18661891.
numbers of Native American fatalities, New York: Macmillan, 1973.
although estimates of the numbers vary.
On each occasion, however, U.S. soldiers Source of Further Information
killed mostly women and children. These Meyers, J. Jay. The Notorious Fight at Sand
scenes of violence have generally been Creek. Wild West 11, no. 4 (December
remembered as battles, not massacres. 1998): http://www.thehistorynet.com/Wild
They are known to military historians as, West/articles/1998/1298_cover.htm.
respectively, the Battle of the Washita,
the Battle of Remolino, and the Battle of
Big Hole.
Like Sand Creek, all of these battles Beale, Edward F.
involved soldiers acting under the au-
thority of the U.S. government. In each 18221893, U.S. Army lieutenant. See
case Indians offered some armed resist- Camel Corps
ance, generally after the soldiers initial
surprise attack. In reality, all four of these
military actions were surprise attacks by
U.S. soldiers on Indian villages in which Bean, Judge Roy
most of those killed were noncombatant
women and children. Why only the occa- 1825?1903
sional protest at the time? Few Ameri-
cans of the time questioned the need to Judge Roy Bean is most famous for his
pacify the Indian frontier. Fewer still notorious antics and verdicts as The
questioned the official reports that Law West of the Pecos. Like many au-
painted Indian-white conflict as heroic thorities of the West, Judge Bean was an
battles. However, in these four cases amalgam of justice and banditry and far
and probably in many moremassacre from strictly judicious. An early outlaw
is the proper, accurate term for the en- and occasional troublemaker, he both
gagements. Military historians are only administered and faced the wrath of the
now examining a wider range of such law. He rendered his verdicts from the
mythical battles, often incorporating same room where he distributed liquor:
Native American sources, to recover the in a courtroom, saloon, and billiard hall
real story of these events. where he presided as judge, jury, and
Michael Thomas Smith bartender. He had only three months of
formal education and little knowledge of
References textbook law, but that did not prevent
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: him from handing out flamboyant, in-
An Indian History of the American West. consistent rulings. His colorful style of
New York: Henry Holt, 1970. law generated countless legends and
BEAN, JUDGE ROY 33

stories, many of which are still debated firewood, which he appropriated from
today. land without the consent of the owner.
Born in Kentucky around 1825, Roy He sold milk, which he watered down
Bean left home at age 16 to follow his with river water. That scheme worked for
two older brothers, Joshua and Sam, some time, until a customer found a
westward. He met up with his brother minnow in the milk. Roy exclaimed, By
Sam in San Antonio, Texas. They orga- Gobs, thats what I get for waterin them
nized a large trading expedition into cows down at the river. Before long,
Mexico in 1848 and then decided to stay however, his marriage turned sour, and
in Chihuahua, where they opened a sa- he left San Antonio.
loon and trading post. The venture lasted Roy headed for Vinegaroon, Texas,
until Roy killed a Mexican outlaw who where the railroad had brought hun-
tried to rob the store. The threat of retal- dreds of workers together in a tent city
iation by the outlaws mob and the local near the confluence of the Rio Grande
law forced Roy to flee for California. and Pecos River. He set up a tent and be-
In 1849 he joined up with his other gan selling liquor and goods to the work-
brother, Joshua, in California. Joshua also ers. Roy drank a lot of his own stock and
owned a successful saloon and would was often disorderly, so he fit right in
later become the first mayor of San with the rough laborers. It is here that
Diego. In February 1852, however, Roy the legend of Roy as a judge begins. One
landed in jail after dueling with a French- story claims that he simply set himself
man jealous of his popularity with up as the justice of the peace for the area
women. Lady friends smuggled him without any authority. In truth, however,
knives inside hot tamales; Roy used them his role as a judge came about because
to escape from jail in April. By this time, of the isolated, rowdy frontier atmos-
Joshua had opened another saloon and phere of Vinegaroon. The nearest court-
gladly accepted his escaped brothers room stood a weeks ride away. Hoping
help. Roy spent the greater part of his to establish some form of justice, author-
time working in the bar, but he also went ities appointed Bean justice of the peace
on an occasional bandit chase with the for Precinct 6, Pecos County, Texas, on 2
California Rangers. About two years later, August 1882. He moved to Langtry, a
the third party of a love triangle mur- nearby settlement that he later claimed
dered Joshua, leaving Roy in control of to have named for his favorite actress,
the saloon. In 1859, after a turbulent re- Lillie Langtry. With the exception of a
lationship with a local seorita, Roy left single term, the citizens continually re-
for New Mexico, where brother Sam elected Roy from 1882 until 1902.
served as sheriff. Langtry was little more than a tent city
In 1863 Roy moved back to San Anto- when Roy moved there. It did not take
nio, where he married and fathered four long, however, before Roy built the Jer-
or five children. He made a less-than- sey Lilly saloon, which he did name for
honest living with several shady prac- Lillie Langtry. Declaring himself The
tices, earning his San Antonio neighbor- Law West of the Pecos, he began distrib-
hood the name Beanville. He sold uting his unorthodox brand of justice.
34 BEAN, JUDGE ROY

Judge Roy Beans courthouse and saloon

The Jersey Lilly also housed a saloon and pistol like a gavel, he brought court to or-
billiard hall. der with proclamations such as Order,
The signs on the building boldly pro- by Gobs! This honorable court is now in
claimed the jersey lilly, judge roy session; and any galoot that wants a snort
bean, justice of the peace, law west before we start, let him step up to the bar
of the pecos, billiard hall, and and name his pizen (Watson 1998). He
whiskey and beer. Bean used the legal kept his pet bear Bruno in court just for
system to acquire the signs: When a sign good measure; the animal was suppos-
painter came to town, Bean supplied him edly renowned as a beer drinker.
with drinks, arrested him for public Bean used a single law book, The Re-
drunkenness, and tied him up. The judge vised Statutes of Texas, 1879, for all his rul-
sentenced the painter to two days of ings. The state of Texas sent him a new
hard labor, which translated into the book every year, but he used them to
signs he wanted. start fires. Bean commonly justified his
The courtroom occupied the east end rulings in a very arbitrary manner. It is
of the building; there were two poker ta- the judgment of this court that you are
bles in the middle and a bar on the west hereby tried and convicted of illegally
end. The court furnishings included a and unlawfully committing certain grave
rough table, the judges law book sitting offenses against the peace and dignity of
on a beer keg, and three benches. Bean the State of Texas, particularly in my
liked control and seldom used a jury, say- bailiwick. I fine you two dollars; get the
ing he would add an extra bench if he hell out of here and never show yourself
ever felt a jury was necessary. Banging his in this court again. Thats my rulin (Wat-
BEAN, JUDGE ROY 35

son 1998). A Bean sentence might range Bean rendered one of his most famous
from hanging to buying drinks for all in verdicts against a corpse. A worker fell
attendance; it generally benefited the ac- off a bridge and died. Bean was called to
cused to buy drinks for everyone anyway. examine the dead body. He immediately
Judge Bean kept no records of his cases confiscated the corpses pistol for the
and permitted no appeals. According to use of the court. He also fined the
one story, a man from San Antonio once corpse the amount of money found on it,
tried to appeal a fine. The judge listened $40, for carrying a concealed weapon.
to his speech, then laid his pistol on the Stories diverge on the outcome: Bean ei-
bar and bluntly replied, There is no ap- ther kept the money or gave it to the
peal from this court, and thats my rulin. dead mans friends to bury him.
An affluent lawyer once requested that Some historians labeled Bean the
Bean issue a writ of habeas corpus. In- Hanging Judge, but that title more ap-
stead of complying, Bean threatened to propriately belongs to Isaac Charles
hang the man for using foul language. He Parker. Other sources labeled Bean with
fined people for almost any offense and the slogan Hang em first, try em later.
kept the money, explaining that the court According to historian Jack Skiles, how-
had to be self-sufficient. When Bean got ever, Beans cases, with the exception of
complaints from the capital about not an occasional murder, generally dealt
turning in the proper portion of the fees, with minor misdemeanors. Although he
he sent a curt response to Texass gover- sentenced a few people to hang, Bean se-
nor, Stephen Hogg: Dear Governor, You cretly allowed even these to escape. Per-
run things in Austin and Ill run them haps Beans best-known claim to fame
down here. Yours Truly, Roy Bean. was his adoration of actress Lillie
One of Beans favorite ploys to get Langtry. The town of Langtry had al-
money involved the train traffic through ready been named, for a railroad boss be-
Langtry. Bean strategically positioned his fore Bean arrived. Nevertheless, the
saloon so that passengers, thirsty from judge steadfastly insisted he had named
the long ride, could come in and get a the town in honor of Lillie. He did name
quick drink. He quickly served the cus- his bar, the Jersey Lilly, for her, and he
tomers but took his time in making named his home across the street The
change. When the train whistle sounded, Opera House in anticipation that she
people vociferously demanded their would one day perform there. He hung a
change. Bean immediately found them tattered picture of Lillie in the bar and
guilty of using foul language in his court reportedly offered many a toast to her. A
and fined them the exact amount of man once dared to challenge Beans as-
change they were due. sertion that Lillie was the prettiest
People wanted cold drinks because of woman in the world. The critic even
the heat, so Bean put up a sign that said added that he thought she looked like a
ice cold beer in order to attract them. range heifer. The infuriated judge ar-
He was always jest out, or he would put rested the man for slander and fined him
a lump of glass in the tumbler to deceive $20 for the incident. When a cow thief
his buyers. came before the court and mentioned
36 BEAN, JUDGE ROY

that he had seen Miss Langtry perform, pionship boxing match added to his leg-
Bean pardoned him in exchange for de- end. Peter Maher held the world title for
scribing the actresss performance. prizefighting, though he had received
Although he never met Lillie Langtry, the title without a fight. Bob Fitzsim-
Bean often bragged of their mythical re- mons challenged his claim, and pro-
lationship. He went to San Antonio once moter Dan Stuart arranged the fight in
to see her perform and was supposed to Arkansas. Arkansas prohibited the fight,
meet the actress afterward. However, the so Stuart moved the fight to El Paso,
terrified admirer could not bring himself Texas. However, the Texas governor had
to go backstage to meet her. He admired outlawed prizefighting in the state, and
her from afar and even subscribed to Congress followed suit by banning it in
theatrical publications so that he could all federal territories.
get additional pictures and news. He The ever-resourceful Bean offered to
wrote to her often and invited her to hold the fight in Langtry. When the train
Langtry; some stories say she even wrote arrived, packed with fans and unwanted
back. Supposedly, when Bean sent word lawmen, Bean served drinks at the Jersey
that he had named the Jersey Lilly after Lilly and then led the crowd down to the
her, Lillie was so touched that she of- Rio Grande. He had made a makeshift
fered to put up a drinking fountain in ring on a sandbar in the river, with a
the town square. Bean wrote back that bridge made of beer kegs and scrap lum-
he thought it was a bad idea. Although ber leading to it. The fight took place 21
he was appreciative, Bean said that if February 1896, outside of American ju-
theres anything these hombres of risdiction and two days from the nearest
Langtry dont drink, its water. Mexican soldier. The Texas Rangers
In early 1904 Miss Langtry finally de- could do little more than watch help-
cided to accept the judges offer and visit lessly from a bluff as Fitzsimmons flat-
the city he had supposedly named for tened Maher in 95 seconds. Afterward,
her. When she stepped off the train, the everyone returned to the Jersey Lilly for
townspeople of Langtry, dressed in their beers at a dollar apiece, and reporters
finest, greeted her and honored her with sent newspaper reports across the na-
a reception. Unfortunately, Roy Bean had tion. Those present called the judge the
died ten months before. Lillie stayed in cleverest man in Texas, and he became
Langtry long enough to hear stories known nationwide.
about the judges antics and judicial style As Beans fame grew, so did the myths
as well as about his fascination for her. surrounding him. Many newspaper arti-
When she left, the townspeople felt cles and dime novels featured his antics.
moved to offer her Roys pistol and his In the movie Streets of Laredo and in the
pet bear. Although the bear escaped, Lil- Larry McMurtry novel of the same name,
lie cherished the pistol for the rest of her Bean meets his fate on the steps of his
life. She later wrote how much she courthouse, dying by a Mexican outlaws
wished that Roy had been alive when bullet. The story could not be further
she visited. from the truth. In 1903 Bean went on a
Roys work to promote a world cham- drinking binge in nearby Del Rio. His son
BECKWOURTH, JIM 37

Sam and other friends found him the


next day nearly in a coma. He died Beckwourth, Jim
shortly after.
The legend of Roy Bean lives on, how- 1798 or 18001866 or 1867
ever, in films such as The Ballad of Judge
Roy Bean. Walter Brennan won an Oscar Born a slave in Virginia, Jim Beckwourth
playing Roy Bean in The Westerner, which became one of the earliest legendary
costarred Gary Cooper. In the movie, mountain men. A mulatto, he was the
Bean fights against injustice and is shot son of Sir Jennings Beckwith, a white
and killed backstage at the feet of Lillie slaveholder, and a mulatto slave woman.
Langtry. In 1956 Edgar Buchanan played His father took him to Louisiana Terri-
Bean in a weekly television series. Paul tory in 1810 and then on to St. Louis. His
Newman played the judge in a 1972 father apparently manumitted him, for
movie, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Jim Beckwourth appears in records
Bean. Newman shoots and hangs with thereafter as a free Negro. However, ac-
abandon, and dies amid a barrage of bul- cording to another version, the youth
lets, shouting For Texas, and Miss Lillie! fled west after striking a blacksmith to
History buffs and tourists from across whom he was apprenticed.
the world visit the Judge Roy Bean Visi- In 1823 Beckwourth signed on with a
tor Center, marveling at his refinished fur-trading expedition. The following
courtroom, pool hall, and saloon; his cac- year, he worked, handling horses, for
tus garden; and other exhibits. Imitation Gen. William Ashleys expedition to the
is a sincere form of flattery: Another Jer- Rocky Mountains. His penchant for ex-
sey Lilly Saloon can be found in Ignomar, aggerating greatly inflated his impor-
Montana, selling mountain oysters and tance in his later stories. He took up
other western delicacies. trapping, and over the next few years, he
Kaleb J. Redden learned the skills of a mountain man.
Perhaps because his facial features
somewhat resembled those of a Native
References
American, he felt at home in the frontier
Benningfield, Damond. The Boxing Champi-
West. According to his own tale, the
onship That Wasnt. American West 23, no.
Crow captured him, then insisted he was
1 (1986): 6365.
the long-lost son of Chief Big Bowl. They
Robbins, Peggy. Law West of the Pecos.
adopted him into the tribe. Beginning in
American History Illustrated 8, no. 4 (1973):
1828, he lived for at least six years
1222.
among the Crow Indians. He married a
Watson, Bruce. Hang Em Now, Try Em
series of Indian women, possibly as
Later. Smithsonian 29, no. 3 (1998):
many as ten. He served as an important
96107.
cultural broker, and as a result, white
traders got profitable furs and Indians
Source of Further Information got needed goods. He later related sto-
Judge Roy Bean: http://www.judgeroybean. ries of his great strength and prowess,
com/jrbhistory.html. and no one could contradict his tales. He
38 BECKWOURTH, JIM

often said, My faithful battle-axe was and interpreter. He accompanied Col-


red with the blood of the enemy. orado troops during the infamous Sand
The mountain man returned to white Creek Massacre, although his exact role
society in 1833, presumably leaving be- remains unclear. He then settled near
hind his Indian wives and any children Denver. Like much of his life, his death is
he may have fathered. He retained In- also shrouded in mystery and myth. He
dian dress and hair braids, which added may have died in 1866 while visiting
to his exotic persona. He worked at vari- Crow Indians. Some versions attribute
ous jobs, including as a muleteer, trader his demise to a hunting accident. Others
on the Santa Fe trail, and saloon keeper. argue that death came from poison ad-
In April 1850 he again showed his fron- ministered by a vengeful former wife or
tier skills by locating a pass through the by Crow who believed he had earlier
Sierra Nevada near what is now the Cali- brought smallpox to their village. An-
fornia-Nevada state line northwest of other version suggests accidental food
Reno. His wagon road opened a way for poisoning. Still other sources place his
migrants to reach the California gold- death the following year, near Denver.
fields. Beckwourth maintained a ranch Beckwourths mixed ethnicity has
and way station on the trail summit at probably contributed to his reputation as
the mountain pass that now bears his a liar. White experts could simply not
name. A nearby peak, valley, and town cope with black heroes. Annotating his
also memorialize his contributions. copy of Bonners book, nineteenth-cen-
In 1854 a traveler named Thomas D. tury historian Francis Parkman wrote
Bonner stopped by the inn. The man lis- much of this narrative is probably false.
tened intently to Beckwourths recollec- He added, tellingly, Beckwith is a fellow
tions and inventions of frontier life. Two of bad charactera compound of white
years later, Harper and Row published and black blood. Gen. William Tecum-
the resulting book: The Life and Adven- seh Sherman recorded a contradictory
tures of James P. Beckwourth, Moun- reaction to Beckwourth after meeting
taineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of him in 1848. He termed the mountain
the Crow Nation of Indians. (The Univer- man one of the best chroniclers of
sity of Nebraska Press reissued the book events on the plains that I have encoun-
in 1972.) Those stories marked the be- tered, though his reputation for veracity
ginning of the Beckwourth legend. Bon- was not good.
ner even changed the spelling of the According to historian Kenneth W.
heros name from its original Beckwith. Porter, Beckwourth would be regarded
Beckwourth fought briefly in the Mexi- rather as a great liar than as a great
can War and then returned to Missouri mountain man. Thanks to a more re-
for a time. The lure of Colorado silver cent, careful biographer, Elinor Wilson,
strikes in 1859 pulled him back west. Beckwourths reputation has been some-
Not striking it rich, he returned to the what improved. We learn from Wilson
frontier skills of his youth. The U.S. Cav- that some of Beckwourths incredible
alry hired him during the Cheyenne War tales appear to be true. A skilled western
of 1864. He probably worked as a guide raconteur, he amplified his own role in
BEMIS, POLLY 39

events. Although he also sometimes ther to sell her to bandits for nothing
added entertaining elements to amuse more than a bag of seed. Lalu arrived in
the listener, he mostly recounted actual America in the early 1870s, where a Chi-
events. Had Beckwourth been white, he nese man bought her for $2,500. Upon
would surely rank among the well- her arrival in Idaho, Lalu took the name
known heroes of the frontier West. As Polly Bemis. In 1872 she began living as
one of the first mountain men to have his a slave and concubine to an old Chinese
experiences published, he contributed man. Labeling Polly a prostitute, as
substantially to Rocky Mountain ethnog- some sources do, is inappropriate. In
raphy and frontier history. Marysville, Chinese tradition, concubines were legal,
California, celebrates Beckwourth Fron- recognized members of the family. Some
tier Days the first weekend in October at owners of concubines profited by shar-
Beckwourth Riverfront Park. ing their female slaves with other men,
but we have no direct evidence that
References Pollys owner did so.
James Pierson Beckwourth: http://www.beck- According to legend, a white man
wourth.org. named Charlie Bemis won Polly in a
Wilson, Elinor. Jim Beckwourth: Black Moun- poker game. Both Polly and her close
tain Man and War Chief of the Crows. Nor- friend J. A. Czizek, vehemently denied
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972. this rumor. In an alternate story line, the
old Chinese man died, leaving her free.
In any case, Polly lived with Charlie dur-
ing the census of 1880, though they did
Bemis, Polly not marry until 1894. She performed sur-
gery on Charlie in September 1890, re-
18521933 moving bullet shards he had acquired
during a gambling affray. She saved his
Polly Bemiss Chinese origins destined life again by rescuing him from a burn-
her to be ridiculed and discriminated ing cabin. Their homestead on the
against her entire life. Nevertheless, she Salmon River became her beloved home.
conquered the racism of the American She wished to be buried where she could
West, marrying and settling down on a still hear the rivers roaring water. Polly
homestead along the Salmon River in Bemis died in 1933 in Idaho, and she is
Idaho. Her neighbors described her as an buried near her river.
independent, good-humored woman, Ruthanne Lum McCunn used details
well loved by her community. Her fellow of Polly Bemiss life for her 1981 histori-
pioneers appreciated her skill at nursing cal novel, Thousand Pieces of Gold. In
and healing the sick. She served as a role China, people refer to others daughters
model for other women of her race as as their thousand pieces of gold. Lalus
she farmed in Idaho as she had in China. father calls her his thousand pieces of
Born in 1852, Lalu Nathoy lived with gold to reassure her when she fears she
her poor family on their farm in China. will be sold. McCunn paints a picture of
Some sources say a famine forced her fa- a girl in China whose community re-
40 BEMIS, POLLY

duces her to a stereotype of her sex and herself in the West. The real-life Polly Be-
of a woman in America whose commu- mis is always described as a very kind
nity oppresses her as a stereotype of her and happy woman, full of vitality, but
heritage. Lalus mother complains of her not as fiery as the movie implies. Her ex-
working on the farm instead of marrying ample as a determined woman remains
and raising children. Men in America true in both contexts, and this determi-
treat her as a slave and prostitute, ignor- nation is the most important lesson to
ing her worth as a woman and a human learn from her life, at first traumatic, but
being. By defying these views and be- ultimately full of contentment.
coming successful as a respected farm- Polly and Charlie Bemiss ranch on the
ing wife in Idaho, Lalu proves herself as a Salmon River remains a popular attrac-
woman of fortitude, determination, and tion for tourists, and river tours include
spirit. it on their stops. The site is now only ac-
Polly Bemis was childless, and in the cessible by jet ski or jet boat, thus limit-
novel, Charlie discusses with Polly her ing the number of visitors. Recently, Chi-
choice not to have children. McCunns nese history has been receiving more
treatment of this issue is mere specula- attention from the public, yielding more
tion, since records do not explain why research and books. Chinese American
she had no children. McCunn did add to history is becoming a popular field of
Lalus life, however. Several fictional study, and Polly Bemis occupies a special
characters embellish the novel, including place in it. An illustrated childrens book
two men with whom the fictional Polly of her life is under way, as is a young-
has romantic relationships. One is the adult book describing her life.
bandit Ding, who originally buys her Several stories, from Oregon and
from her father. The other is Jim, the Hawaii, of other women mirror Pollys
man who buys her in America at the story. Like Polly, these women used their
auction and whose heart Polly breaks. knowledge of Chinese herbs to establish
Pollys only historical recorded romance themselves in their communities, not as
is with her husband, Charlie, although slaves, but as valued women. Polly Bemis
her role as a slave and concubine in- well exemplifies womens struggles in
volved other relationships. the pioneer West. She represents the
A movie adaptation of Thousand Pieces strength associated with the rugged indi-
of Gold came out in 1991, telling Pollys viduals who met the challenges of the
story again for a much wider audience. western frontier. She was inducted into
Dennis Dunn plays Jim, the young Chi- the Idaho Hall of Fame in August 1996.
nese man who purchased Polly, and Ros- Ellen J. Oettinger
alind Chao plays Polly. The movie, di-
rected by Nancy Kelly, also stars Michael References
Paul Chan as Hong King, an old Chinese Cheung, King-Kok. Self-fulfilling Visions in
saloon keeper, and Chris Cooper as the The Woman Warrior and Thousand Pieces
kind-hearted Charlie Bemis. Lalu is a of Gold. Biography 3, no. 2 (1990).
fiercely independent and determined Ling, Huping. Surviving on the Gold Moun-
woman in the movie, creating a life for tain: A History of Chinese American Women
BICYCLE CORPS 41

and Their Lives. Albany: State University of aling north 126 miles to Lake McDonald
New York, 1998. and back. During the three-day outing
McCunn, Ruthanne Lum. Thousand Pieces of they encountered the full gamut of Mon-
Gold: A Biographical Novel. San Francisco: tana weatherheavy rains and strong
Design Enterprises of San Francisco, 1981. windsas well as deep mud and steep
Wegars, Priscilla. Polly Bemis: http://www.u grades. They suffered punctured tires,
idaho.edu/LS/AACC/research.htm#Polly. broken pedals, and loose rims and
chains. The corps gained valuable expe-
rience for the following months even
more challenging test.
Benteen, Frederick W. The next test came in August 1896
when the Twenty-Fifth bicycled from
18341898, soldier. See Little Big Horn Fort Missoula to Fort Yellowstone in ten
days and then back. Despite rough roads
and difficult weather, they made the
800-mile round trip, managing to cover
Benton, Jesse Ann 72 miles on their best day. Old photo-
graphs show the troops riding around
18241902, wife of John Charles Fr- Old Faithful and other Yellowstone Park
mont. See Frmont, John Charles sites.
The famed artist Frederic Remington
observed the bicycle corps on maneu-
vers. Writing in Cosmopolitan magazine
Bicycle Corps (February 1897), he noted that in the
colored regiments their first sergeants
In the 1890s, amid a national bicycle are all old soldiersthirty years and up-
craze, the U.S. Army experimented with ward in the frontier service. What will be
outfitting an infantry unit with bicycles. done to replace them when they expire
Black troops of the Twenty-Fifth Infantry is the question; or rather nothing will be
Regiment in Missoula, Montana, rode bi- done. Their like will never come again,
cycles over long distances. Although the because the arduous conditions which
tests succeeded, rapid advances in the produced them can never re-occur, un-
development of the internal combustion less you let me be secretary of war and
engine meant that mechanized trucks burn the barracks (Remington 1897).
and jeeps, not bicycles, would be the The bicycle corpss longer test came
armys future. during June and July of the following
Bicycles had two big boosters in the year. They rode 1,900 miles over 41 days
army at the time, Second Lt. James A. from Missoula to St. Louis, Missouri. Two
Moss, commander of the Twenty-Fifth, white officers, a Montana journalist
and Maj. Gen. Nelson A Miles. They con- named Ed Boos, and 20 black troops
vinced the army brass to mount 20 in- made the epic trek. Pvt. John Findley
fantrymen on bicycles. In July 1896 the ably made repairs to keep the bicycles
bicycle corps took its first long ride, ped- functioning. They rode single-gear Spal-
42 BIGFOOT OR SASQUATCH

ding bikes, with no fenders but with Riders national heroes. Regrettably, the
sturdier metal rather than wooden rims. Twenty-Fifth would have a second,
Each man strapped some 55 pounds of more-unfortunate encounter with Roo-
supplies on the bicycle and also carried a sevelt, now president, in 1906. Unfairly
ten-pound rifle. Hail pummeled the accused of some shootings in Browns-
troops as they entered Wyoming. ville, Texas, the Twenty-Fifth and some
The odd spectacle of bicycling black 100 other black troops were dishonor-
troops attracted great curiosity in the ably discharged by the president.
mostly white western towns on their The tale of the Twenty-Fifth has a hap-
route. Occasionally, contingencies of the pier ending. In 1973 the government re-
League of American Wheelmen rode out versed the dishonorable discharges
to greet them. Mud often clogged the against the black soldiers. The following
wheels, so the men pushed or carried year, a group of African Americans re-
their bikes. Rain and snow pelted them created their epic ride across the Great
in the mountains, and they often rode Plains.
into stiff head winds.
The plains brought no relief. In west- References
ern Nebraska, 110-degree weather, chok- Remington, Frederic. Vagabonding with the
ing sand, and alkali desert greeted them. Tenth Horse. Cosmopolitan, February 1897.
Even though sickened by alkali fumes, Reprinted in Remington, Frederic. The Col-
they still managed to ride 35 miles per lected Writings of Frederic Remington.
day. Conscious of their importance as Edited by Peggy and Harold Samuels. N.p.:
role models, these troops gamely met Castle, 1986.
and surmounted hunger, illness, and Schmitzer, Jeanne Cannella. Twenty-Fifth In-
horrendous conditions. In Crawford, Ne- fantry Bicycle Corps. American History
braska, they joined the towns celebra- Online: http://www.exocet.com/yellowjackets/
tory Fourth of July parade. bikecorp.htm.
At 6 p.m. on 24 July, they pedaled
wearily into a suburb of St. Louis. Lieu-
tenant Moss gave the welcome order
Rest your wheels. The men had aver- Bigfoot Or Sasquatch
aged 55 miles per day, moving at half the
cost and twice the speed of a walking in- Since the early nineteenth century,
fantry unit. A follow-up ride from Mis- scores of people in the Northwest have
soula to San Francisco planned for 1898 reported encounters with unusually
never occurred, for war broke out in large, bipedal beasts with hair covering
Cuba. nearly all of their bodies. Hundreds of re-
The Twenty-Fifth fought against Span- ports generally agree that these crea-
ish troops in the Cuban campaign, but tures measure between 7 and 12 feet tall,
they fought as conventional infantry, not weigh between 700 and 1,000 pounds,
as bicycle troops. They supported the at- and have broad shoulders, flat faces and
tacks at El Caney and San Juan Hill that noses, sloped foreheads, pronounced
made Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough eyebrow ridges, cone-shaped heads, hu-
BIGFOOT OR SASQUATCH 43

manlike limbs, glowing eyes of various tall reddish-brown creature that whistled
colors, and fur color ranging from red- and played with sticks from a hunters
dish-brown, black, and beige to white. fire. Another notable incident occurred
Large statues in Benbow, California, and in 1924 in Oregon, when four prospec-
Vermillion Bay, Ontario, Canada, provide tors claimed that after they spied and
two artists conceptions of the animal. shot at a seven-foot-tall apelike animal, a
These mysterious beasts, which we have number of these creatures laid siege to
come to know as Bigfoot or Sasquatch, their cabin, hurling rocks and beating on
have become a fixture in the folklore of the walls throughout the night. Today
the American West. Many folks, includ- this site is known as Ape Canyon. In
ing eyewitnesses, investigators, and a 1958 Bigfoot became known nationally
handful of scientists, argue that Bigfoot after a road crew in northern California
is real, that he has been lurking about discovered trails of 16-inch-long foot-
our national forests right under our prints. Investigators made plaster casts of
noses. In fact, many Native American the prints. When the Associated Press
peoples wonder what took the rest of us got wind of and printed the story, along
so long to recognize Bigfoots existence. with a photograph of the casts, the tale
Native American legends have spun of the mysterious beast that reporters
tales of giant, upright, forest-dwelling dubbed Bigfoot spread across the na-
beasts for centuries. Algonkian Indians tion, and the mythical creature became
of the Midwest know Bigfoot as Witiko an instant celebrity. The name stuck.
or Wendigo; they describe the animal as Many scientists immediately dismissed
a cannibalistic giant with supernatural Bigfoot as either an elaborate hoax or a
powers. The Huppa of the Klamath misidentified species. Nevertheless, once
Mountains in northern California tell this enigmatic creature, also referred to
stories of the Omah, and the Skagit Indi- as Americas abominable snowman, be-
ans of northern Washington believe in came the subject of widespread media
Kalalitabiqw, a spirit that has moss attention, many folks began to sit up and
growing on its head and can cross the take notice. Several curious investigators,
Cascade Mountains in a single stride. such as Bigfoot authorities John Green
Other northwestern tribes tell tales of and Ren Dahinden, began to interview
Stetal, mountain giants that kidnap chil- witnesses, collect data, and write articles
dren. Even records of Spanish priests and books about their findings. The co-
from the late eighteenth century reveal nundrum also caught the attention of a
accounts of gargantuan, nocturnal, can- man named Roger Patterson. Patterson
nibalistic beasts covered with hair from eagerly roamed the woods of the Pacific
head to toe. Northwest, camera in hand, hoping he
But what about more recent sightings could capture the now-famous creature
of this elusive animal? Descriptions of a on film in order to prove its existence. In
large, wild, forest-dwelling creature first 1967, while searching for Bigfoot in
appeared in local newspapers in the late northern California, Patterson claimed to
nineteenth century. Eyewitnesses in Cali- have gotten his wish. He shot 28 feet of
fornia reported a sighting of a five-foot- film of a female Bigfoot from three differ-
44 BIGFOOT OR SASQUATCH

ent angles. Debate over the authenticity prints, not to mention the large body of
of the film swiftly followed and still rages data gathered: casts, photographs, feces
today. and hair near discovered tracks, audio
Scientists who dispute the authenticity tapes of Bigfoot vocalizations, and the
of the Patterson film, such as John Patterson film. Some have even at-
Napier, claim that in the film, Bigfoots tempted to describe the social organiza-
gait was suspiciously self-conscious and tion, or lack thereof, of Bigfoot and to es-
that the upper half of the body was ab- timate the number of these creatures.
normally rigid. For example, the creature Thousands may live in the wilds of
did not turn its head when it moved to North America. Bigfoot studies have
look at the camera; it had to pivot at the received research grants, universities
hips, as if its movements were restricted have sponsored Bigfoot conferences, re-
by a cheap, uncomfortable costume. searchers have published Bigfoot articles
Also, the length of the stride was incon- in scholarly journals, and there is even a
sistent with the footprint size (footprints research center devoted to the creatures,
were later uncovered at the site). More- the Bigfoot Information Center in The
over, the beast had a male body form but Dalles, Oregon.
female breasts, an odd contradiction. Pat- Many other sightings have occurred
terson himself was not sure of the speed since the famous Patterson encounter.
on which his camera was set at the time Most notably, in 1982 a U.S. Forest Ser-
of filming. This uncertainty poses a prob- vice patrolman claimed to have spotted
lem because the speed helps determine an approximately eight-foot-tall, 800-
whether the creatures gait was like that pound Bigfoot in the Umatilla National
of a human or not. Also, some investiga- Forest, which extends across northeast-
tors claim to see a metal fastener on the ern Oregon and southeastern Washing-
beasts chest in enlargements of the ton. Investigators made casts of the
prints, although Bigfoot believers bitterly tracks left behind. Krantz studied the
dispute this assertion, claiming the ob- casts of the highly detailed footprints
ject in question is nothing more incrimi- and deemed them credible. He believes
nating than light reflecting off a mon- that the prints are genuine and that they
sters fur. reveal the following: The animal is flat-
Still, a number of scientists believe footed and has no arch to its foot, which
there is something to the Bigfoot phe- is consistent with the creatures enor-
nomenon. Grover Krantz is an anthro- mous weight; the prints were pressed
pologist at Washington State University deeply into the ground, which supports
who nearly lost his job over his investi- the idea that a heavy animal made them;
gations of Bigfoot. He believes that giant and the casts reflect complex skin pat-
primates from the Old World migrated to terns that suggest an animal that is nei-
North America thousands of years ago. ther ape nor human. Investigators found
Bigfoot represents their modern-day de- no human tracks near the site.
scendants. Investigators like Krantz find Those who contest the evidence claim
it difficult to ignore the hundreds of con- the prints must be a hoax. They cite the
sistent reports of sightings and foot- following evidence: The stride never var-
BILLY THE KID 45

ied, the prints were not deep enough of either confinement in a zoo, endless
into the ground to coincide with the ani- testing in research facilities, or guest ap-
mals estimated weight, and the prints pearances on The Jerry Springer Show.
looked as if someone had deliberately Jane Veronica Charles Smith
rocked the creatures foot from side to
side. Skeptics also doubted the patrol- References
mans credibility. During a subsequent Clark, Jerome, and Nancy Pear, eds. Strange
interview, he admitted to having falsified and Unexplained Phenomena. New York:
the prints. Visible Ink Press, 1997.
Despite substantial evidence to the Gordon, David George. Field Guide to the
contrary, true believers in Sasquatch per- Sasquatch. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books,
sist. Many Web sites and books are 1992.
devoted to Bigfoot. The existence of a Shackley, Myra. Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch, and
number of organizations (such as the the Neanderthal Enigma. Chichester, Sus-
Western Bigfoot Society), documentary sex: Thames and Hudson, 1983.
films (such as Manbeast ), and newsletters
(such as Big Foot News, with a circulation
of about 10,000) attest to the continuing
appeal of Bigfoot. Hollywood has cashed Billy The Kid
in on the legend, making movies like
Harry and the Hendersons and Legend of 1859?1881
Boggy Creek. In 1995 the movie Bigfoot:
The Unforgettable Encounter presented a Of all the tales of the West, perhaps none
very sympathetic character. In the movie, so captures the minds of Americans and
Bigfoot, aided by a boy named Cody (the of people worldwide as the tale of Billy
most popular western boys name of the the Kid, the boy gunslinger. In terms of
1990s), eluded the bad guys and retired historical significance, Billy pales in com-
to a wildlife sanctuary. parison to many other western figures.
Tabloids have published stories in As a result, most scholars spend little en-
which women tell of their torrid love af- ergy on the Kid, and some resent the
fairs with the mysterious beasts. And be- publics fascination with him.
ware if you are planning to slay a Bigfoot Nevertheless, well over a century after
in Skamania County, Washington: There his death, public obsession with Billy the
is a $10,000 fine for killing the elusive, Kid as an icon of the West continues un-
hairy beast. abated. The reason is simple: What the
So is Bigfoot real? Is a reclusive colony Kid lacks historically, he makes up in leg-
of Bigfoot (or is that Bigfeet?) laughing at end. Indeed, his transformation into a
us somewhere in the wilderness? Or are notorious western myth stems largely
we the butts of an elaborate hoax that from the lack of certain historical data
has endured for centuries? One can only about his life. Images of him range from
imagine how society would react if we do a cold-blooded villain to the Robin Hood
locate the creature someday. The primate of the West. The Billy the Kid that most
would probably face the bleak prospect people know is imaginary.
46 BILLY THE KID

Born Henry McCarty, he used many later rode in Buffalo Bills Wild West
aliases, going by William Billy Bonney, Show. Although many researchers argue
William Antrim, Kid Antrim, and, of strongly against this case, the legends
course, Billy the Kid. Myth surrounds his persist.
life right from his birth. He was probably Billy the Kid became the subject of
born in New York, but other claimants more than 40 movies, ranging from seri-
include Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, ous to ridiculous and even obscene. Billy
and Kansas. Some sources depict the Kid the Kid, aka The Highwayman, Rides
as a short, ugly, uneducated bandit. In came out in 1930. Shot on location in
fact, he was educated and literate. He Lincoln County, New Mexico, the movie
wrote several letters asking for pardon to had a romanticized plot that portrayed
Lew Wallace, governor of New Mexico at Billy as a rebel hero. Interestingly
the time (and author of Ben Hur). Billy enough, actor John Mack Brown, who
spoke both Spanish and English, and ac- played Billy, supposedly used the out-
cording to some sources, he exhibited laws actual guns during filming.
both intelligence and a good sense of Billy the Kid Returns, which appeared
humor. He stood about five feet, seven eight years later, put a new twist on the
inches tall, average height for his time. old legends. Filled with music and ac-
Despite his crooked teeth, many women tion, the film starred Roy Rogers as a
seemed to find him charming. Billy the Kid look-alike. The hero used
Billys life of crime inspires even more his physical similarities to return law and
discrepancies. At its grandest, the num- order to Lincoln County after the real
ber of men he shot is said to reach as Billy the Kid had died.
high as 27. By far the most common sta- Two more-recent incarnations include
tistic of folklore holds that Billy killed 21 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, directed by
men, one for every year of his life. His- Sam Peckinpah, and The Left Handed
torical records confirm only four deaths, Gun, starring Paul Newman. Many critics
and the Kids defenders argue that he consider the former to be the best and
killed only in self-defense. most accurate interpretation of Billys
Legend says Billy claimed his first vic- story. The Kid, played by Kris Kristoffer-
tim at 12 years of age in defense of his son, wanders aimlessly across the South-
mother. The more likely story is that he west, while Pat Garrett serves the some-
killed his first man at age 17, when a what corrupted law. The movie ends
bully sat on him and beat him up. Some with Garrett shooting Billy, then shoot-
sources indicate that Billy the Kid met ing his own reflection, indicating his
Jesse James and turned down an offer to sense of betrayal to self.
join his gang. The Left Handed Gun marks the evolu-
Records indicate that Sheriff Pat Gar- tion of the Kids character from one of ei-
rett killed Billy in Fort Sumner, New Mex- ther evil or romantic extremes to that of
ico, in 1881. However, some 20 men an illiterate victim of circumstance. It
claimed to be the Kid later in life. Most also served to reinforce the myth that
famous among these was Brushy Bill Billy was left-handed, a claim that most
Roberts, who claimed he had escaped research now indicates is false. Someone
Garretts bullets and hidden and who mistakenly printed an old photograph of
BILLY THE KID 47

Billy with the negative reversed, giving best-known works. Copland composed
rise to the error. the suite after America suffered through
In 1988 Billy returned to the cinema in the Great Depression and World War II.
Young Guns and Young Guns II. The for- With this theme from popular culture, he
mer reprises Roy Rogerss portrayal of tried to reach out to a wider audience, to
Billy as a young hero. His gang plays a uplift peoples spirits in times of trouble.
larger role than in earlier films. Young In doing so, he introduced themes and
Guns II shifts emphasis back toward the myths of the West to the cultured world
interpretations taken by The Left Handed of symphony and ballet.
Gun and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. It In New Mexico, the heart of Billy the
even revives the legend that Pat Garrett Kid country, interest in him remains
did not kill Billy the Kid, as it opens with high. The Billy the Kid Outlaw Gang, a
an old man claiming to be Billy, who nonprofit organization, strives to pre-
then tells the story. serve, protect and promote Billy the
Billy the Kid versus Dracula, a bizarre Kid/Pat Garrett history in New Mexico.
treatment, came out in 1965 and ac- The gang formed in 1987 in response to
quired a cult following. In addition to a museum built in Hico, Texas, that
this cross-cultural exchange of legen- claimed that Brushy Bill Roberts, who
dary figures, the Kid has also appeared died there, was the real Billy the Kid. To-
on screen with Mickey Mouse. In The day, the gang has more than 400 mem-
Beard, Billy had a fantasy fling with Jean bers, hailing from 43 states and seven
Harlow that won an Obie award and gen- countries. They work with state agencies
erated an obscenity trial. to put up historical markers related to
Billy the Kid also emerges as a charac- Billy the Kid and to distribute brochures
ter in both music and theater. In the promoting these sites. The New Mexico
country music industry, which often area is also home to the Billy the Kid sce-
highlights the West, artist Billy Dean nic byway, featuring many guided tours.
uses Billy the Kid to contrast modern life Besides these more-direct influences,
to the ways of the past. His song Billy the Kids mythology extends into popu-
the Kid reached number one on country lar culture and sport. The press will
music charts, with a chorus of I miss christen almost any successful, young
Billy the Kid, the times that he had, the competitor named Billy Billy the Kid.
life that he led. Jon Bon Jovi sings on the We find Billy the Kid Irwin in boxing;
soundtrack from Young Guns II, and Bob baseball and football players also use the
Dylan appears on the soundtrack from name. In the rising sport of NASCAR,
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Billy the Kid fans call young talent Jeff Gordon The
is also the name of a band, and he is the Kid.
subject of works by many amateur and In observations on the tragic shootings
professional songwriters around the at Columbine (Colorado) High School in
world. 1999, some commentators recalled the
Aaron Copland, one of Americas pre- Kid to shed light on the situation. Some
mier composers, wrote a ballet suite critics asserted that violence among
about Billy. Described as quintessentially youth stems from satanic music, Nazi
American, it remains one of Coplands worship, or access to bomb-making Web
48 BINGHAM, GEORGE CALEB

sites. Others, however, countered that paintings of the midnineteenth century,


the Kid had shot others at a tender age, Bingham depicted a distinct subculture:
and he had never heard of Marilyn Man- the hardy, adventuresome boatmen, fur
son, Nazis, or the Internet. traders, and trappers who braved the
Further testimony to Billys continued Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. By por-
presence in the minds of Americans traying these men engaged in their
came during a national gun auction held everyday activities, Bingham effectively
in 1999. A gun collector from Charlotte, captured the spirit of early frontier life in
North Carolina, paid $46,000 for an 1876 nineteenth-century America. He drew
Colt single-action Army Revolver used upon his boyhood memories when Mis-
by Billy the Kid. The gun, which Billy souri was the frontier West, a land yet
supposedly used to escape from the Lin- untamed. Thanks to Bingham, we have a
coln County jail, would have been worth corpus of powerful, romantic images of
a mere $1,200 if the Kid had not used it. the rowdy world of Mike Fink river
Such a dramatic increase in value reflects men, a vital colorful piece of western leg-
Billy the Kids continuing hold on the end and lore. (Fink, ca. 17701823, be-
American imagination. came the stereotypical frontier boatman,
Kaleb J. Redden boastful, hard-drinking, hard-fighting.)
Binghams family moved from Virginia
See also Copland, Aaron; Lincoln County to Franklin, Missouri, in 1819 when he
War was only eight years old. He developed a
passion for drawing and sketching early
References on and first earned money by painting
Kadlec, Robert F., ed. They Knew Billy the Kid: portraits in the 1830s. He traveled to
Interviews with Old-Time New Mexicans. Philadelphia to attend the Academy of
Santa Fe, NM: Ancient City Press, 1987. Fine Arts in 1837 and then moved on to
Tatum, Steven. Inventing Billy the Kid: Visions Washington, D.C., for more portrait
of the Outlaw in America, 18811981. Al- painting in 1840. He returned to Mis-
buquerque: University of New Mexico souri, where, in 1845, he created his first
Press, 1982. genre painting in his studio, the Fur
Traders Descending the Missouri. For this
painting Bingham reached back in his
memory to the days before the steam-
Bingham, George boat took over the river and large corpo-
rations took over the fur trade. In the
Caleb painting, a French fur trapper and his
half-breed son serenely stare straight
18111879 ahead as they quietly paddle their canoe
along the Missouri River. The figures
George Caleb Bingham, the Missouri stand out in sharp contrast to the hazy,
Artist, is best known for his prosaic, nat- atmospheric background, which focuses
uralistic portrayal of scenes from the the viewers attention directly on the
American West. In his nostalgic genre trapper and his son. Bingham used
BINGHAM, GEORGE CALEB 49

muted colors (greens, browns, and yel- Although Bingham created only a few
lows) and an almost impressionistic land- works with Indian themes, this painting
scape and pensive figures to create a is important because it depicts a member
tranquil mood. of an Indian group that frontiersmen
Through his series of paintings of flat- forced out of Missouri in the 1830s. The
boatmen, Bingham not only gained Concealed Enemy, then, represents the
recognition as a painter of the western mythic view of the Indian as an enemy
genre but also earned his reputation as to be cut down. The work both memori-
the Missouri Artist. In The Jolly Flat- alizes and glorifies the disappearance of
boatmen (1846) and Jolly Flatboatmen in savages from the Missouri Territory.
Port (1857), he portrayed the river men Binghams Shooting for the Beef, painted
whooping it up: dancing, fiddling, in 1850, tells the story of what Missouri
smoking, drinking, lounging, laughing, frontiersmen did for amusement in the
and having an all-around good time. early nineteenth century. Men are lining
Again, muted, muddy coloring; a hazy, up to take shots at a target attached to a
atmospheric sky; and sharply etched fig- tree. The prize, a fattened steer, is teth-
ures characterize the works. Bingham ered to a cabin marked grocery/Postof-
created a pyramidal composition to fo- fice in the background. The best shot
cus attention on the high-stepping, got to choose the best portion of the steer
happy-go-lucky river man in the center, (the fifth quarter) to eat after the match.
surrounded by his joyful comrades. Much whooping and hollering accompa-
Binghams river paintings tell a story of nied such events, which Bingham proba-
what life was like for the early pioneers bly recalled from his youth. This painting
who roughed it, seeking adventure in the is important for its evocation of a tradi-
land of the unknown. They portray a ro- tional frontier pastime, once a weekly oc-
manticized world inhabited by riverboat currence, that had begun to fade away by
ruffians who ruled the western waters at the midnineteenth century. Through his
the beginning of the nineteenth century. pictorial record of the event, set against
Yet that life had largely disappeared even the backdrop of a barren frontier land,
by the mid-1840s, when Bingham began Bingham was already beginning to estab-
his riverboat series. Like his contempo- lish the nostalgic western tradition of
rary Alfred Jacob Miller, Bingham ably mythmaking.
captured images that came to symbolize A final painting worth noting is Bing-
the spirit of the frontier West, before hams Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers
fences, towns, and railroads. through the Cumberland Gap, or The Emi-
Other paintings in Binghams reper- gration of Daniel Boone (1851). Boone
toire also represent western legend and represented the spirit of western explo-
symbolize the early frontier. One of these ration and migration, the spirit of the true
is his 1845 painting The Concealed En- pioneer. In this historical genre painting,
emy. An Osage Indian, rifle in hand, Bingham wished to capture a moment in
perches high upon a rocky bluff. He time out west. Boone calmly yet force-
looks as though he is waiting to attack fully leads his family through a dark,
something or someone in the distance. threatening wilderness into the unknown
50 BLACK COWBOYS

territory of Kentucky. The man to Boones Rash, Nancy. The Painting and Politics of
left, toting the ever-present protective ri- George Caleb Bingham. New Haven, CT:
fle, sports a coonskin cap, the well-known Yale University Press, 1991.
symbol of the rugged western adven- Rogers, Meyric R., James B. Musick, and
turer. The painting demonstrates how pi- Arthur Pope. Four American Painters: Bing-
oneers sought a new and promising way ham, Homer, Ryder, and Eakins. Reprint,
of life in the West, as well as how they ac- New York: Arno Press, 1969.
complished that feat: by venturing out
into the unknown. Binghams representa- Sources of Further Information
tion of Daniel Boones exodus reminds us Detroit Institute of Arts Web Site: www.dia.org.
of early western exploration, settlement, Metropolitan Museum of Art Web Site: www.
and expansion and presents Boone as a metmuseum.org.
noble, courageous hero. St. Louis Art Museum Web Site: www.slam.org.
Bingham stopped portraying the west- Washington University Gallery of Art Web
ern scene in the late 1850s after the Art- Site: http://www.wustl.edu/galleryofart/.
Union, an organization that financed his
work, became defunct. He returned to
his roots as a portrait painter and be-
came heavily involved in both local and Black Cowboys
state politics. Yet his early work celebrat-
ing raw frontier life remains his most im- See Dart, Isom; Deadwood Dick; Mc-
portant legacy. Junkin, George; Pickett, Willie M. Bill
Binghams paintings hang in many gal-
leries and museums throughout the
United States. To see Fur Traders De-
scending the Missouri, one only needs to Bonanza
venture to the Metropolitan Museum of
Art. Jolly Flatboatmen in Port hangs at the With a horse and a saddle, and a range full
St. Louis Art Museum; The Trappers Re- of cattle,
turn is at the Detroit Institute of Arts; How rich can a fellow be?
and Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers On this land we put our brand,
through the Cumberland Gap is on dis- Cartwright is the name,
play at the Washington University Fortune smiled, the day we filed the Pon-
Gallery of Art in St. Louis. However, if a derosa claim. (Television theme song)
trip to either New York or Missouri is not
on the agenda, one can always view the NBCs Bonanza hit the television air-
paintings at these museums Web sites. waves on 12 September 1959. During 10
Jane Veronica Charles Smith of its 14 years on television, it ruled Sun-
day nights. From 1964 to 1967, more
References Americans watched this western than
Bloch, E. Maurice. George Caleb Bingham: The any other program. It entertained a
Evolution of an Artist. Berkeley and Los An- worldwide audience of 280 million peo-
geles: University of California Press, 1967. ple. Producer David Dortort consciously
BONANZA 51

tried to create a program that would overshadow their characters with celeb-
stand out sharply from run-of-the-mill rity. The cast members (Lorne Greene,
sitcoms and formula westerns of the Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, and
time. His creativity did not immediately Michael Landon) became some of the
charm audiences, but the new phenome- best known television personalities in
non of color programming helped keep the world.
the show afloat. Scenic shots along the By the early 1970s, the scripts had be-
northern shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada, come rather predictable. Changing tastes
helped push more consumers toward demanded that women appear other
purchasing a new color set, a major goal than as victims to be rescued. However,
of NBCs parent company, television Dan Blockers sudden death in 1972 dev-
manufacturer RCA. astated both the shows fans and its cast.
Dortort also had a social agenda with Fiddling with the cast did not fill the gap,
his unusual cast lineup: First, he created and NBC abruptly canceled the series,
strong, male heroes, hoping to counter airing the last episode on 16 January
the image of the bumbling, inept sitcom 1973.
male, still a staple of Hollywood. Harken- Along with Gunsmoke, Bonanza ranks
ing back to Owen Wisters novel The Vir- as one of the great television westerns.
ginian, he presented his cowboys as lat- Three decades after the shows demise,
ter-day Knights of the Round Table. countless fan clubs, collectors, and Web
Their collective stand for right would sites memorialize the popular western.
help civilize the Wild West. Episode summaries, cast career histories,
The bass-voiced patriarch Ben Cart- tidbits about the Ponderosaall remain
wright most closely matched the power- alive and well. Cant remember the
ful, steely-eyed western hero. The three names of the casts horses? Youll find
sons, however, displayed very different, the names on-line: Bens, Dunny Wag-
sometimes comic traits, somewhat akin goner and Big Buck; Adams, Sport and
to the characters in The Three Mesquiteers Beauty; Hosss, Ginger, Paiute, and
serials, B-western heroes of an earlier Chubb; Little Joes, Paint and Cochise.
age. Adam, the brooding, aloof eldest In 1994 the TV movie Bonanza: The
son, relied on brains more than brawn. Return aired. It had familiar themes with
In sharp contrast, Hoss, the gentle, lov- a new cast. The hit film City Slickers
able giant with a heart of gold, exhibited (1991) paid homage as its stars sang the
great strength and compassion and not- Bonanza theme song as they galloped
so-great wit. Handsome, flirtatious Little across the plains. Fans still hungering for
Joe, impulsive and romantic, often got a taste of their favorite TV ranch can visit
into trouble, giving the others the oppor- Bonanza and Ponderosa restaurants. Ac-
tunity to rescue him. cording to their ads, both of these fam-
The vast Ponderosa ranch, a true west- ily-friendly restaurants specialize in tasty
ern ranching, mining, and timber empire, flame-grilled steaks accompanied by a
provided a huge, inviting stage for the vast buffet of flavorful foods.
Cartwrights. Dortort also chose then rel- Fans can also visit the actual Pon-
atively unknown actors who would not derosa Ranch, complete with ranch
52 BONNEY, WILLIAM H.

house and a chapel for that memorable


western wedding. The sprawling ranch Bridger, Jim
occupies 600 acres at Incline Village off
Highway 28 on the north shore of Lake 18041881
Tahoe. The set is complete with working
blacksmiths, a saloon, antiques, a shoot- Nineteenth-century mountain men often
ing gallery, and even live gunfights! come down to us as little more than
crude, barbaric rogues and recluses who
See also Wister, Owen, and Winthrop, cared only about financial gain. Does this
Washington stereotype accurately portray the leg-
endary Americans who initially tramped
References through the Rocky Mountains? Clearly
Bonanza History: http://bonanza1.com/history/. not. The true mountain man not only
Classic TV: http://classictv.about.com/tvradio/ trapped beaver and shot game but also
classictv/msub27.htm. discovered, explored, and lived upon
Ponderosa Ranch: http://www.ponderosaranch lands that no white person had seen be-
.com/. fore. These mountain men paved the way
for the later western expansion that
changed the face of the country. One of
the formidable mountain men who
Bonney, William H. helped shape the American West, James
Jim Bridger, represents the quintessen-
1859?1881, outlaw. See Billy the Kid tial mountain man.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1804,
Bridger moved with his parents and two
siblings to St. Louis, Missouri, at the age
Bowie Mine of 12. In 1816 both his mother and
brother died. Jims father died the follow-
See San Saba Mine ing year, leaving 13-year-old Jim to care
for his little sister. The teenager signed
on as a blacksmiths apprentice. His rest-
less nature, however, demanded more
Brand, Max (Frederick challenge and novelty. Five years later,
the youth responded to an advertise-
Schiller Faust) ment that St. Louis businessman William
H. Ashley posted in the Missouri Gazette.
18921944, writer. See Pulp Novelists The ad called for enterprising young
men to join Maj. Andrew Henrys party
to hunt and trap along the Missouri
River. Bridger fell in love with the un-
Brazil tamed wilderness, where he would
spend his adult life.
See Comparative Frontier Mythology Around 1824 Bridger joined Capt. John
BRIDGER, JIM 53

H. Webers party destined for South Pass the way. In fact, Bridger ranks with John
through the Rocky Mountains. The Colter as one of the first Anglos to expe-
group camped along Bear Lake, which rience and recount the unusual natural
stretches over the border of present-day phenomena of Yellowstone. He even
Utah and Idaho. Some men of the party climbed the western social ladder, mov-
bet on Jims chances of finding the ing from trapping for a fur company to
source of Bear Lake. According to Indian becoming partner in one (the Rocky
legend, the lakes source had foul-tasting Mountain Fur Company, 1830 to 1834).
water. Eager to establish himself as a While hunting, making trails, and learn-
man of courage and prowess, Bridger set ing the geography of the West, Bridger
out alone to find the source of the lake. attended many rendezvous (annual
When he finally reached a large lake that meetings where trappers sold their
fit descriptions in Indian lore, he tasted wares).
its water. He confirmed the waters bad In 1843 the explorer opened Fort
taste and determined why: It was salty. Bridger in Wyoming, a collection of crude
Although some authorities question log buildings that included a supply
whether Bridger was indeed the first store, a blacksmith shop, and living quar-
white man to encounter the Great Salt ters inside a wooden stockade for protec-
Lake, his discovery surely represents tion. Bridgers partner Louis Vzquez op-
one of his greatest achievements. This erated the fort, which they envisioned as
big, thick-necked, muscular, shaggy- a way station for emigrants. Bridger fol-
haired, tanned man would cast a large lowed his urge to venture out into the
shadow across the western frontier. wilderness. He guided Capt. Howard
Shortly afterward, Bridger left Webers Stansburys group into the frontier in
party. He moved about for nearly a year 1850. He also led Sir George Gore, an
with other trapping groups. In 1827 he Irish nobleman and sport hunter, on a
successfully navigated the notorious Bad big-game safari around 1855. Sir Gore be-
Pass, a 20-mile river located at the bot- friended Bridger while they traveled to-
tom of Big Horn Canyon near the border gether. The nobleman often read Shake-
of Montana and Wyoming. Bridger not speare and Sir Walter Scotts account of
only mastered crossing the treacherous the battle of Waterloo to the mountain
river, with its numerous rapids and small man after dinner while the exhausted
falls, but he did so on a tiny driftwood hunters reclined around the campfire. Al-
raft, thereby gaining him the respect of though the fighting prowess of the
fellow trappers and Indians alike. In 1829 British impressed Bridger, he scoffed at
Bridger led a brigade of fellow trappers the florid language of the bard, finding it
that invaded the Blackfoot Nation, a too highfalutin.
group of Indians that Bridger despised Many travelers passed through the
because they had ambushed so many of fort, including California forty-niners
his comrades. and Mormons. In fact, in 1847 Bridger
Bridger continued trapping and ex- met Brigham Young at his fort, where
ploring the American West, encounter- they discussed the prospect of the Mor-
ing modern-day Yellowstone Park along mon pioneers settling near the Great Salt
54 BRIDGER, JIM

Lake. The two men would eventually ple. Bridger knew Mike Fink and Kit
come to distrust and despise one an- Carson, fellow legendary mountain
other. Within a few years, however, Fort men. He befriended Presbyterian mis-
Bridger closed its doors for good. In 1853 sionary Dr. Marcus Whitman. In 1835
Young, now governor of Utah, sent a Whitman removed an arrowhead from
posse to Fort Bridger to arrest Bridger for Bridgers back; the mountaineer had
supposedly inciting Indian attacks on the been shot during a skirmish with Black-
Mormons in Utah. The mountain man feet at Pierres Hole a few years prior.
fled his fort unscathed but never re- The famed western artist Alfred Jacob
turned. He and Vzquez sold the fort to Miller sketched Bridger traipsing about
the Mormons in 1855. on horseback and wearing a plumed
That same year, Bridger purchased a helmet and steel cuirass that Sir William
farm just south of Kansas City, Missouri, Drummond Stewart, a Scottish noble-
but again spent little time on his prop- man and sport hunter, had given him at
erty. Between 1857 and 1858, he aided an 1837 rendezvous.
Col. Albert Sydney Johnston and the U.S. Bridger frequently asserted that he had
Army against the Mormons. Bridger also gone without eating a piece of bread for
guided an army expedition that explored 17 years, that instead, he had lived off
the headwaters of the Missouri and Yel- the land. This teller of tall tales did more
lowstone Rivers and the surrounding than just trap and hunt. He worked as an
mountains between 1859 and 1864. He Indian fighter, fur trapper and trader,
guided Capt. William F. Raynolds and guide, storekeeper, scout, explorer, and
Capt. William O. Collins and earned the discoverer. He located trails and passes
respect of both men. The U.S. Army also through the Rocky Mountains that
employed Bridger between 1865 and opened the region to emigrants. In fact,
1868 to help fight the Sioux. Bridger he led more wagon trains into the West
then returned to his farm in Missouri, than any other scout. Bridger also helped
where his son Felix joined him in 1871 fill in the map of the expanding nation,
after serving in the Civil War. with his keen sense of geography and
During his lifetime, Bridger married nearly photographic memory. He marked
three Native American women and sired the path that the overland mail, the
five children. Five different Indian na- Union Pacific Railroad, and Interstate 80
tions celebrated Bridger as friend and would follow. Bridger also served as an
chief. Although illiterate, he was a poly- interpreter and mediator at a number of
glot who spoke English, Spanish, French, peace conferences between Native Amer-
and a number of Native American lan- icans and the U.S. government.
guages. Groups gave him various Ned Buntline (Edward Zane Carroll
names. His Crow friends called him Judson) wrote several dime novels that
Casapy, which means the Blanket mythologized Bridgers career. In 1935
Chief, because of the elaborate dress he residents of Bridger, Montana, initiated
wore on special occasions. Others re- its annual Jim Bridger Days celebration,
ferred to the authoritative Bridger as which included flower shows, footraces,
Old Gabe, since in the Bible, the angel and boxing matches. They dedicated the
Gabriel revealed Jehovahs will to peo- Jim Bridger Memorial, a large structure
BROWN, MOLLY 55

made up of rock and ore samples from Source of Further Information


landforms and trails that Bridger ex- Jim Bridger: http://www.wtp.net/bridger/trap
plored, including Yellowstone Park. Peo- pers.html.
ple of the Clarks Fork Valley continue
the celebration each July. The Museum
of the Mountain Man in Pinedale,
Wyoming, houses Bridgers .40-caliber ri- Brown, Dee
fle, engraved J. Bridger 1853.
One of the few blemishes on Bridgers 1908 , writer. See Gentle Tamers
record occurred when, as a teenager, he
deserted badly injured fellow mountain
man Hugh Glass. After Bridgers death in
1881 at the age of 77, his family buried Brown, Molly
him near his farm. In 1904 Maj. Gen.
Grenville Dodge, who had once con- 18671932
sulted Bridger about the selection of a
route for the Union Pacific Railroad Born in 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri, Mar-
through the mountains, ordered the re- garet Maggie Brown (she was never
mains removed. Dodge had Old Gabe known as Molly in real life) became one
buried in Mount Washington Cemetery of the most famous survivors of the
in Kansas City, Missouri, where an elabo- tragic 1912 sinking of the ocean liner Ti-
rate monument commemorates his tanic. Each retelling of the tale has given
many feats. this famous westerner a prominent role.
Today Bridgers memory lives on. One From The Unsinkable Molly Brown (play
senses Bridgers presence when traveling 1960, film 1964) to Titanic (1997), she
in the western states. Many landmarks has represented the irreverent, demo-
are named after Bridger, such as Bridger cratic, indomitable spirit of the West.
National Forest and Fort Bridger, now a Born to the family of John Tobin, a poor
state park in Wyoming. The explorer Irish immigrant, young Margaret had
traveled as far south as Mesa Verde and only the rudiments of a grammar school
as far north as the Yukon. A mountain education. The familys poverty forced
chain, peak, range, creek, butte, flats, and her into the workforce, as a waitress, at
a road also bear his name. age 13. One tall tale about her childhood
Jane Veronica Charles Smith claims she was nearly drowned when a
cyclone hit her raft as she floated down
References the Mississippi. None other than Mark
Alter, F. Cecil. Jim Bridger. Norman: Univer- Twain, Hannibals most famous resident,
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1962. came to her rescue and then advised her
Caesar, Gene. King of the Mountain Men: The to go west. She would later report that
Life of Jim Bridger. New York: E. P. Dutton, the famous author and her father had
1961. been fast friends. About 1884 she actu-
Utley, Robert M. A Life Wild and Perilous: ally did follow her brother westward to
Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific. the mining boomtown of Leadville, Col-
New York: Henry Holt, 1997. orado. There she met and charmed silver-
56 BROWN, MOLLY

mine manager James Joseph J. J. Brown. faced discrimination for being Irish and
J. J. and Maggie married in 1886. They Roman Catholic. As a further blow, she
quickly had two children, Larry and Ellen and J. J. separated, although he contin-
(known as Helen). ued to provide generous financial sup-
Maggies fellow worker Thomas F. port until his death.
Cahill described her in glowing terms: The publicity-seeking Maggie began
She was exceptionally bright, a most in- making her way into society from New
teresting conversationalist, had a charm- York to Newport to Europe. She regaled
ing personality and this coupled with her high society with tall tales of the West.
beauty made her a very attractive Her fateful 1912 cruise aboard the Ti-
woman. It is easy to understand that at tanic ended at 2:30 a.m., 15 April, when
about this time the handsome young Jim the vessel sank. As she recalled, Sud-
Brown fell in love with her (Molly Brown denly [there was] a rift in the water, the
House Museum Web Site). Photographs sea opened up and the surface foamed
show a rather less glamorous woman. like giant arms spread around the ship,
Legends about her arose immediately. and the vessel disappeared from sight,
One popular fiction asserts that the and not a sound was heard. Of the ap-
Browns lost a $300,000 mining payroll proximately 2,300 people aboard, 70 per-
when it accidentally burned in a potbelly cent perished.
stove. The legend is based on a real hap- Maggie reportedly performed with
pening: Some $75 in coins were scorched. bravery and strength aboard lifeboat
You know that story isnt true, Maggies number six. She apparently took effec-
cousin Dolly Brown charged about the tive command from the unnerved quar-
potbelly stove tale; why do you let them termaster Robert Hichens. She and other
keep telling it? Its a damn good story, women helped row the boat to safety
Maggie replied. And I dont care what and later nursed injured passengers on
the newspapers say about me, just so the rescue ship Carpathia. Her ability to
they say something (Molly Brown House speak several foreign languages served
Museum Web Site). her well as she aided survivors of many
In 1894 Brown hit a solid vein of gold, nationalities.
a real find in this famous silver country. The American press found the exploits
The couple left their rustic two-bedroom of the Unsinkable Mrs. Brown irre-
log cabin outside Leadville for the charm sistible. When the Carpathia docked in
and society of Denver. Alas for the young New York, reporters asked her about her
and ambitious woman, Denver high soci- survival. Typical Brown luck, she as-
ety initially rebuffed her nouveau riche serted. Were unsinkable. In Denver, J. J.
attempts at social climbing. Her extrava- Brown reportedly commented, Shes too
gant Parisian opera garb and consider- mean to sink.
able jewelry attracted much notice, not Her exploits brought her the celebrity
usually favorable. She made some in- and respect she had always craved. Even
roads among fashionable charities, but Denver society honored her with a fine
she never attained status among the Sa- luncheon, hosted by Mrs. Crawford Hill.
cred 36, Denvers social elite. She also Maggie became increasingly political,
BUFFALO SOLDIERS 57

running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Sen- bie Reynolds played Molly in the 1964
ate in 1914. She remained highly visible film, and Kathy Bates starred in the 1997
and outspoken, sometimes inviting law- blockbuster Titanic. Despite the exagger-
suits with her plainspoken views. ations of play and film, Maggies real-life
The Brown family fortune had dimin- optimism, brashness, and courage ele-
ished considerably over the years. J. J.s vated her to the pantheon of genuine
death in 1922 tempered Maggies high- western heroes.
society life. She had become increasingly
eccentric and estranged from her family, References
but she never lost her taste for publicity. Iversen, Kristen. Molly Brown: Unraveling the
She died in modest surroundings, at New Myth. Boulder, CO: Johnson Books, 1999.
Yorks Barbizon-Club Hotel. She is Molly Brown House Museum: Telephone:
buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in West- 303-832-4092; Web Site: http://www.molly
bury on Long Island. brown.org.
In addition to her media fame, various Titanics Molly Brown Birthplace and Mu-
historical sites memorialize the heroine. seum Web Site: http://www.mollybrown
Her childhood home in Hannibal stands museum.com.
just a few blocks away from the Missis- Whitacre, Christine. Molly Brown, Denvers
sippi River. The small frame house, at the Unsinkable Lady. Denver, CO: Historic Den-
corner of Denkler Alley and Butler Street, ver, 1984.
has been restored by the Marion County
Historical Society. It consists of only a
single bedroom, a kitchen, a front room,
and a basement room dug into the side Bryan, William
of a hill.
Her Denver home, now the Molly Jennings
Brown House Museum, located at 1340
Pennsylvania Street, remains a popular 18601925, politician. See Wizard of Oz,
tourist attraction as The Home of the The Wonderful
Heroine of the Titanic. J. J. had pur-
chased the house in 1894 for $30,000.
He transferred the title to Maggie four
years later, perhaps owing to his declin- Buffalo Bill
ing health. She owned the house until
her death, but neither she nor her family 18461917. See Cody, William Frederick
lived there. Her celebrity, however, con- Buffalo Bill
tinues to draw some 40,000 curious, ad-
miring visitors annually. Historic Denver,
Inc., collects funds and oversees the
houses restoration and maintenance. Buffalo Soldiers
Maggie became known as Molly
thanks to Meredith Wilsons 1960 stage In July 1866 Congress passed legislation
play. In two very different versions, Deb- to establish four African-American regi-
58 BUFFALO SOLDIERS

ments, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalries falo, which fights ferociously, showing
and the Twenty-Fourth and Twenty-Fifth great courage under dire circumstances.
Infantries, for the postCivil War U.S. Black soldiers served at posts in the most
Army. Cheyenne and Comanche tribes rugged and difficult areas of the Ameri-
called men in these enlisted units Buf- can West. They have recently been given
falo Soldiers. Today the term Buffalo credit for exploring and mapping vast ar-
Soldiers has come to represent African- eas of the Southwest. They built and re-
American participation in western mili- paired frontier outposts, strung hundreds
tary service and the honorable and illus- of miles of telegraph lines, protected
trious achievements of those wearing stagecoach and mail routes, and pro-
the uniform. vided key protection for railroad crews
Despite blatant racial discrimination working among Indians and outlaws. The
and hardships, blacks served in the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Regiment in Mon-
Union Army during the Civil War. More tana experimented with using bicycles
than 180,000 enlisted, and more than for troop movement. This bicycle corps
33,000 gave their lives to a country that proved effective, but motorized transit
had yet to realize them as individuals. rendered the concept obsolete.
Their service prompted the legislative de- Conditions for Buffalo Soldiers were
cision to create the Ninth and Tenth Cav- rough but generally comparable to those
alries 16 months after the war had ended. for white regiments. Instead of U.S.
Section 3 of an act of Congress entitled Armyissued weapons, however, the
An Act to Increase and Fix the Military African-American regiments used weap-
Peace Establishment of the United States ons left over from the Civil War. Typical
called for the two regiments, which were Ninth and Tenth Cavalry issue included
formed in Greenville, Louisiana, and Fort .69-caliber rifles with bayonets, .44-cal-
Leavenworth, Kansas. For more than two iber Colt Army revolvers, and .36-caliber
decades, these troops assumed responsi- Colt Navy revolvers. If these were un-
bility for the less-desirable duties on the available, they used old sabers or dag-
outskirts of the frontier. The soldiers con- gers. Enlisted men worked seven days a
ducted campaigns against Native Ameri- week, resting only on Christmas and the
cans from Montana to Texas, and they Fourth of July. Small creeks provided the
subdued Mexican revolutionaries, out- only bathing facilities; disease posed a
laws, comancheros, all with little or no serious problem. Rations typically in-
recognition. They provided a strong front cluded bacon, potatoes, or vegetables
against Apaches, Arapahos, Cheyenne, from nearby gardens. In addition to food,
Comanches, and Kiowas. clothing, and shelter, soldiers received
The Indians may have called the black less than 50 cents a day (about $13 a
cavalrymen Buffalo Soldiers because month). Most enlisted for five years.
their dark hair and skin reminded them Young artist Frederic Remington rode
of the curly mane of the buffalo. Another with the Buffalo Soldiers and described
possibility is that the Indians may have the rigors for Century magazine in April
compared the Buffalo Soldiers fighting 1889: The great clouds of dust choke
with that of a wounded or cornered buf- you and settle over horse, soldier, and ac-
BUFFALO SOLDIERS 59

couterments until all local color is lost vived through scarce formal recognition
and black man and white man wear a and recollections of veterans and
common hue. The chug, chug, chug of descendants.
your tired horse as he marches along be- Though Buffalo Soldiers were never
comes infinitely tiresome, and cavalry sol- fully recognized before their service
diers never ease themselves in the saddle. ended, many refused to forget. A recent
Because of the small number of active resurgence of black-history awareness
soldiers in the U.S. military in 1898 (only prompted efforts by modern military and
28,000), President William McKinley social leaders to revive and recount
called for state volunteers. Four regi- African-American military efforts of the
ments of black soldiers serving in the past. In 1981 Gen. Colin Powell noted
West, mostly former slaves who had that Americans had failed to award Buf-
served during the Civil War, went south falo Soldiers due credit for their eight
for training. These fighting men, in addi- decades of service. He developed the
tion to having to deal with extreme Buffalo Soldier Educational and Histori-
racism, had to cope with limited supplies. cal Committee to record and disseminate
The Buffalo Soldiers fought throughout their history. Ten years later, a monu-
the campaign in Cuba. Their most impor- ment recognizing Buffalo Soldiers and
tant contribution came in the battle for their achievements was erected in Fort
the village of El Caney, in which soldiers Leavenworth, Kansas, home of the origi-
from the Twenty-Fifth Infantry forced nal Tenth Cavalry. On 28 July 1992, a na-
the Spanish forces to surrender. The ex- tional resolution recognized Buffalo Sol-
ploits of these men have been immortal- dier Day (reflecting the founding date,
ized in a song, Buffalo Soldier, by the 28 July 1866, of the original four African-
late, great reggae artist, Bob Marley. American regiments). In April 1995 the
Other groups, such as Americas Buffalo U.S. Postal Service issued stamps honor-
Soldiers Re-Enactors Association (ABS- ing the Buffalo Soldiers.
RA) and several motorcycle groups Many organizations exist independ-
named after the famous soldiers, keep ently across America, fondly remember-
their memory alive today. ing a heroic past that escaped notoriety
Despite their achievements, few Buf- and widespread public acceptance. The
falo Soldiers were recognized during or Buffalo Soldiers Law Enforcement Motor-
after their duty of service. Between 1865 cycle Club of Vallejo, California, for ex-
and 1899, 417 men received the Medal ample, promotes its cause through local
of Honor for their service in the Indian charities and service events, slowly
Wars. Only 18 were black. Desertion dur- spreading a history that refuses to die.
ing the war became the biggest problem, Actor Danny Glover starred in the movie
at one point reaching as high as 25 per- Buffalo Soldiers (1997), one of many films
cent. White regiments had desertion focusing on military prejudice. Popular
rates some three times those of black culture has accepted the story of their
regiments. Black cavalry and infantry struggle, but important parts of their role
units also had lower rates of alcoholism in U.S. history remain to be told.
than did white troops. Their history sur- William F. Zweigart
60 BULETTE, JULIA

