Willie Boy Information

I'm Bill Ford, a retired 72 yr old non-Indian who has volunteered to assist Mr. & Mrs Joyce Running Deer, founders of the Indian Odyssey Pow-Wow non profit organization in Joshua Tree.

Over the past three days of intense research, I've reviewed even original articles in newspapers of the Willie Boy (Billie Boy) episode such as the Oct 17, 1909 article appearing in the New York Times announcing his demise. Among all the articles and books and "white-man's" accounts of the events, I find no less than 5 or 6 different "stories" told that conflict with the others. Of course, 95% of these accounts are based on "white-man's" notions, exaggerations, missing or misleadding information.

Mr. Running Deer (Joshua Tree) was the stunt double for "Bobbie" Blake in the Hollywood movie version of the story. Based on Running Deer's account, and that of another playwright (in Landers), the movie is not a true account of the episode.

Zoe Erickson (previous commentator to this Willy Boy thread) and Running Deer conferred during a photo-op and appeared in Yucca Valley's Hi-Desert Star newspaper in the Sunday, March 7, 2009 issue page A4.

While the Willie Boy "story" is considered a legend by today's standards of trueism the published accountings are all riddled with conflicting details. Most likely, the only real accounting with a reliable degree of truth would come from the Indian community directly.

In a recent (Dec 2008) article recounting modern scientific forensic study of photos and other anthropoligic evidence, the conclusion is that Willie Boy's body had lay in the desert for a week before being "discovered" by the posse. Clean shirt, very tidy, boots on his feet but his face was turned away from the camera - in which case, the "body" could not be identified in the photo as that of Willie Boy. Some accounts say the posee covered the body with brush and set it afire to cremate Willie Boy on the spot "...since he was so badly decomposed as not to be moved..." where other accounts say the posee carried him down the mountain and turned over to local Indians, and yet other accounts suggest he escaped back to his roots in Nevada.

I could go on and on with the mass of conflicting data. If interested, you might want to go to the web site mentioned above in a few days -- give me time to upload the 5-page article and fit it into the appropriate link slot.

The Indian Odyssey Pow-Wow is in the midst of formulating documents, schedules and other assorted chores in preparation for the October 16, 17 & 18, 2009 Pow-Wow where the Willie Boy issue will be one of the features. The Pow-Wow will be held in Joshua Tree next to the JT Community Center. The website will give more details as I have the time to upload the information, much of which I am still drafting.

Even now, its just after 2 in the morning of Sunday the 12th of April 2009 and I need to hit the snore shelf !!


Bill Ford
billford at isp.com
Joshua Tree


May 22, 2009 I tried to go to the website mentioned and was not able to access it. I would very much like to read your article. I also would love to attend the Indian Odyssey Pow-Wow so can you give me details?

Thank you.

I too would like to actually be able to read some real info besides just the glamorized reviews of a movie and book. Plus, there was another book writen later on with factual info, but you cant find anything on it other than having to pay to see what it might say, which is bogus to me... Why will no one provide more of the truth other than to just keep it a tale of woe...

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