Chuckwagon tells us how it used to be, …or maybe, ought to be… or should have been… in the Old West. Yeee Haaaw!

Tales Of The Old West…  
Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction! Here are a few tales of the Old West that will cause you to shake your head (or at least scratch it), and roll your eyes. 

 “Butch Cratchity And The Sunburned Kid”

At times, down through history, real facts have become easily distorted. For instance, it really wasn’t Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid who robbed the payroll in my hometown, as reported to every third-grade history student. No, no, noooo indeed! Long ago, I took it upon myself to straighten out all these historical blunders! Yes, yes, and only I, Chuckwagon, history intransigent sui generis extraordinaire ““ 🙂 will soon put an end to this preposterous, pagan poppycock, baseless, infuriating balderdash, and erroneous, whimsical nonsense!

You see, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were incorrigible phonies! They were actually thrust into history books in a nasty conspiracy designed to confuse the western population. Both failed sausage-makers by trade, they made the worst wurst, sad, synthetic salami, and the most hideously horrible hot dogs in hooligan holdup history! Their caustic, killer kielbasa contained something called molecular acid, and their “corrosive concoction” often burned holes right through their grinding machine.
You see, the genuine desperados, the real banditos, who really robbed the payroll, blew up a train, and hid out in Robber’s Roost were actually, Butch Cratchity and the Sunburned Kid, the second and third cousins of my grandmother’s sister’s husband’s fathers kid, a mediocre jazz pianist kicked out of a second-rate blues band from Saddleblanket Bend, New Mexico.
Now most folks in these parts say that Butch Cratchity was really an amiable and amicable sort of saddlebum who later became an antagonistic, apostate, apoplectic, the direct result of a harsh and punitive case of harrowing, hindering, HEMORRHOIDS!”, caused by his scabrous and stubbled saddle. And it was often said that the obdurate outlaw would often slam doors in front of ladies, steal candy from kids on Halloween, and put soap in the town’s drinking water from time to time ““ all the prescriptive performance of pervasive pain!

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 1899 that Butch was introduced to Doc Bosco B. Bunswarmer’s “Compound Concoction H”, and finally found relief”, eventually becoming a normal outlaw able to perform robberies and other less furtive felonies with some semblance of revealing criminal refinement. Oh yes” the demise of the Sunburned Kid and Ol’ Butch Cratchity? Well pards, it seems they had their clocks cancelled by an irate group of jealous, hostile, husbands known as the “Robber’s Roost Roosters”. As one of the “Roosters’ put it, “These boys were hung” and everyone knew it”!

Best Wishes,

Comment by Troski

CW said; Now most folks in these parts say that Butch Cratchity was really an amiable and amicable sort of saddlebum who later became an antagonistic, apostate, apoplectic”, the direct result of a harsh and punitive case of harrowing, hindering, HEMORRHOIDS!”,

When out west I guess that’s why they say “Never leave home without it”

The Titanic Did Not Strike An Iceberg!

The Titanic did not strike an iceberg ““ as reported to every third-grade history student. No, no, noooo indeed! Long ago, I took it upon myself to straighten out all these historical blunders! Yes, indeed”, and only I”, Chuckwagon ““ history intransigent sui generis extraordinaire ““ will soon put an end to this preposterous, pagan poppycock”, baseless, infuriating balderdash, and erroneous, whimsical nonsense!

You see, the Titanic actually struck a floating, anomalous object”, a drifting incognizant entity – later identified as a carelessly, yet willfully discarded, severely abused, ebony, Model S, Steinway 9’ 8” Steinway Concert Grand Piano!

Indeed, the glorious grand was set adrift from a small tuna-fishing troller by my eccentric great-grandfather, Professor E.T. “Fingers” Rockchuck Opperknockity, a renown, and infamous one-armed piano tuner from Stringbend, Idaho! The incident followed a terrible dispute with George Gershwin ““ a dissatisfied tuning customer who had called Grandfather “Fingers” a doo-doo head after playing a jive intermezzo just as three strings snapped!

”I’d like my money back,” demanded Gershwin, the famed music composer.

”Not on your life,” replied Grandfather Opperknockity, the legendary tuning-pin twister.

”Then you’ll tune it again, my friend”, snapped Gershwin.

With that, ol’ Grandpa Opperknockity screeched…
“I will NOT tune it again sir, and don’t call me your friend, you”, you”, honkey-tonk half-note! After all, everyone knows opperknockity only tunes once!”

Having forced the piano overboard, “Fingers” stormed away as he heard the splash. Always getting the last word in, he was overheard to say, “You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish!”

And now”, you know the way it really, really, was!

Pike Peek’s Pike’s Peak Peek

I’ll just bet Friday night’s duck, that you believe Pike’s Peak is a 14,000 foot mountain named in honor of Zebulon Pike, just ten miles west of Colorado Springs – as reported to every third-grade school child in America. No, no, noooo indeed! Long ago, I took it upon myself to straighten out all these historical blunders! And, yes, yes”, only I”, Chuckwagon ““ history intransigent sui generis extraordinaire ““ will soon put an end to this preposterous, pagan poppycock”, baseless, infuriating balderdash, and erroneous, whimsical nonsense!

You see, Pike’s “Peek” is in reality, an historical event that took place just outside Colorado Springs, Colorado at Redrock Rocky Rumpled Ridge High School during the late 1980’s. Additionally, Zebulon “Pike” Peek, a janitor at the High School, just happened to be my ex-wife’s second cousin’s aunt’s husband. The jovial janitor, affectionately known to the staff and student body as “Pike”, was wrongfully accused of drilling a small hole through the tile of the girls’s gymnasium shower with a number 8 titanium, Black & Decker, 3/16” inch, brad point drill bit, (on sale at Lowe’s Hardware that week). Pike was allegedly caught peeking at Harriet “Hatchetface” Hagstrom, (the girl’s gym coach), while in the shower following volleyball practice at precisely 2:48 P.M.!

A hero to all 12th grade students, Pike was suspended, pending an investigation that came to be known throughout the entire west as “Pike’s Peek”. Unfortunately, the curious custodian’s colorful career curtly culminated when Hatchetface’s croquet mallet connected with Pike’s cerebellum two weeks later. Harriet, having been the butt of every joke west of St. Louis, was eventually convicted of “cloutin’ a concierge” or otherwise “clobberin’ a custodian” ““ a new law adopted by the Colorado Legislature specifically approved and passed for Pike’s admirers and devotees!

And that’s the way it really, really, was!Best Wishes,


 Howdy Wranglers! Let me tell you about………… The Code Of The West!

    I have a friend named Mike in Pine City, Minnesota. He’s a retired ol’ cowpoke from the Pryor Mountains in Montana and he goes by the tag of “Grasshopper”. Mike used to shoe horses (farrier), while ridin’ for the Adrian Wilson brand in the mountains just east of Red Lodge. We’re happy to have you with us Mike and hope these next few lines bring back some pleasant memories for you.

