Saturday, August 11, 2012




James Michener


Rafael Campos




Earth Prime-Time

From Felice's Log

Upon his arrival in Texas, John [Skimmerhorn] meets a Latino cook by the name of Ignacio "Nacho" Gomez, who recommends that he hire an experienced trail boss named R.J. Poteet to lead the cattle drive to Colorado. "Nacho" Gomez is the only Latino and has to constantly deal with comments about his use of beans in his cooking.

From Patrick L. Cooney:

 R. J. Poteet runs across a Mexican cooking onions for his lunch. He gets off his horse and talks to the fellow. The fellow lets Poteet have a taste of some of his onions. He tastes them and says they are good. Poteet says he has some beef they can share, as long as the fellow cooks it up. The man is very happy to hear about getting a taste of some good beef. They talk and Poteet asks him if he would like a job as a cook on a cattle drive. He is driving the cattle north for a man named Skimmerhorn. The Mexican asks about the massacre of the Indians. Poteet explains that this man is the son of that Skimmerhorn. And he had no part in the massacre at all. This reassures the Mexican. He tells Poteet his name is Ignacio Gomez, but his friends call him Nacho.


 Cartwright’s International Circus has come to Centennial. One of the acts is Daring Dan and the Apaches.  John and Jim literally run into their old cook Nacho. Nacho tells the guys that now he works for Daring Dan. And Daring Dan in none other than Mule Canby, the fellow who lost his right arm in the fight with the Comanches. 

[After Mule Canby's funeral], Nacho says he’s going home to his small town in Mexico.

 Jim Lloyd comes to see Hans. He says he heard from Nacho Gomez. Hans says to write Nacho and tell him he will have work for him and others if they come up from Mexico. 

Santa Ynez. Nacho is all excited about going back to Colorado and working for Hans Brumbaugh. He tries to get the husband of his niece, Tranquilino, to go with him to Colorado. But Tranquilino is not interested. Nacho virtually pleads with the young man to go with him. Tranquilino works in the mines. Nacho tells him that they have killed all the Indians up in the mines. He goes on to tell him: "Don't let them kill you like a fish in a barrel."

 Chihuahua, Mexico. The priest, accompanied by the soldiers, comes to see Tranquilino. Nacho doesn’t like what he sees. He says civil war is coming to Mexico. The miner’s went on strike and the government strikes back at them. The priest doesn’t want to talk with Nacho. He wants to talk to Tranquilino. The priest is picking six brave men to do a very hard job. Nacho wants to know the job. To be executioners. To execute certain criminals. Nacho says, yeah, certain criminal that are rebels which means silver miners. He tells his nephew-in-law not to do it. Tranguilino tells the Father that he is a farmer. He feeds the miners. He can’t kill them. But it’s not that simple. If he doesn’t do it harm could befall his family and himself. Tranquilino tells Nacho that he’ll go with him to Colorado when he finishes the job.

Tranquilino becomes part of a firing squad. Captain Salcedo is in charge of the squad. The squad executes six men. The Captain finishes them off with a shot to the head of each man. Tranquilino gets through that alright, but then his next assignment is to execute women. He shouts that he will not kill women. The priest complains to the Captain, who says he will have Tranquilino executed for disobeying an order. The priest says that Tranquilino is a very good worker and they need workers. So the Captain commutes his sentence to life at hard labor in the mines. The firing squad, without Tranquilino, executes the women. Tranquilino runs home. The Captain tells his men not to shoot. They will pick him up at his house when they finish. 

Nacho tells Tranquilino that he saw it all from the hill. He tells Tranquilino to get on one of the two horses he has prepared and ride to Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso. They will meet in a bar called Kate’s in El Paso. Tranquilino leaves. Nacho stays to misdirect the soldiers. The Captain and two other soldiers come riding up. Nacho shoots one of the soldiers. There is a fire fight. The Captain goes around the building to get behind Nacho. He wounds Nacho, but Nacho also wounds the Captain. Nacho gets on his horse and rides out.

Skimmerhorn Trail. Nacho falls off his horse. Tranquilino calls the land a waste land, but Nacho says: "It’s beautiful to me." Nacho thinks about his favorite time, working on the cattle drive. He tells Tranquilino to go to Colorado to Skimmerhorn and Jim Lloyd. He then says to let him rest here where he was happy. 

John goes to the railway station looking for him and finds him. He asks him where is Nacho. He’s dead is the answer. John says: "I’m sorry. How?" Bad times in Chihuahua, says Tranquilino, shootings.


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