PRICE 10 CENTS . . . . . . . ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME
MORE ABOUT DEATH VALLEY SCOTTY (SEE PAGE 4)
PACKET TWO OF POUCH SIX
THE CONTENTMENT PACKET
PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR
ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
Good Old Desert FunPAGE 2
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one.
Packet 2 of Pouch 6
Published at Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, California
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS 10¢ A COPY
But sometimes they don't have them.
ONE YEAR BY MAIL—FOUR COPIES 50¢
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing.
10 Years ................... $5.00
100 Years ................$50.00
Something to think about!
H A R R Y O L I V E R
1888 — 1999
Fort Commander and General Factotum
Laureate of Desert Nonsense
Finder of Lost Mines and Minds
Father of Desert Nonsense
Alcalde of Ghost Towns
Slave of Desert Animals
Editor (and Keeper of
the Magic three
One could be smarter than most people and still be nuts. —Gordon Stuart
Aleene Anderson of Alameda, California, writes: Opening up your paper is like blowing up a balloon. The pages get bigger and bigger and then at the end of page four "BANG" and I have to hunt all over for page 5. Good reason for another bullet hole in your paper with a balloon exploding around it.
Neil Lidstone of Las Cruces, New Mexico, writes: My DRSB arrived today and I placed it in my shirt pocket and took it home. I was promptly called on the carpet for having lipstick on my shirt. I explained it was from the red X on your paper. I was advised that SHE knows lipstick when she sees it and knows also that Harry Oliver does not use lipstick. So please make my next X Blue.
On the cover of this packet you see the happy staff of this paper (not a good speller in the lot) but lots of contentment, for we laugh at each others jokes.
On the wall you see a record of the Desert Fun Shows I have staged over the years. The taste for this type of fun was started in 1935 when you Editor staged Gold Gulch at the California Pacific International Exposition at San Diego.
"The Rip Roarin'est Mining Camp since '49" as designer, producer and director of the twenty-one acre Old West Mining Camp. I'd received so much publicity; the following tells the tale of the fun I had.
WILL ROGERS SAYS
From Bill's Sunday column, May 19, 1935
Yes, but we haven't got enough with that spirit. We talk more independence than we practice. Here is an interesting letter from an old friend of mine, Harry Oliver. He was art director for our movie company (Fox). That's the man that arranges all the "Sets." That's the houses and scenes that we shoot. Well, he is quite a desert rat, and has a place away out on the desert and he is head of the big amusement place called Gold Gulch at the big San Diego Exposition, which you don't want to miss. It's going to be a big fair. He is putting on a "Mule Swearing Contest." That is its prizes for the man that can cuss a mule the best or worst. They are importing real Missouri mules. He has a lazy dog contest, where there is handsome prizes for the laziest dog, including the owner.
Then he has a special contest just for residents from Florida, who can tell the biggest lie about California, (or maybe it won't be a lie, but the Californians will call it a lie). I can't imagine what it would be if it was a lie. California is a hard state to lie about.
My Desert Shows
I have been acused of "Barnumizing" the desert. I think to be so accused is a great compliment. Old P. T. Barnum had Jumbo, largest elephant, Tom Thumb, smallest man—I have a Burro, Dog, Crow, Pack Rat, Cat, Tortoise and an audience of Praying Mantis, Vinegaroons, Lizards, Scorpions, Centipedes, Jerusalem-Crickets and Sidewinders.
Yes I think our show is good as desert shows go, (it's home talent). Old "Burr" the Buzzard has each spring applauded it and he gets to see a lot.
I always get a kick out of seeing a bashful Sidewinder come in late and go down the aisle when only the "PAW and CLAW Lights" are on.
When the Annual Cricket or Caterpillar Conventions are on we put on three shows a night. (Gee we got to, if we didn't they would eat up the scenery.)
I have tried shows with people in the desert but I always come back to my animals, they have so much more imagination, shows with desert people are not so good, they just want to do the same thing over and over till all lose interest in it. I look at it this way, when an animal gets his belly full he is not greedy, people are greedy for applause and unearned credit even after their belly is full.
Drop in some evening and see our home show, "Sin" our leading Lady winked at a "Stage Door Johnny Cat" and I have 98 requests for kittens, (Colossal) I say.
Back to the picture on the cover, Historians of the Desert have the facts, dates and rules of my Peg Leg Show, Flapjack Show and the Hermits Convention.
What we the staff of this paper want to ask, is, don't you think the spelling is getting better?
Death Valley Naturalist, Keller, trys to tell me my pet Crow is a Raven — but until I hear of a Raven Distillery Company he is going to stay just plain "OLD CROW."
I must keep alive the myth that I do lots of drinking. I want only to stay right here in this Old Adobe Fort, I do not want to build Adobe homes for others, or work with the many people that flutter in and just know they have a great idea (but really don't have anything.)
So as I figure it, if I get a reputable reputation as a devotee of Bacchus, some will pass me by—others may bring a bottle, (It's sure worth some sober thought.)
It's the truth and not my lies that get this Editor in Dutch.
Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is quite so satisfying as an income tax refund.
—From the Liquid Line
My Dog Whiskers
The Best Dog I Ever Worked for
Whiskers has been picketed for the last two months. "Sin" my cat is the ringleader. (Sin is the only female here at the Fort.) She has a way, she won over "Colonel Haveashot" my Old Crow with her sharp tongue, and "Hopalong Pushidy" my old desert tortoise—they claim "Whiskers" gets the best spot on the Editorial page and gets more space than they do, acting just like people they are.
To keep peace in the family whiskers' story has been blue penciled this packet, he and I are sorry.
One skunk to another: I just ain't got it anymore. Somebody musta slipped me a slug of chlorophyll.
As I blow my own whistle I try to cover the pucker.
Some of these Jokes will live 100 years—some already have.
He called a spade a spade—till he fell over one. Arthur Godfrey—we call them shovels and muck-sticks, so like most Radio Jokes it's no good for this paper.
Life has sure changed here at Old Fort Oliver. I used to jump out of bed as soon as I awoke in the morning. Now as I open my eyes I see "Sin" my cat on the foot of the bed. Then as I think of the simple but genuine pleasure I did have in getting up, I lay back thinking as how "Sin" is now in charge of that department. Yes, I don't even set the mouse traps any more.
THE DESERTS MOST QUOTED PAPER Page 3
Crazy mixed-up kittens. If there is anything a cat hates, it is to be called Kitty. Cats are given names like Robert and Ming-Toy and Ginger. But cats know they will always be called Kitty in the clutch. This is a terrible situation. Cat is most individualistic animal, but is treated like an Army buck private. I realized this sharply the other 5 p.m. when calling my cat home for tea. I started yelling, "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty." At the same time, Mrs. Brunton was calling her cats and Jeremy Wire was calling his clowder. We were all calling "Kitty," like traveling salesman yelling "George" for the pullman porter.
Up until time he was domesticated by the Egyptians, cat was as gregarious as the dog. Then the Egyptians got calling all cats the Egyptian equivalent of Kitty. Cat has been coldly aloof ever since. A cat named Charles gets might tired of being called Kitty.
Cat is a fine hunter. But pink coated riders who yelled "Yoicks" at a clowder of cats would find themsleves abandoned at the first hedge. Beagles are different. they like to do everything in a pack. If a beagle were a man, he would try to join the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, The Rotarians, The Optimist, the Republicans and the Democrats. But if people started calling every Beagle "Rover," the way every cat is called "Kitty," it would only be a matter of time until the Beagle became a lonely, introspective animal, inclined to star enigmatically into space and to walk alone at night.
—Laguna Beach Post
Why we have so many temporary chairmen
"If a man's curve of efficiency is ascending at 45, and keeps on ascending just after that period, it may well move upward for his whole life; but if there is a turn downward at 45, he will never recover.
—Nicholas Murray Butler
The Trade Rat or Pack Rat has the face of a gentile rabbit or chinchilla, a long, bushy squirrel-like tail, round ears and eyes like a girl from New Orleans.
PACKRAT SOLVES FUEL PROBLEM
A story from Goldfield. This winter's fuel problem is all settled for Jack Clark, miner-prospector. Out at his lonely cabin in the Ellendale hills, a packrat for years kept him in kindling. Every morning when Jack went into the kitchen to start his breakfast fire, he would find a nice bundle of dry sagebrush at the back door—just enough to kindle a blaze. When he moved to town he figured his wood-carrier would abandon the habit—but he didn't. When Jack went out to the cabin recently he found almost two cords of kindling wood neatly stacked at the back door.
Should a man desire complete solitude, let him adhere strictly to the truth.
Lem is going to give us a Column (or at least this is one) I hope there will be more. In past packets you will remember Lem's sayings. He sez, worst part of doing nothing is—you can never take any time off.
There are two days about which no one should ever worry—yesterday and tomorrow.
Lem most lost his face a'tryin' to keep his nose on the grindstone and his chin up at the same time.
The easiest way to be rich is to cut down on your desires.
Lem's facts re not hackneyed, trite or moth-eaten facts but you will find them different from most facts now in common use.
It won't be long before it'll be too cold to do that job it was too hot to do last summer.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then stop, after all there's no use being silly about it.
If one can accomplish a given task as well tomorrow as today, do it tomorrow for judgement should be more matured.
Lem used my magic three dollar shears on that last one.
EDITOR'S NOTE—Packet Two of Pouch One is a rare copy with the Collectors. I printed it in the early winter of 1946—It sold out in no time. It had in it John Hilton's fabulous "How to be a Desert Rat and Like It,"—also Don Blandings' poem "The Desert." Don tells me I may print his poem again. I think Don has put the Desert Rat into words as no one ever has before. Here it is—see if you do not agree with me.
By DON BLANDING
(From his book "Drifter's Gold")
Dodd, Mead and Company, New York
A land may be mighty ornery, as bleak as a skull's stark dome,
But there'll be a man to claim it and love it and call it "home."