In the early West, without written law and its enforcement, it became necessary for Westerners to formulate some sort of “table of rules”, or framework of common courtesy and decent behavior. Never written into statutes, certain homespun laws being merely a gentleman’s agreement to certain rules of conduct, became respected everywhere on the range. Cowboys took pride in upholding the unwritten code and those failing to abide by it, although not formally punished, became more or less, socially outcast. “Hazed into the cutbacks”, a code breaker was subject to the punishment of the very code he had broken. Even outlaws, violating every territorial, state, or federal law imagined, would not break the rules in the Code Of The West if they were to have friends. Formally written nowhere, the guidelines included the following:

 ~~~~~~~ The Code Of The West ~~~~~~~

Never inquire into a person’s past, but accept the measure of a man for what he is today. Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life. Look out for your own and defend yourself whenever necessary. Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table. Don’t make a threat without expecting dire consequences. Never pass anyone on the trail without saying “Howdy”. When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range. Don’t wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting. After you pass someone on the trail, don’t look back at him. It implies you don’t trust him. Riding another man’s horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man’s horse. Never order anything weaker than whiskey and always fill your glass to the brim.     Do not practice ingratitude. A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters. Always be courageous. Cowards aren’t tolerated in any outfit worth its salt. A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger, or an enemy. Never try on another man’s hat. Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for riders who joined cowboys on the range. Give your enemy a fighting chance. Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as he might wake suddenly and shoot you. Real cowboys are modest. A braggart who is “all gurgle and no guts” is not tolerated. A cowboy doesn’t talk much; he saves his breath for breathing. No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse’s needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat. Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses, and cows. Complain about the cooking and you become the cook. Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions. Be there for a friend when he needs you. Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting. A cowboy is loyal to his “brand”, to his friends, and those he rides with. Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy – (also known as “the rattlesnake code”). Always warn before you strike. If a man was being stalked, however, the “the rattlesnake code” could be ignored. An’ never shoot a woman no matter what! Consideration for others is central to the code. Don’t stir up dust around their campsite or chuckwagon. An’ don’t wake up the wrong man for herd duty. Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas. Honesty is absolute – your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract. Live by the Golden Rule… the “Code Of The West”.

Best Wishes,


The Legend Of Diamond Mountain 

    In January 1872, a pair of unconscionably unprincipled prospectors, Phillip Arnold and John Slack, scattered a hundred-thousand dollars worth of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds onto the ground atop a mountain in the tri-state corners of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado! Incredibly, most of the gems have never been disturbed and remain today inside an area only a quarter of a mile square. The pair of unscrupulous California prospectors was preparing the groundwork for one of the greatest “salting” scandals in American history as they returned to San Francisco to announce their “discovery of a diamond mine”. Producing “samples” from their magnificent claim, they explained the hardships and dangers involved in locating the mine. Their story was accepted almost without question as the American public dreamed of another California gold rush or Colorado gold camp bonanza. As experts from Tiffany’s in New York examined the diamonds, they confirmed their tremendous value, and financiers were willing to invest big money.

Arnold agreed to guide mining engineers (provided they were blindfolded), during the three-day journey to the site located directly south of Brown’s Park atop a mountain peaking at 8,933 feet. Having lost all sense of direction, the engineers paid little attention to the area’s landmarks and scenery, concentrating upon the claim, as they removed their blindfolds on the fourth day. The diamonds were there all right, scattered freely upon the ground, convincing the most hardened skeptic. The men gathered over 600 diamonds the next day and a corporation was chartered. Upon their return to San Francisco, stock was prepared, claims were filed, and mining laws were developed in their favor. Arnold and Slack were paid $600,000.00 for all rights to their claim and investors couldn’t shuffle them out of town quickly enough!

Discovering the fraud by examining the unmistakable marks of a stonecutter’s tool, Clarence King, a government geologist, listed ten reasons diamonds could not occur naturally in the area. Further investigation traced the diamonds to Amsterdam and London where Arnold had purchased them for forty thousand dollars in 1871. Of course, by now, the prospectors had vanished completely into thin air. The number of stones used in “salting the claim” must have numbered in the thousands as in the 1800’s, “bort” stones sold for only a few cents per carat. Only about 2,000 diamonds were recovered, including those used initially as bait.

Clarence King, the last person to visit the site, filed a report clearly indicating there were hundreds of stones left in the area – a fact no one seemed to be concerned about at first, as investors focused on tracking down Arnold and Slack. Detectives eventually located Phillip Arnold in his hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in possession of every cent paid to the men for the claim. John Slack was never found, as speculative supposition circulated concerning the man’s probable demise as Arnold held all the money. Slack’s ultimate fate remains a mystery to this day. As investors prepared legal actions against Arnold, the man became involved in a business dispute with a local rival in Elizabethtown. The entire matter was settled when Arnold was shot between the eyes during the argument.

Diamond prices increased with time’s passing while the remaining salted gems lay upon the mountaintop undisturbed. Years later, folks recalling the swindle began to realize a small fortune could be had at the site of the claim. By that time, Arnold’s purchase price of $40,000.00 would have been worth almost half a million dollars. Today? Even more. However, the exact location of the quarter-mile square claim on Diamond Mountain remains a mystery!

The Horrifyin’ Hangin’ Of Black Jack Ketchum 

    On July 11, 1899, Sam Ketchum robbed the Colorado and Southern’s Flyer near Folsom in northeast New Mexico with Kid Curry and Elza Lay – fellow members of Butch Cassidy’s “Wild Bunch”. Sam’s brother, Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, had been involved in an argument with a member of the gang and had remained in their hideout in Brown’s Park, near Vernal, Utah. The outlaws, in typical Cassidy style, rushed the train, uncoupled the engine and express car, ran it some distance up the track, and blew up the safe using dynamite. Finding nothing inside the safe, the disconsolate outlaws escaped to hole up at their previously established camp in Turkey Creek Canyon near Cimarron.

