Old West Book Reviews: Last Warrior

Last WarriorThe Last Warrior, W. Michael Farmer, Five Star Publishing, $25.95, Cloth. Historical Fiction.
This is the third book in the series featuring the Mescalero Apache known as “Yellow Boy.” Earlier books in this series are Killer of Witches, and Blood of the Devil.
Yellow Boy lived sometime from 1860 through 1950, giving the author Michael Farmer an historical time frame through which the Mescalero Apaches survived the great changes brought upon them due to the arrival and domination of white men in the Southwest.
These Yellow Boy books are not only exciting, but help give readers an understanding of Apache culture. Their food, living conditions, beliefs and traditions are carefully woven into the stories. Some words in Apache are introduced, and fictional characters are mixed with some real people who lived during this time. Everything is carefully researched.
This third book is narrated by Yellow Boy himself as he tells his life story to another fictional character, Henry Fountain, who, as a child, had been rescued by Yellow Boy and has remained a close friend and ally of his Apache friend and teacher. While Henry listens, Yellow Boy explains about the most important adventures of his life dealing with both white people and various Apache enemies, plus some escapades that took Yellow Boy far into Mexico while having to deal with characters such as Pancho Villa.
Readers like Yellow Boy. He is not only a straight shooter in life, but a keen marksman having special Powers. A crack shot with his rifle, he is highly respected and carries great pride in the handling of firearms. He uses that to his advantage, but remains always fair in his dealings with friends as well as foe.

In this story Yellow Boy is determined to keep his family safe, while making necessary adjustments to their new life on a reservation. The story moves along quickly with good descriptions of the countryside, weather, animals, and all that is encountered during long rides through this unforgiving desert region.

We learn how a vindictive witch, who is the half-sister of the villain in a previous story, is determined to get even with Yellow Boy for having killed her murderous brother. This witch is nearly as bad as her brother and Yellow Boy must find a way to settle her hash. Her name is Ojo Verde, having one green eye and one brown eye. She plots the demise of Yellow Boy, cooking up all sorts of terrible revenge.

Of course Yellow Boy wins at the end of the story, but just when he is resting on his laurels and enjoying a peaceful smoke, there is more trouble on the horizon. Yellow Boy and both his wives hear talk about some missing friends. Supplies are short, and winter is coming on. It looks like Yellow Boy is in for yet another exciting adventure.

Stay Tuned.

Publisher’s Notes: The reviewer, Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of numerous books about the Old West, including Death For Dinner, the Benders of (Old) Kansas, Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York, 10988. Ph. (845) 726-3434. www.silklabelbooks.com

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

William Crabtree and the Horrell Gang

Horrell Gang
Bill Crabtree was a Texas cowboy who wanted to be a great outlaw. And, try as he would, he constantly failed. It seems as if every time he turned around he was being arrested for something… from unlawfully carrying a pistol to murder, from which he was acquitted. In 1878, he got involved with the Horrell brothers. In May of that year, the Horrell gang, without the brothers, attempted to pull off a major-league robbery. In the process, the owner of the store that also operated as a bank, was killed. The outlaws got out of town in a hail of bullets. But, about a mile out of town Bill Crabtree’s horse fell dead. It had been hit by a bullet.  
 
Now, here is where 1800’s forensics comes into the picture. The posse cut off one of the horse’s feet and took it to blacksmiths in the area. It was identified by a blacksmith as belonging to Bill Crabtree. Crabtree was arrested, and he talked like a mynah bird. Even though the Horrell brothers weren’t on the robbery, they were arrested as accessories. The rest of the gang hightailed it to Mexico.  
 
On November 28, 1878, Bill Crabtree testified against the Horrell gang. That evening Crabtree was walking the streets a free man. But, his freedom didn’t last long, because as he was walking along the Bosque River, the blast of a shotgun almost cut him in half. Obviously, some member of the gang had returned from Mexico.
 
Incidentally, the Horrell brothers didn’t get a chance to serve their prison time. A short time after the death of Crabtree, vigilantes shot them dead.

Chuckwagon: Mincemeat Pie

Mincemeat PieWith the holidays just around the corner we wanted to come up with something festive.  So, here’s an “old timer’s” recipe for mincemeat pie.

Boil the neck meat of a cow, deer or elk until tender.  Grind the meat.  Cook with a cup of vinegar for about three hours.  Add cooked apples, raisins, some allspice, cinnamon, cloves, molasses and black pepper.  Heat thoroughly all ingredients.  If you want a little kick, add some brandy or whiskey.

The ingredients can be stored in a covered bowl in a cool place until you are ready to use them.  Just before placing the mincemeat in a pie crust you can add some freshly diced apples.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Heard Around the Bunkhouse #6 – Old West Lingo

Old West LingoIn our feature Heard Around the Bunkhouse we bring you Old West lingo and sayings that they used back in the Old West. Hope you enjoy them, and send us your favorite terms from those past times.

JIG IS UP: The scheme or game is over. We’ve been exposed.

KNOCKED INTO A COCKED HAT: Fouled up or rendered useless

WIND UP: Settle. “Let’s wind up this business and go home.”

WEARING THE BUSTLE WRONG: A pregnant woman.

BEST BID AND TUCKER: Wearing your best clothes.

GET THE MITTEN: Being rejected by a lover.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Medicine Lodge Treaty

Medicine Lodge Treaty
As the western part of the United States was being settled the Great Plains, known as the Great American Desert, was considered unsuitable for settlement. So, it was decided to make it one big reservation for all the Indian tribes to occupy. So came the Medicine Lodge Treaty.
 
But, by 1865 farmers had found a way to raise crops in this “desert.” And, railroads and telegraph lines were crossing the area, presenting tempting targets for the Indians. Something had to be done. Prior to this, under the direction of the government, various churches had tried to civilize the Indian by making him a farmer. These were met with mixed success. But, the government still felt that it was easier to civilize than to kill.
 
It was decided to abandon the idea of a giant continuous reservation, for one that had clear boundaries in Western Oklahoma. So, on October 21, 1867 a federal peace commission met with representatives from the Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapahoe and other tribes at Medicine Lodge in Kansas to sign a treaty. 
 
The government would provide rations, clothing, housing and schools. In exchange, the Indian would become a farmer, stay on the reservation, and stop attacking whites. The object was to get the Indian to give up his traditional ways, and become civilized.
 
As with other treaties, the Medicine Lodge Treaty was a failure: The treaty was so complicated that most of the chiefs who signed it didn’t realize its implications. The chiefs who signed the treaty didn’t represent all the Indians. And, although Congress set up the terms of the treaty, they wouldn’t appropriate the rations, clothing and housing spelled out in the treaty. So, the Indian wars continued.
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