You may travel in the desert as far as you dare to go
Where the mesas hold up Heaven, where cactus and sagebrush grow,
Where the only sounds that greet you are the rattlesnake's castanets
And the coyotes' lonely howling as haunting as old regrets,
A hundred miles from Nowhere you'll come on a lonely shack,
The home of a desert hermit, A Fellow-Who-Won't-Go-Back.
Whatever it was he fled from he has found a glad release
And the desert asks no questions of the man who seeks its peace.
His friends are a dusty burro named Emmaline, Mildred or Sue,
And the dancing mad dust-devils and a prairie dog or two.
He talks to the vast, calm silence and sometimes talks to himself,
or carries on conversations with a photograph on a shelf.
He will trudge to the nearest station to purchase a month's supplies
And sit around with some cronies swapping collosal lies.
He may get him a painted woman and a bottle of bootleg gin
For a night of wild carousal and uninhibited sin.
But the dawn will find him headed for the distance-hidden goal
Far out in the burning desert in his shack by the waterhole.
And every mile that he trudges will be like a cleansing bath
And every step will be joyous as he follows the homeward path.
One day the buzzard will circle and the burro will wander back
Down the hot rough trail to the station, while the little abandoned shack
Will stare from its empty windows into the wind-swept dawn
And the lonely heart of the desert will know that a friend has gone.
The bones of the man will crumble under the sun's white fire
But his dust will rest contented in the land of his heart's desire.
Kinsey Report a Puzzle
My staff censored Dr. Kinsey's new book before I had a chance to read it. "Sin" my cat purrs as she sleeps along side of it. "Whiskers" my dog gave it one sniff, but "Colonel Haveashot" (that's what I call my pet "Old Crow")—it was he that did the censoring. He can make my $3.00 shears look like 15c and did, he has tucked choice bits from its many pages on the type cases, book case and I found this line torn and folded roughly in an ice cube "Does a frigid woman make a good mother?—puzzle—I'll say it is,—how did that Crow get into the ice box? And after I put that rubber band on his beak too.
DOWN IN COCHISE COUNTY
By George Bideaux
Easy Come, Easy Go—Brewery Gulch Gazette
He saved his money
For sixty years,
And now he's gone
From this vale of tears;
And his saving gladden
The wild, free life
Of his spendthrift
Nephew's second wife.
"Keep It Cold If You Like It Hot
Label on a bottle of horse-radish
That boy Pat Chancey is in a bad way — lost his girl. She was working at the second "Last Chance Saloon," (the first Last Chance Saloon burned down a year ago.)
Chancey one night made up his mind to ask his girl to marry him so he shaved, got all dressed up and went out to the "Last Chance" to ask her. He had waited too long. The little lady was fed-up with "belated chances." She had circled the town coming in on the North Road, had up and married the keeper of the "First Chance Saloon."
—From Buffalo, via Ralph Story
POCO LOCO LOCALS
Thermal ranchers are humorously angry about the activities of "Augerino," a malevolent subterranean creature whose sole mission in life is to let the water out of irrigation ditches. This imaginary animal is described as an enormous corkscrew - shaped worm, which drills a helical burrow a few feet under the surface, and lines its hole with silica to prevent caveins. According to reports, the "Augerino" moves very slowly; is immune to all poisons and weapons; and cannot change its course. (Always towards Salton Sea.) I asked Editor Ward Grant of Coachella, about the thing. He said, "No person living in the valley will admit to having seen an 'Augerino,' but the creatures are still supposed to be living, for Hell the ditches still leak, don't they?"
My museum of the "Dramatic Struggle of the Desert Pioneers" will not be complete until I have a stuffed "Augerino" hanging on the wall at old Adobe Fort Oliver and I ask that if one is unearthed I be notified.
THE WET DUST-DEVIL
It took Kenny Brott his wife and two kids to tell me this lie.—As Kenny tells it they made camp about 2 miles from Salton Sea this summer, laying out their beds, they went for a swim in the Sea. They were surprised to see hundreds of tadpoles in the shallow water. Then a dust-devil came toward them, picking up dust, weeds and water. As the dust-devil passed over their camp it broke and dust and trash fell right on their camp, but looking from afar they say they saw hundreds of little parachutes landing all around their camp.
On hurrying to the camp they were again surprised to find it all in order, the Frog-Men-Paratroopers who had been tadpoles such a short time before, had tidied it up. Kenny Brott says, "That sure shows what our hot desert winds can do when they get to be whirlwinds.
Kenny admits he ran off the road on the way home.
Has it ever really rained fishes?
Yes. And it has also rained lizards, tadpoles, rats, snails and periwinkles—but this occurred only because a whirlwind picked up these creatures in the first place.
MULE DECIDES TO QUIT ARMY
FORT BENNING, Ga.—An old soldier, the last of his kind in the Third Army, has retired to putter in the garden.
Tom, a mule who lacks the traditional stubbornness of a cantankerous breed — has "cleared the post" here and departed to civilian pastures after a long military career.
