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The Hunt for Willie Boy: Indian-Hating & Popular Culture Paperback – September 15, 1996

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the popular imagination, the clash of Native American nations with Europeans is seen as a series of battles and massacres, of large events. History operates on much smaller increments, as Sandos and Burgess demonstrate in their study of an incident in California in 1909. A Chemehuevi Indian, Willie Boy, killed another Chemehuevi and kidnapped his daughter, whom he later also killed. Indian-on-Indian crime did not attract much attention in those days, but white law-enforcement officials decided to make a lesson of Willie Boy, whose "violence exemplified a 'return to savagery' of a supposedly assimilated Indian." Hunted by a huge posse, Willie Boy died by his own hand. But during the manhunt, sheriffs removed dozens of Indian families from their oases "for their own protection." Those families would never return.

From Publishers Weekly

The accepted story, embellished over an 80-year period, was that Willie Boy, a Paiute-Chemehuevi Indian, killed an Indian man in 1909 in a drunken rage and abducted the victim's daughter. The pair fled on foot into the California desert, pursued by a posse. When the young woman fell behind, Willie Boy shot her. Later, he encountered a second posse; in the ensuing gunfire, he turned his last bullet on himself. In 1960, Harry Lawton wrote a novel, Willie Boy: A Desert Manhunt , which was the basis for a 1969 film starring Robert Redford ( Tell Them Willie Boy Was Here ). Sandos, a history teacher at the University of the Redlands in California, and Burgess, director of the Redlands public library, search for the real event in order to contrast it with the novel and film accounts. They interviewed members of both Indian families and here tell the story of Willie Boy from an Indian perspective. This account denies that he was drunk, claims that the first killing occured during a struggle over the gun and attributes the young woman's death to one of the posse's leaders. Scholarly in tone, this is an absorbing work of ethno-historical research. Illustrations.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (September 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806128437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806128436
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,865,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My being half American Indian, (My dad is a full-blooded Cherokee Indian). I thought I would like this book. The two authors offer many different alternatives of what could have been the reasons of why Willie did what he did. They base nothing on fact, only on hypotheses. They continually refer to a movie, Robert Redford starred in. The film's title was 'Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here', made in 1969. The film was done entirely for entertainment, as movies were made in that era. The book keeps referring to the movie, and mentions the entertainment it was meant for and not the true facts. Knowing that, why do these authors continually refer to the movie, with each new alternative they use. I thought this book would be very informative, instead it was very confusing and dull. To me, they didn't even research the subject before writing this book. I couldn't even finish it. Very disappointing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to waste your time than read this book. It uses as much conjecture as the Lawton book. It seems to have as it's purpose to make you sorry for being a white man. The authors even try to excuse Willie Boy for killing Old Mike. I thought I would get new insight into the real story but as everyone knows, the story is too old and no evidence exists to find out what really happened.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good follow up book to Willie Boy, A Desert Manhunt. It brings a new and different perspective to the realities versus the perception of what really happened.
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