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 Immediately after Kit Carson, the second wreath of pioneer laurels,
 for bravery and prowess as an Indian fighter, and trapper, must be
 conceded to Richens Lacy Wooton, known first as "Dick," in his
 younger days on the plains, then, when age had overtaken him,
 as "Uncle Dick."
 Born in Virginia, his father, when he was but seven years of age,
 removed with his family to Kentucky, where he cultivated a tobacco
 plantation.  Like his predecessor and lifelong friend Carson,
 young Wooton tired of the monotony of farming, and in the summer
 of 1836 made a trip to the busy frontier town of Independence,
 Missouri, where he found a caravan belonging to Colonel St. Vrain
 and the Bents, already loaded, and ready to pull out for the fort
 built by the latter, and named for them.
 Wooton had a fair business education, and was superior in this
 respect to his companions in the caravan to which he had attached
 himself.  It was by those rough, but kind-hearted, men that he was
 called "Dick," as they could not readily master the more complicated
 name of "Richens."
 When he started from Independence on his initial trip across the
 plains, he was only nineteen, but, like all Kentuckians, perfectly
 familiar with a rifle, and could shoot out a squirrel's eye with
 the certainty which long practice and hardened nerves assures.
 The caravan, in which he was employed as a teamster, was composed
 of only seven wagons; but a larger one, in which were more than fifty,
 had preceded it, and as that was heavily laden, and the smaller one
 only lightly, it was intended to overtake the former before the
 dangerous portions of the Trail were reached, which it did in a few
 days and was assigned a place in the long line.
 Every man had to take his turn in standing guard, and the first night
 that it fell to young Wooton was at Little Cow Creek, in the Upper
 Arkansas valley.  Nothing had occurred thus far during the trip
 to imperil the safety of the caravan, nor was any attack by the
 savages looked for.
 Wooton's post comprehended the whole length of one side of the corral,
 and his instructions were to shoot anything he saw moving outside
 of the line of mules farthest from the wagons.  The young sentry
 was very vigilant.  He did not feel at all sleepy, but eagerly
 watched for something that might possibly come within the prescribed
 distance, though not really expecting such a contingency.
 About two o'clock he heard a slight noise, and saw something moving
 about, sixty or seventy yards from where he was lying on the ground,
 to which he had dropped the moment the strange sound reached his ears.
 Of course, his first thoughts were of Indians, and the more he peered
 through the darkness at the slowly moving object, the more convinced
 he was that it must be a blood-thirsty savage.
 He rose to his feet and blazed away, the shot rousing everbody, and
 all came rushing with their guns to learn what the matter was.
 Wooton told the wagon-master that he had seen what he supposed was
 an Indian trying to slip up to the mules, and that he had killed him.
 Some of the men crept very circumspectly to the spot where the
 supposed dead savage was lying, while young Wooton remained at his
 post eagerly waiting for their report.  Presently he heard a voice
 cry out: "I'll be d---d ef he hain't killed 'Old Jack!'"
 "Old Jack" was one of the lead mules of one of the wagons.  He had
 torn up his picket-pin and strayed outside of the lines, with the
 result that the faithful brute met his death at the hands of the
 sentry.  Wooton declared that he was not to be blamed; for the animal
 had disobeyed orders, while he had strictly observed them![53]
 At Pawnee Fork, a few days later, the caravan had a genuine tussle
 with the Comanches.  It was a bright moonlight night, and about two
 hundred of the mounted savages attacked them.  It was a rare thing
 for Indians to begin a raid after dark, but they swept down on the
 unsuspecting teamsters, yelling like a host of demons.  They were
 armed with bows and arrows generally, though a few of them had
 fusees.[54]  They received a warm greeting, although they were not
 expected, the guard noticing the savages in time to prevent a stampede
 of the animals, which evidently was the sole purpose for which they
 came, as they did not attempt to break through the corral to get at
 the wagons.  It was the mules they were after.  They charged among
 the men, vainly endeavouring to frighten the animals and make them
 break loose, discharging showers of arrows as they rode by.  The camp
 was too hot for them, however, defended as it was by old teamsters
 who had made the dangerous passage of the plains many times before,
 and were up to all the Indian tactics.  They failed to get a single
 mule, but paid for their temerity by leaving three of their party
 dead, just where they had been tumbled off their horses, not even
 having time to carry the bodies off, as they usually do.
 Wooton passed some time during the early days of his career at
 Bent's Fort, in 1836-37.  He was a great favourite with both of
 the proprietors, and with them went to the several Indian villages,
 where he learned the art of trading with the savages.
 The winters of the years mentioned were noted for the incursions
 of the Pawnees into the region of the fort.  They always pretended
 friendship for the whites, when any of them were inside of its sacred
 precincts, but their whole manner changed when they by some stroke
 of fortune caught a trapper or hunter alone on the prairie or in
 the foot-hills; he was a dead man sure, and his scalp was soon
 dangling at the belt of his cowardly assassins.  Hardly a day passed
 without witnessing some poor fellow running for the fort with a band
 of the red devils after him; frequently he escaped the keen edge of
 their scalping-knife, but every once in a while a man was killed.
 At one time, two herders who were with their animals within fifty
 yards of the fort, going out to the grazing ground, were killed and
 every hoof of stock run off.
 A party from the fort, comprising only eight men, among whom was
 young Wooton, made up for lost time with the Indians, at the crossing
 of Pawnee Fork, the same place where he had had his first fight.
 The men had set out from the fort for the purpose of meeting a small
 caravan of wagons from the East, loaded with supplies for the Bents'
 trading post.  It happened that a band of sixteen Pawnees were
 watching for the arrival of the train, too.[55]  Wooton's party were
 well mounted, while the Pawnees were on foot, and although the savages
 were two to one, the advantage was decidedly in favour of the whites.
 The Indians were armed with bows and arrows only, and while it was
 an easy matter for the whites to keep out of the way of the shower
 of missiles which the Indians commenced to hurl at them, the latter
 became an easy prey to the unerring rifles of their assailants,
 who killed thirteen out of the sixteen in a very short time.