References woman who seemed to float as she


Fowler, Arlen L. The Black Infantry in the West, walked; in fact, she was neither beauti-
18691891. 1971. Reprint, Norman: Uni- ful nor willowy, and it is unlikely that
versity of Oklahoma Press, 1996. this rather heavyset woman would seem
Leckie, William H. The Buffalo Soldiers: A Nar- to float when she walked.
rative of the Negro Cavalry in the West. Nor- Kileys imagination runs wild in paint-
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967. ing an exaggerated, glamorized portrait
of Julia Bulettes life. We know that in the
approximately four years that Julia lived
on the Comstock, she was a well-known
prostitute and had worked in the best
Bulette, Julia brothels; however, she was certainly no
rich, gorgeous courtesan. Earlier writers
?1867 even elevated her to the position of
madam and the queen of Virginia
One of the most conspicuous women in Citys sporting row.
Nevadas history is the Comstock prosti- Kiley claims Bulettes two-room crib
tute Julia Bulette. In her brief lifetime, near the corner of D and Union Streets in
the soiled dove was a colorful minor Virginia City was a small parlor house
figure in Virginia Citys early heyday. referred to as Julias Palace. Then, in a
However, with her brutal murder in flight of fancy, she tells us that Julia rode
1867 and the hanging of the alleged around town in a lacquered brougham
killer the following year, Julia became a with side panels emblazoned with a crest
bigger-than-life legend. The mythmak- of four aces, crowned by a lion couchant
ing and fakelore continues today in and attended events at the Opera House
spite of the facts. cloaked in a floor length purple velvet
Author Marla Kiley, in her article The cape lined with sable. Nothing could be
Immoral Queens of the Red Light Dis- further from the truth!
trict, wrote in the July 1997 issue of True So who was this woman who looms
West magazine of the accumulated fic- larger than life 130 years after her un-
tion and fable associated with Julia timely demise? As with most prostitutes,
Bulette. Almost instantly, Kiley writes, both now and then, there is much mys-
Julia was wearing silk, velvet, and sable tery to Julia Bulettes life. Some versions
furs. Shortly after her arrival on the of her life story present her as an Eng-
scene she was making $1,000 a night lishwoman who immigrated to Louisi-
and also accepted payment in the form ana, where she married, then left her
of bars of bullion, diamonds, or rubies husband and entered prostitution; oth-
(Kiley 1997). Absolute nonsense and ers claim she came to New Orleans from
pure poppycock!! Although it is true that France, where she had been recruited as
Bulette had seen better days, she died in a prostitute. Recent research indicates
debt: According to estate records, her she was actually born near Natchez, Mis-
bills exceeded her assets. Kiley then de- sissippi, and worked as a prostitute in
scribes Julia as a beautiful and willowy New Orleans. Julia would travel to north-
BUNTLINE, NED 61

ern California to ply her trade before ar- the Comstock Lode (1934), is the most re-
riving on the Comstock by 1863. cent, but will probably not be the last, to
We do know she quickly became a fa- play tricks on the living and the dead in
vorite among Virginia Citys Fire Engine recounting Julia Bulettes colorful and
Company No. 1. The firemen elected her controversial career as a prostitute. The
an honorary member in exchange for fakelore will never die, but those of us
her favors and gifts. Other accounts in who do our homework know better than
the Territorial Enterprise noted Bulettes to believe it. Hopefully, one day we may
enthusiastic support of the fire depart- learn much more about the facts of Ju-
ment and her presence at fires, where lias short life. We have certainly had
she worked the brakes of the handcart more than our fair share of fiction and
engines. Fire Engine Company No. 1 par- fable.
ticipated in Julias funeral procession Guy Louis Rocha
through the streets of Virginia City in
January 1867. References
Clearly, Julia was more than a run-of- James, Susan. Queen of Tarts. Nevada Maga-
the-mill prostitute before she died in her zine, September/October 1984.
early 30s. Journalist Alfred Doten of the Kiley, Marla. The Immoral Queens of the Red
Gold Hill News attended a ball hosted by Light District. True West, July 1997.
Jule in June 1866. The Territorial Enter-
prise bemoaned her tragic death, claim-
ing few of her class had more friends,
although the good women of the com- Bulls
munity were generally relieved to see
her leave the scene. Law enforcement of- See Rodeo Bulls
ficials diligently pursued the person who
had robbed and killed her, ultimately
hanging one John Millian after the con-
victed murderer had exhausted all his Buntline, Ned
appeals. On 24 April 1868, more than
4,000 spectators, including Mark Twain, 18231886
who was touring the country following a
trip to Europe and the Middle East, wit- This prolific pulp novelist led an excit-
nessed the execution. ing, vagabond life. At age 13, he ran
Susan James, in her excellent Nevada away from home to work as a cabin boy.
Magazine article, the Queen of Tarts, He left behind a solid, respectable, mid-
traced the romance and mythmaking, if dle-class family. Details of his life are dif-
not downright lying, linked to Bulette ficult to verify because he applied what
back to a few twentieth-century writers became his literary trademark, exaggera-
of Nevada history: George Lyman, Lucius tion, to his own life as well as to his nov-
Beebe and Charles Clegg, and Effie Mona els. His birth in Stamford, New York, is
Mack. Marla Kiley, who borrowed liber- well documented, but he gave three dif-
ally from Lymans potboiler The Saga of ferent birth dates. His naval service con-
62 BUNTLINE, NED

tinued until the early 1840s. He also Critics and the public enjoyed this
married the first of at least five wives at mythical, preposterous play. The Rich-
this time. mond Enquirer noted approvingly that
In May 1844 the world first heard the Ned Buntline and his two confreres,
name by which Judson would become Cody and Omohundro, better known as
famous. In Philadelphia, he published Buffalo Bill and Texas Jack with their
two issues of Ned Buntlines Magazine. Live Indians, drew another good
During the next 25 years, he wrote, house. . . . The way the Scouts handle
started several short-lived magazines, their navy revolvers is the main secret of
earned extra money as a bounty hunter, their success. . . . the handsome appear-
incited a riot in New York, and narrowly ance made by these two gentlemen . . .
escaped hanging by a mob. His decades represent[s] in a measure, real scenes of
of labor over a seemingly endless string which they have been the actual heroes
of dime novels finally paid off, earning (Richmond Enquirer, 15 May 1873).
him a comfortable income, reputedly Even a terrible script and production
$20,000 per year. could not dull Codys star luster. Crowds
In 1869 Buntline met young army loved him, and a western hero was born.
scout William F. Cody at Fort McPherson, Buntline also enlisted Virginia-born John
Nebraska. The 46-year-old writer trans- Burwell Omohundro Jr. to play Texas
formed the 23-year-old Cody into the Jack. Omohundro had experience as a
hero of four dime novels and a play. Ea- cowboy and scout and showed his skill
ger, thrill-seeking readers snapped up with the lasso onstage.
Buffalo Bill, the King of the Bordermen; Countless other pulp writers picked up
Buffalo Bills Best Shot, or The Heart of on the topic and made Cody a living leg-
Spotted Tail; Buffalo Bills Last Victory, or end to fans of the penny dreadfuls
Dove Eye, the Lodge Queen; and Hazel Eye, (pulp novels). As Codys fame grew, Bunt-
the Girl Trapper. Ever indifferent to truth, line enjoyed even greater success by
Buntline presented Cody as, among other having his name linked to that of the
things, a temperance crusader. The real- great plainsman. An attractive rogue, he
life Buffalo Bill thoroughly enjoyed became the leading western pulp writer
prodigious drinking binges. of his day. His mixed character and
Buntlines play The Scouts of the checkered past prompted Jay Monaghan
Prairie, or Red Deviltry As It Is, hastily to title his biography of Buntline The
written with Cody, opened in Chicago on Great Rascal.
18 December 1872. The never-modest
Buntline even wrote himself into the ac- See also Pulp Novelists
tion: He had himself delivering a temper-
ance lecture. With Chicago street people References
appearing as Pawnee chiefs and Italian Milton, John R. The Novel of the American West.
dancer Giuseppina Morlacchi appearing Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1980.
as the Indian maiden Dove Eye, the pro- Monaghan, Jay. The Great Rascal: The Exploits
duction reflected Buntlines trademark of the Amazing Ned Buntline. Boston: Little,
mythmaking and utter lack of realism. Brown, 1951.
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 63

Tuska, Jon, and Vicki Piekarski. The Frontier (This led the Pinkerton Detective Agency
Experience: A Readers Guide to the Life and and others to think his given name was
Literature of the American West. Jefferson, George, rather than Robert.)
NC: McFarland, 1984, 1990. The Sundance Kid was born Harry
_____ , eds. Encyclopedia of Frontier and West- Alonzo Longabaugh, the youngest of five
ern Fiction. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. children in a Baptist family, in the spring
of 1867 in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania. He
headed west at the age of 15, for a while
ranched with cousins in Colorado, and
Bunyan, Paul then worked as a drover and bronco
buster in Wyoming, Montana, and Al-
See Johnny Kaw; Pecos Bill; Stone, Glenn berta. He earned his nickname while
jailed in Sundance, Wyoming, for horse
theft.
Exactly when Butch and Sundance first
Buried Workers met is unknown, but both belonged to a
loose-knit outlaw gang that operated in
See Hoover Dam the Rocky Mountain West in the late
1800s and early 1900s. Today, the group
is usually called the Wild Bunch, but
the newspapers of the era preferred
Bush, George W. fancier tags like the Hole in the Wall
Gang, the Robbers Roost Gang, the Pow-
1946 , politician. See Politicians and der Springs Gang, the Notorious Johnson
Western Myth County Gang, or the Train Robbers Syn-
dicate. The earliest recorded reference to
the gang as the Wild Bunchslang for a
group of cowboys on a spree, a herd of
Butch Cassidy And unbroken horses, or a band of outlaws
came in a November 1902 memorandum
The Sundance Kid from the Pinkerton Detective Agency to
the American Bankers Association. By
Butch Cassidy was born Robert LeRoy then, ironically, the gang had all but
Parker, the eldest of 13 children in a ceased to exist.
Mormon family, on 13 April 1866 in Butch, Sundance, and their comrades-
Beaver, Utah. As a teenager, he fell under in-arms may have been wild, but they
the influence of a young rustler named were never much of a bunch. Although
Mike Cassidy and later borrowed his sur- perhaps as many as 30 outlaws partici-
name for an alias. He acquired the nick- pated in crimes attributed to the gang,
name Butch working at a butcher shop hardly any of them committed more
in the early 1890s, and it was as George than a couple of holdups with each
Butch Cassidy that he served time in a other. Furthermore, it is unclear how
Wyoming prison for stealing a horse. many crimes they actually perpetrated,
64 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

inasmuch as famous outlaws are often Ryanin New York City early in 1901
blamed for others deeds. The gangs first and they all steamed south to Argentina.
verifiable heist was the 1889 robbery of (Why they picked Argentina is unknown,
a bank in Telluride, Colorado, by Butch but the newspapers of the day touted
Cassidy, Matt Warner, and Tom McCarty; homesteading opportunities there.) After
the last was Ben Kilpatricks ill-fated as- arriving in Buenos Aires, they sought the
sault on a train in Texas in 1912. The ma- advice of the U.S. vice-consul, George
jority of the gangs crimes, however, took Newbery, who suggested they head for
place between 1896 and 1901. During Patagonia, as southern Argentina is
that period, those in which both Butch known. He owned an estancia (ranch)
and Sundance actively participated in- there and wanted to recruit other North
cluded no more than two train robberies Americans to colonize a large tract of
and one bank job. government land just north of the Cho-
By the time the Pinkertons began call- lila Valley in the Chubut Territory.
ing the gang the Wild Bunch, many of its The trio took his advice and journeyed
core members had been arrested or to Cholila, where they settled on 625
killed. Matt Warner had gone straight in hectares of government land in June
1900, after several years in prison. Ben 1901 and began raising cattle, sheep, and
Kilpatrick, William Ellsworth Elzy Lay, horses. They registered their brands with
and Harvey Logan were still in jail (al- territorial authorities and joined neigh-
though Logan would escape and then bors in petitioning the government for
commit suicide after a botched train rob- more land. By all accounts, the bandits
bery in 1904). Will Carver, George Cur- stayed out of trouble in Cholila, except
rie, Sam Ketchum, Lonnie Logan, Bill and for one instance in which Butch was
Fred McCarty, and Joe Walker were al- questioned about having facilitated the
ready dead and buried. escape of his friend Robert Evans, who
Meanwhile, Butch and Sundance had had been arrested on suspicion of having
fled to South America, accompanied by stolen money from an estancia manager.
the mystery woman known as Etta Place. Evans, who may have been from Mon-
The Pinkertons called her Etta on their tana, made himself scarce, and Butch
wanted posters, but she signed hotel reg- was never charged in the case. (Evans
isters as Ethel. She acquired the surname and a Texan named William Wilson later
Place by traveling as the wife of Sun- committed several crimes that were mis-
dance, who was now using the alias takenly blamed on Butch and Sundance,
Harry A. Place (Place being his mothers who had long since left Argentina. Evans
maiden name). Although no record of the and Wilson died in a shoot-out with po-
marriage has been found, Sundance in- lice in 1911.)
troduced her to family and friends as his While Butch and Sundance ranched,
wife. In a letter to a Wyoming pal, he said the Pinkertons sleuthed. Through postal
they had met in Texas. She has been de- informants (who opened mail addressed
scribed as a prostitute, a teacher, or both, to the outlaws families), they learned
but no one knows her true origin or fate. that the fugitives were in Argentina. Af-
In any case, the couple met up with ter veteran operative Frank Dimaio fin-
Butchwho now called himself James ished a case in Brazil, he went to Buenos
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 65

Aires to see what he could learn. Dimaio 1906. From another postal informant,
located their banker and visited Vice- the Pinkertons learned that Sundance
Consul Newbery, who told him the trio using the alias Frank Boydhad run into
was living in Cholila. an unnamed difficulty with Chilean au-
The Pinkertons sought funds from thorities but that he had settled the mat-
clients to send a posse after Butch and ter with the help of Frank Aller, the U.S.
Sundance, but the banks and railroads vice-consul in Antofagasta.
declined to chip in. The agency had to be Shortly after the Villa Mercedes
satisfied with arranging for wanted holdup, Ethel sailed back to the United
posters in Spanish and warning the States for good. The last known report of
Buenos Aires police chief, in characteristi- her whereabouts put her in San Fran-
cally ominous rhetoric, that it is our firm cisco in March 1906, perhaps using the
belief that it is only a question of time un- name Ethel Matthews. Later that year,
til these men commit some desperate rob- Butch (under the alias James Santiago
bery in the Argentine Republic. They are Maxwell) and Sundance (under the alias
all thorough plainsmen and horsemen, H. A. Brown) made their way up into Bo-
riding from 600 to 1,000 miles after com- livia and found work at the Concordia
mitting a robbery. If there are reported to Tin Mine as muleteers and payroll
you any bank or train hold up robberies guards. Mine manager Percy Seibert
or any other similar crimes, you will find knew they had been outlaws, but he
that they were undoubtedly committed never had the slightest trouble getting
by these men (Meadows 1996). along with either of them, and they of-
Sure enough, in February 1905 two ten dined at his home (Meadows 1996).
Yankees held up a bank in Ro Galle- In late 1907 the bandits made an ex-
gos, 700 miles south of Cholila. Al- cursion to Santa Cruz, a frontier town in
though the descriptions of the robbers Bolivias eastern savanna. In a letter to
didnt fit Butch and Sundance very well, friends at Concordia, Butch said he had
and although evidence indicated that found just the place he had been looking
they had been in Cholila at the time of for and predicted, If I dont fall down I
the robbery, the police jumped to the ob- will be living here before long. Some-
vious conclusion. Tipped off by a friend time in 1908 he and Sundance quit their
about orders to detain them for ques- jobs at Concordia. In August they turned
tioning, the bandits sold most of their up in Tupiza, a town in southern Bolivia.
holdings and fled to Chile in May 1905. Butch was now calling himself James
Later that year, all three briefly re- Santiago Lowe (an alias from his New
turned to Argentina, and with an Mexico days), and Sundance was using
unidentified accomplice, they robbed a the name Frank Smith or H. A. Brown
bank in Villa Mercedes de San Luis. The (accounts vary). Lying low while plan-
robbers galloped west, pursued by sev- ning the holdup apparently intended to
eral armed posses, and escaped over the finance their Santa Cruz venture, they
Chilean border. Very little is known camped intermittently with English engi-
about Butch and Sundances activities in neer A. G. Francis, who was running a
Chile, but they spent some time in the gold dredge on the nearby Ro San Juan
northern port of Antofagasta in 1905 and del Oro.
66 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

The bandits initially intended to rob a two soldiers and the policeman went to
bank in Tupiza, but the arrival of a con- investigate at once. As they entered the
tingent of cavalry soldiers led them to patio and approached the bandits room,
shift their focus to the Aramayo, Francke Butch appeared in the doorway and shot
mining company, which sent unguarded the leading soldier. The Bolivian re-
payrolls overland from Tupiza to its sponded with a rifle shot before retreat-
headquarters in Quechisla. When Ara- ing to a nearby house, where he died
mayo manager Carlos Per picked up the within minutes. The other soldier and
weekly payroll on the morning of 3 No- the policeman also fired and retreated,
vember 1908 and headed north, Butch then stationed themselves outside the
and Sundance were not far behind. Per patio door and began firing into the ban-
stayed overnight in Salo and set off again dits room. The captain appeared and
shortly after dawn. The bandits, now asked the corregidor to gather villagers
ahead of him on Huaca Huausca (Dead to surround the house and prevent the
Cow Hill), relieved him of the payroll bandits from escaping. As the corregidor
and a company mule at about 9:30 in the hastened to comply, he heard three des-
morning. perate screams from within the room. By
Released unharmed, Per sent word to the time the house was surrounded, the
Aramayo officials, and posses were soon firing had ceased.
looking for two armed gringos with a The next morning, Butchs body was
dark-brown mule bearing the companys found stretched out on the floor, with
distinctive Q brand. Meanwhile, Butch one bullet wound in the temple and an-
and Sundance had made their way south other in the arm. Sundances corpse was
to Franciss camp. In the morning, they on an adobe bench behind the door. He
conscripted him to guide them on a had been shot once in the forehead and
looping escape route that put a moun- several times in the arm. The witnesses
tain range between them and most of concluded that Butch had put Sundance
the posses. The next day, the bandits let out of his misery and then turned the
Francis go and rode on alone. They were gun on himself. Later reports claimed
heading north, probably toward Oruro, they had left their rifles outside and were
site of Sundances last known address. down to their last bullets when they
At sundown on 6 November, they rode committed suicide. In reality, Sundances
into the mining town of San Vicente and rifle lay beside his body, and both men
sought lodging for themselves and for- had plenty of ammunition. Also among
age for their mules. The corregidor (local the bandits effects were the Aramayo
justice) arranged for them to stay in a payroll and a map of Bolivia with pen-
spare room off the walled patio of a vil- ciled annotations coinciding with their
lagers adobe house. The corregidor then known movements in Bolivia. Per later
alerted a four-man posse (an army cap- identified the corpses as those of the
tain, two soldiers, and a policeman) that men who had robbed him. An inquest
had arrived that afternoon in search of was held, but the officials never identi-
the Aramayo bandits. The captain was fied the bandits by name.
sleeping or otherwise indisposed, but the Word soon spread among Butch and
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 67

Sundances friends in Bolivia that they Sundance: There are opinions that these
had died in San Vicente. The last report are the ones who held up the Banco de la
of their whereabouts in that country was Nacin in Villa Mercedes (Meadows
an item in a Tupiza biweekly, El Chorol- 1996). Within a few years, varying ac-
que, which listed Santiago Lowe as a counts of the shoot-out began appearing
guest at the Hotel Trminus at the be- in English. The first came from Hiram
ginning of November. This lends cre- Bingham, who had traveled through
dence to a report by writer James D. Ho- Tupiza two weeks after the event and
ran that a Reverend Wenberg had run mentioned it in his travelogue Across
into Butch in a Tupiza hotel and greeted South America (1911).
him as Mr. Maxwellthe name Butch In 1913 Wide World Magazine pub-
had been using when Wenberg met him lished The End of an Outlaw, in which
during his Concordia days. Im fine, A. G. Francis related his encounters with
Butch coldly replied, but my name is the two bandits, whom he identified as
Lowe (Meadows 1996). Kid Curry and Butch Cassidy. (He knew
In 1909 mail sent to Sundance went the pair only by their Tupiza aliases and
unanswered, and rumors of his death apparently mixed up the Sundance Kid
reached Chile. His erstwhile benefactor with Kid Curry when he wrote his arti-
Frank Aller wrote the American legation cle.) Although much of Franciss account
in La Paz for confirmation and a certifi- was accurate, the Pinkertons dismissed it
cate of death (Meadows 1996) for two as a fake, written to make a buck.
Americansone known as Frank Boyd or In his 1922 book Six Years in Bolivia,
H. A. Brown and the other as Maxwell English miner A. V. L. Guise reported the
who had reportedly been killed at San death of two gringo bandits in a shoot-
Vicente near Tupiza by natives and police out with Bolivian soldiers in Cocha-
and buried as desconocidos [unknowns] bamba, a city in central Bolivia, far from
(Meadows 1996). Aller said he needed San Vicente. In Tales of the Old-Timer
proof of Boyd/Browns death to settle his (1924), Western writer Frederick R. Bech-
estate in Chile. The legation forwarded dolt had Butch and Sundance dying at
the request to the Bolivian foreign min- their Argentine ranch in a 1906 shoot-
istry, which eventually sent a summary of out with more than 100 soldiers. Be-
the inquest report and death certificates cause Bechdolt interviewed people who
for the two men, whose names are un- had known the bandits in the West, it
known (Meadows 1996). seems clear that the fact of their death in
The bandits South American friends a South American shoot-out was known
may have learned of their fate early on, in the United States by then, even if the
but their North American friends had to details were murky.
wait. Although the Bolivian newspapers Arthur Chapman (best known for his
carried several articles on the Aramayo treacly poem Out Where the West Be-
holdup and its aftermath, they never gins) interviewed the bandits friend
identified the slain bandits. A wire-serv- Percy Seibert for the article Butch Cas-
ice story in a Buenos Aires daily was the sidy, which appeared in The Elks Maga-
first to link the crime with Butch and zine in April 1930 and has been quoted
68 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

by historians ever since. Chapman de- movie, writers took up the story again in
scribed Butch as the coolest, cleverest, the 1970s, this time with a dramatically
and most dangerous outlaw of his age, revisionist view: The outlaws had not
while Seibert jumbled places and dates died in Bolivia but had returned to the
and credited Butch and Sundance with United States and lived out their remain-
crimes they couldnt possibly have com- ing years in relative obscurity. Many
mitted. As for the shoot-out, which he reports fueled this new view, including
correctly placed in San Vicente, Seibert testimony from old-timers, apparently re-
inflated the tiny patrol to a company of liable sources, and friends of friends. A
Bolivian cavalry who charged the out- plethora of reports had one or both of the
laws house: Revolvers blazed from door men living or dying in Europe (in France
and window, and men began to stagger or Ireland), Latin America (in Argentina,
and fall in the courtyard. Seibert also in- Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras,
troduced the anecdote of Sundances Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, or Venezuela), or
desperate run across the courtyard to the United States (in Alaska, Arizona, Cal-
fetch the rifles and ammunition. ifornia, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Mon-
Charles Kelly incorporated the Seibert- tana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Ten-
Chapman version of the San Vicente nessee, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming).
shoot-out into Outlaw Trail (1938), the Butch dominated the sightings and death
first book-length history of the Wild legends, perhaps because at least one im-
Bunch. James D. Horan, who wrote sev- postor was making the rounds in the
eral books about the bandits, also de- West claiming to be him.
pended heavily on Seibert. When Wil- The return theories gained credence
liam Goldman wrote the screenplay for because of the lack of hard evidence
the 1969 hit movie Butch Cassidy and the about the shoot-out; historians had
Sundance Kid, he relied on Kellys and never documented the fact that such a
Horans work. shoot-out had taken place, let alone who
By the time the film appeared, Butch had died in it. No one had done any re-
and Sundances adventures had long search in Bolivia or even looked at the
since been hopelessly exaggerated and available collections of early-1900s
romanticized. A 1930 Denver Post article, South American newspapers in the
for example, blamed them for raids on States. Indeed, the Southern Hemisphere
banks, mining offices, and trains in Ar- continues to be terra incognita to West-
gentina, Peru, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia, ern historians. Howard Lamars much-ac-
and the New York Mirror in 1937 lion- claimed New Encyclopedia of the Ameri-
ized them for a series of daring holdups can West (1998), for example, has Butch
in Argentina, adding that the gauchos and Sundance roosting quietly in the
loved being robbed by the dashing grin- backcountry of Brazil near the Chilean
gosbecause they stole in the grand border (Lamar 1988), though they never
manner. In reality, they apparently com- lived in Brazilwhich, in any event, has
mitted only two holdups during their no border with Chile.
eight years in South America. Another factor that may have con-
Inspired by the popularity of the tributed to the revisionist view is the ro-
BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 69

mantic notion of the return of the ban- rich and often giving to the poor. His
dit, who cannot die because he repre- friend Josie Bassett agreed: Butch took
sents hope. Men can live without jus- care of more people than FDR, and with
tice, and generally must, according to no red tape. It is true that Butch and
historian and bandit expert Eric Hobs- Sundance were well liked and respected,
bawm, but they cannot live without but they were hardly philanthropists.
hope (1981). There was also the conceit The best that can be said of them is that
that intelligent outlaws like Butch and they stole company money rather than
Sundance could not have been outwitted personal belongings and that they usu-
by a posse in a Third World country like ally shot only at people who were shoot-
Bolivia. In fact, however, the Bolivians ing at them.
captured most payroll banditsinvari- Western writer Larry Pointers 1977
ably foreignerswho operated during the book In Search of Butch Cassidy com-
early 1900s. bined a history of the Wild Bunch with
The first and most significant revision- an attempt to prove that William T.
ist was Lula Parker Betenson, Butchs Phillips, a Michigan native who owned a
youngest sister, who was a baby when he machine shop in Spokane, Washington,
left home. In Butch Cassidy, My Brother was the returned Butch Cassidy. Pointer
(1975), a memoir of the Parker clans life based much of his case on Phillipss un-
in frontier Utah and her siblings career, published manuscript, The Bandit Invin-
Betenson wrote that he had visited the cible, an account of his supposed life as
family in 1925. She said he had died in Cassidy. Some of the manuscripts details
Spokane in 1937 but was not the Cassidy conform with what is known of the out-
impostor who had died near Spokane laws life in Wyoming, where Phillips had
that same year. She refused to say what worked as a young man, but aspects of
name her brother was using when he Butchs life elsewhere in the United
died, and she never provided any proof of States were wrong, and the South Ameri-
his return. Researchers who met Beten- can portion of the manuscript was ludi-
son surmised that she didnt know much crous. Phillips located the bandits ranch
about her brothers life. She implied to a in the wrong part of Argentina and had
couple of them that she was just having them holding up railroads not yet built
fun with her stories, and one of her sons when they were in the area. He proffered
said point-blank that Butchs alleged an extensive (and improbable, consider-
1925 visit had never happened. More- ing the era) round of plastic surgery in
over, Butchs father said he had never Paris as the deus ex machina to account
seen his son again after he went to South for the differences in his and Butchs
America, and a niece said Butchs broth- appearances.
ers had looked for him for years without In 1983 outlaw buff Ed Kirby pub-
learning what had become of him. lished The Rise and Fall of the Sundance
Butch as the good bandit was an- Kid, another book at war with itself. The
other of Betensons themes. He was first half is a straightforward narrative of
known as Robin Hood in North and Sundances life until his apparent death
South America, she wrote, robbing the in Bolivia. The second half is an incon-
70 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID

gruous effort to prove that the hand- valdo Topcic, and Ricardo Vallmitjana.
some, nearly six-foot-tall Sundance Kid Gaviratis Buscados en la Patagonia:
had returned to the United States as the Butch, Sundance, Ethel, Evans y Wilson
five-foot-three Hiram BeBee, a homely (1999), for example, surveys their stay in
drunk who died in the Utah State Peni- Patagonia and their connection to other
tentiary in 1955 while serving a life sen- outlaws there.
tence for murdering a sheriff. Kirby sug- The legend of Butch and Sundance is
gested that osteoporosis might explain certain to live on. Some folks say [Butch]
how the 30-something Sundance could never died in South America, Paul
have shrunk into the elderly BeBee. A Turner told a Salt Lake City Deseret News
1919 mug shot of a much younger BeBee, columnist in 1999. Myself, I like to
however, showed him to have always think the old boys still alive out there,
been gnomish in height and appearance. whoopin it up. Turner, who operates the
In the 1980s and 1990s Butch and Butch Cassidy Museum in Richfield,
Sundance went under the loupe all over Utah, added that anybody whod like to
again. The tales of their return got a hear a Butch Cassidy legend or two, give
skeptical reevaluation, and researchers me a call. . . . What I dont know Ill make
finally combed judicial, police, and news- up.
paper archives in Argentina, Chile, and Anne Meadows and Daniel Buck
Bolivia. The resulting research produced
a slew of articles in outlaw and Western
history journals and several new books. References
Two key judicial reports were found. One Ernst, Donna. Sundance, My Uncle. College
contained some 1,000 pages addressing Station, TX: Early West, 1992.
outlawry in Patagonia during and after Gavirati, Marcelo. Buscados en la Patagonia:
Butch and Sundances residency there. Butch, Sundance, Ethel, Evans y Wilson.
The other was the long-lost file from the Buenos Aires: La Bitcora, 1999.
Bolivian judicial inquest into the circum- Hobsbawm, Eric J. Bandits. Rev. ed. New York:
stances surrounding the deaths of the Pantheon, Delacorte, 1969, 1981.
two gringo bandits in San Vicente. Much Kelly, Charles. The Outlaw Trail. 1938, 1959.
of this material can be found in Anne Reprint, Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1996.
Meadowss Digging Up Butch and Sun- Kirby, Ed. The Rise and Fall of the Sundance
dance (1996). Kid. Iola, WI: Western Publications, 1983.
In Sundance, My Uncle (1992), Donna Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia
Ernst provided a wealth of new informa- of the American West. New Haven, CT: Yale
tion about her outlaw in-laws childhood University Press, 1998.
and experiences as a young cowboy. Meadows, Anne. Digging Up Butch and Sun-
With Butch Cassidy: A Biography (1998), dance. Rev. ed. New York: St. Martins Press,
Richard Patterson contributed the first 1994; Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1996.
thoroughly documented look at the Patterson, Richard. Butch Cassidy: A Biogra-
icons career. Butch and Sundance have phy. Lincoln, NE: Bison Books, 1998.
also begun to intrigue historians in Ar- Pointer, Larry. In Search of Butch Cassidy. Nor-
gentina, including Marcelo Gavirati, Os- man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977.
c
Calamity Jane train, leaving her orphaned at an early
age. She traveled the West, doing odd
1852 or 18561903 jobs to survive. She quickly became en-
amored of the wild, open West.
In a region filled with tall tales, perhaps She drifted to Wyoming and up to
no one worked as hard or as successfully South Dakota, finding work with Gen.
at building her own legend than George Crooks expedition against Na-
Calamity Jane. She holds the reputation tive American tribes. Perhaps because
of a hard-drinking, wild-shooting, tough- employers often overlooked Jane on ac-
talking woman of the Wild West. She count of her sex, she dressed and acted
wore mens buckskins instead of dresses, as the cowboys did, often passing as a
risked her life to save innocent citizens, man. She also worked in a dance hall in
and brought calamity wherever she Deadwood, South Dakota, where she
traveled. Her rough, cowgirl image has wore womens clothing and played a
been transformed in popular culture, but more feminine role. Usually, however,
her name brings with it visions of dust, she roamed about in a buckskin suit, en-
gun smoke, and defiance. joying hunting, gambling, gunfighting,
Martha Jane Cannary (also called cussing, and drinking with men. It was a
Martha Jane Cannary Burke) may have bit awkward at first, she reported, but
been born near Princeton, Missouri, on 1 soon I got to be perfectly at home in
May 1856. Most of our knowledge of her mens clothes (Canary 1896).
youth comes from her not very reliable Janes relationship with Wild Bill
memoir: Life and Adventures of Calamity Hickok remains mythical and undocu-
Jane by Herself (1896, available on-line at mented. According to a diary alleged to
several locations). According to legend, be by Jane but probably forged, they
her parents died on a west-bound wagon married secretly while in Kansas on 1

71
72 CALAMITY JANE

September 1870, and Jane gave birth to According to both accounts, she boldly
their daughter, Jean (or Janey) Hickok rode into the middle of the Indians, res-
McCormick, on 25 September 1873. The cued the wounded captain, and carried
same diary indicates that the two di- him on her horseback to camp. On the
vorced in 1876. Jane supposedly gave the way, he named her Calamity Jane.
child up for adoption. Larry McMurtry, in Other stories claim she acquired her
his novel Buffalo Girls (1990, film ver- name at the various hotels or houses
sion 1995), played upon this myth and where she worked as a prostitute before
has Jane writing a series of letters to her her service to the military. Her propen-
daughter. However, at the end of the sity for action and danger followed her
book, Jane reveals that I wanted you so everywhere, and Calamity may indi-
much that I made you up. . . . You are cate the constant trouble she found.
the child I would have chose, Janey, had Martha Jane is also credited with sav-
I been normalwhy cant I at least have ing a stagecoach of six passengers from a
you in my head . . . ? I guess you rose out large band of Indians. According to her
of my hopes, JaneyI had thought I put own account, she quietly and deftly took
them out of my heart long ago, when all over the stagecoach and returned it to
the doctors told me I couldnt bear a safety. In Buffalo Bills story, she, by a
child (McMurtry 1990). Several sources, daring feat, saved everyones lives, in-
including her own autobiography, report cluding that of the driver, Jack McCall.
her marriage to Clinton Burke in 1885 Jane later claimed she had helped cap-
and the birth of their baby girl in 1887. ture McCall for killing her alleged lover,
Jane bragged in her autobiography of Wild Bill Hickok.
working as a scout for General Custer Jane also claimed to have ridden for the
during his military raids, of saving many Pony Express and as a scout for General
endangered citizens, and of other daring Custer. I was considered a remarkably
feats. Her stories usually stretched the good shot and a fearless rider for a girl of
truth; many are total fabrications. Oddly, my age, she reported (Canary 1896). She
although Jane boasted of many coura- wrote so convincingly that countless sub-
geous and daring accomplishments, she sequent writers accepted her tall tales as
did not mention true acts of kindness, fact. In Burs under the Saddle, a book
such as nursing smallpox victims. pointing up historical errors in the works
Canary died in 1903, a poor woman of others, Ramon F. Adams refutes many
plagued by alcohol abuse and loneliness. Calamity Jane myths.
She reportedly requested to be buried Calamity Janes ties to Wild Bill Hickok
next to Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, are probably a fabrication. According to
and her grave remains there today. some historians, she knew him only a lit-
Both Martha Jane and Buffalo Bill tle more than six weeks. However, sev-
Cody report that she received her nick- eral descriptions of her profound grief at
name from the same event. She found a the news of his death suggest a deeper
Captain Egan surrounded by Indians, connection. In her autobiography, she
facing certain death, in South Dakota. called him her friend and described the
CALAMITY JANE 73

actions she took to hunt down Jack Mc- Martha Jane differently. In the novel,
Call. Jane does not mention her wailing Calamity is a confused and lonely woman
over Wild Bills death, but others re- who creates an imaginary daughter for
ported her intense mourning. Her emo- herself to write to and dream about. Mc-
tional reaction sparked newspaper Murtry adds a further twist, intimating
stories of their supposed romantic rela- that she was a hermaphrodite. After her
tionship, and eventually she began dis- death, her best friend Bartle Bone tells
cussing their romantic encounters. The one of his companions that he thought
facts have never been sorted out, but the he might just see what the man knew
rumors increased in the years after her about something he had been curious
death. Her supposed final request to be about for a long timenamely, whether
buried next to him has been interpreted Calamity had been a woman or a man
as a wish to be reunited in the other (McMurtry 1990).
worldand as a desire for more fame. The film version shows her closely
Pulp novelists of the time seized upon linked to Wild Bill and bearing a baby
and increased her notoriety. A magazine girl, whom she gives up after his death.
called Deadwood Dick began publication She has close friends who support and
in 1899. This weekly dime novel for boys aid her. Her choice of mens clothing is
included accounts of the fictional Dead- only noticeable on her trip to England,
wood Dicks adventures in the Wild where she is contrasted with Annie Oak-
West. Deadwood Dicks Doom, or Cala- ley, a prim, feminine straight-shooter. In
mity Janes Last Adventure describes the this portrayal, Martha Jane is a balanced
misadventures of the two characters. The and happy individual, who often loses
pulp describes Jane as a graceful, pretty her fiery temper but who is down-to-
girl-in-breeches with a stern expression earth and dependable.
of her sad eyes. In her autobiography, Jane said she had
The twentieth-century media perpetu- a daughter by her husband Clinton
ated the myth of the supposed love be- Burke. After he deserted her and fled
tween Calamity Jane and Wild Bill. charges of tax evasion, the child lived at a
Countless books and many movies de- boarding school and remained separated
scribe their romance and gloss over their from her mother for the remainder of her
hard lives on the frontier. The Plainsman life. Certainly, the story of a short, pas-
(1936), starring Jean Arthur and Gary sionate romance with another Wild West
Cooper, and Calamity Jane, a 1984 CBS legend is more entertaining than the
television movie, both present the two as story of life with a cowardly tax-evader.
partners in crime fighting and in life. In Like her mother, Calamitys supposed
The Plainsman, Wild Bill does not out- daughter became the object of myth and
wardly show his love for Calamity, but he legend. In 1941 a woman named Jean
carries her picture with him everywhere. Hickok McCormick declared herself to
Jane loses his affection after she exposes be the daughter of Wild Bill and Jane.
a military troops route to the Indians. She presented her mothers diaries and
Larry McMurtrys Buffalo Girls depicts letters as proof. The diaries record
74 CALAMITY JANE

Janes short marriage to Wild Bill, their rough image as a rider and gunfighter
divorce, and the placement of their child remain present, but her actions are
in foster care. The man who checked driven by emotion.
most thoroughly into the documents, Reenactors have repopulated the West
Clarence S. Paine, found many disturbing with heroes and villains. Since the late
contradictions. It is also very likely that 1980s, Coloradan Glenda Bell has played
Jane could neither read nor write, mak- Calamity Jane as the Western Woman
ing the production of a diary problem- Wildcat who shares the humorous ups
atic. James D. McLairds 1995 article in and downs of her life as she keeps body
Montana magazine thoroughly debunks and soul together. It is unlikely that we
McCormicks claims. will ever uncover the facts of Calamity
Regardless of the facts of her life, Janes life, but that does not keep her leg-
Calamity Jane captured the imagination end from exerting a powerful, enduring
of magazine and pulp fiction writers, hold on American popular culture.
who began her transformation from Entertainers continue to profit from
woman to myth. Edward Wheeler, for ex- the allure of Calamity Janes name. She
ample, linked Jane to his creation Dead- has been made a member of the Vestal
wood Dick. She appeared as Dicks wife Virgins Cosmic Baseball Team, along
or, more often, sweetheart in several with actress Marilyn Monroe and poets
Wheeler books, including Deadwood Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath. The
Dick on Deck, or Calamity Jane, the Hero- teams have virtual baseball games and
ine of Whoop-Up: A Story of Dakota. have been playing since 1995. Also in
Television also took up Janes story. an athletic vein, a successful womens
The Legend of Calamity Jane, a 1990s car- Ultimate Frisbee team from Indiana Uni-
toon, shows main characters and settings versity call themselves Calamity Jane.
inspired by her many myths. The pro- Seven women of a barbershop-type choir
gram tells of Martha Janes background of the same name hold their own in a
in the West, loosely using her lack of par- male-dominated genre, maintaining a
ents as a backdrop, and shows Wild Bill strong bass sound as the foundation for
Hickok as a teammate and love interest. their music instead of high, delicate har-
Her band of crime fighters travels the monies.
Old West crushing outlaws and bandits. Calamity Janes bragging character and
This portrayal of Calamity Jane, although tough disposition created a figure that
very modern and glamorized, shows that will forever remain the embodiment of a
her heroic aura is timeless. rough-and-tumble western cowgirl. She
Theaters still produce a musical called remains a symbol of strength and of the
Calamity Jane, adapted from the screen- defiance of social norms. Her celebrity
play by James OHanlon. Doris Day, a also reflects an ongoing need for heroes
beautiful and very feminine actress, and for enthralling if unlikely stories.
plays Calamity Jane in the movie version. Her name will forever be associated with
Featuring songs such as The Black Hills the Wild West and its values of individu-
of Dakota and Secret Love, the musical alism, boldness, and courage.
shows Jane as a lovelorn cowgirl. Her Ellen J. Oettinger and Richard W. Slatta
CAMEL CORPS 75

References $30,000 appropriation for the purchase


Adams, Ramon Frederick. Burs under the Sad- of camels and the importation of drome-
dle: A Second Look at Books and Histories of daries, to be employed for military pur-
the West. Norman: University of Oklahoma poses (Jacobs). In May Maj. Henry
Press, 1964, 1989. Wayne traveled to Tunis and purchased
Canary, Martha Jane. Life and Adventures of 33 animals for about $12,000. Once
Calamity Jane by Herself (1896). Available loaded onto the deck of the specially
on-line at several locations. modified naval storeship Supply, the
Fielder, Mildred. Wild Bill and Deadwood. camels began their odyssey to south
Seattle, WA: Superior Publishing Company, Texas. Forty-four more camels arrived in
1965. a later shipment.
Knowles, Thomas W., and Joe R. Lansdale, The first batch of camels landed at In-
eds. The West That Was. New York: Wings dianola, Texas, on 29 April 1856, but bad
Books, 1993. weather and shallow water prevented un-
McLaird, James D. Calamity Janes Diary and loading for two weeks. On 4 June Wayne
Letters: Story of a Fraud. Montana: The pointed his camel caravan westward to
Magazine of Western History 45, no. 4 (Au- Victoria. There, Mary A. Shirkey clipped
tumn 1995): 2035. camel wool from the animals, spun it,
McMurtry, Larry. Buffalo Girls. New York: and knit a pair of camel-pile socks for the
Pocket Books, 1990. president of the United States.
Sollid, Roberta Beed. Calamity Jane: A Study in From Camp Verde, Texas, the camels
Historical Criticism. 1958. Reprint, Helena: worked successfully in operations
Montana Historical Society Press, 1995. against Indians and in transporting sup-
plies. According to Major Wayne, they
could carry 600 pounds without diffi-
culty, several times what a mule could
Camel Corps manage. They traveled long distances
without water and would eat virtually
In 1836 Maj. George H. Crosman urged any plant. One trek took the camel corps
the U.S. War Department to utilize into the wild, unexplored Big Bend re-
camels in the campaigns being waged gion along the Rio Grande in west Texas.
against Indians in Florida. He argued Several camel drivers, including a Syr-
that the ability of camels to operate with ian named Hadji Ali, accompanied the
a minimum of food and water made beasts from North Africa. American sol-
them superior to other pack and riding diers soon corrupted his name to Hi
animals. As a U.S. senator and later secre- Jolly. In reality, he may not have been
tary of war under President Franklin Middle Eastern at all but a Greek named
Pierce, Jefferson Davis supported the Philip Tedro.
idea. He firmly believed that military op- Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale undertook
erations in the deserts of the West would another experiment in June 1857. The
require a desert animal, the camel. army planned to set up a route from
In 1855 Davis insistently proposed a Texas through the desert Southwest to
camel corps to Congress and received a convey mail and supplies. They surveyed
76 CAMEL CORPS

a wagon route along the thirty-fifth par- kind to the camels feet. And mules and
allel from Texas to the Pacific Ocean. The horses, essential to the army, panicked at
Beale Road, which ran from Fort Defi- the sight and smell of these odd, foreign
ance, New Mexico, to the Colorado River, creatures.
became a popular route for prospectors. Hollywood would take notice of this
With Hi Jolly as chief driver, their cara- odd chapter in southwestern history. In
van of camels traveled 25 to 30 miles a 1954 the film Southwest Passage re-cre-
day, with loads of 600 to 800 pounds ated the camel corps story, with Rod
each. The corps successfully reached Cameron playing Lt. Edward Beale. John
California. Ireland and Joanne Dru costarred. Al-
Beale deemed the effort a great success: though Southwest Passage took a shot at
historical accuracy, a much later effort
The harder the test they [the camels] are by Disney turned the project into a trav-
put to, the more fully they seem to jus- esty. The Disney film, Hawmps! (1976),
tify all that can be said of them. They provided a decidedly humorous, indeed,
pack water for days under a hot sun and ridiculous retelling of the story. The film
never get a drop; they pack heavy bur- starred several veteran western actors,
dens of corn and oats for months and including Slim Pickens, Denver Pyle, and
never get a grain; and on the bitter Jack Elam.
greasewood and other worthless shrubs, The army auctioned off some of the
not only subsist, but keep fat. I look for- camels, but others escaped into the
ward to the day when every mail route desert, only to be shot as pests by
across the continent will be conducted prospectors and hunters. Two private ef-
and worked altogether with this eco- forts at raising camels followed the pio-
nomical and noble brute. (Jacobs) neering government experiments. Both
failed, in one case leaving 89 hapless ani-
Daviss successor as secretary of war, mals abandoned and wandering the sand
John Floyd, shared Beales enthusiasm. dunes near Galveston.
He reported to Congress in 1858 that After the army abandoned the camel
the entire adaptation of camels to mili- experiment, Hi Jolly lived the remainder
tary operations on the Plains may now of his life in Arizona. He operated a
be taken as demonstrated (Jacobs). He freighting business between Colorado
unsuccessfully asked for funds to pur- River ports and mining camps until it
chase 1,000 more camels. failed. He released his last camel in the
Politics, not inherent deficiencies, desert near Gila Bend and later married a
doomed the armys use of camels. The Tucson woman and fathered two chil-
outbreak of the Civil War redirected mili- dren. For a time he mined in Quartzsite,
tary attention elsewhere. Nonetheless, Arizona, where he died in 1902 at age 73.
during the war 80 camels and two Egypt- A colorful pyramid-shaped tomb marks
ian drivers passed into Confederate his grave in the Quartzsite cemetery.
hands. However, other problems arose Camels also showed up elsewhere in
during the camel experiments. The rocky the West. A mining company in British
soils of the Southwest had proven un- Columbia used and then released some
CARSON, KIT 77

Bactrian camels. The animals drifted Woodbury, Chuck. U.S. Camel Corps Re-
south into Nevada and Idaho. Other Ara- membered in Quartzsite, Arizona. Out
bian camels roamed the deserts of Texas, West 18 (April 1992): http://www.outwest-
California, and Arizona. The last authen- newspaper.com/camels.html.
ticated sightings came in the early twen-
tieth century, but local residents claim
that some of the hardy beasts still sur-
vive in remote areas. Canada
One legendary camel became known
as the Red Ghost. In 1883 a large beast See Comparative Frontier Mythology
trampled a woman. Clumps of reddish
fur clung to a nearby thorn bush, and
huge hoofprints appeared in the mud. A
few days later, a large, unidentified ani- Cannary, Martha Jane
mal tromped through a tent where two
miners lay sleeping. Again large hoof- 1852 or 18561903. See Calamity Jane
prints, twice the size of those left by
horses, and pieces of red fur marked the
site. A rancher reported that the animal,
now known to be a camel, carried a rider Cannibalism
who did not appear to be alive. Later
prospectors saw something fall from the See Donner Party; Packer, Alfred
camels back. They retrieved the object,
which turned out to be a human skull.
The so-called Red Ghost and its head-
less rider continued to frighten people Carson, Kit
for the next decade until an Arizona
farmer finally shot it in 1893. The animal 18091868
had at last shaken off the remnants of its
dead rider, though it still carried leather At five-feet, six inches tall, Christopher
straps where the corpse had been at- Houston Carson stood as one of the gi-
tached. No one ever identified the ghoul- ants of Western exploration. The first of
ish phantom rider. the mountain men to gain a national rep-
utation, he would go on to become a
References scout and guide, Indian agent, and army
Boyd, Eva Jolene. Noble Brutes: Camels on the officer. A century after his death, his life
American Frontier. Plano: Republic of Texas would become mythologized in several
Press, 1995. admiring television and film depictions.
Faulk, Odie B. The U.S. Camel Corps: An Army Born on Christmas Eve, 1809, in Madi-
Experiment. New York: Oxford University son County, South Carolina, young Kit
Press, 1976. entered the world as the ninth of 14 chil-
Jacobs, Ellen. The Camel Corps Page: http:// dren. His family moved to the area of
artemis.simmons.edu/~jacobs/camel.html. Boones Lick, Missouri, and Old Franklin,
78 CARSON, KIT

Howard County, Missouri, where he be- After completing the journey, Carson
came a crack shot with a rifle. His father returned to Taos and in 1843 married an-
died when Kit was but nine years old, so other woman, Mara Josefa Jaramillo. He
the need to work kept him from learning then rejoined Frmonts second expedi-
to read or write. He became apprenticed tion and led the party on a difficult
to a saddle maker five years later. crossing over the Sierra Nevadas. Two
In 1826 the youngster headed west, years later, Carson and Frmont teamed
reaching Santa Fe, New Mexico. He up again at Bents Fort. They arrived in
worked at odd jobs until he met moc- California at the outbreak of the war
casinned and buckskin-clad mountain with Mexico in 1846. The pair assisted
men. In 1829 he hired on with Ewing the Bear-Flag rebellion of American
Young on a trapping expedition bound colonists fighting against the Spanish.
for California. He further improved his Carson led the forces of U.S. Gen.
frontier survival skills and returned to Stephen Kearney from New Mexico into
Taos two years later. During the next sev- California when a Californio band led by
eral years, he used the town as a base for Andrs Pico challenged American occu-
fur-trapping expeditions throughout the pation of Los Angeles later that year.
Rocky Mountains. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman met
Like many mountain men, Kit married Carson in California and described the
an Indian woman, an Arapaho. They had man whom legend presented as so much
one daughter, named Adaline. After the larger than life: I cannot express my sur-
death of his first wife, he married a prise at beholding a small, stoop-shoul-
Cheyenne woman. His character at- dered man, with reddish hair, freckled
tracted favorable commentary. Clean as face, soft blue eyes, and nothing to indi-
a hounds tooth, recalled one friend. A cate extraordinary courage or daring. He
man whose word was as sure as the sun spoke but little, and answered questions
comin up. In the early 1840s, he in monosyllables (Guild and Carter
worked as a hunter supplying meat to 1988). At the end of the war, Carson re-
the Colorado fort of William Bent. turned to New Mexico and took up
In 1842, while returning to Missouri to ranching. By 1853 he and his partner
visit his family, Carson happened to meet were able to drive a large flock of sheep
John C. Frmont, who soon hired him as to California, where gold rush prices paid
a guide. Over the next several years, Car- them a handsome profit.
son helped guide Frmont to Oregon During this time, Carson made several
and California and through much of the remarkable trips across the entire conti-
central Rocky Mountains and the Great nent, carrying dispatches between Wash-
Basin. His service with Frmont, cele- ington, D.C., and California. His heroic
brated in Frmonts widely read expedi- deeds, already famous in the West, now
tion reports, quickly made Kit Carson a stirred the imagination of easterners. Po-
national hero. He appeared in popular litical infighting in Washington soured
fiction as a rugged, courageous moun- him on politics and military life, so he re-
tain man who performed superhuman turned to Taos and his wife. They would
feats. eventually raise seven children. In 1854
CARSON, KIT 79

he received an appointment as Indian 1868, soon after eating a buffalo steak


agent at Taos. He served his Indian con- prepared by his friend Aloys Scheurich.
stituency well, continuing to display the Carson provided an irresistible and
same honesty and integrity that charac- bona fide hero, ready-made for the popu-
terized his life. lar media. Silent film star Fred Thomson
The coming of the Civil War brought played the scout in a 1928 film. B-west-
him back into uniform. His First New ern hero Johnny Mack Brown starred in
Mexican Volunteer Infantry Regiment the 1933 film Fighting with Kit Carson.
fought not against the Confederacy but Later film incarnations included The
against Apaches, Navajos, Kiowas, and Painted Stallion (with Sammy McKim,
Comanches. Carson played a prominent 1938) and Overland with Kit Carson
and memorable role in the Civil War in (with Wild Bill Elliott, 1939). These popu-
New Mexico. He helped organize the lar-culture portraits focused on his early
New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, which trailblazing, not on his unfortunate serv-
saw action at Valverde in 1862. Most of ice against southwestern Indians during
his military actions, however, concen- the Civil War.
trated on moving the Navajos to a dis- Television also returned to the irre-
tant reservation. sistible life of the old scout. During the
In 1863 Carson initiated a brutal eco- 1950s, actor Bill Williams starred in the
nomic war against the Navajos. His popular television series The Adventures
troops destroyed crops, orchards, and of Kit Carson. Williams and his sidekick
livestock in an attempt to force the Nava- Don El Toro Diamond shot more than
jos to comply with government orders. 100 episodes from 1951 until 1954.
The devastation left the Navajos open to (Williams died at age 77 of complications
attack by their traditional enemies, Utes, from a brain tumor on 21 September
Pueblos, Hopis, and Zunis. In 1864 most 1992.) Rip Torn played Carson in a 1986
of the Navajos surrendered. Carson led TV miniseries that featured Richard
some 8,000 Navajo men, women, and Chamberlain as John C. Frmont.
children on a 300-mile forced march, the The Kit Carson Home and Museum in
Long Walk, from their Arizona home- Taos, New Mexico, commemorates his
land to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. The life. The scout also has a town named for
captives remained confined in the dis- him, a small rural community (popula-
ease-ridden camp for four years. tion about 300) located on the eastern
Ill health forced Colonel Carson to re- plains of Colorado. His admiring biogra-
tire in 1867. The following year, he and phers Thelma S. Guild and Harvey L.
his large family moved to Boggsville, Carter suggest correctly that Americans
Colorado, near present-day La Junta. De- do well to remember Kit Carson as one
spite his failing health, he aided Ute Indi- of their heroes, for Fortune has seldom
ans in pleading their grievances in Wash- smiled upon a more deserving character
ington. The end was near. His wife died (Guild and Carter 1988).
on 23 April 1868, one month before the
old scout. The bold, fearless trailblazer References
died at Fort Lyons, Colorado, on 23 May Guild, Thelma S., and Harvey L. Carter. Kit
80 CASSIDY, BUTCH

Carson: A Pattern for Heroes. Lincoln: Uni- Watson worked as a cook in several fron-
versity of Nebraska Press, 1984, 1988. tier towns, including Cheyenne and Rawl-
Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier ins. Her detractors argue that she sup-
Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of ported herself as a prostitute.
Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994. She met Jim Averill (or Averell), a John-
son County rancher with lands along the
Source of Further Information Sweetwater River near Independence
Kit Carson Home and Museum: Telephone: Rock. Accounts vary as to whether they
505-758-0505; Web Site: http://taoswebb. actually married or not, but she did take
com/TAOS/MAT/kit.html. out a marriage license. By some ac-
counts, they operated not as spouses but
as business partners. According to this
latter view, she worked out of Averills
Cassidy, Butch store as a prostitute. From her home-
stead near Steamboat Rock, she also as-
18661911, outlaw. See Butch Cassidy sisted in rustling cattle.
and the Sundance Kid Defenders of Averill and Watson point
out that neighboring ranchers were land
hungry. One version of their hanging
points to the Hesse family, who used
Cattle Kate threats and intimidation to acquire
neighboring ranches. Averill and Watson
1862?1889 refused to yield, so the Hesses suppos-
edly hung the pair in Spring Creek
Ellen Liddy Ella Watson, aka Cattle Canyon without trial or fanfare. Twelve
Kate, has the dubious honor of being the hours after the hangings, deputies ar-
only woman hanged in the state of rived from Casper and arrested members
Wyoming. Accused of cattle rustling, she of the Hesse family. A trial failed to con-
and her husband Jim Averill swung from vict any of the Hesses. One witness, a
ropes along Wyomings Sweetwater River young boy, died mysteriously shortly be-
on 20 July 1889. Whether she did indeed fore he was to testify. Three other wit-
steal and sell cattle or whether land-hun- nesses disappeared without testifying.
gry ranchers trumped up the charges Yet another version of their hanging
against her remains hotly debated. focuses on the cattle barons of the
Born in Ontario, Canada, Ellas family Wyoming Stock Growers Association, es-
moved to Lebanon, Kansas, to homestead. pecially Albert J. Bothwell. Averill had
The tall, restless young woman married written letters critical of Bothwell to the
Bill Pickle at age 18. Her husband drank press. Modern researcher George W. Huf-
too much and abused her. She finally se- smith charges that Bothwell trumped up
cured a divorce and headed west, first to charges against Averill and Cattle Kate in
Denver, then to Wyoming. Her first mar- order to take their land. They repre-
riage, like many thereafter, proved very sented the kind of small ranchers that
short-lived. Strong-willed and attractive, larger outfits widely believed to be noth-
CATTLE MUTILATIONS 81

ing more than rustlers. In this version of blood. Most people refer to these bizarre
their deaths, a mob of 20 or so hanged killings as cattle mutilations or, more
the unfortunate pair. The lynching colloquially, cat mutes.
touched off the so-called Powder River The first recorded cattle mutilation oc-
(or Johnson County) War, which pitted curred in 1967 at the King Ranch in the
large ranchers against their smaller San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.
neighbors. Rancher Harry King found his three-
Regardless of the facts of her life and year-old Appaloosa horse, Lady, lying on
death, Cattle Kate remains a fixture of her side, dead, two days after she had
western popular culture. Tourists can en- disappeared. The owner found the ani-
joy a stay at Cattle Kates Lodge in Greer, mals corpse shocking and unsightly:
Arizona. Kathy Bresslers Cattle Kate, Inc., Lady had no flesh from the neck up, and
offers Contemporary Clothing with the the exposed skeleton appeared as
Look and Feel of the Old West. Although though the sun had decayed the body
her character remains in dispute, her for a considerable time. Even more
name serves these two businesses well. bizarre, Ladys tracks stopped nearly 100
feet away from her remains. Forty feet
Sources of Further Information away from the body stood a broken bush
Cattle Kate, Inc.: http://www.cattlekate.com/ and a small, circular configuration of
introduction.html. eight holes about four inches deep.
Cattle Kate Page: http://w3.trib.com/~leebo/ Strange reports soon began to circulate
kate.htm. in other western states, including North
Cattle Kates Lodge: http://www.wmonline.com Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. By
/cattlekates/. the mid-1970s, ranchers in every western
state had reported baffling animal muti-
lations. A rash of puzzling cattle deaths
broke out in Montana in 1975. That
Cattle Mutilations same year, people in Council, Idaho, dis-
covered six dead cattle with missing
Over the past three decades, farmers and tongues, sexual organs, and udders. Resi-
ranchers in the West (as well as through- dents of New Mexico repeatedly found
out the nation) have reported hundreds the bodies of cattle with sex organs and
of unusual livestock deaths. These rectums removed.
ranchers have found their livestock, Baffled and frightened westerners soon
mostly cattle, dead, without a clear sought explanations for the inexplicable
cause: no bullet or knife wounds and no chain of events. Many observers attrib-
traces at the scene. Whats more, the ani- uted the grotesque killings to satanic
mals bear highly unusual and consistent cults. Police agencies in Idaho and Mon-
mutilations. Someone or something has tana successfully linked a few cattle mu-
been deliberately removing certain or- tilation cases with local Satanist groups.
gans (patches of skin, tongues, lips, ears, Yet investigators have generally found
eyes, genitalia, rectums, and tails) and little evidence linking the widespread
has frequently drained the animals of killings to cults. Others have argued that
82 CATTLE MUTILATIONS

ravenous scavengers have selectively of mutilations near Roswell, New Mex-


consumed certain organs of the animals, ico, and Area 51, Nevada. Some mutolo-
which had simply dropped dead from gists have speculated that aliens have re-
natural causes. Opponents of this view, peatedly visited earth over the past
however, argue that wild predators lack several years to harvest bovine DNA to
the ability to make such clean, precise create biological clones. Whether the
rips and tears. Other people have re- motivations of these visitors are insidi-
ported seeing a large, hairy beast in ous or benign varies with the theorist.
their backyards during the same time Fed up with the uproar, in 1975 Gover-
frame in which many animal killings nor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado or-
have occurred. Could the culprit be Big- dered a statewide investigation of the
foot? strange livestock deaths, calling the phe-
Conspiracy buffs speculate that mem- nomenon one of the great outrages in
bers of the U.S. government are secretly the history of the western cattle indus-
involved in the mutilations. These theo- try (Washington Post, 1 January 1986).
rists argue that the government is con- The Colorado Bureau of Investigation
ducting covert chemical warfare experi- (CBI) thoroughly examined more than
ments on western ranchers livestock. 200 reported incidents. They concluded
Proponents of this theory point to the that scavenging animals had caused
sightings of mysterious, unidentified most of the strange mutilations and
black helicopters flying at unusually low blamed human copycats for the remain-
altitudes prior to the discovery of several ing cases, which showed evidence of
mutilations. These fears reflect the long- knife incisions.
standing distrust that many westerners The CBI probe did not mitigate public
feel for the federal government, which concern. Congress ultimately stepped in
owns vast amounts of western land. The and funded a federal investigation in
U.S. government, however, is both re- 1979. Kenneth Rommel, a former FBI
sourceful and powerful enough to gather agent who specialized in counterintelli-
cattle for research without pilfering them gence, directed the year-long investiga-
from hapless ranchers. tion, called Operation Animal Mutila-
One of the most popular theories to ac- tion, which focused on cases in New
count for cattle mutilations suggests that Mexico. Rommel personally inspected
humankind is not alone in the universe. the corpses of 25 supposed mutes, pe-
Several witnessesincluding ranchers, rused several reports, and interviewed
police officers, and mutologistshave specialists, including veterinarians, re-
linked the puzzling events to extraterres- porters, forensic pathologists, livestock
trials, who beam the animals up into association officials, and paranormal in-
their ships and conduct biological exper- vestigators. His heavily documented and
iments on them. Evidence cited includes convincing report blamed Mother Nature
the absence of tracks around the car- for almost every case. Rommel con-
casses; eyewitness sightings of strange cluded that predatory animals had cre-
balls of bright, fast-moving lights in the ated many of the wounds. He also as-
sky; the unexplained nature of the serted that the mass media played a key
killings; and the widespread occurrence role in perpetuating myths surrounding
CAVALRY TRILOGY 83

the deaths, thereby compounding the Wayne and his companions are on the
problem and creating hysteria. verge of being massacred by Apaches, a
Conspiracy buffs, especially those who welcome bugle call heralds their rescue.
believe that aliens visit the earth to The cavalry arrives to save the day, as it
abduct helpless bovines, deny Rommels so often did in western films. Nine years
conclusions. Emmy awardwinning doc- later, however, the great director exam-
umentary filmmaker Linda Moulton ined these legendary guardians of the
Howe produced a popular documen- frontier much more closely. In three
taryA Strange Harvest, which aired on films released between 1948 and 1950
HBO in 1980supporting the alien the- his cavalry trilogyFord scrutinized
sis. She also wrote a book by the same and mythologized the lonely, violent,
name, published in 1989. Skeptics and duty-driven world of the horse soldiers.
believers alike have produced numerous Fort Apache, the film that began the
Web sites on the subject. Scoffers have trilogy, featured lead performances by
also created tongue-in-cheek cartoons two of Fords favorite actors, John Wayne
about the phenomenon. The FBI agent and Henry Fonda. Fonda, surprisingly
Fox Mulder of the popular television and effectively cast as a humorless
show The X-Files has referred to the infa- tyrant, arrives from the East in the
mous cattle mutilations. In 1982 Alan movies opening to take command of Ari-
Rudolph directed a movie called Endan- zonas remote Fort Apache. He quickly
gered Species about a New York police of- loses the respect of his troops as a result
ficer investigating cattle mutilations in of his arrogance and carelessness. Even
the West. The myth surrounding the worse, he treacherously breaks his sub-
causes of cattle mutilations lives on in ordinate Waynes word of honor to
popular culture. The fascination with the Cochise that the cavalry would not at-
mystery itself remains, with all the varied tack the Apaches. Foolishly dividing his
explanations retaining their champions. inferior forces, Fonda manages to get
Jane Veronica Charles Smith nearly his entire command wiped out. At
the films memorable conclusion, set
References years later, Wayne praises Fondas brav-
Howe, Linda Moulton. A Strange Harvest. ery and sacrifice of his men. Realizing
Cheyenne, WY: Pioneer Printing, 1989. that the country needs heroes, Wayne
Rommel, Kenneth M., Jr. Operation Animal conveniently forgets the futility and
Mutilation: Report of the District Attorney wastefulness of the slaughter.
First Judicial District State of New Mexico. Fort Apache beautifully evokes the
Santa Fe, NM: Criminal Justice Department, humdrum, regimented routine of a re-
1980. mote western army post. Ford also
demonstrates with power and subtlety
the heartbreak and loss that inevitably
accompany warfare. With regard to his-
Cavalry Trilogy torical accuracy, Fort Apache does not
bear close scrutiny, nor was it intended
At the climax of director John Fords clas- to do so.
sic 1939 film Stagecoach, when John Real-life troops based at Fort Apache
84 CAVALRY TRILOGY

never fought a comparable action, nor the Indian horses, bringing about a
did Cochise ever win such a large-scale, peaceful resolution to the conflict.
decisive battle. Ford actually based She Wore a Yellow Ribbon features one
Fondas character on George Armstrong of John Waynes best performances. Ford
Custer, and he modeled the final battle discovered Wayne and gave him the role
on Custers defeat at the Little Big Horn. in Stagecoach that, along with his role in
He simply moved the action from Mon- Red River, made him a star. The director,
tana to Arizona and changed the tribe however, had long viewed his friend and
from Sioux to Apache. Adding an extra protg as something of an oaf, albeit
layer of unreality, the films Apaches one with great screen presence. As a re-
are actually Navajos. Furthermore, shoot- sult, Ford resisted giving Wayne complex
ing took place in Fords beloved Monu- roles or large amounts of dialogue. How-
ment Valley, New Mexico, hundreds of ever, impressed by Waynes acting in the
miles from the Arizona locations pur- previous years Red River (directed by
portedly depicted. Fort Apache may be Waynes friend Howard Hawks), Ford de-
bad history, but it represents fabulous cided he could trust his star with a more
movie mythmaking. fully developed character. The results
Fords sequel, She Wore a Yellow Rib- confirmed his assessment. She Wore a
bon, tells a less epic tale. Cavalry com- Yellow Ribbon features many haunting
mander John Wayne, nearing retirement, folk songs, terse exchanges of dialogue,
leads his men on a patrol, trying to pre- and gorgeously shot but desolate
serve the peace after Custers defeat. The scenery, memorably evoking the harsh,
film consists of a series of small vi- lonely lives of soldiers. Ford succeeds in
gnettes, many quite memorable. Waynes commemorating their sacrifices with his
troops find dead soldiers and citizens on mythic image of the gallant, honorable
several occasions and have to bury these men who protected the West and
unfortunates. The troops had recently brought peace to the frontier.
sighted the war party responsible for the Fords fictionalized version of the
murders but could not pursue them be- events following Custers defeat bears lit-
cause of preexisting orders. A former tle relation to actuality. Troops poured
Confederate general serving as a Seventh onto the western plains after the Seventh
Cavalry private dies, and his comrades Cavalrys embarrassing defeat by the
bury him with full honors. A young ser- Sioux, but they did not pursue the same
geant, alone and pursued by Indians, es- restrained tactics used by Wayne in this
capes by jumping a ravine on his horse. film. The government and army high
A peace parley with an elderly chief fails, command, headed by President Ulysses
as he acknowledges that he cannot pre- S. Grant and Gen. William Tecumseh
vent his young men from fighting the Sherman, determined to break forever
encroaching whites, even though he re- the power of the plains Indians. Troops
alizes this will lead to certain disaster for attacked and burned Indian villages, of-
the Indians. Surprisingly, though, these ten not sparing women and children.
events do not lead to a violent conclu- Army forces arrested Crazy Horse, leader
sion. Instead, Wayne cleverly drives off of the victorious forces at the Little Big
CAVALRY TRILOGY 85

Horn, then killed him while he was in of Gen. Philip Sheridan. The real
captivity. Ford tells a more enjoyable, but Mackenzie, however, never married. He
less accurate, version of these events. suffered throughout the remainder of
After She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Ford his life from lingering pain from severe
initially intended to turn to other sub- injuries sustained during the Civil War
jects. Republic Pictures, however, in- and in campaigns against the Indians. He
formed him that it would only finance eventually fell victim to mental illness,
his personal project The Quiet Man which caused his removal from com-
(filmed in 1952) if he first cranked out mand and hastened his untimely death.
another western. He obliged by filming It is difficult to imagine him involved in
Rio Grande, the last and least remem- Hollywood-style romantic tribulations
bered film in the trilogy. The stars of The with Maureen OHara, as presented in
Quiet Man also appear in Rio Grande: the film. Mackenzie is one of the frontier
John Wayne, Maureen OHara, and Victor armys most legendary figures but hardly
McLaglen. In Rio Grande, Waynes cav- one of its most romantic.
alry troops mostly concern themselves Despite flaws and inaccuracies, Fords
with rescuing children captured by the cavalry trilogy has stood the test of time.
Apaches, which they accomplish by a Although perhaps not on the same level
stealthy, illegal raid into Mexico. Mean- as his great, resonant western master-
while, in The Quiet Man, in a fairly con- pieces The Searchers and My Darling
ventional romantic subplot, Waynes es- Clementine, very few films do compare to
tranged wife OHara rails against his those classics. By presenting his films
insensitivity but finally yields to his soldiers as heroic, devoted, capable, and
manly charm. yet human figures, Ford succeeded in
The cavalry excursion into Mexico por- creating an indelible image of the cav-
trayed in Rio Grande closely resembles an alry in the West. We may read in books
actual event: an 1873 raid across the bor- about the actual characters and events
der led by Col. Ranald Mackenzie. Unlike that inspired these films, but the power
in the film, the forces involved in the real of the stories and images that he created
event belonged to the Fourth Cavalry, not will continue to overshadow that reality
the more famous Seventh Cavalry. Also in our minds, for better or for worse.
unlike in the film, Mackenzies forces Michael Thomas Smith
killed mostly women and children on
their raid, which they carried out in order References
to take, not rescue, hostages. By this tac- Carnes, Mark C., ed. Past Imperfect: History
tic they hoped to convince Indians in according to the Movies. New York: Henry
Mexico to halt their own raids into Texas. Holt, 1995.
Waynes fictionalized character takes Gallagher, Tag. John Ford: The Man and His
great liberties with the historic figure Films. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University
that Ford modeled it on. Rio Grande ac- of California Press, 1986.
curately portrays the officer as a veteran Robinson, Charles M., III. Bad Hand: A Biog-
of the Civil Wars Shenandoah campaign raphy of General Ranald S. Mackenzie.
and as a trusted friend and subordinate Austin, TX: State House Press, 1993.
86 CHAPMAN, JOHN

Sinclair, Andrew. John Ford. New York: Dial tive dialects. He also guided expeditions
Press, 1979. of travelers. Unlike some of his contem-
porary frontier traders, Chisholm earned
a reputation for honesty, fairness, hospi-
tality, and moralitynever selling liquor
Chapman, John to Indians, for example. He operated
trading posts at several Oklahoma loca-
17741845, pioneer. See Appleseed, tions, including ones near present-day
Johnny Asher, Oklahoma, a few miles west of
Oklahoma City, and near Purcell. He also
traveled among Indian villages, selling
merchandise from his wagon.
Chinese John Chisums family moved to Texas
in 1837. There, he worked at various
See Bemis, Polly jobs, including that of clerk for Lamar
County. He began ranching in 1854, and
12 years later, following the Civil War, he
moved his herds into New Mexico. He
Chisholm, Jesse, And settled at Bosque Redondo, about 30
miles north of present-day Roswell, New
Chisum, John Mexico. During the 1870s, his spread
burgeoned outward from South Spring
Two prominent westerners of the nine- to include some 60,000100,000 cattle,
teenth century have often been con- grazing along 150 miles of the Pecos
fused in the public mind, owing to some- River in the Staked Plains.
what similar names and a number of Whereas Chisum had to fight off raid-
other similarities: Jesse Chisholm (1805 ing Indians, Jesse Chisholm generally en-
1868), a trader and trailblazer but never joyed amicable relations with Native
cattleman nor cowboy, created what Americans. In 1861, for example, Chis-
would become the Chisholm Trail. John holm guided the Shawnee and other In-
Simpson Chisum (18241884) became a dians to a place of safety on the Arkansas
prominent cattleman in west Texas and River at the present location of Wichita.
New Mexico. Both men were born in Four years later, he laid out a trail from
Tennessee and later came West. Wichita to the Wichita-Caddo Agency,
Chisums father had originally spelled where the city of Anadarko now is lo-
the name Chisholm, and the names are cated. Such trailblazing would earn him
pronounced the same. The two men, his place in history. The great Chisholm
however, were not related. Trail began with his treks between Wi-
In addition to his work as a trader, chita, Kansas, and the Cimarron River
Jesse Chisholm served as an interpreter crossing just south of the present town
and peace negotiator for the U.S. Army in of Dover, Oklahoma, a total distance of
their dealings with various Indian tribes. about 150 miles. Eventually extended to
He supposedly could converse in 14 Na- some 800 miles, this wagon route be-
CLARK, CHARLES 87

came the Chisholm Trail, the path of Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of
hundreds of thousands of longhorns Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994.
driven north from Texas through Indian
Territory (Oklahoma) and on to Kansas
cattle towns.
John Chisum earned his place in New
Mexico history. He marked his cattle
Clanton Brothers
with a long ear slit, called a jinglebob.
See Earp Brothers
The term also became the nickname for
his vast ranch. Although he was a power-
ful figure in the economy and politics of
frontier New Mexico, Chisum does not
appear to have been actively involved in Clark, Charles
the infamous Lincoln County War. Two
of the principals of the conflict, Alexan- Badger, Jr.
der McSween and John Tunstall, num-
bered among his friends. During the lo- 18831957
cal conflict, Billy the Kid apparently
stayed on Chisums ranch for a time. The The original cowboy poet lariat, Badger
cattleman supported Pat Garretts elec- Clark is the most revered name in the
tion as Lincoln County sheriff in 1880. genre. Like Curley Fletcher and Bruce
Chisholm died within hours after he Kiskaddon (see Cowboy Poetry), he
was stricken gravely ill near Greary, Okla- helped create a corpus of authentic po-
homa. He was buried in an old Indian etry based on western range life. Born in
burying ground. A simple granite marker Iowa, he grew up in South Dakota, son of
attests to his life of frontier hospitality: a preacher. During his youth, he spent a
No one left his home cold or hungry. few years as part of a failed agricultural
The Chisholm Trail Museum near Wau- colony in Cuba. Conflicts with Spanish
rika, Oklahoma, memorializes his life. families there led to some jail time.
John Chisum, who never married, died in After his return to South Dakota, he
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in 1884, and is wrote for the Lead Daily Call. Like so
buried in Paris, Texas. Although he esti- many others, Clark migrated to the
mated that rustlers and conflict had Southwest for health reasons following a
made off with 10,000 cattle, he still left bout of tuberculosis. He cowboyed at the
an estate valued at half a million dollars. Cross I Quarter Circle Ranch near Tomb-
Both men left significant marks on the stone, Arizona. He expressed his joy of
history and legends of the West. the cowboy life in verse, sending his po-
ems to his family in letters. Clark learned
References he could sell and perform his poetry
Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia when he received ten dollars for one of
of the American West. New Haven, CT: Yale his letter poems, which his stepmother
University Press, 1998. had sent to a magazine. As he explained,
Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier Boys, I knowed then Id found my lifes
88 CLOVIS MAN

workno boss, no regular hours and no As honest as the hoss between my knees,
responsibilityI was a poet. Clean as the wind that blows behind the
He successfully traded the saddle for rains,
the pen. He published his first book, Sun Free as the hawk that circles down the
and Saddle Leather, in 1915 and his only breeze!
novel, Spike, a decade later. In later life, Forgive me, Lord, if sometimes I forget.
he returned to South Dakota, a state that You know about the reasons that are hid.
named him its poet laureate in 1937. You understand the things that gall and
Near Custer, the state of South Dakota fret;
preserves his bachelor log cabin, the Bad- You know me better than my mother did.
ger Hole. The town of Hot Springs hosts Just keep an eye on all thats done and said,
an annual Badger Clark Hometown Cow- And right me, sometimes, when I turn
boy Poetry Gathering. Cowboy poets of aside,
today speak his name with reverence and And guide me on the long, dim trail ahead
continue to recite many of his works, That stretches upward toward the Great
most notably A Cowboys Prayer: Divide.

