I wrote a guy I grew up with, Gene Miller, and asked him why we chased mustangs in the Arizona desert. It all goes back to when Paradise Valley north of Scottsdale was a Sonoran desert with less than a half dozen residents between there and Cave Springs. I know if you have been there lately you can’t imagine that as open desert supporting saguaros and jackrabbits.
When he and I were juniors and seniors at North Phoenix High, we drove an older Chevy pickup back and forth to class. We double dated girls in it, went to junior rodeos in it. But every few weeks we’d get up and as boring as high school was to both of us we could not resist loading our horses in the back and drive out and look for wild horses instead of sitting in boring classes. I had a girl who would write me excuses that looked like mom’s writing.
Gene wrote back to me that the call was the thrill of running them. It never hurt our grades we both made A’s and B’s and the being free and chasing them was what guys get out of racing cars. That had to be it.
So I had a feeling for this when I wrote the book, “Mustanger and the Lady.”
My man in the pages was doing what he wanted capturing wild horses, breaking them to ride and selling them to ranchers. No one was his boss. How many men in this world dream of being their own boss? His needs were small and he enjoyed his freedom out there.
Horses didn’t talk back. He made that a point to prove up his freedom for living in this spiny uninhabited country. Where did he come from? I didn’t elaborate on that. Lots of men on the frontier had an less than savory past. He didn’t look back much.
Several times he wondered about the things that developed in a complex world bordered by two different tribes. The turmoil of making Indians give up their life style for a reservation and farming was not taken easy by the Apache people.
San Carlos Reservation was a hellhole. It is so hot when you descend into it not even do the great saguaros grow on the slopes leading to the headquarters and slopes surrounding it. These people who lived the life of raiders were reluctant to give up their life style. Secondly, the separate tribes of their own nation did not get along. And bundled together with hatred in their hearts and placed in this oven only made them madder.
When I write a book like “The Mustanger and the Lady” I live inside of him and try to smell, see and hear what my person does. Creosote is not a pleasant smell but it is the very perfume that the hot wind carries across the prickly pear beds of cactus.
Maybe the movie people can spray it in the theaters. Nevermind, I will smell it when I sit back with popcorn and watch the silver screen portray my story.