 The remaining three took French leave of their comrades at the
 beginning of the conflict, and abandoning their arms rushed up to
 the caravan, which was just appearing over a small divide, and gave
 themselves up.  The Indian custom was observed in their case,[56]
 although it was rarely that any prisoners were taken in these
 conflicts on the Trail.  Another curious custom was also followed.[57]
 When the party encamped they were well fed, and the next morning
 supplied with rations enough to last them until they could reach one
 of their villages, and sent off to tell their head chief what had
 become of the rest of his warriors.
 Wooton had an adventure once while he was stationed at Bent's Fort
 during a trading expedition with the Utes, on the Purgatoire, or
 Purgatory River,[58] about ten or twelve miles from Trinidad.
 He had taken with him, with others, a Shawnee Indian.  Only a short
 time before their departure from the fort, an Indian of that tribe
 had been murdered by a Ute, and one day this Shawnee who was with
 Wooton spied a Ute, when revenge inspired him, and he forthwith
 killed his enemy.  Knowing that as soon as the news of the shooting
 reached the Ute village, which was not a great distance off,
 the whole tribe would be down upon him, Wooton abandoned any attempt
 to trade with them and tried to get out of their country as quickly
 as he could.
 As he expected, the Utes followed on his trail, and came up with his
 little party on a prairie where there was not the slightest chance
 to ambush or hide.  They had to fight, because they could not help
 it, but resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, as the
 Utes outnumbered them twenty to one; Wooton having only eight men
 with him, including the Shawnee.
 The pack-animals, of which they had a great many, loaded with the
 goods intended for the savages, were corralled in a circle, inside
 of which the men hurried themselves and awaited the first assault
 of the foe.  In a few moments the Utes began to circle around the
 trappers and open fire.  The trappers promptly responded, and they
 made every shot count; for all of the men, not even excepting the
 Shawnee, were experts with the rifle.  They did not mind the arrows
 which the Utes showered upon them, as few, if any, reached to where
 they stood.  The savages had a few guns, but they were of the poorest
 quality; besides, they did not know how to handle them then as they
 learned to do later, so their bullets were almost as harmless as
 their arrows.
 The trappers made terrible havoc among the Utes' horses, killing
 so many of them that the savages in despair abandoned the fight and
 gave Wooton and his men an opportunity to get away, which they did
 as rapidly as possible.
 The Raton Pass, through which the Old Trail ran, was a relatively
 fair mountain road, but originally it was almost impossible for
 anything in the shape of a wheeled vehicle to get over the narrow
 rock-ribbed barrier; saddle horses and pack-mules could, however,
 make the trip without much difficulty.  It was the natural highway to
 southeastern Colorado and northeastern New Mexico, but the overland
 coaches could not get to Trinidad by the shortest route, and as the
 caravans also desired to make the same line, it occurred to Uncle
 Dick that he would undertake to hew out a road through the pass,
 which, barring grades, should be as good as the average turnpike.
 He could see money in it for him, as he expected to charge toll,
 keeping the road in repair at his own expense, and he succeeded in
 procuring from the legislatures of Colorado and New Mexico charters
 covering the rights and privileges which he demanded for his project.
 In the spring of 1866, Uncle Dick took up his abode on the top of
 the mountains, built his home, and lived there until two years ago,
 when he died at a very ripe old age.
 The old trapper had imposed on himself anything but an easy task in
 constructing his toll-road.  There were great hillsides to cut out,
 immense ledges of rocks to blast, bridges to build by the dozen, and
 huge trees to fell, besides long lines of difficult grading to engineer.
 Eventually Uncle Dick's road was a fact, but when it was completed,
 how to make it pay was a question that seriously disturbed his mind.
 The method he employed to solve the problem I will quote in his
 own words: "Such a thing as a toll-road was unknown in the country
 at that time.  People who had come from the States understood,
 of course, that the object of building a turnpike was to enable
 the owner to collect toll from those who travelled over it, but I
 had to deal with a great many people who seemed to think that they
 should be as free to travel over my well-graded and bridged roadway
 as they were to follow an ordinary cow path.
 "I may say that I had five classes of patrons to do business with.
 There was the stage company and its employees, the freighters, the
 military authorities, who marched troops and transported supplies
 over the road, the Mexicans, and the Indians.
 "With the stage company, the military authorities, and the American
 freighters I had no trouble.  With the Indians, when a band came
 through now and then, I didn't care to have any controversy about
 so small a matter as a few dollars toll!  Whenever they came along,
 the toll-gate went up, and any other little thing I could do to
 hurry them on was done promptly and cheerfully.  While the Indians
 didn't understand anything about the system of collecting tolls,
 they seemed to recognize the fact that I had a right to control
 the road, and they would generally ride up to the gate and ask
 permission to go through.  Once in a while the chief of a band would
 think compensation for the privilege of going through in order, and
 would make me a present of a buckskin or something of that sort.
 "My Mexican patrons were the hardest to get along with.  Paying for
 the privilege of travelling over any road was something they were
 totally unused to, and they did not take to it kindly.  They were
 pleased with my road and liked to travel over it, until they came
 to the toll-gate.  This they seemed to look upon as an obstruction
 that no man had a right to place in the way of a free-born native
 of the mountain region.  They appeared to regard the toll-gate as
 a new scheme for holding up travellers for the purpose of robbery,
 and many of them evidently thought me a kind of freebooter, who ought
 to be suppressed by law.
 "Holding these views, when I asked them for a certain amount of money,
 before raising the toll-gate, they naturally differed with me very
 frequently about the propriety of complying with the request.
 "In other words, there would be at such times probably an honest
 difference of opinion between the man who kept the toll-gate and
 the man who wanted to get through it.  Anyhow, there was a difference,
 and such differences had to be adjusted.  Sometimes I did it through
 diplomacy, and sometimes I did it with a club.  It was always settled
 one way, however, and that was in accordance with the toll schedule,
 so that I could never have been charged with unjust discrimination
 of rates."