Having no trouble picking up their trail, in less than a week’s time, Huerfano County Sheriff Edward Farr, special agents William H. Reno and F.H. Smith, and six other posse members, located the men’s well-stocked hideout. Elzy Lay had hobbled several fresh horses, packed in enough grub to feed a tribe of wild Apaches, and stored away plenty of ammunition. Disappointed in having gained nothing during the robbery, they were overconfident in their retreat. About 5:00 P.M. on July 16th, the outlaws allowed their campfire to burn down a bit and were just about to grill the supper steaks. Elzy walked to the nearby creek to fill his canteen when two bullets struck him almost simultaneously. The first stung like a bee, hitting him in the back of his shoulder. The next one knocked the wind from the outlaw, causing more damage by striking him in his back. Luckily, the slug missed Lay’s spinal column as he hit the ground and became unconscious. Sheriff Farr and his posse members continued to exchange concentrated gunfire with Sam Ketchum and Harvey Logan about fifteen minutes before slowing down to reconsider their condition and collect their thoughts. Wounded in his left arm, Ketchum later claimed he took the first bullet of the firefight. Sheriff Farr was hit in the wrist and calmly bandaged the wound as the gunfight continued. Then “Kid Curry” began firing in some type of wild rage described as “that of a crazed wildcat”. One of his slugs penetrated Smith’s leg, injuring the man severely. Almost immediately the outlaw put another bullet through the chest of a volunteer posse member – a cowboy named Love – killing him almost instantly. Gunfire within the ensuing thirty minutes became so intense the participants afterward related dissimilar accounts of just what actually took place.

    Elsa regained consciousness about dusk as Sheriff Farr issued the order, “Hands up”! The outlaw rolled over holding a cocked Winchester carbine and both men fired at the same time. The outlaw took yet another slug in the shoulder… the sheriff slumped to the ground gravely wounded by a 44.60 slug. The sheriff later died. 

    Without their leader, the posse temporarily withdrew to higher ground somewhere. Logan and Lay carefully examined the wounds of Sam Ketchum and patched up Elzy Lay’s shoulder as best they could under the bleak circumstances. The pair tried to assist Sam in mounting his horse but found the effort useless. Sam was in bad shape having lost a tremendous amount of blood and although barely conscious, he realized he would have to remain behind. Logan and Lay knew it as well. Somehow, Logan was able to help Lay mount his horse and checked on Ketchum one more time. Elzy and Sam reported later, they’d never heard some of the words “Kid Curry” repeated as he gigged the horses to make their escape during another torrent of lead rain. Inexplicably, Logan had not received so much as a scratch. Once past the range of short-iron shooters (pistols), Logan did not allow the horses to relent and the animals were winded by the time the pair reached the safety of the mountains. Remarkably, Sam Ketchum held out for days before being captured, although he reported having an awful time in lighting a fire with wet (bloody) matches. The posse took him to the New Mexico State Penitentiary in Santa Fe where he would receive treatment for his arm wound by a prison surgeon. However, on July 24th, Sam Ketchum succumbed to blood poisoning and died inside the prison. 

    Harvey Logan took his wounded partner to Red Weaver, a man he trusted, to his secluded cabin on his ranch in Eddy County. Logan rode on – eastward into Lincoln County. Red Weaver was of great service to Elsa Lay in healing three serious wounds and over a period of time, the outlaw regained his strength. However, Red Weaver hadn’t counted on his nosy neighbor, a man named Lusk, pokin’ around his place. On or about the 20th of August, Lusk rode into the county seat to find Sheriff M.C. Stewart. The sheriff, with Lusk and deputies J.D. Cantrell and Rufus Thomas, approached the cabin early on the 22nd of August as Elsa was cookin’ up a little breakfast. Weaver was away from the ranch hunting a deer. As the sheriff’s horse whinnied, Lay darted from the ranch house with a .45 in each hand heading for his horse to retrieve his saddle carbine. Encountering Deputy Thomas head on, Elzy Lay fired at the man with his Colt Peacemaker, striking him in the shoulder, before spotting Lusk and realizing Lusk had tipped off the lawmen. Leveling the big iron at Lusk with five beans in the wheel, he intended to give the man a sudden case of heartburn! Conversely, the bullet tore through the man’s wrist. Turning around quickly to check the status and position of the sheriff and the other deputy, Elzy suddenly collapsed onto the ground. Dazed and confused, the outlaw was unable to move. Sheriff Stewart had grazed the side of Elsa’s head with a Winchester .44-60 rifle slug, rendering him unconscious once again. The lawmen lost no time in handcuffing the fugitive while he was down for the count. Further, the deputy found it necessary to tie the restrained outlaw to his horse for the ride back to town. 

                                            The Robbery And Hangin’… 

                                             Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction 

    Brought before Chief Justice W. J. Mills, Elzy was arraigned and bound over for trial to be held on October 6th, 1899. Insisting his name was William H. McGinnis, he denied having any knowledge of a train robbery. The outlaw knew if he were convicted, he was facing either “the big jump” (hanging) or “the big pasture” (lifetime imprisonment). There was simply no reason to discuss any other allegation. As the trial commenced on the 6th, a venire facias of seventy-five men were examined before a jury was selected. Following three days of testimony, the jury deliberated merely three hours. On the 10th, Justice Mills sentenced William Ellsworth Lay to serve a life term inside the New Mexico State Penitentiary at Santa Fe – a sentence never fully served – but that’s another story. 


    Unaware of his brother’s capture and death following the robbery of the Colorado and Southern Flyer, “Black Jack” Tom Ketchum rode alone to Twin Mountains near Folsom, New Mexico where he attempted to single-handedly rob the very same train scarcely a month later. Train conductor Frank Harrington was being held up for the third time and he decided it wouldn’t happen again. Seizing his 10-gauge shotgun, he leveled it at Black Jack and fired at the outlaw, nearly removing his right elbow. Tom fired back but missed the conductor as he fell from the train onto the ground. Ketchum later stated, “I tried a dozen times to mount my horse but was too weak and dizzy from the pain”. Unable to act, the badly wounded train robber simply gave up, sat down in the dirt, and waited for the posse to arrive. Lawmen placed him back upon the train and immediately transported him to Trinidad, Colorado where his arm was amputated inside the San Rafael Hospital. When able to travel, Black Jack Ketchum was taken to Santa Fe for incarceration where the outlaw pled innocent to the charges brought against him. The judge, having “example-making” intentions, found Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum guilty, and sentenced him to hang upon the gallows!

    As judicial delays took place, Black Jack – already a tall, large man – began to put on weight while spending time in Sheriff Garcia’s jail. As the weeks passed by, the hangman (Sheriff Garcia), failed to notice the prisoner letting his belt out a notch or two. Experienced neck-stretchers of the period knew hanging required careful calculation of the prisoner’s weight and a corresponding length of the rope. Not allowing for the correct rope size and drop distance could be catastrophic. In other gruesome words… the heavier the prisoner, the shorter the rope. You see pards, if a rope is too short for the convict’s weight, his neck will not be properly broken and the prisoner will strangle to death. If the rope is too long, the inmate will literally lose his head. 

Black Jack’s hanging, the first conducted in Union County, was a major event as tickets were sold and businesses closed. Saloons thrived as a festival atmosphere developed. Souvenir photos were available for a nominal fee, and the county purchased a new $20.00 rope. Vendors sold food and drinks as the carnival – circus mood intensified and spectators gathered ‘round. The very proper ladies of the “Society Seeking Law And Order”, paid top dollar for front row positions around the gallows. At last, they would see justice finally carried out when the scoundrel’s neck broke. The self-righteous “ladies” firmly believed they had a right to hear Tom Ketchum’s neck snap as they viewed the execution from merely a few feet away! And then… 

