What ever happened to Willie Boy.....

The true story of Willie Boy, as I heard from the Indians in my family

Willie boy's Grave Marker in White WaterWhen I was a kid my Uncle Leroy, part Paiute Indian, Part Mexican, part white, told us the story of Willie Boy.

Supposedly an uncle of his and how he led the Sheriff and his pose From Palm Canyon south of Palm Springs, up through White Water and up into the Ruby Mt area....Today you can see thousands of High Powered Wind Mills scattered through the same area.

Who was Willie Boy and is his legend true? Even a movie, "Tell them Willie boy is here" was made in 1969 with Robert Blake playing Willie Boy, and Robert Redford playing the Sheriff, and was based on a book, which I own, called 'A Desert Manhunt'

As to the legend being true, most assuredly.  Did the movie "Tell them Willie boy is here" get it right?  Aside from "Tombstone" being very close to being historically correct, this movie is very close to the actual facts, places, and characters involved in the manhunt.

Willie Boy was a Paiute Indian, uncle to my uncle Leroy Arnize, (Arnesto in Spanish) who in 1909 ran off with his lover after killing her father in self defense.  He found him bent over, beating his girlfriend, named Lola, and when he tried to interfere and stop him, Lola's father went after Willie Boy.  So he had to kill him.  The tribal elders tried to defend Willie but White Man's law took precedent over Indain Law and Sheriff Cooper was dispatched from Riverside to track him down and charge Willie Boy with murder.

Willie and Lola are hunted for several days and were almost caught in White Water when Willie's Horse spooked as a Train went by.  But White Water was dry and they were able to escape under the track trestle and make it into the Hills to the north of White Wate.  Willie Boy had a clear shot of the posse as they advanced up the river bed, so he started taking pot shots at them, trying to kill their horses, hoping to slow them down.  But Willie Boy ends up accidentally shooting one of the bounty hunters as he walks in front of his horse just as Willie shot.  The Sheriff had another Murder charge on his hands..

They manage to evade the bounty hunters for several days until it's obvious that the posse was catching up to them.  So Lola shoots herself in order to slow down the posse's advance, but Sheriff Cooper thinks that Willie Boy has killed her, but doesn't understand why.  The posse is growing restless and most of them take off on their own to hunt Willie down.  But Sheriff Cooper goes off alone to try and kill Willie Boy, before the main posse catches up to him.

As soon as Cooper catches up, he comes under fire from Willie Boy who is dug into a small cave at the top of Ruby Mountain.  Cooper is almost shot several times as he tries to climb up the hill.  In truth, the Sheriff finally manages to make his way up behind Willie and tries to talk him to surrendering.  But Willie Boy wont surrender.  Willie swings around to try to shoot the Sheriff, but Sheriff Cooper Beats him with his shot gun.  When the Sheriff checks Willie Boy's body the Sheriff  discovers that Willie was out of bullets.  The Sherrif pulled Willie Boy's gun out of his pants and discovers that it too is empty. To Cooper it is evident that Willie Boy Forced the Sheriff to kill him, in other words, perhaps the first "suicide by cop".

The Sheriff is actually crestfallen.  He carefully gathers Willie Boy's body, carries him down the slope of Ruby Mt to his horse and the waiting posse..  There are several Tribal leaders with the posse and the Sheriff gives them the body of Willie Boy, who then take Willie's body away and later burn it.

The Bounty hunters are not happy with Sheriff Cooper. They wanted Willie Boy's  body to collect their money they felt they had coming to them.  One of the posse members is reported to have said that the 'People have got see something so they will be sure this murder is dead'.  Sheriff Cooper is reported to have responded.  "Sorry, I dont have any souvenirs for them"

Willy Boy's grave monument is erected at the exact same location where he was shot, died and buried by the tribal leaders and has never been disturbed in any way.  So the next time you are out by White Water, remember, that Willie boy was really out there, causing all sorts of trouble and creating a undying legend.


Thank you for this most educated and informed post.

I agree. All parties are quite educated. However, all stories have three sides to them. One's, the other's, and the truth. We will possibly never learn the truth, but may make some educated guesses.

PS: Johnette: Big Fan!

Ron, it always surprises me how you left wingers justify your anti-White racism. If men like Wovoka or Pontiac or Tecumseh had gotten their way every White person on the continent would have been exterminated. Not EXACTLY "We are the World"! But you just keep pumping your propaganda that excuses Indian acts of mass murder against Whites it seems to make you soooo happy.
P.S. as a man whose parents are both Southerners your ignorant statement regarding the aftermath of the Civil War is breath taking! There was no need to have any Confederate prisoners as the Union Army occupied the entire South and did everything they could keep it racked with poverty for more than a decade! And even when they left the economic elite of the U.S. (headquartered in "liberal" New York) subjected the South to economic segregation for another (almost) SEVENTY YEARS until FDR (who because of his polio treatments in Warm Springs Georgia learned what the Northern "economic royalists" had done to the South)decided to try and do something about it. A goal that wasn't fully achieved until the 1960's(!) under LBJ!
People of Color are NOT the ONLY victims of "White Society" and they, also, are NOT innocent of the crimes of mass murder and genocide just less successful( on THIS continent anyway!). So SPARE me your ignorant self righteousness!

