Charles Frederick Holder.

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was Manuel Garcia, commonly
known as Three- Fingered Jack, from
his loss of a finger in the last Mexi-
can war — a man of large, powerful
frame, of rugged and ferocious coun-
tenance, of boundless brutality. The
favorite sport of this individual was
known as "sticking Chinamen." The
poor little brown men were consid-
ered fair sport for any one who chose
to try his skill upon them, and were
slaughtered right and left like so
many rats. Jack would dash into a
group of the defenceless wretches,
seize their queues with a peculiar
twist of his own invention, jerk back
their heads, and slash throat after
throat. He used to boast that out of
every ten he could account for five.

Another of the band was Claudio
— a man of middle age, lean but vig-
orous, crafty, brave, but chiefly dis-

tinguished for consummate cunning
and vindictiveness — a very [age.
Then there was Pedro Gonzales, a
most expert horse-thief and spy — a
valuable member of the fraternity —
and Joaquin Valenzuela, who
almost a counterpart of his lea
though a mueh older man. This
marvellous resemblance 1 rved

Murieta by bewildering his ;
and throwing them off the track, and
made for him even a greater reputa-
tion for ubiquity than he d<
And there was Reyes Felix, a brother
of the devoted Rosita, who in
Mexican home had heard delightful
tales of the daring and si;
Joaquin, and burned with longir.
join him. This, alter the dear
his father, he succeeded in doing,
and served his captain faithfully and
well until the vigilante- An-

geles caught and hanged him.

These are a few types of the band,
whereof the rest were for the most
part variations. They agreed in one
thing, however, if in no other. 1
were all utterly wild and lawless,
knowing no object but the satis
tion of their own greeds. Their
leader, far from attempting to re-
strain them, set an example of un-
scrupulous audacity which the bold-
est might strive to emulate, but could
never hope to excel.

The stories of Murieta's bold and
bloody deeds are countless. The
following are characteristic:

While attending a /<///./«///;•<' in San
Jose\ he got into a fracas, and
fined twelve dollars by a magistrate.
Being put in charge of a deputy-
sheriff, he invited that offioi
with him to his house and get the
money. The man, not knowing with
whom he had to deal, coni|>;
The two reached an unfrequented
place, when the bandit suddenly
turned, said, "Accept the compli-
ments of Joaquin!" and plunged his
jewelled dagger up to its hilt in the
other's breast.

One evening he was seated at the
monte-table, when one of the players,



an American, boastfully offered to
bet $500 thai he would kill Joaquin
at sight. Murieta leaped upon the
table, thrust his pistol into the
astonished American's face, and
cried : " I take the bet — Joaquin is
before you !" Then springing to the
ground he mounted and rode away

In the spring of 1852, he drove
three hundred stolen horses through
southern California into Sonora.
Soon after, being in Los Angeles for
a few days, he heard that another
deputy-sheriff was on his track with
the avowed purpose of taking him
dead or alive. Joaquin got up a
sham fight between two Indians in
front of the hotel where the officer
was staying. The latter came out to
see the fray, when the bandit dashed
up to him, drove a bullet through his
head and rode away.

Another time Joaquin rode into a
camp where about twenty-five miners
were at supper, and entered into con-
versation with them. Presently a
man who knew him by sight joined
the party and upon seeing him called
out: "That is Joaquin! Why in
God's name don't you kill him?"
Putting spurs to his horse, with one
bound Joaquin cleared the camp and
dashed down the canyon. Finding
his path blocked there, he returned
toward the camp to take advantage
of a narrow coyote-trail around the
brow of a precipice that overhung
the awful depths of the canyon below.
.V shower of millets greeted his reap-
pearance, but none of them touched
him, and he dashed up along the
dizzy path, waving his dagger and
shouting defiance.

