Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Planning & Zonies

June 28, 2017
   We had our annual sales planning session on Monday at the True West World Headquarters. Every single person in this picture is a hero to me. They keep the lights on. 




Left to right: Stuart Rosebrook, Sheri Riley, Greg Carroll,
Ken Amorosano and Cynthia Burke.


   And yesterday we had our annual editorial planning meeting at the True West World Headquarters. These are the editorial and production managers who will make all 12 issues next year, happen with solid history, wit and style.



 Left to right: Rhiannon Deremo, Stuart Rosebrook, Meghan Saar
and Robert Ray. Big plans for 2018.

   When I was much younger than I am now, I dreamed of having an oak table where the brightest and the most talented folks would show up every day and work on history projects that excited me. Thanks for the desk Betty Radina. And thanks to everyone who sits around it and argues with me. What a gift. We've got some tremendous ideas and ambitious plans for 2018. 

"In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others."
—Andre Maurois


The Red-headed Pistol Packin' Mother of Yuma

June 28, 2017
   Got up at four this morning and started work on another pass for the splash page featuring Paul Andrew Hutton's masterful piece on The Great Western. Two guns: check. Red hair: check. Saber scar on cheek: check. 1850s "gold laced cap of the Second Artillery": check. "Crimson velvet waist"; check. Big, crucifix around her neck: check. 






Daily Whip Out Sketch: "The Red-headed, Pistol Packin' Mother of Yuma"

Daily Whip Out Rough: "The Red-headed, Pistol Packin' Mother of Yuma"

   This is for the September issue and is going to be featured prominently at the very first Great Western Festival in Yuma, Arizona on October 14.

"She packed two six-shooters, and they all said she shore could use 'em."
—Jeff Ake, who met The Great Western at her "house" in Sonoita Valley, Arizona in 1856

Monday, June 26, 2017

Little Miss Sureshot In Color

June 26, 2017
   Here's a question for you: does color enhance old photos, or destroy their magic?



   This is a colorized image of Annie Oakley, from a new book "The Wild West In Color" by John C. Guntzelman. The name "Little Miss Sure Shot" allegedly came from Sitting Bull, who met the young sharpshooter in 1884. She toured Europe and performed for Queen Victoria and shot a cigarette from the lips of Kaiser Wihelm II. The photo is from 1899.

"Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult."
—Charlotte Whitton

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Still Seeking Olive

June 25, 2017
   I hunkered down this weekend and directed most of my energy towards capturing the elusive Olive Oatman, once and for all.

   Yesterday, I had a notion to approach her portrait by emulating two different, but similar, compositions. One would be a version of the famous Kaloma poster (erroneously ID as Josephine Sarah Marcus, by a notorious faker), and the other is a famous painting by the artist Edvard Munch.


Daily Whip Outs: "Still Seeking Olive"

   Obviously a couple of images in this photo pile are not meant to be Olive, but you get the drift of where I'm going. Oh, and here is the inspiration for the sketch, at bottom, center:


Edvard Munch: "Madonna"

Munch, a fellow Norwegian, painted this image numerous times in the 1890s. The above version is actually a color litho with sperm squiggling up three sides of the frame and a "foetus-like pendant" in the lower left corner. In 2010, a hand-colored print of "Madonna" sold for 1.25 million pounds, the most expensive print ever sold. For a PRINT! Critics have described it as "glorifying decadent love," or a "monstrous mother in the throes of ecstacy and pain." Either way, it is striking. And worthy of emulating.

  As I sketch, as you can see, I often make notes to myself for other tasks I need to do: 


Daily Whip Outs: "Emulating Josie and Munch"



Daily Whip Out: "Olive On The Mojave"


   Weston Allen turned four yesterday and had fun at the park but fell off the monkey bars and broke his arm. In related notes, above, I was successful in delivering the big painting to Jenny Petarek Smith, but I still need to thank Sylvia Durando for the hat carrier she gifted me when I was in Bishop.