Oh Lord, Ive never lived where churches References


grow. Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia
I love creation better as it stood of the American West. New Haven, CT: Yale
That day You finished it so long ago University Press, 1998.
And looked upon Your work and called it Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier
good. Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of
I know that others find You in the light Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994.
Thats sifted down through tinted window
panes,
And yet I seem to feel You near tonight
In this dim, quiet starlight on the plains. Clovis Man
I thank You, Lord, that I am placed so well,
That You have made my freedom so See McJunkin, George
complete;
That Im no slave of whistle, clock or bell,
Nor weak-eyed prisoner of wall and street.
Just let me live my life as Ive begun
And give me work thats open to the sky;
Cody, William
Make me a pardner of the wind and sun. Frederick
And I wont ask a life thats soft or high.
Let me be easy on the man thats down; Buffalo Bill
Let me be square and generous with all.
Im careless sometimes, Lord, when Im in 18461917
town,
But never let em say Im mean or small! Scout and buffalo hunter, William Fred-
Make me as big and open as the plains, erick Buffalo Bill Cody lived the reality
CODY, WILLIAM 89

of frontier life in the American West. As west, hiring on as a scout and guide. In
the first great Wild West showman, how- 1867 and 1868 he earned his nickname,
ever, he shaped the mythology of the Buffalo Bill, by shooting thousands of
frontier more strongly than any other the animals as food for railroad workers.
single person. The town of Cody, Wy- With characteristic flair, he even gave his
oming, with its magnificent museum government-issue gun a name, the Lu-
complex dedicated to Cody, provides a cretia Borgia.
fitting tribute to this extraordinary man. Cody also worked on the Indian fron-
During his more than 30 years in show tier. Gen. Philip Sheridan named him
business, he presented his vision of the chief of scouts for the Fifth U.S. Cavalry.
real Wild West to crowds across the Cody impressed him with a 60-hour,
United States and Europe. The wild ac- 350-mile ride to deliver dispatches. His
tion of Indian attacks; galloping horses, decade of cavalry service began in 1868.
cattle, and bison; trick shooting; and He fought in several campaigns against
equestrian feats provided a thrilling dis- the Indians. He killed a Sioux chief
tillation of Codys western adventures. named Tall Bull and later bestowed that
Viewers left convinced they had wit- name on a prize horse. His most famous
nessed the drama and excitement of the Indian encounter occurred on 17 July
Old West as it really was. 1876 while scouting for Gen. Wesley
Cody was born on 26 February 1846 in Merritt. He killed and scalped a Chey-
the town of Le Claire in Scott County, enne Indian chief named Yellow Hand
Iowa Territory. Eight years later, his fam- (or Yellow Hair). Cody would later reen-
ily moved west and settled near Leaven- act this dramatic episode countless times
worth, Kansas. His father died in 1857, in his Wild West Show.
leaving young William as the family The dime novelist Ned Buntline
provider. At age 14, he rode as a played a major role in transforming Cody
mounted messenger for the Majors and from frontier scout and buffalo hunter to
Russell company and later for the Pony western hero. The two met in 1869. A
Express. Once, in an emergency, he re- popular and prolific writer, Buntline au-
putedly made an epic 322-mile journey, thored about 400 dime novels. Buntline
riding a total of 21 horses. He served in drew upon many sources, including his
the Civil War with irregular militia units own colorful background, for inspiration.
and with the Seventh Kansas Volunteer He made Cody the hero of four novels,
Cavalry. His wartime duties included the first titled Buffalo Bill, the King of the
scouting, spying, and possibly stealing Bordermen.
horses for the Union cause. By the early 1870s, Codys fame as a
Cody met Louisa Lulu Frederici while bold, brave frontiersman had grown con-
serving in the military and married her siderably. The year 1872 proved espe-
in 1866. Theirs would be a stormy mar- cially eventful. He guided a highly publi-
riage that included both a divorce and a cized buffalo hunting expedition for
reconciliation. They briefly ran an inn in Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. Nebraskans
Kansas after the war, but Cody could not elected Cody to the state legislature, but
abide a sedentary life. He rode further he soon resigned. He also got into the-
90 CODY, WILLIAM

ater. On 16 December he appeared as Kid, and Buck Taylor, King of the Cow-
himself at the Chicago opening of Bunt- boys. Taylor, like Cody, became immor-
lines play Scouts of the Prairie. What the talized in pulp literature. Prentiss Ingra-
farcical play lacked in artistry, Cody hams 1887 potboiler about Taylor began
made up for with charisma and energy. his rise as a literary legend of the West.
The excitement of screaming Indians Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne Moses),
and blasting six-guns thrilled audiences. called Little Sure Shot, joined the show
Cody broke with Buntline after a year for the 18841885 season and became a
but never lost his zest for performing. leading attraction. This diminutive wom-
Buffalo Bill became very popular ans unerring marksmanship transfixed
among the seemingly insatiable eastern audiences everywhere. Codys partner,
readers of the penny dreadfuls (pulp Nate Salsbury, deserves much credit for
novels). In addition to Buntlines four keeping the big show running. Cody
novels about Cody, the prolific Prentiss sometimes incapacitated himself with
Ingraham wrote another 121. All told, drink. Salsbury contributed a steadying
more than 1,000 pulp publications made influence, logistical skills, and shrewd
Cody their hero. business sense.
Cody used his new notoriety to begin In 1887 Cody and Salsbury packed up
a theatrical career. He toured for 11 their cast of 200 actors and 300 head of
years, acting in various melodramas de- livestock and sailed to England. They
picting life and death on the frontier. In performed for Queen Victorias Golden
1879 Cody took a personal hand in creat- Jubilee; the fascinated queen requested
ing his own mythology. He worked with an encore performance. The troupe per-
Frank E. Bliss to publish his first autobi- formed at Earls Court for 30,00040,000
ography, The Life of Hon. William F. Cody, people each day from May through Oc-
Known as Buffalo Bill. His flair for show- tober. They returned for a multiyear tour
manship and organization came to the of the Continent in 1889. An estimated 6
fore three years later when he organized million people saw Codys appearances
a Fourth of July celebration for his home- at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair. Pro-
town, North Platte, Nebraska. The show- moters of Wyomings Cheyenne Frontier
man and promoter convinced town lead- Days, first held in 1897, invited Codys
ers to sponsor an Old Glory Blowout. troupe to perform there the following
The events, including a rodeo competi- year.
tion and fancy horseback feats, provided Cody considered his show an educa-
the germ for his world-famous show. tional endeavor (and he avoided the
The following summer, Cody began term show). He desired to give audi-
touring with his Wild West Show, an ex- ences an authentic look at real frontier
hibition of Indian fights, roundups, stage events as he had lived them. He prom-
robberies, and buffalo hunts. It opened ised audiences the grandest, most realis-
at the Omaha fairgrounds on 19 May tic and overwhelmingly thrilling war-
1883. Gordon Pawnee Bill Lillie worked spectacle ever seen. Granted, he took
for Cody as an interpreter. The shows considerable theatrical license in embel-
stars included Johnny Baker, the Cowboy lishing things, but crowds loved it. He
CODY, WILLIAM 91

did recruit authentic, old-time cowboys,


bona fide Indians, mostly Lakota, and an
international cast. He broadened his
shows ethnic makeup by hiring two His-
panic cowboys from San Antonio, Texas.
Champion Vaquero Rider Antonio Es-
quivel performed off and on from 1883
to 1905. Another vaquero, Jos Mexican
Joe Berrara, amazed audiences with his
rope tricks. He also included Argentine
gauchos and Russian Cossacks. He re-
named the expanded operation Buffalo
Bills Wild West and Congress of Rough
Riders of the World.
Cody spent his money lavishly, fool-
ishly, and generously. Much of his
wealth went into his 4,000-acre Scouts
Rest Ranch in western Nebraska. His
Wyoming investments included 400,000
acres in the Big Horn basin and the
founding of Cody, complete with the
Irma Hotel (named for his beloved
daughter). He also founded a newspaper,
The Cody Enterprise. Codys considerable
talents did not include shrewd investing.
He lost half a million dollars in a mining
Irma Hotel, Cody, Wyoming,
scam. His marriage to Louisa, always
named for Codys daughter
conflict-ridden, ended in divorce. Cody
claimed that she had tried to poison him
at Christmas in 1900 and sued for di- skills of foreign riders, skills that made
vorce. The stormy, sensational proceed- them great hits with North American au-
ings came to a head in 1905. Cody lost diences. Like Cody, Lillie toured widely
his suit and had to pay Lulus $318 in throughout the United States and
court costs. The two reconciled five years Europe.
later. Eventually, production, labor, and
Beset by financial woes, Cody briefly travel costs for such shows became too
from 1911 to 1913joined his show with great. The Cody show alone included
that of a rival. Maj. Gordon W. Pawnee more than 200 performers and even more
Bill Lillie had organized his Far East animals. In 1913 both Wild West show
show in 1888. He recognized the appeal promoters faced bankruptcy. At 70 years
of exotic costumes, such as that worn by old, Cody gamely appeared with the 101
Mexican charros (richly attired horse- Ranch Wild West show in a rather unsuc-
men). He also emphasized the special cessful 1916 season. His health declined
92 CODY, WILLIAM

cent of Codys dress. Some original film


of Cody survives, and countless B-west-
erns have perpetuated his mythology.
Codys life and legend are commemo-
rated at several locations. The most im-
pressive memorial is a vast museum
complex, the Buffalo Bill Historical Cen-
ter, in Cody, Wyoming. Exhibits of
posters, paintings, photographs, and arti-
facts document Codys life as well as his
Wild West Show. The center also in-
cludes the Cody Firearms Museum,
Plains Indian Museum, Whitney Gallery
of Western Art, and the McCracken Li-
brary. The Buffalo Bill Memorial Mu-
seum sits adjacent to his grave on Look-
out Mountain in Colorado. His Scouts
Rest Ranch, near North Platte, Nebraska,
also draws visits from Codys many fans.
Cody as a first name remains popular
Statue of Cody in front of the Buffalo Bill
among western families, whose little
Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming
boys proudly carry a cultural link to one
of the Old Wests genuine heroes and
along with his finances, and he died in legends.
Denver on 10 January 1917.
Like his life, Codys burial became a See also Pulp Novelists
matter of flamboyance and controversy.
He had often expressed the wish for bur- References
ial in Cody, Wyoming, the town that he Rosa, Joseph G., and Robin May. Buffalo Bill
had created. According to his wife, how- and His Wild West: A Pictorial Biography.
ever, he changed his mind shortly before Lawrence: University Press of Kansas,
dying. She said that he now favored 1989.
Lookout Mountain, west of Denver. The Russell, Don. The Lives and Legends of Buffalo
fact that Harry Tammen and the Denver Bill. Norman: University of Oklahoma
Post agreed to pay funeral and other ex- Press, 1960.
penses probably played a role in the Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier
change of venue. Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of
Codys cultural significance has con- Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994.
tinued to grow. Cowboy singer Michael
Martin Murphey counts Cody among his Source of Further Information
personal heroes. Murphey often per- Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum Web Site:
forms in a long buckskin coat reminis- http://www.buffalobill.org.
COLTER, JOHN 93

Colter was not always as wise and lev-


Colter, John elheaded as James described him. While
in the army in 1803 and 1804, his drink-
1775?1813 ing earned him the reputation of being a
troublemaker. His lack of discipline
In the early 1800s, John Colter (also made him a poor soldier but also a cre-
spelled Coulter) became the first white ative, ingenious explorer and trapper. His
man in Wyoming and explored much of daring nature, rash decision making, and
eastern Idaho and southwestern Mon- adventurous mind-set served him well
tana. He was the first white man to see on the frontier.
the upper valley of the Bighorn, the Colter joined Lewis and Clarks expedi-
Teton Range, Jacksons Hole, Pierres tion in 1804. He traveled extensively
Hole, the headwaters of the Colorado with them and eventually left to join two
and Snake Rivers, and Union Pass. Colter fur trappers named Dixon and Hand-
also saw the thermal springs in the Yel- cock. He soon left them and teamed with
lowstone territory that are now named George Drouillard; they became mem-
Colters Hell. His treks as a fur trapper bers of Manuel Lisas fur-trapping en-
added to the Lewis and Clark expedi- campments. They traveled with Lisas St.
tions maps of this unknown region, and Louis Missouri Fur Company to the
his rash adventures in the mountain Rockies and constructed Fort Raymond.
wilderness created many legends. The The trappers settled in the mountain
story of Colters Run, his miraculous es- wilderness among tribes of Indians, in-
cape from a band of more than 500 cluding the Shoshone, Flathead, Crow,
Blackfoot Indians, remains famous in the Blackfeet, and Sioux. Colter and Drouil-
history of mountain men. lard spread the news of the trapping fort
Colter was born in Virginia around to these tribes around the area.
1775, although William Clark recorded In the winter of 1807/1808, Colter
him as being a young man from Ken- traveled alone through the snowy moun-
tucky. Thomas James (Three Years among tain wilderness to the distant tribes, in-
the Indians and Mexicans, 1846), a mem- forming them of the new business in the
ber of the Missouri Fur Company in area. He explored uncharted areas of the
1807, described his character: His verac- American West, becoming the first white
ity was never questioned among us and man to see the thermal springs suppos-
his character was that of a true American edly on the rim of Yosemite Lake. How-
backwoodsman. He was about thirty-five ever, many historians claim that he actu-
years of age, five feet ten inches in ally discovered the Stinking Water
height and wore an open, ingenious, and Shoshone River near present-day Cody,
pleasing countenance of the Daniel Wyoming. No one believed his stories of
Boone stamp. Nature had formed him, this strange, beautiful place. His compa-
like Boone, for hardy endurance of fa- triots ridiculed him for his tall tales, dub-
tigue, privations, and perils (James bing the part of Yellowstone Park that he
1846). described Colters Hell.
94 COLTER, JOHN

Other versions of his life tell of a short


marriage to Nancy Hooker instead, but
all agree that he did have a son.
Colter died of jaundice in his home in
1813, before he turned 40. He died too
poor to afford a proper funeral or burial.
According to some sources, his wife cov-
ered his body and set out on her own,
leaving him in their cabin. Much in the
spirit of John Colter, she headed for un-
known places, alone and with little more
than a few belongings.
By far the most famous of all of the
trappers adventures was Colters Run. In
1808 the Blackfoot Indians attacked
Colter and his partner John Potts as they
paddled the Jefferson River near Three
Forks. Colter, assuming the Indians
would only rob them, turned the canoe
to shore. An arrow pierced Pottss hip;
Skeptics did not believe Colters fantastic
rather than risking capture and torture,
descriptions of Yellowstone Park. Old Faithful
Potts chose to shoot an Indian. Arrows
soon riddled his body.
Blackfoot Indians attacked often and The Indians dismembered his corpse
came to know Colter as a killer of their and threw his entrails at Colters face,
braves. Colter became friends with the who was now stripped of his weapons
Crow Indians, and like many other and clothing. After readying himself for
mountain men after him, he wore Indian certain torture and death, Colter realized
garb and practiced many Indian ways. that the Indians were giving him a very
He left the area in the fall of 1808 after slim chance for survival. Asked about his
his legendary escape from the Blackfeet, foot speed, he answered that he was a
but he returned with Maj. Andrew Henry very slow runner. In fact, Colter had al-
to Fort Raymond in 1809. In 1810, while ways won footraces, and he proved him-
Colter traveled to Three Forks on the Jef- self very swift and smart that afternoon.
ferson River, the Blackfoot Indians again The chief put Colter in a field a few hun-
attacked him and his party. He vowed dred yards from the tribe of more than
that if God saved him, he would never 500 Blackfoot Indians and told him to
return to the mountains. He survived run. Colter sprinted six miles to the near-
and settled as a yeoman farmer on the est river, his nose streaming blood and
Missouri frontier, a neighbor of Daniel his feet full of prickly pear spikes. A
Boones. He lived with a woman named glance over his shoulder showed him
Sally in a cabin that he constructed. only one remaining pursuer; Colter
COLTER, JOHN 95

shocked him with an abrupt stop and and Companions about the mountain
about-face. men of the early nineteenth century. The
The ill-fated Indian fell, broke his book focuses on John Colters life but in-
spear, and died by Colters hand. The cludes information about the other peo-
trapper hid in a beaver dam and watched ple with whom he had contact. The au-
the Indians search for him for the re- thor, a descendant of Colter, wished to
mainder of the day. He could see them further his legend as a great explorer.
walking over the dam and feared they Many authors of childrens books and ar-
would set it on fire. They did not, and af- ticles have used the story of Colters
ter their departure, he swam down- Run. Examples include Mary Blount
stream. He still had to cover hundreds of Christians childrens book Whod Believe
miles through snow to return to Lisas John Colter? Linda Roberts published an
fort. He subsisted on roots and berries article in 1991 titled The Adventures of
and arrived naked and nearly unrecog- John Colter in Cobblestone magazine.
nizable in the snow, with no weapons or The story made such an impression that
food. Several of his acquaintances the magazines young readers voted John
recorded his story firsthand. John Brad- Colter Person of the Year.
bury reported that Colter made the trip Because of his daring sense of adven-
to the fort in seven days, covering the ture and his dauntless explorations, John
distance quickly, considering his ordeal. Colter is universally appealing to and ad-
According to Thomas James, he traveled mired by audiences of all kinds, except
the 300 miles to the fort in 11 days. The probably the Blackfoot Indians. Today,
whole affair is a fine example of the the land that he explored and described
quick and ready thoughtfulness and to William Clark remains some of the
presence of mind in a desperate situa- most wildly beautiful in the United
tion, and the power of endurance. James States. Much of the area is protected as
also described Colters scaling an almost national and state parks. Tales of his en-
perpendicular mountain during his re- counters still circulate today, perpetuat-
turn to the fort, a feat probably never ing the spirit of the mountain man and
performed before by a mortal man fur trapper.
(James 1846). Several of the reports from Ellen J. Oettinger
his contemporaries describe his incredi-
ble adventure; most are too amazing to
be true. The reported distance of his References
journey after escaping the Indians Gibson, Elizabeth. John Colter, Mountain
ranged from 100 to 1,000 miles, and the Man. The Old West, 9 June 1999.
elapsed time of his walk from 5 to 11 James, Thomas. Three Years among the Indi-
days. Regardless of the specifics, his es- ans and Mexicans. 1846. Reprint, Lincoln:
cape and journey remain remarkable University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
feats. Utley, Robert M. A Life Wild and Perilous:
In 1997 Lillian Ruth Colter-Frick pub- Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific.
lished a book titled Courageous Colter New York: Henry Holt, 1997.
96 COMPARATIVE FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY

westerners. Mythical values and assump-


Comparative Frontier tions about the past continue to shape
human actions.
Mythology
Themes
By examining frontiers elsewhere in the Four broad areas of myth have devel-
world, we help illuminate the unique oped out of frontiers in North and South
and transcendental elements of myths of America and Australia:
the American West. Myths are not only
remnants of a remote past; they also ex- 1. The Golden Frontier of Treasure,
ert a powerful influence over contempo- Abundance, and Opportunity
rary events. John Clayton, of Gallatin 2. The Desert Frontier of Barbarism
Writers, Inc., recently examined Mon- and Emptiness
tanas Weirdo Fringe: Dangerous Frontier 3. Frontier as Past
Myths (Seattle Times, 31 July 1996). As 4. Frontier as Future
Wallace Stegner noted, the West in gen-
eral was built not by rugged individual- Golden Frontier of Treasure,
ists, but people acting in groups, in the Abundance, and Opportunity
sorts of community activities exempli- Alluring tales of treasure greeted the ear-
fied by a barn-raising, writes Clayton. liest Spanish and Portuguese explorers in
Of course community activities eventu- this hemisphere. Beginning with lvar
ally become institutionalized, and that Nez Cabeza de Vaca, explorers brought
often means government. Which brings back tales of a land abounding in gold
us to the Freemen. Many people have and silver, with [seven] great cities whose
pointed out that these hypocrites de- houses were many stories high, whose
nounced government despite being on streets were lined with silversmiths
the dole. But theyve failed to point out, shops, and whose doors were inlaid with
as historian Patricia Nelson Limerick turquoise (quotation from Hammond
documented, that its a time-honored 1940).
Western tradition. Francisco Vsquez de Coronado, after
Richard White took up the same issues traveling for months in the wilderness,
in his 1996 presidential address to the reached the so-called Seven Cities of
Western History Association. He also Gold in the land he named Cibola. Real,
pointed to the Unabomber and the as opposed to imaginary, gold strikes
Freemen; we had militias in Arizona, would lure immigrants westward for cen-
Montana, and Washington. There have turies. As Joseph A. Rodrguez has
been bombings in Oklahoma City and pointed out, early Spanish conquistadors
Nevada. We have the county indepen- may not have found gold, but they won
dence movement, the Aryan Nations, the battle of history. From the swallows
and the more extreme fringes of Wise of San Juan Capistrano to the novel Ra-
Use. He illustrated that what he called mona, Old Spanish California took on a
the weirdness of the West is built upon romantic atmosphere. Not until the
widely held myths shared by right-wing 1960s did Chicano activists begin chal-
COMPARATIVE FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY 97

lenging the myth of Spanish triumphal- plunged into the Australian outback, cer-
ism in California and the American tain they would discover a massive in-
Southwest. land waterway. Indeed, they did discover
In South America, the wealth of the a massive lake, but alas, they were a mil-
Chibchas or Muiscas in the Andes cre- lion years too late. What had once been a
ated a vision of El Dorado, the gilded large freshwater lake had become a vast
one. The mass of golden artifacts at the salt pan. Perhaps the name of a body of
Gold Museum in Bogot, Colombia, illus- water in Western Australia says it best:
trates that this myth of great golden Lake Disappointment.
riches has some very tangible roots. In- Many groups in the United States, of
deed, by 1600, New Granada had ex- course, followed Horace Greeleys advice
ported more than 4 million ounces of to Go west. Pioneers gamely walked
gold. Output eventually totaled some 30 westward along the Oregon Trail. Mor-
million ounces. mons and their handcarts left persecu-
In contrast, Portuguese explorers tion in the Midwest for freedom in Utah.
would search in vain for the precious After the Civil War, ex-slaves, so-called
metal for nearly two centuries. Finally, Exodusters, fled the South, and Texo-
bandeirantes (frontier slave hunters and dusters deserted Texas for dreams of
explorers) discovered riches in Minas land and freedom in Kansas. Thousands
Gerais in 1695, and Brazils first gold of white Confederados also left the
rush was on. South, hoping to create a New South on
Charles Dana Wilber is credited with the Brazilian frontier. Later, Okies and
building the myth of the trans-Missis- Arkies (Oklahomans and Arkansans)
sippi West as a lush garden. He used sci- left the twin disasters of the Great De-
entific evidence to argue that rain fol- pression and the Dust Bowl for Califor-
lows the plow. Unusually high rainfall nia, the Promised Land.
levels during the 1870s and early 1880s As Richard Francaviglia has argued re-
strengthened the garden myth. But then cently, the Disney Frontierland repre-
low rainfall levels returned. Many fami- sents and perpetuates many fundamen-
lies departed, with signs on their wagons tal and widely shared myths about the
reading In God we trusted, in Kansas we American West. Walt Disney put it well:
busted. In Frontierland, we meet the America of
Canada experienced the last best the past, out of whose strength and in-
West in the early twentieth century. Un- spiration came the good things of life we
der the faulty frontier belief that rain enjoy today (in Francaviglia 1999).
follows the plow, tens of thousands of
farmers besieged Alberta and Saskatch- Desert Frontier of Barbarism
ewan. To their sorrow, they learned first- and Emptiness
hand about the true aridity of much of Oddly, along with the myths of gold, gar-
the western plains. Only later would irri- den, and riches there arose parallel nega-
gation make sustainable agriculture pos- tive myths. Stephen H. Long, who sur-
sible in the region. veyed a portion of the Louisiana
Europeans of the nineteenth century Purchase in 1819, labeled these western
98 COMPARATIVE FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY

territories the Great American Desert.


Walter Prescott Webb created an uproar
in the 1850s by reaffirming this view
that much of the inland West was desert.
To the north in Canada, the so-called
Pallisers Triangle in southwestern Sas-
katchewan stood as a forbidding desert
barrier to settlement. John Pallisers ex-
pedition reconnoitered western Canada
during the late 1850s. His report, sub-
mitted to the Royal Geographical Society,
concluded pessimistically that to estab-
lish communications entirely within
British territory from the east to the Red
River would be very difficult and costly
because of the semiarid and thus unin-
habitable country in southern Saskatch-
ewan and southern Alberta. In short, the
Great American Desert did not stop at
the U.S. border.
In South America, Brazils Amazon re-
A powerful western myth is that of
gion and Argentinas Patagonia remained
the Great American Desert
largely uninhabited by Europeans until
the twentieth century. And in Australia,
with two-thirds of its land area techni- escape into the outbacks forbidding ter-
cally desert, no Horace Greeley urges rain invited hardship, starvation, and
people to the frontier. Instead, we have death. Nonetheless, over the past 200
dreadful warnings of children lost for- years, the white urge to conquer this
ever in the outback. harsh landscape has laid the foundation
Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore, a PBS for Australias nation building. It also set
program that aired in early September in motion an inevitable clash with the
2000, treats the hard memory of Euro- continents Aborigines, who were spiritu-
pean Australias grim beginnings as a pe- ally bonded with and well adapted to the
nal colony. The vast, wide-open spaces of vast inland deserts.
the outback created a powerfully agora- Like the landscape, the inhabitants of
phobic vision of the Australian interior. these frontiers generated mostly nega-
Today, 99 percent of all Australians live tive imagery. Viewed as savages and bar-
in the cities and suburbs, mostly clinging barians, the colored native populations
to the coastline. generated fear and loathing. Even after
Whereas in the Americas, great open whites penetrated the wild lands, frontier
spaces set people free and promised new inhabitants remained fearful specters,
opportunities, in Australia, open space uncivilized, dangerous. Gauchos of Ar-
was a restrictive prison. Any attempt to gentina and llaneros of Venezuela and
COMPARATIVE FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY 99

Colombiamixed-blood cowboyswere rious and unexpected ways, works to


viewed as little better than the Natives. hold us together. (Limerick 1994)
Argentinas Domingo F. Sarmiento pro-
vided the best-known paradigm of these Yes, despite flaws in the Turner formu-
dangerous frontiersman in his 1845 lation, the frontier as a historical process,
book Civilization and Barbarism. Indian an ideological force, and a cultural arti-
country, or in Australia, Aborigine fact is simply too powerful and important
country, did not invite anything other to dismiss.
than conquest.
Frontier as Future
Frontier as Past As Limerick acknowledged, the contra-
During the late 1980s, revisionist histori- dictions and hollowness of past frontier
ans of the American West expended lots myths have not dulled the attraction of
of time and energy trying to bury Freder- frontier metaphor as the place of future
ick Jackson Turner (the American histo- opportunity. Brazils push to the west
rian who emphasized the role of the took physical form in the 1960s with the
frontier in the development of U.S. na- creation of the new national capital of
tional character) and expunge frontier Braslia on the edge of the Amazonian
(the so-called F-word). The motivation wilderness. Today garimpeiros (gold min-
was sound: to introduce post-Turnerian ers), most working illegally, have created
themes, to explore greater cultural and a new Amazonian gold rush.
ethnic diversity, to examine important Hoping to emulate Braslias success,
continuities and changes. However, as Argentina briefly renamed its currency
Patricia Nelson Limericks work well il- the austral to point national energy
lustrates, this was a case of throwing out south toward its vast, still sparsely set-
the baby with the bathwater. In 1987 tled Patagonian frontier. In similar fash-
Limerick pronounced frontier to be an ion, Venezuela pins its hopes on its re-
unsubtle concept in a subtle world (Lim- mote, inland Orinoco River basin. In
erick 1987). Seven years after publishing each case, the frontier is seen as a land of
The Legacy of Conquest, she recognized, unlimited opportunity and resources, the
somewhat to her chagrin, that key to future national greatness.
And of course, space and undersea ex-
as a mental artifact, the frontier has ploration remain framed in frontier ter-
demonstrated an astonishing stickiness minology and concepts. How could it be
and persistence. It is virtually the flypa- otherwise, after years of watching Jean-
per of our mental world; it attaches itself Luc Picard inviting us on voyages
to everythinghealthful diets, space through Space: The Final Frontier?
shuttles, civil rights campaigns, heart The Smithsonian Institution developed
transplants, industrial product develop- a special exhibition of more than 200
ment, musical innovations. . . . Whether items from the Star Wars filmscos-
or not it suits my preference, the concept tumes, props, models, and paintings; the
works as a cultural gluea mental and mythic underpinnings of the story.
emotional fastener that, in some very cu- Called The Magic of Myth, the exhibit
100 COMPARATIVE FRONTIER MYTHOLOGY

began in 1999 and will continue to sev- Slatta, Comparing Cowboys and Frontiers
eral venues, ending up in Sydney, Aus- (1997). As metaphor, as myth, and as his-
tralia, in 2002. In the George Lucas films, torical category, place, and process, the
Chewbacca wears bandoliers, like a frontier shows little real signs of passing,
good, old-time Mexican revolutionary. either in the United States or abroad.
Han Solo, with his trusty blaster strapped
to his leg, is the very model of the Old [I presented an earlier version of this essay at
West gunslinger. Lucas used these acces- the Western History Association conference
sories to create links to a romantic, fron- in San Antonio, Texas, 13 October 2000.]
tier America.
Cyberspace is also conjuring images of
References
the frontier. As one writer has already
Francaviglia, Richard. Walt Disneys Frontier-
pointed out, many professionals already
land as an Allegorical Map of the American
telecommute from town to town prac-
West. Western Historical Quarterly 30, no.
ticing their craft for a variety of
2 (Summer 1999): 155182.
clients. . . . Some have described this
Greinacher, Udo. Living Like the Jetsons
trend as a return to the myth of the
(1998): http://www.daap.uc.edu/udo/rpt_
American frontier. People are out there
web/research/jetsons/jetsons.HTM.
with their laptops and cellular tele-
Hammond, George P. Coronados Seven Cities.
phones, riding the range, prospecting,
Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Coronado Exposi-
being cowboys and cowgirls again
tion Commission, 1940.
(Greinacher 1998). Others will undoubt-
Limerick, Patricia Nelson. The Legacy of Con-
edly join the ranks of those riding the cy-
quest: The Unbroken Past of the American
ber range.
West. New York: W. W. Norton and Com-
pany, 1987.
Conclusion
______. The Adventures of the Frontier in the
Interest in comparative frontier analysis
Twentieth Century. In The Frontier in
remains strong. The June 1999 issue of
American Culture, ed. James R. Grossman.
the American Historical Review carried
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of
From Borderlands to Borders, by Je-
California Press, 1994.
remy Adelman and Stephen Aron, and
Slatta, Richard W. Comparing Cowboys and
published replies and follow-ups in the
Frontiers. Norman: University of Oklahoma
October issue. Although he confines his
Press, 1997.
remarks to the United States, Paul F.
Starrs utilizes a comparative regional
perspective in Let the Cowboy Ride: Cattle Sources of Further Information
Ranching in the American West (1998). Australia: Beyond the Fatal Shore: http://www
Collections of essays edited by David .pbs.org/wnet/australia/episode1and2.html.
Weber and Jane Rausch (Where Cultures Comparative Frontiers Bibliography: http://
Meet, 1994) and by Donna Guy and Tom courses.ncsu.edu/classes/hi300001/compare
Sheridan (Contested Ground, 1998) bring bib.htm.
comparative analysis to Western Hemi- The Magic of Myth: http://www.starwars.com/
sphere frontiers, as does Richard W. smithsonian/.
COOPER, D.B. 101

grees, and landing gear down. This


Cooper, D. B. would cause the plane to travel no faster
than 200 miles per hour, barely enough
On a cold, stormy night in Portland, Ore- to remain airborne. When the plane
gon, on 24 November 1971, a nonde- landed in Reno to refuel, Cooper, the
script middle-aged man, dressed in a money, and two parachutes were
plain suit and dark glasses, with brief- nowhere to be found.
case in hand, boarded Northwest Airlines Cooper had literally disappeared into
Flight 305 bound for Seattle, Washing- thin air. FBI agents searched the plane
ton. After the plane had reached its for clues. Agents surmised that Cooper
cruising altitude, the man, who identi- used cords from two of the parachutes to
fied himself as Dan Cooper, passed a wrap the moneybag around his waist. He
note to a nearby stewardess. The note then jumped with his loot from the slow-
carried a startling message: Cooper had a moving plane. During the next two
bomb in his briefcase. He was hijacking weeks, a few hundred soldiers searched
Flight 305. for Dan Cooper in the forested woods of
Cooper briefly cracked open his brief- southwestern Washington. Thanks to
case to allow the stewardess to see the media error, the mystery skyjacker be-
red cylinders and heap of wires inside. came known as D. B. Cooper. Despite
She informed the captain of the passen- intensive efforts, searchers found noth-
gers demand. After concluding that ing.
Cooper did indeed mean to blow up the Nothing, that is, until an eight-year-
plane if his demands were not met, the old boy dug up $5,800 of Coopers loot
captain radioed Seattle-Tacoma Airport. from a sandbar along the bank of the Co-
He informed authorities of the threat lumbia River near Vancouver, Washing-
and of what Cooper wanted in exchange ton, on 10 February 1980. Officials could
for the safe return of his 36 fellow pas- read the serial numbers on the badly
sengers. Airline officials and FBI authori- damaged bills. They confirmed that the
ties scrambled to meet the skyjackers money came from the ransom paid to
demands: four parachutes and $200,000. Cooper on that stormy Thanksgiving
Upon touchdown in Seattle one hour eve. This led some to conclude that
later, authorities were ready to make the Cooper must have landed in or near the
exchange. Columbia River and escaped. However,
The FBI gave Cooper the parachutes others, like Ralph Himmelsbach, the FBI
and 10,000 $20 bills, photocopied so agent who led the investigation of the
they could be identified later. Cooper case until his retirement in 1980, believe
then released all passengers and two of that Cooper probably perished upon im-
the three stewardesses, keeping the pi- pact or shortly thereafter.
lots and one stewardess. Cooper ordered Because Cooper jumped out of the
them to remain in the crew compart- plane from a mere 10,000 feet in the air,
ment and to fly the plane toward Mexico. Himmelsbach contended that Cooper
He stipulated an altitude of no higher would have had too little time to open
than 10,000 feet, wing flaps at 15 de- his parachute. Even had he opened it in
102 COOPER, D.B.

time, he still would have sustained at hicle and in his home. These clippings,
least minor injuries. Since he would have however, may only prove that McCoy
landed in rugged wilderness, he would was obsessed with emulating the myste-
have been ill prepared to wade through a rious perpetrator of the 1971 hijacking,
cold river and dense thickets to get to making him a copycat hijacker, not
civilization. Some parachute and survival Cooper. Moreover, given the harsh
experts claimed that Cooper could have weather and poor jumping conditions
made it, although his chances were slim. that Cooper encountered in 1971, it is
Many experts concurred with Himmels- highly unlikely that he lived to re-create
bach that Coopers remains probably his moment of glory. The real Cooper
ended up at the bottom of the Columbia probably lies decomposing somewhere
River. in the Pacific Northwest wilderness.
Who was Cooper? Himmelsbach thinks Little more than a thief and extortion-
he was probably a career criminal, an ist to authorities, Cooper achieved cult
asocial loner with nothing to lose. Ac- status through his daring and memo-
cording to journalist Max Gunther, rable act. Americans immortalized Coo-
Cooper was bitter over his dead-end, per in song (The Ballad of D. B. Cooper),
boring career and recent divorce. He film (The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper), and
commandeered Flight 305 because of an books (such as Skyjackers Guide, or
unusually severe midlife crisis. Please Hold This Bomb While I Go to the
Former FBI agent Bernie Rhodes and Bathroom). People in the Pacific North-
probation and parole officer Russell west buy and sell D. B. Cooper T-shirts
Calame contend that Cooper was a Mor- and bumper stickers and hold D. B.
mon Sunday school teacher and ex Cooper bowling tournaments. The town
Green Beret whose real name was of Ariel, Washington, where authorities
Richard McCoy. In 1972 McCoy hijacked once believed Cooper had landed, spon-
United Airlines Flight 855. His crime sors an annual D. B. Cooper celebration
closely resembled Coopers caper of the called Cooper Caper or Cooper Day. In
previous year. This time, however, au- Salt Lake City, Utah, a restaurant called
thorities quickly caught, convicted, and D. B. Coopers hosts a Jump Night party.
sentenced the hijacker to 45 years in The restaurant gives away either a
prison. Although McCoy escaped two round-trip ticket to Seattle or parachut-
years later, in August 1974, authorities ing lessons. In 1984 members of the U.S.
located him within two months and Air Force squadron that pursued Cooper
killed him in a shoot-out. on the day of his notorious feat held the
Rhodes and Calame believe McCoy D. B. Cooper Debacle Dining-In, a formal
and Cooper were the same person be- dinner at McChord Air Force Base. Sev-
cause their looks and methods were far eral Web sites are devoted to the infa-
too similar to be coincidental. Also, infor- mous skyjacker.
mation on McCoys whereabouts in No- Coopers caper had more serious con-
vember 1971 is sketchy. Whats more, sequences as well. As a result of the sky-
authorities found newspaper clippings jacking, authorities required all airports
detailing Coopers crime in McCoys ve- to install screening devices that can de-
COPLAND, AARON 103

tect explosives. Also, because Cooper References


opened the back stairway in midaira Gunther, Max. D. B. Cooper: What Really Hap-
dangerous maneuverengineers devel- pened. Chicago: Contemporary Books,
oped and installed a latching device 1985.
called a Coopers Vane to prevent such Rhodes, Bernie. D. B. Cooper: The Real McCoy.
actions. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press,
Many wonder why Cooper achieved 1991.
such legendary and mythical status. Wallechinsky, David. The Peoples Almanac
Some attribute his celebrity to the fact Presents the Twentieth Century. Boston: Lit-
that he was the first person to hijack a tle, Brown, 1995.
plane for nonpolitical reasons: He simply
wanted money. Cooper was also the first
hijacker to parachute from the hijacked
plane. Whats more, Coopers caper re- Copland, Aaron
mains the only unresolved hijacking in
U.S. history. After all, everyone loves a 19001990
good mystery.
Why do people romanticize what Born in Brooklyn, New York, to immi-
Cooper did? According to those who an- grant Jewish parents from Poland and
nually celebrate his notorious deed, Lithuania, Aaron Copland rose to become
Cooper symbolizes the ordinary, lone, Americas foremost composer. He studied
working-class guy who broke out, beat with Nadia Boulanger in Paris but built
the system, and may have gotten away his reputation on imaginative handling of
with it. He represents the rebellion of the solidly American folk themes.
common man, a folk hero bold enough In 1938 Copland wrote the music for a
to take extreme chances, regardless of new American Ballet Theater (ABT) pro-
the consequences. Cooper had guts. duction on a western theme. With a li-
What more could one ask of a western bretto by Lincoln Kirstein and choreog-
hero? raphy by Eugene Loring, the ballet
Is D. B. Cooper still out there? Is he liv- became a musical story about the leg-
ing the good life with what remains of endary outlaw Billy the Kid. Drawing
his $194,200? Or was he in fact Richard upon one of the most powerful and best
McCoy, the escaped convict who died in known of western figures, Copland made
1974? Or did he perish somewhere along the most of his material.
the Columbia River in Washington be- The world premiere of Billy the Kid
fore he was able to enjoy even a bit of his was held at the Civic Opera House in
booty? As with many legendary figures Chicago, Illinois, on 16 October 1938.
of the West, we may never know for cer- Eugene Loring (as Billy), Marie Jeanne (as
tain. The answer to the mystery of what Mother/Sweetheart), Todd Bolender (as
became of D. B. Cooper has probably Alias), and Lew Christensen (as Pat Gar-
died, or, more exciting yet, will die, with rett) performed in the premiere. The ABT
him. premiere came some two months later,
Jane Veronica Charles Smith starring Loring, Alicia Alonso, David
104 COPLAND, AARON

Nillo, and Richard Reed in the roles, re- although the chivalrous champion roper
spectively. dances with her to cheer her up. She
Copland followed up the great success rushes off stage and returns wearing a
of Billy the Kid by returning to another very feminine, attractive dress. Now the
western theme four years later. For its wrangler and the roper compete for her
1942/1943 season, the Ballet Russe de attention, thus giving the ballet a fairy-
Monte Carlo commissioned Agnes de tale happy ending.
Mille to choreograph and Aaron Copland In Buckaroo Holiday, the cowboys of
to compose music for a new ballet on a Burnt Ranch celebrate their day off with
western theme. The collaboration re- dancing and singing. The music is based
sulted in Rodeo, or The Courting at Burnt on the tunes of If Hed Be a Buckaroo by
Ranch. Drawing upon western folk Trade and Sis Joe. In Corral Nocturne,
melodies for inspiration, Copland titled the mood becomes quiet, in marked con-
his suites Buckaroo Holiday, Corral trast to the preceding vigor and action.
Nocturne, Saturday Night Waltz, and The principal theme of Saturday Night
Hoedown. Waltz builds on elements of the tradi-
The Ballet Russe premiere was held at tional cowboy song Old Paint. Heady
New Yorks Metropolitan Opera House action returns with Hoedown, a lively
on 16 October 1942. The original cast southwestern barn dance.
starred Agnes de Mille, Frederic Franklin, Coplands western ballets had much
Casimir Kokitch, Milada Mladova, Elea- the same cultural impact as did Owen
nora Marra, Dorothy Etheridge, and Ruth Wisters novel The Virginian. They digni-
Riekman. The ABT premiere occurred fied western themes and made them ac-
eight years later in Wiesbaden, Germany. ceptable to American high culture. Per-
That performance featured Allyn Mc- formed during the heyday of B-western
Lerie (as Cowgirl), John Kriza (as Cham- movies, the ballets showed that western
pion Roper), James Mitchell (as Head artistic themes could soar above the
Wrangler), and Charlyne Baker (as Ranch level of mass culture. Both ballets remain
Owners Daughter). important in the repertoires of many bal-
This lighthearted story depicts the bat- let companies worldwide. Historical
tle of the sexes, something of a Taming of recordings of the music continue to sell
the Shrew goes West. A young cowgirl, a well, and new performances appear fre-
tomboy, rides with the cowhands and quently. Only someone of Coplands
even competes against them (unsuccess- prodigious talent, sterling reputation,
fully) as a rodeo bronco buster. She also and cultural sensitivity could have taken
fails in romance: She is unable to attract low-brow western themes and elevated
the head wrangler, who only has eyes for them to the ballet stage.
the ranchers daughter.
Scene two takes viewers to a Saturday See also Wister, Owen, and Winthrop,
night dance after the rodeo. The melodic Washington
material in the second suite comes
largely from western American folk References
songs. The cowgirl languishes unnoticed, Copland, Aaron, and Vivian Perlis. Copland:
CORTEZ LIRA, GREGORIO 105

1900 through 1942. New York: St. Martins time shortly before his death in 1916,
Press, 1999. possibly to Ester Martnez.
Pollack, Howard. Aaron Copland: The Life and Cortezs fateful journey into myth and
Work of an Uncommon Man. Urbana: Uni- folklore began 12 June 1901. Sheriff T. T.
versity of Illinois Press, 2000. Brack Morris of Karnes County, along
with deputies John Trimmell and Boone
Choate, showed up at the Cortez home
ten miles west of Kenedy, Texas, looking
Copper Hill, Arizona for a horse thief described only vaguely
as a medium-sized Mexican with a big
See Ghost Towns red broad-brimmed Mexican hat. Divi-
sions of language and culture probably
precipitated the fatal conflict. Choate
served as translator, but he was not very
Cortez Lira, Gregorio skilled and questions in English became
accusations in Spanish. Some of the mis-
18751916 understanding involved a mare that
Cortez had recently acquired legally.
Gregorio Cortez Lira has been commem- Misunderstanding bloomed quickly into
orated in a famous corrido (border song) suspicion, and Morris shot and wounded
and more recently in a popular film. Romaldo and narrowly missed hitting
Cortez killed a Texas sheriff, probably as Gregorio. The latter returned fire, killing
a result of a Spanish-English misunder- the sheriff. The deputies quickly re-
standing. His success in evading several treated to the town of Kenedy.
posses and the Texas Rangers raised Realizing the deputies would return
him to folk hero status as a Tejano who with a posse, Gregorio moved his fever-
resisted white oppression. ish brother into the brush. After dark,
Born in Mexico on 22 June 1875, near the two made their way to Kenedy,
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Cortez grew up where Gregorio left his wounded brother
near Manor, outside of Austin. During with their family. He then walked north
the 1890s, he and his brothers Romaldo toward the Gonzales-Austin vicinity,
and Toms labored as vaqueros and some 80 miles away. His name graced
farmhands throughout neighboring the front page of every major Texas
counties. Gregorio thus gained an excel- newspaper. The San Antonio Express re-
lent knowledge of terrain that served ported, The trail of the Mexican leads
him well during his flight. His brothers toward the Ro Grande, so the posse
may have been involved in various horse headed south.
thefts as well. On 20 February 1890, he Cortez hid with friends on a ranch
married Leonor Daz. They had four chil- near Belmont, where Sheriff Robert M.
dren. Charging abuse, Leonor received a Glover of Gonzales County and his
divorce on 12 March 1903. In late 1904, posse found him. During the shoot-out,
while in jail, Cortez married Estfana Glover and a posse member named
Garza of Manor. He married for a last Henry Schnabel were killed. (The latter
106 CORTEZ LIRA, GREGORIO

may have been shot accidentally by a night, all day, and all the next night as
drunken deputy rather than by Cortez.) well. About noon on 22 June 1901 (his
The wanted man escaped again and twenty-sixth birthday), Cortez walked
walked south nearly 100 miles to the into a sheep camp where Jess El Teco
home of another friend, Ceferino Flores. Gonzlez recognized him. Probably mo-
There he obtained a pistol, a sturdy tivated by the sizable reward, Gonzlez
mare, and a saddle, and he pressed on led a posse to Cortez. Ten eventful days
toward Laredo. Three days of hard rid- had passed since the shoot-out between
ing over some 300 miles killed the mare. Cortez and Sheriff Morris.
Cortez secured another horse for the fi- Jailed in San Antonio, Cortez saw his
nal leg of his flight. network of popular support increase.
Having killed two sheriffs, his reputa- Some Tejanos considered Gonzlez a
tion in the press grew mightily. To the traitor to his people and ostracized him.
Seguin Enterprise he became an arch Supporters among mutual aid and
fiend. According to the San Antonio Ex- worker societies created a legal-defense
press, Cortez headed a well organized fund. The first of Cortezs several trials
band of thieves and cutthroats. As the opened in Gonzales on 24 July 1901. At
paper saw it, the law needed to fill up this trial, all the jurors except A. L.
the whole country with men and search Sanders found Cortez guilty of murder-
every nook and corner and guard every ing Henry Schnabel. The court sen-
avenue of escape. Governor Joseph D. tenced him to 50 years in prison for sec-
Sayers and citizens of Karnes County ond-degree murder.
posted a $1,000 reward for Cortezs cap- An outraged mob of 300 men tried to
ture. Huge posses, special trains, and lynch Cortez. Shortly thereafter, Grego-
tracking dogs kept up the pursuit. rios wounded brother Romaldo died in
The contest divided the people of the Karnes County jail. In early 1902, the
south Texas. Some Tejanos, Sheriff Ortiz Texas Court of Criminal Appeals re-
of Webb County, and Assistant City Mar- versed the verdicts against Cortez. In
shal Gmez of Laredo hunted Cortez. April 1904 Cortez faced his last trial, this
Other Tejanos, however, cheered the time in Corpus Christi. A jury of Anglo-
fugitives ability to evade the hated American farmers found Cortez not
rinches, as they termed Texas Rangers. guilty in the death of Sheriff Morris.
During the hunt, at least nine persons of They accepted the defenses contention
Mexican descent had been killed, three that Morris had attempted an unautho-
wounded, and seven arrested. Even the rized arrest. Gregorio had shot the sheriff
San Antonio Express recognized his re- to defend himself and his brother. Te-
markable powers of endurance and skill janos rightly greeted the verdict as a
in eluding pursuit. great victory for all Mexican Americans.
Meanwhile, Cortez boldly walked into However, a Gonzales County jury had
the town of Cotulla in broad daylight. He found Cortez guilty of the murder of
then followed the railroad tracks to the Sheriff Robert M. Glover. The trial, held
outskirts of Twohig. The exhausted man in Columbus, resulted in a life sentence
lay down by a water tank and slept all for Cortez. He was something of a
CORTINA, JUAN NEPOMUCENO 107

celebrity to his jailers. They gave him the figures, Cortez is remembered as both
entire upper story of the jail as a honey- hero and outlaw.
moon suite when he married Estfana
Garza. He entered the Huntsville Peni- References
tentiary on 1 January 1905. Orozco, Cynthia E. Cortez Lira, Gregorio.
In July 1913, Governor O. B. Colquitt Handbook of Texas Online: http://www.
granted Cortez a conditional pardon. tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/
Two months later, he jumped into the view/CC/fco94.html.
great revolution engulfing Mexico. Paredes, Amrico. With His Pistol in His
Oddly, he rode with the conservative Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero. Aus-
forces of Victoriano Huerta. Wounded, tin: University of Texas Press, 1958.
he returned to Manor and later to Anson, Sonnichsen, Philip. More about the Corrido
Texas. He married for the last time in Gregorio Cortez: http://www.sp.utexas.edu/
early 1916 and died of pneumonia soon jrn/gcortez3.html.
thereafter, age 41, on 28 February. He
lies buried in a small cemetery eight
miles outside of Anson.
Borderland Tejanos quickly recorded Cortina, Juan
Cortezs exploits in their corridos. El
Corrido de Gregorio Cortez appeared as Nepomuceno
early as 1901. A recording of the song
made by Pedro Rocha and Lupe Martnez 18241892
in San Antonio in October 1929 still ex-
ists. In cantinas, in country stores, and Along with Gregorio Cortez Lira, Juan
on ranches, Mexicans and Mexican Nepomuceno Cheno Cortina stands as
Americans still sing his ballad and recall a symbol of Tejano resistance to Anglo-
his heroic struggle. Folklorist Amrico American encroachment and racism. His
Paredes brought the Cortez story and greatest feat came in 1859 when he cap-
song to a wider audience in his 1958 tured the town of Brownsville, Texas.
book With His Pistol in His Hand: A Born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico,
Border Ballad and Its Hero. Although the Cortina grew up just south of the Rio
book initially attracted only limited at- Grande in a wealthy ranching family. In
tention, one angry Texas Ranger threat- the 1840s he moved north into territory
ened to shoot the author. claimed by both Texas and Mexico to
In recent decades, the rise of Chicano manage lands owned by his mother. His
politics and growing Hispanic conscious- family would lose some of these lands,
ness brought Cortez and the Paredes but by the 1850s Cortina had become a
book greater attention. In 1982 the film powerful rancher and political boss for
The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, directed the South Texas Democratic Party.
by Robert M. Young, brought the tale to Cortinas turn to the outlaw life began
a much wider audience. The movie on 13 July 1859 in Brownsville, where he
starred Edward James Olmos as Cortez. witnessed an Anglo city marshal pistol-
Like many other controversial western whipping one of his former employees.
108 CORTINA, JUAN NEPOMUCENO

Cortina demanded the marshal stop try to beg for an asylum. (PBS, Docu-
striking the man. The marshal refused, ments)
so Cortina shot him in the shoulder and
fled with the beaten man to safety. With The next six months became known as
this classic blow struck for social justice, Cortinas War. Texas Rangers struck
Cortinas career as a legend and social back furiously, often indiscriminately
bandit had begun. punishing any Hispanic in the south Rio
Two months later, on 28 September, Grande Valley. Cortina, who soon had
Cortina led an armed force back into 500 or 600 armed men under his com-
Brownsville to mete out some popular mand, resumed his raids after Texas
justice. He released several Mexicans Rangers executed one of his lieutenants
whom he felt had been unfairly impris- in Brownsville. The Mexican govern-
oned and executed four Anglos who had ment, fearing that Cortinas actions
killed Mexicans but had gone unpun- would embroil them in another war with
ished. Some of his followers urged the United States, sent a joint Mexican-
Death to the gringos! But Cortina did Anglo force against Cortina, but he
not go on a rampage. Instead, he with- quickly defeated it.
drew to a nearby ranch and issued a Many Tejanos supported Cortina and
proclamation establishing the Republic his cause, aiding his troops and refusing
of the Rio Grande and explaining his ac- to help U.S. officials. On 23 November
tions on behalf of persecuted Tejanos: 1859, he issued another proclamation to
rally his supporters:
To defend ourselves, and making use of
the sacred right of self-preservation, we Compatriots: A sentiment of profound
have assembled in a popular meeting indignation, the love and esteem which I
with a view of discussing a means by profess for you, the desire which you
which to put an end to our misfortunes. have for that tranquillity and those guar-
These, as we have said, form, with a antees which are denied you, thus violat-
multitude of lawyers, a secret conclave, ing the most sacred laws, is that which
with all its ramifications, for the sole moves me to address you these words,
purpose of despoiling the Mexicans of hoping that they may prove some conso-
the lands and usurp them afterwards. lation in the midst of your adversity.
This is clearly proven by the conduct of Many of you have been robbed of
one Adolph Glavecke, who, invested your property, incarcerated, chased,
with the character of deputy sheriff, and murdered, and hunted like wild beasts,
in collusion with the said lawyers, has because your labor was fruitful, and be-
spread terror among the unwary, making cause your industry excited the vile
them believe that he will hang the Mexi- avarice which led them. A voice infernal
cans and burn their ranches, &c., that by said, from the bottom of their soul, kill
this means he might compel them to them; the greater will be our gain!
abandon the country, and thus accom- Mexicans! Is there no remedy for you?
plish their object. . . . Our families have Inviolable laws, yet useless, serve, it is
returned as strangers to their old coun- true, certain judges and hypocritical au-
CORTINA, JUAN NEPOMUCENO 109

thorities, cemented in evil and injustice, ing the U.S. Civil War. However, Mexican
to do whatever suits them, and to satisfy politics turned against Cortina and other
their vile avarice at the cost of your pa- liberals. In 1876 the dictator Porfirio Daz
tience and suffering; rising in their imprisoned Cortina in Mexico City,
frenzy, even to the taking of life, through where he languished for 14 years. He
the treacherous hands of their bailiffs. died in Tamaulipas in 1892.
The wicked way in which many of you Cortina generated conflicting legacies.
have been often-times involved in perse- In Anglo and Texas Ranger history, he is
cution, accompanied by circumstances little more than a common criminal, an
making it the more bitter, is now well outlaw who ignored the judicial system.
known; these crimes being hid from so- Tejano folklore, in contrast, links him to
ciety under the shadow of a horrid broader issues of resistance to Anglo op-
night, those implacable people, with the pression and encroachment.
haughty spirit which suggests impunity Unlike other Latino folk heroes, Grego-
for a life of criminality, have pronounced, rio Cortez Lira and Joaquin Murieta, Cor-
doubt ye not, your sentence, which is, tina has not had a major motion picture
with accustomed insensibility, as you made about his life. Cortina does appear,
have seen, on the point of execution. however, as a supporting figure in the
Mexicans! Peace be with you! Good 1997 film One Mans Hero (Orion Pic-
inhabitants of the State of Texas, look on tures), directed by Lance Hool. The film
them as brothers, and keep in mind that highlights a love triangle between Irish-
which the Holy Spirit saith: Thou shalt American soldier John Riley (Tom Ber-
not be the friend of the passionate man; enger), Cortina (Joaquim de Almeida),
nor join thyself to the madman, lest thou and Cortinas girlfriend (Marta Romo).
learn his mode of work and scandalize Cortina is a bandit-turned-soldier. Riley
thy soul. (PBS, Documents) is one of the San Patricios, Irish soldiers
who switched sides to fight for Mexico
Despite his broad, popular support, during the Mexican-American War. Ri-
Cortinas force could not withstand the leys platoon is brutally punished for
U.S. Army, which defeated the Tejanos in crossing the Mexican-American border
Rio Grande City on 27 December 1859. to attend Catholic services. This injustice
Nevertheless, sporadic raids and attacks leads them to change sides. Thus, like
continued for several months along the Cortina, the San Patricios are fighting for
100-mile stretch of border from Browns- cultural integrity and justice against An-
ville to Rio Grande City. glo-American abuses. Despite the lack of
Forced to retreat to Mexico, Cortina popular-culture exposure, Cortina, the
found a new cause. He joined the patriot Robin Hood of the Rio Grande, remains
army of Benito Juarez battling the French a folk hero for many Latinos.
forces that occupied Mexico in 1862. In
1863 he rose to the rank of general in References
the Mexican Army, and he later served as PBS, Documents of the Brownsville Uprising
acting governor of Tamaulipas. He also of Juan Cortina: http://www.pbs.org/weta/
supported Union partisans in Texas dur- thewest/resources/archives/four/cortinas.htm.
110 COWBOY POETRY

PBS. The West: www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/ lected and published it. Most poetry,
wpages/wpgs000/w010_001.htm. however, remained unknown outside of
intimate circles of friends and family.
Some poets contributed original verse to
stockmens publications, such as the
Cowboy Poetry Stock Growers Journal. This weekly, pub-
lished in Miles City, Montana, reprinted
Also cowgirl poetry poems in the 1890s. D. J. OMalley (1867
1943) contributed several, including
Westerners, often living in near or com- When the Work Is Done Next Fall (first
plete isolation, invented myriad ways to called After the Roundup). Cowboy
entertain themselves. Homemade fun, singer Michael Martin Murphey has pro-
including music and poetry, provided nounced this poem, later turned into a
important forms of recreation. Generally song, his all-time favorite.
performed only among family and friends, During the twentieth century, poems
original songs and poems remained by more cowboy poets found their way
largely anonymous and in oral tradition into print. Bruce Kiskaddon (18781950)
until the late nineteenth century. worked as a cowboy throughout the
By the early 1880s, poems had begun Southwest and Australia. Encouraged by
to appear in print, mostly in local newspa- a rancher named G. T. Tap Duncan, he
pers. The Trinidad Weekly News (Col- published a small collection of poems in
orado) published a poem written by 1924 titled Rhymes of the Ranges. He later
P. R. W. in its edition of 28 September gave up cowboy life, married, and settled
1882. Titled The Cow Boy, it paints a rip- in Los Angeles. He continued to write,
roaring picture of the cowboy, not unlike selling many poems to Nelson Crow, who
the cowboy presented in the pulp fiction published Western Livestock magazine.
of the time. The poem asks, Who packs Crow published another collection of
a pair of Colts Frontiers, / And sets the Kiskaddon works as Western Poems in
town upon its ears, / And man nor devil 1935. In 1987 Gibbs M. Smith published
neither fears? / The Cow Boy. Another Rhymes of the Ranges, an excellent collec-
version appeared in the Las Vegas Daily tion of his works in a book edited and in-
Optic (New Mexico) on 12 November troduced by Hal Cannon.
1884: Who is it paints the town so red, / Charles Badger Clark Jr. (1883
And in the morning has a head / Upon 1957), a ministers son, wrote one of the
him like a feather-bed? / The cowboy. most famous cowboy poems, A Cow-
Gradually, more authors names began boys Prayer. Texas poet laureate Red
appearing with their creations. Harry El- Steagall (1938 ) delivered the poem
lard published a few poems in 1899, in- at a White House prayer breakfast. The
cluding a brief one titled The Poet Lariat Glory Trail is another of Clarks often-
of the Ranches. His works appeared in a recited works.
Colorado Springs, Colorado, newspaper Carmen William Curley Fletcher
named Facts. Some cowboy poetry got set (18921954) worked as a cowhand and
to music, and Jack Thorp and others col- rode in some of the nations earliest
COWBOY POETRY 111

rodeos. He often wrote poems and sent busy writing life, he authored some
them to loved ones. He wrote his most fa- 2,500 poems, 1,200 articles, and 1,500
mous piece, The Strawberry Roan, after stories and novelettes. Some of his works
participating in the Cheyenne, Wyoming, show his vibrant sense of humor. He
rodeo (Frontier Days) in 1914. Originally laughed at the quirk of naming that
titled The Outlaw Broncho, the poem made his initials S. O. B. and once
inspired songs and films, and it remains raised cattle under the Lazy SOB brand.
one of the most beloved poems of the A Cowboys Christmas Prayer is his
West. Western magazines, newspapers, most famous poem. For 25 years, Leanin
and ranch trade journals began to carry Tree greeting cards of Boulder, Colorado,
Fletchers work. Real, working cowboys has published Christmas cards incorpo-
memorized and recited his poems. Songs rating the famous poem.
of the Sage (1986), a new edition of Ranch poetry waned in popularity for
Fletchers work edited by Hal Cannon and a few decades from the 1940s through
published by Gibbs M. Smith, brought his the early 1980s. However, the genre
artistry to a new generation of readers. burst back on the national stage with the
Squire Omar Barker (18941985) was western revival of the mid-1980s.
born in a log cabin in Sapello Canyon Thanks to the efforts of Jim Griffin, Hal
near New Mexicos Sangre de Cristo Cannon, and other folklorists, cowboy
Mountains. The youngest of 11 children, and cowgirl poetry became hugely popu-
he grew up hunting, lar. Inspired by the
riding horses, and success of cowboy po-
working cattle on the etry gatherings in Elko,
familys homestead, lov- Nevada (first held in
ing the rugged moun- January 1985), count-
tain country. Like the less towns throughout
later western nature the West now hold
writer Edward Abbey such events. Today, for
(19271989), he work- the first time in his-
ed as a U.S. forest tory, a handful of poets
ranger, in this case in can earn a living
the Carson National through their art. The
Forest. He served in Western Folklife Cen-
World War I and in ter of Salt Lake City
1924 graduated from and Elko remains a vi-
New Mexico Normal tal force in recovering
University (now New and preserving the
Mexico Highlands) in works of old poets and
Las Vegas, New Mex- encouraging new ones.
ico, where he continued to teach English. Wallace D. Wally McRae (1936 ) is
Barker also wrote prolifically and be- one of todays foremost cowboy poets.
came known as the Sage of Sapello and He comes from a family of ranchers. His
the Poet Lariat of New Mexico. In his Scottish grandfather, John B. McRae,
112 COWBOY POETRY

bought 160 acres in Montana in the cite Reincarnation at the 1991 Elko
early 1880s to start the McRae Ranch. Cowboy Poetry Gathering. With typical
Today, McRae runs the Rocker Six Cattle modesty, he insists, Its a superficial
Company, a 30,000-acre ranch in Rose- poem; I dont know what the attraction
bud County, Montana. is. His humor is often self-deprecating.
McRae skillfully and powerfully re- In one poem, he chronicles the misad-
cords impressions of Montana ranch life. ventures of his son Clint but concludes
But he is also a poetic conscience for peo- by admitting: I wasnt like him, growing
ple who care about the West, the land, up. I was a whole lot worse.
and the people. I think the cowboy tradi- Nevada native Waddie Mitchell quit
tion has things of value inherent in it, high school at age 16 to follow in his fa-
says McRae, and poetry lets me share thers cowboy bootsteps. Along with
that. I also think theres a search for roots, cowboying, young Mitchell enjoyed col-
a more simple life and maybe personal lecting and reciting old cowboy poems
freedom and my poems speak to that. In and helped organize the first poetry
Things of Intrinsic Worth, he captures gathering at Elko. Inspired by the warm
the bitterness of losing the beauty and reception, he gradually moved away
majesty of western lands for quick profit: from ranching to writing and performing
poetry. His trademark handlebar mus-
Great God, how were doin! Were rollin in tache and ready grin became familiar to
dough, millions from appearances on Johnny
As they tear and they ravage The Earth. Carsons Tonight Show and elsewhere.
And nobody knows . . . or nobody cares . . . Like Will Rogers long ago, Baxter Black
About things of intrinsic worth. is the dean of todays cowboy humorists.
He can shoe a horse, string a fence, diag-
McRae is equally eloquent about the nose horse illnesses, bang out a Bob
human cost of economic progress in Wills classic on his flat-top guitar, and
the West: write poetry. He jokes that he has more
hair around his lip than on his head.
Sold to the highest bidder! Raised in New Mexico, he spent his first
The gavel crashes down. career in the mountain West tormenting
Another rural family cows. Now he lives in Arizona and trav-
Goes shamblin into town. els the country dispensing cowboy wis-
dom and humor.
McRae wrote the cowboys favorite hu- Since 1982 Black has rhymed his way
morous poem, Reincarnation. The into the national spotlight, and he now
poem goes far beyond cheap laughs by stands as the best-selling cowboy poet.
mixing cowboy common sense and di- Hes written more than a dozen books
alect with abstract philosophical issues. (including a rodeo novel), recorded a
Reincarnation humorously reduces the basketful of audio and video tapes, and
issue of immortality and the afterlife to a achieved notoriety as a syndicated
pile of horse manure. I had the great columnist and radio commentator. His
pleasure and honor of hearing McRae re- varied venues have ranged from The
COWBOY POETRY 113