Dear Mitchell - I am assuming you attended the reading of Swift Fox at Riverside Community Players. Thank you for your support and interest in history. I was unable to attend due to knee surgery.

To answer some of your points-

I am not anti-white. I was reporting what happened based on historical records. I am not inventing these things. However, there are a lot of holes in the Willie Boy story, therefore I tried to report the same event as told by different people.

"If men like Wovoka or Pontiac or Tecumseh had gotten their way every White person on the continent would have been exterminated". -

This statement is based on what? Tecumseh, in the 1840's, went to Washington to negotiate with the government- hardly an act of a "White Hating Savage" It sounds like you are coming more out of anger than fact. Remember, Gral;. William Tecumseh Sherman I imagine you have low regard for Uncle Billy and his march to Georgia, however, he was given this name long before the conflict 1861-1865. My point being, Tecumseh must have been held in high regard by many white people, if they were naming their children after him.

" But you just keep pumping your propaganda that excuses Indian acts of mass murder against Whites it seems to make you soooo happy." -

Let's start with the worst atrocities of the 19th. century with 365 Indians who were cut down with gatling guns, "Wounded Knee", following with "The trail of tears", which I assume you know was "The Removal of the Indian tribes from the Carolinas" by then president Jackson .

Could you please mention just ONE mass murder equivalent to the ones stated above?

" your ignorant statement regarding the aftermath of the Civil War is breath taking! There was no need to have any Confederate prisoners as the Union Army occupied the entire South and did everything they could keep it racked with poverty for more than a decade"

I am very aware of the reconstruction period. The South was divided in 13 military districts and remained an occupied territory until the "Bloody Shirt Campaign" in the election of 1876. The point is not about the need to imprison Confederates, but the fact that it was done to the Indians and not done to the Confederates- both enemies of the Federal Gov.
There was no need to confiscate 90 million acres of tribal land and force Indians on to reservation.
Is your point that it wasn't necessary in the South but it was necessary for the indians?

I will now close and again thank you for your response to Swift Fox: The Untold Story of Willie Boy.


Ron House

And Ron's "Swift Fox...." is truly superb. I'm not sure of the cause of all the vitriol here [or maybe I am!], but only a fool or a hypocrite would assert that there was not a genocidal attitude of American "whites" against Native Americans [and there are vestiges of that animus even now]. That does not mean Native Americans are innocent of racial prejudice - the last Southern general to surrender after the Civil War was Stand Watie, a Cherokee chief who sided with the South [and became a brigadier general in the southern Army] because he wanted to be able to keep his black slaves!

Capmotion to whom are you directing your post? What do you mean by"maybe I am!". Who exactly has claimed that there was no "genocidal" attitude of White Americans? It certainly wasn't me (by the way "cappy" why do you use lower case letters and quotes for Whites do you have some unstated animus towards us?)! I was just stating that the Indians were guilty of hatred and genocidal atrocities as well which you also state but only after prodding by me! As far as your comments regarding Stand Watie and the Cherokees of Oklahoma fighting for the South it had nothing to do with slavery as the Indians version of that repugnant institution hardly qualified for the title. It was because they didn't trust the U.S. Government to keep it's treaty obligations!

In conclusion thanks for your remarks they are VERY revealing!
Yours in Truth,

Mitchell Day

I use lower case for "whites" because we are not usually as politically sensitive as other groups about such absurdisms. Not usually!

I'm not any more sensitive about subtle social slights to my community by self-loathing members of it than anyone else.

You also didn't explain the quotes.

O.k. first off Ron,
"This statement is based on what?" On Tecumseh own words!Such as "let the white race perish.They seize your land ,they corrupt your women(in other words Tecumseh was a racist who was against interracial marriage),they trample the bones of your dead! Back whence they came, upon a trail of blood , they must be driven, burn their dwellings, destroy their stock, slay their wives and children, that the very breed may perish!" Is that good enough for you Ron?
The Trail of Tears happened because having Indians in those areas constituted a fifth column that was always being encouraged and supplied to wage war by both outside Indian leaders (like Tecumseh and Pontiac) or European powers like the French (as in the French and Indian War)or the British (as in the War of 1812:fighting the Red Stick Creeks). There would have been no loss of life on the Trail had it not been for the obstinance of the anti-treaty Cherokee leaders. The pro-treaty bands saw the jig was up and willingly went to Oklahoma and became quite successful (the anti-treaty bands would become successful eventually too). Andrew Jackson forced the "Five Civilized Tribes" out as the only way to AVOID mass killing. As far as ignorant and self loathing Whites naming their children after Tecumseh nothing much has changed in over a hundred years!
Next "Could you mention just ONE mass muder equivalent to the ones mentioned above?"
O.k. Ron, The Dakota Uprising of 1862! In which 450 to 800 innocent White civilians were cruelly and needlessly butchered! And almost as many disappeared and assumed to have been sold into slavery never to be seen again!How's that Ronny?
Next "Is it your contention that it wasn't necessary in the South but is was necessary for the Indians?" No Ron it was my contention that the U.S. Government made the WHOLE SOUTH a reservation for a HINDRED YEARS! But apparently you missed that!

I will now close and Thank You for YOUR response!
Yours in Truth,

Mitchell Day


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