 Soon after the road was opened a company composed of Californians
 and Mexicans, commanded by a Captain Haley, passed Uncle Dick's
 toll-gate and house, escorting a large caravan of about a hundred
 and fifty wagons.  While they stopped there, a non-commissioned
 officer of the party was brutally murdered by three soldiers, and
 Uncle Dick came very near being a witness to the atrocious deed.
 The murdered man was a Mexican, and his slayers were Mexicans too.
 The trouble originated at Las Vegas, where the privates had been
 bound and gagged, by order of the corporal, for creating a disturbance
 at a fandango the evening before.
 The name of the corporal was Juan Torres, and he came down to Uncle
 Dick's one evening while the command was encamped on the top of the
 mountain, accompanied by the three privates, who had already plotted
 to kill him, though he had not the slightest suspicion of it.
 Uncle Dick, in telling the story, said: "They left at an early hour,
 going in an opposite direction from their camp, and I closed my doors
 soon after, for the night.  They had not been gone more than half
 an hour, when I heard them talking not far from my house, and a few
 seconds later I heard the half-suppressed cry of a man who has
 received his death-blow.
 "I had gone to bed, and lay for a minute or two thinking whether I
 should get up and go to the rescue or insure my own safety by
 remaining where I was.
 "A little reflection convinced me that the murderers were undoubtedly
 watching my house, to prevent any interference with the carrying out
 of their plot, and that if I ventured out I should only endanger
 my own life, while there was scarcely a possibility of my being
 able to save the life of the man who had been assailed.
 "In the morning, when I got up, I found the dead body of the corporal
 stretched across Raton Creek, not more than a hundred yards from my house.
 "As I surmised, he had been struck with a heavy club or stone, and
 it was at that time that I heard his cry.  After that his brains
 had been beaten out, and the body left where I had found it.
 "I at once notified Captain Haley of the occurrence, and identified
 the men who had been in company with the corporal, and who were
 undoubtedly his murderers.
 "They were taken into custody, and made a confession, in which they
 stated that one of their number had stood at my door on the night
 of the murder to shoot me if I had ventured out to assist the
 corporal.  Two of the scoundrels were hung afterward at Las Vegas,
 and the third sent to prison for life."
 The corporal was buried near where the soldiers were encamped at
 the time of the tragedy, and it is his lonely grave which frequently
 attracts the attention of the passengers on the Atchison, Topeka,
 and Santa Fe trains, just before the Raton tunnel is reached, as
 they travel southward.
 In 1866-67 the Indians broke out, infesting all the most prominent
 points of the Old Santa Fe Trail, and watching an opportunity to
 rob and murder, so that the government freight caravans and the
 stages had to be escorted by detachments of troops.  Fort Larned
 was the western limit where these escorts joined the outfits going
 over into New Mexico.
 There were other dangers attending the passage of the Trail to
 travellers by the stage besides the attacks of the savages.  These
 were the so-called road agents--masked robbers who regarded life as
 of little worth in the accomplishment of their nefarious purposes.
 Particularly were they common after the mines of New Mexico began
 to be operated by Americans.  The object of the bandits was generally
 the strong box of the express company, which contained money and
 other valuables.  They did not, of course, hesitate to take what
 ready cash and jewelry the passengers might happen to have upon
 their persons, and frequently their hauls amounted to large sums.
 When the coaches began to travel over Uncle Dick's toll-road, his
 house was made a station, and he had many stage stories.  He said:--
 "Tavern-keepers in those days couldn't choose their guests, and we
 entertained them just as they came along.  The knights of the road
 would come by now and then, order a meal, eat it hurriedly, pay for
 it, and move on to where they had arranged to hold up a stage that
 night.  Sometimes they did not wait for it to get dark, but halted
 the stage, went through the treasure box in broad daylight, and
 then ordered the driver to move on in one direction, while they
 went off in another.
 "One of the most daring and successful stage robberies that I remember
 was perpetrated by two men, when the east-bound coach was coming up
 on the south side of the Raton Mountains, one day about ten o'clock
 in the forenoon.
 "On the morning of the same day, a little after sunrise, two rather
 genteel-looking fellows, mounted on fine horses, rode up to my
 house and ordered breakfast.  Being informed that breakfast would
 be ready in a few minutes, they dismounted, hitched their horses
 near the door, and came into the house.
 "I knew then, just as well as I do now, they were robbers, but I
 had no warrant for their arrest, and I should have hesitated about
 serving it if I had, because they looked like very unpleasant men
 to transact that kind of business with.
 "Each of them had four pistols sticking in his belt and a repeating
 rifle strapped on to his saddle.  When they dismounted, they left
 their rifles with the horses, but walked into the house and sat down
 at the table, without laying aside the arsenal which they carried
 in their belts.
 "They had little to say while eating, but were courteous in their
 behaviour, and very polite to the waiters.  When they had finished
 breakfast, they paid their bills, and rode leisurely up the mountain.
 "It did not occur to me that they would take chances on stopping
 the stage in daylight, or I should have sent some one to meet the
 incoming coach, which I knew would be along shortly, to warn the
 driver and passengers to be on the lookout for robbers.
 "It turned out, however, that a daylight robbery was just what they
 had in mind, and they made a success of it.
 "About halfway down the New Mexico side of the mountain, where the
 canyon is very narrow, and was then heavily wooded on either side,
 the robbers stopped and waited for the coach.  It came lumbering
 along by and by, neither the driver nor the passengers dreaming of
 a hold-up.
 "The first intimation they had of such a thing was when they saw
 two men step into the road, one on each side of the stage, each of
 them holding two cocked revolvers, one of which was brought to bear
 on the passengers and the other on the driver, who were politely
 but very positively told that they must throw up their hands without
 any unnecessary delay, and the stage came to a standstill.
 "There were four passengers in the coach, all men, but their hands
 went up at the same instant that the driver dropped his reins and
 struck an attitude that suited the robbers.