"If I'd have known when I was 30 that things would be like this at 70, I wouldn't have been so worried. Not that I was worried, but you get insecure and go, 'Ah, I wonder what I'm gonna do when I'm 60. What if I have to go back to work or something?' Piece of cake, man. I can sing as good and play guitar as good as ever. I'm functional. I have sex as much as I ever did."
—Sammy Hagar, in Rolling Stone on what it's like to be 70-years-old


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Billy the Kid & Tupac Shakur at The O.K. Corral

June 24, 2017
   So, yesterday I met one of my best models, Jenny Pekarek Smith, at Pita Jungle, across from Desert Ridge, to gift her the big "Pioneer Confusion" painting. 




Daily Whip Out (Jenny Smith posed for the central character): "Pioneer Confusion"

   After I left Pita Jungle at one I drove across the street to Desert Ridge mall and walked around. Man, there are SO many closed stores it's scary. Of course it was 114 out, so I had the place to myself. (it's an outdoor mall)

   My first stop was Barnes & Noble to support the remaining brick and mortar stores that haven't been killed yet by Amazon. I read somewhere that Amazon now sells 80% of books in the States. 

   And, of course, my first stop inside the store was to check out the newsstand.



The Indian Hater Faces The G-Man at Barnes & Noble in Desert Ridge.

   Good position and, most importantly, full-face-out, as opposed to so many newsstand positions where we are tucked in the back with only a corner of the cover showing. Speaking of Indian haters, I hate that Wild West cover, because it's so strong. Yes, we are competitors and I hate it when they do well. And this is one of the best covers they have done in a long time. Striking, in-your-face, and captivating. Of course, Dan The Man's cover of the G-Man is also strong: he took a tired image that has been run to death and gave it new life. Not easy to do.

   I'm always looking for trends and new books, so I loaded up and got some groovy stuff:



$164 worth of homework

   After the book splurge I was in the mood to cool my jets in a movie theater, so I walked the length of the mall to the AMC theaters at the east end and strolled up to the window and said, "What's the next movie I can see?" 

  The young hispanic girl with the head-set on, behind the glass, seemed rather flustered (I think she was brand new and I might have even been her first customer ever), but she had a shadow-trainer behind her. The trainer leaned over the young girl's shoulder and said "Eyez CC" and I said "What is that?" And she said, "Closed caption for the hearing impaired." And I said "What is the movie about?" And the young hispanic girl didn't have a clue, so the trainer, who was black, leaned over the girl's shoulder one more time with a heavy eye roll, and said, "The life of Tupac Shakur." She said this in a way that told me she didn't think this old, white guy in a cowboy hat had a clue who that even was.

   So I said, "Well, I'd be a damned fool if I didn't get a ticket to THAT!"

   Now, it's true I wanted to blow that snotty, young trainer's mind, but, as is often the case, the actual decision to see "All Eyez On Me" was a little more nuanced. Often in my talks about the O.K. Corral fight I make a point about how many times a day the Earp-Clanton gunfight is re-enacted in Tombstone (that would be every day, every hour on the hour, all day long) and then I muse about who, in our time, will get such attention? I also want to make a point of how bizarre the celebration of the fight in Tombstone would have been to the residents who lived through it, so I say, "I have a hunch it might be the shooting of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas." This always gets a rise out of the old guys, who think I am being totally ludicrous, but I'm not. I'm dead serious.

   So, I did have some interest in seeing how the movie would portray the shooting. Plus, I also think the glorification of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. (who also has his own movie) is very similar to the myth making process as it involves my Old West outlaw heroes. So, I wanted to see if I could spot a few parallels.

   So, here's what I learned. In the myth-making from my era, the Indians are portrayed as savages and the cowboys are brave and honorable. In the Tupac story, the FBI and the cops are savages and the outlaw gangbangers are the ones who have the moral high ground.

