Dear Portal friends: Do you enjoy having history at your fingertips? We’ve appreciated your support over the years, and need your help to keep history alive. Here’s the deal: we’ve received a Challenge Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now it’s time to keep our word and raise matching funds for the Cathy Nelson Hartman Portal to Texas History Endowment. If even half the people who use the Portal this month give $5, we’d meet our $1.5 million goal immediately! All donations are tax-deductible and support Texas history: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Not Now

The Ransom of Red Chief





- - ' ' '-
,5, ,' -"+ +" .....
S 4 ~ ~ x~It

eTale of a Reformed Kidnaper

wait till I t ll x o . I' 'erll dowxnx
South, in .A. h. ma Hill luriscoll and
ny s if xhn this Iiclnalpi' idea st ru k "
I-. It was, ;as Bill afterward ri'x prssl el
it, "dtlrinlg a monwnllt of ( ,temp)ltaryl
in tlt al ariti ln"; but .. w didn't lind t hat t out till lIat r.
'he ie icatlt n d w n h II re. lt s li: Llla lll n l-cake, and
tilhd Sl mmiti , of ci si . It c mai d tI in aha tal i s <of as
und teh lrio s :uul si llli-sai slied aiat of peasantry It eer
c lstier- l aoutli d i t1a p l. it
till and no had a. joint capital of :IbouI six hmuir'd
lllI ;nl <, neeh,, just . thousand dolars no i
rilh. \V' talked h o (,r on the front ste s of the hotel.
')in u itiS; t refore', and fo o t aso s, dnap-
It talk abuut such t hin gs. tkne that Ini c ld 't
nutyvh , sn., l :a1-tisical lo thotuads and i diatribe or
We selected for our v ictint tlt only child of a[ promi nt
iizn unnW(I E[ hentzer rIst. The father was resp et-
bil' and litht, t mort,,gae fancier ant a stern, upright
,,hIecliou-plate paso o-r :ad fort closer. The kid was a bo\"
i ten, with bas-relitl' freckles, and h;tir th color' of the
-v ,.r of t ' ntgazine y tou buy at the nith -stand w\henl ,t

- I:
- .1

:lt to c tch :a trai . r i tl t it ti ur l that [' l:
'udd mlht down for a ransom of two thousanf dollars to
,nt. But wait till I tell ) tyu.
\iouti ltwo mlilets from Sun:alit was ai little mnoulntain,
'red xxith a dense cedar br:titke. o(n tIi r'earI elevation
.h1I't. talln t-s n ca< . There tve store provisions.
i I1t evtlin, al't'r suindtlnow . \t, drove in a lu,+rx past
. I , t '. . -

O .


' Ile, little boy!"says Pill. "'would you lilk to have a
ha- of tanl and a nice ride?"'
IIhe Io catches i:ill rnatly in thte e- with a piece of
"That \\ill cos( th i ld man an t1('a l. ive hundred
htt aloy put tup t ig t like a ei r -1t\i t i l iitm on
bear'; but, at ia.t, we ','ot him down in the bottom of the
uiry and dl'oV aa\. W\'( tool him up to th i ca\l and
I hitched i l hoise in thx- edati:r brakt(. AfteJr idark I dro-u
t le bu g y t o t h e l i t ti i i l la e t r e e m i l e s "- ' ,a v , wi i u r
we had hired it. and waletl back to the mountain.
Hill teas pastl cout'-lahaster o\-er the scr'atches- and
Iruiss on his fiaturei . 'l'h t'e was a fire burniing Ihihiiil
ti ' i ; i lit t ilte ent 'che of thei axe, and tht <o uta
watching g a pot of hbiliiug coffee, with two buzzari tail-
feathers stuck in his red hlai. He points a stick at me
\h.Ill conle up, txnd says:
' IIr ci urs'il iltafic , i , 1 dlare to eltter the camp of
ied (hiii', the t' t irror o the xiiins?
"!ie1 s a1 l right notw," says Bill, rollin" up is trousers
and examining some ,ruises on his shins. We'r payin
Indian. H 're ma nking iluffalo ill's show look like nilt -
lantern views of Palestinel in the
town hall. I'm Old lank, the Trap-
per, lied (hitef's captive. , and I'm
to he scalped at daiybrak. By
Gronimox! that kid c-an kick hard. l
SYes. sir, that o s.emed'l to be
having the time of his life. The fun
of camping out in a cave had made
hlim forget that }he was a captive
himself. He immediately christened
ni, Snake-cc,e the Spy, and aln-
nouncedtl that, when ]his braves re-
tuirnted froli the wariath,. I xwas to
1e broiled at the stake at the rising
of the sun.
Then wre had supper: and he:lli filled
i his mouth full ofi bacon and Iibread
a ritt x x 1 1 -'an d ip La n t o l t a l k . ei x
--' thin like this:
I- like this tine. I never camped
i .f .xi x A ix out before; but had a pet 'possum
.n : I nce, and I was nine last birthday.
u X ' x i l ' ate IO log tt( shoo Itat ate
speckled hen's eggs. Are there any
real Indians in these voods? I want
some more ravy. Ioes the trees
--t-i oing make the wind blow? e
had five puppies. that makes -our
nose so red. Itanlk? " fathr has
twice, Saturday v. I don't like, girls. You dassent catch
toads unless with a strin_. I)o oxen iake any noise
\Wh are oranges round" lI-te you got beds to sleep on
in this enave? Amos urray has got six toles. A parrot
can talk. hut a imonkcy or a fish can't. How many does it
take to make t\he"
t':very fewt minutes he would remember that he was a