Tom was the last of the Third Army mules. Until October, 1952, he had two companions. As a draft mule, Tom was one of the elite in Army muledom, but he never pulled his rank on his pack mule running mates.
"A 100 per cent gentleman," is what the men with whom he worked said of Tom behind his back. Of course, in recent years Tom's duties had been nothing more strenuous than pulling a garden cart.
Army mules, like all soldiers, have to take shots, and Tom got so he didn't seem to mind the giant needle.
"Just like an old soldier with 20 years service, he would walk right up and stand there with a sort of resigned expression on his face," a vet said.
Tom still has Army companionship. He was bought at auction by Col. R. J. Whatley of Columbus, Ga., retired.
There are those who scoff at the schoolboy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said: "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
THE MAIL POUCH
Something ought to be done about thermometers! At least about the ones to be used on the desert. They are made to register only 120 degrees. When we got home after our summer vacation all the thermometers in the house were floating around the ceiling. It had gone up far enough to push the thermometers high into the air and keep them there.
—Louise Eaton of Holtville
Harry—Years ago in the Indianapolis Star, Kin Hubbard (Abe Martin) wrote, "We had a contist at the hotel to see who had the most keys on his key-ring and the feller that won it lived in a tent."
—L. L. Lancaster, Pasadena
Dear Harry—I wish they would stop selling beer in round cans. The wind blows the empties all over the desert. It's messy. Why can't they sell beer in flat cans that the wind can't roll. They could fill them with flat beer.
Edward M. Hay, of Seattle, but the idea came to him while he was in Borego Desert.
A tourist asked Dry Wash, "How do you grow old so gracefully?"
"Madam," he said, "I just give all my time to it."
SAID THE EDITOR TO THE EDITOR
Two Sacramento duelists agreed to meet at dawn. "In case I am a little late," said the challenger, sorry he had started this, "don't wait, go ahead and shoot.
Any Western Motion Picture that has an old prospector in it, is destined for success.
A Cigar Store Indian was elected justice of the Peace in Allentown, New Jersey, back in 1883.
A wooden indian was placed on the ticket and elected by 7 votes over the incumbent Sam Davis.
Davis resigned with great indignation.
I know what I am going to do next time I don't like either Vice Presidential candidate.
4 Contentment Packet
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
Dusty was in with my month's supply of waterless soap—what a great help this soap would have been in the early days at Randsburg when water cost more than whiskey.
The Arabs wash with sand and palm oil—but they eat with one hand and use the other for all purposes.
Desert Rats use Dusty Miller's waterless soap for after you have packed a canteen some 15 or 20 miles that water is priceless, because it's just as far back to camp—and maybe a lot farther.
"Grandpappey, you're getting old and feeble. Don't you think you'd better go off to the poor house?"
"You're dadburned right, sonny. I'm a rarin'! Let's get goin!"
"OK, Grandpappy. But i can't understand why you're so anxious to go to the poor house."
"Poor house? Poor house? Ye gads—My mistake, Bub!"
—From the Liquid Line
PAISANO—meaning fellow citizen—is the Mexican name for our desert Road Runner. New Mexico has made him its state bird.
Old Timer, Alex Lamadrid, my neighbor, has a way with animals (my cat likes him). He tells me that Road Runners will have others kill their Rattlesnakes if they trust them.
Relating the time he was irrigating and a road runner came right up to him, worryn' an' making that Cockatoo noise and flapping her wings. She led him to a big diamond-back snake, she staying closer to him then was her habit till he killed the snake, then she went back to keeping her distance.
THE POWER OF PUBLICITY
Each year the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce puts on an energetic campaign to bring conventions to this part of the desert. They get the Dentists the Fertilizer Salesmen and many others. What they do not know is that their fine advertising campaign does not penetrate the minds of all at the same speed, and that is why the Crickets and Caterpillars have their conventions so late in the season.
Your Editor knows his bugs and the power of publicity.
Once I sent a college man down to Desert Bill to do some work on my homestead. Bill left him to work with a shovel, while he went for supplies. Returning at night he found him in tears. The reason? The young man said that he could not take the quietness and vast expanse of sunlit Desert. No trees, no sound, no people, and only sand and sunshine got on his nerves.
—Cabot Yerxa, Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH MANY?
By S. OMAR BARKER
Inviting trout streams often run through the mountain and foothill ranches of the southwest. A fisherman reported seeing the following sign tacked on a ranch gate post near a green, shady glade beside such a creek in New Mexico:
The land inside this gate and out
Belongs to ME without a doubt.
To picnics here I don't object,
You're welcome here your camp to pitch
Shut my gate, you --- -- - -----! ————!
From Desert Rat Scrap Book
THE BEST STORIES
OF 50 OLD TIMERS
Shortened to Shorter Than Short
and Packed into 36 Pages
Send 25c to Harry at Old Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, California
Two for 25c if one is sent to a
Alex Lamarid tells about the time he was at Coachella's "Rancho Sandy Corners" back in 1917 and had a sow name Jenny. She had 10 shoats, lost but one, he would watch her kill rattlesnakes — scolding her babies making them bunch up and go to the corner while she killed the snake, rooting a hole in the ground and carefully burying the snake so that the young would not find it. Pigs can be smart, and are.
