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.


I think, Dear Mitchell, that you have some..., well, issues. I am not certain what the solution is.

Yes Mike, I DO have issues. That is how some people point the finger at every body but themselves ;)

Maybe [harsher treatment of the Indians than the Confederates] because no one believed the South would rise again and they really thought the Indian Tribes would continue to fight for their survival. Just kidding! : )

Gail,the tribes weren't just fighting for their survival. They were trying to exterminate White Americans. That's the part of the social equation that gets lost in the Marxist interpretaion of our history.
Also, I'm not sure you could say that the treatment of the Indians was harsher (consider the pellagra epidemic in the South) it just lasted longer. But that was because the Whites had been fighting the Indians since the 1600's. As far as the South rising again just check out the recent scholarship concerning the real motivation behind the career of the James/Younger gang.
I find it interesting to note that the problems of both the Indians and the Southerners didn't really get attended to until the Sixties. I don't think either group had been a threat for more than half a century!

He killed 2 people, even indians understood that. None of them diserved that, even white people, understand that.So under either culture, he was, and is a killer so get over it. A killer is a killer...................

It's cowardly people like "anonymous" here that perpetuate racism and hate.
It's obvious Mrs.Anonymous, Mother if a History Teacher, that you have no idea of Indian Culture and history. It's a shame that you don't take the time to look at the reality of the genocide of our only TRUE NATIVE AMERICANS. I suppose your ancestors came over on the Mayflower and thought of Indians as heathens to be saved by your religion. You are so ill informed and hateful that I sincerely hope that you adopt a more Christian attitude and stop judging people and events that you know nothing of. I also hope that YOU get over it.

BB, as the great, great grandson of a full blood Coctaw woman I can say without reservation that your entire screed is nothing but politically correct twaddle. First off calling Willie Boy a murderer is not "hateful" but just a different OPINION as there is some dispute as to the reason Willie Boy killed Mike Boniface. What has THAT got to do Indian Culture. Next you express a fair amount of ignorance and hate yourself. The Indians ARE NOT native to North or South America but immigrated here JUST LIKE EVRYBODY ELSE! And as far as genocide goes they tried their damnedest to do it to White people as well. White folks are no more guilty of the sins of humanity than anyone else! Look at your OWN hands BB they are COVERED in blood.

Only Mike Boniface was killed in the incident. It was the "yellow press" reporters who sensationalized Willie into being a drunken serial murder and into Carlota being shot in the breast by Willie Boy after a savage drunken rage rape and beating. The possie member was not killed, just wounded badly and survied much to everyone's suprise and relief. Carlota was shot from behind from a distance of approx 100 feet. She was wearing Willy Boy's jacket and it is generally concluded that she was mistakenly shot by John Hyde, who thought she was Willy Boy from that distance of viewing.

Shot by Hyde, and then covered up by the rest of law enforcement on scene, with blame shifted to Willie Boy, to enable Ben to obtain a permanent appointment [he got it] and to enable Wilson's re-election [he was]. Law enforcement practices have not changed much in the past 100 years.

There have been tragic events in every culture on this planet since human life began. All cultures have brutilized and have been brutilized throughout history. There have been so many who have loved and lost and fought for what they believed in. The world has changed for the better in some places but remain brutal in others. As far as the United States, Law Enforcement has come a long way and for the better. To state Law Enforcement practices have not changed much in the past 100 years is just ignorant babble!!! Law enforcement is ever changing to the demands of society, there is no perfect solution for each occurance. Having been in Law Enforcement for the past 18 years I can say that the magority of Police Officers are hounest, hard working people who want to do the right thing. When you hear of an officer making a poor decision, you hear the uneducated, loud mouthed know it alls run their mouths how all cops are dirty, Really???? So do you have the same opinion to the doctors, lawyers, salesman and so on when you hear one of them going bad or making a bad judgement?? Probably not!! Look up how many people die at the hands of the medical comunity every year and then look at the number that die at the hands of officers, there is no comparison but I'll bet you still go to the doctor when you'er sick. More people die at the hands of others driving cars then die at the hands of police but you still drive. I grew up on the other side of the tracks, so to speak and have made my share of mistakes but I don't just jump on the bandwagon and tear other people down when I don't even have any facts to back them up. I did'nt grow up hating police officers because I got caught doing something I knew was wrong, how pathetic would I be if I did?? I never went to court and cried like a baby and lied to the judge about running the stop sign like 99 percent of the people do that go to court now days. I grew up knowing I had to take responsibility for my actions and to do it like a mature adult. I don't throw everyone into the fire based on the actions of a few!!!

There are plenty of times when someone gets into any business that should'nt be there and causes an incident that drags everyone down. I for one am proud to be a police officer and do my job to the best of my abilities. There is no way to respond to everyones needs that will satisfy everyone.

I'm sure that law enforcement 100 years ago had difficulty with the changing cultures probably more so then we do today. Law enforcement today have unlimited resorces that were not even heard of then. Most law enforcement agencies did not have any training at all and anyone taking the job did it based on their own life experience. Imagine that!!! Just like any other type of profession!!!!

So before you go on your "I hate the cops" campain please feel free to come on down and show us all how it's done. Who know's you may actually have an idea that would change law enforcement forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have Choctaw Indian in my blood lines along with French and German. My ancestors come from different parts of the world and had to fight for what they thought was right at the time. I do not know anyone who knew Willy Boy but would love to spend time with someone from that arra but I know they are long gone and a part of history. I don't know if Willy Boy was just a criminal who just wanted to do what ever he wanted and to hell with everyones laws or if white mans culture or Indian culture drove him the direction he went. Without having been there in those times I can't even imagine how hard it would be to except that your culture was being exterminated all around you and there was nothing you could do about it no matter how hard you fought back. To state Willy Boy was just a Lawless outlaw of that time without having been there is no better then stating all law enforcement is corrupt!!!!!!

I have explored the back country of the west for many years and have often dreamed of what it was like living on all sides, Indians, Law Men and Outlaws. I once found a cave outside of Farmington New Mexico that an outlaw named Sam Carson once hid out in. I learned of the outlaws horse and cattle rustling back in the early 80s and it has facinated me since. I was young then and now in my fifties still want to go back and explore the cave as a more mature and educated adult.

I will always fantasize about the Wild West and what it must have been like to roam free without fences or Laws. The ability to get on a horse and ride till you'er tired and live where you wished. Those days are over but will forever be in my mind......


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