Friday, June 09, 2023

Bill Tilghman's Hat, Bird Noises And Radio Clowns Like Me

 June 9, 2023

   Let's take care of some correspondence:

The Bill Tilghman Look

"Hi bob, I sure enjoy your stories on the Old West. I was born and raised on a cattle ranch, so being a cowboy and the old west is right up my alley. You ran a picture of Kevin Jarre and another man when you were on the set of 'Tombstone.' I would like to know where that man got his hat. Kettle curl brim and round top. What a great looking hat! Thank you for your time and keep up the good work."

—Jay Branch

Jeff Morey and Kevin Jarre

on the set of "Tombstone" June of 1993

"It has been almost 35 years since I obtained that particular hat.  Since I don’t have it anymore, I can only go by my rapidly failing memory.  As I recall, Tom Hirt, of Penrose, Colorado made up that hat for me.  I would advise Jay to send a copy of that photo of 'another man' to Tom and see if he confirms having made it up for me way, way back when fuzz was still fresh on the peach.  Perhaps Hirt keeps records of who he’s made hats for over the years.  I think I purchased that hat in the late 1980s or early 1990s.  I was trying to get a kind of Bill Tilghman look."

—Jeff Morey

Lawman Bill Tilghman

(1854 —1924)

It Takes One to Know One

"Snide remark on Rush Limbaugh; my guess is 75% of your subscribers love him. I hope you don’t become the Bud Lite of the western genre. Is there really any need to expose your intolerance for other points of view?"


Mocking All Points of Views

   Okay, I vaguely compared the esteemed clown Emmett Kelly to Rush Limbaugh in yesterday's blog post, because when it comes to Morning Drive and Radio Wars I have some shared history with Rush and when I noted he is not that dissimilar to Emmett Kelly, I am speaking with some experience as a radio clown myself. See below.

A KSLX radio promotional postcard

From One Clown to Another

   I meant no disrespect to Rush specifically, but truthfully, there is a lot of profound similarities between Rush and Howard Stern and Tom Brokaw for that matter. All of us have made bird noises to get paid. This latter—and right on—metaphor is not mine. The master spy author John Le Carre dislikes book tours and interviews — he calls them “making bird noises.” Amen.

Emmett Kelly Preeminent Clown

A circus performer who created "Weary Willy" based on the hobos of the Great Depression.

"Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals."

—John Steinbeck

Thursday, June 08, 2023

One Doomed Bushwhacker From The Show Me State

 June 8, 2023

   The isolation on a farm can sometimes be unsettling to city folk. The remoteness can be both a blessing and a curse. And so it was for the widow James and her family in May of 1863, when Union militia (not uniformed troops but neighbors and locals joined together to capture partisan guerrillas and remove and eradicate what they saw as traitors and slave holders).

   These Union militia men had it on multiple good accounts that Frank James was riding with a group of partisan bushwhackers who had been raiding and killing in the area. They descended on the James farm and accosted a young Jesse (age 15), who was working in the field with one of the family slaves. By one account, they beat him up and brought him back to the farm house where they questioned Jesse's step-father Rueben Samuel, who claimed ignorance about Frank's whereabouts. One of the militia men produced a rope and threw one end over a tree branch and the men hoisted Samuel into the air while his wife, Zerelda screamed bloody murder at them. Broken by the trauma, Samuel gave up the location of Frank and his cohorts, who were, in fact a short distance to the north of the farm playing poker on a blanket divvying up their stolen plunder. Armed with the location, the Unionists quickly attacked and killed two rebels and then, in a running fight, engaged them again, and killed three more.

Daily Whip Out: "Jesse James Teenager"

      Of course, the James family was guilty as hell, but wronged all the same.

The Dye Is Cast

   In short, this incident turned Jesse Woodson James from a partisan bystander to an active guerrilla and it is a change that scarred and branded him until his death almost twenty years later.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Doomed Bushwhacker"

   Ironically, and certainly a coincidence, today is Bushwhacker Days in Nevada, Missouri (yes, the town in Missouri is named Nevada). Here is a link to how it all began.