 "Then, while one of the men stood guard, the other stepped up to
 the stage and ordered the treasure box thrown off.  This demand was
 complied with, and the box was broken and rifled of its contents,
 which fortunately were not of very great value.
 "The passengers were compelled to hand out their watches and other
 jewelry, as well as what money they had in their pockets, and then
 the driver was directed to move up the road.  In a minute after
 this the robbers had disappeared with their booty, and that was
 the last seen of them by that particular coach-load of passengers.
 "The men who planned and executed that robbery were two cool,
 level-headed, and daring scoundrels, known as 'Chuckle-luck' and
 'Magpie.'  They were killed soon after this occurrence, by a member
 of their own band, whose name was Seward.  A reward of a thousand
 dollars had been offered for their capture, an this tempted Seward
 to kill them, one night when they were asleep in camp.
 "He then secured a wagon, into which he loaded the dead robbers,
 and hauled them to Cimarron City, where he turned them over to the
 authorities and received his reward."
 Among the Arapahoes Wooton was called "Cut Hand," from the fact
 that he had lost two fingers on his left hand by an accident in his
 childhood.  The tribe had the utmost veneration for the old trapper,
 and he was perfectly safe at any time in their villages or camps;
 it had been the request of a dying chief, who was once greatly
 favoured by Wooton, that his warriors should never injure him although
 the nation might be at war with all the rest of the whites in the world.
 Uncle Dick died a few seasons ago, at the age of nearly ninety.
 He was blind for some time, but a surgical operation partly restored
 his sight, which made the old man happy, because he could look again
 upon the beautiful scenery surrounding his mountain home, really
 the grandest in the entire Raton Range.  The Atchison, Topeka, and
 Santa Fe Railroad had one of its freight locomotives named "Uncle
 Dick," in honour of the veteran mountaineer, past whose house it
 hauled the heavy-laden trains up the steep grade crossing into the
 valley beyond.  At the time of its baptism, now fifteen or sixteen
 years ago, it was the largest freight engine in the world.
 Old Bill Williams was another character of the early days of the
 Trail, and was called so when Carson, Uncle Dick Wooton, and Maxwell
 were comparatively young in the mountains.  He was, at the time of
 their advent in the remote West, one of the best known men there,
 and had been famous for years as a hunter and trapper.  Williams was
 better acquainted with every pass in the Rockies than any other man
 of his time, and only surpassed by Jim Bridger later.  He was with
 General Fremont on his exploring expedition across the continent;
 but the statement of the old trappers, and that of General Fremont,
 in relation to his services then, differ widely.  Fremont admits
 Williams' knowledge of the country over which he had wandered to have
 been very extensive, but when put to the test on the expedition,
 he came very near sacrificing the lives of all.  This was probably
 owing to Williams' failing intellect, for when he joined the great
 explorer he was past the meridian of life.  Now the old mountaineers
 contend that if Fremont had profited by the old man's advice, he would
 never have run into the deathtrap which cost him three men, and
 in which he lost all his valuable papers, his instruments, and the
 animals which he and his party were riding.  The expedition had
 followed the Arkansas River to its source, and the general had
 selected a route which he desired to pursue in crossing the mountains.
 It was winter, and Williams explained to him that it was perfectly
 impracticable to get over at that season.  The general, however,
 ignoring the statement, listened to another of his party, a man who
 had no such experience but said that he could pilot the expedition.
 Before they had fairly started, they were caught in one of the most
 terrible snowstorms the region had ever witnessed, in which all their
 horses and mules were literally frozen to death.  Then, when it was
 too late, they turned back, abandoning their instruments, and able
 only to carry along a very limited stock of food.  The storm continued
 to rage, so that even Williams failed to prevent them from getting
 lost, and they wandered about aimlessly for many days before they
 luckily arrived at Taos, suffering seriously from exhaustion and
 hunger.  Three of the men were frozen to death on the return trip,
 and the remaining fifteen were little better than dead when Uncle
 Dick Wooton happened to run across them and piloted them into the
 village.  It was immediately after this disaster that the three most
 noted men in the mountains--Carson, Maxwell, and Dick Owens--became the
 guides of the pathfinder, with whom he had no trouble, and to whom
 he owed more of his success than history has given them credit for.
 At one period of his eventful career, while he lived in Missouri,
 before he wandered to the mountains, Old Bill Williams was a Methodist
 preacher; of which fact he boasted frequently while he trapped and
 hunted with other pioneers.  Whenever he related that portion of his
 early life, he declared that he "was so well known in his circuit,
 that the chickens recognized him as he came riding by the scattered
 farmhouses, and the old roosters would crow 'Here comes Parson
 Williams!  One of us must be made ready for dinner.'"
 Upon leaving the States, he travelled very extensively among the
 various tribes of Indians who roamed over the great plains and in the
 mountains.  When sojourning with a certain band, he would invariably
 adopt their manners and customs.  Whenever he grew tired of that
 nation, he would seek another and live as they lived.  He had been
 so long among the savages that he looked and talked like one, and
 had imbibed many of their strange notions and curious superstitions.
 To the missionaries he was very useful.  He possessed the faculty
 of easily acquiring languages that other white men failed to learn,
 and could readily translate the Bible into several Indian dialects.
 His own conduct, however, was in strange contrast with the precepts
 of the Holy Book with which he was so familiar.
 To the native Mexicans he was a holy terror and an unsolvable riddle.
 They thought him possessed of an evil spirit.  He at one time took up
 his residence among them and commenced to trade.  Shortly after he
 had established himself and gathered in a stock of goods, he became
 involved in a dispute with some of his customers in relation to his
 prices.  Upon this he apparently took an intense dislike to the
 people whom he had begun to traffic with, and in his disgust tossed
 his whole mass of goods into the street, and, taking up his rifle,
 left at once for the mountains.