then he would l](t out a xar--whoop t;hatI lll(l ()i ImOld hank,
th'Trapper, shiver. That boy had Bill terrorized from
" Ritedi Chief," says I to the kid, "would you like to go,
home1(' ? "
"o Aw, what for?" sas he. 1 don't lhave any fun at
home. I hate to go to school. I like to caml ot. Y(u
won't take m( hack home again, Snakle-ey,, xill You?"
"- Not right atway," says I. " 'We'll sta here in the cave
a xhi.'"
All ri h !" l sa s he. ''That'll be fine. I never had
s lih fun in all xi lift'.''
\t(' went x to bed about eleven o'clock. We spread down
some wide blankets andl quilts and )put Red Chief between
us. \e weren't afraid he'd run awat'. He kept us awlake
for three hours, jumping up andt reaching for his rifle and
screening: "list! pard," in mine and Bill's ears, as thel
fancied crackle w of a t\-ig or the rust l of a leaf revealed to
his young imaxinat ion thri stealthy apltlr'oach of the outlaw
handi. At last, I fill into a troulttd sup, and dr'eamtedx
that I had Ihetei kidnaped and chaine-d to a tree by a
ferocious pirate with red hair.
Just t a x daybreak, I was a\ akened b y a series of awful
screams firomn Bill. They weren't vells, or howls, or shouts,
or whoops, or yat\\ps, such as ou'tid expecilt firoml : nanly set
of x'ocal oi'gains they xiiere simply indecent, terrifying,
humiliating Screams, such as \omtn e'lit whn it1 they see
ghosts or cat erpilhlas. It's an awful thing to heal' a strong.
desperate, fat mniu scream incontinently in a cave at day-
I jumped up to see \\hat the matter xwas. ited Chief
w'as sitting on Bill's chest, with 011on hand twined in Bill':
hair. In the other hei ha the sharp ciase-knifte we used for
slicing bacon; and he \\as in'lustriously and realist ically
trying to take Bill's scalp, according to the sentence that
had h-lln pirolino nced upon hll im li e ( \(t nil )('fore.
Irot t'he kniif' aa Tl.oV l I t dti alnd mad(l him lit down
atain. But, from that mon hti Bill's spirit was broken.
x lie tild down on his si'de oif th btd,bLit hii' n(xver 'losd
an e('e( again in sleep as long as that boy \as with us. I
dozed off for a while, Ibut along toward sun-up i remem-
hered that Red ('hief hadl said I was to (be burnell d at the
stake at the rising of the stun. I wasn't t nervous or afraid
hut I sat up ant lit nxy pipe and leaned against a roc]ik.
'" What you getting' up so soon for, Sam ?" askiiti Bill.
Me?" says I. 'Oh, I got a kind of a pain in my
shoulder. I thought sitting up would rest it."
"You're a liar! " says Bill. ' You're afraid. You was
to be burned at sunrise, and ou xxas afraid he'd do it.
And he would, too, if he could find a match. Ain't it awful,
Sam? )o y ou think anbo idi will pay out money to get
a litti imI like that back home?"
''Sur.'' said. "A rowdy kid like that is just the kind
hat parents dolte on. Now, you and the Chief get up and
cook lbriikfast, while I go up on the top of this mountain
anti reconnoitre'"
I went up on the peak of the little mountain and ran nmy
eye over the contiguous \vicinity. ()ver toward Summit I
expected to siee tht sturrly y'ionanr- of thu, ila,- armeld
, " ii ''": ,. Im ',, h , : : ' . + - } . . . . . . .

x ~ -1
3 K r r-rI f
o, "
/'" :i
r' : : ,-::: :;" _


- ,

I I 1~13 _1 I I II III , I_-

: f .LrW^S zWE E W W B W R E '' r _ _.inu .?, ... ..... . ,......... . . _'~ " , w.

July 6, 1907


mouth of
the cave


Henry, O., 1862-1910. The Ransom of Red Chief. Philadelphia. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 4, 2016.

Beta Preview