The History of Bushwhacker Days

An Uneasy Peace

   After the war, things went halfway back to normal. Unfortunately for the populace of Missouri, the other half of the equation took a long time to heal.

The Hall of Famous Missourians

   In the Missouri state capitol building at Jefferson City there is on display a series of busts that depict prominent Missourians honored for their achievements and contributions to the state. Of course President Harry Truman is prominent among the 44 or so, busts. Also, Emmett Kelly (famous clown) is in there, as is Rush Limbaugh (same), Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Stan Musial and Laura Ingalls Wilder. But, there is no bust of Jesse James. In fact, the only mention of Jesse and his infamous crew in the entire state capitol rotunda is this timeline entry on a wall panel of one of the side room displays.

A Lonely Mention In A Massive Setting

   According to my guide, Mark Lee Gardner, this is partly because Jesse gave the state a stigma it took a long time to live down.

The Robber State

   A few men, Governor Crittendon among them, decided to clean up the "robber state" stigma that lingered after the war. It took them a while but they accomplished their goal.

For a time, Saint Joe had the highest per capita income in the United States. The residents cashed in on their position in the country the jumping off point, the shipping point to the booming West.

Why Is Missouri Called The "Show Me" State?

   There are several supposed reasons, all of them seem a tad thin to me. 

   One claim states that Missouri miners who worked in Leadville, Colorado during that state's miner strike in the early 1900s needed a lot of instruction. The result was conversations that started with statements like, "That man is from Missouri — you'll have to show him."

   In that context it is not the most flattering of state slogans. This one makes a little more sense, although some believe the congressman was merely adding to the first anecdote. 

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

—Missouri Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, referring to another congressional speaker who he did not concur with, in 1899

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

More Teenage Bushwhackers & The Mothers Who Raised Them

 June 6, 2023

   Still way out in the weeds trying to find the heart and soul of the Missouri Bushwhackers. Still pushing for that damaged sepia look. This guy is probably too old, Maybe even 25!

Daily Whip Out: "The Bushwhacker"

The Bushwhacker's Mother

   Also noodling sketches for a proper take on Zerelda Cole James, who stood near six feet tall.

Daily Whip Out: "A Tall Drink of Water"

I am awe struck by the carnage.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value."
—Thomas Paine
   But, when it comes to war brutality and what it does to young men—from the Civil War to D-Day—I don't think anyone has said it better than this.

"The real problem is what to do with the problem solvers after the problems are solved."
—Gay Talese

Monday, June 05, 2023

Uno Is The One & The Boy Killers of The Civil War

 June 5, 2023

   The Triple B Ranch is home to the "Hello, Bob" coffee mug, the copper cowboy hat ashtray and the dog who loves to photo bomb any and every photo shoot.

"Hey, pay attention to me."

One of these is available at

The Boy Killers of The Civil War

Emotions and fear were considered as signs of weakness and inadequacy which was punishable by death under the Khmer Rouge regime, and their child soldiers killed perhaps 3 million of their own people.

They were brutal and without remorse. It is shocking to our sensibilities but the near past has served as an echo down thru the ages.

"When you read about the child soldiers in Africa it has a lot of parables to the trauma of those Missouri boys. A few years ago there was a boxer Kassim "the Dream" who was kidnapped at 6 years old and forced to be a soldier in the Ugandan army. Years after he escaped and was a professional boxer in the U.S. he was interviewed and ask to describe his experience- he described a time they tied and tortured a man. When they asked him how it felt, he sat in contemplation and said, 'It was fun.' Chilling stuff."

—Bradley Ross

   So, it makes some sense that the Clay County, Missouri farm boys who brutalized the countryside during the Civil War with their lethal warfare, would make some sense, historically.

Daily Whip Out:

"The Boy Killers of The Civil War"

"You're going to learn that one of the most brutal things in the world is your average nineteen-year-old American boy." 
—Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War 

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Dopplegangers Galore vs. Photographic Fibbing

 June 4, 2023

   My curator, Amy Dunn, spied this in an antique store last week and wondered if I had time traveled.