 Among the many wild ideas he had imbibed from his long association
 with the Indians, was faith in their belief in the transmigration
 of souls.  He used so to worry his brain for hours cogitating upon
 this intricate problem concerning a future state, that he actually
 pretended to know exactly the animal whose place he was destined to
 fill in the world after he had shaken off this mortal human coil.
 Uncle Dick Wooton told how once, when he, Old Bill Williams, and
 many other trappers, were lying around the camp-fire one night,
 the strange fellow, in a preaching style of delivery, related to them
 all how he was to be changed into a buck elk and intended to make
 his pasture in the very region where they then were.  He described
 certain peculiarities which would distinguish him from the common
 run of elk, and was very careful to caution all those present never
 to shoot such an animal, should they ever run across him.
 Williams was regarded as a warm-hearted, brave, and generous man.
 He was at last killed by the Indians, while trading with them, but
 has left his name to many mountain peaks, rivers, and passes
 discovered by him.
 Tom Tobin, one of the last of the famous trappers, hunters, and Indian
 fighters to cross the dark river, flourished in the early days, when
 the Rocky Mountains were a veritable terra incognita to nearly all
 excepting the hardy employees of the several fur companies and the
 limited number of United States troops stationed in their remote wilds.
 Tom was an Irishman, quick-tempered, and a dead shot with either
 rifle, revolver, or the formidable bowie-knife.  He would fight at
 the drop of the hat, but no man ever went away from his cabin hungry,
 if he had a crust to divide; or penniless, if there was anything
 remaining in his purse.
 He, like Carson, was rather under the average stature, red-faced,
 and lacking much of being an Adonis, but whole-souled, and as quick
 in his movements as an antelope.
 Tobin played an important rôle in avenging the death of the Americans
 killed in the Taos massacre, at the storming of the Indian pueblo,
 but his greatest achievement was the ending of the noted bandit
 Espinosa's life, who, at the height of his career of blood, was the
 terror of the whole mountain region.
 At the time of the acquisition of New Mexico by the United States,
 Espinosa, who was a Mexican, owning vast herds of cattle and sheep,
 resided upon his ancestral hacienda in a sort of barbaric luxury,
 with a host of semi-serfs, known as Peons, to do his bidding, as did
 the other "Muy Ricos," the "Dons," so called, of his class of natives.
 These self-styled aristocrats of the wild country all boasted of
 their Castilian blue blood, claiming descent from the nobles of
 Cortez' army, but the fact is, however, with rare exceptions, that
 their male ancestors, the rank and file of that army, intermarried
 with the Aztec women, and they were really only a mixture of Indian
 and Spanish.
 It so happened that Espinosa met an adventurous American, who, with
 hundreds of others, had been attached to the "Army of Occupation"
 in the Mexican War, or had emigrated from the States to seek their
 fortunes in the newly acquired and much over-rated territory.
 The Mexican Don and the American became fast friends, the latter
 making his home with his newly found acquaintance at the beautiful
 ranch in the mountains, where they played the rôle of a modern Damon
 and Pythias.
 Now with Don Espinosa lived his sister, a dark-eyed, bewitchingly
 beautiful girl about seventeen years old, with whom the susceptible
 American fell deeply in love, and his affection was reciprocated
 by the maiden, with a fervour of which only the women of the race
 from which she sprang are capable.
 The fascinating American had brought with him from his home in one
 of the New England States a large amount of money, for his parents
 were rich, and spared no indulgence to their only son.  He very soon
 unwisely made Espinosa his confidant, and told him of the wealth
 he possessed.
 One night after the American had retired to his chamber, adjoining
 that of his host, he was surprised, shortly after he had gone to bed,
 by discovering a man standing over him, whose hand had already grasped
 the buckskin bag under his pillow which contained a considerable
 portion of his gold and silver.  He sprang from his couch and fired
 his pistol at random in the darkness at the would-be robber.
 Espinosa, for it was he, was wounded slightly, and, being either
 enraged or frightened, he stabbed with his keen-pointed stiletto,
 which all Mexicans then carried, the young man whom he had invited
 to become his guest, and the blade entered the American's heart,
 killing him instantly.
 The report of the pistol-shot awakened the other members of the
 household, who came rushing into the room just as the victim was
 breathing his last.  Among them was the sister of the murderer,
 who, throwing herself on the body of her dead lover, poured forth
 the most bitter curses upon her brother.
 Espinosa, realizing the terrible position in which he had placed
 himself, then and there determined to become an outlaw, as he could
 frame no excuse for his wicked deed.  He therefore hid himself
 at once in the mountains, carrying with him, of course, the sack
 containing the murdered American's money.
 Some time necessarily passed before he could get together a sufficient
 number of cut-throats and renegades from justice to enable him wholly
 to defy the authorities; but at last he succeeded in rallying a
 strong force to his standard of blood, and became the terror of the
 whole region, equalling in boldness and audacity the terrible Joaquin,
 of California notoriety in after years.
 His headquarters were in the almost impregnable fastnesses of the
 Sangre de Cristo Mountains, from which he made his invariably
 successful raids into the rich valleys below.  There was nothing
 too bloody for him to shrink from; he robbed indiscriminately the
 overland coaches to Santa Fe, the freight caravans of the traders
 and government, the ranches of the Mexicans, or stole from the poorer
 classes, without any compunction.  He ran off horses, cattle, sheep--
 in fact, anything that he could utilize.  If murder was necessary
 to the completion of his work, he never for a moment hesitated.
 Kidnapping, too, was a favourite pastime; but he rarely carried
 away to his rendezvous any other than the most beautiful of the
 New Mexican young girls, whom he held in his mountain den until
 they were ransomed, or subjected to a fate more terrible.
 In 1864 the bandit, after nearly ten years of unparalleled outlawry,
 was killed by Tobin.  Tom had been on his trail for some time, and
 at last tracked him to a temporary camp in the foot-hills, which
 he accidentally discovered in a grove of cottonwoods, by the smoke
 of the little camp-fire as it curled in light wreaths above the trees.