   Whenever our hero does something deplorable, an excuse is given. Billy the Kid shot Sheriff Brady because he was corrupt and deserved it and when Tupac shot two undercover cops they were beating up a poor, defenseless guy from the hood. (The police version is the two undercover cops were just walking across the street, and, by the way, Sheriff Brady and his deputies were just walking down the street in Lincoln, New Mexico when they were ambushed by Billy and his crew.)

   Martyrs are borrowed willy nilly to shore up the cause. In "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" when Garrett corners Billy at Stinking Springs, Billy comes out with his arms straight out, emulating Jesus on the cross. When Tupac's mother warns him that great men are always a target by the evil U.S. government and their lives are snuffed out at a young age, his sister jumps up and says, "That's what they did to Geronimo!" I laughed out loud in the theater at this line, since the G-Man lived a long life and would have been hanged by the Arizona authorities if the U.S. government hadn't saved his bacon and sent him to Florida.

   When we love a historic character we think all the aspects of our hero's life should be included in the movie. This is probably why "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is three hours long.  All Eyez On Me goes on for two-and-a-half-hours. Only the die-hards are going to sit through that. For the record, I saw "The Assassination of Jesse James" with maybe four other people in the theater (Kathy went and saw "Larry Clayton") and I saw "Eyez On Me" with two other couples. (Kathy is in Germany so she wouldn't have to see it) Do the math, Mr. Passion Project.

   The random location of a senseless act of violence gets fetishized. When the Earps and Holliday walk down to confront the cowboys, they meet in a sideyard, 18 feet wide. Today it is a shrine. On September 7, 1996, Tupac and Suge Knight are stopped at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane just off the strip in Vegas when a white Caddie pulls along side and shots ring out. Mark my words, there will be a shrine and daily re-enactments there on September 7, 2096.

   The movie makes the claim that the murder has never been solved. But this is suspect, since most Tupac buffs believe Orlando "Baby Lane" Anderson was the shooter. Tupac had attacked him earlier in the lobby of the MGM Grand, walking up and punching Anderson in the face, allegedly because Orlando was flashing gang gear. (he was a Crip) Wyatt Earp attacked Tom McLaury before the fight on Fremont and knocked him senseless with the butt of his pistol because Earp recognized McLaury as being part of the cow-boy gang, who, by the way, headquartered at the Grand Hotel on Allen Street when they were in town. The Cow-boys & The Crips, the MGM Grand and The Grand Hotel, crazy, amazing, no?

   I could go on, but you get my drift.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." 
—Mark Twain

   

   


Friday, June 23, 2017

Windblown Wonder & Olive's Dark Secret

June 23, 2017
   Working on a couple new things:


Daily Whip Out: "Windblown Wonder"

   I get on these scratchboard kicks, go crazy, then get going on something else and forget about all the unfinished boards in my studio. Found four partially finished scratchboards and took another swing at two of them. The one above and this one, below.


Daily Whip Out: "Cattywampus Cowboy"

   Last night I got an inspiraton to do a more shadowy version of Olive and her mysterious time among the Mojaves.

Daily Whip Out: "Olive's Dark Secret"

   I am going to do this one as a scratchboard as well. Record heat. Went out on the road this morning at 5:45 when it was 72 degrees. When I got back it was 82, and when I left for work at nine it was 101. I have to agree with another Zonie about living through this every year:

"Arizona is my natural native home. Nobody in his right mind would want to live here."
—Edward Abbey


Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Great Western—The First Resident of Yuma—Finally Gets Her Due

June 22, 2017
   In March of 1851 Bvt. Major Samuel Heintzelman established the new location of Fort Yuma up on top of the bluff that abuts the west bank of the Colorado River. A ferry had been in service at the crossing since 1849 when 60,000 gold seekers needed a practical crossing to make their way to California. There was some serious money to be made, since, according to Charles Poston, one of the owners of the ferry, Louis J. F. Jaeger, charged $25 to cross, and this was 1852 money!