BBB Doppleganger?

BBB Actual

   Too bad that vest is so historically wrong. Actually, now that I look at it, the Hippy-Dippy shirt collar from Eclipse Clothing Store on Fourth Ave. in Tucson, circa 1978, is glaringly wrong as well.

   Oh, well. The vacant look is pretty timeless.

"I don't know who said 'pictures don't lie.' It couldn't have been a photographer."

—Linda Palmer

Saturday, June 03, 2023

A Woman Named Bush & The Trap That Bagged Bloody Bill

 June 3, 2023

   During the Civil War, the Clay County, Missouri branch of the Bushwhackers called their fearless leader the "Old Man." Bloody Bill Anderson was all of 23 (some claim 24 but, still). Many of his troops were mere teenagers, like Jesse James who was only 16. As T.J. Stiles points out in his stalwart book, the most dangerous of the male species is an American boy 17 to 19 years-old. 

Daily Whip Out: "Old Man Bloody Bill"

How Dangerous Were These Youngsters?

   They caught two troopers on the road, cut their throats ear to ear and then scalped them, tying the bloody scraps to their saddles. "Drunk on blood," as someone described them, they crushed faces with rifle butts, carved noses off, sliced off ears, or sawed off heads and switched their bodies for comic effect. One of them pulled the trousers off one of their victims and then cut off his penis and shoved it in the dead man's mouth. The teenager, Jesse James, had matriculated and completed his education in this culture of atrocity.

Daily Whip Out:
"Lightning Raids Produce Lightning Strikes"

   On March 2, 1864, Bloody Bill married Bush Smith, a woman from Sherman, Texas.

Bloody Bill's Old Lady

Daily Whip Out: "Bush Smith"

(her full name was Mary Erwin Bush Smith

and some called her "Molly")

   The Trap That Bagged Bloody Bill

   After the massacres at Centralia, Missouri, the Federalists gave chase and then they got a lucky break. On October 26, 1864, At Richmond, a woman came into their camp and asked to speak to the commander, Lt. Col. Samuel P. Cox. The woman told him the guerillas were camped in the timber just west of the village of Albany. Early on the morning of the 27th Cox moved out with his men and set up a trap. Setting up in a grove of trees on the edge of Albany, Cox sent out a decoy patrol to attack Anderson's encampment, then turn tail and bring them back to the trees, which is exactly what Anderson and his men did, mounting up and giving chase. With Anderson and another rider in the lead, the Union soldiers opened up and as Bloody Bill broke through the lines, he suddenly slumped forward and fell from his horse.

Confederate Partisan Rangers

Memorial near Albany, Missouri

  The King of Terror in Missouri was dead, shot behind the left ear he died almost instantly. They rounded up his horse with two fresh scalps still swinging from the bridle and carried Bill back to Richmond where they rounded up a photographer to show off their bloody booty.


The Map of The Trap

   Yesterday's quote bears repeating because it is a premonition for another trap just down the road in Saint Joseph, Missouri. It would take 16 years but Jesse James would end up just like his leader, Bloody Bill, with a bullet behind his ear.

"You spit in the sky, it comes back."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, June 02, 2023

Bloody Bill's Bloody Run

 June 2, 2023

   I have covered some bad ones in my time, most notably, John Wesley Hardin and Geronimo, but I have to say, those auspicious and creative killing machines could not really hold a candle to this demonic, scalping psychopath.

Daily Whip Out:

"Bloody Bill Takes The Cake"

   The atrocities he committed on his own and then with his bushwhacking comrades, which included Frank and Jesse James, is too heinous and awful to report here, or, in the book, for that matter. Suffice to say, the dude got what he deserved.

Bloody Bill's Bloody Death

   Those details and his girlfriend "Bush" tomorrow.

"Spit in the sky and it comes back."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Campfire Kilers & Smoke Filled Doom

 June 1, 2023

   Out on the frontier border country a jury of your peers just might be around a campfire.