 Tobin knew that at the time there was but one of Espinosa's followers
 with him, as he had watched them both for some days, waiting for an
 opportunity to get the drop on them.  To capture the pair of outlaws
 alive never entered his thoughts; he was as cautious as brave, and
 to get them dead was much safer and easier; so he crept up to the
 grove on his belly, Indian fashion, and lying behind the cover of
 a friendly log, waited until the noted desperado stood up, when he
 pulled the trigger of his never-erring rifle, and Espinosa fell dead.
 A second shot quickly disposed of his companion, and the old trapper's
 mission was accomplished.
 To be able to claim the reward offered by the authorities, Tom had
 to prove, beyond the possibility of doubt, that those whom he had
 killed were the dreaded bandit and one of his gang.  He thought it
 best to cut off their heads, which he deliberately did, and packing
 them on his mule in a gunny-sack, he brought them into old Fort
 Massachusetts, afterward Fort Garland, where they were speedily
 recognized; but whether Tom ever received the reward, I have my
 doubts, as he never claimed that he did.  Tobin died only a short
 time ago, gray, grizzled, and venerable, his memory respected by all
 who had ever met him.
 James Hobbs, among all the men of whom I have presented a hurried
 sketch, had perhaps a more varied experience than any of his colleagues.
 During his long life on the frontier, he was in turn a prisoner among
 the savages, and held for years by them; an excellent soldier in
 the war with Mexico; an efficient officer in the revolt against
 Maximilian, when the attempt of Napoleon to establish an empire on
 this continent, with that unfortunate prince at its head, was defeated;
 an Indian fighter; a miner; a trapper; a trader, and a hunter.
 Hobbs was born in the Shawnee nation, on the Big Blue, about
 twenty-three miles from Independence, Missouri.  His early childhood
 was entrusted to one of his father's slaves.  Reared on the eastern
 limit of the border, he very soon became familiar with the use of
 the rifle and shot-gun; in fact, he was the principal provider of
 all the meat which the family consumed.
 In 1835, when only sixteen, he joined a fur-trading expedition under
 Charles Bent, destined for the fort on the Arkansas River built by
 him and his brothers.
 They arrived at the crossing of the Santa Fe Trail over Pawnee Fork
 without special adventure, but there they had the usual tussle with
 the savages, and Hobbs killed his first Indian.  Two of the traders
 were pierced with arrows, but not seriously hurt, and the Pawnees
 --the tribe which had attacked the outfit--were driven away discomfited,
 not having been successful in stampeding a single animal.
 When the party reached the Caches, on the Upper Arkansas, a smoke
 rising on the distant horizon, beyond the sand hills south of the
 river, made them proceed cautiously; for to the old plainsmen, that
 far-off wreath indicated either the presence of the savages, or a
 signal to others at a greater distance of the approach of the trappers.
 The next morning, nothing having occurred to delay the march, buffalo
 began to appear, and Hobbs killed three of them.  A cow, which he
 had wounded, ran across the Trail in front of the train, and Hobbs
 dashed after her, wounding her with his pistol, and then she started
 to swim the river.  Hobbs, mad at the jeers which greeted him from
 the men at his missing the animal, started for the last wagon,
 in which was his rifle, determined to kill the brute that had
 enraged him.  As he was riding along rapidly, Bent cried out to him,--
 "Don't try to follow that cow; she is going straight for that smoke,
 and it means Injuns, and no good in 'em either."
 "But I'll get her," answered Hobbs, and he called to his closest
 comrade, John Baptiste, a boy of about his own age, to go and get
 his pack-mule and come along.  "All right," responded John; and
 together the two inexperienced youngsters crossed the river against
 the protests of the veteran leader of the party.
 After a chase of about three miles, the boys came up with the cow,
 but she turned and showed fight.  Finally Hobbs, by riding around her,
 got in a good shot, which killed her.  Jumping off their animals,
 both boys busied themselves in cutting out the choice pieces for
 their supper, packed them on the mule, and started back for the train.
 But it had suddenly become very dark, and they were in doubt as to
 the direction of the Trail.
 Soon night came on so rapidly that neither could they see their own
 tracks by which they had come, nor the thin fringe of cottonwoods
 that lined the bank of the stream.  Then they disagreed as to which
 was the right way.  John succeeded in persuading Hobbs that he was
 correct, and the latter gave in, very much against his own belief
 on the subject.
 They travelled all night, and when morning came, were bewilderingly
 lost.  Then Hobbs resolved to retrace the tracks by which, now that
 the sun was up, he saw that they had been going south, right away
 from the Arkansas.  Suddenly an immense herd of buffalo, containing
 at least two thousand, dashed by the boys, filling the air with the
 dust raised by their clattering hoofs, and right behind them rode
 a hundred Indians, shooting at the stampeded animals with their arrows.
 "Get into that ravine!" shouted Hobbs to his companion.  "Throw away
 that meat, and run for your life!"
 It was too late; just as they arrived at the brink of the hollow,
 they looked back, and close behind them were a dozen Comanches.
 The savages rode up, and one of the party said in very good English,
 "How d' do?"
 "How d' do?" Hobbs replied, thinking it would be better to be as
 polite as the Indian, though the state of the latter's health just
 then was a matter of small concern.
 "Texas?" inquired the Indian.  The Comanches had good reasons to
 hate the citizens of that country, and it was a lucky thing for
 Hobbs that he had heard of their prejudice from the trappers, and
 possessed presence of mind to remember it.  He replied promptly:
 "No, friendly; going to establish a trading-post for the Comanches."
 "Friendly?  Better go with us, though.  Got any tobacco?"
 Hobbs had some of the desired article, and he was not long in handing
 it over to his newly found friend.
 Both of the boys were escorted to the temporary camp of the savages,
 but the original number of their captors was increased to over a
 thousand before they arrived there.  They were supplied with some
 dried buffalo-meat, and then taken to the lodge of Old Wolf, the
 head chief of the tribe.