Photo taken at WestFest of cowboy poet Baxter Black (right)


with his father-in-law, Guy Logsdon, musicologist

Tonight Show and PBS to NPR (National who just happens to be a woman. After
Public Radio) and the National Finals working more than 100,000 miles in the
Rodeo (NFR). His books are prominently saddle, the Fallon, Nevada, rancher quali-
displayed in big-city libraries and small- fies as an authentic cowgirl. An admitted
town feed stores. tomboy, she became a cowhand at 16, a
Cowgirls have also raised their poetic pretty wisp of a girl in a male-dominated
voices. Cowgirl poet Hilma (Volcano) profession. She worked hard to secure the
Volk, entertainer, rhyming storyteller, cowboys highest accolade, being referred
humorist, ventriloquist, and harmonica to as a top hand, a person who can do
player, worked with the U.S. Fish and any job on the ranch and do it well.
Wildlife Service for more than eight Whether she recognizes it or not, Sick-
years. She has also trained horses and ing has served as a pioneering western
helped her neighbors with haying and feminist. Her poems record her life and
herding. She now lives near Coeur experiences in a country where they
dAlene, Idaho, and performs widely at didnt ride mares and they didnt hire
poetry gatherings. Her theme poem and women. With two self-published books
book title reflect her whimsical humor (Just Thinkin, More Thinkin), she even
and appeal: Manure Happens. attracted the attention of radio maven
Georgie Sicking is known as a cowboy Paul Harvey in February 1998 and won a
114 A COWBOYS CHRISTMAS PRAYER

spot in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. One of Short Rows, ed. Francis Edward Abernethy.
her poems, Be Yourself, illustrates her Fort Worth, TX: South Methodist Univer-
philosophy of living and advice for sity Press, 1988.
wanna-be cowgirls: Stanley, David, and Elaine Thatcher, eds.
Cowboy Poets and Cowboy Poetry. Urbana:
When I was young and foolish University of Illinois Press, 2000.
the women said to me White, John I. A Montana Cowboy Poet.
take off those spurs and comb your hair Journal of American Folklore 80 (July 1967):
if a lady you will be 113129.
forget about those cowboy ways,
come and sit awhile
we will try to clue you in on womens ways
and wiles. A Cowboys
Beloved singing cowboy and cowboy Christmas Prayer
poet Buck Ramsey (19391998) died at
the age of 59. Admired for his talent and See Cowboy Poetry
grit, Ramsey spent more than half his life
confined to a wheelchair. In 1961, while
working for the Coldwater Cattle Com-
pany, a shank bit broke on his horses A Cowboys Prayer
bridle. He fell beneath his horse, and his
injuries left him wheelchair-bound. The See Clark, Charles Badger, Jr.
accident did not dull his wit and talent,
and he remained a popular performer at
major western cultural gatherings. He
won several awards for his prose, poetry, Crockett, David Davy
and music, among them the Golden Spur
Award from the National Cowboy Hall of 17861836, frontiersman, hunter, teller
Fame. of tall tales, and congressman from Ten-
Hundreds of poetry gatherings and nessee. See Alamo
publications (notably American Cowboy
Poet magazine, published by Rudy Gon-
zales, and Cowboy Magazine) provide
outlets for cowboy/cowgirl poetic cre- Custer, George
ativity. On-line publications, including
ReadWest.com and ReadtheWest.com, Armstrong
also publish works by contemporary po-
ets. One can only conclude that, yes, real 18391876, American army officer. See
cowboys are poets at heart. Little Bighorn

References
Logsdon, Guy. Cowboy Poets. In Hoein the
d
Dallas Gray), Pamela Jean Barnes Haynes Ewing
(Victoria Principal), and a host of others.
Along with the Ponderosa of Bonanza Family patriarch John Ross Jock Ewing
fame, Southfork Ranch of the prime-time Sr. presided until actor Jim Davis died in
soap opera Dallas is the best-known 1981.
ranch in the world. Just as the Cart- The cast played out their schemes at
wrights and their sprawling Nevada Southfork Ranch, complete with a large,
ranch came to symbolize nineteenth- white ranch house, located some 40 min-
century ranch life, so the Ewings and utes north of downtown Dallas. Accord-
their vast north Texas spread became ing to the shows mythical history, Enoch
identified with the twentieth. Southworth founded the ranch on the
Airing from 1978 through 1991 in al- south fork of its water source in the
most 100 countries, Dallas created a midnineteenth century. He ran the
story line and characters very different spread, building a cattle empire, until
from those of Bonanza. Instead of an 1901. Then son Aaron took over, honor-
honorable patriarch and his likable sons, ing his fathers wish that oil not be
Dallas featured a cast of devious, bicker- drilled for on the precious land. Follow-
ing, ambitious back-stabbers. Foremost ing Aarons death in 1953, the ranch
among the bad guys stood John Ross passed to Eleanor Ellie Southworth Ew-
J. R. Ewing Jr. (played by Larry Hagman, ing, wife of Jock.
who gained international star status Dallas opened immediately with fam-
from the series). Other characters in- ily conflict in its premier season. J. R.
cluded Eleanor Miss Ellie Southworth jockeyed constantly to maintain and in-
Ewing Farlow (Barbara Bel Geddes), crease his power. In good old B-western
Bobby James Ewing (Patrick Duffy), Sue fashion, this cowboy soap opera pre-
Ellen Shepard Ewing Lockwood (Linda sented stereotypical characters and exag-

115
116 DART, ISOM

gerated plot lines. Fans loved to hate the County. Their cabin lay along a widely
bad guys and cheer for those who suf- known outlaw trail frequented by Butch
fered at their hands. The Who Shot Cassidys Hole in the Wall Gang, among
J. R.? episode became one of the most others.
hyped television events of all time. The William Loren Katz, in The Black West,
first prime-time soap opera, Dallas also argues that Dart had a long history of
inspired a popular spin-off series, Knots riding outside the law. None of his many
Landing. arrests for cattle rustling resulted in a
The ranch, expanded beyond the origi- conviction. According to one story, a
nal site, has been open to the public Wyoming deputy sheriff arrested Dart
since 1985. In addition to being a popu- and placed him on a buckboard bound
lar tourist site, the ranch includes a for jail. The buckboard ran off the road,
63,000-square-foot conference and event injuring the deputy. Instead of leaving,
center, a rodeo arena, dining facilities, however, Dart administered first aid,
and a gift shop. Through worldwide syn- drove the deputy to Rock Springs for
dication and Web sites, a new generation treatment, and turned himself in at the
of fans can continue the fascination with jail.
Southfork and its inhabitants. According to a more positive interpre-
tation of Darts activities, Dart was a skill-
References: ful rider who slowly built a cattle herd
Classic TV: http://classictv.about.com/. not by rustling but by purchasing stock
Dallas: http://www.dallas.ndirect.co.uk/. with wages earned by breaking wild
Southfork Ranch: http://www.southforkranch. horses. Residents in the Cold Spring
com. Mountain area reported getting along
well with the black cowboy-turned-
rancher. In July 1900 a threatening, mys-
terious note appeared demanding that
Dart, Isom certain ranchers leave the area. Al-
though Darts name appeared on the list,
18551900 he was determined to stay.
Unfortunately for both Rash and Dart,
Isom Dart, an African-American cowboy, the hired killer Tom Horn had been
is famous mostly because of his death. In brought in to enforce the threat. Horn
the winter of 1900, hired gun Tom Horn tracked Rash to his cabin near Cold
apparently shot and killed Dart, whom Spring Mountain. The killer pretended to
he suspected of rustling. Horn, in turn, be a prospector named James Hicks. Rash
met a violent end, accused of murder invited him to dinner, and Horn dined
and hanged in Wyoming. with him on the night of 8 July 1900. Af-
As is true of many black cowboys, little ter eating, Horn excused himself, went
is known about Isom Darts life. A Texas- outside, and hid behind a tree. When
born cowboy, Dart and his friend Matt Rash stepped outside, Horn shot him
Rash drove herds north from Texas and three times; he then quickly rode to Den-
finally settled in extreme northwestern ver to create an alibi. Rash lived long
Colorado at Browns Park in Routt enough to try to write the name of his
DEAD MANS HAND 117

killer with his own blood. However, he Ten Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Terri-
wrote Horns alias, Hicks, so the real tory. At the moment of his death, Hickok
killer could not be immediately identified. held two pairs, aces and eights, a combi-
Horn believed that Dart and a gang of nation known thereafter as Dead Mans
five other black cowboys had been Hand. Hickok and his fateful hand of
rustling cattle. Some three months later, cards passed immediately into the annals
on a crisp October morning, Horn hid of American mythology.
behind a large rock outside Darts moun- Wild Bill Hickok started his career
tain cabin. Dart and his companions ate serving as a marshal in Kansas cow
breakfast, and then Dart and George Bas- towns, such as Hays City and Abilene.
sett stepped out into the cool fall air to During the Civil War, he performed a
inspect the cattle pens that held their number of tasks for the Union, including
supposedly rustled cattle. Horn report- espionage. He served as a scout for Gen.
edly fired either one or two shots from a George Armstrong Custer in the Black
.30-.30 rifle, striking Darts head and Hills of South Dakota. He also drove
killing him instantly. His five compan- stagecoaches, served as sheriff in a num-
ions raced back to the cabin to hide, ber of midwestern towns, and even rode
while Horn mounted up and made a get- in Buffalo Bill Codys Wild West Show. He
away. Friends buried Dart in an isolated also carried a reputation as a shrewd and
grave near his old cabin in Browns Park. successful gambler. Wild Bill earned his
Whether Rash, Dart, and their friends greatest reputation from the trail of dead
actually rustled cattle remains unclear. bodies he supposedly left along the way.
Perhaps the pervasive racism of the time, In June 1876 Hickok, possibly with
not rustling, caused their murders. friends Calamity Jane and Colorado
Charlie Utter, joined the gold rush in the
References Black Hills of the Dakota Territory.
Henry, Will. One More River to Cross: The Life Hickok, however, realized that true op-
and Legend of Isom Dart. New York: Ran- portunity lay not in the mines but in the
dom House, 1967. pockets of naive prospectors at local
Katz, William Loren. The Black West: A Docu- poker tables. On 2 August, only a few
mentary and Pictorial History of the African weeks after arriving in Deadwood, he
American Role in the Westward Expansion strolled into the Number Ten Saloon to
of the United States. New York: Touchstone, take his daily drink with bartender Harry
1996. Young and to check out the action.
Old West Gravesites: Isom Dart: http://www. Hickok combined good marksmanship
dimensional.com/~sgrimm/idart.htm. with several basic rules for survival: He al-
ways poured his drinks with his left hand
to keep his gun hand ready. He never sat
with his back to the door. But as fate
Dead Mans Hand would have it, on the day he entered the
saloon, the only seat open at the poker
On 2 August 1876, Jack McCall gunned table faced away from the front swinging
down James Butler Wild Bill Hickok door. Reluctantly, Wild Bill succumbed to
while he played poker at the Number temptation and took the open seat.
118 DEAD MANS HAND

To Hickoks left at the table sat an old quest and allowed Wild Bill to posthu-
riverboat engineer, Captain Massie, who mously win the hand. According to leg-
still wore his riverboat cap. Across the end, they gave the winnings to Calamity
table sat a cowboy named Con Stapleton, Jane.
and to Hickoks right sat the owner of Jack McCall avoided sentencing by
the bar, Carl Mann. Myth shrouds much representing himself as the brother of a
about the afternoons events. Wild Bill man whom Wild Bill had killed. How-
twice asked to switch seats before he en- ever, after bragging recklessly about
tered the game. Stapleton protested that killing one of the Wests greatest gun-
seats shouldnt change in the middle of fighters, McCall received a second sen-
the game and reassured him that he tencing. He was tried and hung in Yank-
would watch his back. Massie joked that ton, capital of Dakota Territory, on 1
no one would shoot Wild Bill in the back. March 1877. He lies buried in an un-
Hickok had lost a few hands when marked grave. His motive for the murder
Crooked Nose Jack McCall entered the remains in dispute: perhaps to avenge a
saloon at 4:10 p.m. and sat down at the gambling loss to Hickok, perhaps to col-
bar. The ante went all the way around to lect a bounty on the famous gunmans
Hickok, who supposedly said, Ill bet a head. Why a cowardly shot from the
dollar on general principle. Captain back? I didnt want to commit suicide,
Massie quickly replied, You must be a he said.
man of high principle; Im out. Stapleton Hickoks Dead Mans Hand took on a
and Mann both met the bet and then life of its own. Every summer, tourists
called Wild Bills hand. At that moment, pour into the historic Old Towne Hall of
McCall arose from his bar stool and Deadwood, South Dakota, to witness
walked up behind the card players. He reenactments of Wild Bills death and the
fired one fatal shot from a .45-caliber pis- capture and trial of Jack McCall. Number
tol. The shot tore through Hickoks skull Ten Saloon is still furnished with Wild
before the other men at the table could Bills chair, set with its back to the door.
shout a warning. Ironically, all the re- The saloon claims it is the only museum
maining cartridges in McCalls pistol in the world with a bar.
proved to be defective. The myth has been preserved in a
As McCall quickly fled the bar, wide range of media. We have a screen-
Hickoks lifeless body fell to the floor of play, Dead Mans Hand, by Ronald
the saloon. As Stapleton leaned over the Ecker; a Bob Dylan song, Gambling
fallen man, the bartender announced Willie; and a T. S. Eliot poem, The Hol-
that nothing could be done to help. Sta- low Men. There is even a country music
pleton supposedly retorted, Forget help- band bearing the name Aces and
ing him; I want to see his hand. Wild Eights. In 1979 Hickok was nominated
Bills cards revealed two black aces, two as a charter member of the Poker Hall of
black eights, and the jack of diamonds. Fame at Binions Horseshoe Casino in
Stapleton declared it a dead mans hand Las Vegas. Bad luck dogged a fellow Hall
and insisted the ante should be his. Cap- of Famer, Tom Abdo, who died of a heart
tain Massie and Mann refused the re- attack while playing a poker game in
DEADWOOD DICK 119

1982. It is not known whether any of his pushing his claim to be Deadwood Dick.
fellow players checked the cards in his Unlike Nat Love, he penned no book to
hand. boost his claim. He ended his life in Den-
Andrew Mebane Southerland ver as a drifter. Arrested for vagrancy, he
died in a hospital there in February 1912.
References Dick Cole had a stronger logical claim
Fielder, Mildred. Wild Bill and Deadwood. to the title because he actually drove a
Seattle, WA: Superior Publishing Company, Deadwood stagecoach. More often called
1965. Little Dick, he may have been the first to
Rosa, Joseph G. Wild Bill Hickok: The Man claim the famous moniker. Alas for Little
and His Myth. Lawrence: University Press Dick, the more heroic nickname did not
of Kansas, 1996. stick. Another South Dakota man,
Richard Bullock, also staked his claim
and failed. A respected shotgun messen-
ger, he worked in Lead, South Dakota,
Deadwood Dick and died in Glendale, California. Like-
wise, Richard F. Palmer, who died in Crip-
The literary character Deadwood Dick is ple Creek, Colorado, failed to convince a
yet another example of art influencing wide audience that he was the real old-
life. Edward L. Wheeler introduced the time hero.
character in his first pulp novel, pub- Richard Clark (or Clarke), born in ei-
lished in 1877. Wheeler wrote many ther Ireland or England, played the role
more novels before his death in 1885; in- of Deadwood Dick more fully than many
deed, the Deadwood Dick series alone of his rivals. Having emigrated to the
ran to 64 books. The hero, an easterner United States as a youth, Clark joined
gone west, often dons a black costume the Black Hills gold rush in 1876. He la-
and mask as he fights against purse- bored at nondescript jobs in Crook City,
proud aristocrats and other enemies. As Whitehead, and Lead, South Dakota. Be-
far as western heroes go, he is something ginning in 1924, the city of Deadwood
of a social bandit, battling the rich and began hosting its Days of 76 parade.
powerful who threaten the well-being of Clark joined others who dressed up as
the common folk. After Wheelers death, Deadwood celebrities and rode in the pa-
a number of men seeking notoriety and rade. He decked himself out in a long-
wealth claimed to be the real person who haired wig, ample hat, twin pistols, high
had inspired the character. With the au- leather boots, and pseudo-buckskin out-
thor safely dead, no one could conclu- fit, probably props from a local theatrical
sively disprove the claims. supply house.
One would-be Deadwood Dick was In 1927 the city fathers sent Clark,
Robert Dickey. According to his story, he dressed as Deadwood Dick, to Washing-
fought in the Civil War with the Pennsyl- ton, D.C., where he invited President
vania Cavalry, then headed west to fight Calvin Coolidge to vacation in the Black
Indians under Gen. George Crook and Hills. Inspired by his own publicity, Clark
Gen. Alfred Terry. He had less success in began to create stories about his mythical
120 DEADWOOD DICK

past to fit his newfound persona. The en- rial. In this incarnation, starring Don
terprising Deadwood Chamber of Com- Douglas, Dick is a masked hero who
merce, with a nose for publicity and valiantly battles The Skull, known as
tourist dollars, built Clark a summer the worst outlaw in the West. (The serial
cabin in Pine Crest Park near Deadwood. is still available on videotape.) In his very
There, he genially greeted visitors. Dead- influential book Virgin Land: The Ameri-
wood old-timers knew he was a fraud, can West as Symbol and Myth (1950),
but a huge crowd gathered for his fu- Henry Nash Smith devotes several pages
neral. His grave site remains a popular (99102) to a discussion of Deadwood
tourist spot, notwithstanding the fact that Dick as a distinctive type of western hero.
Deadwood Dick, a figment of a pulp nov- The name lives on today in a number
elists imagination, never existed at all. of ways. One can still stop for a drink at
The most successful pretender was an Deadwood Dicks Bar and Grill in Dead-
African American named Nat Love. Born wood, South Dakota. One can also pur-
a slave in Tennessee or possibly Ohio, chase an R-rated T-shirt commemorating
Love sought a better life out West, where the long-vanished hero. The Adams Mu-
he worked as a cowhand from Texas to seum in Deadwood houses historical ar-
South Dakota. He published his memoirs tifacts linked to Deadwood Dick. In 1997
in 1907: The Life and Adventures of Nat Steven C. Levi resurrected Nat Love in
Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country yet another literary incarnation in Dead-
as Deadwood Dick. (The University of wood Dick: A Biographical Novel (pub-
Nebraska Press reissued the book in lished by Holloway House). In November
1995 with an introduction by Brackette 1997 the drama department of the
F. Williams.) Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond, Indi-
Love relates his supposed adventures ana, presented six performances of Dead-
in typical western tall-tale fashion. His wood Dick, or The Game of Gold, directed
life story reads much like a pulp novel, by Elizabeth Conley. Like many western
with brave, heroic deeds at every turn. heroes of fact and fiction, Deadwood
He claimed to have acquired his nick- Dick seems immortal.
name by winning a roping contest in
1876 in Deadwood, South Dakota. He References
also claimed to have won a shooting Adams, Ramon Frederick. Burs under the Sad-
contest in that famed Old West boom- dle: A Second Look at Books and Histories of
town. Exactly where fact left off and the West. Norman: University of Oklahoma
fancy took over can never be known. As Press, 1964, 1989.
Ramon Adams observed, Love either Durham, Philip, and Everett L. Jones. The Ne-
has a bad memory or a good imagina- gro Cowboys. Lincoln: University of Ne-
tion (Adams 1989). But the black cow- braska Press, 1965, 1983.
boy certainly became one of the more Katz, William Loren. Black People Who Made
successful self-promoters of his day. the Old West. New York: Crowell, 1977.
The Deadwood Dick character has Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier
resurfaced time and time again. He Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of
reemerged in a 15-episode B-western se- Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994.
DEATH VALLEY 121

Shoshone tribe, white society and the Na-


Death Valley tional Park Service created a very damag-
ing myth about Death Valley: As evi-
Death Valley is a place of myth, history denced in the name, white society has
and stark beauty, writes photographer blithely assumed that no one could sur-
Michael H. Reichmann. For the land- vive in the region. However, according to
scape photographer there are few places Boland, The lands are replete with histor-
in the American Southwest that offer so ical encampments, hunting trails, burial
much variety and contrast in such a rela- grounds, hidden springs and archeologi-
tively small area (Reichman). A three- cal sites that have powerful traditional
hour drive from Las Vegas, the valley fea- and spiritual significance. Instead of the
tures but two small towns: Stove Pipe Valley just perpetrating death as the Na-
Wells and Furnace Creek. A national his- tional Park Service would have visitors
toric site since 1933 and national park believe today, the arid land and natural
since 1994, the location has long fasci- resources have sustained a resilient and
nated and frightened outsiders. creative desert people and a rich Native
Death Valley is hot and dry, receiving American culture for thousands of years
less than two inches of rain a year. Day- (Despair in Death Valley).
time temperatures routinely exceed 100 After creating the national park in
degrees Fahrenheit. Spring can be very 1933, the federal government confined
windy, but if winter wetness cooperates, the parks Native American population to
flowers may bloom in February and a tiny 40-acre camp. As Boland points out,
March. At more than 280 feet below sea
level, Badwater, a small salt pond, is the Until the tribe was cut off from its land
lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. in 1933, [Native Americans] had been an
Startling views are available at many integral part of the ecological equation
points, including rolling sand dunes, stark cultivating mesquite, pine nuts and
cliffs, and the famous Zabriskie Point. other indigenous plant life for food, de-
Death Valley National Park includes veloping and preserving springs for their
some 3.4 million acres of spectacular own use and to protect and enhance the
desert scenery, rare wildlife, complex ge- wildlife, and selectively burning under-
ology, wilderness, and historical sites. brush to prevent forest fires in the
The park is bounded on the west by mountains. The Timbisha Shoshone
11,049-foot Telescope Peak and on the tribe holds the secret to surviving in one
east by 5,475-foot Dantes View. Califor- of the most awesome deserts in the
nia Highway 190 traverses the park world and the public most assuredly
east/west. South of the park, Interstate would love to learn the knowledge and
15 passes through Baker, California, on wisdom directly from the people who
its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. possess it. Until now the National Park
A landscape as bizarre and forbidding Service has kept all this a closely
as Death Valley is bound to generate guarded secret lest the truth of its land
myths. According to Richard F. Boland, theft also has to be revealed. (Despair in
chief spokesperson of the Timbisha Death Valley)
122 DENVER, JOHN

The stark, forbiddingly beautiful land- can culture. The 1982 film Death Valley
scape has been a magnet drawing film- presented the dilemma of a city boy vis-
makers to Death Valley. The Rider of iting Tucson, Arizona, only to find him-
Death Valley (Universal, 1932) brought self the target of a psychotic criminal.
Tom Mix, Lois Wilson, Francis Ford, and The valley has also influenced music.
Iron Eyes Cody to the valley. The last In November 1996 the Walkabouts re-
would later become famous in more leased a CD titled Death Valley Days: Lost
films and in TV public service announce- Songs and Rarities, 1985 to 1995 (Glitter-
ments on behalf of protecting the envi- house). More than a million tourists each
ronment. Monogram filmed Where Trails year continue to explore the region.
Divide (1937), directed by Robert N. More than 50 years ago, young Jerry
Bradbury. In 1940 came Twenty Mule Van Meter nearly lost his life crossing
Team (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), with Wal- the difficult terrain on horseback. De-
lace Beery, Leo Carrillo, and Anne Baxter. spite modern technology, Death Valley
Many producers, aware of the valleys will remain a place where people only
magic, highlighted the location in their survive if they respect and understand
films titles: Riders of Death Valley (1941), the powerful natural forces that operate
Death Valley (1946), Death Valley Gun- there.
fighter (1949), and most famous, the tele-
vision series Death Valley Days. References
Although mostly B-western directors Despair in Death Valley. 1996: http://www.
shot films at Death Valley, many bigger nativenet.uthscsa.edu/archive/nl/9603/0149.
names also worked there. In 1948 John html.
Ford directed The Three Godfathers Historical Myth a Month: http://dmla.clan.lib.
(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer [MGM]), starring nv.us/docs/nsla/archives/myth/.
John Wayne, Pedro Armendariz, Harry Geology of Death Valley: http://geology.wr.
Carey Jr., Ward Bond, Mildred Natwick, usgs.gov/docs/usgsnps/deva/deva1.html.
Jane Darwell, Ben Johnson, and Francis Movie Making Exterior Locations: http://
Ford. Two years later came another www.oxy.edu/~jerry/homeloc.htm.
MGM film, King Solomons Mines, with Reichman, Michael H. The Luminous Land-
Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger. In scape Web Site: http://www.luminous-land
1953 William Holden, Eleanor Parker, scape.com/death_valley.htm.
and John Forsythe appeared in Escape
from Fort Bravo, directed by John Sturges.
In 1961 Marlon Brando directed and
starred in One-Eyed Jacks (Paramount). Denver, John
Taking advantage of the otherworldly
scenery, Paramount filmed Robinson 19431997
Crusoe on Mars. Equally strange was the
1970 film Zabriskie Point, featuring Rod John Denver set the spirit of the Rocky
Taylor and Harrison Ford. Sam Shepard Mountain West to music. His song
did some of the script writing in this cri- Rocky Mountain High became an an-
tique of aggressive, materialistic Ameri- them for people who shared his awe and
DENVER, JOHN 123

enthusiasm for the Wests mountain In the early 1970s, he quickly climbed
grandeur. to the top of the popular music charts
with memorable, melodic ballads and
But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high country-inspired tunes such as Take Me
Ive seen it rainin fire in the sky Home, Country Roads; Rocky Moun-
The shadow from the starlight tain High; Sunshine on My Shoulders;
is softer than a lullaby Back Home Again; Thank God, Im a
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado Country Boy; and Poems, Prayers, and
Promises. He often wrote, as in Annies
Denver embraced the beauty and Song, of love and nature:
splendor of the Rocky Mountain West
with childlike glee. His love for Colorado You fill up my senses like a night in the
even dictated his stage name: Henry forest
John Deutschendorf Jr. became John like the mountains in springtime,
Denver. He unabashedly celebrated the like a walk in the rain,
region in song and in the way he lived like a storm in the desert,
his life. He also worked strenuously to like a sleepy blue ocean
save the West from the ravages of You fill up my senses,
overdevelopment and pollution. Millions come fill me again.
of people around the world, sublimely
indifferent to the cultural dictates of the Despite critics who disdained his
sophisticated East, joined with Denver, folksy, hokey music and manner, Den-
through his music, in celebrating life, vers popular appeal remained strong,
love, and the wonder of the West. earning him 14 gold albums and 8 plat-
Denver was born in storied Roswell, inum albums in the United States alone.
New Mexico, on 31 December 1943, the He is one of the top five recording artists
son of a U.S. Air Force pilot. By age 11 he in the sales history of the music industry.
strummed the guitar and dreamed of be- His career in acting began in 1977 with
ing a performer. After a brief stint study- the humorous hit Oh God!, in which he
ing architecture at Texas Tech University, costarred with George Burns. He made
he began his commercial singing career many television specials, with costars
in Los Angeles. As a performer, he ranging from Jessica Tandy to Itzhak
adopted the name of the famous Rocky Perlman to Kermit the Frog. He made his
Mountain city. Colorado would become last film, Walking Thunder, in Utah in
his home and would inspire many of his 1993. The following year, he published
hit songs. His big break came when he his autobiography, coauthored with
earned a spot with the Chad Mitchell Arthur Tobias: Take Me Home.
Trio. He sang lead with the trio for two Denver used his music to support a
years, honing his song-writing abilities at wide range of environmental and hu-
the same time. His poignant composition manitarian causes. Such message songs
Leaving on a Jet Plane became a num- include Amazon (Let This Be a Voice), I
ber-one hit for Peter, Paul, and Mary and Want To Live, Its about Time, Let Us
brought him even greater recognition. Begin (What Are We Making Weapons
124 DENVER, JOHN

For?), and Higher Ground. My music listen to his messages about beauty in
and all my work stem from the convic- nature and how important it is to cher-
tion that people everywhere are intrinsi- ish our natural world.
cally the same, Denver said. John Denver was personally dedicated
to the preservation and appreciation of
When I write a song, I want to take the our planet, and he selflessly gave his
personal experience or observation that voice and talent to the causes of envi-
inspired it and express it in as universal ronmental protection. We will always re-
a way as possible. Im a global citizen. member him for this.
Ive created that for myself, and I dont
want to step away from it. I want to work Denvers personal life had its ups and
in whatever I domy music, my writing, down, events that he often conveyed
my performing, my commitments, my through his songs. He married and di-
home and personal lifein a way that is vorced twice, first Ann Martell (1967
directed towards a world in balance, a 1983) and then Cassandra Delany
world that creates a better quality of life (19881992). John and Ann adopted two
for all people. (John Denver.net) children, Zachary and Anna Kate. He and
Cassandra had one daughter, Jesse Belle.
He acted upon this global philosophy A man who lived life passionately,
in the 1980s, defying Cold War emo- Denver reveled in the out-of-doors:
tions. He sang concerts in the Soviet backpacking, hiking, fishing, and golfing.
Union in 1985 and 1987 and in the Peo- He also enjoyed flying, a pursuit that
ples Republic of China in 1992. brought him to his death on 22 Decem-
Denver revered the beauty of the West ber 1997, off the rocky California coast-
and injected a strong environmental ethic line. Following his death, Denver was
into his music and his life. In 1976 Den- cremated, and his ashes were sprinkled
ver and Aikido master Tom Crum created over the Rocky Mountains that he loved
the Windstar Foundation, which pro- to roam.
motes a holistic approach to global issues Denvers sensibilities resonated with
and works toward a sustainable future for people around the world, but he spoke a
the world. He also supported many other very western idiom. Many westerners
environmental groups, including the could identify with the lyrics of his song
Cousteau Society, for whom he wrote the Fly Away:
soaring anthem Calypso. Environmen-
talists as well as music fans mourned his Life in the city can make you crazy
death in 1997. Sierra Club president For sounds of the sand and the sea
Adam Werbach spoke for many: Life in a high-rise can make you hungry
For things that you cant even see
John Denver lifted up so many with his Fly away, fly away, fly away.
music, and stood as a beacon of environ-
mental hope. His commitment to the en- Fan clubs and Web sites around the
vironment was heartfelt, and so many of world perpetuate his words and music.
us were fortunate to have been able to Emily Parris hosts an active on-line fan
DISNEY FRONTIERLAND 125

club and does much of the writing for timedia corporation. His own rags-to-
the site. Music does bring people to- riches life resonates well with the heroic
gether; it allows us to experience the mythology of opportunity and success in
same emotions, Denver said (Rocky the American West. A Time magazine
Mountain High Fan Club). People every- poll included Disney among its most in-
where are the same in heart and spirit. fluential people of the twentieth century,
No matter what language we speak, what recognizing his tremendous cultural im-
color we are, the form of our politics or pact in a variety of media.
the expression of our love and our faith, Each of the four parks is divided into
music proves: We are the same (John different lands. Frontierland brings to life
Denver.net). Disneys version of the Old West. Seven
attractions await visitors to this land, in
References addition to western-oriented restaurants
CNN Interactive: http://www.cnn.com/US/ (including one named for Pecos Bill)
9710/13/denver.update/. and, of course, a welter of shops. This en-
John Denver.net: http://www.johndenver.net/ try focuses primarily on Frontierland, in
8.shtml. the original park, Disneyland in Ana-
Rocky Mountain High Fan Club with Emily heim, California. Tokyo Disneyland calls
Parris: http://www.sky.net/~emily/. the equivalent land Westernland, per-
haps because the term would be clearer
to the Japanese.
The cultural importance of Disneys fa-
Disney Frontierland mous theme parks extends well beyond
the entertainment of children from all
Amusement parks have become as inte- over the world. As Richard Francaviglia
gral a part of American pop culture as notes:
apple pie. Several such parks transport
visitors to mythical lands, from outer Disney created more than a contrived
space to fairyland castles. The crme de place. In Frontierland, he presented a
la crme of theme parks are undeniably simplified image of the region that reaf-
the Disney properties. Four of these are firmed widespread popular beliefs about
located around the globe. Disneyland, in the historical geography of the West. It
Anaheim, California, opened in 1955, may be tempting to dismiss such popu-
and Disney World, outside Orlando, lar conceptions, but we do so at our own
Florida, opened in 1971. Other parks now peril: like the dime novels and Wild West
exist in Tokyo and 20 miles outside Paris, shows originating in the nineteenth cen-
and a fifth may be built in Hong Kong. tury, they sustain the regions past as a
These parks immerse visitors in Walt significant mythological element in
Disneys vision of the mythic West. Dis- American culture.
ney (19011966) invented the theme
park, produced the first full-length ani- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
mated movie (Snow White and the Seven This is the primary ride in Disneylands
Dwarfs), and originated the modern mul- Frontierland, and as such it is the one
126 DISNEY FRONTIERLAND

that guests visit the most. One on-line land rather than in Fantasyland. Perhaps
tour guide notes that the line for this Disney designers wished to depict the
can stretch around the mountain and raw, sometimes violent frontier. How-
then wind around more in the enclosed ever, Disney often situated Mickey
area. This ride is a Wild West roller Mouse in Old West settings, so the Fron-
coaster. Riders board five-car trains and tierland battlefield fits with earlier
embark on a runaway mine train for a themes.
roughly four-minute journey. The pas-
sengers travel through bat caves, by Frontierland Shooting Exposition
snakes, goats, turtles, and even experi- Most amusement parks have some form
ence an earthquake in an abandoned of shooting gallery, and Disneyland is no
mine. The scenery is reminiscent of exception. Participants fire electronic ri-
what one would expect to see on west- fles to activate different targets, including
ern movie sets. It is even rumored that vultures, tombstones, saloon parapherna-
the 2 Donkey Engines that are by the lia, and even Boot Hill. As in action
queue are from the Disney movie Hot shooting, visitors can vicariously take on
Lead and Cold Feet. The Mountain that and defeat the bad guys, with guns blaz-
houses Thunder Mountain Railroad is ing, just like in the movies. These shoot-
modeled after the granite outcroppings outs are associated with popular but er-
of rock that constitute the Rock Pile on roneous perceptions of the Old West.
Broken Arrow Mountain in Squaw Valley,
USA. Finally, many of the props from the Golden Horseshoe Review
gold rush erabuckets, carts, and mining The Golden Horseshoe Review, a stage
equipmentactually came from western presentation based upon the stage shows
ghost towns. The parks diligent design- found in Old West Towns, is housed in
ers scoured the West to find authentic the Golden Horseshoe Saloon. This
artifacts. structure replicates the type of establish-
ment frequented by old-time gamblers,
Fantasmic gunfighters, and cowboys. The music be-
Fantasmic, a summer and weekend py- ing played, however, is not from the Old
rotechnic show, pits Mickey Mouse and West. Rather, most songs come from the
his friends against villainous Disney western culture created by films and tel-
characters. The battle occurs on the evision shows of the 1950s and 60s. Vis-
Rivers of America, the waterway in Fron- itors hear theme songs from Blazing Sad-
tierland housing the paddleboat and dles, Bonanza, The Wild Wild West, and
Tom Sawyers Island. This new attraction Pecos Bill.
has won only mixed reviews. One visitor
commented that this was useful as a Tom Sawyers Island
shunt to draw people off the rides so that The centerpiece of Frontierland, sur-
we could jump on them unmolested. rounded by the Rivers of America, is
One has to wonder why a presentation Tom Sawyers Island. Following the tradi-
dealing with villainous, mystical charac- tion of many of Mark Twains tales, this
ters is situated in the heart of Frontier- attraction is aimed squarely at children.
DISNEY FRONTIERLAND 127

In essence, it is a playground. One de- Disney uses these two vessels to im-
scription suggests to parents that the is- part not only historical knowledge but
land is definitely a place to take them also a sense of life in the Old West. Pas-
[children] in the later afternoon when sengers in essence journey back into
they are becoming antsy from waiting in time to the trials their ancestors under-
lines all day. went. Disney undoubtedly had this in
The island also re-creates life on the mind when designing Frontierland. As
frontier rivers, notably Tom Sawyers the Disney Web site notes of the Mark
Mississippi. In the early years of Disney- Twain, like the paddle wheelers that
land, you could bring your own fishing used to travel up and down the Missis-
rod and catch live catfish off the docks of sippi, this vessel will open your eyes to
Tom Sawyer Island. Unfortunately, most the wildlife, and the dangers, of frontier
of the fish ended up in the trash bins, be- living a century ago. As Disney himself
cause it wasnt practical to carry them said, I dont like formal gardens. I like
around all day, especially in the summer. wild nature. Its just the wilderness in-
Visitors travel around the island on rafts, stinct in me, I guess.
just like Huckleberry Finn and Tom
Sawyer. Euro Disneys Wild West
The centerpiece of the French Disney ex-
Mark Twain and Columbia perience is a re-creation of Buffalo Bill
Frontierland includes two more water- Codys Wild West Show held in a venue
borne delights. The Mark Twain is a of 1,000 seats. Patrons enjoy authentic
replica of a paddle-wheel steamer that cowboy chuck (food), then sit trans-
once traveled up and down the Missis- fixed as cowboys, Indians, Pony Express
sippi during Mark Twains life. The vessel riders, the Deadwood stage, ten Cana-
is appropriately named: Twain was the dian bison, and other Wild West icons
author who brought life on the Missis- charge into action. A reincarnated Annie
sippi to life for many readers, and he also Oakley practices her crack shooting.
operated a paddle-wheel steamer. Owing to restrictive French laws con-
The second ship on the Rivers of cerning abuse of animals, no rodeo-style
America, Columbia, is a replica of the events can be performed. This re-
first ship to sail around the world. Like creation in France is not as far-fetched as
its paddle-wheel counterpart, the vessel it might seem. Codys famous original
takes passengers on a brief excursion show toured Europe several times, to
around the Rivers of America. However, burgeoning crowds and rave reviews.
in addition to its circumnavigation of the
globe, the Columbia has an important Disney and the West
link to the West: It was the Columbia The Disney Corporation and in particu-
and her Captain Gray who first discov- lar its founder Walt Disney have always
ered the Columbia River, bordering Ore- placed an emphasis on the West, as Dis-
gon/Washington. Therefore, the river ney did on other elements of traditional
was actually named after the ship, not Americana. He recognized the power
vice versa. and popularity of western themes early
128 DONNER PARTY

in his career. During the 1920s, he and (Francaviglia 1999). Indeed, in the real
his brother Roy created comedy ani- Old West, collective, not individual ac-
mated films based on the antics of Lewis tion, spelled survival on the frontier,
Carrolls Alice. In March 1924 they with wagon trains, roundups, barn rais-
filmed their fourth adventure, Alices ings, community harvests, and quilting
Wild West Show. Several Disney movies bees.
have dealt with the West as a central part Visitors of all ages continue to bask in
of the plot. Even during the Mickey Disneys nostalgic, idealized vision of the
Mouse Club shows, one show per week Old West. And today, Disneys theme
would be set aside as western day. parks preserve and present that mythical
Mickey would appear decked out not in vision to a worldwide audience at many
cowboy gear but in the furs worn by the different venues.
traders and explores of the frontiers of Thomas Edward Davis
the United States.
All of these uses and images of the References
West derive from Walt Disneys own ex- The Disney Source: Frontierland: http://disney
periences. He was born at the turn of the landsource.com/frontier/index.html.
century, just at the closing of the western Dougs Disneyland Trivia: http://www.pacific
frontier. His first cartoon with Mickey sites.com/~drhoades/trivia.htm.
Mouse, Steamboat Willy, is set aboard a Francaviglia, Richard. Walt Disneys Frontier-
steamship like the ones that traversed land as an Allegorical Map of the American
the inland waterways, such as the Missis- West. Western Historical Quarterly 30, no.
sippi, of the Old West. Disney brought fa- 2 (Summer 1999): 155182.
mous western and frontier characters, in-
cluding Davy Crockett, Elfego Baca,
Daniel Boone, Texas John Slaughter, and
Zorro to television. Disney movies still Donner Party
include many western characters or
themes. Two recent hits, Toy Story and The story of the Donner Party is one of
Toy Story 2, both have as a central char- the most gruesome and disturbing tales
acter a cowboy doll, Woody, whose voice of the American West, a deformation of
is performed by Tom Hanks. the American Dream. The journey of
Disneys version of the Old West, as these 87 individuals across the moun-
seen in Frontierland, meshes nicely with tains and plains of a new frontier yielded
the mythology of rugged individualism not happiness and freedom but bitter liv-
on the American frontier. It is ironic, ing conditions and near-starvation. A
writes Richard Francaviglia, that Disney century and a half later, Americans re-
depicted the western frontier as a place main transfixed and fascinated by this
of individual initiative when, in fact, its tragedy of cannibalism and survival.
settlement resulted from large scale fed- In the mid-1840s, a new adventure
eral presence in the form of troops, infra- emerged for many Americans. The thrill
structural improvements (roads), and of traveling west challenged people rich
economic incentives such as land grants and poor, of all ages, and from every so-
DONNER PARTY 129

cial class. Promises of wealth and oppor- race against time. Fall would soon turn
tunity echoed through society, and tens to winter, bringing harsh snowstorms.
of thousands began the long, arduous The party, too far along to turn back, de-
journey west. Most braved the trip in cided to push ahead and try to reach
covered wagons containing all their pos- California before winters onset. Travel-
sessions. Most followed the path that be- ing in such a large group proved to be
came known as the Oregon Trail. Suffer- difficult. They could cover only 10 to 12
ing and hardships awaited, and many miles on a good day. Rations and group
emigrants lost their lives to disease, star- morale withered steadily, and cold
vation, and harsh weather conditions. weather threatened.
Before the Donner Party left Spring- When they reached the Sierra Ne-
field, Illinois, on 16 April 1846, they care- vadas, the Donner Party had covered al-
fully equipped themselves with nine cov- most 2,000 miles on foot or in covered
ered wagons and plenty of food, wagon. They remained determined to
ammunition, and oxen for the travels reach their destination. As rations dimin-
ahead. The Reed and Donner families ished, hunger, illness, and anger in-
traveled together, both leaving success- creased. Eliza Donner wrote in her diary
ful lives in Springfield for the promise of of their grim situation: Anguish and dis-
wealth and opportunity in California. may now filled all hearts. Husbands
Upon reaching Independence, Missouri, bowed their heads, appalled at the situa-
their journey took a disastrous turn. tion of their families. . . . We must pro-
George Donner, the appointed leader of ceed, regardless of the fearful outlook.
the group, decided to follow the sugges- The huge drifts of snow made traveling
tions of Lansford W. Hastings, a geogra- with wagons almost impossible, and after
pher and aspiring tour guide. His 1845 a few days a snowstorm forced them to
publication, The Emigrants Guide to Ore- halt. Huddled together in the fierce and
gon and California, mentioned a quicker bitter winds of winter, women and chil-
route to California that could save weeks dren cried from hunger, and men
of travel time. Turning off the estab- clasped their hands together in despera-
lished path just beyond Fort Laramie, the tion, looking for an answer. Conditions
group, now numbering 20 wagons, made took yet another turn for the worse.
steady progress. Several weeks into the Nearly six months later, on 25 April
journey, however, it became clear that 1847, the 46 surviving members of the
the route was more a hypothesis than an Donner Party emerged slowly from the
actual trail. The Donner Party found wilderness, their faces stricken with
themselves struggling through difficult delirium and disbelief. Almost a year to
terrain, their supplies running low. the day after their ill-fated journey be-
On 26 September 1846, the party gan, they arrived in Bear Valley, Califor-
stumbled up the original trail along the nia. Half of them had perished. Ques-
Humboldt River. Their path had not only tions arose as to how the group, out of
been difficult; it had taken them an extra food and unable to hunt, had survived
125 miles and several weeks out of their several months of harsh winter. Their an-
way. The group now faced a dangerous swer both intrigued and disgusted the
130 DONNER PARTY

entire nation. Even before they arrived in level wagon, featuring comfortable beds
California, tales of their situation and al- for each member of the family and mod-
leged cannibalism had spread quickly ern conveniences, such as a mirror and a
through newspapers and word of mouth. stove. She coined the term Pioneer
Their plight snowballed with journalistic palace car, but no other documentation
exaggeration and sensationalism, and verifies that this wagon ever existed. An-
stories emerged of a group that had de- other discrepancy concerns the where-
lighted themselves in the taste of human abouts of the body of Tamsen Donner,
flesh, practicing ritualistic cannibalism in the wife and mother of the Donner fam-
the Sierra Nevadas. Emigration to Cali- ily. Several accounts say she was the last
fornia suffered a temporary but sharp de- to leave when searchers found the party
cline. The Donner Party became the the following spring, claiming she would
hottest topic in the West, and the truth not leave her dying husband. However,
quickly disappeared among the hun- according to Patrick Breem, a Mrs. Don-
dreds of rumors and wild stories of what ner was one of the dead buried at Don-
really happened. ner Lake. Since the only other Donner fe-
In 1849 Donner Pass became the male, Eliza, died at Alder Creek, some
source of the next gold blitz, and more conclude that Tamsen never completed
than 100,000 opportunists flooded the the journey after all.
area hoping to strike it rich. One year A larger debate also arose over who
later, California became the thirty-first was to blame. Early reports blamed the
state, and the image of a cruel and Donners for their stupidity in traveling
rugged West slowly faded into the back- during the winter and their callousness
ground. Donner Lake, the spot where in eating the flesh of their dead compan-
many in the party were found face down ions. After the 1930s, historians named
in the snow, missing the flesh of their Lansford Hastings the culprit for his ill-
arms and legs, became a popular tourist conceived and perhaps imaginary short-
attraction for historians and vacationers. cut through such unforgiving terrain.
PBS television released a documentary Despite the unclear details of this now-
depicting the horrific journey, featuring historic journey, the Donner Party will
journal entries and important informa- forever be seen as a tragic flaw in a ro-
tion about the tragedy. Remnants and manticized period, a curiously unforget-
personal belongings quickly became table group of people among the hun-
high-priced souvenirs that fed the pub- dreds of thousands who made the trip
lics craving for information on the mys- west. Most observers fail to notice the
terious Donner Party. underlying struggle that took place, the
Several concerns about the Donner extreme test of human character that
Party keep its history alive, and each these men, women, and children under-
generation of historians asks new ques- went. The pressure of starvation brought
tions about the disaster. For example, ac- out heroism and selflessness for many
counts differ about the Reed familys under the worst circumstances and
original wagon. Virginia Reed described forced others to make choices the aver-
in her journal a lavishly equipped two- age person will never have to make. Of
DOUGLAS, WYOMING 131

the 41 people who died, more than half some acts these innocent people forced
of them were grown men, those most ca- themselves to commit evoked in the
pable of surviving. Women and children American public a sense of awe and dis-
made up the majority of the original gust. Along with the story of Colorados
party, yet through the efforts of the putative cannibal, Alfred Packer, the
group all but five women and 14 chil- story of the Donner Party reveals the
dren survived. dark, gruesome side of the heroic West.
Fascination for this tragedy refuses to William F. Zweigart
die. A diary entry from Eliza Donner
found later clearly describes their des- References
perate situation and the desperate meas- McClashan, C. F. History of the Donner Party.
ures they took to survive. Stranded and Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press,
weak in the bitter cold of the Sierra 1940.
Nevadas, she wrote, Even the wind Stewart, George. Ordeal by Hunger. Lincoln:
seemed to hold its breath as the sugges- University of Nebraska Press, 1986.
tion was made that were one to die, the
rest might live. Then the suggestion was
made that lots be cast and whoever drew
the longest slip should be the sacrifice. Douglas, Wyoming
The slips of paper were prepared and
Patrick Dolan drew the slip. The grue- See Jackalopes
e
Earp Brothers patriarch covered some 8,000 miles in
his lifetime, pulling up stakes and relo-
The Earp brothershalf-brother Newton cating the family when the fancy struck
Jasper Earp (19371928), James Cooksley him. In addition, the Earp boys also
(18411926), and Virgil Walter (1843 learned respect for the law. Although
1905), all born in Hartford, Kentucky; they may not have always been on the
Wyatt Berry Stapp (18481929), born in right side of the law, they respected it
Monmouth, Illinois; Morgan (1851 and generally acted in its spirit.
1882) and Warren Baxter (18551900), The Earp brothers traversed the West,
both born in Pella, Iowawere peace offi- sometimes alone and sometimes to-
cers, gamblers, prospectors, saloon own- gether, living in Kansas, Arkansas, Ari-
ers, wanderers, and western legends. zona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and
At the end of the famous gunfight at Alaska, among other states. They fol-
the OK Corral, Wyatt Earp and John lowed the trails to opportunity and ad-
Doc Holliday stood without a scratch. venture. Alternately gamblers, buffalo
Most of the other Earps did not fair as hunters, saloon owners, miners, and
well. Virgil would be crippled, and Mor- farmersbut never cowboysthe most
gan and Warren murdered, by the dawn famous Earp brothers always came back
of the twentieth century. Wyatt would to enforcing the law. They married, some
end his days an old man in Los Angeles, of them several times, but remained an
an unpaid consultant to movie studios extremely close family throughout their
interested in his perspective on the real lives. Brothers to the end, they fought,
Old West. Of this famous western family, lived, and died for each other.
only James and Newton managed to stay Legend surrounds the lives of the
out of serious trouble their entire lives. brothers, but most of it swirls around Wy-
The sons of Nicholas Earp inherited att. Virgil and Morgan are forever immor-
his wanderlust; it has been said that the talized for their parts in the OK Corral

132
EARP BROTHERS 133

shoot-out. Were it not for that, the two more typical film, with legendary, larger-
would probably not have been famous. All than-life heroes. It focuses on the Tomb-
three devoted much of their lives to en- stone days and the Earps confrontations
forcing the law, most famously in Dodge with the cowboys. Wyatt is an untouch-
City, Kansas, and Tombstone, Arizona. able, unbendable heroic lawman. Both
Wyatt and another legendary lawman, films accurately present the facts about
Bartholomew Bat Masterson, earned Morgans murder on a pool table and Vir-
reputations for cleaning up the wilder el- gils words to his wife, Allie, after he was
ements in the roaring cow town of shot in the arm: Dont worry, Ive still
Dodge City, Kansas. Later, Wyatt and his got one good arm to hold you with
brothers quickly cleaned up Tombstone (which, according to Wyatts third wife,
in only a few months, but during that Josephine, is just what Virgil said). Both
short period, they became living legends. films end with Wyatt embracing Jose-
The Earps quarrel with the Clanton phine and preparing to embark on a se-
and McLaury families, which culminated ries of adventures. They searched for
in the famous showdown, was factual. It gold, journeying to Alaska, Nevada, Ari-
has been transformed into legend, how- zona, and eventually California.
ever, told and retold for more than a cen- Unfortunately, the reliability of Jose-
tury, re-created and reenacted in books, phine Sarah Marcus Earps memoir, I
song, television, and movies. Stuart N. Married Wyatt Earp, has been called into
Lakes 1931 biography, Wyatt Earp: Fron- question. Author Glenn G. Boyer admit-
tier Marshall, is a firsthand account of ted that he, not Earps wife, was the
Wyatts life, told to Lake by Wyatt himself source of the information. An unapolo-
in the last years of his life. It consists of getic Boyer explained the deception by
part truth and part legend, probably be- describing himself as a novelist, not a his-
cause by the end of his days the two had torian. As he flippantly explains, Im the
all been mixed together in Wyatts mind. literary artist that created the figure I
Walter Noble Burns 1927 work, Tomb- chose to call Ten Eyck, a fictional Tomb-
stone: An Iliad of the Southwest, concen- stone newspaperman (Casey and Glenn
trates on the people and events surround- Interview). Regrettably, most of the pub-
ing the town of Tombstone. lications about the Earps have come from
Like these two books, two recent films writers, not professional historians. Many
also differ in emphasis and approach. of these writers operate with indifference
Tombstone (1993), starring Kurt Russell to or ignorance of the rigorous refereeing
and Val Kilmer as Wyatt and Doc, and system that guides true scholarship.
Wyatt Earp (1994), starring Kevin Cost- However, even the referee system of pro-
ner and Dennis Quaid, offer two differing fessional historiography sometimes fails.
views of the Earps. Wyatt Earp, more Among the embarrassed parties is the
than three hours long, goes into great University of Arizona Press, which pub-
and faithful detail about Wyatts entire lished the Boyer fiction as fact. To the
life, from Illinois to Alaska. Earp is de- presss credit, it withdrew the book from
picted at both his best and his worst. publication after Boyer admitted the
Tombstone, on the other hand, is a book was his creation. Jeff Moyer, Tony
134 EASTWOOD, CLINT

Ortega, Gary L. Roberts, and Casey Tefer- Lake, Stuart. Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshall.
tiller exposed Boyers fiction. As the last Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931.
observed, I hope Western readers will Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia
recognize the importance of this problem of the American West. New Haven, CT: Yale
and why it is a concern to us all. If we do University Press, 1998.
not demand the truth about history in Tefertiller, Casey. Wyatt Earp: The Life behind
nonfiction books, there is no reason for the Legend. New York: John Wiley, 1997.
studying history at all (Tefertiller 1997).
Other facts about the Earp family
have also come under scrutiny. Biogra-
phers have long maintained, marveling, Eastwood, Clint
that Wyatt Earp lived his dangerous, vio-
lent life without suffering a gunshot 1930
wound. As it turns out, his luck ran out in
Nome, Alaska, at the end of June 1890. Clint Eastwood has emerged as the most
Earp and his partner Charles Hoxie important figure in western film since
owned and operated the Dexter Saloon. John Ford. His eerie, violent, taciturn,
According to a press report, filed two sometimes supernatural heroes have
weeks after the event, Earp had a quarrel added an entirely new dimension to the
with a customer. Earp reached for his pis- western film hero. From the Man with
tol, which was lying behind the counter, No Name in Sergio Leones spaghetti
but the customer quickly drew and shot westerns to the morally flawed gunman-
him through the right arm, resulting in a turned-farmer-turned-bounty-hunter in
substantial loss of blood. Oddly, none of Unforgiven, Eastwood gives us powerfully
Nomes newspapers reported the incident, gripping figures who walk the fine line
although we do have a photograph show- between hero and antihero. People
ing Earp with his arm in a sling, standing dont believe in heroes, he says. I dis-
between Ed Eiechstadt and John Clum. agree with the Wayne concept. I do the
For the most part, the Earp family has stuff Wayne would never do. I play big-
won the battle of history. They are gen- ger than life characters, but Id shoot the
erally viewed as upstanding lawmen on a guy in the back.
dangerous frontier. Supporters point to Eastwood has labored in the television
their faithful service, family loyalty, and film industry for more than 40 years.
courage, and skill in upholding the law. However, the industry did not recognize
Their blemishes and errors remain minor his contributions with an Oscar until
footnotes in history. 1992, when Unforgiven won for Best Film
P. S. Crane and Richard W. Slatta and Best Director. In 1994 the Cannes
Film Festival also honored Eastwood by
References naming him head of its jury.
Barra, Allen. Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life Like John Wayne and James Arness,
and Many Legends. New York: Carroll and Eastwood has a stature (six foot, four
Graf, 1998. inches) and powerfully projected physical
Casey and Glenn Interview: http://cooper65. strength that helped him portray larger-
freeyellow.com/page17.html. than-life heroes. The CBS television se-
EASTWOOD, CLINT 135

ries Rawhide (19591966) established his The drifter turns the social and political
cowboy credentials as Rowdy Yates. In order upside down, literally painting the
the 1960s, however, Italian director Ser- town red and renaming it Hell. He
gio Leone and Eastwood worked together rapes, drinks, bullies, and killsall this
to make the dangerous, laconic Man before the bad guys get to town. The fi-
with No Name an international success. nal shoot-out and great conflagration de-
Leone actually wanted James Coburn to stroy the town. Eastwood is the antithe-
star but hired Eastwood because it would sis of the traditional hero, whose efforts
cost less. However, the director came to would save the town. The drifting
greatly admire Eastwoods minimalist, in- stranger rides away in the glare of the
dolent performances. A Fistful of Dollars flames, having revenged himself on evil
(1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), men and on a cowardly, evil town.
and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly As the Pale Rider, Eastwood adds more
(1966) made Eastwoods cold-blooded yet overtly religious elements to his avenging
sympathetic killer an international hero. angel/devil character. This time, he is a
Im very close to the Western, says East- mysterious preacher who defends a min-
wood. Thats where my roots are. ing town with gunfire and dynamite
Eastwood combined the manly against a gang of bad guys. Visual and di-
brusqueness of John Wayne with a mat- alogue conceits conjure images from Ser-
ter-of-factness about killing that resur- gio Leones Once upon a Time in the West
faced again and again in the movies he and Shane. As in High Plains Drifter, it
later directed. In A Fistful of Dollars, he in- seems that Eastwoods avenger is the rein-
structs an undertaker to get three coffins carnation of an earlier character who was
ready. He quickly shoots down four bad brutally murdered. Pale Rider brought
men because my mule dont like people Eastwood his first critical acclaim, at the
laughin. Catching his math error, East- 1985 Cannes Film Festival. Today he mar-
wood adds a measure of extra-dry, black kets Pale Rider Beer with the wry slogan,
humor: My mistake. Four coffins. You didnt expect Clint Eastwood to
Some of Eastwoods most powerful per- make a salad dressing, did you?
formances have come in films that he Eastwood also shows how easily char-
also directed: High Plains Drifter (1972), acters from the Old West make the tran-
The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), Pale Rider sition to modernity. Dirty Harry Callahan,
(1985), and Unforgiven (1992). He dedi- a San Francisco police detective, brought
cated the last film to his mentors Leone the same hero/antihero attributes to the
and Don Siegal. In many films, his mo- modern big city. Wielding a Smith & Wes-
tives are hardly the noble ones of the tra- son Bluenose .44, todays equivalent of
ditional western hero. Greed and re- the cowboys Colt .45, Callahan repre-
venge, not lofty altruism, motivate his sented the same type of avenger, willing
characters. As the mysterious mercenary to break the law when he deems it neces-
in High Plains Drifter, Eastwood emerges sary. Like his cowboy counterparts, Calla-
as an earthy, avenging angel. The towns- han spoke in brief, pithy phrases: Make
people of Lago hire his fast gun to save my day. Do you feel lucky, punk? East-
them from outlaws, but they quickly wood even tied these urban westerns to
learn they have struck a devils bargain. the more traditional type. For example, at
136 ECO-GUERRILLAS

the end of Dirty Harry, he flings off his


detectives badge, much as Gary Cooper Environmentalists
did in High Noon.
Eastwoods William Munny in Unfor- See Adams, Ansel; Cowboy Poetry; Den-
given provides a more complicated but ver, John; Gallatin Writers, Inc.
still recognizable rendering of a hero
with feet of clay. Bounty money and grief,
not lofty ideals, motivate Munny, a re-
tired gunman, to strap on his pistol again. Ewing, J. R.
In a touch of self-deprecating humor,
Eastwood has the aging character fall off See Dallas
his horse a few times. As in many other
Eastwood westerns, the hero makes a
comeback: Munny, brutally beaten nearly
to death, makes a slow recovery with the Exodusters
assistance of friends, and comes back in
the films climax to take bloody revenge. The end of Reconstruction and the de-
Eastwood repeatedly reminds viewers parture of federal troops from the South
that in the Old West or in the New, heroes in 1877 ushered in a new wave of racial
and villains, black hats and white, are not oppression against African Americans.
easily distinguishable. Eastwood gives us Like many others before them, former
not the simplicity and clarity of the old B- slaves looked to the West for a new start,
westerns but morality plays that are for new opportunities. Thousands of
much darker, filled with primal energy, these so-called Exodusters deserted the
more complicated, more troubling, and South for the West in the 1870s, hoping
more interesting. In the year 2000, the to find their own promised land.
ever-creative Eastwood took his heroics Parishioners in black churches across
into space, starring as an aging astronaut the South listened to hopeful letters
in Space Cowboys. A PBS documentary from early Exodusters. When I landed
aired during September of the same year on the soil [of Kansas], wrote John
honoring Eastwoods life and work. Solomon Lewis, I looked on the ground
and I says this is free ground. Then I
References looked on the heavens and I says them is
Johnstone, Iain. Clint Eastwood: The Man with free and beautiful heavens. Then I
No Name. New York: Quill/William Morrow, looked within my heart and I says to my-
1981, 1988. self, I wonder why I was never free be-
Sennett, Ted. Great Hollywood Westerns. New fore? (PBS, The West Web Site).
York: Abradale Press, 1990, 1992. In the spring of 1879, a false rumor
spread like wildfire that the federal gov-
ernment had set aside all of Kansas for
former slaves. More than 15,000 African
Eco-Guerrillas Americans poured into Kansas within the
next year. By the peak year of the Great
See Monkey Wrench Gang Exodus, 1879, more than 50,000 African
EXODUSTERS 137

Americans had migrated westward seek- Following the Civil War, he returned to
ing better lives, mostly in Kansas but also his home state. He initiated an effort to
in Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. purchase farmland for blacks but failed
White westerners did not greet the in- because white landowners refused to sell
flux with open arms. The Wyandotte at fair prices. Singleton then turned his
(Kansas) Herald described the 1879 exo- sights westward to Kansas. Along with a
dus in this way: partner named Columbus Johnson, he
staked out a settlement in Cherokee
During the past ten days, a large number County (which failed) and in a second lo-
of colored immigrants from Louisiana, cation in Morris County. He used posters
Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee have
to publicize the settlements and helped
landed in Kansas. Nearly all of them are
hundreds of poor blacks from Tennessee
penniless, many are sick, and all of them
to move to Kansas between 1877 and
are objects of sympathy. A public hearing
was held at the courtroom Tuesday after-
1879. His strenuous efforts earned him
noon to take steps for their relief and to the title Father of the Exodus.
provide against spreading contagious dis- Some Exodusters lacked funds to con-
ease. (Kancrn Web Site) tinue their westward trek. Many stopped
and erected tents on the old Exposition
Whites in Wyandotte County published Grounds in Kansas City, Missouri. These
a petition of concern: pioneers began establishing the citys
black presence in the area south of Tru-
Within the last two weeks over a thou- man Road between Charlotte Street and
sand Negroes, direct from the South, Virginia. Over time, African Americans
have landed at Wyandott. None of them established businesses in northeast
have money to carry them further west, Kansas, such as Arthur Bryants Barbe-
or to purchase the necessary where-
cue, located at Eighteenth and Prospect.
withal to supply their most urgent ne-
Another restaurant, Gates Barbecue,
cessities of food and shelter. Large num-
opened at many locations in the area.
bers have died, and at least 5% of the
whole number are sick with pneumonia
Segregation laws kept blacks and
and kindred complaints. In a word, over whites separate. In Kansas City, the
a thousand paupers have within a very African-American neighborhood of Bel-
short period of time been thrown into a videre Hollow centered on Troost near
town of about five thousand people, who Independence Avenue. Another neigh-
are unable to properly provide for their borhood, Hicks Hollow, extended east of
wants. (Kancrn Web Site) Prospect from Independence Avenue
northward to Saint John. By 1913 the
More than any other single person, Ben- citys African-American population num-
jamin Pap Singleton (18091892) moti- bered some 16,000.
vated African Americans to go west. Born Freedmen also deserted Texas for
in Nashville, Tennessee, he worked as a Kansas, lured by a homestead act promis-
slave for several masters but always man- ing free land. Kansas fever gripped as
aged to escape. He fled to Canada, then many as 12,000 of these Texodusters,
ran a boardinghouse in Detroit, Michigan, especially those from Washington, Burle-
that frequently sheltered runaway slaves. son, Grimes, Nacogdoches, Walker, and
138 EXODUSTERS

Waller Counties. Richard Allen urged a eral churches, stores, lodges, a school,
planned, gradual movement out of the and two newspapers. However, the
state. At a convention held in Houston in towns bright future dimmed when a
1879, delegates urged against hasty ac- projected railroad failed to reach them.
tion and warned against swindlers at The town got a new life in 1999, how-
both ends of the journey. The out-migra- ever, when the play Flyin West, written
tion created serious labor shortages for by Pearl Cleage, opened at the Topeka
white farmers in many parts of Texas. Civic Theatre. The play re-created the
One of the most successful Exoduster plight of the Exodusters who flew to
settlements arose at Nicodemus in Gra- Nicodemus, Kansas, in search of free-
ham County, Kansas. Colonists from dom. The town also makes up part of the
Kentucky established the town in July Library of Congresss American Memory
1877. Although lacking needed tools, on-line exhibit. Like other pioneering
seed, and money, they survived their westerners, the Exodusters overcame tra-
first winter on the plains. Some sold buf- vails and their efforts stand as monu-
falo bones; some traveled 35 miles to ments to the courage and determination
work for the Kansas Pacific Railroad at that built the West.
Ellis. By 1880, however, Nicodemus held
a population of 400 determined settlers. References
Their descendants and buildings from American Memory, Library of Congress.
the early pioneers remain there today. Nicodemus, Kansas: http://www.loc.gov/
Edward P. McCabe joined the colony exhibits/african/nico.html.
in 1878. He became the first African Athearn, Robert G. In Search of Canaan: Black
Migration to Kansas, 187980. Lawrence:
American to hold a major state office in
Regents Press of Kansas, 1978.
Kansas, serving two terms as auditor
Blankenship, Bill. Exodusting Off History.
(18831887). Original settlers Z. T.
Electric Caf: http://cjonline.com/stories/
Fletcher and his wife, Jenny Smith 011599/ele_flyinwest.shtml.
Fletcher, operated the towns first post of- Digital History, Exodusters: http://www.digital
fice. The Fletchers first lived in a humble history.com/schools/NortheastMiddleSchool/
dugout on the northwest corner of the afram.htm.
township. In addition to serving as secre- Govenar, Alan B. African American Frontiers.
tary of the colony, in 1880, Z. T. built the Boulder, CO: ABC-CLIO, 2000.
towns first hotel, the St. Francis, as well Kancrn Web Site: http://KcK.Kancrn.org/immi
as a livery stable. His wife, Jenny, daugh- gration/cbackground.cfm.
ter of town founder W. H. Smith, also Lawrence, Dennis. African-Americans Migra-
taught school and helped establish the tion to Wyandotte County, 18601900:
http://KcK.Kancrn.org/immigration/disserta
A. M. E. Church. Their hotel left the fam-
tion97.htm.
ily for a time, but in the 1920s Fred
Painter, Nell Irvin. Exodusters: Black Migration
Switzer, a great-nephew raised by the
to Kansas after Reconstruction. New York:
Fletchers, purchased it again. When he Knopf, 1976.
married Ora Wellington in 1921, they PBS. The West Web Site: http://www.pbs.org/
made the hotel their home. weta/thewest/program/episodes/seven/the
By 1887 Nicodemus could boast sev- exodust.htm.
f
Ferris Wheel his family moved from Galesburg, Illi-
nois, to Carson Valley in the Nevada Ter-
The story of George Washington Gale ritory in the summer of 1864. The story
Ferris Jr. and his invention of the Ferris goes that his inspiration for the Ferris
wheel is more a story of confusion than wheel came from his fascination with the
of myth. A recent article in the Reno operation of the large undershot water
Gazette-Journal about the former McKin- wheel at Cradlebaugh Bridge on the Car-
ley Park School in Reno credited archi- son River. Presumably, he imagined what
tect George A. Ferris with inventing the it would be like to be riding around on
Ferris wheel. Even Nevadas former first one of its buckets. George W. G. Ferris Jr.
lady, Sandy Miller, at one time confused and his family lived on a ranch about
the two men. It happens all the time be- two miles north of present-day Gard-
cause they have the same first and last nerville before moving to Carson City in
names. Yet by the time George A. Ferris 1868.
had designed the Spanish Quartet (four George W. G. Ferris Sr.s residence was
Spanish missionstyle schools) in Reno on the southeast corner of Third and Di-
and the governors mansion in Carson vision Streets (the restored house is still
City, Nevada, in the early 1900s, George there, at 311 W. Third), and George Sr.
Washington Gale Ferris Jr., a civil engi- surrounded his house with trees im-
neer who had spent much of his child- ported by rail from Illinois. The legacy of
hood in Nevada, had long since died. this Ferris family included not only the
Nor were the two Nevada families Ferris wheel but much of the landscap-
related! ing of Carson City in the 1870s, includ-
Once again, lets set the record ing the capitol grounds (the spruce pine
straight: George W. G. Ferris Jr. was five that is now the state Christmas tree was
years old (born 14 February 1859) when planted by George Sr. in 1876). George Sr.

