Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta, the Celebrated California
Bandit, is a unique book in many ways. In 1854, it was the first
novel published in California, and it is also the first novel
written by a Native American. Yellow Bird was the son and grandson
of famous Cherokee chiefs, and he lived a vigorous and dangerous
life as an Indian. But he was also a well-educated and literate man,
known in the white man's world as John Rollins Ridge. Both a novelist
and poet, Yellow Bird made his living in California as a
newspaperman, ending his short life in Grass Valley as the editor of
the Grass Valley National newspaper, of which he was a part owner.
He was just forty when he died, but he had lived a fuller life than
Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta was Yellow Bird's only
novel, but it left an enduring mark. It not only sparked a number of
knockoffs but also created the enduring myth of Joaquín Murieta.
comes to the California Gold Rush in 1849 and tries hard to lead a
honest life with his lovely Rosita, only to be victimized time and
again by lawless and ruthless whites. Finally, he is
pushed too far and becomes a Robin Hood of the old West, looting and
murdering the greedy and giving money to the poor. He leads
them on a merry chase, but in the end, meets his end, but with honor
and pride. A classic western.
short, this book was the genesis of the "dime novel"
industry of the late nineteenth-century that persists even today as
the paperback Westerns found in every bookstore, newsstand, and even
supermarket. It was truly a first in that regard.
it is worth reading for more than those reasons -- it is a colorful
and romantic story that fires the imagination of the reader,
portraying in no uncertain terms what life was like in those times.
Click on the cover below to read the first chapter as a HTML file.
Click on the Adobe logo to download a free copy of the Acrobat PDF Reader from Adobe Systems
Click on the cover below to
download the first chapter as a PDF file
Order Joaquin Murieta locally
If you wish, you can order this book from your local bookstore in North America and the UK, although it is
unlikely they will have it on the shelf. Just tell
them that it is a Print on Demand book distributed by both Ingram Books and Baker & Taylor
and then give them the ISBN 1-59108-000-2.
Order Joaquin Murieta on-line
You can also purchase the
printed book on-line from
many on-line book sellers. For your convenience, we made a
list of links which you can use. In addition, this book is
carried by a number of other retailers on-line, so you
should be able to find it at your favorite website.