This was not discovered with the aid of a Searchlight — however when the discoverer told some friends of his find—even showing some of the "Float" he was informed that he'd need a Searchlight to find any gold there. Well they found plenty̬the camp boomed for many years. The following mines, Quartette, Duplex, Sierra Nevada (the greatest producers) shipped many millions through Manvel (Barnwell California) until the Santa Fe Ry., built a branch from the latter to Searchlight. I guess you'd need a Searchlight to find much there now. Mostly a wide place in the road. A Bar-Hotel-Motel-Filling Station and a lot of diehards who hope to see a grand revival.
—Capt R. A. Gibson, Palm Springs
A drunk walked into the Owl Cafe and asked Slim Rifle for a drink of squirrel whiskey.
"Sorry," said Slim, "I haven't any squirrel whiskey but I can give you some Old Crow."
"No, that won't do," objected the drunk. "I just wanted to jump around a little."
Thanks to "Smoky Joe" of the Owl Restaurant—who swear's your Editor was the drunk.
In the days of '49 even a lazy man could do pretty well in diggins as rich as that. You take, for instance, one of these first comers, he was even too lazy to wash his drawers. To save himself the work of scrubbing them, he just tied them to a limb that overhung a little stream and let them dangle in the water. He figured, you see, that the current would wash them for him overnight. And the next morning when he come to fish them out, Lo and b' God! he found his drawers gold-plated.
Maybe the fool wasn't---
Some minerals that are called fool's gold might actually contain gold and in large quantities, where veins occur, but a fire assay is the only method used to find out.
—Says Calico Fred, Alcalde of Calico, Ghost Town
To be content with little is difficult, to be content with much—impossible.
I had no shoes and complained—until I met a man who had no feet. Arabian Proverb.
Truth, like gold, is where you find it. —Shailer
AS ONLY ONE EDITOR WOULD DO
As I finish sticking this edition together I realize there is a lot about animals in its pages, that's because I get mad at anything I just forget what ever it is i am mad at—"so not much about people." This however worked just the opposite in another way, there is also lots about drinking in this packet due to the fact I was short of money the last three months and I must have been thirsty. I could not drink it so I could but write of it.
It is great to know I can tell you this. If there were stockholders or a boss this would never get into print.
No one in any position with the largest Magazine or Newspaper has this power, (but I have) yet, for a while. If McCarthy asks me I will say I am for giving the country back to the Indians and the Animals. And I think my dog, burro and cat would like McCarthy.
Don't send to me for any more "Old Mirage Salesman"—$3.00—till I get money enough to get some more bound.
Book Shops Have Them
Golden Legends of a Fabulous Land
LOST MINES OF DEATH VALLEY
By Harold O. Weight
JUST OFF THE PRESS - $1.50
72 Pages—Many Illustrations
Two-Page Map of the Death Valley Country
By Norton Allen
Twentynine Palms, California
Prospector and Showman
From the book FIGHTING MEN OF THE WEST
By Dane Coolidge
Copyright, by E. P. Dutton & Co, Inc.
Also available in Bantam reprint edition
Only a piece of broken quartz, laced across with seams of gold, but the whole survey was called off. Every man from the chief engineer down set out to find the ledge from thich the worn pebble had come. They searched the mountains in every direction, but foxy Walter sat down and sketched the landmarks on both sides. He kept his map a secret, and also his purpose to come back and trace the ore to its source; but after the party broke up he had no money to buy an outfit and drifted back to Humboldt Wells.
In this town, now called Wells, there was an amiable lady who had half-adopted the homeless boy; but after visiting a few days he took charge of a horse-outfit which belonged to a newly divorced wife. This woman and her husband had quarrelled and separated, he taking most of the cattle and she the horses, which still occupied their old home range. Under the new arrangement the woman had very few cows so Scotty, who had to eat, soon formed the habit of beefing one of the ex-husband's yearlings. But the Cattlemen's Association took cognizance of this lapse and he was arrested while in the act of skinning a calf, the branded hide being kept as evidence.
Now Scotty knew that, if he ever faced a jury, that hide would send him to the pen; but it was locked up in the vault in the sheriff's office, neatly labelled Exhibit A. In this extremity Walter went to the lady who had been a sort of mother to him, and with the aid of her two daughters they framed it up to get rid of Exhibit A. The two girls were great friends of the sheriff's daughter and when they took her into their confidence she promised to do her share.
While her father was out to lunch the sheriff's daughter, with a bit of wax, took an impression of the key to the vault, which Scotty sent to Salt Lake. Then, while the key was being made, he combed the range for another calf with the same body-marks as Exhibit A. When he found one like it, but bearing his boss' brand, he killed the calf and dried the skin. The sheriff's daughter opened the vault and put the new skin in, removing Exhibit A, and that fall Scott came up smiling for his trial.