Daily Whip Out: "Los Jurados"

(The Jurors)

   Meanwhile, found this faded photo of "Mrs. Jesse James" in my files while looking for something else. Intriguing, yes?

   Okay, back to the campfires where we meet this guy.

Daily Whip Out: "A Campfire Killer"

   I was actually thinking of these bad boy Bushwhackers:

L to R: Archie Clements, Dave Pool

& another Border Ruffian

Casual Killers & Egregious Scallawags 

   I have been taking a deep dive into the Jesse James world and it is pretty brutal and bad. And, by bad, I mean, shockingly brutal. So much worse than I remembered from previous glancing articles about the legendary outlaw and where he came from.

   As T. J. Stiles puts it, in his masterful "Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War," "Missouri's war was small-scale, intensely personal, and intensely vicious." The Bushwhackers saw their victims as "traitors and heretics who deserved the worst kind of fate." They also believed "a man must murder for respect."

   Stiles goes on to describe this guerrilla insurrection as a "movable kingdom of terror," that created a culture of atrocity, because most of the combatants ceased to think of their enemies as "human beings."

   Of course, the Border Ruffians had defenders, some of them quite eloquent: the Missouri journalist John Newman Edwards described the Bushwhackers as, "men driven to desperation by the unceasing persecution of Federals and militia, they had been outlawed and hunted. . .They accepted the black flag as an emblem, because it suited their ideas of murder—and having no hope themselves, they left none to their victims."

   But, here is the depressing part.

"Perhaps nothing destroys a political system more quickly and efficiently than paranoia. The situation can be grave enough when one party to a quarrel believes the worst of the other, when it pictures its opponents as conspirators. But when both sides see the other as ruthless, treacherous, and unwilling to abide by the rules, then all room for compromise disappears."

—T. J. Stiles describing the border situation in pre Civil War Missouri, but also nailing our current political predicament

"Some people say you shouldn't bang your head against a wall. Tell that to the woodpecker."

—Jack Handey

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wyatt Earp Could Relate to Billy Clanton And His Stolen Horse

May 31, 2023

   Over the Memorial Day weekend in 1993 I got a chance to read Kevin Jarre's original script for "Tombstone." This was mere weeks before filming was to begin. As I've said before, I didn't want to like it, because I had the conceit I would someday write the most accurate screenplay on the life of Wyatt Earp, especially as it relates to his 22 months in Tombstone.

Daily Whip Out: "The Vendetta Riders"

   The bottom line is the script wasn't just good, it was so damn, amazingly good! One scene in particular stunned me and it was absolutely dead on and I knew then, that if they filmed this version of Earp's life it would be the best move ever on the troubles in Tombstone. Here is the scene that won me over:

  EXT – RUSTLER’S PARK – DAY  A wide plateau in the mountains dotted with tents, water and feed troughs, rope corrals, etc.  Cowboys cut out steers while others crouch around fires, cooking, looking up with naked hostility as Wyatt Earp rides up.

    McMasters points to the edge of camp where Billy Clanton is currying Wyatt’s stallion. 


You seem like a nice fella.  Like To’ve know'd you better.  Had you lived.  

   Wyatt rides on, making for Billy.  Ike steps up with INDIAN HAWK SWILLING, the giant half-breed.  They walk alongside Wyatt.    


Hey, law-dog.  The hell you doin’ here? 


How ‘bout I just drag you off That horse and eat you blood raw?


   Wyatt ignores them, riding up to within 20 feet of Billy and dismounting.  Billy looks up, supremely confident and unconcerned. 



Where’d you get that horse? 



Beauty, ain’t he?


I asked where you got him. 


Where do you think?  I stole him. 

   Everyone laughs.  More cowboys gather, jeering.  Wyatt steps closer.  


Look, I don’t want any trouble with you but that’s my horse and I mean to have him back.  One way Or another. 


Come and get him.


Look kid, I know what it’s like,  I was a kid, too.  Even stole a Horse once.  But you can’t--


Don’t sweet-talk him, make a move.