Yuma Crossing


Daily Whip Out: "Yuma Crossing In The Days of Sarah Bowman"

   Fort Yuma sits on the California side of the river just below the confluence of the Gila River, coming in from the right, and the Colorado River, angling down from the north. After the ferry moves wagons, horses, oxen and families across the surging waters (the width at the confluence was measured at 500 yards wide), the road then crosses the treacherous sand dunes (where many movies, including Star Wars, have been filmed), with the road running parallel to the California's southern border, see inset, and arrives in San Diego, some 200 miles distant.

   Albert and Sarah Bowman arrived sometime in December of 1852. Sarah also brought along several homeless Mexican and Indian children (the census records say 5) she had adopted in New Mexico. 

   Not long after, the first steamboat, the Uncle Sam, arrived, chugging up from the Sea of Cortez. The captain of the 65-foot-long boat (powered by a dinky 20-horse-power-engine), Capt. James Hobbs recalled meeting Sarah at the crossing: "At Fort Yuma I met a very large Irish woman called 'The Great Western' whom I had seen at Saltillo. . .she was noted as a camp follower in the Mexican War, was liked universally for her kind motherly ways. . .She complained that Fort Yuma was the hardest place to secure any fresh supplies that she had ever seen, and begged me to sell her a beef. I sent her one as a present."

   For the first part of her stay at the crossing The Great Western lived on the west side of the river where she was engaged as a cook for the officers: "The Western is installed as keeping the mess for Lt. McLean and Bond and the doctor," wrote Heintzelman in his journal.

   Things went well for The Great Western until the early part of 1854 when some people in San Diego got wind of Sarah's adopted children and were horrified that they were being cared for by a known woman of "ill repute." They threatened to come take the children away from Sarah, who went to Heintzelman for help. The major, who owned an interest in the ferry and also land across the river, helped set her up on a piece of land in Sonora, Mexico, right across the river.


Daily Whip Out: "Sarah's Beanery Across The River In Sonora"

   So Sarah opened up a restaurant, bar and boarding house right on the Gila Trail. With the Gadsden Purchase this area eventually became part of the U.S. but by then the threat of removing her kids had passed. Thus, The Great Western became the first resident of what would later become the town of Yuma, Arizona.

   A couple months ago I traveled to Yuma to talk to the city's Archeologist and Historian, Tina Clark, about establishing a festival to celebrate and honor Yuma's first resident. Tina has just confirmed that October 14 of this year is being officially designated as the day of The Great Western Festival. We will have some fun at the Yuma Quartermaster Depot, which is close to the location of Sarah's establishment. Stay tuned for more details. This is an honor long overdue




The Yuma Quartermaster Depot Museum Compound, soon to be called
The Colorado River State Historic Park.





Major Samuel Heintzelman, the commander at Fort Yuma, who helped Sarah Bowman
set up shop across the river in Sonora to escape the do-gooders in San Diego.

      And, finally, here is a drawing from the 1860s that just may show Sarah's restaurant and bar:



"She was a lesson in the complexity of human nature."
—Raphael Pumpelly, Harvard Professor and famed explorer who met Sarah at her restaurant

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Return of Olive Oatman

June 18, 2017
   Everyone agrees Olive Oatman left out some of the more sordid details of her five years in captivity. 

"Much of that dreadful period is unwritten, and will remain forever unwritten."
—Royal B. Stratten, Captivity of the Oatman Girls, 1857

   But did one of the unwritten periods include having children?



Daily Whip Out: "Olive Oatman's Despair"

   Her release from captivity was complicated. A faction of the Mojaves saw her as their property. (In her later lectures, Olive told spellbound audiences that her chin tattoos marked her as a slave. This claim is undermined by the fact that almost all the Mojave women had chin markings especially if they were married.) 

   The head chief's daughter, Dakota, accompanied Olive to Fort Yuma, partly as a friend (the two had grown close) and partly as an emissary of her father and the Mojaves. Part of the trade included a horse, which Dakota was promised on delivery of the American captive.