The District Attorney was out to make a record and he simply excoriated Scotty; but when at the end, he flashed Exhibit A his fine frenzy subsided to a grunt. Walter says he never saw a man look so sick in his life as that lawyer when he spied the new brand. It was the same old hide and had been identified by numerous witnesses, but now it bore Scotty's boss' iron. He knew something was wrong but he didn't know what, and that went for the sheriff, too. Young Scott was discharged and the girls never told anybody. They saved him from a term in the penitentiary.
Scotty had charge of this horse outfit for some time in which he learned to be a very good rider, being especially adept at quitting a bad bronk, when he turned a summersault or fell over backwards. At last a horde of sheep invaded their range and Walter was sent to burn a sheep camp. He did so, but when the boss told him to shoot up another camp Scotty called for his time and quit. He was not hired to do that kind of work, and especially for a puncher's pay. Three other men wer sent to shoot up the camp and all of them were ambushed and killed.
The sheep-war was getting pretty rank in Nevada, so Scotty drifted north into Idaho where he broke bronks for some time. These were wild horses, right off the range, and it took a good man to ride them; but Walter and a bow-legged partner from Nevada were able to hold down the job. When a scout from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show came out and brought some horses, he declined to accept them unless these two horse-wrastlers were sent along with the bunch. The men he had with him could not load them into the cars, so Scotty and his partner went East.
The Wild West Show at that time was showing in New Jersey, just across the river from New York, and when the Cossacks and colored soldiers tried to mount these new horses the attendance suddenly picked up. They bucked more men than the regular bronks, and Cody was staging a Roman holiday when his rough riders bowed up and quit. The crowd was there, their money was down, but the bronco-busters refused to perform.
Scott and his partner were right up in front, calling the Texans "yaller-bellied packs" and telling them they could not ride for sour beans, when who should ride by but Colonel Cody himself!
"Can you ride that horse?" he demanded of Scotty, pointing to a bronk that had thrown three men; and Walter came back at him promptly.
"I ain't hired to ride him," he answered.
"Well, you ride him and you're hired," returned Buffalo Bill; and Scotty leaped into the arena.
The horse was a crazy-headed outlaw, with a trick of throwing himself over backwards or dashing against the wall; but Scotty was adept at quitting bad horses and he swung up and gave him the gaff. The bronk pitched and bucked, he tried to throw himself backwards but was hit between the ears with Walter's quirt. Then, bawling with rage, he started down the track towards the wall of a big brick building. Scotty rode him to the last jump, stepping neatly off as the outlaw smashed into the wall, breaking his nek and falling back dead.
Right there Scotty's career as a showman began—also that of his bow-legged friend. Buffalo Bill fired the two men who had refused to ride and took on the twin terrors from Idaho. In a short time they were top hands and members of the Bix Six, who ran it over common "yaps" from Texas. It was rough work, but Scott liked it. He was a grown man now, and strong. When he mounted a bad bronk he laughed and gave it the spurs while in a big, bull voice he shouted the coarse witticisms of the range. Riding outlaws was his business, he had done it by day's work; but now he knew the plaudits of the crowd.
After the show was over, men and women sought his acquaintance—men of wealth and leaders in society—and Scotty had the brains to meet and converse with them intelligently. He was a smart man with a real intellect, though entirely self-educated, and a most entertaining talker; but though he made these connections he took no advantage of them, for wealth and influence were nothing to him. All the time he was saving money from his salary to go back and find the lost mine.
Out of his $250 a month he saved $800 the first year, and when the show closed down for the winter he went back to Death Valley to prospect. With the aid of his map he finally located the place where the single piece of float had been found, but though he prospected all winter in the mountains above he failed to find its source. For eleven years he rode in the Wild West Show, saving his money to carry on his quest, but every season he failed. Other men were finding gold in those same jagged mountains—rich ore, but in small gash-veins. The Man of Mystery could find nothing at all.
When Goldfield was discovered he was one of the first on the ground but did not even stake a claim. He drifted into Mexico and became a timber boss at Cananea, he wandered around over the West; but not until he lost his show job did he make a business of prospecting. It was about 1900 when, reporting for duty late, he found that Colonel Cody had dismissed their old ringmaster—and fired the boss cowboy, to boot. With two other old-timers, Scotty made a protest and Cody fired them all. He would show them, he stated, who was running his show; but later, when it was too late, he tried to hire them back.
Dead broke in New York and out of a job, Scott cast about for some person of wealth that he could touch for $50. He had known many rich men whose love of horses had drawn them to the training quarters, but he had forgotten all their names. The best one he could think of for a touch was a tall man with a black moustache who had offices in the Flatiron Building. So, on the off chance of seeing him pass in or out, he went an stood by the elevator and here luck played right into his hand.
The elevator starter, with the trained instinct of his kind, instantly recognized him and called him by name; and when Scotty mentioned the gentleman with the black moustache the starter knew him, too. He was Julius Gerard, vice president of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, and he had moved into their imposing new building. Scotty ran all the way up there and stood by the elevator until his man came in. Gerard knew him at once and took him up to the offices, where he enquired if there was anything he could do for him. Scott mentioned the fifty and Gerard handed it over, then asked about his plans for the future. Scotty said he had been out in Nevada, where the great mining boom was on, and was thinking of going back and prospecting.