As Black Jack’s time ran out, the drop fell at 1:21 P.M. and immediately, the outlaw was effectively decapitated! With bloody severed neck bones protruding above its collar, the headless trunk pitched forward toward the spectators. Gushing blood spurted upon the curious and callous nearest the scaffold. Amid the screams and gasps of the crowd, a few ol’ crows of self-appointed “Society Seeking Law And Order” fainted… as Black Jack’s headless torso dropped to the ground, quivering and spewing blood everywhere. Following a few minutes of what can only be described as sheer confusion and terror, the local physician was astonishingly required to examine the headless torso and pronounce Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum deceased.  Having his head sewn back upon its torso by the undertaker, ol’ Black Jack was laid to rest inside the city cemetery at Clayton, New Mexico.

Best Wishes,

El DuckO Came To Town

 As I was out ridin, gatherin’ cows all together,
I saw a young horseman just burnin’ the leather.
Just whom should I meet but Cactus Jack Slade,
A man of whom legends have always been made.
He’d mounted a cougar with a Bowie knife bit,
And spurred on that cat in a desperate fit.
Tucked under his arm, his braided whip bullwhacker,
And a grizzled ol’ wildcat spittin’ chewin’ tabacker.
His mount bent his head down, while kickin’ up dirt,
As Jack grabbed a’ hold of his rattlesnake quirt.
The six-gun he carried, clutched tightly in hand,
Showed twenty-one notches, the most in the land.
Cursin’ and cussin’, the man rode on past,
I asked “what cha doin’ a ridin’ that fast?”
Atop that ol’ cougar, Jack turned his head ’round,
“I’m gettin’ out fast – El DuckO’s in town!”
The Secret Of Peacock’s Saloon 

Egg Nog with a spirit. Delicious! But there’s a bit of history behind this Eastern Utah sheep dip… this terrifying tarantula’s tonsil twister. You see, at the turn of the last, past century, my ol’ “Grampy” worked at the local lumber store in my hometown of Price, Utah – a few miles from the site where Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed the Pleasant Valley Mine Payroll at Castle Gate in April of 1897, finally riding south through my cousin’s ranch, mounting fresh horses an hour later, and disappearing into the San Raphael Swell. The “brains of the outfit”, Elsa Lay had cut the telegraph wires, confusing law officers in all directions. Posse members from the south mistook another loosely organized posse from the north and the two courageous clusters shot at each other for hours before they realized Cassidy had ridden into the San Raphael and finally into “The Maze” at Robber’s Roost. My ol’ Daddy had told me stories about men chasin’ cows into the Maze, never to be seen again.

I always called my grandfather “Grampy”, and as a young man, he supplied cottonwood planks for the raised sidewalks along an unpaved, ol’ west main street then dotted with wild saloons and other assorted shady establishments down the side streets. Saddle tramps could always stumble upon a hot poker game, “paint his nose with antifogmatics”, or enthusiastically indulge in the horizontal hula or other certain time-consuming social activities with the painted cats of the evening. Illegal yes, nonetheless quite tolerated by the general population.

One local favorite thirst emporium was that of an Englishman, a Mr. Lloyd Peacock, whose specialty was preparing his famous “Tom And Jerry” spirited eggnog recipe, and it has been said that around the holidays, cowboys sopped up the stuff like dry sponges. During the summer of 1909, William “Gunplay” Maxwell, a twice-convicted bank robber, began planning a local mine payroll robbery. He claimed the last chair and a portion of the bar inside Peacock’s Saloon for his headquarters. Receiving an anonymous tip, coal company owners asked deputy sheriff Edward Black Johnstone to thwart the plan. It was generally known that the deputy had crossed paths with the outlaw previously and Johnstone had become Maxwell’s nemesis having testified against him in a court of law, following a bungled robbery. Some called him “Shoot ‘em up Bill”.

“Shoot ‘em up Bill” had no trouble locating Maxwell inside the old Saloon on the west side of Price’s Main Street. Maxwell’s verbal abuse could be heard along the sidewalk outside the building and soon both men were facing each other in the street. Within a matter of only moments, C. L. “Gunplay” Maxwell lay dying upon the ground. Firing twice, Johnstone thought he’d missed as the dirt churned up behind the outlaw. Then Maxwell, not even having removed his blue shooter from its holster, slumped to the dirt with two holes through his upper torso. Shoot ‘em up Bill had simply beat the man to the draw. The wives of the town’s fathers insisted the man’s body be buried outside the cemetery fence where “only decent folks were interred”. What happened to the old saloon? It remained virtually unchanged for decades and patrons could always stop by for a “Tom & Jerry” during the holidays. The place was remodeled during the mid 1970’s and the name was changed, although it is still a favorite waterin’ hole for local cowboys.

Somehow, ol’ Grampy acquired Peacock’s famous Tom & Jerry recipe, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it while betting holding an inside straight! Nonetheless, it soon became an annual holiday tradition for our extended family to gather at my grandparent’s farm just west of town, on the evening of the 23rd of December for some celebratory eggnog cheer. Of course, the children had the recipe without the spirits. This stuff is “perty dang good” and I hope you try it.

“Tom And Jerry’s” 
(Peacock’s Saloon 110 -Year-Old Secret Egg Nog Recipe) 
  • 10 eggs 
  • 1 quart of milk 
  • 2 cups of sugar 
  • cinnamon 
  • nutmeg 
  • rum and whiskey 

Gradually, warm two cups of milk on the ol’ wood stove then reserve it. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks together with two cups of sugar. Continue beating the mixture until it stiffens. Beat the egg whites separately and add one tablespoon of vanilla extract. Excluding the milk, fold (don’t stir), all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth and stiff. Gradually add the hot milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Note the amount of milk necessary will depend upon the size of the eggs. Pour the mixture into mugs and add one jigger of whiskey and 1/2 jigger of rum to each. Stir slowly and sprinkle with ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. I like to use a little allspice in mine. Relax and enjoy Tom & Jerry’s with your family.

Best Wishes,

“Old Ranch Remedies, Wisdom, And Wives’ Tales”

As I reflect upon more pleasant earlier days of soap-making, beer brewing, and mushroom canning, I must include a few of my favorite two hundred-year-old remedies and recipes you may enjoy reading for amusement. I really wouldn’t try potassium cyanide on insects or egg yolks on a snakebite!

Don’t throw out orange skins. Boil them and use the water for bathing as it gives a fresh appearance to the complexion so vitally important to horse wranglers, cow kickers, and polecats. If you happen to receive a blackened eye as the consequence of an inappropriate discretion or indecorous behavior, bathe the area with very warm orange water, apply raw beef steak to the affected area, and terminate any indiscreet, indecent, unwholesome, or bawdy demeanor or licentious comportment. If you’re just worried sick about the whole thing and have acquired a splitting headache, try a teaspoon of charcoal in half a glass of water.

Revitalize any hair you have remaining upon your scalp by pouring one pint of boiling water into one ounce of oil of tar. Stir the mixture, allow it to cool, skim the liquid and pour it through a piece of cheesecloth. Add bay rum to infuse a milky appearance. Add one-half ounce of extract burdock root, and one half drachum of tincture of lobelia. Brush the scalp thoroughly every day and apply the renewer.