   Before she left the Mojave Valley, Olive was approached by the chief's son, who told her she could not take certain trinkets. Might these trinkets have to do with their relationship as a couple?



Daily Whip Out: "Olive's Rough Transition"

   After a nine day journey, the small party arrived on the eastern bank of the Colorado, across from Fort Yuma. The Colorado River in the old days—before the five dams—was a muddy, silty, roaring quagmire. 




Daily Whip Out: "The Lower Colorado: Too Thick to Drink, Too Thin To Plow."


   Most historians believe Miss Oatman was put in the care of Sarah Bowman. However, several accounts avoid giving The Great Western credit, the most obvious one being Royal B. Stratten's account in the best seller, Captivity of the Oatman Girls.  Stratten writes that Olive "was taken in by a very excellent family residing at the fort." The choice of the word "excellent" appears to be used to exclude Ms. Bowman.



Daily Whip Out: "The Great Western Stands Tall"


   To confuse matters even more, Olive herself told a reporter in San Francisco, four months after her arrival at Yuma, "I was taken to Fort Yuma and remained there a month in the family of Sergeant Reuben Twist." Twist was stationed at Fort Yuma at the time, but other than that we know nothing about him. Some believe Twist could have been boarding with Sarah, but that is just speculation. It's probably safe to say, even if she did care for Olive, Sarah was denied the credit in some circles because of her shady past.

   The one person who could have told us exactly what happened, was not asked, did not write anything down and died too soon. That would be Sarah Bowman, herself, who died of a spider bite on December 23, 1866. She was 53 years old.

"This is the last I shall see of you. I will tell all about the Mohave and how I lived with them. Good bye."
—Olive Oatman, shaking the hand of Tokwatha (Musk Melon) at Fort Yuma on the day she departed


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The History of Political Correctness vs. Seeking the Truth

June 20, 2017
   Gore Vidal once commented wryly, "Political correctness is tyranny with manners." That sentiment seems almost quaint today, considering the hatefest we are now witnessing.



   My whole deal from day one has been to find out the truth, warts and all. I was asked to come speak to a group of horse enthusiast publishers last Friday in Scottsdale and here is their report on what I said:

Surviving the New Media Landscape
Bob Boze Bell took over True West Magazine in 1999 and quickly was losing $30,000 a month. “If you try to do something different, it takes a while for people to catch on,” True West’s CEO and Executive Editor commented. “Content is king. Ask readers what they want and give it to ’em.” The enthusiastic Bell discussed survival in today’s digital world, including the use of Facebook to invoke reader feedback, and also shared some of the mistakes that he’s made along the way. True West is now in its 64th year of production telling tales of the Wild West. “My job here today is to tell you what not to do,” he said to a room of laughs.
   End of newsletter report.
   I can't tell you how refreshing it is to be quoted correctly. On the other hand, if you chanced to read my take on the swinging Mojaves (blog post "Enter The Talking Vaginas") I knew it would get some blowback, like this remark on the True West Facebook page:

"DISGUSTING! I THOUGHT THIS IS ABOUT THE OLD WEST!"

   The inference being, evidently they didn't have any sex in the Old West, or, at least this woman doesn't want to hear about it. But the discouraging blowback from the post, at least to me, are these two comments:

"I call Bull Crap. Neither the first nor last time a "scientist" has made up lurid tales re the sexual practices of primitive cultures."
—Andrew Gribble

"Totally agree about your comment about scientists. The adding of lurid tales were found in many of the anthropology books I had to read while in college."
—David Quin

   First a clarification is in order: Koebler was not a "scientist" but rather an anthropologist, and he was not alone in his conclusions about the sexual practices of the Mojave, and, in fact, Mojave historians (that would be Mojaves who are historians) concur with the major points.

   What I read into these two comments is that the rejection of seeking the truth is part and parcel to the current culture wars. 