"I wouldn't mind taking a flier at the mining game, myself," said Gerard. "If you'll sign a grubstake contract, which I'll have my lawyer draw up, we'll go in together, fifty-fifty."
Scotty was so broke that he would have signed his own death warrant for the $3500 agreed upon, and he signed the legal paper without reading the fine print or paying much attention to its contents. All he knew was he was being grubstaked and that Gerard was to back him in return for half of what he found. He hurried back to Death Valley and prospected for three years, paying particular attention to the high mountains on both sides, which were rich but unbelievably rough.
A veil of mystery hangs over those three years, but at the end of that time he went back to Gerard and reported he had failed, after spending about $8000. But he promised, when he got a stake, that he would repay every dollar he had used.
"No, no," answered Gerard, "you don't owe me anything. That was part of the bargain, according to our contract, and it is perfectly all right with me."
This was very sporting on the part of Mr. Gerard, although he may have had his suspicions; but in case a mine showed up later he was protected by the terms of his contract. Being broke, Scotty now went to see E. H. Harriman, whose friendship he had won by fitting out his son for a Western riding trip. Mr. Harriman received him cordially and gave him a pass, with everything paid to San Francisco; but at Chicago Scott got off to hunt up another grubstake.
There was an old millionaire he knew who had fallen in love with a cowgirl in the Bill Show, and while trying to find him Scotty recognized in a mounted policeman a former cowboy friend. He directed him, not to the millionaire, but to the cowgirl, who was then in town; and she in turn passed him on to another millionaire, who had a little more sporting blood in his veins. This millionaire was interested, but not strong enough to bite—and so Scotty was handed on to Albert M. Johnson.
Johnson was a man six feet in height, whose back had been broken in a railroad accident and fastened together with silver wire. But even at that he was a better man then most and he took to Scotty from the start. After taking him to his home—and to see the fashionable pastor who appeared barefooted before his congregation while denouncing them for wearing fine apparel — a little business conference was held which was very satisfactory to both. Johnson gave him $20,000 for a starter, and Scotty headed back to New York to call on Julius Gerard.
"How much money do I owe you on that grubstake?" he enquired and right there Mr. Gerard smelled a rat.
"You don't owe me a cent," he replied. "We took a chance and we picked a bloomer. You owe me nothing."
"Well, I spent your money and I want to pay it back." And with this Scotty pulled his roll.
"Not a cent!" repeated Gerard. "But—if you locate a mine I claim half of it, under our contract. And by the way, where did you get all this money?"
"I stole it!" bawled Death Valley Scotty insultingly; but that got him nowhere with the millionaire. He was tied up hard and fast with his grubstake contract, and from then on it was war to the knife. It was the contention of Gerard that the rich mine, reported later, from which Scotty got the gold which he squandered, had been discovered during the life of his contract and therefore belonged half to him. Scott's grim retort was that the mine was unrecorded and if he found it could have it all. According to popular report, Gerard took him at his word and had him trailed for many years, but without finding any mine.
(To Be Continued)
Bill King Says of Guy Bogart
Dr. Bogart is an authority on Cats, fact is, he lives like a cat—only he lives all 9 lives at one time. Today with one of his lives, he's on the radio, KFOX (Our Cats). He put over Oak Glen and Cherry Valley. The Boston Herald calls him "The Cats' Attorney." He heads the Animal Birth Control. Is President of National Cat Week, Founder of Cherry Festival. President of the Holland Society. For 26 years director of Easter Sunrise Services. Mayor for 25 years. Bill says, "You can't stop at 9—Guy just plain does everything that needs doing.
One unique incident of Calexico's pioneering centered abut the only cat race in America that has come to my attention in a wide reading of cat literature. Dr. Peterson tells about it—in the days of his Blue Tom:
"Two railroad ties had been placed at a distance of a hundred feet from each other. Into each tie two spikes were driven four feet apart. From these spikes two stout cords, drawn taut, extended from one tie to the other. At the east end of the cords crouched two frightened cats, a white and a black one named "Blackie" in honor of his master. Neither of them looked as though they shared in the least the enthusiasm of the crowd. On each cat had been fitted a little jacket, similar to those worn by organ grinders' monkeys. Each jacket had rings fastend in front and rear, and through these two rings ran the cords. Thus the cats could move towards the west only and along their own cords.
"Each owner held a tiny switch with which he was to give his own cat one blow at a given signal, and thereafter the animals were to be left entirely to themselves. Soon all was ready. The signal was given, the blows were dealt and the hush of expectancy spread through the group.
"A blow in the rear will start anything but a government mule. Evidently Blackie had something of the characteristics of the mule, especially in his indifference and insensibility to rear attacks. After receiving the blow he immediately went into reverse, backing up against the tie and refusing to go ahead. He did take the blow, however, as a signal for action and began a vigorous struggle to extricate himself from the jacket.