A good hard soap is made of six pounds of sol soda, six pounds of lard, three pounds of limestone and four gallons of soft water. Dissolve the lime and soda in boiling water, stir it frequently, and then allow it to settle. Pour off the liquid carefully, add the lard, and boil the mixture until it thickens. Stir in one-ounce sassafras oil and use the soap for laundry and toiletry purposes. If you happen to receive a rattlesnake bite while preparing the soap, make a stiff paste of egg yolk and table salt, applying it to the wound at once.

Treat a rusty nail injury by smoking the wound over the fumes of burning woolen cloth, wool, or sugar, fifteen minutes for the reduction of pain. As you most likely will pass out from the odor within the first five minutes, it will not be necessary to use a timing device.

A solution of cyanide of potassium will kill insects, however, my favorite home brewed, eco-friendly, bug-killing spray for plants is a pureed mixture of 3 onions, 1 whole garlic, 2 tablespoons hot red pepper, and 1 tablespoon baking soda, mixed with a quart of soapy water. 

For tired, burning feet, remove those tight riding boots and soak your feet fifteen minutes nightly in a pint of bran mixed with an ounce of bicarbonate of soda and a gallon of hot water. The pores of the skin being tightly enclosed cause feet to perspire less, producing a burning sensation. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to leave your boots on your feet, as I’ve seen cowboy’s perspiration-soaked socks actually start stampedes of cattle!

Best Wishes,

Thanks Duk! But It’s Awfully Windy Around Here…


Hi Wranglers,

That ol’ Duck has been working like crazy to get us “up and runnin”. What a job he’s doing! But, wow, he sure causes a lot of hot air to rush through our office… and our office is around the ol’ campfire… OUTSIDE! Now, I’m not sayin’ the Duk is full of beans…  Shucks, I’m not even sayin’ he’s full of hot air. I’m just sayin’ there sure is a lot of hot air and wind around these parts! It was so windy here yesterday that I just stayed inside the ranch kitchen. I didn’t dare go outside, so I drilled a hole in the kitchen wall and stuck a crow bar through it to see if I could feel any resistance to the stiff wind. Oh yeah! When I tried to pull it back inside, I found that the “prevailing” wind had bent the crowbar at a right angle! Sheeyuks, that hot air moves so quickly around here that very often it will cause the rattlesnakes to bite their own rattles, then when they form a loop, they just roll around the prairie in loops. Why… I’ve even seen a stiff wind blow a herd of snake loops right up the side of a steep mountain! Yup, that’s just the way it is!

Best Wishes,Chuckwagon

The Maze

Robber’s Roost has the largest display of aberrant, twisted, and unforgiving rock canyons found upon our planet. Swallowing up many square miles of Robber’s Roost in eastern Wayne County, Utah, the Maze is situated in the desert a few miles northwest of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, where the landscape becomes a particularly nasty, gnarled, and confusing network of passages carved deeply inside rock canyons by wind, water, and unpredictably wild weather. The Maze is a complex snarl of labyrinths and chasms “only a fool would stumble into” said Butch Cassidy. Exploring the landscape while growing up, and finally photographing the terrain from the air as an adult, I finally realized no one on our planet could possibly map the fearfully intimidating area immediately east of the Roost bordering the Colorado River. It is so remote and tangled, my own father said “only a knot-head would chase a cow into Robber’s Roost”, and Ol’ pappy occasionally told stories of cowboys chasing strays into the tangled chasms and gulches of the Maze, never to return! Its western border “The Ledge” is the eastern part of the “Orange Cliffs” John Wesley Powell named in 1869. The rugged desert, westward over the top of the Orange Cliffs, is home to Joe Biddlecome’s descendants and Robbers Roost remains situated upon private land yet today. During the years following the Civil War, only a few cattle ranchers and outlaws populated the isolated retreat bisected by the Dirty Devil River. As Powell made his second river excursion in 1871, there were rustled cattle upon the desert mesas, hundreds of feet above Cataract Canyon being tended by the McCarty’s – veterans of the Jessie James Gang!

Today, The Maze lies within the heart of Canyonlands National Park although it was not included when Congress first created the park in 1964. Following much political squabbling, the Maze District and Horseshoe Canyon were added to the park in 1971, and Uncle Sam assumed control. Modern day explorers, whether lay or professional, are required to register with a ranger, explain just what in the world they are doing there, and report the date and hour they intend to return. The ranger then opens a map, circles the waterholes and springs with red ink, stuffs the thing into the visitor’s shirt, collects a fee, and wishes the explorer best of luck. I think of the Maze as a long, deep, network of canyons having a mind-boggling selection of side canyons leading to more side canyons. And those side canyons have side canyons, which also have side canyons. Even those side canyons have side canyons! All remain particularly indistinguishable.  

Many adventurers seek out popular Horseshoe Canyon and the legendary Orange Cliffs in the northern portion of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Fewer see the Land of Standing Rocks and The Fins having traversed the terrain of buttes, arches, rock walls, and of course, more canyons. Some seek answers to the mysterious writings of the native people living here between 2,500 and 10,000 years ago – hunter-gatherers archaeologists call the “archaic” people. The meaning or significance of the writings of the Anasazi and Fremont recorded upon rock walls in pictographs and petroglyphs remain a mystery today. 

Intentionally, nothing has been done to modify the naturally remote excellence of the landscape and any trails are marked only with rock cairns. There are no signs here, and the springs and water holes are not marked. The few roads into the area are restricted to four-wheel drive vehicles only. Hikers become backpackers here and most choose to follow the trail past the Golden Stairs on their way to Ernies Country. At the end of the day, canteens are filled at a dripping spring as the sunset ignites the landscape and the desert blazes, flaunting every possible hue of orange and red imaginable.  


 The Outlaw Joe Walker 

Joe Walker liked to drink whiskey. And when the man drank, he liked to fight. Born in Texas in 1850, his parents were killed in an Indian raid. The restless young man wandered throughout the intermountain west for twenty years, associating with many members of the Wild Bunch calling Robber’s Roost “home”. Settling in my hometown at Price, Utah at the ripe old age of forty-one, he tried working at a sawmill in Huntington – the first job he’d ever taken, not performed from the back of his horse. Walker quickly rediscovered the devotion his gluteus maximus had for good, worn, saddle leather, as the cowboy reclaimed his seat “forked on a broomtail”. Although the skinny wrangler gained a wide reputation for his lifestyle of drinking and fighting, he became a well-liked man in eastern Utah, making many friends in Price. However, in 1895, announcing his intent to “capture” the town of Price, Joe painted his tonsils in the Senate Saloon and “full as a tick”, he took a shot at a dude named Milburn. With his Colt .45 in hand, Joe literally shot up the small town. As the Carbon County sheriff tried to arrest Walker for the attempted murder of Milburn, Joe mounted a horse “giggin’ the hayburner with his can openers” (spurring the mount). A running 150-mile shoot-out took place before Joe escaped to Cass Hite’s cabin at the mouth of Trachyte Creek on the Colorado River. Weeks later, he made his way cautiously into Robber’s Roost, not far away. Walker’s reputation for drinking and fighting had preceded him, as he was acknowledged and made welcome. 