139
140 FIELDS, MARY

left the area in 1881 and moved to River- Nevada, as an architect. George A. Ferris
side, California. designed most of the schools in Reno af-
In 1875 George Jr. left the household ter his arrival, as well as high schools in
to attend the California Military Acad- Las Vegas, Nevada; Eureka, California;
emy in Oakland. In 1880 he graduated and Austin, Texas. His design for the
from Rensselaer Polytechnic School in Nevada governors mansion was ac-
Troy, New York, with a degree in civil en- cepted by Acting Governor Denver Dick-
gineering. George Jr. began his profes- erson in 1908. In the mid-1920s, Ferris
sional work in New York City and de- and the prominent architect Frederic J.
signed bridges, tunnels, and trestles DeLongchamps jointly supervised the
throughout the industrial Northeast and plans for the state building in downtown
Midwest. He headed a civil engineering Reno, where Pioneer Auditorium stands
firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when today. George A. Ferris died at St. Marys
he came up with the idea of the Ferris Hospital in Reno on 12 August 1948,
wheel for the Worlds Columbian Exposi- leaving a son, Lehman A. Monk Ferris,
tion in Chicago in 1893. to carry on the architectural firm.
When the 250-foot-tall Ferris wheel fi- Lehman died in 1997 at the age of 103.
nally opened on 21 June, it was an over- The moral of this story: Dont just as-
whelming success and the fairs primary sume, because two names are similar,
attraction. During the 19 weeks it oper- that they name one and the same per-
ated, the Ferris wheel carried 1,453,611 son. A little homework can go a long way
paying customers. Its gross take was in avoiding inadvertently playing tricks
$726,805.50. The wheel was duplicated on the living and the dead.
for the 1900 Paris Exposition, and in Guy Louis Rocha
1904, the original wheel was moved to
St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Ex- Reference
position. On 11 May 1906, the wheel was Jones, Lois Stodieck. The Ferris Wheel. Carson
dynamited and scrapped; a Chicago City, NV: Grace Danberg Foundation, 1984.
newspaper referred to it as Americas ri-
val to the Eiffel Tower. However, George
W. G. Ferris Jr. did not live to see what
happened to his Ferris wheel. He died on Fields, Stage Coach
22 November 1896 in Pittsburgh at the
age of 37. Mary
So who was the George A. Ferris who
sometimes gets credit for the Ferris 18321914
wheel? This George was born in Philadel-
phia on 31 January 1859 (two weeks be- Born a slave in Hickman County, Ten-
fore George W. G. Ferris Jr.). He was edu- nessee, Mary Fields gained her freedom
cated in Quaker schools and at after the Civil War. At six feet tall and
Swarthmore College, and he later moved 200 pounds, she towered above most
to Colorado and northern California. In folks and had no fear of hard work. She
1906 he opened an office in Reno, first found shelter and work among Ro-
FIELDS, MARY 141

man Catholic nuns as the maid and Montana. Her imposing presence on top
friend of Mother Amadeus, an Ursuline of the mail stage earned her the nick-
sister. The sisters left the convent in name Stage Coach Mary.
Toledo and went west to the new St. Pe- After retiring from mail delivery at age
ters Convent near what is now Cascade, 70, she took up yet other careers, first
Montana. Mother Amadeus fell ill with opening a restaurant and then taking in
pneumonia in 1885 and called for her laundry at her home. She also fervently
beloved black friend. Mary quickly trav- supported the towns baseball team,
eled to St. Peters Convent and nursed baby-sitting and spoiling the players
the nun back to health. children. Townspeople loved Mary, even
Black Mary, as she was called, neither building her a new house after hers
looked nor acted like the average novice. burned in 1912. She received special per-
She had little use for the Mass, but she mission from Cascades mayor to drink
loved to smoke cigars, had a thirst for in the male-only saloons of the town. She
liquor, and could shoot accurately. She achieved celebrity status, often enjoying
generally toted a .38-caliber Smith & free meals. Uncertain of her exact birth
Wesson shotgun strapped under her date, Mary celebrated the occasion at
apron. Despite her behavior and habits, least twice each year. On those festive
the nuns loved and supported her. days, town officials closed school in her
Mary wore mens pants under her honor.
dress and apron to ward off the winter Mary touched the lives of other leg-
cold. According to local legend, she had endary westerners. Charles Marion Rus-
shoot-outs with several men who an- sell, Montanas famous cowboy artist,
gered her and ran several others out of spent some time in Cascade. In his
town. Already past 50 years of age, she whimsical 1897 pen-and-ink drawing A
worked at the convent for ten years Quiet Day in Cascade, he shows Mary
without compensation, hauling freight spilling her basket of chicken eggs as a
and doing heavy labor. One winter night, rampaging hog knocks her down.
a pack of wolves spooked her horses. Her A young Montana native named Gary
wagon, laden with food supplies, over- Cooper also knew of the famous African-
turned. The ever-dependable Mary pro- American woman. In 1959 he wrote a
tected the vital shipment through the fond remembrance of her for Ebony mag-
night. She also washed clothes and azine. She is buried in a small cemetery
linens, tended a large flock of chickens, alongside the road between Cascade and
and cared for the gardens at the convent. the St. Peters Convent, a route that she
Finally, however, her wild antics, had traveled so often during her life.
capped by a shoot-out with a mission
handyman, exhausted Bishop Brondells References
patience. He asked her to leave, but Mary Fields: http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/
thanks to intervention by Mother Ama- fiel-mar.htm.
deus, Mary secured a government mail Miller, Robert Henry. The Story of Stagecoach
route. In 1895 she and her mule Moses Mary Fields. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver
went to work delivering mail in central Burdette Press, 1995.
142 FILMS

Time-Life Books. African Americans/Voices of


Triumph: Perseverance. Alexandria, VA: Frmont, John
Time-Life Books, 1993.
Westerners: http://www.thehistorynet.com/ Charles
WildWest/articles/02963_text.htm.
18131890

Films John Charles Frmont, the Pathfinder


of the West, occupies a significant place
See Cavalry Trilogy; Movie Sets in the American historical imagination.
As an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of
Topographical Engineers and subse-

Floyd, Charles quently as a privately funded adventurer,


Frmont led five well-publicized expedi-
Arthur Pretty Boy tions in the 1840s and 1850s that laid
the groundwork for the development of
19041934, outlaw. See Pretty Boy Floyd his romantic myth.
Frmont and his parties explored an
even larger portion of the West than did
the Lewis and Clark expedition. The
Folsom Man Pathfinders expeditions covered substan-
tial parts of modern-day Arizona, Califor-
See McJunkin, George nia, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and
Wyoming. At the time, most of this terri-
tory was almost unknown to European
Ford, John Americans, with the exception of a few
mountain men. Frmont made detailed
18941973, film director. See Cavalry topographical maps and carefully se-
Trilogy lected routes that would be suitable for
future overland travel by both wagon
and railroad. His reports skillfully com-
FORT APACHE bined careful descriptions of the regions
animal and human inhabitants, geogra-
phy, and plant life with an appealingly ad-
See Cavalry Trilogy
venturous tone that caught the popular
imagination and stimulated subsequent
westward migration. Born with the family
Fox, Vicente name of Fremon on 21 January 1813 in
Savannah, Georgia, the explorer later
1942 , Mexican politician. See Politi- added an accent and a final t to his name.
cians and Western Myth Historians have often idealized the ex-
FRMONT, JOHN CHARLES 143

plorer and his wife, whom he married in sightedly refused to support him. Presi-
1841. Jessie Benton Frmont (daughter dent James K. Polk pardoned Frmont,
of legendary Missouri Senator Thomas who remained high in the publics re-
Hart Benton) and her dashing husband gard despite the affair.
became a glamour couple of the Victo- According to Frmont apologists, ex-
rian era. Senator Bentons great enthusi- ternal factors also caused the disasters of
asm for westward expansion plus his his Civil War career. The forces under
considerable influence and sponsorship Frmonts command in Missouri in 1861
greatly furthered his son-in-laws career. and Virginia in 1862 suffered an unbro-
Jessie, beautiful, intelligent, and politi- ken series of defeats. His admirers blame
cally savvy, and her adventuresome hus- these fiascoes on his superiors, who gave
band were rich, attractive, and deeply in him inadequate amounts of supplies and
love, and both were strongly committed troops, and on orders that were either
to bolstering his career. This idealized imprecise or impossible to execute. Fur-
view of the Frmont marriage is a key as- thermore, according to this view, the
pect of his enduring myth. hostility and intrigue of rival politicians
Frmonts public persona still retains poisoned President Abraham Lincoln
much of its luster. Some modern biogra- against Frmont and prematurely ended
phers continue to see the Pathfinders his military career a second time. Those
explorations and reports as key contribu- who accept the myth of the noble
tions to the process of western expansion Pathfinder blame a wide variety of vil-
and the fulfillment of the nations Mani- lains for their heros travails.
fest Destiny. These historians express lit- In reality, Frmonts personal short-
tle concern for the fact that American ex- comings amply account for his troubles:
pansion involved massive dispossession He was intensely paranoid, undisci-
of land from its original inhabitants, ac- plined, and egotistical. When a member
companied by organized violence. Jessie of his poorly planned, ill-fated fourth ex-
Benton Frmont anticipated this future pedition froze to death, the self-ab-
hagiography with her many published sorbed, egotistical Frmont railed furi-
books and articles glorifying her hus- ously against the dead man. He had let
bands career. the Pathfinder down, betrayed him, by
Frmonts supporters generally explain expiring. Frmonts blatant disregard of
away or otherwise apologize for major orders accounts for both his court-mar-
negative aspects of his career. These his- tial and his later removal from com-
torians attribute his court-martial and mand. His inept speeches, poor cam-
conviction on charges of mutiny follow- paign strategy, and strained relations
ing the Mexican War to the jealousy, vin- even with his supporters doomed his
dictiveness, and perjury of his fellow offi- presidential campaign. Not even the mil-
cers. In similar fashion, they blame the lions of dollars he made during the Cali-
overwhelming failure of his 1856 presi- fornia gold rush lasted. He lost most of
dential campaign on a vicious smear his fortune in the 1870s and ended his
campaign by the opposition and on the career as a political appointee: governor
actions of his father-in-law, who short- of Arizona Territory until 1883.
144 FRMONT, JOHN CHARLES

Similarly, Frmonts fairy-tale marriage greatly contributed to their success. Fr-


to Jessie did not measure up to the monts first major attempt at exploration
dream union that myth would make it. without Carson, a winter trek across the
In reality, the marriage fit a typical pat- Rocky Mountains, was an utter failure.
tern in the old army. Ambitious but rela- One-third of the party died, and some of
tively low-paid officers tended to court the survivors resorted to cannibalism.
and marry women based on their family Without Carsons survival skills, Jessies
wealth and political connections rather literary ability, and the mapmaking tal-
than on love or affection. John probably ents of his subordinates, the Pathfinders
believed that Jessie would help advance prodigious reputation could not have
his career, as indeed she did. However, been built.
long separations and Johns recurrent in- Frmont died on 13 July 1890 in New
fidelities suggest a less-than-perfect York. The acerbic Ambrose Bierce well
match. understood the disparity between Fr-
Many historians have also failed to monts public persona and his actual
critically analyze the most central aspect character and achievements: [Frmont]
of the Frmont myth: his achievements has all the qualities of genius, except
as an explorer. The talents and efforts of ability.
others mostly account for his successes. Michael Thomas Smith
Skilled artists and cartographers Charles
Preuss, Edward Kern, and F. W. von References
Egloffstein laboriously created the maps Egan, Ferol. Frmont: Explorer for a Restless
that the public credited to the Path- Nation. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977.
finder. Jessie largely wrote the reports Nevins, Allan. Frmont: The Wests Greatest
that bore her husbands name and won Adventurer. 2 vols. New York: Harper, 1928.
him so much acclaim. Mountain man Kit Rolle, Andrew. John Charles Frmont: Charac-
Carson guided Frmonts first three ex- ter as Destiny. Norman: University of Okla-
peditions, and his considerable talents homa Press, 1991.
g
Gallatin Writers, Inc. still-useful guidebooks and local histo-
ries, the Gallatin writers examine local
Every culture has a creation myth, conflicts and try to come up with solu-
writes Christopher Reardon, an account tions (Honan 1998).
of how the world came to be. In the The writers meet periodically at vari-
American West, the tale has long been ous locations in Bozeman and other sites
told of pioneers who overcame drought, in Gallatin County in southwestern Mon-
disease, and armed conflict to open a tana. The brainchild of a retired econo-
vast frontier. By venerating these settlers mist and sheep rancher, John Baden, the
and their ability to live off the land, sub- project began in 1991. Baden took stock
sequent generations of Westerners have of the areas declining economy as poor
found not only fortitude but also a sense and intensive land use pushed local in-
of purpose and pride (Reardon 1997). dustries into decline. Echoing the long-
Western writers continue to confront standing American belief that knowledge
past myths as well as newly born ones. is power, Baden organized meetings
The Gallatin Writers, Inc., a group of where writers and policy analysts dis-
Montana writers, is striving to cover the cussed the problems of the West. The
gamut of western history, life, and myth. goal, according to the groups founder,
William H. Honan linked the new initia- is a West that is ecologically and eco-
tive to older precedents: Like the old nomically sustainable, tolerant of diver-
Federal Writers Project of the Great De- sity, and humane and locally based in its
pression, which provided jobs for unem- politics (Reardon 1997). A document is-
ployed authors, Gallatin Writers Inc. of sued by the group elaborates on the
Bozeman, Montana, puts writers in har- seminars goals: deconstruct how the
ness to help uplift a depressed area. West has made decisions about its lands;
Where the Writers Project turned out cut the ties with centralist thinking and

145
146 GALLATIN WRITERS, INC.

experiment with indigenous local solu- ics, political economy, and other disci-
tions and new philosophical juxtaposi- plines which bring truth to examinations
tions (e.g., the intersection between of the Wests future. [We seek to] con-
market liberal approaches and communi- struct a new paradigm to guide future
tarian approaches); find the moral base development in the American Westa
behind market-driven economics; dis- paradigm based not on outmoded think-
cover the honest communitarian truths ing about centralized natural resource
that lie behind Western myths; discover management and the subsidized ex-
how all of these might become ingredi- ploitation of the environment, but on
ents for a new society. scientific and economic truth.
Some of the seminars conclusions Today, most rural Westerners still be-
then made their way into a newspaper lieve that the only economy that matters
column, Range Writers, that appears in is the natural resource economy, and
syndication in a number of newspapers that all other economic and social goods
throughout the West. According to Bill are tied to the continuing, largely unre-
Wilke, editor of the Bozeman Daily strained, use of timber, water, minerals
Chronicle, The Gallatin Writers can be and grass. That this rural folk wisdom no
counted on to address the key issues longer squares with reality (if it ever did)
heretimber, mining, ranching, agricul- seems to be lost in the great public de-
ture and the environmentand do so in bates which national magazines have
such a way that causes people to soften described as the War for the West.
their views or even adopt new ideas The Wests economic destiny is tied
(Honan 1998). increasingly not to exploiting natural re-
With strong financial support from the sources, but to protecting them. Road-
Ford Foundation, Badens brainchild has less public lands, wilderness areas, free-
grown into a powerful force molding flowing rivers, national parks and forests,
western public opinion and pushing the the open range and healthy wildlife
region toward more progressive solu- habitat are now the true engines of
tions. The groups mission statement, much, perhaps most, new economic ac-
philosophy, and solution appear on its tivity in the West, yet a substantial por-
Web site: tion of the regions population still
believes that unrestrained resource de-
Recognizing the critical role which writ- velopment is the key to a prosperous fu-
ers and artists have sometimes played in ture. (Gallatin Writers, Inc., Web Site)
influencing public policies, Gallatin in-
tends to orchestrate a new voice to The writers are thus engaged in a mas-
speak to the West. This will be the voice sive public-education campaign. They
of the contemporary writer, skilled to use seminars, publications, radio, and
speak to broad and large audiences and other media to get out their message.
educated (partly through the programs In todays West, Bermuda-shorts-clad
of Gallatin) to bring to the public transla- tourists and yuppies far outnumber
tions of the best available knowledge of ranchers, miners, and loggers, so political
ecology, conservation biology, econom- and economic changes are bound to
GENTLE TAMERS 147

come, often accompanied by conflict. As sions Teach Language of the Land. New
Reardon notes, York Times, 25 March 1998.
Reardon, Christopher. Range Writers of the
Like the Federal Writers Project of the New West: Telling Stories to Reconcile the
1930s, Gallatin Writers programs are Wests Past and Present. Ford Foundation
based on the idea that writers can add to Report, SummerFall 1997.
our understanding of social and eco-
nomic issues because they are skilled at
observation and expression. Through
the written word, Gallatin seeks to foster Garrett, Pat
debate on change at the local level, to
promote understanding and cooperation 18501908, lawman. See Billy the Kid;
that can reconcile conflicting visions of Outlaw, The
the West, and to highlight initiatives that
offer promise and hope for impoverished
rural communities in the region. (Rear-
don 1997) Gentle Tamers
In their musings and policy initiatives, In 1958 Dee Brown wrote one of the first
the Gallatin writers challenge many west- important books about women in the
ern shibboleths, especially the archaic West. He titled his book The Gentle
notion that the regions resources are in- Tamers, a description that makes many
exhaustible. According to Jill Belsky, a feminist scholars bristle. Brown, how-
group member and professor of sociol- ever, discussed a wide range of western
ogy at the University of Montana, that women, not all of them meek and gentle.
also means taking on western icons: The He writes of the formidable Ann Eliza
challenge for the Gallatin Writers group Webb Young and the fiery Carry Nation.
is to update the old western myths in a Indeed, Brown wrote to correct what he
way that accounts for the forces that are saw as Emerson Houghs earlier (1918)
reshaping peoples lives. Theres a need portrait of the gaunt and sad-faced
for new cultural icons. We have to re- woman sitting on the front seat of the
place the cowboy with the image of the wagon, following her lord where he
steward. Where does that come from? might lead, her face hidden in the same
Writers. Use your writing to help com- ragged sunbonnet which had crossed
munities tell their stories (in Reardon the Appalachians and the Missouri long
1997). Western writers of all stripesjour- before (Hough 1918). This mild Ma-
nalists, poets, novelistsare lifting their donna of the Prairie image also ap-
voices to help save the region they love. peared in romantic western paintings.
Most romanticized stereotypes preva-
References lent in pop fiction and movies portrayed
Gallatin Writers, Inc., Web Site: http://www. women as weak, swooning, and always
gallatin.org. in need of saving by the gallant cowboy
Honan, William H. Montana Writers Ses- hero. The real frontier West, however, re-
148 GENTLE TAMERS

Rodeo cowgirls (Library of Congress)

quired much more of women than gen- from a gentleman where she stayed all
tility. Historical studies and memoirs night, that she admitted herself to be a
document the gritty, dangerous lives fraud, but denied that she was a woman.
they led. Like men, women needed She has a traveling companion, a young
courage, strength, and determination to man, who says that this great cattle
survive on the frontier. Some women dealer is a woman, and he knows it. Cali-
went to extraordinary lengths to escape fornia and Missouri have been giving
the strict sex roles imposed by Victorian their reports of females doing their state
values, to the point of donning male in male attire, and we are glad to see
clothing to live the life they wanted in Kansas toe the mark while such things
the West. are all the go. (13 February 1879)
In 1879 the Caldwell Post described A
Female Cattle Dealer in Male Attire: Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst similarly
masqueraded as Cockeyed Charlie and
She represents herself to be the nephew became a famed stagecoach driver in
of August Belmont, and the son of one of 1850s California.
the largest cattle dealers in Texas. She is Just getting west took tremendous
said to be a good talker. . . . We learn strength, courage, and effort. Catherine
GENTLE TAMERS 149

Although some western women rode sidesaddle, in proper Victorian fashion,


most women in the West did not fit the Gentle Tamer stereotype. (Library of Congress)

Sager Pringle kept a diary of crossing the lay long insensible in the tent put up for
Great Plains in 1844: The motion of the the occasion. A little later, Catherine
wagon made us all sick, and it was weeks herself suffered an accident:
before we got used to the seasick mo-
tion. Rain came down and required us to August 1st we nooned in a beautiful
tie down the wagon covers, and so in- grove on the north side of the Platte. We
creased our sickness by confining the air had by this time got used to climbing in
we breathed. As they became accus- and out of the wagon when in motion.
tomed to their prairie schooner, spirits When performing this feat that after-
improved, and merry talk and laughter noon my dress caught on an axle helve
resounded from almost every camp-fire [handle] and I was thrown under the
(Sager Pringle). wagon wheel, which passed over and
On the long trek, however, disaster badly crushed my limb before father
could strike without warning. Soon after could stop the team. He picked me up
crossing South Platte the unwieldy oxen and saw the extent of the injury when
ran on a bank and overturned the the injured limb hung dangling in the
wagon, greatly injuring our mother. She air. In a broken voice he exclaimed: My
150 GENTLE TAMERS

dear child, your leg is broken all to away he is dead. She quickly traveled to
pieces! (Sager Pringle) the ranch. Finding her husbands body, I
knelt down beside him took his hands
Julia Louisa Lovejoy, born in 1812, placed my hand upon his heart and
wrote letters back to a New Hampshire looked upon his face and saw a bullet
newspaper recounting her travels in hole about two inches above the temple
Kansas. On 5 September 1856, she wrote: (Lovejoy). Archibald Stewart had been
ambushed; his murderers were never
Mr. EditorI am not able to sit up but a caught. Helen continued to run the
few moments, having had a severe at- ranch, educating her children along the
tack of bilious intermittent fever, and my way, until 1903. She remarried and lived
husband sick with bilious fever at the in Las Vegas, Nevada, until her death
same time, and our nurse, who kindly from cancer in 1926.
proffered his aid, being an old gentle- Women on ranches did all the domes-
man upwards of 70, crippled with tic chores plus many of the mens jobs,
rheumatism. Altogether, in these dark too. Right into the twentieth century,
days of crime, we have had a sorry time ranching remained hard work. As a
of it, as every hour almost, of our sick- teenager in the 1940s, June Cotton Mar-
ness, some startling intelligence of new tin Finn did ranch work with her father
murders and depredations saluted our in the Osage country of Oklahoma:
acutely nervous senses. Thanks to an
ever watchful Providence, we are both Daddy had all girls. I mean, yeah, all
now convalescent. (Lovejoy) girls, andthe baby was a boy, but he
was a lot younger than the rest of us, so I
Once they arrived in the West, most was his boy. . . . I talked em into letting
women on the ranching frontier lived as me have my own string of horses, and I
the wives, widows, or daughters of worked on the ranch just like a cowboy. I
ranchers. Most did not spend their days did everything the cowboys did. Daddy
at dainty feminine tasks; there was too and I took care of those [five pastures],
much to do on the ranch. Take Helen all those, by ourself. And when we was
Jane Wiser Stewart, for example. Born in workin cattle on our side of the ranch,
Illinois in 1854, she moved with her hus- the first part of the week, on Monday,
band Archibald and three children (ages Tuesday and Wednesday, we rode fence
three, six, and eight) to a remote south- and prowled, and looked for sick cattle,
ern Nevada ranch in April 1882. Five doctored sick cattle (screw-worms and
months later, she bore her fourth child, things like that). Then on Thursday and
without benefit of neighbor, nurse, or Friday wed start the roundups.
midwife. She continued tending to all the Daddy and Id get up about three o-
cooking and ranch chores and to raising clock in the morning. . . . We didnt have
four children. any electricity over there, and Daddy
In July 1884 she received a terse note and Id get up about three, and hed put
from a neighboring rancher: Mrs. Stew- the coffeepot on, and wed go to the
art send a team and take Mr. Stewart barn. And hed milk, and Id feed all
GENTLE TAMERS 151

them horses. Go in that barn, and itd be Well, my daddy and I used to go fishin,
dark as pitch. And fumble around in and wed cook Squirrel Mulligan. And
there until I got the feed, and feed all youd have corn, and potatoes, and
them horses. Wed go back and have tomatoes in it. And put it on and boil
breakfast, and then go back down to the your squirrel, and then add your stuff to
corral, and wed saddle up. And wed it, kinda like you would stew, only we
ride. (Osage Transcripts) called it Mulligan. And Ive baked quail
and Ive fried quail, and Ive cooked elk
Another Oklahoma ranch wife, Lenora roast, elk steak, deer meat, and you
Meeks, recalled cooking during the know, just about anything like that. (Os-
Great Depression of the 1930s: age Transcripts)

Montana cowgirl, 1909 (Library of Congress)


152 GHOST TOWNS

Meeks cooked without benefit of elec- youre raisin eight kids on $60 a month,
tricity or refrigeration, of course. thats not much money. We was poor.
During the 1930s, Rebecca Higgins But it was a good life (Osage Tran-
survived under similarly austere circum- scripts). Gentle tamers? Hardly.
stances on a Wyoming ranch.
For more evidence refuting the meek
The kitchen especially was anything but and mild stereotype, see also Brown,
adequate to the demands made on it. Molly; Calamity Jane; Cattle Kate; Fields,
The lean-to was dark, with only one Stage Coach Mary; Poker Alice Ivers
small window, rather high in the wall op-
posite the stove. There wasnt a real sink, References
nothing but a bench for the dishpan Brown, Dee. The Gentle Tamers: Women of the
with a faucet bobbling at the end of a Old Wild West. New York: G. P. Putnams
pipe. . . . To reach supplies at the back of Sons, 1958.
the storeroom, Rebecca had to get down Hough, Emerson. The Passing of the Frontier:
on her hands and knees and crawl, or A Chronicle of the Old West. New Haven,
send one of the children in for whatever CT: Yale University Press, 1918.
she needed. (Osage Transcripts) Lovejoy, Julia Louisa. Selected Letters from
Kansas, 18551863: http://www.pbs.org/
Despite the hardships, privations, and weta/thewest/resources/archives/four/love
dangers, many ranch women loved the joy1.htm.
life as dearly as they did their men. June Osage Transcripts. Interviews with ranch peo-
Finn summed it up well: ple of Oklahomas Osage Region, provided
by Jeanne Ronda, authors collection. For
One of my fondest memories, and if you further excerpts, see Richard W. Slatta and
dont, never live in Oklahoma you dont Jeanne Ronda. Cowboying at the Chap-
know it, but wed get up like I said, and man-Barnard Ranch. Persimmon Hill 21,
start out, and its so quiet at that time of no. 3 (Spring 1993): 3641.
morning, the only sound would be the Sager Pringle, Catherine. Across the Plains in
creakin of the saddle and the horse 1844 (diary): http://www.pbs.org/weta/the
snortin once in awhile, and the soft west/resources/archives/two/sager1.htm.
breeze blowinits a beautiful time. (Os- Westermeier, Clifford P., ed. Trailing the Cow-
age Transcripts) boy: His Life and Lore As Told by Frontier
Journalists. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers,
The special magic of family, nature, and 1955.
land kept many a woman cooking squir-
rel stew and doing whatever was neces-
sary to keep the ranch going.
Attitude counted for a lot in surviving Ghost Towns
the West, whether in the 1840s or 1940s.
As June Finn recalled, My daddy was a When one envisions a ghost town, the
cowboy all his life. I think he made $60 a image that usually comes to mind is that
month, or something like that. When of a tumbleweed rolling through a deso-
GHOST TOWNS 153

late, abandoned, boarded-up western Bodie slid into rapid decline, and its pop-
town whose former inhabitants have ulation dwindled. By 1920 only a few
long since departed. This popular image dozen inhabitants remained.
is not too far from the truth. Ghost towns Most ghost towns began as boom-
are located in most western states, with towns. Many adventuresome folks moved
Colorado (700 plus) and Texas (350 plus) westward during the nineteenth century
having especially large numbers. These in the hope of striking it rich, perhaps by
dust-covered sites are lonely reminders discovering minerals such as gold, silver,
of the impermanence and the very real or copper. If the local economy boomed,
possibility of failure that characterized saloon keepers, shopkeepers, prostitutes,
frontier life. clergymen, legislators, and others fol-
Two central characteristics define a lowed. The new settlers built an urban
ghost town. First, the initial reason for a infrastructure, including a post office, a
towns settlement, such as the establish- general store, churches, schools, hotels,
ment of a mine or a railroad, no longer saloons, and restaurants, as well as a va-
exists. After resources were depleted, a riety of other businesses.
competing railway was built, or the Ghost towns like those depicted in
mines ran out, people rapidly abandoned westernsthat is, with all of the original
the community, especially if the sur- buildings intact but abandonedare ac-
rounding region offered little economic tually quite rare. Only a few remnants
opportunity. Natural disasters, such as and artifacts generally survive from
fire and flood, also played a part in the these nineteenth-century sites: a few di-
demise of western boomtowns. People lapidated buildings, structural founda-
departed when the economy died. This tions, and evidence of mining or other
sudden departure of the townsfolk led to economic activity. Time and the ele-
the second characteristic of a ghost town: ments, of course, took a toll on the some-
a quick, drastic decrease in population. times-fragile wooden structures. But de-
A good example of this process is the parting settlers also stripped the towns
demise of the mining town of Copper buildings and took what they could with
Hill, Arizona. In 1925 this small boom- them when they moved on.
town reached a population of 500. But Not all ghost towns became com-
when the mines petered out, the towns- pletely deserted. A few residents some-
folk quickly left. By 1930 only 40 people times remain, and in some cases a small
remained; by 1933 no trace of human community may even persist. Those who
life could be found. Another example of remained might rebuild their former
a boomtown gone bust is Bodie, Califor- communities. Many of these restored
nia, a mining town where gold was dis- towns came back to life and became vi-
covered in 1859. By 1879 Bodie was able again in the twentieth century with
thriving, with a population of 10,000 the advent of tourism. Hordes of tourists
(some historians estimate up to 15,000) from the East and from other countries
and with more than 2,000 buildings. The visited to seek out the Old West. Tourists
boom lasted only four years, however, continue to make frequent visits to such
and the gold mines quit producing. western towns as Central City, Colorado,
154 GLASS, HUGH

and Virginia City, Nevada. Today, folks notices. SCC plans to log timber from the
can even thrill to gunfights staged to re- mountainside and conduct exploratory
call the gory, glory days of Tombstone, drillingactivities that do not, however,
Arizona. require removing the local population.
Many ghost towns in the western Residents of Southern Cross are not tak-
statesincluding Columbia, California; ing this lying down. They are taking ac-
Elkhorn, Montana; Silver City, Idaho; and tion. On 6 May three town members filed
Tombstone, Arizonaare listed on the a suit against SCC in order to safeguard
National Historic Register as historic their town from destruction.
sites. Fortunately, preservation laws pro- On 4 November 1998, Judge Ted
tect these sites from both vandalism and Mizner of Anaconda, a neighboring
looting. Local residents can even earn an town, ruled that his court had jurisdic-
income giving guided tours of the sites, tion to hear the Southern Cross case. He
which have become popular monuments issued a preliminary injunction to keep
to the American frontier. The myth of residents in their homes, pending a fu-
the West promised opportunity and suc- ture trial. There is no set date for a trial
cess to all who worked hard. The ghost as of yet.
town reminds us that even good, hard- Jane Veronica Charles Smith
working people often failed. Today ghost
towns, once the stark symbol of failure References
in the West, are enjoying a cultural and Florin, Lambert. Ghost Towns of the West. New
economic revival. Maybe the West re- York: Promontory Press, 1973.
mains a land of opportunity after all. Ghost Towns: http://ghosttowns.com/.
Silverberg, Robert. Ghost Towns of the Ameri-
Endangered Ghost Town can West. Athens: Ohio University Press,
A historic ghost town in Montana is in 1968.
danger of disappearing altogether. South- Varney, Philip. Arizona Ghost Towns and Min-
ern Cross started off as a boomtown dur- ing Camps. Phoenix: Book Division of Ari-
ing the gold rush of the 1860s, and min- zona Highways Magazine, Arizona Depart-
ing continued there for the next 80 ment of Transportation, 1994.
years. Following the decline of the min-
ing industry, a small but loyal population
remained. Many people who live in
Southern Cross today have preserved Glass, Hugh
and restored their homes, as well as
other structures of historic significance, ?1833
creating a tight-knit community in the
process. The people of this ghost town, Left by his fellow mountain men for dead
however, may have to vacate their after being severely mauled by a bear,
homes against their will. In March 1998 Hugh Glass survived to tell the tale. As
the Southern Cross Company (SCC) part of an 1823 expedition financed by
bought the land on which their homes Gen. William H. Ashley and Maj. Andrew
sit and served all residents with eviction Henry, Glass worked with other western
GLASS, HUGH 155

legends, including Jedediah S. Smith, Grand River (in present-day South


Thomas Broken Hand Fitzpatrick, the Dakota), the trappers faced the fact that
Sublette brothers (William and Milton), all ten of them might perish trying to
Jim Bridger, James Clyman, Moses save one man. They decided to leave
Black Harris, and Jim Beckwourth. A Glass behind to recover or die in peace.
fellow trapper, George C. Yount, said that John S. Fitzgerald and 19-year-old Jim
Glass had been a pirate with Jean Laffite Bridger agreed to stay behind and bury
and had lived with the Pawnee, stories Glass when he expired. Both would be
that cannot be corroborated. paid a bonus.
The Ashley trading expedition up the Fitzgerald and Bridger gave Glass wa-
Missouri opened the heart of the great ter, waved off flies, and warily watched
American fur trade. French and British for signs of Indians. Two days passed,
trappers to the north had long exploited and Glass still clung tenaciously to life.
the beaver and other fur-bearing animals The trappers feared they might never
of the Rocky Mountain West. At about catch up with their comrades, so they
age 40, Glass was already old compared dug a grave to enable them to hasten
to most mountain men. He and his com- their departure when Glass did die.
panions endured unbelievable hard- Fitzgerald then convinced Bridger that
ships, blazed new trails, fought with Indi- they must move on. He gathered up
ans, named rivers and peaks, and Glasss rifle and other equipment; dead
trapped for profitable furs. The annual men needed no supplies.
rendezvous (meetings where trappers According to Glasss own account, he
sold their wares) provided an occasion to survived on water, buffalo berries, and
celebrate, socialize, trade, and tell tall the meat of a slow-moving rattlesnake
tales. that happened nearby. Though some-
However, in August 1823, Glass had a what revived, he had only one good arm
different sort of encounter. Many of his and one good leg. Nevertheless, he be-
group had already died in conflicts with gan to crawl downstream toward a
Native Americans. Glass had suffered a French fur post 250 miles away, Fort
gunshot wound in the thigh. A she-griz- Kiowa on the Missouri River. He dug up
zly, protective of her two cubs, severely breadroot, robbed eggs from nests,
mauled Old Glass, as he was called, on sucked the marrow from buffalo bones,
the back, neck, and limbs. His compan- and scavenged.
ions quickly concluded that his days, Some of his wounds healed, but those
perhaps his hours, were numbered. Yet on his back became infested with mag-
he survived, alone, and another western gots. In October he reached the Missouri,
legend was born. where a party of Sioux took pity on him,
His story must be pieced together tended his wounds, and helped him
from various accounts of varying relia- downriver to Fort Kiowa. After only a
bility. According to a trapper named Hi- couple days of rest, Glass, his mind filled
ram Allen, his companions carried the with vengeance, joined a French expedi-
grievously injured man on a litter for at tion up the Missouri to Dakota. Arikara
least two days. Near the fork of the Indians attacked the seven men in their
156 GREY, ZANE

boat, and only Glass and one other es- zly, a gripping, fictionalized account of
caped alive. his crawl for survival. More recently,
In late November, Glass continued his John Myers Myers added a reconstruc-
journey of revenge toward Fort Henry on tion of the historical record, as best it can
the Yellowstone. He covered the last 250 be established, in Pirate, Pawnee, and
miles in a month, walking in freezing Mountain Man: The Saga of Hugh Glass
weather. When he reached the fort, he (1963). Glasss heroic tale of survival and
found it deserted. He picked up the trail revenge gave him some measure of im-
of Major Henry and the other trappers as mortality among the pioneers of western
they headed south down the Yellow- exploration.
stone River. About New Years Day, 1824,
the gaunt and frozen Glass staggered References
into a new stockade that Henry had built Myers, John Myers. Pirate, Pawnee, and
at the mouth of the Bighorn River. Mountain Man: The Saga of Hugh Glass.
Glass angrily spewed out the story of Boston: Little, Brown, 1963.
his betrayal. He forgave the youthful Peterson, Nancy M. Hugh Glass Crawl into
Bridger but demanded to know the Legend. Wild West 13, no. 1 (June 2000).
whereabouts of John Fitzgerald. On 28 Also available: http://www.thehistorynet.
February 1824, Glass hit the trail again, com/WildWest/articles/2000/0600_text.htm.
with several comrades. Another Indian
attack killed two in his party, and Glass
became separated from the other sur-
vivors. Although I had lost my rifle and Grey, Zane
all my plunder, I felt quite rich when I
found my knife, flint and steel in my shot 18721939
pouch, he said later (Peterson 2000).
Alone again, he continued toward the One of the most prolific western novel-
Missouri River, 400 miles east. Arriving ists of all time, Zane Grey left a lasting
at Fort Atkinson, he learned that Fitzger- impression of the romantic American
ald had enlisted. The army refused to let West on each reader. He created charac-
a civilian, however well justified, execute ters of individualism and strength living
one of its soldiers. Glass recovered his ri- in a West of grandeur. Generations of
fle, accepted a small purse collected by readers and film-goers have enjoyed the
sympathetic troopers, but left without mythologized West portrayed in his
taking revenge on Fitzgerald. Glass spent novels.
nine more years trapping before Arikaras Pearl Zane Gray was born 31 January
killed him and two other trappers on the 1872 in Zanesville, Ohio. His parents, Dr.
Yellowstone River in early 1833. Lewis and Mrs. (Josephine Alice) Gray,
Oral tradition and a handful of written believed that children should be seen
sources preserved Glasss saga. In 1915 and not heard. His father used a stick to
John G. Neihardt penned an epic poem enforce this rule quickly and often. Dr.
titled The Song of Hugh Glass. In 1954 Gray, a dentist, tried to impose his strict
Frederick Manfred published Lord Griz- principles on all aspects of Zanes life, in-
GREY, ZANE 157

cluding his after-school activities and nancial and editorial help. He changed
above all on his passion for fishing. his surname to Grey with this begin-
Zanes parents feared that fishing led to ning of his novel-writing career. For the
excessive laziness and alcoholism. To es- next 30 years, Zane had at least one
cape, young Zane became close friends novel in the top ten every year.
with Old Muddy Miser, a ragged hermit In 1905 the couple married. They
who took him fishing. Old Muddy be- moved to Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania,
came the other most influential person and took a honeymoon trip to the Grand
in Zanes young life, instilling a respect Canyon in Arizona, Zanes first trip to the
for nature and a penchant for truancy. West. He immediately became infatuated
The youngster also enjoyed baseball, with the vast country and its astounding
read omnivorously, and wrote. Pearl and beauty. Upon their return, he took up
his grade school chums often met se- writing full-time.
cretly in the woods to read, by the light In 1907 Grey met Charles Jesse Buf-
of an oil lamp, the work of pulp novel- falo Jones at a Camp Fire Club dinner in
ists, such as Beadles Dime Novels, as New York City. A contemporary of
well as James Fenimore Coopers books. William F. Cody, the old frontiersman re-
He earned a baseball scholarship to the counted his adventures in the West at
University of Pennsylvania, where, at his every opportunity. He hoped to develop
fathers insistence, he studied dentistry. retail markets for meat from crossbred
Upon graduation, however, he played buffalo and Black Galloway cattle. Joness
semiprofessional baseball for several frontier tales thrilled the young Grey. At
years, only taking up dentistry halfheart- Dollys urging, he used additional money
edly in the off season. Through it all, he from her inheritance to join Jones on a
kept to his chosen path of a writing trip to the Grand Canyon. Jones captured
career. live mountain lions for eastern zoos.
Gray chose New York City for his den- While outfitting for the trip, Grey also
tal practice because of the large number met a Mormon rancher and outdoors-
of publishers located there. He vaca- man named Al Doyle. He invited Doyle
tioned frequently on the Delaware River to join the expedition as a guide and
near Lackawaxen, Pennsylvania. The helper. They became close friends, and
trips provided material for his early writ- Doyle strongly influenced Greys writing.
ing, and he enjoyed his first success with Dollys faith in her husband was well
a magazine article describing one of his placed. On that 1907 trip, the first of
fishing experiences (A Day on the nearly 70 to remote regions of the West,
Delaware, Recreation magazine, May Grey became acquainted with many leg-
1902). endary figures. Hanging on their every
In 1900 he met Lina Elise Roth, whom word, he soaked up stories of the West
he called Dolly. She shared his fondness and hired guides and packhorses to ex-
for literature and supported him with plore the backcountry. Grey photo-
part of her inheritance. He wrote, illus- graphed and took detailed notes of
trated, and published his first full-length everything he saw and heard on the trail.
novel, Betty Zane, in 1903, with Dollys fi- Back home, he used these materials, as
158 GREY, ZANE

well as his growing knowledge of the In 1918 Doyle guided Grey to the
West, in writing his manuscripts. Tonto Basin below the Mogollon Rim in
Similarities between the people and central Arizona. Born in the late 1840s,
places Grey experienced on these trips Doyle had lived the life of a true pioneer,
and the characters and locations in his the kind who explored and opened the
novels are obvious to the careful reader. West. He was a treasure trove of memo-
Al Doyle served as the model for Logan ries of those early days, and he freely
Huett in Thirty Thousand on the Hoof. shared his experiences around the camp-
Kayenta trader John Wetherill, Greys fire. Honest, courageous, wiry, and mus-
guide on a 1913 trip to Nonnezoshe cular, the hard-working Doyle exhibited
(Rainbow Bridge, Utah), became trader the traits Grey admired. The writer also
Withers in The Rainbow Trail. Indian learned the unwritten Code of the West
guide Nasja Begay became Nas Ta Bega from Doyles tales night after night
in the same book. While traveling into around the campfire.
the Segi Canyon from Kayenta, Arizona, Zane built a new home in Lackawaxen
the party camped at Bubbling Spring and and another in California. He never lost
explored the Keet Seel and Betatakin cliff his passion for fishing and owned two
dwellings, familiar sites to readers of The yachts. During his lifetime, he wrote
Rainbow Trail. nearly 90 books, including 60 westerns.
Other westerners inspired more of Readers bought his books by the mil-
Greys characters. Grey modeled August lions. By 1939, the year that he died of
Naab, in Heritage of the Desert, perhaps heart failure, he had an estimated 54
his most memorable character, on Jim million readers, nearly half the U.S. pop-
Emett, another of his Mormon guides. ulation. By 1975, 50 million Grey books
Emetts mischievous son, Snap, became had been sold in the United States alone.
the evil Snap Naab. The description of In addition, 50 million more had been
Naabs home matches Lees Ferry, Emetts sold overseas. Add 50 book serializa-
Colorado River ranch and ferry opera- tions, 145 Zane Grey Theater episodes,
tion. Although Grey exaggerated many uncounted newspaper serializations,
characters and plots to meet the literary many short stories, and at least 131
requirements of the romance novel, films, and Greys impact is staggering.
some were inspired by real people and Given the huge readership and contin-
actual events. ued popularity of Greys books (his west-
Dolly supported his efforts and pushed erns still sell more than half a million
his writing on publishers, until one fi- copies annually), it is not surprising that
nally accepted The Last of the Plainsmen his type of western hero became the
in 1908. Greys 1910 novel Heritage of standard.
the Desert, finally presented the break- The National Park Service preserves
through success that allowed Zane to be- his home in Lackawaxen as the Zane
come self-sufficient with his writing. Grey Museum. Zane Grey High School in
Other popular works, including Riders Reseda, California, near another of his
of the Purple Sage (1912) and Wildfire homes, likewise honors his memory. In
(1917), followed. Payson, Arizona, where he had yet an-
GREY, ZANE, AND THE CODE OF THE WEST 159

other residence, an annual 50-mile en- virtues expected of old-time frontiers-


durance run is held on the Highline men appear often in Greys heroes. Con-
Trail, one of his favorite places. In Aus- cerning loyalty, he wrote, Wal, loyalty
tralia, fishermen can charter the Zane means youll stick by her in these bad
Grey boat for large gamefish expeditions. times, fight to save her rancho, her herd,
His granddaughter promotes video col- an if necessarydie for her. . . . Miss
lections and T-shirts on the Internet at Holly is boss of this outfit an youre be-
www.zane-grey.com. holden to her. . . . She doesnt care what
Grey still has a huge following today. you do so long as youre loyal to her. . . .
Many home libraries contain one or thet means not to steal from hernot to
more of his novels or short stories in stand fer a pard double-crossin her
their famous cream, red, and blue book (Knights of the Range). On generosity, he
jackets. Book collectors seek out early wrote, Hell lend you anything but his
editions of his novels. A quick flip guns. Give you his last smoke. Stand
through the television channels on any your watch and do your chores (Shadow
given Sunday afternoon will probably on the Trail ).
turn up a film based on one of his nov- Although there are exceptions, Greys
els. His own personal brand of romanti- characters are more often western
cism retains its appeal today because for types than individuals. The western
many people, the mythical West contin- type is muscular, courageous, persist-
ues to hold the same allure it held a cen- ent, loyal, shrewd, and hardworking. He
tury ago. His romantic vision of the West is resolute, quiet-spoken, and capable, he
continues to enthrall reading and film has a clear view of right and wrong, and
audiences. his vengeance is swift and sure. He is im-
Julie J. Anders and Z. Ervin bued with duty and honor and lives by
the Code of the West, a set of principles
See also Grey, Zane, and the Code of the Grey believed in and also tried to live by.
West Beginning with Riders of the Purple
Sage and extending throughout many of
References his western books, Grey reprised this
Gruber, Frank. Zane Grey: A Biography. New character type and set plots. A noble
York: World Publishing, 1970. hero battled ruthless cattle thieves or
Jackson, Carlton. Zane Grey. Rev. ed. New land grabbers. Grey helped to make this
York: Twayne Publishers, Inc., 1973, 1989. kind of epic conflict the norm for ro-
mance westerns in popular literature and
later in film, radio, and television. This
view of the legendary American West is
Grey, Zane, And still held by millions around the world.
Grey believed that the natural envi-
The Code Of The West ronment shaped people more strongly
than any other element. In the face of
Themes from the old Code of the West rapid industrialization and urbanization,
are common in Zane Greys writings. The Grey feared that the spiritual experience
160 GROOM LAKE, NEVADA

with nature enjoyed by earlier genera- him. Thus, his mythical cowboy figure
tions would be lost. He believed that tra- was accepted and imitated by many who
ditional virtues, exemplified in the fron- followed. Grey is largely responsible for
tiersman, would be lost to the loose much of Americas western hero stereo-
morals prevalent in eastern cities. His type. Few others have exerted a greater
readers appreciated his strong morality influence on the mythical American
and simple tastes, devotion to family, cowboy than Zane Grey.
love of nature, codes of chivalry and Z. Ervin
sportsmanship, and honesty in admitting
his own prejudices and shortcomings. See also Wister, Owen, and Winthrop,
His heroes, basically decent and capable Washington
of noble action, served as powerful, at-
tractive role models. References
Owen Wister has been called an arm- Grey, Zane. The Rainbow Trail. New York:
chair westerner, and his novel, The Vir- Grosset and Dunlap, 1915.
ginian, a parlor western. In contrast, ______. Riders of the Purple Sage. New York:
Grey avidly experienced and explored Harper and Brothers, 1912
the wilderness about which he wrote. He ______. Tales of Lonely Trails. New York:
was a rugged outdoorsman who knew Harper and Brothers, 1922.
every foot of the country in his stories ______. To the Last Man: A Novel. New York:
from personal experience. Greys myth of Harper and Brothers, 1922.
the American West elegantly blends Lutman, Richard A. Zane Greys Women: Fic-
imagination and fantasy with real people tion and Family. The Zane Grey Review 12,
and places. He described things so accu- no. 4 (June 1997): 1.
rately, said one critic, that they only Wheeler, Joseph L. Zane Greys Impact on
could have been described by one who American Life and Letters: A Study in the
lived and worked with these people. Popular Novel. Ph.D. diss., George Peabody
Even his professional rival, Louis College for Teachers, 1975; UMI Disserta-
LAmour, praised Grey for having been tion Services, Ann Arbor, MI.
there and for writing from life experi-
ence.
Grey believed that romance writing
should tell the story within the frame- Groom Lake, Nevada
work of historical truth. In To the Last
Man, he wrote, Romance is only another See Area 51
name for idealism; and I contend that life
without ideals is not worth living. Fol-
lowing this rule, Grey held his heroes to
the ideals embodied in the Code of the Gun Control
West. His own life exhibited the hard
work, devotion to family, and traditional Thousands of shoot-outs in western
American values that he espoused. He movies have created the illusion that
identified with his readers, and they with there were high levels of violence and
GUN CONTROL 161

Antigun control ad on a bus bench sponsored by the John Birch Society

gunplay in the Old West. Judging by pop- tion. A few years later, the Las Animas
ular-culture sources, westerners walked Leader (Colorado) agreed: The day of
about armed to the teeth and shot one the Winchester rifle, ivory handled pistol
another at the drop of a hat. Thus, for and cartridge belt belongs to the pastit
many antigun control groups, gun is gone never to return, and with it
shows, and gun advertisers, cowboys and should go every many who cannot dis-
the Old West provide ideal icons for charge his duties on the ranch without
pushing their ideas and products. As his- being thus accoutered (24 February
torian Robert R. Dykstra notes, The 1882).
uniquely savage and homicide-ravaged Many western towns and organiza-
Old West is a construct as phony as tions did take action. In 1878, infamous
Americas favorite invented tradition Dodge City, Kansas, posted a simple sign
the quick-draw street duel reenacted at the towns busiest intersection: The
every day in a score of tourist venues carrying of Fire Arms Strictly Prohibited.
(Dykstra 2000). The reality of gun use At a cattlemens convention in Caldwell,
and prevalence differed sharply from the Kansas, in March 1882, E. M. Hewens of-
gorified images of movie and pop-cul- fered a strong antihandgun resolution.
ture mythology. The group resolved unanimously that
Western publications of more than a the six-shooter is not an absolute neces-
century ago clearly show that political sity adjunct to the outfit of the cowboy
leaders and ranchers of the time argued working on the range of the Cherokee
in favor of and took decisive action for Strip (Breeders Gazette [Chicago], 23
gun control. Residents of the old cattle March 1882). A month later, stock grow-
towns knew from bitter experience that ers of Las Animas County, Colorado, also
armed men meant trouble. The Baxter passed a resolution condemning the
Springs Republican (Kansas) complained practice of carrying revolvers by cow-
that scarcely a night passes but some boys on the range (Denver Daily Times
villain recklessly shoots up or down the [Colorado], 12 April 1882). The Caldwell
streets, endangering the lives of peace- Commercial (Kansas) editorialized that
able citizens (14 July 1876). The newspa- the six-shooter is a relic of barbarism, as
per urged that public authorities take ac- it were, in the annals of stock raising;
162 GUN CONTROL

Reenactors at WestFest play the roles of old-time western gunfighters

but, withal, so handy that some of the The Caldwell Post (Kansas) reported
cowboys will cling to it with tenacity. But the accidental shooting of cowboy Hugh
it must go (2 March 1882). Calvert. While helping unload a wagon,
In 1884 the Black Hills Daily Times of he picked up a blanket or something,
the Dakota Territory described carrying and the revolver fell from it, the hammer
firearms into the city as a dangerous striking upon a skillet and exploding the
practice, dangerous not only to others cartridge, the ball striking Mr. Calvert
but to the person packing the gun. The just above the eye and coming out at the
storys title explained the antigun logic: base of the brain. The newspaper ob-
Perforated by His Own Pistol. Even the served that it is a well-known fact that
best of gunmen could have accidents. five cowboys and cattlemen are killed by
The Wichita Beacon reported that Wyatt the accidental discharge of fire arms, and
Earps revolver had slipped from his hol- especially six-shooters, where one is
ster as he sat in a local saloon. The gun killed by a murderer. The practice of car-
hit the floor and fired. The ball passed rying six-shooters on the range and leav-
through his coat, struck the north wall ing them around the camp and wagons
then glanced off and passed through the should be condemned by the ranchmen
ceiling. It was a narrow escape and the (20 July 1882).
occurrence got up a lively stampede Even the Cowboy President, Theo-
from the room (12 January 1876). dore Roosevelt, recalled with approval
GUTHRIE, WOODY 163

that when he ranched in the Dakota Ter- mean violent death. They took strong
ritory, his town allowed no shooting in measures to reduce that risk. Robert
the streets. The towns newspaper, The Dykstra notes that [what] none of us
Bad Lands Cow Boy of Medora, de- wants to see is western violence become
manded that guns be banned entirely a full-scale political myth, potentially as
within the city limits. The Daily Express lethal as that Lost Cause nonsense un-
(Fort Collins, Colorado) summed up local derlying resurgent neo-Confederate
sentiments well: Strange as it may seem racism in this land. Because thats not
to the average eastern reader, and partic- comic (Dykstra 2000).
ularly the younger ones who have
devoured any great quantity of yellow References
covered literature, several Wyoming Collins, Ross. Gun Control and the Old West.
ranchmen have disarmed their employ- History News Service (on-line), 14 July
ees. A similar movement among Texas 1999: http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~hns/.
stockmen is now said to be making con- ______. Shot Full of Holes (18 January
siderable headway (9 January 1883). 2000): http://www.tompaine.com/history/
Indeed, as early as 1882, Texas cattle- 2000/01/19.
men had banned six-shooters from the Dykstra, Robert R. Imagining Dodge City: A
cowboys belt. In almost every section of Political Statement. Western Historical Quar-
the West murders are on the increase, terly 31, no. 3 (Autumn 2000): 278284.
and cowmen are too often the principals Westermeier, Clifford P., ed. Trailing the Cow-
in the encounters, declared the Texas boy: His Life and Lore As Told by Frontier
Live Stock Journal (5 June 1884). The Journalists. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers,
six-shooter loaded with deadly car- 1955.
tridges is a dangerous companion for any
man, especially if he should unfortu-
nately be primed with whiskey. Cattle-
men should unite in aiding the enforce- Guthrie, Woodrow
ment of the law against carrying of
deadly weapons. In 1885 Pat Garrett Wilson Woody
took charge of the V. V. range in New
Mexico. Cowboys are not allowed to 19121963
carry arms, and he will discharge any
man in his employ who disobeys this Born on 14 July 1912, in Okemah, Okla-
rule. Every ranchman in the country homa, young Woodrow Wilson Woody
should do likewise. The six-shooter must Guthrie suffered a nearly unbearable
go (Cattlemens Advertiser [Trinidad, Col- string of family tragedies. Fire killed his
orado], 3 December 1885). older sister and badly injured his father;
Only in the work of pulp novelists, in his mother fell victim to Huntingtons
B-westerns, and in spaghetti westerns chorea and mental illness. The family
did men go about armed to the teeth. moved to Pampa, Texas, where they suf-
Leaders of the Old West recognized, as fered through the Great Depression of
many fail to in the New West, that guns the 1930s. Seeing few opportunities in
164 GUTHRIE, WOODY

Oklahoma or Texas, in 1937 Woody During the 1940s the westerner


headed west to Los Angeles, hoping to turned his sights eastward and traveled
make a career as a cowboy singer. During to New York City. With the collaboration
the next few years he performed on radio of folklorist Alan Lomax, he recorded
programs and wrote some of his best- Dust Bowl Ballads for RCA Victor, an al-
known tunes, including Oklahoma bum that gained him national recogni-
Hills, Philadelphia Lawyer, Do, Re, Mi, tion. He performed with the best folk
So Long, Its Been Good to Know Yuh, and blues musicians of the time, includ-
and This Land Is Your Land. His western ing Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, and Leadbelly.
populism took on a harder edge in his His best work, however, reflected his
writings for the Communist Partys Daily Oklahoma roots and the grit and opti-
Worker and other leftist publications. mism that carried him and many west-
Guthrie, like many Depression-era erners through the terrible Depression.
Americans, benefited from government Guthries health began to deteriorate
programs. In 1941 the Bonneville Power in the early 1950s. The already unpre-
Administration (BPA) in Oregon hired dictable poets actions became increas-
him to write and sing songs praising the ingly erratic, and in 1952 he learned the
public ownership of electric power. Bon- cause: He had Huntingtons chorea. In
neville officials planned a film to sell the 1954 he scribbled two sentences in a
idea of public power to a skeptical public hand now nearly illegible: I want you to
and to combat the negative propaganda pay a lot more attention to all my words
of private power interests. The agency longer and deeper and quieter and
hired Guthrie to write songs for the louder than I ever could. Youll get more
soundtrack, paying him $266 for a out of them than I did around here. The
months work. Bonneville got its moneys cruel illness left the wandering minstrel
worth: The prolific songster turned out unable to walk, speak, or care for him-
26 tunes. War delayed the films comple- self. He died on 3 October 1967, confined
tion until 1948. In the early 1950s Red- to a hospital bed.
baiting Republicans, unhappy with Guthrie left a considerable archive of
Guthries leftist politics, ordered all works that display the full range of his
copies of the film and songs destroyed. genius. The collection includes more
Happily, the attempt failed. than 10,000 items, including personal pa-
During the 1980s the BPA began plans pers, 300 letters, 700 photographs, 98
to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary. A dili- scrapbooks, 3,000 song lyrics, 700 works
gent employee named Bill Murlin located of art, and another 700 unpublished
lyrics to all 26 Guthrie songs as well as manuscripts. The archive also contains
original recordings of 17. Included some 500 films, videos, and recordings.
among them is Roll On, Columbia: His wife, Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, worked
to organize the materials and provide
Roll on, Columbia, roll on, them with an appropriate home. It took
Roll on, Columbia, roll on. 30 years before money could be raised to
Your power is turning our darkness to form the Woody Guthrie Archives in New
dawn, York City. George Arevalo, an archivist
So roll on, Columbia, roll on! and ethnomusicologist, signed on to pre-
GUTHRIE, WOODY 165

serve and organize the archive. Guthries tion of listeners. Some of the lyrics, such
daughter, Nora, and Harold Leventhal as those of Christ for President, reflect
manage the collection. Artists, scholars, the Oklahomans social criticism:
and other researchers may make appoint-
ments to view the materials. Every year we waste enough
As Arevalo observed, To feed the ones who starve.
We build our civilization up
Woody was not just some guy who And we shoot it down with wars.
played guitar and wrote songs. He was
the consummate diarist. He was an illus- In addition to his musical composi-
trator, artist, painter. And more than any- tions, Guthrie left several books about
one I can think of, he embodies so much his life and times: Bound for Glory (1943;
of the American spirit, someone who a film version appeared in 1976), Born to
could hang out with blues musicians in Win (1965), and two works published
the Deep South, migrant workers in Cali- posthumously, Seeds of Man (1976) and
fornia, come to New York and hang out Pastures of Plenty: A Self-Portrait (1990).
on the Bowery and move in intellectual His true legacy, however, lies in the stim-
circles at the same time. ulus he provided for a powerful genera-
tion of folk artists. Singers from the
Best known for his powerful folk ballads, 1960s (including his son Arlo, Bob Dy-
Guthrie also wrote a song about flying lan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Judy
saucers that he titled Supersonic Boogie. Collins) through the 1980s (John Mellen-
Woodys widow, Marjorie, had her own camp, Bruce Springsteen) continue to
career as a dancer. Following her hus- draw inspiration from Guthrie.
bands death, however, she devoted her-
self to building an awareness of Hunting- References
tons chorea, the disease that killed her Guthrie, Woody. Born to Win. Edited by Rob-
husband. She died of cancer at her home ert Shelton. New York: Macmillan, 1965.
in Manhattan on 13 March 1983, at the ______. Bound for Glory. New York: New
age of 65. The Guthries survivors in- American Library, 1943, 1970.
clude two sons, Joady and folk singer ______. Pastures of Plenty: A Self-Portrait.
Arlo, and daughter Nora. Edited by Dave Marsh and Harold Leven-
Some of the materials from the Woody thal. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.
Guthrie Archives have already been put ______. Seeds of Man: An Experience Lived and
to good use. In 1998 Billy Bragg and Dreamed. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1976.
Wilco released a CD titled Mermaid Av- Klein, Joe. Woody Guthrie: A Life. New York:
enue, named for the street in Coney Is- A. A. Knopf; distributed by Random House,
land where Woody and Marjorie once 1980.
lived. With the collaboration of daughter Woody Guthrie Foundation: http://www.
Nora, Bragg and Jeff Tweedy wrote new woodyguthrie.org.
tunes for 15 of Guthries previously un-
recorded songs from the archive. The
Christ for President. Words by Woody Guthrie.
collaboration brings Guthries wit and Copyright 1998 by Woody Guthrie Publications,
wisdom to a new, international genera- Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
h
Hayduke Plano, Texas, a computer services com-
pany, describes itself as a global leader
See Monkey Wrench Gang in information technology and electronic
business services (EDS Web Site). Its
memorable television adgrizzled cow-
boys herding thousands of cats across
Herding Cats the plainsillustrate[d] the complexities
of managing E-Business (EDS Web Site).
The trail drive ranks among the most The ad continued to play through the
storied events in all of western American year 2000 and is still available on the
history. Tens of thousands of men drove companys Web site.
hundreds of thousands of cattle north EDS also created an on-line game, The
from Texas to Kansas cow towns for Good, the Bad, the Furry. Players test
about 20 years beginning in 1865. Holly- their herding skills by taking the role of
wood films from Red River to City Slick- old-timer Earl, greenhorn Dusty, or cow-
ers have embellished the trail-drive mo- girl Sal. Players must move several quick,
tif. Not surprisingly, an inventive Texas uncooperative cats into a corral. Bring-
company named EDS found yet another ing together information, ideas and tech-
way to build on the legendary, quintes- nologies and making them all go where
sential western drama of the trail drive. A you want is no easy task, notes EDS offi-
powerful image for doing the nearly im- cial Don Uzzi. As our online game play-
possible, herding cats is a vivid part of ers will find, herding cats is similarly
American vernacular. On 30 January complicated. Players will quickly under-
2000, in a memorable Super Bowl televi- stand why we in technology use herding
sion ad, EDS brought the metaphor to cats as a catchphrase when referring to
life. something thats extraordinarily diffi-
Formed in the early 1960s, EDS of cult (EDS Web Site).

