The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

in 1871, apparently reformed, he followed his childhood sweetheart
and future wife from Goliad to the Pendencia Community near Carrizo
Springs. There local ranchers hired him to protect them from ma-
rauding Mexican bandits. Soon realizing that more money could be
made in ranching, Fisher established his own spread, offered sanctuary
to countless cutthroats who returned the favor by rustling cattle for
the rancher, and ruled the region like a medieval lord. Incongruous
though it may seem, he was nevertheless liked and respected by the
local citizenry which was somehow convinced of his basic honesty.
In 1881 Fisher justified this faith by reforming. He later became
deputy sheriff of Uvalde County and, at the time of his death, was
the leading candidate for the position of sheriff. On March 11, 1884,
he was in San Antonio on business when he met an old friend, ex-
lawman Ben Thompson. Thompson, who had made numerous enemies
over the years, was ambushed that evening in the Vaudeville Variety
Theater; Fisher, an innocent bystander, was killed in the cross fire.
Fisher and Dykes, without fully resolving the conflicting opinion,
have provided a fast-moving, colorful biography which is marred only
by the injection of notes into the text and the lack of an index.
Texas Technological College JIMMY M. SKAGGS
The Wagonmasters. By Henry Pickering Walker. Norman (University
of Oklahoma Press), 1966. Pp. 295. Illustrations, maps, biblio-
graphical notes, index. $5.95.
In 1866 Colorado alone imported 104,000,000 pounds of wagon
freight: food, clothing, machinery, building material, and government
stores. Between the 182o's and the 188o's long distance freighting was
a big business west of the Mississippi River. Hundreds of ox and
mule-drawn wagons crisscrossed the prairies and plains carrying mer-
chandise to thriving towns along the main trails and to dozens of
remote mining camps, army posts, and agricultural settlements scat-
tered from Montana to Texas. Only a few writers, however, have told
the story (and then only part of it) of the mule skinners, bull whackers
and "lowly wagon-freighter[s]" who "carried the lifeblood of great
movements in the west."
The Wagonmasters, by Henry Pickering Walker, assistant editor of
Arizona and the West, is the first comprehensive history of freighting
on the high plains during the great days of wagon commerce. The

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed July 12, 2014.