J.W. Whitmore and his sons were prominent horse breeders at the acclaimed Whitmore Horse Ranch in Nine Mile Canyon, near our much more humble Minnie Maud outfit. Surely such a refined “filly” as Whitmore’s cultured daughter would never contemplate matrimony with a saddle bum like Joe Walker! But she did… and her brothers went berserk. As Walker took his wife, the Whitmores swore an oath to dissolve the marriage. Indeed, the brothers used every resource at their disposal to make life miserable for Joe, intending to drive him off, and by March 26, 1897, they had succeeded. Joe Walker left the ranch and headed for Robber’s Roost – with a string of prime Whitmore horseflesh! Swearing out a warrant in Price, the Whitmores joined Sheriff Ebb Tuttle in pursuit of the rustler. Tuttle enlisted the help of outlaw C.L. “Gunplay” Maxwell, a self-proclaimed “bad man”, having knowledge of every square inch of Robber’s Roost. Maxwell was only too delighted to serve as a deputy in the posse for two reasons. The man’s ego was fed as he was placed in the spotlight as a “guide”, and at long last, he could take a crack at his old arch nemesis, Joe Walker. Previously best friends, Walker now considered Maxwell a “traitor”. 

As Sheriff Tuttle’s posse neared Robber’s Roost, a gun battle ensued. Walker had carefully chosen his ground, holing up near the river, his position secured by huge, sandstone boulders. An impenetrable ledge of stone safeguarded his flank. Between sporadic gunshots, Tuttle called for Walker’s surrender. Hours passed as the standoff continued. Finally, leading his men in a charge of force, Sheriff Tuttle tried rushing the outlaw. The first round from Walker’s older model 44.40 was intended to separate Maxwell’s eyebrows although the bullet struck the Winchester carbine he was carrying, invalidating its use as a weapon. The next shot was directed at the mounted, charging sheriff. As lead penetrated the lawman’s thigh, it broke the bone and knocked the man from his horse. The disoriented posse scattered as darkness fell and more hours passed away. Sheriff Tuttle remained recumbent, losing blood to the dust all night, as posse member dared not tend the man for fear of being shot themselves. What happened next seems to remain unresolved. Some say that during the nighttime, as Tuttle asked for a drink, Walker holstered his hogleg and took a bucket of water to the injured sheriff, escaping “forked on” the lawman’s horse. Others claim that the outlaw simply slipped away in the cover of night. In any case, Dr. Winters of Orangeville was summoned and arrived in a buckboard much later during the day, having traveled miles. Receiving morphine and dressings for his wound, the nearly lifeless sheriff was transported to Dr. Winters’ own residence where his uncertain condition began to improve within two weeks’ time. Recovering at his own home in Price, Tuttle stepped down as sheriff, handing the reins to C.W. Allred who vowed to bring in the outlaw.                        

Days later, having been shot at by another posse’s long-distance rifles, Joe Walker headed for the security of Brown’s Park. Less than one month later, the outlaw joined Elsa Lay and Butch Cassidy at Castle Gate, to rob the mine payroll. Walker continued to raid the Whitmore Ranch at will, throughout the following year. However, in May 1898, Joe was sleeping at Thompson Springs when Sheriff Allred’s nine-member posse surrounded his camp. As first light broke, forty-five caliber slugs riddled Joe’s bedroll. Walker died as violently as he had lived, along with John Herring, an innocent cowhand who just happened to be camped out with the legendary outlaw. Yup, and that’s the way it “really, really was!”

Best Wishes, 


The Legends Of “Blue John” And “Silver Tip”

The Law Penetrates Robber’s Roost


Outlaw partners John Griffith (alias “Blue John”) and James F. Howells (alias “Silver Tip”) are credited for discovering the area known as Robber’s Roost in the remote and feral desert of southern Utah, just east of Hanksville. Early as 1883, the men had built a dwelling, complete with a dripping spring, inside the caves at the north end of Roost Canyon in the valley just west of Horseshoe Canyon. This canyon valley is dug into the earth not unlike some sort of pit, and having sheer rock walls, it has no access other than through its mouth on the Dirty Devil River. Known as Blue John Canyon, it served as quarters to the bovine-stealing pair for years. These men were also wanted throughout Utah for their participation in other crimes and for the most part, other outlaws stayed clear of them. In the language of the period and for years thereafter along the trail, these men were “bad eggs”. A few miles southward, others explored the area.

In 1898, most people were anxiously concerned with the Spanish-American war, and thoughts or plans of law officers penetrating the gang at Robber’s Roost remained at the bottom of the list of “things to do today”. However, the war had driven sharply increasing cattle prices even further upward in a very short time – to the point, consumers were complaining to the governor about the price of beef. Ranchers were fed up with a disturbing all-time-high-record of cattle rustling incidents, and asked journalists to persistently voice their concerns in written newspaper articles. They had complained to Governor Wells, now they would place their concerns in the lap of the public. Newspapers brought about enough pressure on Wells, he drafted a list of twelve of the most wanted rustlers, offering a reward of $500.00 for each culprit captured. The list included the names of Blue John, Silver Tip, Jack Moore, Ella Moore, Pete Nielsen, Tom Dilley, and Charley (Rains) Lee. Receiving the news of the reward for their capture, Blue John and Silver Tip responded by venturing into the town of Moab where they rustled numerous prime horses. Returning to Robber’s Roost, the two horse heisters felt comfortable in their surroundings, as no lawman had ever penetrated the perimeter of the area, considering it “impregnable”. Young Sheriff Jesse M. “Jack” Tyler had a gut full of Blue John’s shenanigans and thievery. Gathering six deputies and a guide, he decided to ride into the Roost to arrest the two pony poachers. Riding from Moab to Greenriver, the men turned their horses southward, entering the San Rafael Swell. Having traversed the Swell, the horsemen ascended the summit of the south rim – the northern mesa of Robber’s Roost. Sure enough, the stolen horses were grazing there. Too late in the day to barge into outlaw headquarters, the posse made a “dry camp” for the night – without a fire or spring water. Supper consisted of beef jerky and warm canteen water.

The next morning was March 5, 1899. Would it be the first day in history that a lawman entered the refuge? At dawn, Tyler and his deputies crawled on their bellies to overlook Roost Canyon from the edge of cliff where they observed four men they identified as Blue John, Silver Tip, Ed Newcomb – an outlaw riding in Henry Starr’s gang in Oklahoma – and Newcomb’s partner. As Newcomb was filling a bucket at the spring, he happened to see the outline of a cowboy’s hat against the sunrise. His Winchester began placing lead along the cliff. Three others quickly joined in, spewing a fusillade of bullets. As the outlaws backed into Blue John’s cave, they realized they had made a mistake. Some of the posse members, being expert marksmen, began to bounce lead along the sides of the cave to produce ricochets, although the clincher was found to be in targeting the huge rock overhang above the cave. Ricocheting lead began to drive the outlaws out of the cave into a clear line of fire, as they attempted to scramble up the steep trail to the top of the mesa toward the horses. Sheriff Tyler had cleverly placed their horses, as well as the outlaw’s mounts, behind them. However, during the heated gunfire exchange, his advantage changed as bad men, horses, and deputies scrambled for better positions. Newcomb was shot in the leg and went down. Blue John somehow got the wounded man to a horse and forked his own. The men rode toward Cass Hite’s Dandy Crossing on the river. Silver Tip rode south, headed for the Henry Mountains, while the fate of the unknown outlaw remains a mystery. At Dandy Crossing, Blue John borrowed a boat from Cass Hite and set out alone, as Newcomb forded the river and headed into White Canyon. Newcomb was never seen again. Blue John camped with some miners along the river a day later, but Arthur Chaffin later reported that Blue John Griffith “went under” – somewhere in the rapids below.