Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More on Wild Bunch

I thought I had mentioned this before, but a quick glance through the few old blogs, showed that I hadn't. Anyway, it's not any earth-shaking gossip, or anything like that, but I will mention it now for the record.

I just posted a fictional piece about my run-in with Butch Cassidy, and in that appears one Oscar Beebe, Deputy Sheriff, as helping round up some of the Cassidy's gang. I thought I would throw that in as an extra tidbit. Oscar Beebe was an actual deputy in the town of Price and he did assist in the matter, and he had a rifle hanging on his wall that he received as an award. Being the husband of my mother's sister, Amanda Foote, I can vouch for this first hand, having once been threatened by that very same rifle.

It so happened that we walked through the pastures of Altonah, Utah, when I was just old enough to give my mom and dad alot of grief, like five or six years old, and my brother almost two years older, when my father, mother, brother and I paid that visit to Uncle Oscar and Aunt Mandy's house. I thought we were all going over for a friendly visit, since my mother wanted to see her sister about something. But, one of the first things my Pa did when we were comfortably seated was tell us about the rifle on the wall and asked Uncle Oscar to take it down and give us a closer look. As I remember, it was a fancy engraved barrel with a small plaque on it telling about the award. And after we had a good look at it, my Pa says, "Deputy Sheriff Beebe is going to shoot you with it, if you don't start behaving and quit making wild animals of yourselves, ain't you Oscar?" Of course, he played along with it, and said, "You damn right I will just the minute your Pa asks me to. I don't take any nonsense from anybody!" and he lifted the barrel. The gun wasn't loaded, but we didn't know that, and Oscar was dead serious about it.

My father said, "Now, sit down and behave yourselves, or I'll have him teach you a lesson."

We never made a peep all the time we were there. I was too scared to do anything.

Well, my dad was a practical joker all his life, and he was always pulling stuff like that, but that's the only time he was going to have us shot.

And that's the only time I saw Mr. Beebe. Aunt Mandy would come calling once in awhile, but always alone.

Mr. Beebe's part in the capture of a couple of the gang is related in "The Wild Bunch at Robber's Roost", by Pearl Baker.

A couple-three years after that, another uncle was telling me about the time he was in the barn helping his father milk or some such thing, feed, etc., when Butch Cassidy and Sundance stopped at their place for the night. They were hungry and tired, and heading back to Brown's Hole. Anyway this uncle told me that Butch's pistol was about a foot long and he kept his hand near the butt all the time they sat there on their horses waiting for an invite. His father finally told them to get down and take a load off and he'd bring them something to eat, but they would have to sleep out here in the barn, we don't have any extra beds with my son's family here. Butch said that would be fine, and they wouldn't bother anybody in the house and would leave early in the morning. The uncle told us that nobody mentioned the men in the barn and they past a restful night and knew nothing about it. Nobody saw them leave in the night.Later I got to thinking about this one, curious about the year that this happened. My uncle said he was a teenager then, so I looked up his birthdate. What do you know, he was born in 1910 and would have not even been around if and when Butch would have stopped in. I think he either had visions of grandeur, or he was talking about HIS father's experience. Whatever. I just figured he was pulling our legs.

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