END OF TRAIL

We’re headed to End of Trail that’s taking place at the SASS Founder’s Ranch east of Albuquerque.

This is the International Championships of the Single Action Shooters Society. There will be participants from most states and several foreign countries. Cowboy Action Shooting is truly an international sport. As well, it’s a family sport. Not only men, but their wives and children participate.

If you happen to be attending either as a contestant or visitor, stop by our booth and tell us you’re a part of Cowboy to Cowboy. We’ll give you a free CD or Old West stories.

REPUBLIC OF CALIFORNIA

We all know that Texas was an independent republic before becoming a state. But did you know that California was an independent republic too?

Although owned by Mexico, back in 1846 there were very few Mexican settlers in California. In reality there American settlers comprised the largest segment of the population.

On June 14, 1846, anticipating a war with Mexico, 33 Americans lead by William Ide invaded the Mexican outpost of Sonoma, north of San Francisco. They surrounded the home of Mexican General, Mariano Vallejo. With a bloodless victory, the Americans took a cotton sheet and with red paint they made a flag of a grizzly bear and single red star…A reference to the Texas Republic…and printed the words on the flag “California Republic”. The revolt was known as the Bear Flag Revolt.

Three weeks after California became an independent republic; American forces took control of Monterey and officially raised the American flag over California. Since this was what the American rebels wanted, they dissolved their government.

Incidentally, that Bear Flag became the official flag of California.

 

THE LONG RIDERS

I had a couple of hours downtime yesterday and I decided to watch a western movie. I picked one from my collection of DVD’s that I hadn’t seen in a while…The Long Riders.

This movie was written and produced by Stacey and James Keach. It’s about the James-Younger gang. As far as I’m concerned it’s an extraordinary film. The unique thing is that actor brothers play outlaw brothers. The Carradines are the Youngers, and the Keachs are Jesse and Frank. Even Robert Ford and his brother are played by brothers.

Historically, it’s fairly accurate as well. Probably Bell Starr had a bigger role in the movie than she did in the life of Cole Younger.

What’s your opinion of the movie?

WILLIAM QUANTRILL

On June 6, 1865 William Quantrill died of wounds encountered in a skirmish with Union Soldiers.

At one time I referred to Quantrill as a man without any redeeming qualities. I was promptly told not to go into the Deep South and say that. I may not return under my own steam.

William Quantrill was Frank and Jesse James’ mentor. He was born in Ohio and after getting into trouble in Utah and Kansas he fled to Missouri where he became a strong supporter of slavery, even getting into violent conflicts with neighbors.

When the Civil War broke out…It’s also referred to by some as “the war of Northern aggression”…he formed a group of gorilla irregulars. As indicated earlier, Frank and Jesse James were members of Quantrill’s Raiders.

Quantrill not only attacked Union forces, he would attack unguarded pro-Union towns; most notably Lawrence, Kansas where the raiders shot every man and boy they could find. After killing 150 civilians, they left the town ablaze.

Incidentally, since Quantrill’s guerillas weren’t considered legitimate soldiers, they were never given amnesty after the conclusion of the war.

PEARL HART

Just when everyone thought the wild Old West was gone, on this date back in 1899 a small slight woman by the name of Pearl Hart and her boyfriend held up a stagecoach in the Florence, Arizona area.

Their take was a little over $400. But they weren’t able to spend it, because in a short time they were captured and jailed.

Shortly afterward, with the help of some men, Pearl escaped. But, because of her fame, she was recognized and returned to jail.

Pearl and her boyfriend were tried and convicted. The boyfriend got 30 years and Pearl got 5.

Pearl’s life after she got out of jail is surrounded in myth. Some say she became “The Arizona Bandit” with Buffalo Bill and in vaudeville. Others say she married a Calvin Bywater and settled down to a life of domestic bliss.

Whichever one it was, Pearl never got crosswise with the law again.

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