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe Bush was next to enter the Roost, interested in the reward money Governor Wells had offered. He formed a posse of four men, including outlaw Jack Cottrell, who simply wanted to go along, serving as a guide, to get even with his nemesis “Silver Tip” James F. Howells. Searching throughout the Robber’s Roost country and along the San Rafael, the posse came up empty handed, although I’m sure they scattered and “relocated” several bad men along their way. Then they received news that Silver Tip had stolen a herd of horses and was headed for Arizona. Bush rendezvoused at the Granite ranch with another posse led by Salt Lake Deputy Sheriff Joe Raleigh. The combined posse of a dozen men then rode into some of the roughest country in southeastern Utah – Salt Wash on the Pariah River about twenty miles above Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River. This area is called “sopeye” by the few locals living nearby who had been in the desert so long, they knew all the lizards by their first names. During the summers, the desert is so dry, the sagebrush bushes follow the coyotes around!

Sure enough, Silver Tip was holed up in an abandoned cabin above the gulch. As first light, Bush ordered a couple of his deputies to approach the cabin as he flanked it. As the men closed in, they shouted for Howells to surrender. Bailing out a rear window, Silver Tip ran head on into Marshal Joe Bush, who lost no time in handcuffing the outlaw, having holstered his pistol, which failed to cock as a primer lodged against the hammer. Deputy Thompson became so excited in the rush that he accidentally discharged his six-shooter, the bullet narrowly missing the outlaw. Traversing the Roost on June 6th, with his prisoner and posse, Joe Bush stopped at the Granite Ranch where he arrested Mrs. Ella Moore and J.B. Buhr. Charging them with “harboring criminals”, Buhr and Moore were tried in Hanksville, where J.B. bought a barrel of beer for his juror friends before they acquitted the two defendants. Silver Tip was housed at sheriff Hancock’s residence in Torrey, remaining unguarded upon giving his promise not to escape. The 22-year old sheriff of Wayne County didn’t even own a gun! Later, Silver Tip was transferred to Provo for his own protection, to await trial.

On September 18, 1899, Silver Tip was returned to Loa for trial, charged with the attempted murder of Sheriff Jesse Tyler, as well as horse stealing. Appearing dressed in a new suit of clothes, with a neatly-trimmed, silver-tipped beard, the man was represented by a first-rate Salt Lake City lawyer – hired by his cohorts at Robber’s Roost. James F. Howells, alias “Silver Tip”, received a sentence of ten years to be served at the Utah State Prison. His lawyer (Colonel Tatlock) immediately petitioned the court for a new trial. It was granted and upon rehearing, Silver Tip was acquitted. The outlaw returned to the Roost to pick up his stolen horses, straightaway driving them to Arizona, where he changed his name. Continuing in his chosen profession, Silver Tip was shot and killed by an Arizona sheriff, while stealing more horses. And that’s the way it “really, really was” !

Best Wishes, 



The Outlaw Charley Rains

 The outlaw Charley Rains’ real name was Rains Lee, the son of John Doyle Lee, who was executed in 1877 for his participation in the Mountain Meadows Massacre north of Cedar City, Utah in 1857. In 1890, Rains was hiding out, staying with his half-brothers Charley and Walt at Torrey, in southern Utah, when he heard news of a Colorado sheepherder returning to the area with a year’s wages stuffed into his pockets. Rains knew the sheepherder would be using the ferry to cross the river at Hite (then known as Dandy Crossing). From there, he was bound to climb the trail inside Trachyte Canyon to gain access to the desert once again. Riding several days, Rains “happened” to meet the young sheepherder ascending the Trachyte trail. Overly friendly, Rains invited the young Mexican to camp with him while they played some cards. Ed Chaves refused, knowing the outlaw intended to cheat him out of his wages. Rains protested and asked again. Chaves, intent upon visiting his brother Joe in Monroe having a full wallet, refused the outlaw’s offer to camp for the night and play cards. Rains then drew his pistol and told him to hand over his money. Chaves offered him a ten-dollar bill, alleging it was all he had. Rains shot the boy in the face! Stealing Chaves’ money, horse, and outfit, Rains abandoned the young man, leaving him for dead, as he headed into Robber’s Roost.

 Rains’ bullet had broken the boy’s jawbone having passed through his mouth. It also tore away his chin and most of his teeth. Yet sixty miles away from the nearest town of Hanksville, the boy regained consciousness hours later. Without a horse, food, or water, Chavez managed somehow to cross the lower reaches of Robber’s Roost on foot, suffering untold agony. Weak from the loss of blood, racked with pain, he also endured the heat of the desert and relentless thirst. Two days and one night later, by some means, Chavez dragged himself into Charlie Gibbon’s store and fainted upon the floor. Gibbons patched the boy up the best he could, tending to him several days. Sent to Monroe to be placed in the care of his brother, the boy died from the complications of blood poisoning.

 After the funeral, Joe Chavez came to Robber’s Roost from Monroe, with blood in his eye. Local folks supplied the man with arms, ammunition, horses, food, and water. Quickly, the news drifted across the flats into The Roost that a “large force of Mexicans” was assembling at Hanksville to “clean the place (Robber’s Roost) out”. Charley Rains, upon hearing the news, disappeared instantly in a cloud of dust blown away south toward Arizona. Joe Chavez, having searched Robber’s Roost for Charley Rains for more than a month, returned to Hanksville empty handed. Determined to see justice done, Chavez continued searching off and on for some time although his efforts were in vain. By the time most people had all but forgotten the matter, Hanksville resident Jerry Jackson happened across Joe Chavez one day in 1894.

“Say Chavez”, Jackson inquired, “Did you ever get onto the trail of that bad egg you were a chasin’ through the willows?”

“Oh, I found Charley Rains in Arizona”, replied Joe Chavez. He smiled as he continued, “An’ I took care of the matter in Arizona”.   


Who Am I?

 I am an herb, a perennial shrub about 2 feet high, and a member of the mint family having over 500 varieties. My flowers are fragrant and rich in nectar and the honey from them is in great demand in Europe because of its spicy flavor. My flowers are usually purple or blue, but sometimes white, red or pink. Some of my varieties have broad leaves while others have multicolored foliage of red, yellow, or white. I have a long history as a healing herb, supposedly curing everything from snakebites, eye problems, infection, epilepsy, intoxication, memory loss, worms, and intestinal problems. I’ve even been prescribed as an aphrodisiac. Food manufacturers use my dried leaves to season meats, baked goods, and beverages. I’m also used to flavor vermouth and various bitters and for years I’ve been used in the preserving of foods. Now it is known that I contain powerful anti-oxidants which slow spoilage. I’m also antibacterial in nature and effective in treating sore throats and I’ve even been effective as an antiperspirant. Who am I?  To find out, spell every other letter in this word: Sbaogwe

Dinner At Oraibi

                        It has been said John Wesley Powell understood the west better than anyone. In October 1870, he visited the Pueblo Indians at the province of Tsuyan (pronounced “sue-yawn”) on the south rim of the Grand Canyon and as he entered the streets of Oraibi, (pronounced ore-eye-bee) the “cacique” (chief) invited him to dine inside his kiva.