On one occasion, riding in disguise
through Stockton, he saw r a handbill
offering $1,000 for his capture. He
wrote underneath, " I will give $5,000
— Joaquin," and departed unmo-

One could fill a volume with tales
like these, but enough have been
given to show his methods and the
success which almost invariably at-

tended them. However, he had now
nearly reached the end of his tether.
the popular clamor having final lv
forced the authorities to take extraor-
dinary measures for his suppression.
In May, 1853, the legislature
Sacramento passed an act authorizing
Harry Love, a well-known ranger,
to do what they were onabli
complish— namely, to hunt down
Joaquin and kill him. This robber-
hunter is described as " a tall, straight
Black Knight figure, with brig lit
burning eyes and long glossy ringlets
falling over his shoulders, knightly
in way and walk as an ancient <- B

With a band of twenty follow*
rangers like himself, Love
work. Once upon the trail he
as untiring and relentless as a sleuth-
hound, bringing all his mount;! i:
knowledge and skill to aid in hunting
down his prey. All the long sum-
mer months he followed stealthily
the flying footsteps of Joaquin, wait-
ing the opportunity which the latt
well-known recklessness was sure in
the end to give him. Hut it is pos-
sible that the bandit might have
continued to burst through the line-
spun webs spread to trap him — if it
had not been for the treachery of a
woman. One of Joaquin's mist:
es, Antonia la Molinera, had I
faithless to him, and in terror of his
threatened vengeance betrayed him
to his enemies. Then the end came.

One evening at the last of July,
Love and his band came upon a
party of seven Mexicans in camp
near the Tejon pass. Six of t]
were gathered about the camp-fire
where preparations for sup;
going on. The seventh, at a little
distance, was washing down a mag-
nificent bay horse. A bright, pictur-
esque figure he was, with his flowing
black curls, his Sparklil his

gay and rich attire. ( >n being asked
where his party was going he replied,
"To Los Angeles." Addressing the
men around the fire, however. Love
received an entirely different answer;.



when the first speaker advanced a
step, raised his head haughtily and
said, " I command here. Address
yourself to me."

At this moment one of the pursu-
ing - party, a man who knew Joaquin,
and was known by him, came up.
The latter saw that the game was
lost. Calling to his men to save
themselves, he sprang upon his horse,
and was off like a flash. Close upon
him came his foes, firing as they
rode. As he dashed madly down
the narrow trail, his horse stumbled
upon the brink of a precipice, and
fell with him down the declivity.
Both unhurt, in a moment they were
up and on. But closer and closer
came the pursuers; thick and thicker
the hail of bullets. Murieta's horse
was struck and fell mortally wounded.
The rider, knowing himself lost, yet
held on desperately for some paces,
until three bullets had pierced him.
Then he turned with a smile, held
up his jewelled hand, saying: "It is
enough !" and sinking down, died
without a moan.

Thus, when he was but twenty-one,

ended the career of Joaquin Murieta;
it had lasted barely three years.
Who will embalm it in song or story?
Surely here is material rich enough
to tempt and inspire novelist, poet,
or librettist. What a picturesque
background and setting — shifting
from the mingled squalor and splen-
dor of the primitive city to the sordid
realities and golden promise of the
mining camp, and thence to the
wild, majestic beauty of the moun-
tain passes and canyons! What feli-
cities of plot, what wealth of incident
comic, tragic, always dramatic, the
history of the time unfolds with
every page ! And for hero — have we
not already sketched one? Nowhere
in fact or fiction could there be found
a character better suited to bring out
to the full the wild romance of the
time, to crystallize about itself that
strange vanished life into enduring
shapes of terror and beauty, than this
same lithe, picturesque, youthful fig-
ure, with its fierce glowing passions
of love and hate, its electric force of
will, its revenge swift and deadly as
the spring of the rattlesnake.



LANDSEER'S " Stag at Bay " pos-
sesses the power to stir the
blood of one who possesses an
innate love of the chase, and carries
the imaginative inspector far away
from his real surroundings, into the
excitement of a deer-hunt. He can
almost hear the deep-mouthed baying
of his hounds when after a long ex-
hausting run, trembling and frothing
with fatigue and heat, they find their
victim at last in their power. He
can almost see the flash of the hunted
animal's eyes, as it throws up its head
in a last noble effort of self-defence.
And later he sees the stretched-out
skin and catches the delicate aroma
of roasted venison, and finally, with
his faithful deerhounds crouched
around him, he lies back in his easy-
chair in his library, and gazes above
the mantel at the beautifully mounted

Upon first seeing a deerhound, if

one has placed his expectations very
high, he is likely to be disappointed,
especially when his school chum's
greyhound Jeff promptly shakes the
daylights out of him, and leaves his
exalted expectations shattered in the

But afterward, when one has be-
come a full-fledged dog-fiend, goes
to dog shows and learns to talk learn-
edly about the proper carriage of
tails and ears, the presence and ab-
sence of quality, character, and other
equally paradoxical attributes, his
flagging faith revives, and when he
comes across a long, gray, symmetri-
cal beauty, resembling a weasel, a
panther, and several other graceful
animals, as she arises frcm her bed of
straw and smiles at him with her love-
ly, kind eyes, stretching her thin
limbs and wagging her tail, he will
lose his heart entirely.