Yeah, go ahead, Mister.  Make a move.


   Billy steps back, poised.  Ike and Swilling do the same.  3 more Cowboys move up behind him.  The scene seems on the brink of explosion when Curly Bill suddenly STREAKS into frame on his buckskin mare, majestic and 10 times life size as he pulls back and SKIDS to a stop in front of Wyatt, raising a giant roostertail of dust, making everyone but Wyatt recoil. 


Give him his horse, Billy. 


Come on, Curly!  Don’t let him—



Shut up. Give him his horse, Billy.  

   Billy reluctantly hands over the leadline.  Wyatt mounts and rides off with Dick Nailor in tow, Curly Bill riding alongside. 


Feel bad about ol’ Fred.  Just Can’t hold back when I’m feelin’ Woolly.  Still, feel kinda bad. But now we’re square.  Anyway no Use for holdin’ a grudge.  I Deserved a rap in the head.


Make you a deal.  My brother took Over the Marshal’s office in Tombstone.  Got it in his head He’s gonna make the place safe For widows and orphans.  You and Your boys stay out of his way, I’ll make sure he stays out of yours.


Fair enough.  You know I got to admit, you got a lot of bark on You comin’ up here like this.


They were all gonna jump me back There.  What ever happened to one against one?



Ain’t our way.  We go all on one, One on all.  Fight one of us, you Fight us all.  That’s the Cowboy way.


And how come you call yourselves Cowboys?  Cowhands ride for the brand.


Oh, we ride for a brand all right. (gives Wyatt the finger) This brand.  How ‘bout you?


(points thumb at self) This brand.



We’re gonna get along just fine. 


   End of Jarre's scene. This sequence did not make it into the final film, but, to me, it brilliantly captures the gray area between the Earps and the Cowboys. Wyatt Earp really did have a confrontation over a stolen horse with Billy Clanton (it was actually at Contention not Rustler's Park). And, the genius of this scene is that Earp was arrested for stealing a horse himself when he was younger and Kevin Costner spent 20 minutes illustrating this dark chapter in Earp's life in his film, "Wyatt Earp," and Jarre takes care of that entire back story in one line of dialogue! 

   Here is another glancing historical reference that gives this scene so much historical gravitas: 

“Will Sanders, owner of the Chiricahua foothill ranch on which John Ringo is buried, told me his father remembered riding through pine-stippled Rustler Park, high in the Chiricahuas, early one morning and counting more than seventy outlaws camped among the deep pine groves.  John Ringo was among them.”
—“John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was” by Jack Burrows, page 22, (U. Of A. Press, 1987)

   Thanks to Jeff Morey for finding this Rustler's Park reference and for also letting me read Jarre's script. It was Jeff who got me onto the "Tombstone" set where I took this now historic photo.

Jeff Morey and Kevin Jarre on set, June 1993

   Yes, I am seriously considering storyboarding a graphic novel of Jarre's original script and wouldn't that be a fine homage to a great story and a brilliant storyteller?

"There's a fine line between catching an outlaw and becoming one."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Waist-Down-Music-Monk Gets Taken to School

 May 30, 2023

   One of the things I enjoy about visiting my kids and grandkids is listening to their music. Last Saturday in Issaquah, my son-in-law, Mike, humored me with the "Tom Petty Radio Station" on Spotify when we were in the back yard and I must say, I totally enjoyed it up to a point (the beginning of the second rotation). So then I asked Mike and Deena to play me some of their favorite tunes and that's when the enlightenment began. Or, to put it another way, Dang! These young, whippersnapper songwriters and singers are really pushing the form and stretching things into the outer-limits-zone, especially to an old Waist-Down-Music kind of guy.

