Tag: Claude Dallas

The Day The Mighty MC Turned The Reddest State West of The Pecos Green

Tex, a tall, lean, hard tanned, leathery westerner with the clear glaze of a fellow who spent his life on horseback on the open range said pleasantly to the two ladies sitting next to him in the courtroom, “Just not right what they do to a fellow minding his own business.”

The two ladies were the widows of game wardens killed in cold blood by psychopathic “mountain man” Claude Dallas, when Dallas was caught poaching a wide variety of endangered species.  The circus trial of the purported mountain man, who spent much of the early days of the manhunt searching mountain and desert hiding under the bed of a trailer of a friend, featuring the “Dallas Cheerleaders” among hordes of supporters and fawning press is told inimitably in Give A Boy A Gun by Jack Olsen.

I applied the name “Tex” ironically because in our west where Coloradans were called “easterners,” drugstore cowboys who wouldn’t know a horse from a billy goat were called Tex.  But this Tex was a real cowboy with a handsome spread outside of town someplace near Winnemucca, NV.  This was the west that near as I could tell bore little resemblance to Texas aside from Judge Roy Bean justice.

In the end, Claude Dallas was convicted on a minimal charge because of two intrepid lady jurors uncowed by the mob. A most “unfair” judge stretched his sentencing to normally absurd lengths.

Drive north from Winnemucca just past Paradise Valley, where you hang a left for 90 miles on the road to nowhere.  Nowhere (AKA Adel named for a cow or a sweetheart – nobody knows which) is just past Buzzard Gap before climbing down the cliff featuring the greatest hang gliding jump off on the planet earth.  If you have a car with bad brakes, like I did (at least at the bottom), your wife will hold you tight forevermore and shudder at the memory.

You are now in the large desert valley ruled by the mighty MC that single-handedly turned Oregon green and created a desolation of epic proportions.

To be continued if I stay vertical long enough for the epilogue and perhaps if anyone cares.  I tire rapidly these days.

Best,  Terry