The first novel to feature a Mexican American hero: an adventure tale about Mexicans rising up against U.S. rule in California, based on the real-life bandit who inspired the creation of Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and Batman
With a new foreword by Diana Gabaldon, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone and the rest of the Outlander series
An action-packed blend of folk tale, romance, epic, and myth, The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta tells the story of the Gold Rush-era Mexican immigrant Joaquín Murieta, whose efforts to find fortune and happiness are thwarted by white settlers who murder his family and drive him off his land. In retaliation, Murieta organizes a band of more than 2,000 outlaws--including the sadistic "Three-Fingered Jack"--who take revenge by murdering, stealing horses, and robbing miners, all with the ultimate goal of reconquering California.
The first novel written by a Native American and the first novel published in California, The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta speaks to the ways in which ethical questions of national security and racialized police violence have long been a part of U.S. history. This edition features excerpts from popular rewritings of the novel, including Johnston McCulley's first novel about Zorro, The Curse of Capistrano (also known as The Mark of Zorro).
Ridge's lively novel, originally published in 1854 and considered to be the first by a Native American, follows a real-life Californian bandit through a careening series of daring escapades. Mexican Joaqu n Murieta lives a quiet life until greedy Americans, emboldened by victory in the 1848 Mexican-American War, run him off his land and rape his wife. Focused entirely on vengeance, Joaqu n roams the countryside, amassing a huge herd of stolen horses, gaining followers among fellow downtrodden Mexicans, and robbing both white settlers and industrious Chinese miners. While his right-hand man, sociopathic Three-Fingered Jack, kills indiscriminately for pleasure, Joaqu n hints at an abandoned nobility with capricious acts of mercy and revels in his infamy while visiting towns in disguise. He unconvincingly explains his banditry as a way of financing a prosperous and peaceful retirement in the Mexican state of Sonora, but his actions have little logic. Finally fed up with the outlaws, the Californian government raises a posse lead by Capt. Harry Love to try to put an end to the gang and its slippery leader. There is some casual racism in the novel toward the Chinese and Native characters, but the novel is also humorous and a blast to read. This melodramatic, almost mythic tale holds appeal as both a historical artifact and an exuberant Western story.