 A council was called immediately to consider what disposition should
 be made of them, but nothing was decided upon, and the assembly of
 warriors adjourned until morning.  Hobbs told me that it was because
 Old Wolf had imbibed too much brandy, a bottle of which Baptiste had
 brought with him from the train, and which the thirsty warrior saw
 suspended from his saddle-bow as they rode up to the chief's lodge;
 the aged rascal got beastly drunk.
 About noon of the next day, after the dispersion of the council,
 the boys were informed that if they were not Texans, would behave
 themselves, and not attempt to run away, they might stay with the
 Indians, who would not kill them; but a string of dried scalps was
 pointed out, hanging on a lodge pole, of some Mexicans whom they
 had captured and put to herding their ponies, and who had tried to
 get away.  They succeeded in making a few miles; the Indians chased
 them, after deciding in council, that, if caught, only their scalps
 were to be brought back.  The moral of this was that the same fate
 awaited the boys if they followed the example of the foolish Mexicans.
 Hobbs had excellent sense and judgment, and he knew that it would
 be the height of folly for him and Baptiste, mere boys, to try and
 reach either Bent's Fort or the Missouri River, not having the
 slightest knowledge of where they were situated.
 Hobbs grew to be a great favourite with the Comanches; was given
 the daughter of Old Wolf in marriage, became a great chief, fought
 many hard battles with his savage companions, and at last, four years
 after, was redeemed by Colonel Bent, who paid Old Wolf a small
 ransom for him at the Fort, where the Indians had come to trade.
 Baptiste, whom the Indians never took a great fancy to, because he
 did not develop into a great warrior, was also ransomed by Bent,
 his price being only an antiquated mule.
 At Bent's Fort Hobbs went out trapping under the leadership of Kit
 Carson, and they became lifelong friends.  In a short time Hobbs
 earned the reputation of being an excellent mountaineer, trapper,
 and as an Indian fighter he was second to none, his education among
 the Comanches having trained him in all the strategy of the savages.
 After going through the Mexican War with an excellent record, Hobbs
 wandered about the country, now engaged in mining in old Mexico, then
 fighting the Apaches under the orders of the governor of Chihuahua,
 and at the end of the campaign going back to the Pacific coast,
 where he entered into new pursuits.  Sometimes he was rich, then as
 poor as one can imagine.  He returned to old Mexico in time to become
 an active partisan in the revolt which overthrew the short-lived
 dynasty of Maximilian, and was present at the execution of that
 unfortunate prince.  Finally he retired to the home of his childhood
 in the States, where he died a few months ago, full of years and honours.
 William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill," is one of the famous plainsmen,
 of later days, however, than Carson, Bridger, John Smith, Maxwell,
 and others whom I have mentioned.  The mantle of Kit Carson, perhaps,
 fits more perfectly the shoulders of Cody than those of any other
 of the great frontiersman's successors, and he has had some experiences
 that surpassed anything which fell to their lot.
 He was born in Iowa, in 1845, and when barely seven years old his
 father emigrated to Kansas, then far remote from civilization.
 Thirty-six years ago, he was employed as guide and scout in an
 expedition against the Kiowas and Comanches, and his line of duty
 took him along the Santa Fe Trail all one summer when not out as
 a scout, carrying despatches between Fort Lyon and Fort Larned,
 the most important military posts on the great highway as well as
 to far-off Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River, the headquarters
 of the department.  Fort Larned was the general rendezvous of all
 the scouts on the Kansas and Colorado plains, the chief of whom was
 a veteran interpreter and guide, named Dick Curtis.
 When Cody first reported there for his responsible duty, a large camp
 of the Kiowas and Comanches was established within sight of the fort,
 whose warriors had not as yet put on their war-paint, but were
 evidently restless and discontented under the restraint of their
 chiefs.  Soon those leading men, Satanta, Lone Wolf, Satank, and
 others of lesser note, grew rather impudent and haughty in their
 deportment, and they were watched with much concern.  The post was
 garrisoned by only two companies of infantry and one of cavalry.
 General Hazen, afterward chief of the signal service in Washington,
 was at Fort Larned at the time, endeavouring to patch up a peace with
 the savages, who seemed determined to break out.  Cody was special
 scout to the general, and one morning he was ordered to accompany him
 as far as Fort Zarah, on the Arkansas, near the mouth of Walnut Creek,
 in what is now Barton County, Kansas, the general intending to go
 on to Fort Harker, on the Smoky Hill.  In making these trips of
 inspection, with incidental collateral duties, the general usually
 travelled in an ambulance, but on this journey he rode in a six-mule
 army-wagon, escorted by a detachment of a score of infantry.  It was
 a warm August day, and an early start was made, which enabled them
 to reach Fort Zarah, over thirty miles distant, by noon.  After dinner,
 the general proposed to go on to Fort Harker, forty-one miles away,
 without any escort, leaving orders for Cody to return to Fort Larned
 the next day, with the soldiers.  But Cody, ever impatient of delay
 when there was work to do, notified the sergeant in charge of the
 men that he was going back that very afternoon.  I tell the story
 of his trip as he has often told it to me, and as he has written
 it in his autobiography.
 "I accordingly saddled up my mule and set out for Fort Larned.
 I proceeded on uninterruptedly until I got about halfway between
 the two posts, when, at Pawnee Rock, I was suddenly jumped by about
 forty Indians, who came dashing up to me, extending their hands
 and saying, 'How!  How!'  They were some of the Indians who had been
 hanging around Fort Larned in the morning.  I saw they had on their
 war-paint, and were evidently now out on the war-path.
