Death of Joaquin Carrillo Murrieta

He died in a blaze of gunfire, and his severed head was preserved in a jar of alcohol while joyful bounty hunters collected their reward.  Or, maybe not?  No one seems to know the true history and fate of Joaquin Carrillo Murrieta, whose legend lives on from the vanished era of the California Gold Rush of the 1850s.  Depending on your point of view, he was he was either a Robin Hood or a ruthless outlaw.  The vague shadow of the story begins in the gold mining camps, where reportedly, North Americans robbed Murietta of his rightful claim and murdered his brother. Murietta then went on a vengeful campaign robbing from the rich to give to the poor.  The Governor passed an act offering a $1,000 reward for the capture–dead or alive–of any Mexican named Joaquin, which we’d now call racial profiling on steroids.  (Please don’t tell this story to the Arizona State Legislature, it may give them ideas.)  A hired posse of Texas Rangers brutally gunned down and beheaded a Mexican named Joaquin, and the Governor claimed victory.  Did the Robin Hood of El Dorado really die that day?  Or did he live and laugh to a grand old age under the golden Mexican sun?

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