The Waist-Down-Music-Monk of Issaquah

is taken to school

Two Samples of My Issaquah Kin's Musical Taste

Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
For the first time in your life
Wear your blouse undone to here
And your skirt split up to there

Oh dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
For the first time in your life
Dress sexy at my funeral my good wife
Wink at the minister
Blow kisses to my grieving brothers

—Bill Callahan

I ran down the road, pants down to my kneesScreaming "please come help me, that Canadian shaman gave a little too much to me!"And I'm writing a novel because it's never been done before
First house that I saw I wrote house up on the doorAnd told the people who lived there they had to get out "cause my reality is realer than yours"And there's no time for the presentAnd there's a black dog on the bed
I went to the backyard to burn my only clothesAnd the dog ran out and said "you can't turn nothing into nothing is with me no more"Well I'm no doctor but that monkey might be rightAnd if he is I'll be walking him my whole life

—Father John Misty

   I actually really enjoyed these two songs. And, as a matter of fact, I enjoyed most of their songs and it may have something to do with how old people reacted to the Beatles and the Stones when I was growing up. I swore to myself I would never say this:

"You call THAT music?!"

—Adults of a certain persuasion, responding to my music when I was growing up in Kingman, Arizona

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memories of Memorial Day & The Very First Tombstone Rendezvous

 May 29, 2023

   A fitting memory to all those brave guys

Mark Lee Gardner In A

Missouri Military Graveyard

on our Jesse James tour

   We got back today from Issaquah and I have to say, this old photo sums up our feelings about our grandkids

When Grandma Comes to Visit

   Meanwhile, I got this interesting suggestion from across the pond:

   "I finally got and read the Feb/Mar 2022 issue of True West, which was just incredible. But having read so much over the years about Kevin Jarre's original script, two things occurred to me. First, almost no Hollywood film is faithful to its original script. In filming and in editing, scenes and even whole characters and subplots get lost. For every film where the director or writer bemoans the changes made by the producers, there's a film released where critics and audiences think it should have been made shorter and tighter. There WAS of course a Wyatt Earp film made at the same time that kept all its nuances in by extending the running time, and I don't see anyone rushing to its cast reunion. Second, even if someone in Hollywood did decide to film the script, I doubt it would make as good a film as the Tombstone we already have. BUT —why doesn't True West publish it? With your illustrations? That would be fantastic! I have to think TW readers would snap it up, as well as a lot of the film's fans. It would be a way to bring it to life and let the Western-loving world see it at last. Plus, your pictures would be beautiful."

—Darcy Sullivan

Darcy Sullivan in the BBB Studio

   I actually think this crazy idea has some merit. I could illustrate that wonderful script, shot for shot, and without using one of the movie still shots, and it would be wonderful to have people see the incredible lengths Kevin went to in order to capture the real, historic, Tombstone. Of course, the rights issues are going to be ridiculous. Just for grins I called the original producer and he suggested I go through the legal department at Disney (Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi produced the film for Disney) and see if they would grant me the rights to do a graphic novel and while this is good advice, I seriously doubt that route has a snowball's chance in Florida of happening.

The Double Irony

   It was on this Memorial Day weekend (actually May 26), 30 years ago, that I read Kevin Jarre's original script for "Tombstone" for the first time. I was in the actual town of Tombstone for a rendezvous with these crazy guys:

The Renegades: back row, L to R: Bob McCubbin, James Dunham, Robert Palmquist, Jeff Morey. Kneeling, L to R: Allen Barra, Paul Northrop, Casey Tefertiller and BBB

   The photo was taken by Wyatt Earp. No, really. Wyatt Earp was in Tombstone that weekend doing a show on his most famous relative.

   Okay, I am going to paint a couple key scenes from Jarre's original script that did NOT make it into the film, just to illustrate how cool this could be.

"Well, that is exactly how you will get the Disney legal team's attention."
—A lawyer friend of mine who shall remain anonymous

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Snacks in The Northwest Country Where We Lounge And Do Nothing

 May 28, 2023

   When we are in Issaquah, we get treated royally with snacks on the half hour.

The Bearer of Snacks

   And when we're in the kitchen, and the stereo stystem is playing Billy Ocean, well, as you can clearly see we have an episode of girls gone wild.

Rockin' In The Free World

   Not to mention major trampoline action.