 "My first impulse was to shake hands with them, as they seemed so
 desirous of it.  I accordingly reached out my hand to one of them,
 who grasped it with a tight grip, and jerked me violently forward;
 then pulled my mule by the bridle, and in a moment I was completely
 surrounded.  Before I could do anything at all, they had seized my
 revolvers from the holsters, and I received a blow on the head from
 a tomahawk which nearly rendered me senseless.  My gun, which was
 lying across the saddle, was snatched from its place, and finally
 the Indian who had hold of the bridle started off toward the Arkansas
 River, leading the mule, which was being lashed by the other Indians,
 who were following.  The savages were all singing, yelling, and
 whooping, as only Indians can do, when they are having their little
 game all their own way.  While looking toward the river, I saw on
 the opposite side an immense village moving along the bank, and then
 I became convinced that the Indians had left the post and were now
 starting out on the war-path.  My captors crossed the stream with me,
 and as we waded through the shallow water they continued to lash the
 mule and myself.  Finally they brought me before an important-looking
 body of Indians, who proved to be the chiefs and principal warriors.
 I soon recognized old Satanta among them, as well as others whom
 I knew, and supposed it was all over with me.
 "The Indians were jabbering away so rapidly among themselves that
 I could not understand what they were saying.  Satanta at last asked
 me where I had been.  As good luck would have it, a happy thought
 struck me.  I told him I had been after a herd of cattle, or
 'whoa-haws,' as they called them.  It so happened that the Indians
 had been out of meat for several weeks, as the large herd of cattle
 which had been promised them had not yet arrived, although they
 expected them.
 "The moment I mentioned that I had been searching for 'whoa-haws,'
 old Satanta began questioning me in a very eager manner.  He asked me
 where the cattle were, and I replied that they were back a few miles,
 and that I had been sent by General Hazen to inform him that the
 cattle were coming, and that they were intended for his people.
 This seemed to please the old rascal, who also wanted to know if there
 were any soldiers with the herd, and my reply was that there were.
 Thereupon the chiefs held a consultation, and presently Satanta asked
 me if General Hazen had really said that they should have the cattle.
 I replied in the affirmative, and added that I had been directed to
 bring the cattle to them.  I followed this up with a very dignified
 inquiry, asking why his young men had treated me so.  The old wretch
 intimated that it was only a 'freak of the boys'; that the young men
 wanted to see if I was brave; in fact, they had only meant to test me,
 and the whole thing was a joke.
 "The veteran liar was now beating me at my own game of lying, but
 I was very glad, as it was in my favour.  I did not let him suspect
 that I doubted his veracity, but I remarked that it was a rough way
 to treat friends.  He immediately ordered his young men to give
 back my arms, and scolded them for what they had done.  Of course,
 the sly old dog was now playing it very fine, as he was anxious
 to get possession of the cattle, with which he believed there was
 a 'heap' of soldiers coming.  He had concluded it was not best to
 fight the soldiers if he could get the cattle peaceably.
 "Another council was held by the chiefs, and in a few minutes old
 Satanta came and asked me if I would go to the river and bring the
 cattle down to the opposite side, so that they could get them.
 I replied, 'Of course; that's my instruction from General Hazen.'
 "Satanta said I must not feel angry at his young men, for they had
 only been acting in fun.  He then inquired if I wished any of his men
 to accompany me to the cattle herd.  I replied that it would be better
 for me to go alone, and then the soldiers could keep right on to
 Fort Larned, while I could drive the herd down on the bottom.  Then
 wheeling my mule around, I was soon recrossing the river, leaving old
 Satanta in the firm belief that I had told him a straight story, and
 that I was going for the cattle which existed only in my imagination.
 "I hardly knew what to do, but thought that if I could get the river
 between the Indians and myself, I would have a good three-quarters of
 a mile the start of them, and could then make a run for Fort Larned,
 as my mule was a good one.
 "Thus far my cattle story had panned out all right; but just as I
 reached the opposite bank of the river, I looked behind me and saw
 that ten or fifteen Indians, who had begun to suspect something
 crooked, were following me.  The moment that my mule secured a good
 foothold on the bank, I urged him into a gentle lope toward the place
 where, according to my statement, the cattle were to be brought.
 Upon reaching a little ridge and riding down the other side out of
 view, I turned my mule and headed him westward for Fort Larned.
 I let him out for all that he was worth, and when I came out on a
 little rise of ground, I looked back and saw the Indian village in
 plain sight.  My pursuers were now on the ridge which I had passed
 over, and were looking for me in every direction.
 "Presently they spied me, and seeing that I was running away, they
 struck out in swift pursuit, and in a few minutes it became painfully
 evident they were gaining on me.  They kept up the chase as far as
 Ash Creek, six miles from Fort Larned.  I still led them half a mile,
 as their horses had not gained much during the last half of the race.
 My mule seemed to have gotten his second wind, and as I was on the
 old road, I played the spurs and whip on him without much cessation;
 the Indians likewise urged their steeds to the utmost.
 "Finally, upon reaching the dividing ridge between Ash Creek and
 Pawnee Fork, I saw Fort Larned only four miles away.  It was now
 sundown, and I heard the evening gun.  The troops of the small
 garrison little dreamed there was a man flying for his life and
 trying to reach the post.  The Indians were once more gaining on me,
 and when I crossed the Pawnee Fork two miles from the post, two or
 three of them were only a quarter of a mile behind me.  Just as I
 gained the opposite bank of the stream, I was overjoyed to see some
 soldiers in a government wagon only a short distance off.  I yelled
 at the top of my voice, and riding up to them, told them that the
 Indians were after me.
 "'Denver Jim,' a well-known scout, asked me how many there were, and
 upon my informing him that there were about a dozen, he said: 'Let's
 drive the wagon into the trees, and we'll lay for 'em.'  The team
 was hurriedly driven among the trees and low box-elder bushes, and
 there secreted.
 "We did not have to wait long for the Indians, who came dashing up,
 lashing their ponies, which were panting and blowing.  We let two
 of them pass by, but we opened a lively fire on the next three or
 four, killing two of them at the first crack.  The others following
 discovered that they had run into an ambush, and whirling off into
 the brush, they turned and ran back in the direction whence they
 had come.  The two who had passed by heard the firing and made their
 escape.  We scalped the two that we had killed, and appropriated
 their arms and equipments; then, catching their ponies, we made our
 way into the Post."