                         Dinner was delicious! Goat stew was served in pottery bowls with “piki”, a bread of colorful paper-thin layers, cooked upon hot rocks. Melons and peaches were served as dessert, but most impressive were the little dumplings of ground goat meat steamed inside cornhusks. Powell’s men couldn’t get enough of the tasty morsels and enjoyed them throughout the entire week before discovering how the goat meat was ground. The Indian women simply masticated or “pre-chewed” the goat meat before cooking it!

 (see the recipe in our Sausage Recipes Index.)

 “Parunuweep ~ Roaring Water Canyon”

– -The Legend Of The Colorado River Gorge –


                        Many “moons” ago, the Numa chief Orabibi lost his wife Yuma to a Zuni arrow. He mourned many days and walked the land in grief praying for comfort to Tavwoats – the “Great Spirit”.

                        “I cannot continue without her” the Numa chief told the great Tavwoats as he appeared upon the earth on his magnificent white stallion.

                         “Be comforted my son, as she is in a much happier land… I make you this promise” said the mighty Tavwoats.

                        “How may I know this in my heart?” asked the warrior.

                        “You may see her in this happier land but must agree to return here, cease your mourning, and live out your last days” offered Tavwoats.
“Agreed” exclaimed the Numa chief, “But how will we find this land? There is no trail”.

                        “I will make a trail for you to walk upon and will lead you if you but promise to tell no other mortal” said Tavwoats.

                        “Agreed,” cried out Orabibi, the Numa Chief, swearing an oath.

With a great stick, the mighty Kaivavit God struck the Colorado River Gorge along which they walked to view Yuma, the lovely Numa woman, in a more peaceful, beautiful, land, lighted by sunshine and watered by sweet morning dewdrops.

                         Upon returning, Orabibi, the Numa Chief, told others of the trail, breaking his oath and promise to Tavwoats. Learning this, the mighty Tavwoats angrily rolled a river into the gorge… a mad, raging, stream of water that should engulf any who might attempt to enter therein. Thus, there is today, the “Parunuweep” or “Roaring Water Canyon”… that which we call the Colorado River.


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70 thoughts on “TALES OF THE OLD WEST

  1. Little Known Facts of the Old (and we mean REALLY old) West:
    Beloved SausagesWest.com CEO Chuckwagon is renowned for his piano playing abilities. How did he start? Well, at an early age, he landed a place in Utah’s famed Carbon County High School Marching Band. He not only excelled in music but, having worked out a bit (and welded handles and oversized wheels onto the thing), was able to carry the piano while playing it at the same time. Always a crowd pleaser, he could do spins with his spinet, and when a grandstand full of people was present at football games, you could depend on him to be there, marching at the head of the String Section, carrying- – you guessed it- – a grand piano.

    His secret- – the ever-present spurs that he wore, which tinkled when he marched, keeping time with the percussion section which marched immediately ahead. It is said that during one Homecoming Game, the home team was down by 7 points. Desperate to score, the kicker lofted a field goal into the stiff breeze. The ball glanced off the goal post, caromed off the bass strings of CW’s piano, went back up, and soared through the uprights for the win. It would have been a loss, except that when the football struck the strings, it was sliced into a dozen sections, each of which counted three points, and the Carbon County Dinos won by a score of 36 to 7. Our hero and his piano were carried triumphantly off the field and into gridiron history.

    In subsequent seasons, a “one ball, one goal” rule was put into effect, apparently ending the altering of footballs… until 2015 when the New England Patriots attempted a similar alteration, now known as the “deflate-gate” scandal. Chuckwagon could not be reached for comment but was said to be practicing, preparing for a comeback.

  2. An Open Letter to our readers:

    The Code of the Old West is a-changin’, folks. …and, whataya know, it’s vacation time. Nowadays, you not be a-feared of what you’ll encounter when you stop by on your way west to visit our National Parks during this centennial year. No-siree-bobtail!

    Take, fer example, indoor plumbing. Our ol’ pal Chuckwagon hit upon an idea that’s becomin’ more and more popular. Instead of indoor plumbing, CW provides a shop vac in his guest room. The roar of a guest cleanin’ up is mighty relaxin’ after a long day in the saddle.

    Back here at El Rancho Pico de Pato (the Duck’s Beak Ranch), we pride ourselves on our newfangled décor. Gone are the spittoons that used to decorate the saloons hereabouts. Instead, the Missus calls ‘em cuspidors, and has placed fresh plants in them. Granted, we still have to empty the nasty brown liquid from them after a visitor departs, but the tobacco plants that our directionally-challenged cousins sent us from the western end of southeastern North Carolina (huh?) seem to thrive in it.

    So, why wait? We’ll be here, restin’ in the shade of a dead live oak tree that we lost a few hail storms back, watchin’ fer ya. Strawberry season is windin’ up, down in Poteet, watermelon season is upon us, and the Fredricksburg peaches will be ripenin’ soon. The San Antonio Spurs are still winnin’(as of this writing.) The price of oil-n-gas is down, which is good for you anyway, but here, life is still good.

    All we lack is you, Dear Reader. Dew drop in.

    The management and staff of SausagesWest.com
    P.S. Bring sausages.

  3. NEW CONTEST! From time to time, we hold contests here at SausagesWest.com. The prize: a life-size cardboard cutout of Chuckwagon, suitable for being framed (or at least, accused). So far, no one has stepped forward to claim any of them (in fact, several winners have run away from the dang things), and the printing company is complaining about having to hold the materials in stock, so…

    We propose a new contest: using common leftover foods, table scraps, and kitchen leavings to produce sausages. Think of the possibilities:
    • No more “doggie bags” languishing in the refrigerator, awaiting doomsday.
    • Useful means for using leftover green beans from Junior’s “finger-food” plate.
    • Fingers from above.
    • Aunt Bertha’s Christmas fruitcake, blended with your choice of rock-hard jerky or the rocks themselves.
    • Left-over hard rolls (and we mean hard!), covered with “old-growth” mold from years in the refrigerator instead of Chr Hansen’s “Mold-600.”
    • The remaining 98% of outdated cans of unidentifiable “foods” bought on a whim, commonly found in ethic food marts, usually at the back of refrigerator shelves.
    • Semi-liquid (mostly) fruits and vegetables “slightly” past their prime.
    • Those soft, blackened, banana-shaped objects in the bowl which often are found when you return home from vacation.
    • Cans of foods in the back on pantry shelves which, once cylindrical, have now assumed a more pleasing plump shape.
    • Formerly discarded vegetable peels, meat trimmings, and bones. These are typically teaming with vitamins, minerals, protein… and life!

    So, write your recipe on the back of a ten, twenty, or thirty dollar bill and send it to SausagesWest.com, SausagesWest Tower, Draper, Utah 54321 (lift-off), and our somewhat friendly staff will take it from there. (…out to the dumpster if necessary.) Void where prohibited by law. Contains substances known by the State of California to be hazardous to health. Operators are standing by. Winners will receive… well, you know.

    Duk 😀

    1. …because… uh… it feels so good when you stop?
      Say, CW, have you noticed that, after you stir your coffee with a spoon and then take a sip, you have pain in one eye or the other? Maybe if you could remember to remove the spoon first…

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