Trampoline Frances


   Lounging and snacking, and in the afternoon, we reverse it and it's all a good time.

"The problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you are finished."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Friday, May 26, 2023

Weston Rocks T-Mobile Stadium for The Mariners Game

 May 26, 2023

   Traveled to Seattle today to watch this guy lead his chorale group sing the National Anthem at a Mariners game against the Pittsburg Pirates.

Weston Rocks The Jumbotron

   That's Weston under the right elbow of the director. Were his grandparents proud? I kind of think so.

"I think I'm turning Japanese, I'm turning Japanese, I really think so."

— The Vapors

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Younger Kit Carson Gets His Close-up

 May 25, 2023

   I am proud and excited to report we are publishing a very cool original article based on a chapter in Paul Andrew Hutton's next book. As we were prepping this issue for press we realized that most of the photographs of the legendary—and now controversial—scout and frontiersman, show him in old age, pained and a tad weather beaten and emaciated. 

First mockup from Dan The Man

   And, yet, at the time of the events covered in Paul's masterful story which you will read in the next issue about the so-called Bear Flag Revolt, Carson was 36- years-old, and in the prime of his life.

   Fortunately for me, our editor, Stuart Rosebrook, found this photo which I had never seen before of Carson.

A Much Younger Kit Carson

So we scrapped that original cover and I took a swing at a cover painting that skewed more towards his younger visage.

Daily Whip Out:
"Kit Carson In Fighting Form"

Kit Carson's Conflicted Descriptions
   As large as Kit Carson looms on the American frontier it's interesting how those who knew him described him. Here is John C. Fremont' description: "He was a man of medium height, broad-shouldered, and deep chested, with a clear steady blue eye and frank speech and address: quiet and unassuming." Contrast that with General William Tecumseh Sherman's description, who met the famous scout in Monterrey in 1847: "I cannot express my surprise at beholding such a small, stoop-shouldered man, with reddish hair, freckled face, soft blue eyes, and nothing to indicate extraordinary courage or daring. He spoke but little and answered questions in monosyllables." Either way, Carson made his mark on the West.
   Let's take a short look at a legendary life:

Kit Carson & The Conquest of California
   When he was a mere lad of 15, Kit Carson ran away from home in Missouri and joined a caravan of traders on the Santa Fe Trail. He fell in with a group of mountain men and for the next 15 years he learned the ropes on fur trapping and trading. He also got into a horseback duel with a French-Canadian bully named Joseph Chouinard, who was on a drunk tear at the annual trapper's rendezvous on the upper Green River in Wyoming. This was in August of 1835, when the two mountain men shot it out on horseback at close range. Carson severely wounded Chouinard. It's unclear whether his adversary was killed, but Carson  received a bullet crease on his neck and the spent power burns damaged Carson's eye and singed his hair.

   After witnessing the collapse of the fur trade, Carson had a chance encounter with explorer John C. Fremont, in 1842, that allowed him to act as a guide and fighter before he joined the fight in the 1846-48 Mexican-American War which became known as the Bear Flag Revolt. In 1849, he moved to Taos, New Mexico; five years later, he became an Ute Indian agent.

   By 1861, he was back in battle, in this case, fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Carson joined the 1st New Mexico Volunteer Infantry where he served as its colonel. After clashing with Confederates at the 1862 Battle of Valverde, he defeated the Navajos and rounded them up for a forced march to the Fort Sumner reservation.

   A year after being named a brigadier general in 1865, Carson moved to Colorado to serve as commander at Fort Garland. While there, he negotiated a peace treaty with the Utes.

   Carson left the Army in 1867 because of declining health. He died at Fort Lyon on May 23, 1868. His final words were, “Doctor, compadre, adios!”

Paul Andrew Hutton's Next Book

The Undiscovered Country is an epic history of the frontier movement and the struggle for the American West from colonial times through 1900, using seven lives —Daniel Boone, Red Eagle, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Mangas Coloradas, Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill Cody—to tell the story. It will be published late next year by Penguin Random House/Dutton.