   Here's another attack on "revisionist history":

"McGinty's book ("The Oatman Massacre") is revisionist history. While he did his research, there is a definite slant to his conclusions that Olive did want to stay with her captors while if you read her book, page after page details her longing to leave, her hate for her captors and her desire to be free. It's a little too convenient to dismiss all the things she says in the book Stratton helped write as his 'editing.' McGinty and folks like him try to filter her experience through 21st century glasses when it was a totally different time back then. As Olive describes in the book, the Indians hated the whites."

   About half true. Not all Indians hated "the whites," just as not all whites hated the Indians. I really hate—he said ironically—how we have arrived at this cultural crossroads where anything that even hints at inclusiveness or PC is automatically rejected as only something a "libtard" would buy into.

   That said, I too am tired of lockstep PC as it relates to In-dins (I refuse to use Native Americans, or, Italian Americans because it smacks of Vidal's quip: "tyranny with manners"). But, then again, I do see where it came from and the desire to regain some pride in one's ancestry. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and at least some of us are merely trying to look for clues at the scene of the crime.

“Unless you’re ashamed of yourself now and then, you’re not honest.” 
—William Faulkner


   I'll let a historian have the final word:

"A decade and a half into the 21st century, what do we love in common? The painful but unavoidable answer is: not enough."
—historian Jon Meacham

Monday, June 19, 2017

Slim Pickens Goes Long

June 19, 2017
   Our cover story on Slim Pickens hit a nerve with the actor's daughter, Daryle Ann Lindley Giardino. Here she is with the issue. Special thanks to Page Williams for sending along the picture. Page told me the cover story brought back many memories for Daryle and she misses him every day. 




   He was a special guy and we are getting rave reviews on the piece, written by Henry Parke.

"What in the Wide World of Sports is ah-goin' on here? I hired you people to get a little track laid, not jump around like a bunch of Kansas City faggots."
—Slim Pickins in "Blazing Saddles"

The Hard Nurse Meets The Captive Gone Native

June 19, 2017
   Spent the weekend noodling images for both The Great Western and Olive Oatman who famously met at Yuma Crossing in late February of 1856.



Daily Whip Out: "Captive Audience"

   This would be how Olive looked when The Great Western took her in after the famous captive arrived at Fort Yuma in February of 1856. As would be expected, Miss Oatman was quite distraught and confused. She couldn't remember her English (both the Yavapai and the Mojaves forbade her and her sister from speaking Engish to each other and after Mary Ann's death, the year before, Olive had not heard nor spoken English since then) and she often resorted to Mojave, blurting out she wanted to return to her Mojave family and trying to escape. This happened more than once. Each time she tried to flee, the strong and gentle giant, Sarah Bowman, reeled her back in.

The Perfect Nurse for Olive

    Sarah Bowman had a saber scar across her cheek from the Mexican War. She was a giantess—well over six feet—and she a reputation for being a hard woman. But at the same time, she was known far and wide as a gentle soul, and she was beloved for being a nurse to wounded soldiers from Texas to Mexico and back. She was the perfect fit for Olive Oatman's return to anglo culture after five years in captivity and one can only imagine the challenges Sarah faced with her wild, hysterical charge. It took her a month of tender loving care to bring Olive back to some form of normal.

   To give you an idea of how difficult this transition was, when Olive's brother Lorenzo showed up to reclaim her, the two did not recognize each other and sat in silence for an hour, before either one of them spoke!





Daily Whip Out: "Sarah The Hard Nurse"

"I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.
—Florence Nightingale

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Real Life Wonder Woman Finally Gets Her Due

June 18, 2017
   The Top Secret Writer is coming back for another round in True West. Paul Andrew Hutton has written up the adventures of a real life Old West character who somehow—for the life of me, I don't know why—has escaped big screen treatment.

  
  She was a pistol-packin' Mamacita. She had no children of her own but she adopted numerous Indian and Mexican orphans who stayed with her for life. One eye-witness claimed she was seven foot tall. That seems like an exaggeration to me, so we'll go with the next tallest observation: "she was six foot six."

