First published in 1854, “The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta” is the thrilling Gold Rush tale of a wild outlaw by Cherokee author John Rollin Ridge. Originally written under his Cherokee name Yellow Bird, Ridge’s embellished story of real-life Mexican bandit Joaquín Murieta was instantly popular and soon translated into several languages. Ridge tells the story of Joaquín as a young and idealistic man who moves to California from Mexico with his family in search of gold and is quickly shown the cruel and violently racist side of American culture. With his wife attacked, his farm stolen, and his brother murdered, Joaquín vows revenge on the racist mob and becomes a violent outlaw with a large following of loyal bandits. Joaquín and his gang reach a near mythic status until the community and Legislature organized to create the California Rangers bring the outlaws to justice. Eloquent, brutal, and engrossing, Ridge’s novel is notable for being the first by a Native American as well as one of the first novels set in California. It also inspired countless imitations and legends and endures as a great American story of injustice and revenge.