Two or three years ago, while in




Montana, the writer received by ex-
press a lanky, clumsy, cowardly
puppy, a giant in body but a baby
in mind, who was christened " Alan
Breck," after Stevenson's most pic-
turesque character in his most inter-
esting story, " Kidnapped. " The ex-
treme altitude, aided perhaps by
overwork, gave Alan nervous pros-
tration, and for six months he was
delicate, sluggish, afraid of his own
shadow, but always obedient and
loving. A camping trip restored
him to health and he has never been
ill a moment since. Courage came
with health. He delighted his owner
by successively thrashing every dog
who had ever insulted him. He re-
membered them all, and, after each
fight came back smiling and panting.
To keep him company came " Rob's
Lassie, " a little " ornery, " ugly puppy
about five months old, who, even at
that age, put her hackles up and
whimpered with rage if a strange
dog looked hard at her. Lass is still
small and "ornery," but has devel-
oped into a beauty, nevertheless; of
courage absolutely dauntless, endur-
ance unlimited, not very fast but
always first to see game, first to own
a track, first to start and last to quit.
She is nervous, petulant, and head-
strong ; will cry with rage if thwarted ;
but is also loving, gentle, and intelli-
gent. Alan, on the contrary, is all
dignity and softness, a demon in a
fight, but that only as a matter of
business, and, now that all his old
enemies have been conquered, not in
the least quarrelsome. A word of
caution, and he will let a strange
dog do anything but actually bite
him, only raising his head and walk-
ing stiffly by. But woe betide the
dog who transgresses his limit!
Like a flash Alan's fangs are in his
throat and, if under fifty or sixty
pounds in weight, his legs are flying
in the air as Alan shakes him as a
terrier would a rat.

In early days in Ireland there ex-
isted a breed of gigantic wolfhounds,
famed in song and story. Extraor-

dinary tales are told of their size and
prowess. With the extinction of the
wolves, however, their usefulness
was gone, and the wolfhounds dis-
appeared almost as rapidly as the
wolves. One or two English fanciers
claim to possess specimens of pure
blood, and they are trying hard to
revive the breed by aid of deerhound,
great Dane, and other crosses.
Practically the same dog was used in
the Highlands of Scotland to hunt
the red deer, though size was not so
necessary as in the old wolfhounds.
Their usefulness there continues to
the present day, but in the early part
of the present century, with several
other ancient breeds, extinction had
almost overtaken them. The inau-
guration of dog shows about sixty
years ago revived interest in many
old and dying breeds. To restore
the deerhounds excessive inbreeding
was necessary, which diminished
their size. The size of the dogs has
to a great extent been recovered, but
the bitches are still small, though
they are improving every year.
Nothing has been lost except size.
The breed seems to retain all of its
pristine courage, speed, endurance,
and hunting sense. In America the
change of climate has acted like a
change of blood; added to which,
we are getting further from the in-
bred source with every generation,
so that the effect of inbreeding is
gradually wearing out, and we to-
day are breeding finer deerhounds
than they have in Britain.

Ten or twelve years ago the most
prominent breeder of deerhounds in
America was Dr. Q. Van Hummell,
then of Denver, Colorado. He had
a pack of twelve or fourteen highly
bred dogs and used them on the big
game which was more plentiful then
in Colorado than now. He claimed
for them wonderful courage and in-
telligence, but found them rather de-
ficient in speed, and his fancy gradu-
ally turned to the greyhound. He
has owned no deerhounds for several
years, but his eyes glistened on see-



ing Alan, who was bred from a bitch
that he once owned. Dr. Van Hum-
mell a number of years ago sent a
pack of deerhounds to this northern
country, which were purchased by
the Montana Cattle Association, and
were hunted for them by a Mr. Por-
ter, now of Denver, to clear the range
of coyotes and gray wolves.

