An Empassioned Corrido Of A Cristero Martyr

Valentín Avila Ramírez. Engraving by Alfonso Huerta.

Ana Gabriel singing "Valentin de la Sierra." Tom Russell posted this on his Facebook page and it blew me away. Such passion! According to the University of Texas, the story depicts the sad fate of a Cristero rebel. The Cristero Rebellion was a bloody spasm of religious conflict, an aftershock of the Mexican Revolution in the 1920s. The … [Read more...]

The Death Of A Revolutionary

Orozco's actions and motives are hard to understand. He comes across as an opportunist.

  On August 30, 1915, — a long and bloody century ago — a posse including 13 Texas Rangers caught former revolutionary warlord Pascual Orozco and four compañeros in the Texas badlands near the Rio Grande and gunned them down. Ostensibly, Orozco had raided a ranch and stole horses. Such incidents were not uncommon on the turbulent … [Read more...]

Fighting Dirty Down Columbia Way

Carlos Castaño was one of the leaders of Los Pepes, and also a commander of right-wing paramilitaries.

The brutal, bloody manhunt for Pablo Escobar is an epic tale. The story of that monster's rise and fall is being told in a Netflix series called "Narcos" that dropped last night. Very, very good. Escobar was a not just a trafficker on a grand scale — he was a narcoterrorist of mind-blowing ruthlessness. In fact, it's not far-fetched to say … [Read more...]

La Primera


That post on the Aztec Skull Rack got me thinking about Cortez and that got me thinking about Ian Tyson's magnificent song "La Primera" — about the first Spanish horses that came with the Conquest and  became the seed of wild Mustang stock that still lives on today. Here's a very nicely done Youtube video of the Pryor Mountain Mustangs of … [Read more...]

Aztec Skull Rack


It's a gruesome display of dominance — like something out of a Robert E. Howard story. Like many cultures throughout history, the Aztec had a thing about skulls. They cut the heads of enemies and victims of sacrifice and displayed them on massive racks as they decomposed — an effective way to intimidate both friends and enemies. From Sci-Tech … [Read more...]

Two Women Earn Ranger Tab


The U.S. Army Rangers trace their origins directly back to the Rangers of the early American Frontier — and now a couple of badass women have joined their storied ranks. The first two women ever to complete the U.S. Army Ranger Course have earned the right to wear the Ranger Tab. Day-am! Hat’s off to ye! Here’s the Army press … [Read more...]

The Breaker Gets Criterion Treatment

A painting by Sean Phillips will grace the cover of the new Criterion Collection edition of "Breaker Morant"

  Paul McNamee gave me the heads up on a cool piece of news: the great Australian drama “Breaker Morant” is to be released as part of the Criterion Collection. Criterion treats great films with the respect they deserve, restoring them in high quality digital format with loads of extras. “Breaker Morant” certainly deserves the … [Read more...]

Ballads of the Frontier Partisans — Joaquin Murietta


Come on and saddle up boys ’Cause the governor says He'll pay $3,000 For Murietta's head... — Dave Alvin Joaquin Murietta lives as much in legend as in fact — maybe more. No one will ever separate the one from the other. Can't be done — and maybe that's the way it oughta be. The stories say that Joaquin and his brother came up to … [Read more...]