"It was hell proper. It wasn't a case of just one outfit of deputies trailing us, but posses was out scouring the whole country, and we was running into fresh outfits every little while and had to suddenly change our direction or dodge into a rock or timber hideout, or backtrack, or follow long strips of bare sandstone where we wouldn't leave tracks, or wade up or down streams long distances so they would lose our tracks. We had to put into practice all the tricks we had learned as cowboys and learn all the new tricks outlaws had to know to stay alive.
"A big part of the time we didn't dare to build fires at night or even in the daytime. So when we did feel safe to build a fire we would cook up baking-powder pones, bacon and beans enough to last several days. Then we would eat this cold, soggy, stale stuff without coffee in cold or dark camps.
"In the daytime we would sweat, fry or sizzle under the hot desert sun, or ride for whole days with our clothes soaking wet in rainy weather, or sleep in wet clothes on cold nights under one saddle blanket. It didn't make any difference if one of us got sick, or nearly died with rheumatism or toothache, or got a leg broke; he had to grit his teeth and trail right along anyway. If he died he died just like a horse or dog along the trail and didn't receive any more burial than they would, and his body would be eaten by the coyotes.
"On hot days when we pushed, lickety-split, in desperate, cross-country flights over mountain and desert with pursuing deputies in sight part of the time, we would sweat like butchers. The sweat would roll down our bellies and backs, and the hard, heavy money belts would gall a raw ring clear around our bodies, and the money got heavier and heavier and the sore rawer and rawer every mile we rode, till we thought we couldn't stand it any longer. More than once one or other of us let loose and acted like a crazy man, swore like a trooper, pawed at his belt, and threatened to tear the damned thing off and throw it away.
"While we was frying, freezing, starving, and depriving ourselves of every comfort and pleasure of existence, here was all that stolen money in our belts that would buy anything we wanted, and we couldn't go anywhere or contact anybody to spend it. We just had to leave it there making raw rings around us, weighting us down and wearing us out, while we was nearly perishing for the things it could buy for us.
"That's what an outlaw had to face. That's the other side of the adventure and romance of outlaw life."
Matt Warner, reported in Last of the Bandit Riders, 1938
"I have known no home, I have slept in all sorts of places — here today — there tomorrow... I am tired of this life of taut nerves, of night-riding and day-hiding, of constant listening for footfalls, cracking twigs and rustling leaves and creaking doors; tired of seeing Judas on the face of every friend I know — and God knows I have none to spare; tired of the saddle, the revolver and the cartridge belt... I want to see if there is not some way out of it..."
Frank James when giving himself up to the law, 1882View My Stats