The first exhibition that Mr. Por-
ter gave the cattle men was immedi-
ately after a journey on horseback of
about sixty miles, from which his
pack was all foot-sore. He took four
deerhounds out, however, and killed
a very large gray wolf. The pack
was hunted on the range, east of the
Rockies, by Mr. Porter for about a
year, during which time he killed
about six or seven hundred coyotes
and some three hundred gray wolves.
He was paid by the Cattle Associa-
tion and also received the bounty,
which was at that time high, for the
skins, and he therefore made a very
good thing of it. The Cattle Associ-
ation then bought the dogs and Mr.
Porter went home. The pack was
hunted in the interests of the cattle
men for several years thereafter, but
some trouble arose and the pack was
split up and scattered, some of them
remaining in the possession of Colo-
nel Murphy, of Helena, up to a year
or two ago. Mr. Porter made a simi-
lar trip to Texas last winter, which
proved entirely successful and very
profitable. His pack in Texas, how-
ever, did not consist entirely of
thoroughbred deerhounds ; there were
several cross-bred deerhound-grey-
hounds and several greyhounds.
The best dog of the pack was the
litter to which Alan belonged. He,
with another deerhound and a me-
dium-sized greyhound, absolutely
killed a gray wolf without assistance.
Mr. Porter was not willing to assert
that that feat could be repeated with
any regularity, but claimed that the

I same three dogs could probably do it
again, with a little good luck.
A gray wolf is an uglv antagonist,

dogs strong enough to control him
by superior strength, or else at the
end of the encounter a few dogs will
be missing. In such an encounter
Mr. Porter's method was to help his
dogs all he could. As soon as they
had a wolf down and he could
to them he dismounted, and putting
his foot on the neck of the wolf
while he was held by the dogs,
stabbed him with a knife.

In working a pack a pair of good
gritty greyhounds are very useful.
They are faster than the deerhounds,
and if you have the right kind of
greyhounds there is very little dif-
ference as to grit. The deeThounds
are stronger, a little more phu
and have more hunting sense. They
also help themselves to find the
game, which greyhounds do only in
exceptional cases.

The first coyote the writer ever
saw killed was by four dogs, Alan,
Lassie, Tony, and! another old stager
of a greyhound called Snip, belong-
ing to a hunting chum. Snip had
been through the mill "many a
time and oft." His old body was
scarred from end to end, and his head
was chock-full of schemes to beguile
the wily coyote. Tony had been
entered on coyotes before, and they
said the same of Alan, but we were
of the opinion that he was certainly
too young to have had very much
experience. Lassie was about four-
teen months old and had never seen
anything bigger than a jack-rabbit.

We started out one morning from
Deer Lodge, Frank on his powerful
little roan horse Roanie, Irve on a
crazy thoroughbred colt, which, how-
ever, was no crazier than its rider
when it came to a run, the owner of
Alan and Tony on a little bit of a
cow-punching cayuse called Pun-
kin-seed. Punkin-seed is small and
ugly enough to stop an eight-day
clock, but a gamier little horse never
looked through a bridle. He has
carried his rider gallantly through
many a long day, and though either
Roanie or the thoroughbred can



outrun him two to one, he is gener-
ally "there or thereabouts" at the
end of a run, especially over rough
ground, for the little rascal can pick
his way like a coyote and make up
time over a level piece of ground no
larger than a handkerchief.

It was a sunny but cold day in De-
cember. There was about six inches

the bottom of which was an irrigated
field frozen into little ridges. We
had dismounted with the intention
of putting up the fence, when some-
body shouted out, "There they go!"
Looking up, a pair of coyotes were
seen about a quarter of a mile away
running up the next bench. The
two boys galloped down the hill.

of snow and everything was frozen
tight. We agreed among ourselves
that it was really dangerous to gallop
our horses, and that if the dogs
jumped a coyote we would not ride
hard, but take care of our necks.
After a ride of six or seven miles
we were going down a steep hill, at

None of the dogs could be sighted
but Lass. She was so crazy for a
run that it was a comparatively easy
matter to get her started, and the
rest ran because she did, and quickly
became sighted. We were soon fly-
ing over the ploughed field, without
thoroughly realizing how it all oc-



curred, jumping the stream at the
end and galloping up the hill. Roa-
nie x would not jump a fence — the
beggar never will unless the whole
force of the company get at him
and yell and strike him with their
hats. After raising considerable ex-
citement Roanie jumped over, Irve
jumped, little Punkin jumped, and
we straightened out for about a mile,
right up the mountains.