"Whitie had no compunction about advancing. He acted on the first impulse which was to escape the switch. Surprise and consternation was plainly depicted on his face—surprise that he should be struck at all and consternation that his master should be the one to do it. Never in his life had he received harsh treatment from him. He lunged to the right and then to the left, making slight progress forward with each movement. He soon made the delightful discovery that the farther he got from the tie behind him, the greater was the range from right to left. He continued this course, evidently thinking it would lead to ultimate freedom. He had no scruples about escaping from his master now.
"He had made two-thirds of the distance in what seemed almost no time. He had not yet discovered, however, that his range right and left was being restricted again as he approached the other tie. Excitement was mounting and bets on Whitie were being doubled and even trebled. Those who had been weak-kneed at first stepped bravely forward to bet on a sure thing.
"In the rear things were going badly. Blackie would do nothing but struggle to get out of his jacket. His master coaxed and cajoled; he pleaded with him; but he could do nothing else for he was not allowed to touch him.
"But it was a forlorn hope. No possible chance now for Blackie to win, even if he got down to work and made unlooked-for strides; his handicap as too great. Blackie the master gave up in despair.
"Just then, however, when all seemed lost, Blackie broke loose from his jacket. Escape was now uppermost in his mind—but where? To the rear was out of the question, to either side wa equally impossible, flanked, as it was, by an unbroken line of spectators. The front only was open and clear and down along the line went Blackie like a streak of lightning, passing over the farther tie eight feet ahead of Whitie.
"Blackie the cat did not stay to be feted. He had pressing engagements at home."
I wish I had thought of such a way to guide a race back in 1948 when "Dusty Waller's" Gila Monster beat my "Salton Sea Sue" in our big race over at Phoenix.
Bearded, six foot two, rugged, and rough is old timer Desert Steve Ragsdale, he don't like drunks, and he don't like dogs. (My dog Whiskers don't believe he dislikes dogs, and I am inclined to doubt it too.)
What few people know is that if all that could, would only do as steve has, a great many more physically handicapped folks would find a happy place in this world.
"Time waits for no one, but leaves a tale behind."
Men who have much to say use the fewest words.
Re: the old Indian Prayer on page 2 of your last issue—
I have had my friend the Indian—(Eugene Younghawk) translate it into the Sioux.
"O Wakantanka, Wicasa Kaga heniya
Tuwa wicasa yaco makiyiye sni ye
Tokaya winum ecel Tahenpe ogna
Mawani na he hani hecetu kte."
—Eldon J. Cook—Hamilton Air Basel
One day over in Imperial County a large desert turtle limped into the midst of a party of surveyors having their lunch. This lack of fear of the human being was surprising until the men noticed the turtle's awkward gait.
A cactus bur the size of a walnut had bedome lodged in the groin of a hind leg, making every step a painful proceeding. A pair of pliers was used to remove the bur. Then the turtle want on about his business.
These stories contain pure desert RICICULUM.
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Captain Catnip Ashby, says, the difference between City Folks and Desert Rats is that City Folks watch the passing thousands of smog making cars and wonder where tuey are going and why?
The Desert Rats look at the millions of stars in sky, and can tell you the earth go's around because there's nothing to stop it. But like the great scientists will tell you it's a mystery how it got started in the first place.
Back Copies Become Collectors' Items—Collectors' Prices
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These prices are what dealers get. I sell all back packets at 10c as long as I have them in stock, at the present time I have about 7 or 8 on hand, but you should keep you copies for as time goes on, they are going to be worth even more, your Editor.
Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
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THE PONY EXPRESS
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Published Monthly at Placerville,
California, Formerly Hangtown
FUNNY ABOUT WIT AND HUMOR
Your Editor gathered the words of the great, but after reading them all thinks he will go back to his old hit and miss method.
Humor like history, repeats itself.
Wit is the gift of penetrating things without becoming entangled in them.
Humor is telling the exact truth then going one step farther.
The minute a thing is overtragic it is funny.
Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide.
I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that is in other men.
Probably the world's greatest humorist was the man who called "installments" "easy payments."
Wit consists in knowing the resemblance of things which differ, and the difference of things are alike.
It was Irvin Cobb who said, "A good story teller is one who has a good memory and hopes no one else has.
I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that is in other men.
Geniius is the transcription of hal'ucination.
There is very few good judges of humor, and they don't agree.
The fellow who thinks himself a wit is usually half right.
Man is the merriest species of the creation; all above or below him are serious.
Truth is stranger than fiction—but all cluttered up with details.
The most valuable sense of humor is the kind that enables a person to see instantly what it isn't safe to laugh at.
The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays that part.
A man without mirth is like a wagon without springs, in which one is caused disagreeably to jolt by every pebble over which it runs.
—Henry Ward Beacher
I say, Uncle Lucky you are sleeping in the noonday sun, it's not good, better get in the shade and laugh, the new Desert Rat Scrap Book came today. We are sure glad you took care of that RED X.
I have absolutely no record of ever making a cactus laugh.
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.