Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Farce of the Tombstone Rangers

     Bloody and brutal was the conflict between the Apaches and the white settlers, but there was one episode of a farce. It occurred in 1883, when General Crook was organizing an expedition into Mexico against Geronimo.
     While Crook was organizing the expedition a party of barroom Indian fighters who called themselves the "Tombstone Rangers" and who were well fortified with bottled spirits, patriotically set out for San Carlos to massacre all the reservation Apaches. Before they reached the southern edge of the reservation, however, they ran out of both whiskey and courage. They continued on their way with diminished enthusiasm until they saw an old Apache man out gathering mescal. Fortunately for them he was unarmed; fortunately for him, when they shot at him they missed. He fled north while the Tombstone Rangers dashed in the opposite direction, having completed one of the least bloody "massacres" of the Apache wars. The organization, Bourke noted, "expired of thirst".
Reference: Donald E. Worcester, The Apaches, Eagles of the Southwest, University of Oklahoma Press, p  267 of the 1992 edition.

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