Reaching the top of a foot-hill, we
saw the dogs on the top of the next
bench, a quarter of a mile away.
We looked askance at the croppings
of hard rock sticking out of the side
of the hill from six or eight inches to
three feet high. Frank, in the mean
time, had gone off to the left and
found an easier descent.
We turned our horses
loose down this beauti-
ful declivity, jumped a
number of little benches
and gullies in the valley,
and piled up the hill on
the other side. As we
topped the hill we saw
the hounds on the next
hill, pretty well strung
out, and poor old Snip
tailing badly. At the
bottom of this hill there
was a stream thickly
grown with cotton-
woods. We came down
the hill at a canter. As
we got to the bottom
Roanie, as usual, re-
fused to jump. Punkin

stopped on the steep bank. Where
Frank stood was the only place where
the growth was thin enough to get
through. Frank talked to Roanie
lovingly, and while he talked to him
little Punkin was sliding down this
bank. Finally Punkin's rider said,
"Frank, I am coming," and he re-
plied, " Come on, and be somethingtJ ! "
and Punkin must have landed on
Roanie's back. But Roanie jumped
the creek, Punkin after him, and we
lay on our horses' necks and let them

flONI tWo



bore through the brush to the top of
the next hill in due course. The
dogs were then half a mile away and
out of sight.

Presently they came trailing back.
The long start that the coyotes had
was too much for them, for over
this dreadful ground they pumped
themselves comparatively soon. We
rested a little and let them roll in
the snow; then we went on. As we
rode down the ridge we noticed old
Snip throw his head up to windward
and start away at a canter. The
other hounds went with him. We
were on the point of calling them
back, but concluded that if they
made a mistake they would learn
more by making it than by our cor-
recting them. As we reached the
brow of a steep hill Frank gave a
yell that pretty nearly scared Roanie
into a spasm. We looked, and on
came the hounds down out of the
draw on our left. They had a coyote
about fifty yards ahead of them, run-
ning for all he was worth. He tried
to turn up the draw on our side, but
a few yells turned him back. The
coyote crossed the stream and tried
to turn up the draw on Irve's side,
but a yell from Irve spoiled that
plan, and it was then too late for him
to turn down, so he had to keep right
on up the steep side of the hill. As
he got about fifty yards up the hill,
Tony, who was leading, nailed him
by the hind leg. He turned to bite
at Tony, when Snip grabbed him by
the belly, Alan by the throat, and
Lass some place or other, quicker
than you could count one, two, three.
They were running packed, Tony
first, Snip at his shoulder, Alan at
Snip's, Lassie at Alan's, and the
coyote turned into such an array of
gleaming ivories as he probably had
never met before, and certainly never
will again. As they shook him they
made their way slowly down the hill,
falling occasionally, for it was very
steep, but not one of them let go for
an instant. We all came up with the
dogs on the other side of the creek.

There was no hope for the coyote.
Alan had his whole neck in his jaws,
and the only change he made in his
grip was to "guzzle" him a little
deeper to get his back teeth in ac-
tion. The other dogs were shaking
and tearing at him wherever they
could get a hold, and a few moments
saw his intestines torn out. Our
dogs had covered themselves with
glory, and we were very proud of
them when we turned homeward.

There was another glorious chase
about three weeks afterward. This
was over near Whitehall, on the east
side of the range. We were informed
of a herd of antelope that still re-
mained in the valley, and concluded
we would go and interview them.
We took Alan, Tony, Lass, and our
rifles, and went over the Bozeman
Short Line to Whitehall, where we
were met by a ranching friend, with
whom we spent the night. There was
very little snow in the valley, but the
day was bitterly cold, with one of
those piercing winds which freeze the
marrow in one's bones. We started
early and drove about fourteen miles
up the valley, picking up a young
rancher on the way. We rode some
two or three miles, when the young
rancher sighted the antelope up in
the foot-hills.

As we pulled up to look at them
we noticed a jack-rabbit squatting
by a sage-brush within ten feet of
Doc's horse. One of the party
whom we called Doc brought his rifle
up and shot the rabbit through the
head. His killing this jack-rabbit,
while it saved a run, frightened the
antelope, and they took to their heels.
They were some distance off, and the
wind was blowing so hard that none
of us could see very well and we
wasted half an hour trying to find
their tracks leading south, whereas
they had gone north. As we were
hunting around Alan hit off the trail,

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 94 of 120)