166
HILL, JOE 167

Minneapolis-based Fallon McElligott


created the television ad. Visually, it Hill, Joe
wonderfully mimics an epic western trail
drive, complete with cowboys commen- 18791915
tary on the rigors of the work. Being a
cat herder is probably about the tough- Joe Hill, songwriter, legend, and martyr
est thing that Ive ever done, says one of the Industrial Workers of the World,
cowhand. Anybody can herd cattle, spent most of his life working and fight-
snorts another. Weve found an ex- ing on behalf of workers and against the
tremely visual way to illustrate what EDS capitalist system. As a young man, he
does for its clients, said David Lubars, went west to California, where he joined
president and creative director at Fallon the Industrial Workers of the World
McElligott. Its funny, unique and smart, (Wobblies, or IWW). The most important
and we think sure to be memorable to stage in his life took place in Utah, where
the worlds largest viewing audiences on he was executed on 19 November 1915.
Super Bowl Sunday (EDS Web Site). Oth- Hills ideology both embraced and chal-
ers have taken up the phrase herding lenged the ideals of the West. He be-
cats as a powerful marketing tool. Gaelic lieved in freedom, opportunity, and
Storm, the steerage party band seen in equality. Because of his song writing, his
the hit movie Titanic, released an album martyrdom, and his ideals, he became an
titled Herding Cats, filled with the rollick- icon for unions everywhere. Debates
ing Irish dance music the quintet is over his trial, character, and place in his-
known for. In 1997, Warren Bennis pub- tory continue.
lished a book titled Managing People Is On 7 October 1879, Margareta Hag-
Like Herding Cats. In November 1999 glund gave birth to Joel Emmanuel Hag-
Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, glund in Gvle, Sweden. She and hus-
and Pamela Aall edited a book titled band Olof, a railroad worker, had nine
Herding Cats: Multiparty Mediation in a children. In 1902, after his mothers
Complex World. It has become a work- death, Joel left for America. He later be-
place catchphrase that dealing with [fill came known as Joseph Hillstrom. He set-
in the blank] is like herding cats. tled in New York City working at various
odd jobs. He then moved to Chicago,
Reference where he worked in a machine shop for
EDS Web Site: http://www.eds.com. two months. After being blacklisted for
trying to organize the workers, he again
changed his name and became Joe Hill.
From 1903 to 1910, Hill lived in
Hickok, James Butler Philadelphia, the Dakotas, Portland, Ore-
gon, and San Francisco, where he
Wild Bill worked odd jobs and retained his inter-
est in organizing workers. In 1910, after
18371876, gunfighter, gambler. See moving to San Pedro, California, he
Dead Mans Hand joined the IWW, a radical labor union.
168 HILL, JOE

Hill also began to write labor songs He chose to be killed by a firing squad,
that promoted the views of the Wobblies. rather than being hung. Irving Werstein,
His songs became popular and appeared author of Pie in the Sky (also the title of a
in later editions of the Little Red Song- Joe Hill song), asserts that Hill faced the
book, a collection of Wobbly music. After firing squad without a blindfold. This is
organizing and defending the IWW in false, another embellishment of the mar-
the West, in 1913 Hill decided to head tyrs legend. Other discrepancies ap-
back to Chicago. He stopped in Salt Lake peared in the New York Times and still
City, Utah, along the way to break up the appear on the Joe Hill Internet home
trip and perhaps to visit a relative. He ex- page. According to the Times, from the
tended his stay and went to work in vari- day after his death, Hillstrom de-
ous mines in Utah. clared . . . that he did not wish any of his
On the night of 10 January 1914, two friends to see the execution. In contrast,
masked men shot a grocery store owner, the Joe Hill home page states that Hills
J. G. Morrison, and his son, Arling, in Salt request to invite friends was denied
Lake City. After police investigation and based on their membership in the Indus-
confusion, the police placed Hill under trial Workers of the World.
arrest for the murders. The evidence Hill possessed great pride, loyalty, and
against Hill did not appear to be strong. courage. He did shout fire to the squad
However, he did have a gunshot wound to initiate his death. Did the State of
that could have connected him to the Utah seize the opportunity to get rid of a
murders. Hill said hed gotten shot in a labor agitator? Statements by Governor
fight with an angry husband over a sup- William Spry show that he wanted to use
posed affair. He did not help his own Hill as an example to those who defied
case because of his pride and mistaken the law. Media coverage urged people to
trust that justice would set him free. He defend against a mythical IWW inva-
might have also consciously decided to sion. Some of Hills last statements have
accept martyrdom to further the cause of become common labor slogans and sym-
the One Big Union. He steadfastly bols. Dont mournorganize! and I will
maintained his innocence until he died. die a true-blue rebel! added to Wobbly
Under Utah law, Hill had the option of a folklore. Donald E. Winters Jr., author of
firing squad or the gallows. Ill take the The Soul of the Wobblies, states that his
shooting, Hill told the judge. Ive been martyrhood is sometimes paralleled
shot a couple times before, and I think I with the crucifixion of Christ (Winters
can take it (Joe Hill: The Man behind 1985). As Irving Werstein observes,
the Martyr). Alive, Joe Hill was merely . . . a working-
Despite mass support by workers, Pres- class poet and songsmith; dead, he be-
ident Woodrow Wilson, young Helen came the symbol of revolution (Wer-
Keller, and the Swedish government, the stein 1969).
State of Utah executed Hill at sunrise on Joe Hills funeral took place in Chicago
19 November 1915. His death turned with an estimated 15,00030,000 people
him into a martyr for the labor move- in attendance. People sang Hills songs
ment. He died for a cause he believed in. and read aloud his last words. He re-
HILL, JOE 169

quested in his will that his body be cre- Joe Hill also became the subject and
mated and his ashes distributed by the inspiration of additional songs. In 1925
wind. The Wobblies did not make it that Alfred Hayes wrote a tribute poem, Joe
simple. The IWW distributed envelopes Hill, later set to music:
of his ashes across the country, and on
May Day, 1916, people disbursed his I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
ashes in every state expect Utah. May Alive as you and me.
Day only seemed fitting for a labor hero. Says I, But Joe youre ten years dead,
Not everyone scattered the ashes sent I never died, says he
them. Ashes may have been distributed
to South America, Europe, Asia, Aus- Earl Robinson recorded the song in 1936.
tralia, and South Africa. During a raid of Paul Robeson sang Joe Hill to a packed
an IWW headquarters in 1917, police dis- Carnegie Hall in 1958. Robeson is par-
covered some of Hills ashes behind a tially responsible for spreading Hills
framed picture of him. Billy Bragg, a so- popularity to England. In 1983 Utah
cialist musician of today, even swallowed Phillips also recorded the song.
some of Hills ashes. He also recorded Famed folk singer Woody Guthrie
the song Joe Hill in the early 1990s. recorded a song called Joe Hillstrom in
Canadian singer and songwriter Len Wal- 1947. Phil Ochs also wrote a song called
lace received a locket containing some of Joe Hill. Joan Baez sang Joe Hill at
Hills ashes in 1991. An IWW local in Woodstock in 1969, thus introducing the
Toronto presented it to him for keeping legend of Hill to the rebellious youth
the tradition of Joe Hill alive. there. In 1990 Si Kahn wrote a song, Pa-
Songs are a major reason why Joe Hill per Heart, about Hills execution. (The
is remembered. His most popular works title refers to the paper target pinned on
include The Preacher and the Slave, Hills chest.) Kahns publishing company
Rebel Girl, and Casey Jones. Hills is called Joe Hill Music. In 1989 Marc
songs attacked capitalism and religion. Levy sang a song at the Smithsonian In-
Timothy E. Scheurer, author of Born in stitution called Joe Hills Ashes. Joe Hill
the U.S.A., says, For Hill, . . . joining the is remembered and revered by many
union is the real manifest destiny of the people.
nation (Scheurer 1991). Hill recognized A Swedish movie called Joe Hill came
that music would be remembered over out in 1971. It sympathetically depicts
time, but he did not live to see the great Hill and ignores his conviction for mur-
impact of his songs in popular culture. der. In one fictitious scene, Wobblies are
A number of Hills songs have been dancing around Hills ashes. A famous
performed and recorded by many musi- painting by Mary Latham originally
cians. A duo from New England called the hung in the Joe Hill Hospitality House in
Hobo Minstrels still plays Joe Hill songs Salt Lake City. It portrays his execution
today. A minstrel group called the Al- with the image of Jesus Christ on the
manac Singers dedicated an album to Joe cross hovering above the smoke rising
Hill. Utah Phillips, a folk singer, recorded from the guns of the firing squad.
The Preacher and the Slave in 1988. Like composers, many writers have
170 HISPANICS IN WESTERN FILMS

paid homage to Hill. One of the most Stegner, Wallace. Joe Hill: A Biographical
popular and controversial books is Wal- Novel. Lincoln: University of Nebraska
lace Stegners novel Joe Hill. The novel Press, 1950.
does not treat Hill as a legend; rather, it Werstein, Irving. Pie in the Sky. New York:
presents him as fully capable of murder. Delacorte Press, 1969.
The book sparked protest because of Winters, Donald E., Jr. The Soul of the Wob-
ethical issues and the negative treatment blies: The I.W.W., Religion, and American
of Hill. In contrast, Ralph Chaplins book, Culture in the Progressive Era, 19051917.
Wobbly, presents Hill as a hero. Chaplin, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985.
an ex-Wobbly, talks about how crushed
he felt when Hill died. Although Chaplin Sources of Further Information
never met Hill, he felt a spiritual kin- Joe Hills songs on-line: http://206.220.140.
ship. In 1951 Barrie Stavis published a 75/radio.
play called The Man Who Never Died, Phil Ochss song Joe Hill: http://hillstrom.
which documented Hills life. In 1980 an- iww.org/joehill.html.
other play about Hills life, Salt Lake City
Skyline, appeared on Broadway.
The labor hero Joe Hill remains a con-
troversial western legend. Gatherings Hispanics In
each 19 November commemorate his
death. Protest signs and buttons repeat Western Films
his sayings. An e-mail I received on 22
September 1999 from Z Magazine con- Racial discrimination marred social rela-
tained the phrase dont mournorgan- tions in the Old West just as it did else-
ize. PBS television aired an excellent where in the nation. African Americans,
documentary of his life on Labor Day, Asians, members of many European im-
2000. Hill continues to inspire labor migrant groups (such as Basques), and
unions and popular movements every- Hispanics all felt the sting of Anglo-
where. He will always be a martyr of the American racism. Many negative cultural
Wobbly cause. stereotypes also carried over into popu-
Michael L. Sileno lar culture, especially films. Furthermore,
films generally stereotyped Hispanic
References characters, who spoke with thick accents
Hampton, Wayne. Guerilla Minstrels. Knox- and played stock roles, like the scar-
ville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986. faced bandito or the swarthy Mexican
Joe Hill: The Man behind the Martyr. PBS cantina dancer/temptress. Perhaps more
documentary site: http://www.pbs.org/joehill. so than any other ethnic group, Hispan-
Scheurer, Timothy E. Born in the U.S.A.: The ics have suffered from a long history of
Myth of America in Popular Music from negative stereotypes presented on the
Colonial Times to the Present. Jackson: Uni- silver screen.
versity Press of Mississippi, 1991. In 1977 historian Allen L. Woll pub-
Smith, Gibbs M. Joe Hill. Salt Lake City: Uni- lished the first serious critical study of
versity of Utah Press, 1969. the portrayal of Hispanics on film in The
HISPANICS IN WESTERN FILMS 171

Latin Image in American Film. Ameri- The greaser, noted Ramon Novarro,
cans thus receive, he wrote, a dominant was too popular to be successfully op-
picture of Latin society populated by posed by anyone in Hollywood. I, among
murderous banditos and submissive, but several others, made strenuous objec-
sensual, peasant women. Unfortunately, tions to my studio and others. But we
there is little to balance this all-too- could not argue with financial success
prevalent stereotype (Woll 1977). Early (Hadley-Garcia 1993). Greaser for a
silent movies demonized Hispanics, es- time became the most common label for
pecially Mexicans, even more thor- Mexicans, portrayed as violent, sadistic,
oughly than they did American Indians. untrustworthy, and immoral. After vehe-
In Indian Scouts Revenge (1910), a pio- ment protests by many parties, including
neer family helps a Mexican man. He the Mexican government, Hollywood fi-
falls in love with a daughter in the fam- nally abandoned the term in the 1920s.
ily, but she rejects his affections. En- Although such negative images pre-
raged, he ungratefully wreaks havoc on dominated, occasional positive roles did
his hosts. Captured by Mexicans (1914) appear for Hispanic actors. In 1960 His-
graphically depicts the horrible fate sug- panic actor Ramon Novarro looked back
gested in the title. The conflict of the wistfully at the silent era. They say si-
Mexican Revolution probably inspired lence is golden, he noted, and for actors
the thin plot of The Challenge of Chance of Hispanic origin, silent movies were
(1919). A professional prizefighter, who wonderful. We were not limited by our
also owns a ranch, defends his property voices or accents, so Hollywood wel-
against attacks by a dangerous band of comed us with open arms. It has never
Mexican insurgents. Countless films, been the same, since (Hadley-Garcia
such as Arizona Cat Claw and Desert 1993).
Gold, both filmed in 1919, present vil- The flamboyant cowboy hero Tom Mix
lainous Mexican bandits whose actions presented one of the earliest sympathetic
reflect their barbarism and immorality. and positive screen portrayals of Mexi-
Hollywood produced a string of cans. The Mexican (1914) presents a poor
greaser movies that were representative Mexican ranch hand who suffers the
of racial attitudes of the time. The taunts and harassment of his white
derogatory term greaser for Mexicans coworkers. The rancher fires him. How-
extends well back into the nineteenth ever, he nobly saves the life of the
century, and in the racially insensitive ranchers baby, thereby earning the re-
era of the early twentieth century, films spect of whites in the film. The rancher
perpetuated the negativity. The Greasers rehires him in the films happy ending.
Gauntlet (1908), The Greasers Revenge In The Lone Wagon (1923), a Mexican
(1914), Bronco Billy and the Greaser protects a family of pioneers from attack-
(1914), and Guns and Greasers (1928) ing Indians. Fighting Fury (1924) pre-
represent just a few of many films perpet- sents the common western theme of re-
uating demeaning, villainous images of venge for an injustice or assault against
Mexicans. In The Cowboys Baby (1910), ones family. In this case, however, the
the greaser throws a baby into a river. avenger is a Mexican who tracks down
172 HISPANICS IN WESTERN FILMS

three ranchers who unjustly killed his ano Roosevelt announced his Good
parents. Neighbor Policy to improve relations
In many cases, skin color, not ethnicity with Latin American nations. However,
per se, determined the roles an actor Hollywoods version of reality generally
could play. Dark-complexioned Warren had Anglo heroes again combating cor-
Baxter, for example, often portrayed Indi- rupt, lawless Mexicans. Examples include
ans or Hispanics during the silent era. He Durango Valley Raiders (1938) and Bor-
played a Mexican, smartly dressed in a der G-Man (1938). During the late 1930s
wide sombrero and embroidered charro and into World War II, many cowboy he-
jacket, alongside Dorothy Burgess, in the roes made films with Borderlands or
1929 film In Old Arizona. Actress Do- Mexican settings, including singing cow-
lores Del Rio recalled the era: Skin tone boys Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, and Roy
was very important then, and Spanish- Rogers, as well as Hopalong Cassidy and
speaking actors in Hollywood fell into the Lone Ranger.
two categories. If light-skinned, they Although Spanish-speaking actors
could play any nationality, including found roles in the talkies, the old practice
American. Dark-skinned actors were of white actors playing Hispanic heroes
fated to play servants or appear as vil- continued. Beginning in 1931, Warren
lains (Hadley-Garcia 1993). Baxter made a series of films as the Cisco
Furthermore, white actors often por- Kid. He also played a fictionalized ver-
trayed Hispanic heroes. Douglas Fair- sion of the California bandit Joaqun
banks Jr., for instance, played the Old Murieta in the 1936 film Robin Hood of
California Spanish swordsman Zorro. El Dorado. In 1965 a blue-eyed Jeffrey
Later, other white actors would again Hunter would reprise the role of Murieta.
play the role, including Tyrone Power In 1971 the role finally went to a Span-
(1940), Frenchman Alain Delon (1974), ish-speaking actor when Ricardo Montal-
and George Hamilton (1980). Not until ban played the hero in a made-for-televi-
1998 would a Spanish-speaking actor, sion production, The Desperate Mission.
Antonio Banderas, don the famous mask Young Jane Russell played the fiery
and sword of one of Hollywoods most mixed-blood heroine Rio in The Out-
famous Hispanic heroes. law, a 1943 Howard Hughes production.
During the 1930s, talkies presented Beginning in 1939, Hollywood belat-
new language and cultural challenges for edly embraced the Good Neighbor
Spanish-speaking actors. Protests from theme. Indeed, Latino themes and actors
throughout Latin America greeted the came into their own. As Allen Woll notes,
1932 film Girl of the Rio, which perpetu- talent scouts brought planeloads of
ated two long-time stereotypes. Leo Car- Latin American talent to Hollywood, as
rillo played a greaser-like villain, and viewers discovered and delighted in Car-
Dolores Del Rio starred as a sexy cantina men Miranda, Desi Arnaz, and Cesar
dancer named the Dove. As in previous Romero (Woll 1977). The Cisco Kid role
decades, most Hispanic roles portrayed finally went to a Hispanic actor, Duncan
illegal and often violent activities. Renaldo, as did that of his comic sidekick
In 1933 president-elect Franklin Del- Pancho, played by funnyman Leo Car-
HISPANICS IN WESTERN FILMS 173

rillo. Cesar Romero also starred in six Anglo actor, Marlon Brando, in Viva Za-
Cisco Kid adventure films shot in pata (1952). Yet another blue-eyed Anglo
19401941. Although she did not star in actor, Paul Newman, played a Mexican
westerns, Carmen Miranda enjoyed huge bandit in The Outrage (1964). In 1969,
popular success as the Brazilian Bomb- outraged Hispanic actors, led by Ricardo
shell. Indeed, Latin rhythms and songs, Montalban, formed the group Nosotros
along with incredibly silly costuming, (We in Spanish) to lobby Hollywood for
poured out of Hollywood. Among west- better roles and better, more believable
erns, romanticized portrayals of Old images of Latinos.
Spanish California, with white Castilian The spaghetti western craze of the
heroes, predominated. Examples include 1970s marked a new low point in the
The Mark of Zorro (1940), with Tyrone screen depiction of Mexicans. Beginning
Power, and California (1946), with Ray with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (re-
Milland, Anthony Quinn, and Barbara leased in 1967), leering, sweaty Mexican
Stanwyck. villains swarmed across the screen, led
Hispanic actors enjoyed very limited by Eli Wallach as Tuco. An avalanche of
benefits of the golden age of movie and violent, demeaning sequels followed, as
television westerns during the 1950s. directors in Italy, Spain, Mexico, the
Katy Jurado left the Mexican film indus- United States, Israel, and a host of other
try and gained critical acclaim as Helen countries tried their hand at pasta
Ramirez in Fred Zinnemans classic High oaters (spaghetti westerns). Likewise The
Noon (1952). On a lighter note, Richard Wild Bunch (1969) presents the evil, vi-
Chito Martin played Tim Holts side- cious Mexican general Mapuche, played
kick in 29 B-westerns. He provided both by Emilio Fernandez, and his forces in a
humor and stereotypical Latin lover climactic bloodbath.
charm. He also appeared with Robert The decline of westerns in general in
Mitchum and James Warren. Among his the 1970s also meant a decline in His-
films are Brothers in the Saddle (1949), panic roles. However, a minor renais-
Dynamite Pass (1950), and Gunplay sance followed in the 1980s. In 1982 Ed-
(1951). Indeed, since the 1920s, dark- ward James Olmos starred in The Ballad
haired, irresistible Latin lovers, like Ra- of Gregorio Cortez. In this film, based on
mon Novarro, have joined the pantheon historical events in Texas, the Mexican
of durable Hispanic stereotypes. bandit is a popular hero, not a dastardly
Old stereotypes die hard, however, and villain. Three Latino actors, Emilio Es-
the evil Mexican bandit resurfaced with tevez, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Charlie
a vengeance in Anthony Quinns por- Sheen, enjoyed popular and critical ac-
trayal of Jos Esqueda in Ride Vaquero! claim in a number of commercially suc-
(1953). Similarly, Rodolfo Hoyos version cessful films, including Young Guns
of Pancho Villa in Villa (1958) presents (1988).
the hero of the Mexican Revolution as a A new social and ethnic consciousness
cruel, selfish, low-life bandit. And an- has infused some of the more recent
other Mexican revolutionary hero, films. Ruben Blades starred as the sheriff
Emilio Zapata, would be portrayed by an in a very different type of western, The
174 HOLLYWOOD THE HARD WAY

Milagro Beanfield War (1987). Based on References


John Nicholss popular and moving 1974 Hadley-Garcia, George. Hispanic Hollywood:
novel, Robert Redfords movie version The Latins in Motion Pictures. New York:
unfortunately flopped at the box office. It Citadel Press/Carol Publishing, 1990, 1993.
did, however, illuminate ethnic, class, Halnon, Mary. Indians and Mexicans: Alter-
and environmental conflicts in New Mex- native Cultures in the Silent Western: http:
ico, with a lone Chicano (Joe Mondragon, //xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/HNS/West
played by Chick Vennera) trying to stave film/indian.htm.
off developers who are using all the Woll, Allen L. The Latin Image in American
towns water. Likewise, The Border (1982) Film. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American
criticized corruption and abuses in the Studies Center Publications, 1977.
migra, the U.S. Border Patrol. In spite of
its contemporary theme, the film ends
with an old-fashioned, bloody shoot-out.
Signs of progress include annual Hollywood The
American Latino Media Arts (ALMA)
awards honoring outstanding Latino per- Hard Way
formers and positive portrayals in film
and television. The National Council of See Van Meter, Jerry
La Raza (NCLR) sponsors the ALMA
awards, now broadcast on national tele-
vision. Likewise, recognizing the fast-in-
creasing numbers of Spanish speakers, in Hoover Dam
March 2000 HBO television announced
plans for a Latino Channel. This would Abraham Lincoln said, What people
compete with Univision, the current think is, is more important than what ac-
leader among Spanish-language televi- tually is so. Lincoln should know. A lot
sion outlets. of people think he participated in the
Despite these hopeful signs, Hispanics Lincoln-Douglas debates when he ran
have not fared well over the past century for president, that Ann Rutledge was his
at the hands of those making western great lost love, and that he wrote the
films. Despite some progress, stereotyp- Gettysburg Address on the back of an
ing continues. Throughout the 1960s envelope. None of which is true.
and 70s, all major Latin roles [were] por- From Betsy Rosss mythical needle-
trayed by North Americans, notes Allen work to Ronald Reagans supposedly
Woll, and the South American remains never getting the girl in the movies, our
an object of scorn. Instead of progress, history is filled with facts that everyone
only a vicious circle emerges (Woll knows are trueexcept they arent. Such
1977). However, most distressing is the folklore seems to grab the public imagi-
fact that despite fast-growing numbers of nation more tenaciously than the usually
Hispanics in the general population, they more interesting reality. Year after year,
remain largely invisible in Hollywood stories with no substance are repeated
productions. and retold while the facts remain buried.
HOOVER DAM 175

In Nevada a number of tall tales have deliciously macabre, wrote Joseph


become accepted as truth and have in Stevens in his award-winning book
some cases resisted all efforts at correc- Hoover Dam: An American Adventure,
tion. Here is one of the best known: that it became the basis for the most en-
Workers are buried in Hoover Dam. This during legend of Hoover Dam, and arti-
myth is the despair of Hoover Dam tour cle of faith for millions of visitors who
guides. Someone in every group taking down through the years would insist, de-
the tour is sure to ask how many men spite the firm denials of tour guides, Bu-
are buried in the concrete of the gigantic reau of Reclamation engineers, and his-
dam. According to the story, on several torians, that the great arch was not only
occasions during the dams construction a dam but a sarcophagus (Stevens
in the 1930s, a worker slipped, fell, and 1988).
was covered by concrete as it was being Actually, the dam was poured in rela-
poured. Unable to stop the cascade of tively small sections, so about all a fallen
concrete before the worker suffocated, worker would have had to do to get his
supervisors had no choice but to allow face clear of the rising concrete was to
the concrete to continue flowing, cover- stand up. Officially, 96 dam workers died
ing the worker and sealing him in the of various causes (112 persons unoffi-
dam. This happened seven times during cially), but none was permanently buried
construction, according to the tales most in concrete.
popular version. The closest any worker came to being
In 1986 Tom King, director of the Uni- buried was on 8 November 1933, when
versity of Nevada Oral History Program, the wall of a form collapsed, sending
interviewed several men who had la- hundreds of tons of recently poured con-
bored on the construction of Hoover crete tumbling down the face of the
Dam. They told him that a number of dam. One worker below narrowly es-
bodies lie buried in it. These stories caped with his life; W. A. Jameson, how-
were made somewhat plausible by the ever, was not so lucky and was covered
authority of the tellers, themselves dam by the rain of debris. Jameson was the
workers, and by our knowledge that only man ever buried in Hoover Dam,
building the dam was indeed an ex- and he was interred for just 16 hours be-
tremely hazardous enterprise, said fore his body was recovered.
King; however, further questioning re- A structural engineer interviewed for a
vealed that none of the storytellers had Discovery Channel documentary on
actually witnessed such a tragedy or Hoover Dam pointed out that it would
knew the identity of any of the victims. be sheer folly to leave a worker buried in
This was not surprising: the tellers be- the dam. A decomposing body would
lieved what they were saying, but their jeopardize the dams structural integrity
stories were folklorethere are no bodies and risk the multimillion-dollar project
in the dam. and consequently the property and lives
The idea of workers forever entombed downstream of people on the Colorado
in the giant structure that they had River.
helped build was so irresistibly poetic, so Guy Louis Rocha and Dennis Myers
176 HORN, TOM

Reference needed the help of a man I could rely on,


Stevens, Joseph E. Hoover Dam: An American and I always placed Horn in charge. For
Adventure. Norman: University of Okla- it required a man of bravery, judgment
homa Press, 1988. and skill, and I ever found Tom true to
the last letter of the law to any and every
trust confided in his care (Cunningham
1996).
Horn, Tom After quitting his post as chief army
scout, Horn wandered through the Ari-
18601903 zona gold fields and then became a
ranch hand. He proved himself a capable
Legendary western scout, Pinkerton de- rider and roper at a rodeo in Globe, Ari-
tective, and range detective, Horn hired zona, in 1888. He won the steer-roping
out his gun to the highest bidder. Suc- competition. Three year later, he set a
cessful in getting his man, he eventually record in Phoenix, Arizona, by roping a
died at the gallows for a murder he may steer in 45.5 seconds.
not have committed. In 1890 Horn joined the Pinkerton De-
Born in Memphis, Missouri, on 21 No- tective Agency, working out of the Den-
vember 1860, Horn grew up a farm boy. ver office. He tracked down train and
He reveled in outdoor life and hated bank robbers and other criminals and
school, which he often skipped. His very showed himself to be fearless. In October
strict father whipped the 14-year-old so 1891 Horn himself went on trial, mis-
severely that the boy ran away from taken for a train robber by a Reno,
home and headed West. The youth Nevada, sheriff. Horn reportedly rode
worked at odd jobs, night-herding cattle, into the famous Hole in the Wall outlaw
on the Santa Fe railroad, and for freight hideout and single-handedly captured a
and stagecoach companies. notorious train robber named Peg-Leg
At age 16, Horn scouted for the army, Watson. This feat marked the beginning
serving for more than a decade. In 1886 of Horns legend in the West. He quit de-
he tracked Geronimo and his band to his tecting after a reported 17 killings, say-
hideout in the Sierra Gordo outside of ing I have no stomach for it anymore.
Sonora, Mexico. He rode into the Indian (Horn probably quit in 1892, although
camp alone and negotiated Geronimos his own writings give the date as 1894.)
surrender. Geronimo, with Horn guiding However, Horns aversion to killing ap-
him and his tribe, crossed the border, of- pears to have been short-lived. In 1892
ficially surrendered, and ended the last the Wyoming Stock Growers Association
great Indian war in America. According hired him as a detective to gather evi-
to Horns autobiography (not always a dence of rustling and to track and kill the
reliable guide), the Apache nicknamed culprits. Such a job had many names, in-
him Talking Boy because of his transla- cluding regulator and range, stock, or
tion skills in Apache and Spanish. After livestock detective. In many cases, un-
Horns death, the armys chief scout, wanted settlers and small ranchers, who
Al Sieber, recalled that often-times I infringed on the open range used by
HORN, TOM 177

large ranchers, became the targets of a of 18 July, on the Powder River Road
regulator. Horn also worked for the Swan near Cheyenne, someone set an ambush
Land and Cattle Company, officially as a for Nickell. Instead, two shots struck and
horse breaker but unofficially as a killer. killed Nickells tall 14-year-old son. The
Horn earned $500 to $600 for every cat- gunman, several hundred yards from his
tle thief he killed. He ruthlessly and suc- target, possibly mistook the boy for his
cessfully tracked down rustlers and father. According to prosecutors, the un-
gained a reputation as a killer. According fortunate youth had worn his fathers
to dubious legend, as a trademark and coat and hat, but his mother insisted
warning, he would place a stone or two that he had dressed in his own clothes.
under the head of each victim. Suspicion immediately turned to Horn,
Utilizing his prodigious tracking skills, feared and generally hated in the
he carefully observed his victim over a Cheyenne area. Deputy Marshal Joe
period of days. After planning his am- Lefors obtained a confession while Horn
bush, he loaded his long-distance buf- was drunk. The prosecution never estab-
falo gun and generally killed his victim lished a reasonable motive for Horn to
with a single, large-caliber bullet. Killing kill the boy, but on 23 October 1902 the
men is my business, he proclaimed, and jury found him guilty. Horn succeeded
another dozen bodies attested to his in escaping on his third attempted jail
skill. break, on 6 August 1903, but he was
Horn fought in Cuba during the War quickly recaptured. The Wyoming Su-
of 1898 (Spanish-American War), then preme Court turned down his appeal in
returned to the West. In 1900 he proba- September 1903.
bly shot and killed accused cattle A wealthy cattleman, John Coble, and
rustlers Matt Rash and Isom Dart in Col- Horns girlfriend, a schoolteacher named
orado. He then rode to the Wyoming Glendolene Myrtle Kimmel, pushed un-
ranges to kill for cattle baron John Coble. successfully for a commuted sentence.
He also regaled wealthy ranchers at the According to the latter, Horn was a man
Cheyenne Club with stories of his days who embodied the characteristics, the
stalking Apaches and driving herds up experiences and code of the old fron-
the Chisholm Trail. He was once again a tiersman. Horns biographer, Dean Kra-
hunter of rustlers, and his tactics had kel, has argued that officials framed the
changed little since he had begun the gunman for the Nickell shooting. Eugene
bloody business a decade earlier. Cunningham has likewise concluded
In 1901 Horn investigated a rustling that Horn was innocent of the shooting.
problem near Iron Mountain, north of Later, Jim Millers son Victor, who had of-
Laramie, Wyoming. A feud brewed be- ten fought with Willie Nickell, allegedly
tween neighboring cattle ranchers Jim confessed to the murder.
Miller and Kels P. Nickell. The two Horn spent the last months of his life
fought in February, and Miller stabbed writing his memoirs and weaving the
Nickell. That spring, Nickell committed a rope that would be used to hang him. On
serious crime in cattle country: He the day of his hanging, officials put
brought in hated sheep. On the morning Cheyenne under martial law, fearing that
178 HORSES, MYTHICAL

Horns cowboy friends might try to free Horan, James D. The Gunfighters: The Authen-
him. Officials had reason to worry, given tic Wild West. New York: Gramercy Books,
that they had found five sticks of dyna- 1976, 1994.
mite outside the jail the previous Decem- Nash, Jay Robert, ed. Encyclopedia of Western
ber. According to witnesses, Horn told Lawmen and Outlaws. New York: Paragon
the executioner to hurry it up. I got House, 1992.
nothing more to say. He was hanged at
11:08 A.M. on 20 November 1903. His
last words were reputed to have been
thats the sickest-looking lot of damned Horses, Mythical
sheriffs I ever saw (Cunningham 1996).
Family members removed the body to See Wildfire
Boulder, Colorado, for burial.
Horns death did not end the contro-
versy that surrounded his life. Novelists
and filmmakers have found his violent, Horses, Wild
somewhat tragic life an appealing topic.
McDonald Carey played him as a hired See Wild Horses
killer named Bus Crow in the 1953 film
Hannah Lee. In 1975 Will Henry penned
the novel I, Tom Horn. David Carradine
starred in Mr. Horn, a 1979 television Hughes, Howard
movie based on the stock detectives life.
A year later, Steve McQueen presented 19051976
Horn as a rather sympathetic but
anachronistic figure in an exquisitely As motion pictures became a dominant
photographed but rambling film, Tom factor in American culture during the
Horn. Critic Brian Garfield called the 1920s, California witnessed a new migra-
movie an abysmal mess. tion very similar to that of the 1840s.
Despite his protestations of innocence, This time, people came to seek their for-
Horn lost the battle of history and is gen- tune in movies, not gold. Among them
erally viewed as a bloodthirsty murderer, was Howard Hughes Jr. This young mil-
an anachronism who outlived his violent lionaires interests in film and aviation
times. His girlfriend, loyal to the last, helped shape the future of California
penned a fitting epitaph: Riding hard, during the 1920s and 30s.
drinking hard, fighting hardso passed Hughes influenced the West tremen-
his days, until he was crushed between dously during this period, yet he is rarely
the grindstones of two civilizations. listed as an important regional figure.
This is owing in large part to his eccen-
References tric lifestyle and to the wide range of his
Cunningham, Eugene. Triggernometry: A activities.
Gallery of Gunfighters. Norman: University Hughes entered the world on Christ-
of Oklahoma Press, 1941, 1996. mas Eve, 1905, outside of Houston,
HUGHES, HOWARD 179

Texas. Foreshadowing the mysteries sur- friend for the production of Swell Hogan,
rounding his later life, he possessed no a movie never released. Undismayed, he
birth certificate, even though respected paid $150,000 for Everybodys Acting,
doctors attended. The lack of a certified which turned a modest profit. Two Ara-
date of birth posed a problem during bian Knights (1927) proved a box office
World War II when he tried to prove his hit, and its director, Lewis Milestone, re-
age. The only records of his birthday are ceived an Oscar at the first Academy
two sworn affidavits by relatives Awards ceremony. The positive trend
Howards father, a lawyer, initially put continued over the next two years with
the family in a precarious financial situa- The Racket and The Mating Call.
tion. After earning $50,000 by leasing Howards passion in life was undoubt-
Texas oil property, he took his new bride, edly aviation, which drove him to create
Allene Gano, on a European honeymoon; a film with an aeronautical theme. He
he returned $50,000 in debt. After set- spent $4 million on Hells Angels (1930).
tling in Houston, he began one of the One million dollars paid for the creation
citys most influential companies, Hughes of airfields throughout the Los Angeles
Tools, to serve the regions burgeoning area and for the purchase and recondi-
oil industry. Howard Sr. leased his newly tioning of 87 World War I biplanes. Ini-
patented bit, the Sharp-Hughes rolling tially, the movie received terrible re-
bit, to each well for $30,000. This bit, views. However, as is often the case with
which had 166 cutting edges, quickly bad reviews, the movie opened to pande-
dug through the thick Texas soil. The monium. The public loved the film and
cash flowed freely to Howard Sr. after his the new actress Hughes introduced, Jean
partner, Walter B. Sharp, died in 1915. Harlow. His next picture, Jazz Singer, rev-
After oil discoveries in California, olutionized the motion picture business
Hughes Tools expanded to Los Angeles. by adding sound. Hughes redid his
After Allenes death during the spring of movie, incorporating the new sound
1922, Howard Jr. and his father moved to technology, allowing it to continue in
Hollywood. In January 1924, while theaters across the world for the next 20
Howard Jr. was studying at Rice Univer- years.
sity, his father died suddenly from a Following the success of Hells Angels
heart attack. The sudden deaths of both and Scarface, Hughes turned his atten-
parents probably led to Hughess obses- tion back to his true passion. In 1932 he
sion with germs and health, an obsession took a modest-paying job with American
that would characterize his later years. Airlines. He masqueraded as a baggage
Howard Jr. was the primary beneficiary handler and even as a copilot. He spoke
of his fathers will, receiving three-quar- often with passengers and learned the
ters of the estate. A provision in the will ropes of the airline industry. This experi-
required Howard to have a guardian and ence would serve him well several years
to finish college; however, he won a peti- later when he purchased a struggling air-
tion for full control of his inheritance. line, TWA.
Hughess movie career began unevent- During the early 1930s, Hughes flew
fully. In 1925 he provided $80,000 to a in many airplane races. In 1935 he
180 HUGHES, HOWARD

brought the speed record to the United The bodyguards whisked him away to
States, hitting almost 353 miles per hour. seclusion, and he eventually settled in
He accomplished this feat in a custom- Las Vegas. His hotel of choice was the
built plane, creating a legend and a mark Desert Inn. One day, the hotel manage-
for pilots everywhere. ment, upset because Hughes occupied
With the onset of World War II, the an entire floor of the finest suites, asked
Hughes Aircraft Corporation busily con- him to leave immediately. Instead,
tracted with the government to produce Hughes purchased the hotel the follow-
warplanes and even a giant wooden ing afternoon. He would also acquire the
transport (called the Spruce Goose). Sands, Frontier, Castaway, and the tiny
Hughes turned his attention back to- Silver Slipper. He purchased the last be-
ward film, especially his most infamous cause the hotels marquee shined into
movie, The Outlaw. This movie, al- his room. Although in seclusion, he still
though of extremely poor quality, set faced governmental pressure.
box office records because of the new Hughes never seemed concerned with
lead actress, Jane Russell. federal taxes, even claiming that he
Following World War II, Congress con- never paid them. When legal pressures
ducted hearings into many companies became too great, he fled to the Ba-
that had contracted for war materials. hamas. During this period, Clifford Ir-
Hughes testified about his involvement ving concocted one of the greatest
in the construction of the Spruce Goose. hoaxes of the twentieth century: He sold
This wooden seaplane, the largest air- a manuscript, presumed to be the mem-
craft ever built, had still not flown by oirs of Howard Hughes, for $1 million.
wars end. In fact, the first and only flight Hughes telephoned a denial, thus reveal-
of the Spruce Goose came ten months af- ing the fraud. Eighteen months after
ter Japan surrendered. Although his as- leaving for the Bahamas, Hughes died on
sertions that this plane would fly eventu- an airplane over Mexico while returning
ally proved to be correct, Hughes left the for medical treatment.
public eye for several years, returning to Following his death on 5 April 1976,
test piloting. myths about his lifestyle continued.
During the 1950s, while piloting an ex- Many centered on a debate over the dis-
perimental aircraft, Howard crashed and tribution of his estate, which had an es-
suffered severe head and neck injuries. timated value of $600 million to $900
The accident left him a tattered man. He million. A host of relatives, including ex-
became more paranoid and addicted to wives, bickered over the fortune. The le-
painkillers. By 1960 Hughes, severely gal battles continued for years. Lawsuits
emotionally disturbed, let his paranoia were even filed accusing Hughess physi-
about germs begin to take over his life. cians of negligence in his death.
He hired a former CIA agent and body- Hughes has been portrayed in several
guards, all Mormons because Hughes films, many dealing with aviation. In Dis-
believed Mormons to be the purest neys The Rocketeer, Hughes is the inven-
Americans. tor of the rocket pack. At the end of the
HUGHES, HOWARD 181

movie, he presents the hero Clifford Se- stitute. Located in Chevy Chase, Mary-
cord with a new racing plane. Several of land, this research facility is a leading
his own movies also still survive. Some medical center. The University of Illinois
critics now consider Hells Angels one of also has an undergraduate education
the best movies ever made. Even The program named after him. From medical
Outlaw ranks as the seventh most finan- research to aviation to the oil industry to
cially successful western, when receipts film, Hughes left his eccentric, often ego-
are adjusted for inflation. centric mark on the West.
The Spruce Goose, perhaps Hughess Thomas Edward Davis
greatest technological accomplishment,
still survives. Shortly before the airplane
was scheduled for destruction in the References
mid-1970s, the Wrather Corporation Barlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. Em-
concluded a deal to buy the cruise ship pire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of
Queen Mary. With this purchase, the cor- Howard Hughes. New York: W. W. Norton,
poration opened up a tourist attraction 1979.
in Long Beach, California. The Spruce Brown, Peter Harry, and Pat H. Broeske.
Goose, berthed next to the great cruise Howard Hughes: The Untold Story. New
ship, remains the worlds largest aircraft. York: Penguin, 1996
Hughes also left a philanthropic Drosnin, Michael. Citizen Hughes. New York:
legacy, including the Hughes Medical In- Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985.
i
Ivers, Alice
See Poker Alice Ivers

182
j
Jackalopes heads often hang proudly on tavern
walls. Hunters can order a special jacka-
Douglas, Wyoming, claims to be the lope license from the Douglas Area
home of the jackalope, a rare western Chamber of Commerce. The town hosts
animal that looks like a jackrabbit except an annual Jackalope Days Celebration
that it has antlers like those of an ante- each June. The State of Wyoming also is-
lope or deer sprouting from its head. Ac- sues hunting licenses for the varmint,
cording to legend, a much larger variety but for only one day each year, 31 June.
became extinct, leaving only todays The Douglas Area Chamber of Com-
smaller variety. Westerners have long en- merce has also published a seven-
joyed regaling tenderfeet with tall tales chapter on-line history of the animal.
of mythical beasts, such as Montanas
fur-bearing trout, which evolved to sur- Historically, the first recorded observa-
vive the regions icy waters. The jacka- tion occurred in 1829 when an occasion-
lope, supposedly named by a little boy in ally sober trapper, named Roy Ball, ob-
Douglas, belongs to the same family of served one in what is now the area of
mythical animals. Douglas, Wyoming. Even before this, the
Wyoming residents claim that retired Indians knew them and referred to them
welder and taxidermist Doug Herrick as Dust Devils freely translated (the
created the first jackalope, scientific Ogallala phrase was kick-upa-the-
name Lopegigrus lepusalopus ineptus, in dust). It is believed that this name
Douglas in 1939. In 1985 Governor Ed evolved from the swirling winds that are
Herschler issued a proclamation com- caused when the jackalope quickly ac-
memorating the feat. No western tourist celerates or stops on a still day. It is not
trap is complete without postcards of the true that the larger jackalopes cause tor-
elusive little critter. Mounted jackalope nadoes, but their speed and quickness is

183
184 JACKSON, HELEN HUNT

Back in Douglas, Herricks nephew Jim


has continued the family tradition of cre-
ating jackalopes at Herricks Big Horn
Taxidermy. He makes some 1,500 mount-
ed heads a year, which sell for $45 to
$60. For a price, outfitters will take
tourists on a jackalope hunt. Alas, most
hunters report only seeing jackalope
does; unlike the bucks, they dont sprout
antlers. As the Douglas Area Chamber of
Commerce admits, most sightings of the
smaller animals have come from the in-
toxicated cowboys and U.F.O. groupies.
When visiting Douglas, be sure to photo-
graph the worlds largest specimen,
standing more than eight feet head-to-
tail in Jackalope Square at Third and
Center Streets downtown.

References
Jackalope in Fort Worth, Texas Barrier, Michael. Prairie Dogs, Pottery, and
More. Nations Business, October 1994.
Davis, Elizabeth A. Only 35 Days Left Till
verified by the fact that they do mate You Can Bag a Crafty Jackalope. Salt Lake
during lightning flashes. (Douglas, Wyo- Tribune, 27 May 1998.
ming, Web Site) Douglas, Wyoming, Web Site: http://www.
jackalope.org.
The animals travel in groups of ten or so,
called committees.
Douglas is not the only western town
to take advantage of the jackalopes no-
toriety. Mounted specimens may be
Jackson, Helen Hunt
viewed throughout the West. In Santa Fe,
See Ramona
New Mexico, tourists may visit Charles
H. Darby McQuades shopping complex
named Jackalope. It stands on Cerrillos
Road, southwest of the towns historic
downtown plaza. The entrepreneur has a James, Jesse
prairie dog village, a petting zoo, and
folk art by the truckload from around 18471882
the world. In addition, dozens of folk
artists work and sell their creations on Jesse James earned his place in the his-
the grounds. tory of the American West as head of the
JAMES, JESSE 185

James-Younger Gang. Among the most more numerous northern foe. Union
famous of outlaws, he made a name for militia came to the James house looking
himself by robbing banks, trains, and for Frank. They reportedly hanged Jesses
stagecoaches after the Civil War. In that stepfather, nearly killing him, and they
turbulent era, James became a symbol of beat Jesse and his mother. In retaliation,
a South unwilling to surrender, a senti- Jesse, age 16, joined the ranks of Bloody
ment widely shared by southerners. He Bill Andersons troops and practiced raid-
frustrated and infuriated government of- ing tactics similar to Quantrills. These
ficials and pursuers but generated a raids and guerrilla tactics taught the
great deal of loyalty and support from James boys the tools they needed later as
the American public. A good-hearted outlaws. Jesse suffered wounds twice
man, he loved his family. Religious, fiery, during the war; the second time, he was
and intense, he was unafraid of commit- shot through the lung while trying to
ting theft or murder. As a result, estima- surrender. His first cousin Zerelda,
tions of his character range from wanton named for his mother, slowly nursed him
killer to Robin Hood. back to health. The two fell in love and
Jesse Woodson James was born in later married.
Kearney, Missouri, on 5 September 1847 When the war ended, Frank and Jesse
to Robert and Zerelda James. His father, a returned to their farm and tried to make
quiet Baptist preacher, had an ardent de- a straight living. Some say carpetbagger
sire to spread the Gospel. Jesse read the retaliation against raiders turned Jesse
Bible during his outlaw years and proba- and Frank back to their wartime ways.
bly got his religious zeal from his father. However, according to historian William
His spunk probably came from his A. Settle Jr., boredom and an inability to
mother, who was known as a spitfire adjust to postwar life provided more
who openly voiced her opinions. The likely motives. This time, they practiced
family worked a farm, and Robert also raiding as outlaws. The brothers commit-
worked hard at his ministry at New Hope ted what some consider the first daylight
Baptist Church. Well respected in the bank robbery in peacetime, killing one
community, he helped establish William man and stealing $60,000 from a Liberty,
Jewell College and served on its initial Missouri, bank.
board of trustees. In the spring of 1850, With the addition of Jim and Cole
Robert planned to take his ministry to Younger and others, Jesse and Frank
the California goldfields, but he died formed the JamesYounger gang. Jesse
later that year of cholera. Zerelda remar- led the gang on a run from the law that
ried twice and had four more children lasted 16 years. They gained notoriety
with her third husband. for robbing banks, trains, and stage-
Jesses elder brother Frank joined the coaches, targeting the rich and especially
Confederate Army at the beginning of the railroads. Robbing the rich helped
the Civil War, but Jesse was too young. In create their Robin Hood image. Banks
the fall of 1862, Frank joined the guer- and railroads hired the Pinkerton Detec-
rilla band led by William Quantrill, who tive Agency to stop the gang, but Jesse
used brutal raiding tactics to counter the had already become a regional and na-
186 JAMES, JESSE

tional folk hero. By the end of their brothers as folk heroes rather than com-
spree, they had committed at least 15 mon thieves.
successful robberies and killed as many A whole series of dime novels chroni-
as 25 people in the process. Then, in cled the Jameses exploits and reinforced
1876, the gang decided to rob the First their chivalrous reputation in the eyes
National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota. of the public. In these fanciful stories, the
Townsmen ambushed them and killed or James boys stole from the rich and re-
captured all but Frank and Jesse. spected the poor. They would check a
With the rest of the gang dead or in persons hands for calluses. If he ap-
prison, Frank and Jesse went into hiding. peared to be a working man, he kept his
Jesse moved back to St. Joseph, Missouri, money. Pinkerton detective John Whicher
to hide out. He lived there with his wife experienced this policy firsthand. He
and family under the alias Tom Howard. planned to disguise himself as a laborer
The next year, he tried to buy a small and get work on the James farm. Sheriff
farm in Nebraska but didnt have George Patton warned him of the danger,
enough money. He planned to rob the explaining that his soft hands would tip
Platte City Bank in Nebraska, and he re- the James boys off. Whicher proceeded
cruited Bob and Charlie Ford to help anyway. Officials found his body the next
him. The Ford brothers had been offered morning, bound, gagged, and shot in the
$10,000 and full pardons to kill Jesse, an head, heart, and stomach.
offer that proved too appealing to resist. The Pinkerton Detective Agencys at-
While Jesse dusted and straightened a tacks further added to the popularity of
picture at his home in St. Joseph, Bob the outlaws. Robert Pinkerton wrote a
Ford drew his gun and shot the outlaw letter to the New York Star claiming that
in the back of the head. Sheriff Patton had betrayed Whicher. Pat-
Mythmaking accelerated rapidly after ton responded by calling Pinkerton a vil-
Jesses death, enhancing his Robin Hood lainous slanderer and falsiter [sic]. Once
image. In the gangs heyday, Frank and while Jesse and Frank were away, some-
Jesse supposedly used this image to their one threw a bomb in the James house,
advantage, publishing letters in news- setting it on fire. Metal shards from the
papers to move public opinion in their explosion killed Jesses youngest half-
favor. The brothers, both literate, may brother, Archie. The boys mother,
well have written these letters. However, Zerelda, had to have her arm amputated
John Newton Edwards, a Confederate because of her wounds. The local press
veteran and newspaperman of the day, immediately blamed the Pinkerton De-
may have written or at least aided in tective Agency because several agency
publishing them. Edwards remained men had departed town on a train that
their staunch supporter. He arranged for night. In later years, Zerelda gave tours
Frank to surrender and prepared a legal of the house with her stump of an arm,
defense that saw him successfully ac- continuing to remind visitors of the evil
quitted of all charges. Whether Edwards forces pitted against her sons.
was involved or not, the newspaper let- As in the case of Billy the Kid, debate
ters helped create an image of the James continues over the number of people
JAMES, JESSE 187

Jesse killed. According to the heroic gamut from drama, horror, and pornogra-
view, he caused only a single death. En- phy to comedy and absurdity. For exam-
gineer John Rafferty died when the ple, Bob Hope put out a 1959 comedy en-
James gang forced his train to derail and titled Alias Jesse James, which some rank
turn over. The historical record, however, among his best works. It features cameos
shows James responsible either directly by James Garner, Gene Autry, and Roy
or indirectly for at least 18 deaths. Rogers. The Three Stooges starred in a
And as was also true for Billy the Kid, movie about Jesse in 1965 called The
many people denied Jesses death and Outlaws Is Coming. A real cross-genre
contended that the man Bob Ford killed gem appeared the next year, as John Lup-
really wasnt him. Some argued that Jesse ton starred in Jesse James Meets Franken-
had conspired with Ford in order to get steins Daughter, an absurd companion
his pursuers off his trail. According to piece to Billy the Kid versus Dracula. Both
this theory, they staged the death and films have acquired a cult following.
killed someone else in Jesses place. An- The legend of Jesse James even in-
other tale reports a mysterious sixth pall- spired a variety of musical performances.
bearer at Jesses funeral, a man whom no Minstrel Billy Gashade created The Bal-
one knew; yet he ran the affair. This lade of Jesse James, which spread across
mystery man was supposedly none other the country, sung by lumberjacks, cow-
than Jesse James himself. boys, and rogues. In the 1930s Woody
Between 1901 and 1903, one publisher Guthrie rewrote the song to fit the mood
alone put out 121 dime novels about of the Depression. Some years later, he
Jesse James. He appeared in books and told the story of Jesus set to the Jesse
articles that depicted him saving a James tune. A 1979 album entitled The
damsel in distress or fighting Mexican or Legend of Jesse James featured the musi-
Chinese villains. Although a variety of cal talents of Johnny Cash, Levon Helm,
historical books have been published Emmylou Harris, and Charlie Daniels.
about James, the myths remain firmly Michael Martin Murphey sings Ga-
entrenched in the minds of the American shades ballad on his Rhymes of the Rene-
people. gades album. Just Like Jesse James be-
In 1921 Jesse James Jr. starred in the came one of Chers top-ten hits. Lyrics by
first film about his father, Jesse James un- artists ranging from country music star
der the Black Flag. Later that year, he re- Toby Keith to Geto Boyz rap artist Scar-
turned in Jesse James as the Outlaw. The face take up the James legend.
real emergence of the famous outlaw on Retailers use the James name to attract
the silver screen came in Tyrone Powers attention and sales. For motivation and
successful 1939 film, Jesse James. This corporate sales training, one can hire
movie inspired many sequels, and the Jesse James, an internationally recog-
Hollywood legacy of Jesse James has nized speaker who is Wanted. Jesse
flourished ever since. Between 1921 and James Real Estate in Buchanan Dam,
1994, when Rob Lowe produced Frank Texas, proclaims Jesse James is just as fa-
and Jesse, more than 30 movies about the mous for selling Real Estate as the Old
outlaw hero were made. The films run the West Jesse James was for robbing trains!
188 JAMES, JESSE

For outdoor lovers, Sierra Designs makes buried beside that of his wife. In 1996 a
a Jesse James model sleeping bag. team of forensic scientists exhumed the
During Jesse and Franks narrow es- body in Kearney, Missouri, and con-
cape from Northfield, Minnesota, they ducted tests attempting to determine its
made a daring jump over Split Rock true identity. Speculation arose even
Creek. Today visitors can take Jesse James here, however, because 1902 reports
River Run pontoon rides at the spot. In state that Jesse had been buried in a
Logan, Utah, the Inn on Center Street metal casket. Investigators found no
houses the Jesse James Hideout, a back- metal casket, and Jamess bones lay face
woods retreat complete with a pool table, down rather than up.
rustic furniture, queen-size log bed with Regardless of these circumstances, the
down pillows and comforter, large-screen scientists proved almost undeniably that
TV, kitchenette, and covered 900-gallon the buried individual was James. They
outdoor hot tub. Jesse James Wood- located a single bullet wound behind the
crafters of Laramie, Wyoming, fashions right ear and a .36-caliber bullet lodged
hardwood furniture. Every year, Jesses in the ribs, no doubt from his Civil War
hometown hosts the Jesse James Bar- injuries. Scientists compared mtDNA
beque cookout, which attracted 47 from the bodys teeth to the mtDNA of
teams of competitors in 1996. two known descendants of his sister. The
Jesse James Snider, a death row inmate resulting match affirmed kinship. Tests
convicted of forgery in Jamess home on the hair showed it had been dyed,
state of Missouri, sits where officials of probably as a disguise.
years ago wished they could have put Tests also revealed that James had not
the original outlaw. The Bannister Foun- used any drugs, such as opium or co-
dation is campaigning on Sniders behalf. caine, for three months prior to his death.
Road Dogg Jesse James preserves the Some people had speculated that his
fiery visage of Jesse James in the World many wounds had driven him to addic-
Wrestling Federation. tion to these painkillers. An examination
Over the years, a host of people have of his jawbone revealed a missing tooth,
claimed to be the real Jesse James, often which would have given him a gap-
seeking to make money from his legend. toothed smile. This could explain why he
In 1933 an Illinois man named John never smiled in pictures. Stains on the
James announced that he was Jesse teeth indicated regular tobacco use. Jesse
James. He toured with fairs and carnivals had reportedly killed a companion over
until his sister finally signed an affidavit chewing tobacco. Scientists concluded
contradicting his claim. A store in Ken- that the man killed in 1882 had a 99.7
tucky displayed Jesses purported skele- percent chance of being Jesse James.
ton in its front window. In 1951 J. Frank Even this evidence, however, fails to
Dalton announced on his one hundredth convince dissenters, who argue that the
birthday that he was the real Jesse James. tested remains were those of Jesses
Modern science seemingly put all cousin Wood Hite. Bud Hardcastle, an Ok-
these claims to rest. Twenty years after lahoma used-car salesman, has tirelessly
his death in 1882, Jesses body was re- championed the theory that James faked
JOHNNY KAW 189

his death and lived out his life in Texas. Johnny Kaw
He claims that a man named J. Frank Dal-
ton was really Jesse James. Dalton, late in
his life, did claim to be the legendary train In 1955 the centennial committee of
robber. He sometimes charged admission Manhattan, Kansas, searched for ways to
for curious tourists to view him. He died generate interest and excitement in the
in Granbury, Texas in 1951. citys history. They asked a professor of
However, in the spring of 2000, Hard- horticulture at Kansas State University
castle and an exhumation team learned named George Filinger (18971978) to
that Jesse Woodson James did not lie help. He obliged by creating a Great
under the headstone marking Jesses sup- Plains farmer version of lumberjack Paul
posed grave in Granbury, Texas. They Bunyan and cowboy Pecos Bill. He called
found a steel vault instead of the wooden his creation Johnny Kaw, the Pioneer
casket that most believe holds Dalton. Kansas Wheat Farmer. Filinger spun tall
According to Hardcastle, the remains tales about Kaw for the Manhattan Mer-
they found belonged to Henry Holland, a cury and later gathered them into a self-
one-armed man who may have married published booklet.
into the Rash family. The Rashes cared According to Filinger, Kaw shaped the
for Dalton in the last days of his life. For Kansas landscape. He dug the river valley
some doubters, the search continues. that bears his name. He grew the first
The pride and honor that typified the wheat and laid pioneer trails, all of which
James family still lives on today. One can appear on the Kansas state seal. He in-
join and support the James-Younger vented sunflowers and raised gigantic po-
Gang, which holds annual conferences tatoes. After Paul Bunyan tromped
and conventions. Jesse James historical through his wheat fields, Kaw used the
sites appear throughout the nation, in- big lumberjacks nose to plow the bed of
cluding the Patee House, where Jesses the Mississippi River. Ever helpful, he
family went during the investigation into went west and helped Finn McCool, the
his death; the Jesse James House, where prodigiously strong Irish warrior, dig the
he died; the Jesse James Farm, where he Grand Canyon. The two of them then
grew up; and Meramec Caves, where he stacked up the rubble to form the Rocky
purportedly hid out. Northfield, Min- Mountains. Like his counterparts, Kaw
nesota, celebrates the Defeat of Jesse could control the weather, taming torna-
James Days every year. Clearly, the leg- does and ending droughts. The Dust Bowl
end of Jesse James lives on. came about because of a fight between
Kaleb J. Redden Kaws pets, a wildcat and a jayhawk.
Filingers creation charmed Kansans,
References who erected a 30-foot-tall statue of Kaw
Ross, James R. I, Jesse James. Los Angeles: in 1966. It stands in the Manhattan City
Dragon Publishing, 1988. Park.
Settle, William A., Jr. Jesse James Was His
Name. Columbia: University of Missouri Reference
Press, 1966. Garretson, Jerri. Johnny Kaw: The Pioneer
190 JOHNSON, JEREMIAH

Kansas Wheat Farmer: http://www.manhat-


tan.lib.ks.us/johnny.htm. Johnson, Lyndon
Baynes
Johnson, Jeremiah 19081973, politician. See Politicians
and Western Myth
18241900, mountain man. See Liver-
Eating Johnson
k
Kansas stories to go with the pictures (Boggs
1998).
See Johnny Kaw; Wizard of Oz, The Won- Kelton attended Crane High School,
derful and after earning a BA at the University
of Texas at Austin, he pursued a career in
journalism and wrote fiction on the side.
Service in Europe for two years during
Kelton, Elmer World War II interrupted his college ca-
reer. However, thanks to the war, he met
1926 and married his Austrian wife, Ann. They
celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniver-
Elmer Kelton was born to and grew up in sary in 1998. He wrote for a number of
a ranch family in Andrews County, agricultural publications, most notably
Texas. With all that heritage, he says, I spending 22 years with the Livestock
should have become a good cowboy my- Weekly. He began selling a few stories to
self, but somehow I never did, so I de- Ranch Romances. Hot Iron, his first novel,
cided if I could not do it I would write appeared in 1955. He sums up his writing
about it. . . . My mother was a teacher, philosophy simply: A good novel of the
he says, so she taught me how to read West is just as valid as a novel set any-
when I was 5. I just loved to read, so after where as long as it is honest and reflects
enjoying other peoples stories, I just reality. My real subject is the human con-
started making up my own. I didnt get to dition, and this is universal (Walker).
the point where I was trying to get some- By the 1970s, Keltons fiction had be-
thing published til I was grown, but I gun to receive well-deserved praise. He
was always writing something when I writes historical fiction, often based on
was a kid, drawing pictures, then writing events in Texas. His books are far more

191
192 KELTON, ELMER

believable than the work of pulp novel- Line (1999). The last treats the lives of
ists, in part because he steeps himself in Texas Rangers. By 2000, he had penned
western history. Nonetheless, earlier 35 novels and more than 50 short sto-
western writers exerted a strong influ- ries. Time, however, has extracted a few
ence on Kelton: concessions. Today he rarely wears cow-
boy boots. Ive got two glass ankles and
When I was trying to get started as a flat feet, and they dont respond to high
writer, I studied the works of Luke Short heels too well. I will wear em if Im walk-
and Ernest Haycox in particular. I always ing through grass or in a feedlot or,
considered Short a master at characteri- though I havent done it in years, getting
zation as well as of sharp, crisp narrative. on a horse (Boggs 1998).
And I admired the way Haycox could Keltons concern with preserving his-
bring a literary flavor to what was often torical authenticity in his novels has paid
essentially a formula story. I read Zane off handsomely. The traditional Western
Grey as a boy growing up, though I cant hero, he notes, was 7 feet tall and in-
say that I studied his style as I did Short, vincible. I write about people who are 5-
Haycox, Will James, S. Omar Barker, feet-8 and nervous (Boggs 1998). His
Wayne D. Overholser, Walt Coburn, Nor- historical novel The Day the Cowboys
man A. Fox, Thomas Thompson, Harry Quit is an excellent example. Based on a
Sinclair Drago and W. C. Tuttle when I failed Canadian River cowboy strike in
was trying to learn the craft. (Walker) 1883, it does what good historical fiction
should: It remains true to the facts as we
Kelton is a four-time winner of the know them and pushes along a strong,
Spur Award, presented by the Western engaging story line. I think if you dont
Writers of America, Inc., as well as other understand your history, he writes, you
literary prizes. Three novels by Elmer cant really understand yourself. If we
Kelton that are excellent in catching the dont know our history, we have no basis
real cowboy spirit and reflecting their for understanding the present or predict-
culture and thought process are The ing the future (Boggs 1998)
Time It Never Rained, The Good Old Boys, Kelton has strong links to the western
and The Man Who Rode Midnight. The past:
National Cowboy Hall of Fame awarded
Kelton its prestigious Western Heritage In my viewpoint toward Western history
Wrangler Award for all three novels. and tradition, I was strongly influenced
After more than 40 years in journal- during my formative years by Texas folk-
ism, in 1990 Kelton turned his full ener- lorist J. Frank Dobie. Incidentally, like
gies to writing novels and historical non- other critics, Dobie regarded Owen Wis-
fiction. This focus has led to a prodigious ters The Virginian as a watershed work
string of novels: Cloudy in the West in Western fiction, but he pointed out
(1997), The Wolf and the Buffalo (1997), that the Virginian was a cowboy who
Traildust (1997), A Thousand Miles of never seemed to work with cows. He was
Mustangin (1998), Smiling Country always busy doing something else. So I
(1998), Legend (1999), and The Buckskin have made it a point when I write about
KISDADDON, BRUCE 193

cowboys to show them out there with Tuska, Jon, and Vicki Piekarski, eds. Encyclo-
the cattle. (Walker) pedia of Frontier and Western Fiction. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
This talented, gentle, self-effacing writer Walker, Dale L. A Good Talk with Elmer Kel-
looms among the great talents produced ton: http://readwest.com/elmerkelton.htm.
by the West in the twentieth century.

References
Boggs, Johnny D. Elmer Kelton. Cowboys &
Indians 22 (January 1998): 162168. Kiskaddon, Bruce
Kelton, Elmer. The Day the Cowboys Quit.
New York: Bantam, 1971, 1992. See Cowboy Poetry
l
Lamour, Louis lahoma publisher in 1939. It would be
western novels, however, that brought
19081988 his name to readers around the world.
His mythical western heroes, virtually
Probably Americas best-selling author, all large, strong, white men, often looked
the novelist Louis LAmour created a pan- like the author, who at six foot, two
theon of western heroes, mostly cut from inches tall and more than 200 pounds,
the same cloth. Like B-western movies, won 51 of 59 fights as a professional
his tales are filled with larger-than-life boxer. His heroes play key roles as agents
heroes, black-hatted villains, right that of Manifest Destiny in the civilizing of
trumps wrong, vivid western scenery, the West, bringing law and order to the
and no sex. LAmour trumpeted his own savage frontier. In a 1980 interview, critic
social values and views through a long Jon Tuska asked LAmour to comment on
procession of fictional, mythical western the near-extermination of the buffalo.
heroes. The writer replied with a Darwinian clar-
The prolific writer, born Louis Dear- ity and simplicity that echo earlier ideas
born LaMoore, the youngest of seven expressed by Zane Grey:
children, began his eventful life in
Jamestown, North Dakota. He character- They had outlived their usefulness. It
ized himself and the basis of his success was necessary that they be killed. Now
well: I think of myself in the oral tradi- there are farms throughout that whole
tionas a troubadour, a village tale-teller, area, farms that grow food to feed one
the man in the shadows of the campfire. third of the world. Its a matter of
Thats the way Id like to be remem- progress. The Indians didnt own the
beredas a storyteller. A good storyteller lands they occupied. Many of the tribes,
(Weinberg 1992). His first book, a collec- in fact, had only recently occupied cer-
tion of poems, appeared from a small Ok- tain regions before the white man ar-

194
LAMOUR, LOUIS 195

rived. The Indians took the land from tivity. I am writing about men and
others, the cliff dwellers, for example. women who were settling a new country,
And the white man took the land from finding their way through a maze of diffi-
the Indians. It wasnt the Indians to culties and learning to survive despite
claim or to sell. It went to the strongest. them. Like his heroes, LAmour worked
The white men were stronger. (Weinberg hard, at an amazing variety of jobs, be-
1992). fore devoting himself full-time to writing.
LAmour wrote more than 100 novels,
Also like the author, his heroes are of- and all remain in print. Total sales topped
ten self-educated, self-made men. They 225 million, with 40 million books sold
proudly rely on pluck, spunk, determina- since his death. Early in his career, he es-
tion, and native intelligence. One major tablished himself as a pulp novelist,
thread in my books is that people are al- spewing out ranch romances, other for-
ways trying to improve themselves, he mula westerns, and, under the pseudo-
said. Boys who come out of the Ten- nym Tex Burns, four brief Hopalong Cas-
nessee mountains can barely read and sidy books. His fast-paced formula
write, but they study at night by camp- demanded a new twist or dramatic ac-
fire. They often carry Blackstones law tion every 800 words or so.
books in their saddlebags and sometimes More than 45 of his novels and short
read Latin. stories have been adapted for films and
Family loyalties are another key virtue television. The movie Hondo (1953),
of LAmours heroes. He created multi- based on his original story The Gift of
generational family sagas of the Sacketts Cochise, gave his career a huge boost.
and others. His heroes operate with an The popular film starred John Wayne
absolute black-and-white moral code. (not surprisingly, a big LAmour fan),
They hold an unquestioning faith in the Ward Bond, and James Arness, later of
inevitable and righteous conquest of the Gunsmoke fame. James Edward Garnt
West by white American civilization. To wrote the movie screenplay based on the
accomplish this end, the heroes must act LAmour short story. The films popularity
upon and spread their frontier cultural boosted sales of LAmours novel titled
values of loyalty, hard work, tenacity, and Hondo. He used Garnts screenplay to
cunning survival skills. Like true heroes, pen his first best-selling novel, without
they persevere, fighting on to victory, acknowledging his reliance on the other
sometimes against overwhelming odds. writers work. Later popular films in-
Although his heroes never die in action, cluded The Sacketts (1982), with Glenn
its clear that they are always ready to Ford, Tom Selleck, and Slim Pickens; The
face deathnobly, honorably, and brave- Shadow Riders (1982), with Tom Selleck
lyfor what they believe is right. and Sam Elliott; and Conagher (1991),
In his 1989 autobiography, Education with Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross.
of a Wandering Man, LAmour explained LAmours work is an odd mix of
the lack of sex in his works: I am not minute attention to detail and indiffer-
writing about sex, which is a leisure ac- ence to many other elements of careful
196 LATINOS

writing. He bragged of the historical and aversion to revising probably pro-


grounding of his fiction. Every incident duced these inconsistencies. His son Beau
in any story I write is authentic and usu- explained his fathers writing process: He
ally based either on something I person- didnt worry about the processhe didnt
ally experienced or something that hap- re-write at all. He didnt outline. So, he
pened in history (Weinberg 1992). Well, was anticipating the story just as you are.
yes, and no. I think that is what gives the stories a cer-
He described natural landscapes with tain immediacy. It also accounts for the
almost photographic accuracy. As he contradictions and lapses.
said, I walked the land my characters Although critics tended to overlook
walk (Weinberg 1992). Indeed, his his work as too pulpy, he earned several
widow, Kathy, whom he met in 1952 and awards for his labors. In 1981 the appre-
married four years later, still lives on ciative Western Writers of America gave
their 1,800-acre ranch in southwest Col- him a Golden Saddleman Award. The fol-
orado. She described the rugged land, lowing year he received the Congres-
mostly purchased in 1983, as a research sional (National) Gold Medal, and in
place for Louis. There are three Indian 1982 President Ronald Reagan awarded
tribesthe Utes, the Navajos and the him the Medal of Freedom. His novels
Apachesin the area. Its cattle country, remain immensely popular, well after his
sheep country, horse country, mining death of lung cancer (he did not smoke)
country. She and their children, Beau in Glendale, California, in 1988.
and Angelique, continue to oversee the
Bantam Books publication of reprints References
and new LAmour materials. Tuska, Jon, and Vicki Piekarski, eds. Encyclo-
On the other hand, his rather wooden, pedia of Frontier and Western Fiction. New
stereotypical characters are straight from York: McGraw-Hill, 1983.
pulp fiction. His heroes often deliver Weinberg, Robert. The Louis LAmour Com-
weighty soliloquies, pontificating on var- panion. Kansas City, MO: Andrews and
ious moral lessons. They serve as spokes- McMeel, 1992.
men for the authors own brand of white
hegemony and social Darwinism. Little Sources of Further Information
wonder that ultraconservatives like John LAmour Fans: http://www.veinotte.com/la
Wayne and Ronald Reagan praised his mour/intro.htm.
novels. Likewise, a character might be Official Louis LAmour Web Site: http://www.
shot dead, only to reappear later in the louislamour.com.
story. Random House: http://www.randomhouse.com
When critic Jon Tuska pointed out to /features/louislamour/.
LAmour a discrepancy in one of his
books, the brash writer took it in stride.
You know, I dont think the people who
read my books would really care (Wein- Latinos
berg 1992). He wrote and dictated his
novels at tremendous speed, so his haste See Baca, Elfego; Cortez Lira, Gregorio;
LEE, JOHN DOYLE 197

Cortina, Juan Nepomuceno; Selena; Lee also accepted the doctrine of plu-
Zorro ral marriage. This is his own account of
his marriages, given in his postmortem
confession, published in 1877 as Mor-
monism Unveiled:
Lee, John Doyle
I took my wives in the following order:
18121877 first, Agathe Ann Woolsey; second,
Nancy Berry; third, Louisa Free (now one
John Doyle Lee, the reputed mastermind of the wives of Daniel H. Wells); fourth,
of the Mountain Meadows massacre, Sarah C. Williams; fifth, old Mrs.
stands as one of the most controversial Woolsey (she was the mother of Agathe
figures in Mormon history. Born in 1812 Ann and Rachel A. I married her for her
in Kaskaskia, Illinois Territory, he suf- souls sake, for her salvation in the eter-
fered a difficult childhood. When he was nal state); sixth, Rachel A. Woolsey (I was
3 years old, his mother died after a long sealed to her at the same time that I was
illness. After a few years with his alco- to her mother); seventh, Andora
holic father, the boy lived from age 7 to Woolsey (a sister to Rachel); eighth, Polly
16 with an uncles family. After a succes- Ann Workman; ninth, Martha Berry;
sion of jobs, he moved to Vandalia, Illi- tenth, Delithea Morris. In 1847, while at
nois, where in 1833 he married for the Council Bluffs, Brigham Young sealed
first time. me to three women in one night, viz.,
Lee converted to the new religion of eleventh, Nancy Armstrong (she was
Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of what we called a widow. She left her first
Latter-Day Saints) on 17 June 1838, at husband in Tennessee, in order to be
Ambrosia, Missouri. A zealot, Lee spent with the Mormon people); twelfth, Polly
the remainder of his life driven by reli- V. Young; thirteenth, Louisa Young
gious passion. Lee became a member of (these two were sisters). Next, I was
the Danite Band, a militia organized to sealed to my fourteenth wife, Emeline
protect Mormons from attack by gen- Vaughn. In 1851, I was sealed to my fif-
tiles (i.e., non-Mormons). His devotion teenth wife, Mary Lear Groves. In 1856, I
and zeal led to his selection in 1843 as a was sealed to my sixteenth wife, Mary
guardian for the churchs founder and Ann Williams. In 1858, Brigham Young
prophet, Joseph Smith. gave me my seventeenth wife, Emma
In June the following year, a mob Batchelder. I was sealed to her while a
dragged Smith and his brother from member of the Territorial Legislature.
their jail cell in Carthage, Illinois, and Brigham Young said that Isaac C. Haight,
killed them. Lee transferred his loyalty to who was also in the Legislature, and I,
the new leader, Brigham Young, and needed some young women to renew
traveled with him on the Mormon flight, our vitality, so he gave us both a dashing
first to winter quarters near the conflu- young bride. In 1859, I was sealed to my
ence of the Platte and Missouri Rivers eighteenth wife, Teressa Morse. I was
and then on to Utah. sealed to her by order of Brigham Young.
198 LEE, JOHN DOYLE

Amasa Lyman officiated at the cere- cattle and other valuables? Blackmail?
mony. The last wife I got was Ann Did the Paiutes, who had unsuccessfully
Gordge. Brigham Young gave her to me, attacked the emigrants before, demand
and I was sealed to her in Salt Lake by that Mormons assist them or face attacks
Heber C. Kimball. This was my nine- themselves? Mass hysteria? Paranoia?
teenth, but, as I was married to old Mrs. Lees exact involvement in the mas-
Woolsey for her souls sake, and she was sacre is still vigorously disputed. In a let-
near sixty years old when I married her, I ter to Brigham Young written just after
never considered her really as a wife. the massacre, Lee blamed the Paiute In-
True, I treated her well and gave her all dians. However, even his Mormon neigh-
the rights of marriage. Still I never count bors whispered rumors of his deadly
her as one of my wives. That is the rea- role. In 1858 Lee went into hiding when
son that I claim only eighteen true a federal judge appeared to investigate
wives. After 1861, I never asked Brigham the massacre. Young and other Mormons
Young for another wife. By my eighteen refused to cooperate with officials.
real wives I have been the father of Young stood by his Danite loyalist, and
sixty-four children. Ten of my children in 1861 the Mormons of Harmony, Utah,
are dead and fifty-four are still living. elected Lee their presiding elder. How-
(Lee 1877) ever, most gentiles and some Mormons
considered him guilty of leading the
In southern Utah, Lee prospered as a bloody massacre. He received threaten-
farmer and businessman. He also held ing letters, and his children were ostra-
various public offices, including that of cized. In early 1870 a Utah paper con-
Indian agent. However, after a decade, demned leader Brigham Young for
gentiles complained bitterly about the whitewashing Lee and the massacre. In
power of the Mormon Church and ex- February Young ordered Lee to make
pressed horror at the practice of yourself scarce and keep out of the way,
polygamy. In response, the U.S. govern- exiled him to northern Arizona, and ex-
ment dispatched soldiers to Utah in 1857, communicated him from the church.
generating fears among Mormons of a Whether Young actually considered Lee
major violent attack on them and their guilty or whether he simply used him as
beliefs. a scapegoat to provide closure to criti-
At this volatile point, on 11 September, cism of the massacre remains unclear.
Mormon militia and Paiute Indians at- In the wild canyon lands of northern
tacked the immigrant wagon train, led by Arizona, Lee established a cabin at what
John T. Baker and Alexander Fancher, of became known as Lees Ferry (Lonely
120 people passing through southwest- Dell) on the Colorado River. In 1872 he
ern Utah. This so-called Mountain Mead- hosted the expedition led by John Wes-
ows massacre transformed Lee into one ley Powell; however, his economic for-
of the most infamous, murderous figures tunes declined sharply. He suffered se-
in western history. The Mormons moti- vere illness. Drought alternating with
vations remain unclear. Greed? Did they torrential rains destroyed his buildings
covet the wagon trains herd of 1,000 and crops. Faced with such adversity,
LEE, JOHN DOYLE 199

several of his wives deserted him. Finally, that most of those who were connected
in November 1874, a sheriff arrested him with the Massacre, and took part in the
at Panguitch, Utah. lamentable transaction that has black-
Lees first trial for murder ended with a ened the character of all who were
hung jury. In a second trial, however, a aiders or abettors in the same, were act-
jury found him guilty. Anti-Mormon sen- ing under the impression that they were
timents, especially fear of their growing performing a religious duty. I know all
political and economic power, probably were acting under the orders and by the
influenced the decision as much as evi- command of their Church leaders; and I
dence from Mountain Meadows. Lee firmly believe that most of those who
steadfastly professed his innocence, but took part in the proceedings, considered
he was shot at Mountain Meadows on 23 it a religious duty to unquestioningly
March 1877. Young himself would die a obey the orders which they had re-
few months later, on 29 August, from ceived. (Lee 1877, 213)
complications of appendicitis. Lee felt be-
trayed by Youngs treatment, but he re- Lee named people who he claims met
mained true to his faith to the end: I to plan the attack:
have but little to say this morning. Of
course I feel that I am at the brink of Amongst those that I remember to have
eternity, and the solemnities of eternity met there, were Samuel Knight, Oscar
should rest upon my mind at the pres- Hamblin, William Young, Carl Shirts,
ent. . . . I am ready to die. I trust in God. I Harrison Pearce, James Pearce, John W.
have no fear. Death has no terror (Lee Clark, William Slade Sr., James Mat-
1877). thews, Dudley Leavitt, William Hawley,
Along with his confusing legacy, he (now a resident of Fillmore, Utah Terri-
left a controversial confession, Mor- tory), William Slade Jr., and two others
monism Unveiled, or The Life and Confes- whose names I have forgotten. I think
sions of the Late Mormon Bishop, John D. they were George W. Adair and John
Lee; (Written by Himself) Embracing a Hawley. I know they were at the Mead-
History of Mormonism from Its Inception ows at the time of the massacre, and I
down to the Present Time, with an Exposi- think I met them that night south of the
tion of the Secret History, Signs, Symbols, Meadows, with Samuel Knight and the
and Crimes of the Mormon Church. Also others.
the True History of the Horrible Butcher Sidney Littlefield, of Panguitch, has
Known as the Mountain Meadows Mas- told me that he was knowing to the fact
sacre. In his book, published the year of of Colonel Wm. H. Dame sending orders
his death by his lawyer, William W. from Parowan to Maj. Haight, at Cedar
Bishop, Lee charges that 58 Mormons, City, to exterminate the Francher [sic]
acting under orders of the Mormon outfit, and to kill every emigrant without
Priesthood, carried out the attack: fail. Littlefield then lived at Parowan, and
Dame was the Presiding Bishop. Dame
I did not act alone; I had many to assist still has all the wives he wants, and is a
me at the Mountain Meadows. I believe great friend of Brigham Young.
200 LEGENDS OF THE WEST STAMPS

Lee also alleged a cover-up after the bership and former blessings to John D.
attack: Lee.