   She founded two towns: El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona and she was adored by all the soldiers in the Southwest for "her bravery in the field and for her unceasing kindness in nursing the sick and wounded." She was wounded herself in the war with Mexico with a saber scar across the cheek, and allegedly she shot and killed the Mexican soldier who cut her. She was awarded "rations for life" by the Fourth Infantry.


   The accolades didn't end there: 




"She packed two six-shooters, and they all said she shore could use 'em, that she had killed a couple  of men in her time."
—Jeff Ake, who met her in 1856 at her "house" in the Sonoita Valley called Casa Blanca




Daily Whip Out: "The Two-Gun Mamacita"




Daily Whip Out: The Great Suggestion"

   And, to boot, Sarah Bowman (The Great Western's real name) was the one who received and nurtured Olive Oatman when she was brought to Fort Yuma in February, 1856, after five years of captivity with the Indians.


Daily Whip Out: "Olive Oatman"




Daily Whip Out: "Topock Marsh From Memory"

"I will tell all about the Mohave and how I lived with them. Good-bye."
—Olive Oatman to Tokwatha, a Mojave who shook her hand before she left Fort Yuma




Saturday, June 17, 2017

Olive Oatman Swims Her Way to Freedom

June 17, 2017
   After five years in captivity, it looked like Olive Oatman was finally going home. It was February of 1856 and after two nights of heated negotiations with the Mojaves, in which threats were made on both sides, the head Mojave finally relented and said the captive could go back to the Americans.

    However, there was one additional problem: Olive and her savior, an Indian called Francisco who had come to gain her release, had to travel 250 miles south to Fort Yuma, and even though he had help from a brother and two cousins (all four were Yuma warriors) there would be rough sections of the journey where they would have to swim through rugged canyons that choked the passage right down to the water. The area around Parker Dam comes to mind.

  According to Olive, they had to swim in the frigid water ten different times in order to make it through. Fortunately for her, in her time with the Mojaves she had learned to swim as the river tribe spent most of each summer in the water to escape the heat and they were known far and wide as superior swimmers.


Daily Whip Out: "Olive Swims to Freedom"

   This brings up an interesting dilemma: assuming her guides carried firearms (this is early—1850s, and many of the Indians still carried primitive armament), how did Francisco and his crew keep their weapons dry? If someone has to wade into the Colorado River and swim downstream, for a mile or two, they really couldn't prop their rifles, knives, or even their bows and arrows, on their heads. Could they? It's unclear if they had horses or were all on foot. Of course, horses would complicate the logistics even further. Were they swimming their horses for long stretches? Seems a bit crazy to me. Any ideas?

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't really make him a flotation device."
—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, June 15, 2017

In Search of The Real Curly Bill

June 15, 2017
   With the passing of Powers Boothe last month we made a commitment to build a wonderful tribute to him and to one of the most intriguing Old West outlaws, which he portrayed to perfection—Curly Bill Brocius. We have some new research on the historical outlaw's backstory, from the late great Paul Cool, and that scholarship will anchor the issue, but we will also feature a fitting eulogy to the actor best known for his role as the leader of the cow-boys:


Curly Bill & The Red Sash Gang, Sabino Canyon, June 1993

   When we posted this photograph on Facebook (which ran in my Wyatt Earp book) it was viewed by more than 1.1 million people and received 2,121 comments and 6,149 shares. I'd say it struck a nerve.



Daily Whip Out: "Curly Bill Cover Sketch"

So Dan The Man Harshberger whipped out a few cover ideas to look at:


Dan The Man's first four passes at the cover.

He did two more this morning, and they are looking good.


Dan The Man's Color Pass

Still moving things around in terms of type, but we're getting closer to the final. Stay tuned.

"I should warn you that underneath these clothes I'm wearing boxer shorts and I know how to use them."
—Robert Orben