Blame Bob Boze Bell for this one. The publisher of True West Magazine posted a picture of himself reading this book to his dog as a bedtime story. As one does. It’s written by a friend of his (Mariotte) and a well-known TV showrunner who happens to share the name of the protagonist. Well, you know what happens next, right?
Gold Camps of California—1850s
When Joaquin Murrieta’s older brother and cousin head for the riches of the California gold fields, he cannot resist the restless desire to follow. In a bold move, he convinces Rosita, the young woman he loves, to run away with him under cover of darkness. They follow the irresistible lure of the future they might grasp for their own in America, the land of dreams.
Instead, they face deep prejudice and explosive violence that leads to unspeakable tragedy, and forces Joaquin to set his sights on being a leader of men—becoming a legend, in the process. To make a place for himself and his people, he strikes back at the whites and the devastating, perpetual hatred they feel toward the Mexicans. Determined not to fail, to carve out a place in this vast land for himself and his followers, Joaquin Murrieta fights back with a stubborn will that is sure to win all…
But can he succeed? With his band of outlaws—and then, an army of patriots—he is determined to drive the Americans from the land that had so recently belonged to his beloved Mexico. It seems an almost unattainable achievement to some, but Joaquin cannot consider failure in this obsession.
With Joaquin’s brother murdered, and his band of renegades on the run, they must make their final stand and face Murrieta’s evil nemesis—cruel California Ranger Harry Love—who has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to kill Murrieta and drive his followers out of California for good. As the battle rages in a final showdown between Love and Murrieta, it’s kill or be killed.
The tale of Joaquin Murrieta is classic frontier lore — riding the ridgelines where history, legend and folklore intersect. This kind of bandit legend has existed probably as long as people have sat around fires and told tall tales. Joaquin’s story happened to coincide with the explosion of mass media (and media spectacle), so he got modern dead celebrity treatment as well as the more traditional ballad-hero treatment.
It’ll take me a while to get to this — I have Pontiac’s War to fight, after all. But get to it I will, because who can resist an outlaw tale well told?