I will here state again that on the field, References


before and after the massacre, and again Anderson, Russell. Response to the Mormon
at the council at the emigrant camp, the Critics: http://www.lightplanet.com/response/
day after the massacre, orders were brigham.htm#Mountain-Meadows.
given to keep everything secret, and if Lamar, Howard R., ed. The New Encyclopedia
any man told the secret to any human of the American West. New Haven, CT: Yale
being, he was to be killed, and I assert as University Press, 1998.
a fact that if any man had told it then, or Lee, John Doyle. Mormonism Unveiled (1877):
for many years afterwards, he would http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/
have died, for some Destroying Angel lee_pref.htm.
would have followed his trail and sent Mountain Meadows Massacre: http://asms.
him over the rim of the basin. k12.ar.us/armen/brondel/index.htm.
PBS. The West: http://www.pbs.org/weta/the
A Web site called Response to the west/wpages/wpgs400/w4lee.htm.
Mormon Critics, run by Russell Y. An- Thrapp, Dan L., ed. Encyclopedia of Frontier
derson, explains the events this way: Biography. 4 vols. Lincoln: University of
Nebraska Press, 1988; CD-ROM ed., 1994.
Although this is an abhorrent chapter in
Utah history, Indians had some braves
die because of meat that was poisoned
by the members of the wagon train. The Legends Of The West
indians [sic] threatened to come against
the Saints if they didnt help. The Mis- Stamps
sourians threatened to return from Cali-
fornia with armed troops. The Saints See Stamps
were currently at war with the United
States. All these things together led the
Saints to throw better judgement to the
wind and assist the indians [sic] in set- Levis And Rivets
ting up a trap to kill the members of the
wagon train. When Brigham Young was An Associated Press (AP) storydatelined
notified of the situation he sent word San Francisco, 11 January 1999noted
that the members of the wagon train that the president of Levi Strauss & Co.
were to be left alone. However his coun- had just stepped down. The news article
sel arrived too late. (Anderson) also gave Levi Strauss, the founder of the
company, credit for inventing the proto-
On 20 April 1961, the Mormon type for 501 jeans. San Franciscobased
Church repented of its treatment of Lee. Levis, founded in 1853 by a Bavarian en-
The Council ordered that authorization trepreneur who designed the riveted
be given for the re-instatement to mem- work jeans for Gold Rush miners, the
LEVIS AND RIVETS 201

news report stated, increasingly has Daviss life forever and made him a
been looking outside the company to fill wealthy man. His trial testimony told of a
its management positions. woman who needed a sturdy pair of
The reporter failed to do his history pants for a husband too big to wear
homework. Although Levi Strauss did ready-made clothes. She, his wife, said
sell work jeans, it was an obscure Jewish she wanted to send him to chop some
tailor working in Reno, Nevada, who wood, Davis testified, but he had no
added the rivets. A federal patent-in- pants to put on. The wife, claiming her
fringement case filed in February 1874 in enormous husband was too ill to visit
the U.S. Circuit Court of California the shop to be measured, tied knots in a
(whose records are housed in the Na- piece of string provided by Davis and
tional Archives regional branch in San took the requisite waist and inseam
Bruno, south of San Francisco) contains measurements and brought them to the
the facts. tailor.
Born in 1831, Jacob Youphes was a na- Davis went on to testify that he was
tive of Riga (now the capital of Latvia) on paid three dollars in advance for the
the Baltic Sea. The German Jew changed pants, which he made of white duck pur-
his name to Jacob W. Davis after immi- chased from Levi Strauss & Co. The
grating to the United States in 1854, and woman wanted the trousers made as
he operated a tailor shop in New York strong as possible. In the tailors shop
City and Augusta, Maine. In 1856 he ar- were copper rivets, used to attach straps
rived in San Francisco, and shortly there- to horse blankets made for local team-
after he moved north to Weaverville to sters. So when the pants were donethe
work as a tailor. With the gold rush to the rivets were lying on the tablethe
Fraser River in 1858, he left California for thought struck me to fasten the pockets
western Canada, where he lived for nine with rivets, Davis recounted. I had
years, married, and started a family. never thought of it before.
Davis returned to San Francisco by As word of the new pants began to
ship from Victoria, British Columbia, in spread, orders trickled in at first, but
January 1867. He soon traveled to Vir- soon Davis was deluged with requests. In
ginia City, Nevada, where he first opened the following 18 months, he made and
a cigar store, but within three months he sold 200 pairs to persons in need of
again turned to his trade as a tailor. In heavy work clothing. Concerned that his
June 1868 he relocated once again, this idea might be pirated, Davis asked Levi
time to the fledgling railroad town of Strauss to help him with a patent appli-
Reno. Investing in a brewery, he lost vir- cation. A preliminary application was ap-
tually everything. By 1869 he had proved in July 1872, and the full patent
opened a tailor shop on the towns main was granted on 20 May 1873. By then,
thoroughfare, Virginia Street. He began Davis had been named the San Francisco
fabricating wagon covers and tents from production manager. (The Davis family
a rugged, off-white duck cloth sold by still lives in the Bay Area and owns the
San Franciscos Levi Strauss & Co. Ben Davis Clothing Company.)
Events in January 1871 changed Jacob The truth in this story lay undiscov-
202 LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

ered for 100 years until Ann Morgan as the West. The Corps of Discovery, as
Campbell, chief of the San Bruno branch they called themselves, prepared to em-
of the National Archives, brought it to bark under the leadership of two spirited
light in an article in the Nevada Histori- and courageous adventurers, Meriwether
cal Society Quarterly in 1974. For 25 Lewis and William Clark.
years now, the story has received consid- Appointed by President Thomas Jeffer-
erable attention in Nevada, appearing in son, their mission presaged the nations
newspapers, books, and other historical prodigious nineteenth-century expan-
journals. Davis is also mentioned in a sion. Lewis and Clark hoped to establish
brief biography of Levi Strauss in the an accessible river-trading route to open
World Book encyclopedia. Actually, all commerce between this new West and
the AP reporter in San Francisco needed the eastern regions of the United States.
to do was call the corporate headquar- The mission not only discovered a trad-
ters of Levi Strauss & Co. Historian Lynn ing route but also expanded the frontiers
Downey would have set the record of imagination for Americans in the East.
straight. Anyway, the next time you look At President Jeffersons inauguration at
at your Levi 501 jeans, think of Jacob the turn of the nineteenth century, two
Davis and Reno, Nevada, where it all be- out of every three Americans lived
gan in 1871. within 50 miles of the Atlantic coast.
Guy Louis Rocha England controlled Canada, and their
traders were slowly drifting southward
Source of Further Information into the valuable lands of Minnesota and
Campbell, Ann Morgan. In Nineteenth Cen- Dakota. Russia controlled Alaska and
tury Nevada: Federal Records as Sources northwestern California, and Napoleon
for Local History. Nevada Historical Society Bonaparte maintained a firm grip on the
Quarterly, Fall 1974. territory of Louisiana. Several countries
aspired to control the West, but no one
had actually explored this vast wilder-
ness. Jefferson hoped to change this and
Lewis And Clark to capitalize on the unknown treasure ly-
ing undiscovered. This venture would
Expedition not only explore the unknown; it would
also demonstrate the feasibility of living
On a muggy afternoon in the spring of in the western regions.
1804, 30 men loaded sturdy boats with Lewis and Clark, schooled in the many
supplies for a momentous journey. Sup- aspects of science and nature, carefully
plies, costing almost $38,000, included documented their experiences down to
compasses, quadrants, telescopes, cloth, the very last detail. Lewis seemed natu-
fishing lines and hooks, trail food, cloth- rally gifted at observing his new sur-
ing, bullets, and gifts for the Indians they roundings. He recorded the daily tem-
would surely meet. Despite all the prepa- perature and wind conditions and even
rations, these men faced grave uncer- took celestial readings. They recorded
tainties in the wilderness known simply plants and animals new to science in the
LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION 203

East, carefully preserving and shipping Eastern Americans quickly learned


them back for examination. Some ani- more and more about their new western
mals were dissected or preserved; the neighbors. At Jeffersons request, the ex-
travelers brought others home with pedition sent crate after crate of Indian
them, alive and well. The expedition artifacts back East to be viewed by eager
recorded for science some 178 plants crowds. Lewis and Clark served as both
and 122 animals that had not previously pioneers and gatekeepers to an eagerly
been described. Many of their new dis- awaiting audience. Their documents be-
coveries remain vital symbols of the came the authoritative word on the West
West: the prairie dog, ponderosa pine, for decades, and their observations
grizzly bear, and coyote. helped shape Americas initial vision of
The Corps of Discovery had their the frontier.
hands full trying to survive while docu- Lewis and Clark explored lands that
menting their surroundings. They also had already been inhabited, but they
assumed the task of being the first U.S. were not the first whites to venture into
ambassadors to the dozens of Indian this wilderness. Alexander Mackenzie,
tribes they met along the way. Jefferson for example, had traveled through the
wanted them to befriend as many as pos- northwest and through Canada in search
sible, knowing that future encounters of a route for trade several years earlier.
would be inevitable. They met cau- The importance of their adventure lies
tiously and displayed the wealth and in- on a grander scale. Lewis and Clark be-
telligence of Americans by passing out came the archetypal pioneers and ex-
magnets, compasses, and spyglasses. The plorers, rugged men who sought out the
explorers also distributed other useful treasures of the West with an insatiable
itemsincluding cloth, needles, and to- thirst for discovery and knowledge. They
baccoin the hopes of spawning friend- demonstrated the traits believed essen-
ships as they passed. tial to Americas success: courage, team
Without the Indians, the mission spirit, the desire to see new ideas and
might not have survived. Several times, cultures, the ability to observe, the will
Indians provided invaluable food and to persevere under horrible conditions,
survival tips to the beleaguered explor- and the ability to make ones own path
ers. During a grueling 12-day journey in life. They survived the wilderness and
through the Bitterroot Mountains, a tribe brought images of it home safely. They
of Indians kept them from complete star- documented their travels so thoroughly
vation. Many of the explorers quickly be- that one can relive their adventures.
came infatuated with Indian culture and They left Indian cultures with a favor-
made many recordings and observations able image of white society.
about Native American life. These The importance of the Lewis and Clark
records serve as an ethnological bench- expedition does not end there. In mid-
mark between the two cultures and pro- November 1805, almost a year and a half
vide a window on tribal life before white after the expedition began, the Corps of
expansion altered or destroyed tradi- Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean.
tional lifestyles. They stood proudly on the western edge
204 LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

of the continent, but they also faced the camping along the same waters the
peril of surviving the upcoming winter. Corps of Discovery did. Of course, in the
They considered climate, availability of age of mass consumerism and tourism, a
food and trade, and proximity to fresh theme park represents the crowning
water. After evaluating several sugges- glory. In 1998 a $40 million theme park
tions, Lewis and Clark made an extraor- was proposed for construction in Mon-
dinary decision. They waived their posi- tana; it would bear the adventurers
tion as military commanders and brought names and feature such realistic attrac-
the decision up for a vote. tions as a canoe ride.
This move in itself is a remarkable ex- Much like Christopher Columbus,
ample of American frontier democracy, Lewis and Clark remain convenient his-
exhibiting a powerful collective bond torical heroes. These two legendary fig-
and sense of mutual trust and interde- ures are not only historically significant,
pendence. The explorers faced the deci- but they have also created a positive im-
sion together, just as they had faced all age of frontiersmen, rugged and strong,
the other obstacles that stood before that lives on today. Synonymous with ex-
them. In this vote, every man and ploration and discovery, they modeled
woman had his or her say. York, Clarks the characteristics of the rugged, in-
slave, cast his vote almost 60 years be- trepid explorer who braved the unex-
fore another black man would do the plored wilderness for the benefit of all
same. Sacagawea, an Indian woman, Americans.
voted as wellmore than a century be- William F. Zweigart
fore women across the country would
enjoy the same right. Here the roots of References
expansion, opportunity and success Duncan, Dayton, and Ken Burns. Lewis and
through struggle, and democracy be- Clark: An Illustrated History. New York:
come evident. Knopf, 1997.
Now, some two centuries later, Lewis Holloway, David, and A. K. Wilkinson. Lewis
and Clark continue to influence popular and Clark and the Crossing of North Amer-
culture and the mass media. They are ica. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1974.
hailed as adventurers, artists, historians, Rawling, Gerald. The Pathfinders: The History
patriots, and fine statesmen. Two col- of Americas First Westerners. New York:
leges (one in Portland, Oregon, and one Macmillan, 1964.
in Lewiston, Idaho) bear their names, as
do countless historical features and doc- Sources of Further Information
umentaries. In 1993 the Lewis and Clark Discovering Lewis and Clark: http://www.
Art Exposition at the Native American lewis-clark.org.
Art Exhibit displayed some of the art- Lewis and Clark Home Page: http://www.
work collected during their journey. lewisandclark.org.
Tourists can purchase a Lewis and Clark PBS. The Journey of the Corps of Discovery:
vacation tour package, on which they http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/.
can travel the famous preserved trail Planning the Expedition: http://www.lib.
along the original route, fishing and virginia.edu/exhibits/lewis_clark/ch4.html.
LINCOLN COUNTY WAR 205

Brady, a Dolan partisan, and one of his


Lincoln County War deputies. In July 1878 the Kid made one
of his most daring moves, one that ce-
FebruaryJuly 1878 mented his place in the legends of the
Old West. McSween and several Regula-
In 1878 New Mexico witnessed months tors found themselves trapped in the Mc-
of political and economic conflict com- Sween house on the outskirts of Lincoln,
monly known as the Lincoln County surrounded by some 40 Dolan support-
War. Young William H. Bonney, alias ers and soldiers from Fort Stanton. Real-
Billy the Kid, began the creation of his izing, after a five-day siege, that they
mythical reputation during this so-called would not be able to storm the house,
war. The fact that the conflict began the Dolan and his men took drastic action.
Kids rise to fame is interesting in itself, They set aflame a barrel of highly flam-
because he played only a minor role. mable tar and launched it into the
Rich, ambitious, powerful, and corrupt house, setting the wooden structure on
men played the lead in the bloody war. fire. In an incredible escape, Billy burst
Lawrence Murphy and later James J. from the house, ran across 30 yards of
Dolan represented the Murphy-Dolan open terrain, rolled under a fence, and
faction, a group that dominated business escaped unharmed. Soldiers and Mur-
in Lincoln County. These men fixed phy-Dolan supporters shot and killed the
prices and used intimidation to control remaining Regulators as they attempted
the economy of the entire area. Along to escape. Soldiers also gunned down
with his economic domination of the McSween as he tried to make his escape,
area, Murphy also gained political power effectively ending the conflict.
in the territory through the Democratic The fact that the Lincoln County War
Party. initiated the legend of Billy the Kid is not
In 1877 Alexander McSween and Eng- in dispute. The true controversy sur-
lishman John Tunstall opened a mercan- rounds the role he played in the conflict.
tile business in Lincoln, competing di- He did not fit the picture of the gun-
rectly with Murphy and Dolan. McSween slinging, killing machine that legend por-
also represented the growing strength of trays. Many accounts of the time suggest
the Republican Party in Lincoln County, that the Kid created the Regulators. In
adding another layer to the clash. Mur- reality, Alex McSween created the group
phy and Dolan saw their control chal- immediately after the murder of Tun-
lenged for the first time. stall. Nor did leadership of the group fall
The competition turned bloody on 18 on the shoulders of the Kid. Richard
February 1878, when men representing Brewer, Tunstalls former foreman, led
Dolan gunned down Tunstall in cold the group on its rampage through New
blood. McSween created a posse called Mexico. He put together a group of men
the Regulators, which included Billy the who each vowed vengeance for the slain
Kid. On 1 April 1878 Billy and a small Tunstall and swore loyalty to McSween.
group of men stole into the town of Lin- Accounts vary on this point as well.
coln and assassinated Sheriff William Some stories claim that Billy stood over
206 LITTLE BIGHORN

the grave of the slain Tunstall and swore nists continue to enthrall the public. Pop-
that he would not stop killing until he ular movies, such as Young Guns and
himself had killed every man involved in Young Guns II, chronicle the events sur-
the death of his friend. rounding the war. These films perpetuate
Many accounts of the events sur- a mythical picture of the character of
rounding the Lincoln County War erro- Billy the Kid. He is portrayed as an almost
neously attempt to reduce the conflict to godlike figure because of his gunfighting
one between law and outlaw. Although ability and fame. Clearly, the Lincoln
the Murphy-Dolan faction did have the County War and Billy the Kid will con-
sheriff of Lincoln County as an ally, the tinue to fascinate generations to come.
Regulators also represented the law. Jus- The consummate work on the subject
tice of the Peace John B. Wilson had dep- of the Lincoln County War is Robert M.
utized Billy and many of the group early Utleys High Noon in Lincoln. Utley
in the conflict. They rode under the au- demonstrates that although Billy the Kid
thority of Justice Wilson and Lincoln became the most famous participant in
Constable Atanacio Martinez. Thus, the war, neither he nor anyone else in-
much of the bloodshed that took place volved could be considered a hero. Many
during the conflict occurred under the works concerning Lincoln County paint
guise of legality on both sides. the war as a morality play, replete with
Most of the Regulators died violent legendary heroes and villains. In reality,
deaths during the war. Somehow, Billy the conflict involved rich and corrupt
survived the many gun battles and bul- politicians and their henchmen, all try-
lets. In fact, the Kid survived until July ing to augment their power. Like the
1881, when Sheriff Pat Garrett gunned equally famous gunfight at the OK Cor-
him down in cold blood at Fort Sumner. ral, the Lincoln County War comes down
The fact that he continued to ride and to us as stylized myth, not as a historical
fight after most of his companions had event.
died further enhanced his reputation. Daniel C. Gunter III
Like so many myths and legends con-
cerning the Old West, this one began as References
merely an interesting, exciting tale. Nolan, Frederick. The Lincoln County War: A
Those responsible for the newspaper ac- Documentary History. Norman: University
counts of the time greatly exaggerated of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
and dramatized the exploits of the Kid. Utley, Robert M. High Noon in Lincoln: Vio-
The editors of these papers concerned lence on the Western Frontier. Albuquerque:
themselves more with titillation than University of New Mexico Press, 1987.
fact. Most of the stories consisted of
word-of-mouth accounts and tales told
by those who fancied themselves as hav-
ing witnessed the events. Very few of the Little BigHorn
stories told in the newspapers of the time
can be confirmed. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, long
Tales of the conflict and its protago- known as the Custer Massacre, remains
LITTLE BIGHORN 207

the central iconic event of western plains and military discipline. Serious character
history. The full-blown military disaster flaws, including recklessness and a
left a powerful, mixed legacy for the cav- propensity for throwing tantrums,
alry commander George Armstrong Cus- marked Custers life.
ter and his command. Bumbling, incom- Custer steadfastly maintained that he
petent egomaniac? Brave, loyal, tragic had been made a scapegoat for a failed
martyr? Custers legacy remains hotly campaign. His old friend Gen. Philip
debated, and the Little Bighorn remains a Sheridan agreed, calling Custer back to
powerfully contested political and histor- duty in 1868. In the eyes of the army,
ical site. Custer quickly redeemed himself by his
James Welch well expressed the cul- November attack on Black Kettles band
tural significance of this event: on the banks of the Washita River. How-
ever, even this victory was tainted. Maj.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn may be Joel Elliott and his 19 men died after
the most depicted event in our nations holding off attacking Indians for a day
history. Hundreds of books, from Custer because Custer did not bother to look
biographies to as-told-to Indian ac- for them after the battle. Custers stand-
counts, have been written; thousands of ing among enlisted men and officers
illustrations from the famous Anheuser- dropped sharply.
Busch lithograph of Custers Last Fight Deployed to the northern plains in
(which hung in saloons and tobacco 1873, Custer participated in a few small
stores all across America) to Sioux and skirmishes with the Lakota in the Yellow-
Cheyenne ledger drawings, have been stone area. The following year, he led a
displayed; and at least forty films, from 1,200-person expedition to the Black
They Died with Their Boots On to Little Hills, whose possession the United States
Big Man, have played in theaters around had guaranteed the Lakota just six years
the world. Clearly, from the number of before. The expedition discovered gold,
books still being published, there is a however, and the ensuing gold fever
fascination with this tiny event that just made the Lakota treaty and land rights a
wont die. (Welch 1994) moot point. The Sioux retaliated for the
broken treaties, led by Chief Sitting Bull,
Following service in the Civil War, in Chief Crazy Horse, and Chief Gall, at-
July 1866 Custer was appointed lieu- tacking the swarms of prospectors invad-
tenant-colonel of the Seventh Cavalry. ing their territory.
The next year he led a muddled cavalry In 1876 Custer was scheduled to lead
campaign against the southern Chey- part of the anti-Lakota expedition. Mili-
enne. For his efforts, Custer suffered a tary politics again struck the brash gen-
court-martial and suspension from rank eral. In March he had testified about
and command for one year. He also for- corruption in the Indian Service. An em-
feited his pay for the period. Specifically, barrassed and angry President Ulysses S.
the court found him guilty of Absence Grant relieved Custer of his command
without leave from his command and and replaced him with Gen. Alfred Howe
conduct to the prejudice of good order Terry. Popular outcry among Custers
208 LITTLE BIGHORN

supporters forced Grant to relent, and


Custer rode off, leading the Seventh Cav-
alry, to meet his destiny.
Custer, astride his sorrel gelding Vic,
advanced impetuously and neared what
he thought was a large Indian village on
the morning of 25 June 1876. Perhaps he
should have studied harder at West
Point, where he finished at the bottom of
his class. His rapid advance put him far
ahead of John Gibbons slower-moving
infantry brigades.
Furthermore, Crazy Horse had re-
buffed Gen. George Crooks forces at
Rosebud Creek, and Maj. Marcus Reno,
seeing his first action, had perhaps pan-
icked in the face of a strong Sioux attack.
Without understanding the weakness
of his support, Custer impulsively or-
Custers legacy still influences the U. S. Army,
dered an immediate attack on the Indian Fort Hood, Texas
village. Contemptuous of Indian military
abilities, he split his forces into three
parts to prevent Indians from escaping. portrayed her husband not only as a mil-
Based on past experience, he expected itary genius but also as a refined and cul-
the enemy to break and run in the face tivated man, a patron of the arts, and a
of his attack. Instead, thousands of budding statesman. Popular artists cre-
Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors ated innumerable paintings of Custers
besieged the unsuspecting Custer and Last Stand. These paintings, along with
forced his unit to retreat to a long, dusty the misnomer Custer Massacre, de-
ridge above the Little Bighorn River. picted Custer as a gallant victim, sur-
There, the Native American forces sur- rounded by savages.
rounded the cavalrymen and killed all The battlefield, established as a na-
210 of them. Custers famous luck had tional monument in 1886, carried the
run out. Initially interred at the spot, name Custer Battlefield National Monu-
Custers remains were later removed to ment until 1991. Then changing political
West Point. sensibilities led to its renaming as the
Custers appalling blunders cost him Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monu-
his life but gained him everlasting fame. ment.
The Battle of the Little Bighorn became The drama and tragedy of this epic
an American icon, memorialized in battle, in the year of the nations centen-
paintings, songs, books, and films. His nial, has kept its appeal and controversy
widow, Elizabeth Bacon Custer, did what over the years. Early depictions, such as
she could to repair his reputation. She the Tom Mix silent movie of 1909, On
LITTLE JO 209

the Little Big Horn, or Custers Last Stand, other materials. For the first time, it pre-
perpetuated Custers heroic image. The sented the battle from the perspective of
movie Little Big Horn, issued in 1951, the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Crow. In 1999
carried on in the same tradition. Custer, a Herman J. Viola issued Little Big Horn
television program starring Wayne Remembered: The Untold Indian Story of
Maunder, aired briefly during the fall of Custers Last Stand. The motto outside
1967. The battle and Custer have also in- the First Cavalry barracks at Fort Hood,
filtrated popular culture, as in the title of Texas, captures well the irony and pathos
Gerry Mulligans jazz album Little Big of Custers last stand: Custer died for
Horn. our sins.
Whispered and then printed charges of
betrayal arose among Custers support- References
ers. They argue that the indecision and Custer Battlefield: http://www.intuitive.com/
possibly panic of Major Reno denied sites/cbhma/.
Custer the backup forces that could have General George A. Custer: http://www.garry
saved his command. Reno suffered a owen.com/.
court-martial and dismissal from the mil- Little Bighorn Cover-up: http://www.thehistory
itary after the fiasco. Some historians net.com/WildWest/articles/0696_text.htm.
have also questioned the actions of Capt. PBS. The West: http://www.pbs.org/weta/the
Frederick W. Benteen, a staunch Custer west/wpages/wpgs400/w4custer.htm.
foe, who failed to reinforce Custers com- Welch, James, with Paul Stekler. Killing
mand. The 1996 film Betrayal at Little Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and
Big Horn makes this case. Forensic scien- the Fate of the Plains Indians. New York:
tists have scoured the site with metal de- W. W. Norton, 1994.
tectors to determine more about the ac-
tual troop deployments of that fateful
day.
However, Custers critics have moved Little House
the imagery of besieged, tragic heroes in
an entirely new direction. Most famously, On The Prairie
the 1970 film Little Big Man, based on
Thomas Bergers novel of the same See Television
name, portrays Custer as a vainglorious
madman. Post-Vietnam revisionism took
a much darker, more critical view of
white expansion across the plains. Indian Little Jo
accounts of the battle have received
scholarly attention and have proved to Josephine Monaghan
be credible and enlightening. In 1992 Pe-
ter Stekler issued an hour-long docu- 1850?1903
mentary titled Last Stand at Little Big
Horn. This film drew upon journals, oral The 1993 postfeminist film The Ballad of
accounts, Indian ledger drawings, and Little Jo brought the tale of an unusual
210 LITTLE JO

nineteenth-century woman to the movie to town. There, the townsfolk learn her
screen. Director Maggie Greenwald secret when the undertaker prepares the
filmed her low-budget independent pro- corpse for burial.
duction in Montana and attracted a cult Film critic Stephen Hunter calls The
audience for this quirky feminist west- Ballad of Little Jo a snowy weather West-
ern starring Suzy Amis. The films title ern: The great snowy weather West-
also echoes images from the famous tra- ern, he writes,
ditional cowboy song, Little Joe the
Wrangler. was Robert Altmans McCabe and Mrs.
Based on the life of a real woman, the Miller, and I doubt this one would exist
film traces the tragedy of a young, up- if that one didnt. Still, Greenwald, like
per-class eastern woman who disgraces Altman, has a real feel for the austere
her family by bearing a child out of wed- beauty of the muddy, frozen tundra of
lock. To support her infant son, Laddie, the prairie and the landscapes a-glisten
and spare him the shame of bastardy, with white stuff and just vibrating with
she leaves him with her sister Helen and the chill of the cold. Its far from Shane
strikes out west in 1866. country and its far from heroic myth.
Her misadventures begin early as she But its real and affecting, just like the
barely escapes being raped and must movie. (Hunter)
don mens clothes to replace her torn
dress. She decides to adopt a male per- In addition to the better-known film,
sona, cutting her hair and even slashing playwright Barbara Lebow has written a
her face with a razor to leave a decidedly drama, Little Jo Monaghan, for four
masculine scar. For a woman to pass as a actors.
man was certainly not unheard of in the The actual historical record is as com-
Old West. pelling as the fictionalized versions. A
Jo secures employment in Ruby City, a cowboy named Jo did indeed work in the
mining boomtown. She suffers more tur- Ruby, Idaho, area from 1868 until 1880.
moil and another attempted rape by a His small stature and penchant for pri-
man who learns her real sex. More vio- vacy, although a bit odd, did not work
lence, however, drives her from town to against him. He dutifully sent money
work as a sheep herder in the employ of back east and also left part of his wages
crusty, racist Frank Badger (played by Bo with a mining superintendent to hold for
Hopkins). him. However, in 1880, the superintend-
Years later, Jo buys a ranch and returns ent disappeared, along with Jos savings.
to raising sheep. She hires a Chinese rail- After losing his savings, Jo left Idaho
road worker Tinman Wong (David for a homestead on Succor Creek in Mal-
Chung) to help her. He knows she is a heur County, Oregon. He built a shack
woman, and they fall in love. In a classic and accumulated a small herd of cattle
example of cattle ranchersheep herder marked with his JM brand, living quietly,
violence, she is ambushed but shoots alone for more than 20 years. One day in
two of her attackers. After she dies, Bad- 1903, a neighbor named Fred Palmer no-
ger discovers her body and takes it back ticed a lack of smoke from the chimney
LIVER-EATING JOHNSON 211

on Jos cabin. He found the little cowboy, lore, a few sparse, factual dates and
mortally ill, inside. As in the fictionalized events form the skeleton for a huge array
versions, the undertaker did indeed of entertaining tales and happenings, em-
make the discovery that Jo was in fact a bellished through the years. Even his ex-
woman. Letters found in her shack re- act name remains in dispute, sometimes
vealed her family ties in Buffalo, New rendered Johnson and at other times
York. She had dutifully sent money to Johnson. Unlike many legendary west-
support her son throughout her life. erners, however, Johnson never sought
Friends laid her to rest beside the creek fame nor expected that his life would
that ran through her property. someday become the stuff of legend.
Two very different books provide the
See also Gentle Tamers; Women in West- basis for much of the mountain mans
ern Films life and mythology. Carbon County His-
torical Society compiled one account,
References Red Lodge: Saga of a Western Area. John-
Hunter, Stephen. Little Joe (film review): son served the last few years of his life as
http://www.sunspot.net/our_town/film/data/ constable of the town of Red Lodge, in
mov_839386291_113.html. Carbon County, Montana. The pertinent
Kaufman, Seth. TV Guide, film review: http:// chapter of this book, written by Gawn
www.tvguide.com/movies/database/Show West (aka Harry Owens), claims to re-
Movie.asp?MI=35618. count the true and full life of Liver-Eat-
Lebow Drama Site: http://www.dramatists. ing Johnson. The second book, Crow
com/text/littlejo.htm. Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating Johnson,
Seagraves, Anne. Daughters of the West. Hay- written by Raymond W. Thorp and
den, ID: Wesanne Publications, 1996. Robert Bunker, tells a much different
Teegarden, John. Joe on Her Toes (film re- tale, a tale that folklorist Richard Dorson
view): http://www.film.com/film-review/1993 calls the Heroic Age version of Liver-
/8275/26/default-review.html. Eater. This version represents the fin-
ished product of the oral legend of John-
son, transcribed from the accounts of J. F.
White-Eye Anderson, a fellow moun-
tain man, at the age of 90.
Liver-Eating Johnson Legend has it that on a May morning
in 1847, Crow Indians killed and scalped
The legend of Liver-Eating Johnson is Johnsons wife, and with her killed their
based on the story of real-life mountain unborn son. That tragedy transformed
man John Johnson (18241900). His ex- Johnson into an avenger, and for years
ploits, real and imagined, have been re- afterward he waged a vendetta against
counted directly from the fantastic sto- the Crow. He supposedly killed and
ries of fellow mountain men and scalped more than 300 Crow Indians and
indirectly through written histories and then devoured their livers. As his reputa-
journals by various authors. Like many tion and collection of scalps grew, John-
larger-than-life characters of western son became an object of fear among the
212 LIVER-EATING JOHNSON

Indians and respect among his fellow stroy their enemy, Johnson. One by one,
mountain men. Johnson killed them in single combat,
Known as Dapiek Absaroka, Killer of each time taking the scalp and eating the
Crows, Johnson is remembered by most liver. Another fantastic story tells of
accounts as a stern, taciturn fellow who Liver-Eating Johnson simultaneously
would not respond to questions about his fighting off a grizzly bear and a mountain
personal life. However, mountain men in lion in a cave, wielding the frozen leg of a
general made most of their own enter- dead Blackfoot Indian. Still another anec-
tainment by telling tales during their an- dote highlights his amazing stamina: He
nual rendezvous. These frontiersmen ad- supposedly escaped, half-naked, from a
mired the feared Indian fighter. Blackfoot camp and traveled 200 miles in
The formidable Johnson stood six feet, a snowstorm to safety. Johnson is also
two inches tall and weighed around 220 credited with killing Sam Grant, a famous
pounds. In his prime, Johnson is credited African-American cowboy, in a gunfight.
with Herculean strength, physique, and Johnson shares many of the heroic at-
endurance. Stories claim that with the tributes of Buffalo Bill Cody and Davy
power of his feet and hands he could Crockett, but he is much more the prod-
twist off an Indians neck or kick him air- uct of oral tradition. As Thorp and
borne. Like other western heroes, he is Bunker admit in the acknowledgments
associated with trusty weapons, a rose- to their book, most of their information
wood-handled Walker Colt, a Bowie came from White-Eye Anderson in 1940.
knife, and a richly crafted stone toma- Anderson heard most of the stories from
hawk given to him as a tribal antique. Del Gue between 1885 and 1900. Al-
His faithful horse, Big Black, could smell though Gue had actually trapped with
out Indians and never left his side. Johnson in the 1850s and 60s, almost 30
His most heroic quality, as depicted in years passed before he told his stories,
the stories of his fellow mountain men, and another 40 went by before Anderson
lay in combat etiquette and morality. He recounted his. Seventy years is a long
always gave a disadvantaged opponent time for exact oral history to survive,
more equal terms by lending him a which helps account for the embellish-
weapon or allowing first draw, only to ment of the adventures.
crush him with a kick or a blow. Amid all According to research conducted by
the savagery associated with the nick- the Carbon County Historical Society
name Liver-Eating, Johnson stuck to and by other historians, Johnson was ac-
the code of the mountain man. He only tually born John Garrison in Little York,
killed to avenge the loss of his wife and New Jersey, in July 1824. While serving
son. He ended his vendetta with the in the U.S. Navy, he struck a lieutenant
Crow when they showed respect for the and deserted. Because desertion was a
grave of Crazy Woman, the deranged capital offense, Garrison took up a new
widow of a murdered husband and fam- name, Johnson, and a new life. His career
ily, also killed by Indians. as a mountain man began around 1843,
One famous tale tells of 20 Crow war- and many of his legendary adventures
riors sent individually to pursue and de- began thereafter. Crow Indians did kill
LONE RANGER 213

his wife in 1847, and Johnson probably Crow Killer: The Saga of Liver-Eating John-
went on to kill a few during his lifetime, son. Foreword by Richard M. Dorson.
although not to the extent asserted in Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
myth. Johnson earned his famous nick- 1969.
name, Liver-Eating Johnson, during an
exchange with Indians while working as Source of Further Information
a sharpshooter with the Colorado cav- Old West Grave Sites, John Garrison: www.
alry. After killing one of the Indians, dimensional.com/~sgrimm/jjohn.htm
Johnson decided to play a prank on a
younger cavalryman. Carving out the
liver of his fallen enemy, he walked over
to the boy, and proceeded to ask him if Lone Ranger
he wanted a bite while it was still warm.
Later in life, Johnson served as sheriff One evening several years ago, a con-
of Red Lodge, Montana, where he re- ductor led the Detroit Symphony
counted many tall tales to the townspeo- through a stirring rendition of The
ple. While there, he turned down an offer William Tell Overture. One listener,
to appear in Buffalo Bills Wild West struck with inspiration and pride at the
Show. Townspeople remember him say- sound of his favorite childhood televi-
ing dismissively, The only Indian Bill sion shows theme song, blared a rousing
Cody ever touched was a squaw. Hi-ho Silver! at the top of his lungs. No
In 1899, at the age of 72, Johnson left doubt others in the audience found
Red Lodge and entered a veterans hospi- themselves struck with a mixture of
tal in Los Angeles. On 21 January 1900, alarm and nostalgia. The Lone Ranger
the wearied mountain man passed away. ranks among the most famous and
In 1965 Vardis Fisher published a novel, revered popular culture heroes of all
Mountain Man, based on Johnsons life time. His name and likeness have trick-
as a trapper in the Rockies. Fishers book led through almost every form of mass
inspired the making of Jeremiah Johnson, media: novels, comic strips, movies, mer-
the 1972 movie directed by Sydney Pol- chandising, and successful radio and tel-
lack and starring Robert Redford. evision series. Together with his trusty
John Garrison was originally buried in white horse, Silver, and his Indian com-
the hospital cemetery in Los Angeles. Af- panion Tonto (with horse Scout), the
ter requests from friends and historians, Lone Ranger has become an American
officials agreed to move the body to Old cultural and commercial icon.
Trail Town in Cody, Wyoming. Robert The Lone Ranger came to life at the
Redford served as one of the pallbearers. hands of John King and George W. Tren-
Andrew Mebane Southerland dle in 1932. Harold True came up with
the name. The radio drama series on
References WXYZ radio became an immediate hit.
Fisher, Vardis. Mountain Man. New York: Fran Striker joined the staff and wrote
Morrow, 1965. many of the early scripts. Striker de-
Thorp, Raymond W., and Robert Bunker. scribed the mysterious character in an
214 LONE RANGER

early script: a masked rider, a pictur- praised him for his high ideals: brother-
esque figure that performed deeds of the hood, fair play, and seeking justice with
greatest daring. A modern Robin honor. His mask and mysterious identity
Hood . . . seen by few, known by none. added flavor and intrigue. Kids adored
Whence he came and where he went, no the Lone Ranger as an adventurous hero
one ever knew (Van Hise 1990). Accord- and role model, full of good spirit and
ing to Texas folklore, the Lone Ranger is with a flawless character. He wasnt
based on the Texas Rangers. Suppos- afraid to use his pistol, but only to shoot
edly, only one of six Rangers survived a the gun from a criminals hand.
vicious attack by a gang of outlaws. That His Indian sidekick proved the heros
one survivor became the Lone Ranger. good will toward Native Americans, even
The radio show first aired in January though the word tonto is Spanish for
1933, with George Seaton as the hero. At fool. The producers claimed that it
least ten different men would later por- meant wild one, a label used by the Po-
tray the Lone Ranger in various media, towatomie Indians of western Michigan.
including Earle W. Graser, Brace Beemer, This tribe is also allegedly the source of
Lee Powell, Robert Livingston, and the the affectionate term Kemosabe, which
legendary Clayton Moore, who died in is interpreted to mean faithful friend or
1999. John Todd played Tonto on the ra- trusty scout. In actuality, the word
dio show through its last airings in 1954. probably came from the name of pro-
The radio series lasted for hundreds of ducer James Jewells father-in-laws sum-
episodes and is remembered as the eras mer camp, Camp Kee Mo Sah Bee, at
most popular action drama. As technol- Lake Mullet, Michigan.
ogy changed, Clayton Moore and John Silver, the famous solid white horse,
Hart got their respective chances to be- became a costar, able to save the day at
come one of the first television series he- any given moment. Originally, Tonto,
roes. Moore played the Lone Ranger who first appeared in the fourth radio
from 1949 through 1957, except from episode or thereabouts, also rode a white
1952 to 1954, when Hart filled the role. steed. To keep attention focused on the
Clayton Moore gained fame as the true hero, the producers took away the In-
Lone Ranger, starring also in the movies dians powerful white stallion and gave
The Lone Ranger (1956) and The Lone him a blandly colored horse. The Lone
Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958). Rangers grammar, like the rest of his
Several aspects of the Lone Rangers character, was flawless. He spoke pro-
character (or lack thereof ) may explain foundly and avoided the use of slang,
his phenomenal popularity. The Lone setting a higher standard for the cowboy
Ranger became a convenient, straightfor- image in general.
ward, one-dimensional hero for anyone Sponsors climbed over each other to
and everyone. This atypical, clean-cut back such a popular, positive hero, and
Ranger frowned upon drinking, smoking, merchandise with his wholesome logo
and using bad language. The masked flew off the shelves. In 1935 radio voice
rider brought virtue and integrity to liv- Earle W. Graser offered a chance for kids
ing rooms across America. Parents to join the Lone Ranger Safety Club, if
LOST DUTCHMANS MINE 215

they would agree in writing to tell the ing to youngsters and adults alike. The
truth and look carefully before crossing Lone Ranger stands out as a monolith of
streets. General Mills, one of 66 different virtue, an ageless cowboy who repre-
licensed manufacturers of Lone Ranger sents the best ideals of America. All told,
products, handled the demand for more the Lone Ranger yielded some 3,000 ra-
than 2 million Safety Club badges. At one dio episodes, two movie serials, two fea-
point, the factory had to run 24 hours a ture films, 18 novels, 221 television
day, sending out more than 500,000 Lone episodes, and a host of comic strips,
Ranger masks and 2 million Lone Ranger comic books, and animated television
photographs to demanding children cartoons.
across the nation. The Lone Ranger Atom The character has permeated every as-
Bomb Ring remains the most popular pect of society and popular culture
prize ever offered. Its 1945 release drew through seven decades. He has never ut-
well over 2 million requests. tered a mean word, yet he has also never
In July 1933 the Detroit Department of smiled. His mask hides any true person-
Recreation promised children a live ap- ality, yet he somehow manages to distin-
pearance of their favorite hero on Belle guish himself from scores of other
Isle. The Lone Ranger appeared astride heroes as a memorable icon of the chi-
Silver. Police blockaded the area, pre- valrous and heroic West.
pared for an estimated 20,000 spectators. William F. Zweigart
More than 70,000 arrived, causing such a
dangerous commotion that Trendle References
never dared this type of promotional Clayton Moore, the Lone Ranger: http://mem
event again. bers.tripod.com/~ClaytonMoore.
Pulp novelists stories about the Lone Largents Lone Ranger Page: http://users.tic
Ranger sold very well. Street and Smith, a net.com/mlargent/LR1.html.
major publisher of Lone Ranger material, Van Hise, James. Who Was That Masked Man?
kept millions of children hanging in sus- The Story of the Lone Ranger. Las Vegas, NV:
pense with Street and Smiths Wild West Pioneer Books, 1990.
Weekly. Gaylord Du Bois released juve-
nile literature about the hero, such as
The Lone Ranger and the Secret Killer
(1937). At the Lone Rangers peak popu- Los Almagres Mine
larity, some 120 newspapers carried his
comic strip. The Lone Ranger Rock, lo- See San Saba Mine
cated in Chatsworth, California, remains
a popular tourist attraction for nostalgic
fans.
Some analysts attribute the Lone Lost Dutchmans Mine
Rangers undying popularity to shrewd
marketing of a well-written radio and tel- For more than a century, the myth of the
evision series. Others point to the heros Lost Dutchmans Mine has inspired con-
ability to transcend time and age, appeal- troversy among treasure hunters. A mix-
216 LOST DUTCHMANS MINE

ture of storytelling, scattered facts, and the profitable venture, keeping its loca-
personal accounts present a difficult tion a secret.
question. The fabled mine allegedly con- Myth 2: The Peraltas, a wealthy Mexi-
tains hundreds of thousands of dollars can prospecting family from Sonora,
worth of pure gold. Does the mine actu- Mexico, discovered and mined the area
ally exist in the Superstition Mountains during an Arizona expedition. One of the
of Arizona, or is it simply a myth? Many sons, Miguel Peralta, found himself in a
sources offer conflicting theories and troublesome position at a cantina late
discoveries. one night. Two other Mexicans threat-
The story begins with a prospector ened his life, but the virtuous Waltz and
named Jacob Waltz (spellings vary), born Wiser saved his life at the last minute.
in 1810. The Dutchman (who actually Filled with gratitude, Miguel rewarded
hailed from Wrtemberg, Germany) ar- Waltz with a map of the Superstition
rived in America about 1839 hoping to Mountains, showing where gold could
make a decent living prospecting. After be found. Waltz found the mine, killed
failed attempts in North Carolina and Wiser, and kept the riches for himself.
Georgia, he made his way west into Myth 3: Waltz, a mean and psycho-
heavily mined areas of Arizona. Waltz re- pathic killer, rampaged around town,
portedly worked with a man named Ja- flaunting his wealth and threatening
cob Wiser. Some reports indicate that those around him. As an eccentric old
Wiser, who does not appear in any man, he mentioned nothing of his mine
records after his work with Waltz, was or where gold might be hidden. Later,
murdered either by Waltz or by Apache one of his servants found gold under-
Indians. The accounts surrounding Wis- neath his bed.
ers death and other events differ greatly, Myth 4: No such mine ever existed.
although we do know that he became a The Dutchman had bought or stolen his
citizen of the United States on 19 July gold from the nearby Vulture Mining
1861. Company. Lying on his deathbed, Waltz
Jacob Waltz first appeared in Arizona created an elaborate story of his secret
documents by filing for a gold vein, the mine and where it could be found. He
Gross Claim, on 21 September 1863, in dropped clever, vague hints to whoever
the Pioneer District of Yavapai County. would listen. Statements such as No
He drew attention to himself by return- miner will ever find my mine have been
ing to town, after long expeditions, interpreted to mean that the gold is lo-
flaunting the gold in his pockets and cated where a normal prospector would
bragging about his treasure. As a result, not look. He also left geographical clues:
several myths arose in an attempt to ex- From my mine you can see the military
plain his sudden wealth. trail but you cant see my mine from the
Myth 1: Jacob Waltz gained access to a military trail.
hidden mine when he and Wiser stum- Little or no factual information sup-
bled upon two Mexicans working the ports the first three myths. Waltz did not
area in the Superstition Mountains. After appear in any newspapers or publica-
killing them, Waltz and Wiser took over tions during his alleged period of wealth,
LUCKENBACH, TEXAS 217

and he lived modestly. With such riches cludes a Jacob Waltz exhibit. Located at
hiding away in the nearby mountains, the base of the Superstition Mountains,
why would Waltz live until his death Lost Dutchman State Park is a 292-acre
without cashing in on his discovery? recreational facility, where visitors can
From a factual standpoint, the Peralta camp, picnic, and search for the leg-
family did discover and mine profitable endary hiding place of Waltzs gold.
amounts of gold from the area in the William F. Zweigart
midnineteenth century. Their last known
expedition (18471852) ended in trag- References
edy. Apache Indians living in the area at- Superstition MountainLost Dutchman Mu-
tacked and massacred the family as they seum: http://ajnet.ci.apache-jct.az.us/muse
returned south with their gold. The area um1.htm.
south of the Superstition Mountains is Tale of the Lost Dutchman: http://www.
now known as the massacre grounds, lost-dutchman.com.
and researchers have confirmed this
event with evidence from the groups
caravan. The massacre has been tied to a
400-year-old Apache curse, which Love, Nat
supposedly protects Waltzs mythical
mine and sacred Apache Indian burial See Deadwood Dick
grounds.
Almost 100 years later (in either 1952
or 1954), a man named Travis Tumlinson
discovered the items known now as the Luckenbach, Texas
Peralta Maps while vacationing with his
family. The four elaborate maps each fea- Lets go to Luckenbach Texas with Waylon
tured symbolic images pointing to the and Willie and the boys
whereabouts of treasure. No location has This successful life were livin has got us
yielded any discovery of gold, but inter- feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys.
est in the area has remained active ever Between Hank Williams pain songs,
since. Newberrys train songs,
On 31 December 1983, the U.S. Depart- And blue eyes cryin in the rain.
ment of Agriculture closed the area to Out in Luckenbach Texas, aint nobody
mineral prospecting of any kind, thereby feelin no pain
making it harder to track down any facts
on the elusive Lost Dutchmans Mine. En- Until western outlaw singers Waylon
thusiasts still search the area, and the Su- Jennings and Willie Nelson recorded the
perstition Mountains draw tourists every hit song Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the
year to learn more about the mining folk- Basics of Love) in 1977, not many people
lore. More than three dozen books ex- outside the Texas hill country had heard
plore the subject, ranging from legendary of this tiny hamlet. Immediately, signs
accounts to archaeological research stud- bearing the towns name became hot col-
ies. The Lost Dutchman Museum in- lectibles and quickly disappeared. No
218 LUCKENBACH, TEXAS

Danelle Crowley and the author at the Luckenbach post office

other town in modern memory has rock- The town got its start in the mid-nine-
eted into the national consciousness teenth century. German-speaking fami-
with such verve and speed. lies, including those of Jacob Lucken-
Luckenbach had indeed existed as a bach and August Luckenbach, settled in
real place long before it became a the Fredericksburg area in 1846. Six
metaphoric retreat from lifes squabbles, years later, the Luckenbach family natu-
pressures, headaches, and travails. Nos- ralized and moved to the site that later
talgia for a simpler time in the past, the became the town of Luckenbach. Jacob
good old days, is a powerful force in received a deed to 640 acres of land from
American culture. Like another popular the Texas immigration program.
song, Hero, the Jennings/Nelson tune The Reverend Albert Engel and his
shows the continuing allure of that wife Mrs. August (Minnie) Engel get offi-
mythical past in American life. cial credit for establishing the town. In
The Luckenbach of reality is located in about 1860, Minnie Engel established
the scenic central Texas hills, along both the towns first store, where local resi-
sides of Ranch Road 1376, 13.5 miles dents and Indians traded. The town did
from Fredericksburg in southeastern not get its name until 1886, when Minna
Gillespie County. The setting is a mix of Engel, Augusts sister, applied to postal
caliche hills, creek bottoms (notably authorities in Washington, D.C., to create
Grape Creek, a tributary of the Peder- a post office. Minna decided to honor her
nales River), century-old live-oak trees, fianc, Albert Luckenbach, and placed
and rolling farmlands. his name on the post office form.
LUCKENBACH, TEXAS 219

By the late nineteenth century, Lucken- enbach, declared his town to be a free
bach also boasted a dance hall, a cotton state . . . of mind, a kind of countercul-
gin, a blacksmith shop, and several ceme- ture counterpoint to Lyndon Baines
tery plots. The community became more Johnsons nearby ranch on the Peder-
heterogeneous, with Methodists, Luther- nales River. A great fan of the Austin mu-
ans, and Roman Catholics the predomi- sic scene, Crouch sponsored a wondrous
nant religious groups. The population re- range of festivals, such as Mud Daubers
mained small, however, numbering 150 Day, a Hug-In, a womens chili cook-off,
in 1896 and reaching its peak of 492 in and the Luckenbach Great Worlds Fair.
1904. Thereafter, numbers dropped The irrepressible Crouch died in 1976,
sharply, with only about 20 full-time resi- a year before Jennings and Nelson put
dents from the 1920s through the 1950s. his town on the worlds cultural map.
Even before its recent musical notori- The hamlet continues to host a variety of
ety, Luckenbach had made a name for it- reunions and celebrations, including the
self in Texas mythology. Supposedly, a 1995 Willie Nelson Fourth of July picnic.
German-born schoolteacher named Ja- Today only a blacksmith shop; a combi-
cob Brodbeck built an airplane in the nation post office, bar, and general store;
1860s. Local legend insists that he flew a dance hall; and a cotton gin remain on
his machine successfully in 1863, some the ten-acre downtown site. However,
four decades before the Wright brothers Luckenbach is still a great place to sip a
made their famous flight. A large coiled beer and listen to guitar strumming un-
spring supposedly powered the propeller der the shade by tall, stately live-oak
that flew his ship-shaped airplane. Ac- trees. Thanks to local guide and fellow
cording to one account, he successfully Peace Corps alum Danelle Crowley, I
flew his craft from a field some three made the pilgrimage to Luckenbach on
miles east of Luckenbach on 20 Septem- 14 October 2000. On that picture-perfect
ber 1865. He reportedly flew at an alti- Texas autumn day, the few dozen people
tude of 12 feet for a distance of about in Luckenbach were indeed feelin no
100 feet before crashing. Alas, only sto- pain.
ries, no artifacts or drawings, remain to
confirm the tale. Brodbeck is buried on References
his farm near Luckenbach. Baker, T. Lindsay. Ghost Towns of Texas. Nor-
School consolidations and better eco- man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.
nomic opportunities elsewhere kept the Luckenbach, Texas, Web Site: http://www.luck
town a tiny hamlet. In 1971 John Russell enbachtexas.com.
Hondo Crouch purchased the town
from Benno Engel. Kathy Morgan and Source of Further Information
Guich Koock joined Crouch as partners. Handbook of Texas Online: http://www.tsha
The white-haired, white-bearded Crouch, .utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/L
self-proclaimed Clown Prince of Luck- L/hnl48.html.
m
Magazines builders, dude ranch operators, and a
host of others promoted the virtues and
Since the earliest forays into the western wonders of the West. Foreign-language
frontier by the Lewis and Clark expedi- ads attracted European immigrants to
tion and other explorers, most people the Golden West. One colorful litho-
have gotten their images of the region graph promised 43,795,000 acres of land
from print publications. The federal gov- in California, the Cornucopia of the
ernment subsidized and printed many of World, Room for Millions of Immigrants,
the important early exploration reports, a Climate for Heath and Wealth, without
along with drawings and later photo- Cyclones or Blizzards. An 1885 North-
graphs. As the region opened to white ern Pacific Railroad ad drew inspiration
settlement, however, boosters and pro- from Lewis Carrolls Alice in Wonderland.
moters of every stripe joined in the ava- It urged customers to explore, with Alice,
lanche of printed materials about the Adventures in the New Wonderland of
West. Yellowstone National Park.
Government-funded exploration had Boosterism continues in the twentieth
as its goal a scientific, accurate recording century, with a variety of current maga-
of the places, resources, and potential of zines offering their own compelling vi-
the West; not so for later, private-sector sions of the regions charms. Special-in-
boosters. They had as their goal to hype terest groups have every reason to
the region uncritically in order to attract communicate both with their members
settlers, sell land, and make money. and with the public at large. In 1914 the
Posters, pamphlets, books, guides for em- Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers
igrants, and newspaper ads provide a Association began publishing The Cattle-
vast corpus of evidence on visions of the man. Texas, with 14 million head of cat-
mythical West. During the nineteenth tle, and Oklahoma, with 5.4 million, to-
century, emigrant societies, railroad gether comprise 19.3 percent of the U.S.

220
MAGAZINES 221

total of 101.2 million head. The maga- VR (virtual reality) views of Sedona, the
zine is aimed at the ranchers who own Grand Canyon, and other scenic Arizona
and raise those animals. It seeks to help spots. The technology allows one to (vir-
them make sound, informed business tually) stand on a mesa in Sedona and ro-
decisions. It has kept readers up-to-date tate around for a 360-degree view. One
and helped them anticipate trends, legis- can peer over the dramatic edge of the
lation and technology that could signifi- Grand Canyon and examine stunning
cantly impact their profits. formations all around.
However, the publication, which has Not to be outdone, the Travel Division
some 17,000 subscribers, is not all work. of the Texas Department of Transporta-
It also includes profiles, historical arti- tion publishes Texas Highways. The state
cles, and humor. Recognizing new mar- established the Texas Highway Depart-
kets and clients, The Cattleman has pub- ment in 1917 to administer federal funds
lished since 1990 an annual issue on the for the construction and maintenance of
Mexican cattle industry, with articles and highways across its vast open spaces.
ads in both Spanish and English. Texas Highways grew out of an in-house
Whereas The Cattleman promotes the newsletter, the Construction and Mainte-
interests of western ranchers, other publi- nance Bulletin, first published in July
cations have promoted state tourism and 1950. In November 1953 the newsletters
travel. In 1925, just 13 years after achiev- name was changed to Texas Highways.
ing statehood, Arizona began the publi- The first issue as a statewide public
cation of Arizona Highways magazine. travel publication appeared in May 1974.
The publication had one simple, straight- As the magazines Web site explains,
forward goal: to promote tourism to the the publication encourages recreational
state. Over its 75-year-history, the glossy travel to and within Texas and tells the
publication has succeeded magnificently. Texas story to readers around the world.
Stunning, colorful, landscape photogra- As of the year 2000, the publication
phy has long served as the magazines reached 300,000 subscribers and news-
signature. In fact, the magazines Web site stand buyers throughout the United
features pictures of vintage Arizona High- States and in more than 100 other coun-
ways covers going back to 1941. tries. Unlike most western glossies, Texas
Great color photography remains an Highways carries no advertising, relying
Arizona Highways mainstay, but in re- on sales of the magazine itself and related
cent years, it has livened up its content products to cover production expenses.
and format. Recognizing the appeal of Other western states also publish
western culture as well as landscape, the travel magazines designed to make their
magazine now includes much more than locales as tempting to potential visitors
simply photo essays and destination as possible.
pieces. It now contains profiles, recipes, Special-interest magazines have fo-
humor, bits of folklore, and much more. cused not on destinations, as Arizona
The magazines Web site likewise has a Highways does, but rather on specific ac-
very modern feel. It includes QuickTime tivities. Westerners certainly did not in-
222 MAGAZINES

vent humankinds love affair with the readership and reaches more horse lovers
horse, but they may have perfected it. In than any other horse magazine.
1936 Paul and Wirth Albert founded Western Horseman has achieved a pre-
Western Horseman in Lafayette, Califor- dictable, long-lasting, and substantial
nia, as a regional publication with a mere readership. Other special-interest maga-
12 pages. After Pauls death from cancer zines have targeted smaller audiences;
in 1942, Wirth sold the magazine to John many have been ephemeral. American
Ben Snow of Speidel Newspapers, Inc. Cowboy Poet, for example, arose in re-
Snow upgraded and moved the maga- sponse to the revival of cowboy poetry
zine, first to Reno, Nevada, and then to performances in the 1980s. Boots maga-
Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1949. zine advertised itself for the cowboy ar-
Don Flint, owner of Flying North tisan; it matters not the mediumwords,
Ranch north of Colorado Springs, nur- leather, paint, song, or carving materials.
tured the magazine as general manager Song of the West focused on contempo-
and then publisher until his retirement rary western music. Southwest Art covers
in 1969. Texan Dick Spencer took over as the historical and contemporary art
editor in 1951 and nurtured the maga- scene for that region of the West.
zines expansion until his death in 1989. Like western states, western organiza-
Randy Witte succeeded Spencer as editor tions and institutions have recognized
and then became publisher, with Pat the importance of printed advertising. In
Close as editor. 1964 the new Western History Associa-
The editorial content targets horse tion, founded just three years earlier, be-
owners, riders, and admirers of the west- gan sponsoring a glossy magazine, The
ern breeds. It includes many nuts-and- American West, in addition to its flagship
bolts and how-to service articles on scholarly journal, the Western Historical
horse training, riding, and care. Articles Quarterly. (The former publication should
also cover reining and quarter horse not be confused with American West, the
competitions and ranch life. Given its edi- in-flight magazine of American Airlines.)
torial locationthe Pro-Rodeo Hall of Intended as a western version of Ameri-
Fame is also located in Colorado Springs can Heritage magazine, The American
the magazine naturally extends coverage West had as its mission to bring authori-
to rodeos. It also features articles of inter- tative but popular and entertaining west-
est to anyone who owns or likes horses, ern history to a general reading audience.
regardless of breed. One advertisement The magazine succeeded wonderfully for
invited westerners to read all about cow- some two decades. The January 1970 is-
boys and cowgirls, rodeos and horse sue, for example, included articles by
shows, trail rides and pack trips, hard leading western writers Helena Hunting-
work and great fun, cattle ranches and ton Smith, Kent Steckmesser, Canadas
dude ranches, fantastic vacations, fash- Hugh Dempsey, and Odie B. Falk. The
ions and tack, and much, much more. November 1977 issue focused on The
Like all publications, Western Horseman Cowboys West and included essays by
has its editorial strengths and weak- art experts Peter H. Hassrick, Owen Ulph,
nesses, but today it enjoys a worldwide and C. L. Sonnichsen.
MAGAZINES 223

The American West shifted its focus Magazine, Montana Land Magazine, and
during the late 1980s. It went commer- Montana Magazine.
cial, dropping serious historical topics in Like the Western History Association,
favor of lighter fare of interest to buffs the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Ok-
and collectors of western art and memo- lahoma City saw a need to reach out to
rabilia. In response to the new focus, the its membership in printed form. Since
Western History Association dropped its 1970, five years after the museums offi-
sponsorship and instead backed Mon- cial opening, Persimmon Hill magazine
tana: The Magazine of Western History. has kept patrons abreast of museum ac-
Montana had been published since 1951 tivities, including featured exhibits, ex-
by the Montana Historical Society in He- pansion projects, and special events. The
lena. Chuck Rankin served as magazine publication takes its name from the mu-
editor during the 1980s and 90s, ably seums hilltop location. It entertains and
attracting quality historians and nicely educates readers on many themes of
balancing readability and authority. western Americana. The magazine dis-
Montana continues the tradition of pop- continued publication in 1985/1986.
ular scholarship, presenting readable, Then, energetic M. J. Van Deventer took
well-illustrated, footnoted articles on a over as editor, raising the editorial and
wide range of historical and cultural artistic content to new highs. The quar-
topics. terly publication, which runs about
Montana: The Magazine of Western His- 10,000 copies, often features themed is-
tory initially focused only on its name- sues. The autumn 2000 issue, for exam-
sake state. However, with support from ple, celebrated First Americans: Ancient
the Western History Association, it broad- Legends. The spring 2000 issue focused
ened its coverage considerably to include on cowboy Matinee Idols. Each issue in-
a wide range of serious but highly read- cludes features on western history, art,
able western history topics. The maga- literature, folklore, popular culture, and
zine still engages the concerns of Mon- more. Other major western museums,
tana residents, however, with such such as the Buffalo Bill Historical Center
regular features as The Montana Traveler in Cody, Wyoming, also publish informa-
and Montana Reflections. Like The Ameri- tive promotional newsletters and maga-
can West in its early years, Montana pub- zines.
lishes works by outstanding western The cowboy renaissance of the late
scholars. The winter 1999 issue includes 1980s prompted a western publishing
essays by Carlos A. Schwantes and Robert boom. Many of those boom magazines,
M. Utley and a commentary by Stewart L. such as Western Styles, survived only
Udall. A Special Gold Rush Issue (au- briefly. However, others prospered. Cow-
tumn 1999) included two pieces by Mar- boy Magazine premiered in the summer
tin Ridge and an article, Golden of 1990, with a hearty welcome from vet-
Dreams, by Elliott West. Incidentally, all eran cowboy actor Richard Farnsworth.
states now publish a host of magazines, In a brief essay, the actor acknowledged
of varying quality, with the state name in the declining economic fortunes of
the titlefor example, Montana Living ranching and cowboy life in the West. He
224 MAGAZINES

pointed out, however, the continuing Readers are tempted with everything
mystique of the cowboy. Still, noted western from barbecue sauce to belt
Farnsworth, much of the West is unset- buckles to bronze statues, items that cost
tled, and the land is best suited for cattle from a few dollars to tens of thousands.
grazing. The cowboy is still out there Vendors run the historical and cultural
turning grass into beef. With America gamut from Navajos selling traditional
now in the age of space technology, and silver and turquoise to a Web site for the
only ten years away from the 21st cen- American Paint Horse Association. The
tury, the cowboy still endures. Cowboy magazine has also developed a colorful
Magazine is being published because the Web site, with an monthly trivia contest,
world still loves to cowboy. As the maga- bonus book and music reviews, and
zines Web site proclaims, We know the other features. The magazines Web site
real working cowboy better than anyone. proclaims itself the ultimate western
Cowboys & Indians appeared in 1993. lifestyle site. Authoritative guides to art,
Its publisher, Robert Hartman, sought to fashion, home interiors, fine food, and
interest fans both of cowboy culture and much more.
history and of Native American culture In sum, old-time promoters tried to
and history. Hartman and skilled editor lure people to a place called the West.
Charlotte Berney created a publication Todays entrepreneurs still sell real es-
both lively and diverse. Splendid color tate, but they also market the West as a
photography and paintings adorned lifestyle, as a state of mind, as a dream.
each issue. Thus, the power and magnetism of a re-
Texas entrepreneur Reid Slaughter gion now extends, through a host of
purchased the magazine and took over publications, to people around the world
as publisher in 1996. He added more who still wish to share in the wonders of
coverage of western and Native Ameri- the mythical West.
can art, handicrafts, and collectibles and
devoted more attention to architecture References
and celebrities. In early 2000 Eric O- American Paint Horse Association: http://
Keefe replaced Charlotte Berney as edi- www.apha.com.
tor and the editorial offices shifted from Arizona Highways: http://www.arizonahigh
Santa Fe to Dallas. Circulation has ways.com.
topped the 100,000 mark, making it one The Cattleman Magazine: http://www.thecattle
of the larger western lifestyle publica- manmagazine.com/.
tions in print. Cowboy Magazine: http://www.datasys.net/
A glance through the ads in Cowboys edpak/cowb.html.
& Indians reflects the upscale consumer Cowboys & Indians: http://www.cowboysand
frontier that appeals to a host of western- indians.com.
ers and wanna-bes. The November 2000 Montana: http://www.his.state.mt.us/depart
issue includes lush pages of ads for Dou- ments/magazine/mag.html.
ble D Ranch womens wear, western arti- National Cowboy Hall of Fame: http://www.
facts from Christies, Ariat and J. B. Hill cowboyhalloffame.org/persim.html.
bootssome 40 advertisers, all told. Texas Highways: http://www.texashighways.com/.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, THE 225

Western Horseman: http://www.westernhorse heroes who band together to fight a


man.com. common foe. Each character has his own
Wheeler, Keith. The Railroaders. New York: special weapon and ability in the fight
Time-Life Books, 1973. against the classic Western bad guys:
armies of bandits, evil landowners, op-
pressive cattle ranchers, corrupt lawmen.
In this case, they defend a Seminole
Magnificent Seven, rather than a Mexican village. The music
for the film and series is as classically
The western as the story lines and characters.
Composed for the film by Elmer Bern-
Director John Sturges adapted The Mag- stein, it was rerecorded in 1993. Bern-
nificent Seven from Akira Kurosawas stein loved the new version for the tele-
1952 The Seven Samurai. It starred vision series, which utilizes more than
Charles Lang Jr., Yul Brynner (Chris 90 percent of his original score. That
Adams), Eli Wallach (Calvera), Steve Mc- original music, highly recognizable even
Queen (Vin), Horst Buchholz (Harry today, accompanied the Marlboro Man
Luck), James Coburn (Britt), Charles cigarette commercials of the 1960s.
Bronson (Bernardo OReilly), and Robert Although the original film was highly
Vaughn (Lee). The evil bandit Eli Wallach successful, the CBS series has not been.
and his 40 thugs repeatedly despoil a Several TV episodes have gone unaired,
hapless Mexican village. The desperate despite an immense fan-base and intense
villagers hire down-on-their-luck gun- popularity among some groups. TNN
men, unemployed because of civiliza- picked up 21 episodes of the program for
tions encroachment on the West. With syndication after CBS lost interest in the
lots of shooting and heroics, the film spring of 1999. But the archetypal charac-
achieved great popular and respectable ters and immortal setting of the American
critical success. Charles Bronson, James West make this particular story appealing
Coburn, Steve McQueen (see also Tom on many levels, and it is likely that the se-
Horn), and Robert Vaughn all enjoyed ries and the movie will continue to enjoy
great career boosts because of the film. the support of die-hard fans who enjoy
The successful film has spawned sev- action, adventure, and friendship in the
eral movie spin-offs, notably Return of sweeping scope of the West.
the Magnificent Seven, Guns of the Mag- The Magnificent Seven deftly echoes
nificent Seven, and The Magnificent Seven several voices of earlier western films.
Ride. In 1998 a CBS television series Like Shane, the seven heroes defend the
reprised the popular film. John Watson weak against the strong and abusive.
was the executive producer of the series, Like the multiple-hero serials of B-west-
which starred Michael Biehn, Eric Close, ern days (such as The Three Mesquiteers),
Andrew Kavovit, Dale Midkiff, Ron Perl- the seven heroes show that the effort of
man, Anthony Starke, and Rick Worthy. the whole is greater than the sum of the
The story line of the TV series involves parts. In short, the twin themes of west-
several uniquely talented, multicultural ern individualism (the seven differ sub-
226 MANIFEST DESTINY

stantially from one another) and group unsettled West preserved it as a rallying
cooperation intertwine in an entertain- cry justifying American growth.
ing, mythical package. Many Americans saw the freedom and
P. S. Crane and Richard W. Slatta liberty that flourished in America as a
gift that they should spread across the
References continent. This conviction stemmed
Hardy, Phil. The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: from their faith that Divine Providence
The Western. Woodstock, NY: Overlook mandated the glory and growth of Amer-
Press, 1991. ica. Since God so decreed it, the Ameri-
Hollywood.com: http://Hollywood.com. can people saw no limit to the extension
and enlargement that the nation not
only could but inevitably would achieve.
The phrase Manifest Destiny ele-
Manifest Destiny gantly and simply justified a large variety
of notable political and historical occur-
Manifest Destiny is a concept of imperial- rences. Both the Santa Fe Trail to New
ism that has existed in the United States Mexico and the Oregon Trail to the Pa-
since its foundation. It holds that God or- cific Northwest became popular routes.
dained the expansion of America and More than 30,000 pioneer grave sites tes-
that the nations history reflects this di- tified to the hardships that these settlers
vine plan. John OSullivan, an influential faced. Many urged northward expansion
editor and Democratic activist, coined to latitude 54.40. Americas occupation
the phrase in 1845: of the Oregon Territory became an im-
portant national goal and political issue.
the right of our manifest destiny to over As William Gilpin said in 1846, The un-
spread and to possess the whole of the transacted destiny of the American peo-
continent which Providence has given ple is to subdue the continentto rush
us for the development of the great ex- over this fast field to the Pacific Ocean
periment of liberty and federative devel- to animate the many hundred millions of
opment of self government entrusted to its people, and to cheer them upwardto
us. It is a right such as that of the tree to establish a new order in human affairs
the space of air and the earth suitable for to set free the enslavedto change dark-
the full expansion of its principle and ness into light (Goetzmann 1986).
destiny of growth. James K. Polks expansionist platform
helped him to edge out Henry Clay in
Many scholars hold that the ideals of the campaign for the presidency in 1844.
Manifest Destiny existed long before O- He began his presidency in 1845, the
Sullivan wrote the phrase. Ironically, year the phrase Manifest Destiny first
even OSullivan himself did not realize made its way into print. He stayed true to
that he had created an American slogan this agenda, which led to conflicts with
until his political opponents called atten- Mexico over what are now the southwest
tion to it. However, once the phrase ex- regions of the United States. With suc-
isted, U.S. territorial expansion into the cess in the Mexican-American War, the
MANIFEST DESTINY 227

nation added more than a million square men below determine the fate of his peo-
miles of territory in the Southwest and ple and of the West.
Far West. For the first time, America White Americans of the time felt little
stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, remorse for displacing Indians from the
rendering it more powerful and far safer land and stripping them of their culture.
from foreign invasion. People believed that God had destined
As the concept of Manifest Destiny them to civilize and enlighten others, to
took hold in the thoughts and minds of conquer and Christianize the land. This
the American people, it also appeared as belief often led to the death of Indians,
a theme in American artwork. The most to their relegation to reservations, and to
obvious incarnation is a work by John the eventual destruction of their culture
Gast, variously titled American Progress and identity.
or Westward Ho. In it, the goddess of Lib- In more recent times, the belief in Man-
erty moves over the American frontier, ifest Destiny has still rung true to Ameri-
stringing telegraph wire with one hand cans. The concept played a vital role in
and carrying a school book in the other. the nations struggle against the Commu-
With her comes the light of day and civi- nist Soviet Union. Cold War policy mak-
lization out of the East, spilling over the ers in the United States viewed the Soviet
plains and ridding the West of its dark Union as a force bent on global conquest,
and backward ways. Covered wagons, a force that only the United States could
farmers, and fences come with her, and contain. Many Americans viewed their
trains rush westward not far behind. Buf- nation as the leader of the free world, a
falo and Indians flee before her, and only bulwark against a totalitarian Soviet
a few bones remain behind as a reminder regime. Turning the American people
of the West before its enlightenment. and leaders toward this outlook encour-
This painting ably captured the prevail- aged expansion, not unlike the move-
ing outlook of the times, and it was dis- ment westward in the 1840s. In order to
tributed by the thousands on lithograph. contain Soviet influence, the United
Westward the Star of Empire Takes Its States worked to extend its global influ-
WayNear Council Bluffs, by Andrew ence and dominance over the capitalist
Melrose, and The Old House of Represen- world. Any area at risk of falling to Com-
tatives, by Samuel Morse, also depict the munist influenceKorea, Vietnam, Cen-
inevitability of Americas westward con- tral Americacreated a venue for U.S. in-
quest. In Melroses work, train tracks and tervention. This global extension was an
an ominously advancing train interrupt a enormous commitment by the American
peaceful scene of deer in the forest. The people, one that echoed the ideals of di-
bright light of the train, the force of vinely ordained actions that are the very
progress, breaks natures serenity and essence of Manifest Destiny.
startles and scatters the deer and every- Ronald Reagan heightened the strug-
thing else in its path. Morses painting gle against what he dubbed the Evil Em-
shows the House of Representatives in pire. Coming from the West, he fre-
session. An apprehensive Indian watches quently employed western imagery and
quietly from a balcony while the white ideas in appealing to the American peo-
228 MANIFEST DESTINY

ple. He spoke of America as a beacon of Not surprisingly, then, it appears often


hope to the rest of the world. He used in the vocabulary of employers and mar-
these Cold War themes to initiate enor- keters. By using the phrase, individuals
mous military increases and to establish and companies hope to convey a mes-
a rollback policy to push back the So- sage of predestined validity, growth, and
viet Union. This vision of good versus success that will reassure their cus-
evil and the role of America in upholding tomers and followers. The use of Mani-
the values of freedom undergirded the fest Destiny in promoting conquest or
Reagan administrations foreign policy. colonization of new frontiers has not yet
Reagan made emotional appeals to the ended. A new video game, Manifest Des-
American people, not unlike Manifest tiny, allows for conquest of an imagi-
Destiny in its original context. nary world. The First Millennial Founda-
Beyond the political arena, the phrase tion, a group concerned with the concept
Manifest Destiny has entered the vo- of spreading the existence of humankind
cabulary of the American people and re- beyond earth and colonizing the uni-
vealed itself in a variety of modern verse, also makes frequent use of the
forms. In the music industry, several term in its literature.
bands use the phrase to explain their The concept of Manifest Destiny pro-
motivations and music. One band, actu- vided a strong underlying impetus to
ally named Manifest Destiny, explains American nationalism and historical ex-
the motivation for its name: This band pansionism. Beyond the conceptual vi-
as a whole truly believes that through sion of a colonized western frontier, the
hard work and commitment, success in phrase has survived its original context
the heavy metal music industry is their to come to mean a variety of things to
manifest destiny. Other rock groups, the American people. Presidents have
including Local H and Brand X, employ employed its ideals to unify and moti-
the phrase as either a record or single vate the American people. In doing so,
song title. they transformed it into a widely ac-
In addition to musical references, the cepted tenet of both domestic and for-
phrase appears in other media. For exam- eign policy.
ple, there is a book titled Your Manifest Kaleb J. Redden
Destiny: Nine Spirited Principles for Get-
ting Everything You Want. Manifest Des- References
tiny is the name of a film production Goetzmann, William H., and William N. Goet-
company that makes low budget, high zmann. The West of the Imagination. New
quality, dramatic feature films. It is also York: W. W. Norton, 1986.
the name of a job-matching company Lubragge, Michael T. Manifest Destiny:
whose slogan is Where opportunity http://grid.let.rug.nl/~usa/E/manifest/mani
takes flight. In the minds of the Ameri- fxx.htm.
can people, the phrase implies progres- Stephanson, Anders. Manifest Destiny: Ameri-
sive thinking, greater gains, destined can Expansionism and the Empire of Right.
stardom, and inevitable success. New York: Hill and Wang, 1995.
MCJUNKIN, GEORGE 229

on the Crowfoot Ranch, a rare achieve-


Marysville, ment for a freed slave. The intellectually
curious McJunkin had gotten a couple of
california boys to teach him to read in exchange
for teaching them about horses. He read
See Beckwourth, Jim works of science and always rode with a
telescope strapped to his saddle.
In August 1908 McJunkin was at work,
mending fences in Dead Horse Arroyo
Mask Of Zorro, The near Folsom in northeastern New Mex-
ico. Using his telescope, he spotted
See Zorro bones, probably exposed by a rainstorm.
He contacted several people, including
Carl Schwachheim, a blacksmith and col-
lector of fossil bones. However, no one
Mccarty, Henry took any action until after McJunkins
death in 1922. Thereafter, the relics,
18591881, outlaw. See Billy the Kid bones, and spear points identified the re-
mains known as Folsom man. That find-
ing would spur the further, competing
searches by Jesse Figgins and Aless
Mcjunkin, George Hrdlicka that turned up Clovis man.
They, not McJunkin, would receive credit
18511922 for the find until decades later.
Regional folklore, however, kept alive
In the 1920s, the discovery in New Mex- the tale that an ex-slave had actually
ico of human bones and spear points made the Folsom discovery. George A.
more than 11,000 years old, first near Agogino of Eastern New Mexico Univer-
Folsom and later near Clovis, electrified sity had tape-recorded interviews with
the world of archaeology. However, people who had known McJunkin. Writer
proper credit for the discovery would Franklin Folsom began following up scat-
have to wait until the 1960s. Today we tered pieces of the old story of Mc-
know that George McJunkin, ex-slave, Junkins Bone Pit. He gathered his evi-
cowboy, and ranch foreman, made this dence into a childrens book, The Life
monumental find. and Legend of George McJunkin, pub-
McJunkin, a slave born in Texas, joined lished in 1992. Jaxon Hewett and Mary
the large number of cowboys trailing cat- Edmonston have also done biographical
tle north after the Civil War. As a work on McJunkin.
teenager, he rode with a drive to Dodge The cowboy scientist got more acclaim
City, Kansas, and then worked on a num- during the 1990s. In January 1999
ber of ranches in New Mexico. His con- Lambs Players Theatres educational
siderable skills elevated him to foreman outreach included him in its production
230 MCMURTRY, JAMES

of Real American Heroes. The SWAT rest I just stole as I went along. I learned
(Slightly Wild, Accessible Theatre) Team everything by ear or by watching people
includes Paul Maley, Kerry Meads, and (James McMurtry). His parents di-
Vanda Eggington. The presentation is vorced shortly after his birth, and James
billed as a fast-paced blend of multicul- grew up in Houston with his father. I
tural storytelling, music, and history fol- can hardly remember back to a time
lowing the lives of American men and when James didnt play the guitar, the
women of Hispanic, Asian, European, elder McMurtry recalled. The irony of
and African American ancestry whose James being such a fine musician is that I
heroic lives have shaped and enriched am no musician in any sense [and] there
our country. wasnt any great amount of music
around the house (James McMurtry).
References What did abound around the house
Folsom, Franklin. Black Cowboy: The Life and was literature. But James did not pursue
Legend of George McJunkin. Niwot, CO: literature in the form of books, as his fa-
Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1992. ther did. I hate books, he says.
Large, Jerry. Clovis ManGiving Credit
Where Its Due. Seattle Times, Sunday, 23 Im not much of a reader. I like someone
February 1997: http://archives.seattletimes. like Walker Percy, but anyone Ive read
nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/dis goes into my head and never comes out
play?slug=jdl&date=19970223.html. in any kind of tangible way in my own
Locke, Robert. A Bitter Tale of Old Bones. writing. I had to deal with a lot of books
Scientific American: Discovering Archaeol- when I was a kid. My dad had a rare
ogy 6 (November 1999): http://www.discov book store, and he was always bringing
eringarchaeology.com/0699toc/6cover4 home another pile of books. I ended up
-bones.shtml. having to stack em. I never read any of
em. Reading was my dads thing. (James
McMurtry)

Although he had no love of books,


Mcmurtry, James James did love stories, and he enjoyed
hearing them from both of his parents: I
1962 guess I might have picked up something
from them in that way. He grew to be-
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1962, James come a very gifted musical storyteller
Lawrence McMurtry faced a daunting and word painter. His portraits are as
life growing up in the shadow of his fa- bare and arresting as a southwestern
ther, literary legend Larry McMurtry. He desert landscape. He populates his music
found his own path, however, and his with exquisitely wrought portraits of
own voice. I learned to play the guitar people overwhelmed with conflicting, of-
when I was seven years old, he remem- ten destructive emotions. McMurtry cre-
bered. My mother (a professor of Eng- ates compelling characters and can turn
lish) taught me three chords, and the a phrase with the best of them, including
MCMURTRY, JAMES 231

his famous father. In Fast as I Can, he delivery and striking poetic lines remind
wrote: some listeners of a young Bob Dylan.
James writes like hes lived a lifetime,
He was a drinking man with a guitar observed rock-and-roll singer John Mel-
problem lencamp, who produced Too Long in the
Didnt have a dollar to his name Wasteland, McMurtrys 1989 debut
He didnt seem to mind it all that often album.
He mostly took whatever came
If it came too late or if it came to nothing I hadnt intended
Sometimes hed swear beneath his breath. to bend the rules
but whiskey dont make liars
McMurtrys musical people exist in a it just makes fools
place both surreal and very real, a space so I didnt mean to say it
that historian William Goetzmann called but I meant what I said
The West of the Imagination. A good too long in the wasteland
example of the emotive power of his de- too long in the wasteland
scriptions is Levelland from his Whered mustve gone to my head.
You Hide the Body? album:
McMurtry attended high school at
Flatter than a table top what he called an esteemed Southern
makes you wonder why they stopped here boarding school, real small, kind of rag-
wagon mustve lost a wheel tag, way out in the Virginia woods. Then
or they lacked ambition, one. he returned west to Tucson and studied
English and Spanish at the University of
As a teenager, James loved bluegrass Arizona, his guitar still at his side. He
music, but his tastes later expanded. performed at the Saw Mill Cafe. I could
Asked to identify his most important in- sort of sing, but I decided I would really
fluence, he straightforwardly names play. In those days, I wanted to be a ma-
Johnny Cash: He was the first singer I jor flat-picker like David Bromberg and
ever listened to when I was a kid. I spun Doc Watson. That was before I figured
his records backwards, forwards, and out I didnt really have the speed, he
sideways on an old mono record player says with typical modesty. Im more of
(James McMurtry). The celebrated an endurance guitarist. Later he would
singer/songwriters voice has been la- reflect unfavorably on this self-descrip-
beled everything from deadpan to tion. Thats one of the stupider things
plain to Lou-Reed-gone-Texas, says [Ive said]. I was selling myself a little
Frank Rabey, and, as with other Texas short there. Of course, that was 89 when
songwriting giants like Townes Van Zant I said that, and I wasnt doing as much: I
and Guy Clark, what McMurtrys singing played pretty good acoustic guitar, but I
lacks in overall vocal dynamism and hadnt really learned how to mess with
range, it makes up for in uncanny emo- it (James McMurtry).
tional resonance. Its a voice you can McMurtrys desire to perform even
trust (Rabey 1996). McMurtrys low-key took him briefly to Talkeetna, Alaska, in
232 MCMURTRY, JAMES

the shadow of mighty Mt. McKinley. He laconically, and they didnt ask for an
then returned to the family homestead extension (James McMurtry). He
outside of Wichita Falls, Texas, and be- moved to Sugar Hill Records for his next
gan to refine the songs that would ap- albums, It Had to Happen (1997) and
pear on his first album. Walk between the Raindrops (1998).
During the mid-1980s, James lived in Some of the places and people James
San Antonio, doing odd jobs and per- describes evoke images akin to those
forming in the St. Marys entertainment created by his father in The Last Picture
district. He befriended other musicians Show and other novels. A good example
there, including talented singer/song- is Talkin at the Texaco:
writer Tish Hinojosa, who said of him, I
knew his thing was going to be his own well, if youre lookin for a good time
music. . . . Hes a private kind of self-mo- youre a bit late
tivated person (James McMurtry). we rolled up the sidewalks
Then in 1987, a friend in San Antonio at a quarter to eight
suggested I get into the New Folk song- its a small town
writing contest that Rod Kennedy runs we cant sell you no beer
in Kerrville. Previous winners at the its a small town, so
competition included Nanci Griffith and may I ask what youre doin here?
Lyle Lovett. McMurtry emerged as one of
the years six winners. I lucked out. I McMurtry works hard at his trade.
had Ian Tyson [producer], Jim Rooney With characteristic self-deprecation, he
and the previous years winner as says, Theres no real process. Theres re-
judges (James McMurtry). That mod- ally nothing I can do to make it happen.
esty and brevity again. Theres no technique involved in getting
In 1989 McMurtry headed to Austin those words out of the air. His gripping
and began performing there. At the same stories are not born easily. Writing is
time, his father, Larry, was collaborating hard and tedious, he says. Its not the
on a screenplay with John Mellencamp. fun part. Its what you do so you can do
Larry gave Mellencamp an audiotape of the other. The fun part is turning up the
his sons work. The rockers good ear told amp real loud and playin. Movin mole-
him this kid could sing, and with Mellen- cules (James McMurtry).
camps help James cut his first album.
McMurtrys follow-up album, Candy- References
land, appeared from Columbia Records James McMurtry. Artist Direct: http://imusic.
in May 1992. That same year, he re- artistdirect.com/showcase/contemporary/
ceived a Country Music Association jamesmcmurtry.html.
nomination for Vocal Event of the Year as Ouellette, Dan. The Rocking Story-Songs of
a part of Buzzin Cousins. Whered You James McMurtry. Acoustic Guitar, February
Hide the Body? followed on Columbia in 1996.
1995. Then Columbia rather unceremo- Rabey, Frank. A Voice You Can Trust: Texan
niously dumped McMurtry. The term James McMurtry Hones Honesty in Song.
for the option expired, McMurtry noted Asheville Mountain Xpress, 12 June 1996.
MILLER, ALFRED JACOB 233

During his brief trip along the Oregon


Miller, Alfred Jacob Trail, Miller made some 300 sketches of
western life. He took a romantic ap-
18101874 proach to his subject matter, which in-
cluded genre scenes of Indian men and
Born to the family of a Baltimore grocer, women. Several Indians even posed for
the artist Alfred Jacob Miller created portraits. Miller identified the Indian
stunning, visual documentation of the physique with classical body types and
Rocky Mountain West. On an expedition thus depicted them in neoclassicist form.
in the summer of 1837, along what would He considered the Indian way of life as
become the Oregon Trail, he made hun- one of curiosity, free-spiritedness, and
dreds of sketches that he later painted in frequent ferociousnessa viewpoint typi-
with a myriad of watercolors. Miller bril- cal of the noble savage mythology of
liantly captured what makes the Old the time. Although Miller generally de-
West both mythical and alluring. He was picted Indians with ennobling grace, he
the first painter to capture on canvas the felt considerable ambivalence toward
horse races, ball games, wrestling, singing, them. He believed in white superiority
dancing, drinking, and feasting of the an- and thus felt whites were justified in
nual rendezvous (meetings where trap- their domination of an inferior race.
pers sold their wares) between Indians Relying on sketches and memory,
and fur traders. He witnessed the thir- Miller painted most of his Indian por-
teenth such annual gathering along the traits in his studio after the expedition.
Green River in Wyoming. He was also the He presented the individual in bust for-
first painter to both see and depict the mat. He only rarely completely filled in
people and landscapes of the Wind River the sitters headdress or costume, which
Range and the Rocky Mountains. reduces the documentary value of his
Miller showed an avid interest and tal- work. Instead, Miller focused on his sub-
ent for drawing in his youth. In 1833 he jects facial features and expression,
studied painting in both Italy and which he powerfully portrayed using a
France. The following year, he rented a variety of water media and bold orange-
studio in Baltimore, where he painted red pastel colors. The artist frequently
mostly portraits for about two years. Not chose who would sit for him based on
doing very well, he then moved to New the beauty of the sitters face and the
Orleans, where he again set up shop. perceived goodness of his or her charac-
There, in 1837, William Drummond ter. Indeed, Miller romanticized his por-
Stewart, a retired captain of the British traits of the American Indian with a soft
army, chanced to see a Miller painting. touch: His subjects serenely and dream-
The adventuresome Scot, taken with ily gaze beyond the viewer as if in
Millers skills, asked the young artist to reverie. Millers Indian portraits that ex-
join him on an expedition to the Rocky emplify these traits include Kaw Man;
Mountains of Wyoming to sketch both Kansas; Shim-a-co-che, Crow Chief; Kaw
the lands and inhabitants. The adventure Indian; and A Young Woman of the Flat
of Millers life was about to begin. Head Tribe.
234 MILLER, ALFRED JACOB

Millers Indian genre scenes also depict Miller never witnessed Indians at war, he
the interaction between whites and Indi- painted several works based on hearsay.
ans. The Trappers Bride portrays the Paintings of war and hunting include
coming together of civilization and Blackfeet on the Warpath and Indians
wilderness. An Indian woman at the cen- Tantalizing a Wounded Buffalo.
ter of the painting demurely extends her Miller also painted fur trappers, the fa-
hand to a seated fur trapper, her be- mous mountain men of western lore. He
trothed. This hazy, romantic painting un- met western legends, including Kit Car-
derscores the popular Indian princess son and Jim Bridger. His romantic pic-
myth, most famously personified in the tures of trappers portray simple lives of
person of Pocahontas. Another painting men who depended on nature for their
that brings together Indian and Anglo is livelihood. Miller represented these men
Laramies Fort. The work depicts the fort, in repose, as in Trappers, and participat-
with an American flag looming authori- ing in the rendezvous with Captain
tatively high above, teepees, Indians, and Drummond and local Indians, as in Cav-
frontiersmen. Advent of the Locomotive in alcade. The latter work captures the
Oregon also presents the inevitable white pageantry of the rendezvous, a very im-
encroachment on Indian culture. Miller portant event.
has a tiny iron horse in the distance Two final categories of Millers work
causing mass panic among Indian people are his animal paintings and his land-
in the foreground. scapes. Deeply interested in the relation-
Miller also sketched and painted native ship between animals and humans, he
American recreation, interaction with often showed men on the hunt (Buffalo
trappers, domestic life, hunting, and war- Hunt) as well as at rest with animals
ring. He painted many images of Indian (Pierre, a Rocky Mountain Trapper). Miller
women, whose exoticism fascinated him. also painted animal portraits, such as
Some of the dresses worn were magnifi- Buffalo Head, in which he seemingly lent
cent, he observed, and although vermil- human characteristics to his renderings
ion was worth four dollars per ounce, a of animals. The artist took a picturesque
lavish use of that article was exhibited on and even playful approach to his land-
their bodies and faces. He painted scapes, such as Lake in Wind River Moun-
women frolicking about, riding horses, tain. He employed shading and scum-
reclining, and swimming, either partially bling (a technique in which a painter
clothed or entirely nude. Such works in- softens the colors of a painting by rub-
clude Indian Girls Making Toilet, Scene on bing) to create an atmospheric effect.
the River, and Indian Girls Swinging. The spontaneous appearance and soft
Millers portrayals of Indians during lines that define his landscapes in fact
the hunt and at war are highly theatrical characterize all of Millers works.
and idealistic. He brings his central fig- Miller exhibited his first western land-
ure to the forefront by creating a misty scapes in Baltimore in July 1838. The
atmosphere and by placing the action sketches and paintings that he made
close to the pictures plane. Although while exploring the western frontier con-
MONKEY WRENCH GANG 235

tinued to influence his subsequent


works. Over the next 30 years, he Monkey Wrench Gang
painted western scenes almost exclu-
sively. His work failed to attract wide- The Monkey Wrench Gang, the most fa-
spread notice until historian Bernard De mous environmental activists of western
Voto utilized several of his works in his fiction, sprang from the fertile imagina-
1947 book Across the Wide Missouri. tion of writer Edward Abbey (1927
Since then, however, Millers powerful 1989). His 1975 novel, The Monkey
images have become well known. The Wrench Gang, recounts the escapades of
ethereal quality of his work further ro- a diverse band of eco-guerrillas in Utah
manticized the central characters in a and Arizona. They use vandalism and an
key period in western history: the Ameri- end justifies the means morality to at-
can Indian and the mountain men dur- tack government and corporate targets
ing the height of the fur trade, just be- ranging from heavy equipment to the
fore its rapid decline. Indeed, Miller Glen Canyon Dam.
effectively captured on canvas the myth- The book inspired a host of real-life ac-
ical noble savage through his nostalgic tivistssuch as Earth First and the Earth
depictions of a people who would soon Liberation Frontto move monkey
vanish and a pristine western landscape wrenching from fiction to action. Earth
that would soon become civilized. First introduced itself in 1981 by unfurl-
Today Millers paintings may be ing a 100-yard-long black plastic
viewed in many collections, including streamer that mimicked a deep crack
those of the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, down the face of Glen Canyon Dam, an
Oklahoma, or the Joslyn Art Museum in image from the books opening pages.
Omaha, Nebraska. The book also inspired other writers,
Jane Veronica Charles Smith such as Claire Wolfe, author of 101
Things to Do til the Revolution: Ideas and
References Resources for Self-Liberation, Monkey
Ross, Marvin C. The West of Alfred Jacob Mil- Wrenching, and Preparedness.
ler. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, Abbey, born 29 January 1927 in Home,
1968. Pennsylvania, left his farm roots as a
Troccoli, Joan Carpenter. Alfred Jacob Miller: youngster and hitchhiked west. He
Watercolors of the American West. Tulsa, found the deserts and canyon lands of
OK: Thomas Gilcrease Museum Associa- the Southwest irresistible. He remained
tion, 1990. and studied, earning a BA (1951) and an
Tyler, Ronnie C. Alfred Jacob Miller: Artist on MA (1956) at the University of New Mex-
the Oregon Trail. Fort Worth, TX: Amon ico. His masters thesis, Anarchism and
Carter Museum of Western Art, 1982. the Morality of Violence, provided an
early insight into his philosophy. Abbey
Source of Further Information worked as a National Park Service ranger
Joslyn Art Museum Web Site: http://www. and fire lookout, often in solitary loca-
joslyn.org. tions of the Southwest. His deep, intro-
236 MONKEY WRENCH GANG

spective, telluric connection with the The unconventionality and chaos of


desert Southwest emerged powerfully his characters lives somewhat reflect
and vividly in his writings, both fiction Abbeys personal life. He married and di-
and nonfiction. vorced four times, marrying his final
Abbey saw and feared the destruction wife, Clarke Cartwright, in 1982, and fa-
of natural beauty and of ancient Indian thered five children. Humor, often irrev-
cultures by encroaching industrializa- erent and sometimes tasteless, abounds.
tion and urbanization. His pro-wilder- Bonnie keeps her marijuana stash in a
ness, antimodernity viewpoint emerged tampon tube. Tucson to Flagstaff is a
early in The Brave Cowboy (1958), Desert three-six-pack drive.
Solitaire (1968), Abbeys Road (1979), and In addition to the slapstick and rau-
other booksa total of 17. His hilarious cous humor, however, the book also de-
antiheroes of the Monkey Wrench Gang, livered yet another version of Abbeys
however, reached the broadest audience unswerving environmental ethic: As he
with his save the wilderness message. says in the novel, We can have wilder-
And its adroit tone, part Henry David ness without freedom. We can have
Thoreau, part Hunter Thompson, ap- wilderness without human life at all; but
peals to a broad readership. we cannot have freedom without wilder-
Abbeys alter ego in the novel is George ness. The gang also practices nonvio-
Washington Hayduke, exGreen Beret lence, at least when it comes to people.
medic, anarchist, wilderness avenger, in- Violence is directed against machines
dustrial development saboteur, night- and other objects; not against people.
time trouble-maker, barroom brawler, The book was reissued in a 1985 edi-
free-time lover. He is passionate and ex- tion and reprinted five years later.
treme in his likes (bombs, beer, and na- HarperPerennial released a twenty-fifth
ture) and in his dislikes (real estate de- anniversary edition in the spring of
velopers, their stakes, bulldozers, and 2000. In 1987 a Monkey Wrench Gang
dams). And he is always vulgar. Seldom Calendar appeared, illustrated by car-
Seen Smith adds local color as a Mormon toonist Robert Crumb. In 2000 Deric
riverboat guide, watermelon rancher, Washburn (author of the screenplays of
and polygamist who woefully neglects The Deerhunter and Silent Running) com-
his three wives. The most unlikely eco- pleted a screenplay based on the novel.
guerrilla is A. K. (Doc) Sarvis, a wealthy Gary Burden is the coproducer and part-
heart specialist with a penchant for burn- ner on the planned film.
ing billboards. God Bless America: Lets The year after the authors death, Hay-
Save Some of It reads his bumper duke Lives! appeared, a sequel to The
sticker. Bonnie Abzug rounds out the Monkey Wrench Gang. The old gang
gang. Sexy, smart, inquisitive, mouthy, teams with Earth First to battle a giant,
the stereotypical Jewish exile from the walking earth mover called Goliath.
Bronx, she teams up with Doc. She Abbey also resurrects an anti-Mormon
points out, however, that she was half theme, somewhat akin to that in Zane
WASP (white anglo sexy Protestant); her Greys Riders of the Purple Sage. Mor-
mothers maiden name was McComb. mon Bishop Dudley Love reprises his
MONUMENT VALLEY 237

role from The Monkey Wrench Gang, still Code of the Eco-Warrior: http://www.geoci
aligned with uranium strip miners and ties.com:0080/RainForest/4544/mwinfo.htm.
other industrial developers. He accepts
environmental destruction as necessary
to create jobs and thus keep youth from
venturing to California or Salt Lake City Monument Valley
(one near as wicked and Godless a place
as the other). Abbeys happy, sometimes This remarkable landscape is located in
crazed band of eco-guerrillas continues the Four Corners area of the Southwest,
to warn of the imminent loss of the about 175 miles northeast of Flagstaff,
Wests precious natural heritage. Arizona. Straddling the northeast border
The gangs influence shows little sign of Arizona and the southeast border of
of waning. Judging by the spirited reader Utah, Monument Valley sits about a mile
comments on Christer Lindhs Internet above sea level in the southeast portion
site, Abbeys Web, the Monkey Wrench of the Great Basin Desert. Ancestral
Gang continues to inspire the ecologi- home to the Navajos, the heart of the
cally minded around the globe. One Web area is preserved as the nearly 30,000-
site features An Introduction to Monkey acre Monument Valley Tribal Park.
Wrenching: Code of the Eco-Warrior: Some 25 million years ago, a bulge in
the earths crust, called the Monument
Nobody gets hurt. Nobody. Not even Valley Uplift, pushed upward, cracking
yourself. open huge fissures everywhere. Through
Dont get caught. these openings flowed molten lava from
If you get caught youre on your own. many volcanoes. Thereafter, the forces of
Pass on the cost to the enemy. wind and water slowly eroded several
Work alone or in a small circle of trusted layers of buildup to reveal the remark-
friends. able, otherworldly monoliths, channels,
Expect no reward. buttes, and spires that now dot the land-
Keep fit. scape.
No domestic responsibilities. As writer Gerald Knowles observed,
If married, do not breed. Monument Valley is a land of room
Inspired by Ed Abbeys The Monkey Wrench enough and time enough for all myster-
Gang (Code of the Eco-Warrior) ies and theories (Knowles). Native leg-
ends of the place abound. However,
Many continue to practice Haydukes shortly after Kit Carsons removal of the
mantra: Always pull up survey stakes Navajos from the valley in the 1860s, a
anywhere you find them. new legend arose: that of the lost silver
mine of Monument Valley. Two of Car-
References sons men, Ernest Mitchell and James
Abbeys Web: http://www.utsidan.se/abbey/. Merrick, observed the beautiful, bounti-
Brinkley, Douglas. Edward Abbey: Critic and ful silver jewelry worn by the Navajos.
Crusader: http://www.calendarlive.com/cal They decided to locate the rich mine
endarlive/books/lat_0123brinkley.htm. where the ore originated. According to
238 MONUMENT VALLEY

Monument Valley (Photo by Z. Irvin)

legend, they did so. However, wary in- men and their rich silver mine. However,
vestors demanded additional ore sam- other would-be silver miners scoured
ples. Thus, acting against the warnings of the region, so that the Navajo natannis
the Navajo Chief Hoskinnini, they se- (chiefs) decided to cover the mine en-
cretly returned to the mine site. trance with sand and rock. Thus, the lo-
According to legend, Hoskinnini ex- cation remains hidden to this day.
acted a high price from the trespassers. It was not silver mines but the silver
Merrick died at night below the butte screen that gave Monument Valley its
that now carries his name, felled by a greatest fame. In 1925 director George B.
Navajo bullet. Mitchell suffered a bullet Seitz filmed the first movie in the valley,
wound in his side as he ran away from The Vanishing American (Paramount Pro-
the campfire into the safety of the night. ductions), starring Richard Dix, Lois Wil-
However, mornings light revealed him, son, and Noah Beery Sr. It was director
hidden in a small crevice. Once he had John Ford, however, who brought the
spent all his ammunition, the Navajos valley to the worlds attention.
finished him off as well. Valley inhabitants Harry Goulding and
To ward off further conflict with his wife Mike suffered through the
whites, the Navajos blamed the mens Great Depression of the 1930s, as did the
disappearances on a renegade band of Navajo people there. One evening the
Paiutes. By the early 1880s, lawmen had Gouldings heard over the radio that
abandoned the search for the missing United Artists was searching for a movie
MONUMENT VALLEY 239

location for a western. The Gouldings crew to a ridge where they could film it.
gathered a few essentials and drove west But Tsos greatest feat came in early Oc-
along Route 66 to Hollywood. tober, when Ford wistfully inquired
Ignoring rebuffs from United Artists about snow. It generally did not snow in
staff, Harry unfurled two bundles of pho- the valley for another two months. How-
tographs taken in the valley. One shot in ever, when the director awoke the fol-
particular, of the magnificent Mittens, lowing morning, he looked eastward
caught the eye of the location manager over a valley blanketed in snow. My
for the movie Stagecoach. The next day, goodness, Harry, I owe you an apology!
director John Ford and the location man- said Ford. I thought you were just kid-
ager flew out to see Monument Valley for ding me about that old medicine man!
themselves. The site and the director Stagecoach, released in 1939, made John
were a perfect match. As actress Maureen Wayne, as the Ringo Kid, a star.
OHara later observed, Ford painted a Ford returned repeatedly to the land-
picture every time that camera was scape he came to love. In 1946 he shot
turned on. Monument Valley provided a My Darling Clementine there. Two years
magnificent landscape for him. later, he opened his cavalry trilogy with
Ford then asked Goulding whether he Fort Apache, and in 1949 he shot She
could arrange logistics for the hundred Wore a Yellow Ribbon. In 1956 he made
people who would take part in the film- one of his finest films, The Searchers, fol-
ing, which was to begin in only three lowed four years later by Sergeant Rut-
days. Goulding sprang into action, aided ledge. He shot his final feature film,
by a check from Ford for $5,000. Along Cheyenne Autumn, at Monument Valley
with Goulding, Hosteen Tso, a Navajo in 1964. His final visit came in 1971,
medicine man, played an important role when he filmed a documentary about
in the filming of Stagecoach. Affection- the place that had figured so promi-
ately called Fatso by Ford, he became a nently in his career.
living legend on the set. During the first Navajos appeared in Fords films, but
week of shooting, Ford requested that another Monument Valley legend arose
billowing clouds follow the fast-moving during World War II. The U.S. military
stagecoach. Seemingly at the medicine enlisted the help of some 450 Navajo
mans bidding, a large cluster of fast- code talkers to transmit messages in
moving clouds appeared for the next the Pacific theater. The Japanese never
days shooting. Each afternoon, Hosteen broke the code, which was the Navajo
Tso and Ford would consult in a room language. The project remained classi-
above Gouldings Trading Post on the fied until 1968, when the world finally
weather that Ford needed for the next learned of the secret Navajo contribution
days shooting. to the war effort.
Another time, Ford needed a sand- Inspired by the grandeur of Fords
storm to heighten the drama of the stage- films, other directors flocked to the val-
coach journey. Goulding interrupted ley to shoot an amazing range of movies.
lunch the next day to announce an up- In 1962 George Marshall filmed the epic
coming sandstorm and quickly led the How the West Was Won (Metro-Goldwyn-
240 mormonism unveiled

Mayer). In 1968 Stanley Kubrik brought


the areas incredible scenery into 2001: Mormonism Unveiled
A Space Odyssey. The following year
brought a very different script and cast See Lee, John Doyle
to the valley as Dennis Hopper and Peter
Fonda worked on the cult classic Easy
Rider. That same year brought Peters fa-
ther Henry Fonda and a new type of Mormons
western to Monument Valley as Sergio
Leone made his dark, menacing Once See Grey, Zane; Lee, John Doyle; Monkey
upon a Time in the West. Wrench Gang; Rockwell, Orrin Porter;
An amazing range of stars and films Young, Ann Eliza Webb
followed: Electra Glide in Blue (1973),
Clint Eastwoods The Eiger Sanction
(1975), National Lampoons Vacation
(1983), and Robert Zemeckis with Back Mount Saint Helens
to the Future II and III (1989, 1990) as
well as the blockbuster Forrest Gump See Truman, Harry R.
(1993).
Today Monument Valley retains its
mythical hold on Navajos and whites.
The Moab to Monument Valley Film Mountain Meadows
Commission promotes filming in the re-
gion from southern Utah to northern Massacre
New Mexico. Actor John Wayne, who
contributed so much to the places leg- See Lee, John Doyle
endary status, perhaps best explained its
power. In 1961 someone asked Wayne
why The Comancheros was being filmed
in the Moab area. TV you can make on Mountain Oysters
the back lot, said the Duke, but for the
big screen, for the real outdoor dramas, At roundup, cowboys enjoyed a delicacy
you have to do it where God put the variously called calf fries, mountain
West . . . and there is no better example oysters, or prairie oysters. Whatever
of this than around Moab (Moab to the term, these fried or roasted calves
Monument Valley Film Commission). testicles made gourmet eating for ranch
folk. Obviously, a large number of these
References prize delicacies could be gathered when
Knowles, Gerald. Essays: http://www.unink. hands castrated calves during roundup.
com/passages/Monument-Valley/. Cowboys attributed to calf fries an amaz-
Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission: ing number of benefits. Some considered
http://www.moab.net/moabfilm/. them a wonderful elixir or aphrodisiac.
MOUNTAIN OYSTERS 241

As with many unusual foods, mountain Wagon Cookin, offers a slightly more
oysters generated considerable folklore. elaborate recipe. She suggests soaking
Carol Taylor of the Harrison Public Li- the oysters in salt water for an hour and
brary in Greenville, Texas, recalls the then drying them. The oysters are then
clear gender lines that divided life on the seasoned, rolled in flour or cornmeal, and
traditional ranch. These gendered di- fried in hot grease until crispa great end
vides even governed choices of food, in to a long day of branding. Another vari-
particular calf fries: ant suggests soaking the harvest in but-
termilk instead of salt water.
I cannot cite any documentation as to Garrys Home Cookin Web site offers
the effects of ingesting calf fries, but I an even more complete recipe for Rocky
can relate a true story. My grandfather Mountain Oysters on the Half Shell.
(b. 1892 in Indian Territory) was a
rancher in north Texas for over 50 years. Ingredients:
The ranch had been in the same family 2 pounds bull testicles*
for three generations. When it was time 1 cup flour
to work cattle in the summer, my female 1/4 cup cornmeal
cousin and I were occupied in the house 1 cup red wine
by our grandmother (b. 1896). My salt
brother, however, was put on a horse black pepper
and helped with roundup and the requi- garlic powder
site chores associated with this yearly Louisiana Hot Sauce
event. At lunch, my grandmother would cooking oil**
fry the calf fries, which look like fried
*aka: calf fries, Rocky Mountain Oysters
oysters. Only men were allowed to eat
(sheep or turkey testicles may be used
them. My cousin and I were told that
also)
they were not acceptable for young
ladies. This was in the late 1950s. Re- **pure hog lard is the best, but a mixture
cently I located a short memoir that my of 60% peanut oil and 40% vegetable oil
grandfathers sister had written. She, too, will do
indicated that women were never
around when cattle were worked. In fact, With a very sharp knife, split the
her memory of the corral was in the tough skin-like muscle that surrounds
wrong place on the ranch. I am sure the each oyster. Remove the skin. Set oys-
mention of calf fries was unheard of in ters into a pan with enough salt water
her day and age. to cover them for one hour (this takes
out some of the blood). Drain. Transfer
The preparation of calf fries at brand- oysters to large pot. Add enough water
ing time might consist of nothing more to float oysters and a generous table-
than tossing the testicles into the brand- spoon of vinegar. Parboil, drain and
ing fire and waiting for them to pop open, rinse. Let cool and slice each oyster
ready to eat. Stella Hughes, in Chuck into 1/4 inch thick ovals. Sprinkle salt
242 MOUNTAIN OYSTERS

and pepper on both sides of sliced oys- make it to the stores. I can say they taste
ter to taste. great, but now a low-fat person, I just
Mix flour, cornmeal and some garlic saut them in olive oil w/a little garlic
powder to taste in a bowl. Roll each oys- and mushrooms. Good stuff!
ter slice into this dry mixture. Dip into
milk. Dip into dry mixture. Dip into wine Calgary, Alberta, Canada restaurateur
quickly (you may repeat the procedure if Stuart Allan serves several varieties at his
a thicker crust is desired). Place each Bottlescrew Bills English Pub and Buz-
oyster into hot cooking oil. zards Cowboy Cuisine. In 1996 he
Add Louisiana Hot Sauce to cooking hosted the third annual Testicle Festival
oil (go wild with it, but watch out for there. Dishes include Au Naturel (pan-
repercussionshot splashes). Cook until fried in beer, herbs, and garlic butter),
golden brown or tender, and remove Mixed Nuts (coated in crushed nuts and
with a wire mesh strainer (the longer smothered in a rum-butter sauce), and
they cook, the tougher they get). Buckaroo Balls (served with three kinds
Serve in one of those cardboard beer of beans and bacon). People expect
cartons that four six packs come in, lay- them to be very powerfully flavoured
ered with paper towels. Eat em, dont and pungent, says Allen, but theyre
wait for nothin! Chase with beer. Varia- very mild and easily overpowered by the
tions include serving cooked oysters sauces.
on a real oyster half shell with a sprig of Allan admits that the delicacy does not
parsley and a few drops of lemon juice. appear very appetizing in its natural
(Garrys Home Cookin Web Site) state. You wouldnt want to look at it be-
fore its skinned, he says, but most peo-
Maria Elena Raymond reports on the ple, once they get their mind past what it
popularity of this delicacy in Missouri is, actually enjoy it (Going Nuts over
several decades ago and on a new Cali- Prairie Oysters).
fornia variation: Photographer Lynn Donaldson en-
joyed an oyster feed at the Jersey Lilly Sa-
It was a great treat when deep-fried testi- loon in Ingnomar, Montana. She re-
cles were offered on restaurant menus. I corded the event in photographs as the
remember going to a weekend blowout Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed. As one
in the Ozarks in the early 1970s. Big oil ranch wife told her, Honey, you wont
drums full of hot grease were used and hear the word testicle come out of one
fried testicles were the main reason of these guys mouths. They call em
everyone was there (aside from the beer nuts or fries (Donaldson 2000). Not all
and a lake). Now here in the 1990s in Montanans shy away from the t word.
Northern California the big deal is always Rock Creek Lodge outside of Clinton
turkey testicles. The turkey farms take hosts an annual Testicle Festival the
orders months ahead of time (true) for third week of September. Rod Lincoln
the testicles long before anyone orders created the event in the mid-1980s. It
their turkeys for holidays. Locally the tes- has grown from 300 people to more than
ticles are sold right at the farms . . . never 8,200. Lincoln serves his guests some
MOVIE SETS 243

4,500 pounds of beer-marinated, breaded, I wedge it in on either side and crack it


deep-fried bull testicles (Rod Lincolns like a nut.
Web Site). I pry them out. If they resist, sometimes I
Mountain oysters have made their way use the pliers
into western popular culture. One Col- Or even Grandpas pruning shears if thats
orado band calls itself the Rocky Moun- what it requires!
tain Oysters. Surely the most famous and The hair stood on the cowboys neck.
humorous cultural depiction of this His stomach did a whirl.
western delicacy is the poem The Oys- Hed never heard such grizzly talk,
ter, written by cowboy humorist and especially from a girl!
one-time large-animal veterinarian Bax- I like them fresh, the sweetheart said and
ter Black (see also cowboy poetry): laid her menu down,
Then ordered oysters for them both when
The sign upon the cafe wall said oysters: the waiter came around.
fifty cents. The cowboy smiled gamely, though her
How quaint, the blue-eyed sweetheart words stuck in his craw
said, with some bewilderance. But he finally fainted dead away when she
I didnt know they served such fare out said Ill have mine raw!
here upon the plain?
Oh, sure, her cowboy date replied, References
Were really quite urbane. Donaldson, Lynn. Rocky Mountain Oyster
I would guess theyre Chesapeake or Feed. Cowboys & Indians, November 2000,
Blue Point, dont you think? 5866.
No maam, theyre mostly Hereford Garrys Home Cookin Web Site: http://texas
cross . . . and usually theyre pink. cooking.netrelief.com/recipes/oysters.htm.
But Ive been cold, so cold myself, Hughes, Stella. Chuck Wagon Cookin. Tucson:
what you say could be true University of Arizona Press, 1974.
And if a man looked close enough, Going Nuts over Prairie Oysters. Alberta Re-
their points could sure be blue! port/Western Report, August 5, 1996, 2326.
She said, I gather them myself out on the Rod Lincolns Web Site: http://www.testyfesty.
bay alone. com/. (Parental alert: The site includes pho-
I pluck them from the murky depths and tos of nude party-goers.)
smash them with a stone!
The cowboy winced imagining a calf with
her beneath.
Me, I use a pocket knife and yank em Movie Sets
with my teeth.
Oh, my, she said, you animal! The Wests incredible natural beauty
How crude and unrefined! combined with the rise of Hollywood as
Your masculine assertiveness sends shivers the worlds film capital meant that many
up my spine! movies, western and otherwise, would be
But I prefer a butcher knife too dull to shot in the region. Over time, natural set-
really cut. tings, like Monument Valley, have be-
244 MOVIE SETS

come movie icons. However, many In 1995 disaster struck when an arson-
movie sets have also been constructed in ists flames destroyed nearly half of Old
various places and thus become familiar Tucson. Restoration required 18 months
to generations of viewers. and $13 million. Today, the town features
Old Tucson came to life in 1939 when historic storytelling, rock concerts, and
Columbia Pictures built a replica of the other activities in addition to filmmaking.
town as it had looked during the 1860s. Tombstone, Arizona, the town too
The film Tucson, starring William Holden tough to die, served as the site for the
and Jean Arthur, moved westerns to a Wests most famous gunfight. In October
much greater level of realism than had 1881, the Earp brothers and Doc Holli-
been achieved on earlier indoor studio day shot it out with the Clantons and
sets. McLaurys at the OK Corral. Although
However, the movie set quickly be- Tombstone did not become a major site
came a ghost town, with only occasional for filming movies, the gunfight is reen-
filming done there. In 1945 Bing Crosby acted daily on the streets of Tombstone,
and Ingrid Bergman came to town in The to the thrill of tourists filming with their
Bells of St. Marys, followed five years video cameras. The Boot Hill Museum
later by Jimmy Stewart in Winchester 73. and shoot-outs on Front Street also en-
Ironically, the classic Gunfight at the OK tertain visitors to another famous Old
Corral, the film that made Tombstone fa- West town, Dodge City, Kansas.
mous, was filmed at Old Tucson in 1956. Several western film pioneers joined
In 1960 Old Tucson reopened, adding together in 1946 to create Pioneertown,
a family fun park to its movie set. From located in a scenic desert spot about 130
1959 to 1970, John Wayne filmed four miles east of Hollywood. Actor Dick Cur-
movies there, Rio Bravo, McClintock, El tis discovered the spot and convinced 17
Dorado, and Rio Lobo. He added more other investors to back the creation of a
buildings for each film, including a sa- movie ranch, along with homes, resorts,
loon, bank, hotel, cantina, and jail. Many and dude ranches. Roy Rogers, the Sons
other famous film presentations of the of the Pioneers, Russell Hayden, Frank
mythical West would follow, more than McDonald, Tommy Carr, Terry Frost, and
300 total. Films shot at Old Tucson in- Bud Abbott each invested $500 to pur-
clude Disneys Hawmps! (1975), based on chase 32,000 acres, the entire valley sur-
the armys camel corps; The Outlaw rounding Pioneertown. After dropping
Josey Wales (1976), with Clint Eastwood; the original name (Rogersville), the
Tom Horn (1979), with Steve McQueen; movie town became Pioneertown, honor-
and Calamity Jane (1983), with Jane ing the famous singing group.
Alexander. The popular TV series The During the 1940s and 50s, leading
Young Riders (19891991), based on the western stars filmed TV and movie pro-
Pony Express, was also filmed there. In ductions at Pioneertown. The town
1993 Old Tucson again hosted the gun- hosted programs featuring Gene Autry,
fights of the OK Corral for the filming of the Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill
Tombstone. Jr., Judge Roy Bean, and many more.
MUSTANG RANCH 245

In 1927 Paramount Pictures purchased lics thirst for mythical sites reflecting life
2,400 acres of Rancho Las Virgenes at there seems insatiable.
Agoura Hills, California, some 35 miles
north of Los Angeles. From the 1920s References
through the early 1950s, the studio shot Old Tucson Web Site: http://www.oldtucson.
hundreds of westerns there, framed by com.
the rugged Santa Monica Mountains. Tombstone, Arizona, Web Site: http://www.
William Hertz, a western movie buff, cityoftombstone.com.
bought the site in 1953 and built a per-
manent set using original Paramount
props. He sold the ranch in 1955, and it
was seldom again used for filming. In
1970 the location became known as
Muffler Men
Paramount Ranch. In 1980 the National
See Stone, Glenn
Park Service paid $6 million for the prop-
erty and again restored the Old West
town for the benefit of filmmakers and
tourists.
Despite having plastic windows, fiber- Murieta, Joaqun
glass log cabins, and hard-shelled foam
stone fireplaces, the location looks au- Ca. 18301853, California social bandit.
thentic on film. In the early 1990s Para- See Zorro
mount Ranch enjoyed a revival when it
became a nineteenth-century Colorado
mining town, home to the popular CBS-
TV series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Mustang Ranch, Nevada
starring Jane Seymour.
Other photogenic western locations One of the most notorious locales in the
have also enticed film directors. The West, the Mustang Ranch stood as a fix-
rugged desert and mountain scenery of ture in the Nevada desert for more than
Paria Canyon, which lies between Kanab, 30 years. The ranch, a legal brothel, and
Utah, and Page, Arizona, provided a its owner and founder, Joe Conforte, a
backdrop for many B-westerns of the one-time cab driver, became living leg-
1940s. The town of Kanab is trying to re- ends. Customers from all corners of the
vive the movie and tourist industries. United States and other countries fre-
Buildings and sites include the usual: a quented the establishment. At any one
mining camp with an authentic mine, sa- time, Conforte employed from 40 to 100
loon, hotel, jail, and assay and black- working girls. Even long after its clos-
smith shops. Likewise Gammons Gulch ing, the fame and myths surrounding the
in Pomerene, Arizona, seeks to lure a fabled ranch continue to permeate popu-
new generation of filmmakers to its sets. lar culture.
The Old West may be gone, but the pub- The Mustang Ranch first opened its
246 MUSTANG RANCH

doors in 1955, occupying some 440 of Reno. Judge Claiborne hated the FBIs
acres outside of Reno. In its earliest days, sting tactics and often ruled against the
a tangle of tacked-together trailers Bureau. Consequently, FBI agents, with
housed all the activities. Arsonists twice the help of Conforte, concocted a case
burned Confortes business to the against the judge, alleging he had ac-
ground. However, the ranch at this time cepted a bribe from Conforte. However,
generated more than 25 percent of the because the FBI gave Conforte faulty in-
countys budget, giving its owner consid- formation concerning the fake bribe, the
erable political clout. He established ene- frame failed, and the court dropped all
mies who would have loved to see him charges against Claiborne.
go under. In 1990, after Conforte had accumu-
In 1971 Conforte won a court case lated some $13 million in debt for back
against the State of Nevada that legalized taxes, the federal government seized the
prostitution. During the 1970s he spent Mustang Ranch. After a brief attempt to
more than a million dollars on the Mus- maintain the ranch and to send all its
tang Ranch, aiming to create an estab- profits to the government to pay Con-
lishment with class. He used the House fortes debt, the establishment and all of
of All Nations, a brothel in Paris, France, its property went on the auction block.
as his model. In one room, he created a When all was said and done, the govern-
replica of the legendary Le Train Bleu to ment made a little more than $2 million
Monte Carlo, complete with full sound from the sale of items ranging from nude
effects. Another room boasted stained- paintings to cartons of condoms to toilet
glass windows, organ music, and work- seats. The ranch itself went to a lawyer
ing girls dressed in nuns habits. named Victor Perry, who represented an
The new Mustang Ranch opened its anonymous client. The attorney would
doors in 1979; its main feature was the not disclose the name of his client, but
Orgy Room, for less-sophisticated fan- Perry happens to be the brother of Con-
tasies. Soon after, the ranch became a fortes lawyer, opening many intriguing
household name all over the Southwest. possibilities for the future of the Mus-
Despite his millions of dollars in earn- tang Ranch.
ings, however, Conforte refused to pay Perhaps the most controversial event
taxes. In March 1981 he posted a involving the Mustang Ranch is the mur-
$200,000 bail after his arrest for bribing der of Oscar Bonavena, a heavyweight
a district attorney in Lyon County. Soon boxer from South America. The talented
after, he paid another $40,000 bond for fighter had taken on such greats as Joe
tax evasion. While appealing his convic- Frazier and Muhammad Ali. Conforte
tion for tax evasion and its 20-year liked Bonavena and believed he could
prison sentence, he fled to Brazil, break- help the fighter. In the late 1960s Con-
ing his bond and bail. forte brought Bonavena to the ranch,
Several months later, Hank Greenspun, where Confortes wife, Sally, and the
an attorney for Conforte, contacted the fighter immediately fell in love. Sally
FBI and agreed to have Conforte testify doted on the South American, which
in a trial against Judge Harry Claiborne suited Conforte perfectly, as he now had
MUSTANG RANCH 247

more time to sample the wares of his Stories of the fabled Mustang Ranch
business. have spread across the nation. Hundreds
In 1979, at the grand opening of the of adult entertainment clubs now go by
new Mustang Ranch, Conforte heard the name Mustang Ranch. Automobile
that Bonavena had said casually to a visi- repair shops specializing in the repair of
tor, How do you like my new joint? the Ford Mustang car use the same
Conforte had no problem with the sex- name. The classic song Mustang Sally
ual relationship between the boxer and by Wilson Pickett contains many thinly
Sally, but he would not stand for his con- veiled references to the notorious ranch.
trol being threatened. He ordered both Currently in Nevada, a new brothel is
of them off the ranch. After several days, open for business in the smaller of the
Sally returned to the ranch to pick up a two buildings that once comprised the
few things, and despite her protests, Mustang Ranch. Tales from those who
Bonavena accompanied her. After they once did business at the ranch help keep
had arrived, a rifle shot rang out, and a the memory and myth alive. Conforte
high-velocity bullet shattered the fighters had hoped to return to the brothel, but
heart. Conflicting stories abound, al- as of late 1999 he remained in hiding, re-
though one thing is certain: Ross Bry- portedly in South America. The lawyer
mer, Confortes number-two bodyguard, who represented him, Peter A. Perry, was
pulled the trigger. slapped with a $20,000 fine, six months
Conforte claimed that Bonavena had of community confinement, an equal
come to the ranch to kill him, and in- amount of home confinement, and 100
deed, authorities discovered a pistol un- hours of community service. The ranchs
der the fighters body. Later, however, checkered history continues.
Lloyd McNulty, chief of security for the Daniel C. Gunter III
Mustang Ranch, confessed that the gun
had accidentally slipped out of his belt
when he bent over. Throughout the in- References
vestigation, witnesses disappeared, and Conrad, H., and N. Mauskopf. Sex and Taxes.
others were too afraid to testify. Brymer Rolling Stone, 18 April 1991, 85.
received a two-year sentence for volun- Cruickshank, Douglas. Last Roundup at the
tary manslaughter, and Conforte got off Mustang Ranch. Salon.com, 12 August
completely unscathed. 1999.
n
Newton Boys train with a fellow cotton picker. He re-
ceived a pardon by forging a petition
Between 1919 and 1924, Willis, Dock, with signatures from a sheriff, a judge,
Jess, and Joe Newton robbed more than and 60 other inmates. While serving his
60 banks and six trains, making them short prison term, Willis began thinking
the most successful bank and train rob- about robbing banks. In his mind, steal-
bers in American history. Growing up ing from banks served a noble social pur-
under trying conditions in the impover- pose, which involved hurtin the banks
ished town of Uvalde, Texas, these self- and insurance companies that had
acclaimed cowboys initially earned stole the money from the poor farmer.
mediocre livings as bronco busters and Willis did not see a right or wrong side of
cotton farmers. The fraternal band did the law, because government and police
not conform to the stereotype of the tra- officials comprised a corrupt, bribe-tak-
ditional western bad man. Most wit- ing justice system.
nesses to their crimes remembered their Willis tried to organize partnerships
very mannerly and congenial attitude. with former inmates, but he soon real-
In the crime-ridden setting of the 1920s, ized that their habits, which included ex-
the Newton brothers meshed the chiv- cessive drinking and blabbering, did
alry of the cowboy with the thrill of the not suit the line of work. In considering
Texas outlaw, thus creating their own what candidates might make reliable ac-
original brand of western antihero. complices, Willis thought of his own
Before forming the gang in 1919, both brothers. He soon set up headquarters at
Dock and Willis had served time behind a hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and wrote to
bars. Dock spent ten years in the state his brothers Jess and Joe. Realizing the
penitentiary for stealing cotton and then two younger brothers would be reluc-
trying to escape several times. Willis tant to join a crime operation, Willis sim-
served a short stint for robbing his first ply sent them two $20 bills and said he

248
NEWTON BOYS 249

had a job for them. The two brothers ar- Newton robberies have been mytholo-
rived in Tulsa with saddles and spurs, ex- gized and exaggerated to suit the glam-
pecting jobs busting broncos, their true our associated with the archetypal cow-
love. Willis laughed and said, Yeah, I got boy outlaw or social bandit. For
a job for you, but it aint that kind of a instance, the gang is credited with twice
job (Newton and Newton 1994). He having blown safes in two banks the
soon convinced Jess, Joe, and Dock, fresh same night: once in Hondo, Texas, and
out of the penitentiary, to join him. Fi- again in Spencer, Indiana. Another story
nally assembled, the partners embarked says the Newtons robbed couriers in
on a robbing spree that racked up num- Toronto, Canada, as they carried big
bers unprecedented in the history of satchels of cash from the bank to the
crime. clearinghouse at midday. When the
The brothers efficiency greatly con- crazy Canucks refused to release the
tributed to their success. They hit the satchels, the gang had to shoot several of
banks in the fall and winter to catch them. According to legend, however, the
freshly deposited autumn harvest rev- Newtons never fatally shot anyone.
enues. They always used the fastest, The biggest heist in their career turned
most durable cars they could find in case out to be their last. On 12 June 1924, in
a quick getaway was required or a car the tiny crossroads of Rondout, Illinois,
chase ensued. They struck at night dur- 30 miles north of Chicago, they pulled
ing subfreezing temperatures to ensure off the largest train holdup in American
that no one would be roaming the history. An insider in the U.S. Postal Ser-
streets. In between hits, Willis spent most vice tipped off the boys on the time the
of his time studying bank security, secret mail train would reach Rondout.
searching for the next susceptible target. As a result, the gang made off with more
Finally, and most important, the Newton than $3 million in negotiable bonds and
brothers mastered the art of breaking diamonds.
into bank safes. In the confusion of the robbery, how-
Brentwood Glasscock, an early accom- ever, an accomplice who was not a New-
plice of Williss, had taught him to use ton mistook Dock for an officer and shot
nitroglycerin detonated by a dynamite him six times with a .45-caliber hand-
cap that would literally peel off the gun. The brothers had to take Dock to
door to the safe. This quick nitro town, where an underground Mafia doc-
method, however, worked on safes with tor treated him. Supposedly, the Mafia
square doors, most common to small- tipped off the police because the Texas
town banks. Most big-city banks had up- cowboys had infringed on their turf.
graded to safes with more-secure, round Miraculously, Dock survived, only to be
doors by the 1920s. Denied the richer, apprehended along with Willis and Joe.
bigger targets, the Newtons hit banks in Jess escaped to Mexico, but a wily under-
small towns throughout the Midwest, cover Texas Ranger later caught him.
from west Texas all the way to Canada. The savvy lawman lured Jess back into
Many of the stories surrounding the Texas by betting him he couldnt break
250 NEWTON BOYS

one of the Rangers broncsa bet Jess lawyers and storekeepers. Robbin banks
couldnt resist. and trains was our business, maximizing
The Newton boys luck held. The profit and minimizing risk (Newton and
postal inspector who tipped them off Newton 1994).
took the major rap, and none of the In 1968, at the age of 77, Dock Newton
brothers received a major sentence. The was arrested trying to rob one last bank
judge treated them leniently because of in Rowena, Texas. The police believed
their gracious apology and because they that Willis was driving the getaway car,
told several humorous and entertaining but he called an hour later from Mexico
stories about their crimes. Jess, for exam- with an alibi. In 1973 a Texas author
ple, stated that while holding the train named Claude Stanush met Willis and
engineer at Rondout at gunpoint, he had Joe and began transcribing their stories,
asked him, Aint this a helluva way to which he published in 1994 as The New-
make a livin? ton Boys: Portrait of an Outlaw Gang. In
If the Newton brothers were indeed so 1980, at the age of 79, Joe Newton ap-
successful, why have they not been im- peared on Johnny Carsons Tonight Show,
mortalized with the likes of Billy the Kid where his exuberance and storytelling
and Bonnie and Clyde? One reason is enthralled the host and audience. Joe,
that the criminal history of the 1920s is the last surviving brother, died in 1989.
already filled with larger-than-life char- In 1994 a motion picture, The Newton
acters, such as Al Capone, and with the Boys, based on Stanushs book, hit the
many bootlegging rings active during box office and enjoyed major Hollywood
Prohibition. Perhaps there is not enough success. With a dramatic flavor and hu-
room for the exploits of mannerly cow- morous tone, the movie brought long-
boy bank robbers from Texas. However, overdue attention to the Newton broth-
Pretty Boy Floyd managed to establish a ers. The movies slogan said it best:
reputation for being well-mannered and Historys about to catch up with Amer-
a friend of the poor. Another reason may icas most successful Outlaws.
be that the Newton boys killed no one. Andrew Mebane Southerland
Asked later in his life about Bonnie and
Clyde, Willis Newton snorted in disgust
and said, Silly kids. Didnt rob nothin References
except fillin stations and small places Newton, Joe, and Willis Newton (as told to
like that . . . spoilin for a fight with the Claude Stanush and David Middleton). The
law, sooner or later they was bound to Newton Boys: A Portrait of an Outlaw Gang.
get themselves killed. The Newton Austin, TX: State House Press, 1994.
brothers didnt want to be remembered Stanush, Claude. Every Time a Bank Was
as bank robbers. According to Willis, We Robbed, They Thought It Was Us. Smith-
was just businessmen like doctors and sonian 24, no. 10 (1994): 7483.
o
Oakley, Annie adopted her and gave her the nickname
Little Sure Shot.
18601926 A serious injury from a 1901 train
wreck and several operations slowed but
Born into poverty as Phoebe Ann Moses did not stop her. She continued to per-
(or Mosey), Annie grew up on a poor form until the early 1920s, when ill
farm in Darke County, Ohio. By age health finally defeated her. Oakley and
seven, she had learned to trap birds and her husband died within three weeks of
small game for food. Forced to work for each other, and both are buried in the
unscrupulous employers while still a Brock Cemetery in Darke County.
child, Annie suffered privation and Like many legendary westerners, Oak-
abuse. But she developed strength of ley played a prominent role in creating
character and many survival skills, in- her own legend. In her autobiography,
cluding the ability to shoot accurately. At she gives her birth date as 1866, thereby
15 she bested marksman Frank E. Butler shaving six years from her age. She gives
in a shooting competition. He held no her legal name as Phoebe Ann Oakley
grudge; they married the following year Mozee. The mythmaking would con-
and began performing together. tinue well after her justifiably legendary
In 1885 Butler and Oakley joined Buf- shooting exhibitions had ended. Only
falo Bill Codys Wild West Show. Oakley, one year after her death, the first biogra-
five feet tall and weighing about 100 phy of her appeared: Annie Oakley:
pounds, would spend the next 17 years Woman at Arms, by Courtney Ryley
as a star performer in Codys show. She Cooper. The first film version of her life,
shot an estimated 40,000 rounds per Annie Oakley (1935), starring Barbara
year practicing and performing. Another Stanwyck, drew heavily on the Cooper
famous cast member, Chief Sitting Bull, biography.

251
252 OAKLEY, ANNIE

In 1946 Oakleys niece, Fern Campbell


Swartwout, published Missie: An Histori-
cal Biography of Annie Oakley. In May of
the same year, the irrepressible Ethel
Merman opened in the Rogers and Ham-
merstein musical production Annie Get
Your Gun. Mermans Annie, like the
woman portrayed by Swartwout, was a
more feminine than western figure,
dressed in a fringed, sequined suit with
matching boots, hat, and gloves. Fans
and reviewers loved the production,
which ran on Broadway for three years.
In 1947 Mary Martin took the show on
the road and later to television.
In 1948 Oakley rode even further into
American popular culture, appearing in a
comic book. In this incarnation, a blow
on the head turned the singing cowgirl
Dale Evans into Annie Oakley. As the
Two-Gun Terror of the West, she
cleaned up a gang of outlaws and the
town of Boom City to boot. In 1950 Annie Oakley (Library of Congress)
Betty Hutton and Howard Keel starred in
the MGM film version of Annie Get Your icon. In 1992 actor Keith Carradine
Gun. This treatment continued to por- starred in a 30-minute Rabbit Ears Pro-
tray Oakley as feminine and cuddly, not duction as Will Rogers. As part of the per-
as the strong, independent, athletic per- formance, he accurately retells the story
son she was in reality. Many similarly ro- of Oakleys life. Los Lobos added a rollick-
manticized portrayals would follow in ing musical score. Perhaps the true
fictional literature, film, and television. benchmark of making it as a cultural
The historical Oakley, as opposed to icon: Oakley has her own line of name-
the romanticized image, reappeared in sake fragrances for men and women, fra-
the 1980s. Several writers, including Is- grances true to the spirit that brought
abelle Sayer and R. Douglas Hurt, pre- romance to the West. Oakley memora-
sented versions of her life and character bilia continue to command high prices.
more in line with historical evidence. Ac- Teri Dellapina, a woman from Cary, North
tress Jamie Lee Curtis brought an accu- Carolina, inherited an old photo album
rate depiction to television in a 1985 por- from her grandmother. It included auto-
trayal for Tall Tales and Legends. Once graphed pictures of Buffalo Bill Cody and
again, Oakleys independence, strength, Annie Oakley. In 1996 the former was ap-
and western persona emerged. praised at $2,000; the latter, at $11,500.
Oakley remains an important cultural Oakley still commands respect.
OUTLAW, THE 253

Historian Glenda Riley has crafted the films, played at theaters across the coun-
most complete and accurate account yet try. The Outlaw, a 1943 western pro-
of Oakleys life: her 1994 book The Life duced and directed by Howard Hughes,
and Legacy of Annie Oakley. In truth, enjoyed widespread acclaim from the
concludes Riley, Annie Oakley became a public. Its appeal, however, came not
westerner by affinity rather than by from a superior plot or acting but rather
birth, and she created a model western from the bustline of its star, young Jane
woman. As a result, she has become a Russell.
western heroine for all timeshe has The plot centers on the relationship
proven as enduring as the West itself. between Doc Holliday (veteran actor
Walter Huston) and Billy the Kid (new-
References comer Jack Beutel) after Holliday discov-
Havinghurst, Walter. Annie Oakley of the Wild ers that Billy possesses Docs stolen
West. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, horse. This relationship grows as the two
1954, 1992. share several adventures together. Their
Kasper, Shirl. Annie Oakley. Norman: Univer- friendship creates turmoil and conflict,
sity of Oklahoma Press, 1992. which provides the thin foundation for
Riley, Glenda. The Life and Legacy of Annie the films plot. A variety of forces that at-
Oakley. Norman: University of Oklahoma tempt to pull these would-be compan-
Press, 1994. ions apart manifest themselves in the
Vonada, Damaine. Annie Oakley Was More supporting characters, famed lawman
than a Crack Shot in Petticoats. Smithson- Pat Garrett (Thomas Mitchell) and Rio
ian 21, no. 6 (1990): 131148. (portrayed by Jane Russell).
Pat Garrett, at the opening of the
movie, considers himself a close friend of
Doc Holliday. Consequently, he tries to
Ok Corral reclaim the stolen horse for his friend.
Once it appears that Holliday and Billy
See Earp Brothers respect each other, Garrett flies into a
rage. The rumors regarding the exploits
of Billy the Kid, including all the sheriffs
he has murdered, have reached Garrett.
Old Tucson Under a combination of pressures, the
famed lawman eventually snaps.
See Movie Sets One of the most memorable moments
of the film occurs in a little cantina. A
trap for Billy is set; however, the wily
outlaw discovers it and kills his assailant.
Outlaw, The Garrett storms in to arrest the Kid, but
Doc prevents it. An angry Garrett opens
Motion picture makers have long viewed fire on Billy, severely wounding him. Af-
westerns as an important category. In the ter finding refuge at his girlfriend Rios
1930s and 40s, Westerns, mostly B-rate home, Doc leaves Billy to heal and leads
254 OUTLAW, THE

Garrett and the posse on a wild goose the film and in its publicity campaign,
chase through the wilderness. He further Russells fulsome figure looms large. One
alienates Garrett by firing on the posse at movie poster asked, What are the two
several different points. reasons for Jane Russells rise to star-
Eventually, a second confrontation dom? At an event in Los Angeles, a sky
arises between Garrett, Holliday, and plane advertised the film by spraying
Billy. In a fit of rage, the officer kills his two circles side by side with a dot inside
old friend. At the conclusion of the film, each.
Garrett attempts to trick Billy one last This pictures many production prob-
time, but he is foiled and left tied to a lems generated a host of stories and
fence post. Although Garretts role is cen- myths. Problems began almost immedi-
tral to the plot, Rio provides the real tur- ately. Keenly aware of the intense com-
bulence in the film. petition in westerns, the budgetary allot-
Russells character Rio generated most ment increased to $1.5 million. This large
of the attention garnered by the film. Al- sum of money, in those days, excited
though the sexual overtones provided by public attention. One week after shoot-
Rio increased public interest in the ing began, director Howard Hawks quit.
movie, these same events destroy what The director of many classics, including
little plot the movie originally contained. Sergeant York, could not work with the
In her first appearance, Billy rapes her in eccentric Hughes. None other than
a barn, after her unsuccessful attempt to Hughes himself soon filled the role of di-
shoot him for allegedly killing her father. rector, albeit not very ably.
Despite the rape, she accepts the respon- Continuous delays prompted rumors
sibility to nurse Billy after he has been that Hughes withheld the movie to edit
shot in the cantina. She undresses and and reshoot many parts. The censorship
climbs into bed with him to warm him board, which exercised tight moral stan-
up. dards in the 1940s, further complicated
In another memorable scene, Doc and the release of the film. The so-called
Billy argue over which is more valuable, Hays Commission finally approved a film
a woman or a horse. They agree, to no- for general distribution. Approval proved
bodys surprise, that a horse represents a hard to obtain because of the films sex-
mans true wealth. Finally, after the ual content. Only after Hughes removed
viewer has been tortured enough, there two scenes showing Russell dressed in a
is a brief romantic, nonsexual scene in loosely fitting blouse did the Hays Com-
which Rio climbs onto a horse with Billy mission accept the film.
and rides into the desert. Russells char- This acceptance did not guarantee a
acter contributes nothing more than sex viewing everywhere, however. The state
appeal to the film. censorship board of New York, one of the
For Howard Hughes, the sexuality and prime viewing locations, would not ap-
in particular Russells breasts proved to prove the Hays version. Instead, the State
be the key ingredients to his story. of New York forced Hughes to do yet a
Hughes developed a type of cantilevered third version. The Catholic Legion of De-
bra to push up Russells breasts. Both in cency condemned the film. Hughes and
OUTLAW, THE 255

his lawyers fought many court battles lost lawsuit permitted the film to be
with censorship agencies, winning some shown again.
and losing some. All the litigation de- The legacy of The Outlaw certainly
layed the films release by a full two continues to this day. Television stations,
years. such as Turner Classic Movies, still air
In total, of 18,000 dates signed to pro- the western, which seems rather tame by
ject the film during the first two releases, todays standards. Retailers, such as Sun-
only 5,000 were met. Critics rightly coast, sell the film at reduced rates. Crit-
hated the film. Yet after the first week, ics uniformly agree that this is one of the
the film set box office records, earning worst westerns of all time. Nevertheless,
$30,000. Over its six-week run in 1943, it it is also one of the most successful. The
earned $158,000. Then the ever-unpre- Overlook Film Encyclopedia claims that
dictable Hughes removed his work from when adjusted for inflation, The Outlaw
theaters. In 1946 the second release of ranks seventh among all westerns in
the film earned more than $3 million. money earned.
Hughes released the film twice more Thomas Edward Davis
during the 1950s, after most of the oppo-
sition to the movie had dissipated. Fol- Reference
lowing the fourth release, Hughes, Barlett, Donald L., and James B. Steele. Empire:
through his attorneys, prevented the The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard
screening of the movie for 25 years. Hughes. New York: W. W. Norton and Com-
Shortly before Hughes died, however, a pany, 1979.
p
Packer, Alfred only to be discharged again for the same
reason. Following the war, he headed
18421907 west, where he attempted to earn a living
as a guide for gold prospectors in Col-
It was not valor, outlawry, or misfortune orado and Utah. Packers fateful descent
that distinguished Alfred Packer but into cannibalism came as he guided a
rather his survival during a harsh Col- group of prospectors near Breckenridge,
orado winter by eating his comrades. Al- Colorado, in the fall of 1873.
though members of the Donner Party Discrepancies abound about what hap-
also resorted to cannibalism, Packer ap- pened on this trip into the Colorado
pears to be the only American ever con- wilderness. The most widespread version
victed of a crime related to cannibalism. (which Packer swore to in his confession)
Speculation surrounds many of the de- is as follows: He and his party of 21 left
tails of his life. Even though the com- Provo, Utah, in November 1873. They
plete details of his story may never be lacked sufficient supplies from the very
known, the uniqueness and morbidity of beginning. After facing extended cold
his crimes have magnified his presence and hunger, in January 1874 they came
in western myth and popular culture. upon the camp of Chief Ouray near what
Alfred Packer was born on 21 Novem- is now Montrose, Colorado. The chief ex-
ber 1842 in Pennsylvania. In April 1862 plained that winter snows made the
he enlisted in the Sixteenth U.S. Infantry mountains impassable. He allowed the
of Minnesota to fight in the Civil War. company to camp nearby and sold them
The army discharged him only eight supplies. Against Chief Ourays advice,
months later because he suffered an at- Packer and five others departed on 6 Feb-
tack of epilepsy. The determined young ruary, determined to reach their mining
man enlisted again in July 1863 with the destination. They exhausted their provi-
Eighth Regiment of the Iowa Cavalry, sions after only nine days of travel. After

256
PACKER, ALFRED 257

three or four days, hunger compelled day but could not so I lived off the flesh
them to cook and eat their moccasins of these men, the bigger part of the 60
and to stew and eat rose hips to survive. days I was out (Alfred Packer Collection).
As the story goes, the group camped Packer finally emerged at Los Pinos In-
one night near the Gunnison River. dian Agency on 6 April. According to
Hunger so afflicted a man named Bell some stories, he arrived looking well fed
that he became mentally deranged. The and seemingly more concerned about
next morning, Packer ascended a nearby purchasing whiskey than food. He
mountain to look for signs of civilization. claimed that he had become separated
When he returned, he found only Bell. In from his companions, but suspicion
Packers own words, mounted when he exhibited some of
their personal possessions. He claimed
I spoke to him, and then, with the look that four of the men had died from the
of a terrible maniac, his eyes glaring and harsh conditions on the journey and that
burning fearfully, he grabbed a hatchet the others had eaten them. He also in-
and started for me, whereupon I raised sisted that he had only killed Bell i