Hombre

Hombre

Large Print - 2005
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John Russell has been raised as an Apache. Now he's on his way to live as a white man. But when the stagecoach passengers learn who he is, they want nothing to do with him--until outlaws ride down on them and they must rely on Russell's guns and his ability to lead them out of the desert. He can't ride with them--but they must walk with him or die.
Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2005.
ISBN: 9780786274765
078627476X
Call Number: LEONARD
Characteristics: 213 p. ; 23 cm
Subjects: Western fiction.
Arizona -- Fiction.
Apache Indians -- Fiction.
Stagecoach robberies -- Fiction.
Large type books.

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j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

“You hear so many stories about what Indians do to white women.” “They do the same thing to them they do to Indian women,”
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“A white woman,” Mrs. Favor said, “couldn’t live the way they do. The Apache woman rubbing skins and grinding corn, their hair greasy and full of vermin. The men no better. All of them standing around or squatting, picking at themselves and the dogs sniffing them. They even eat the dogs sometimes.”
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“I don’t care how hungry I got. I know I wouldn’t eat one of those camp dogs.” “I think,” John Russell said, “you have to know the hunger they feel before you can be sure.”
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“You see all the problems then that the Interior Department is faced with,” he said. “The natural resentment on the part of the Indians, their distrust, their reluctance to cultivate the soil.” “Having to live where they don’t want to live,” John Russell said. “That too,” Dr. Favor agreed.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

I also remember thinking at the time that dressing like a white man and taking a white man’s name wasn’t ever going to hide the Apache in him. I don’t mean Apache blood. I just mean after the way he had lived, how was he even going to convince anybody he was a white man? He didn’t even prefer to speak English. It was things like that gave you the feeling he had no use for white men or our ways.
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“I don’t know if the ladies enjoy this kind of talk very much.” That was a mistake. Braden said, “What kind of talk?” “I mean about Apache Indians and all.” “That’s not what you meant,” Braden said. “Mr. Braden.” The McLaren girl, her hands folded in her lap, was looking directly at him. “Why don’t you just be quiet for a while?” Braden was surprised, as all of us were, I suppose. He said, “You speak right up, don’t you?” “I don’t see any other way,” she said.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

… they told how this one had fought like three men against ten times as many of the barbarians. From then on, among the Apache Police at San Carlos, the trackers at Fort Apache and Cibucu, John Russell was known as Tres Hombres.
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I went to sleep after that, wondering for the longest time if the McLaren girl would say anything if I was to put my arm around her. I never did find out.
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When he looked at you, it was like he knew something he wasn’t telling, or was laughing at you, no matter what it was he said. That’s when you could tell Henry Mendez was Mexican.
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Mr. Mendez said to me, “Take a good look at Russell. You will never see another one like him as long as you live.”
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Russell used Spanish again, more this time, evidently explaining something. “Maybe it would look different to you if you thought about it in English,” Mr. Mendez said and watched him closely. “Or if you spoke about it now in English.”

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

“Well, he wasn’t born one. But he’s lived with them so long, I mean by his own choice, that maybe he is one by now.” “But why,” she said, “would anybody want to be one?” “That’s it,” I said. “Wanting to be one is just as bad as being one. Maybe worse.”
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It was like being with a person who has a great big nose or something. You don’t want to get caught looking at the nose or even saying the word. (I hope no one reading this who might have a big nose will take offense. I wasn’t making fun of noses.)
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“Listen, you wanted to ride with me before. Why all of a sudden you like it inside now?”
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“Is it worth arguing about?” Mendez said. “Getting people upset and angry? Sure, they’re wrong. But is it easier to convince them of it or just forget about it? You understand that?” “I’m learning,” Russell said .... He had such a quiet way of speaking you got the feeling nothing in the world would ever bother him.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

Wind and rock slides and flash floods had worn the road away or covered it or wiped it clean from the slope. Mendez had no choice. He took the coach down the arroyo, bucking, fighting down through the yellow palo verdes that grew along the banks waiting for water, then south again, out into the flat brush country to circle the dry washes and rock formations that extended out from the slopes.
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You would look ahead and see an outcropping of rock or a scattering of Joshua trees that looked only a few hundred yards off, but it would take even an hour to reach them and after passing them there would be other marks on the land, like a strangely shaped giant saguaro or more Joshuas or yucca, that would take forever to reach and finally pass. There was nothing to look at, nothing to look forward to.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

“That money’s been stolen enough. Don’t worry about one of us trying to take it.”
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What is there to say, for that matter? You walk up a road out in the middle of nowhere and there are two armed men waiting for you. Even though you know something is wrong, you act as if this happens every day and twice on Sunday. I mean you don’t get excited or act surprised. You just hold yourself in and maybe they will go away if you don’t admit they are there. You don’t think at the time: I am afraid. You are too busy acting natural.
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“He should be over here with a gun,” Braden said. “No,” Lamarr Dean said. “He uses his ink pen. All you do is write down a higher beef tally than what comes in. Pay the trail driver U.S. government scrip for what’s delivered and keep the over-payment. Isn’t that right, Doctor?”
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“They’ll all come back now,” I said. “Won’t they?” “As sure as we have what they want,” Russell said.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

“He’s forgotten her,” the McLaren girl said. “All he’s thinking about is the money he stole.” “You can’t just say something like that,” I said. I meant you couldn’t know what somebody was thinking, especially in the jackpot we were in right then. A person acted, and thought about it later.
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But we were also hurrying to catch Russell, feeling like little kids running home in the dark and scared the house was going to be locked and nobody home. Do you see how we felt? We were worried he had left us to go on his own.
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When you got down to it, though, it was his business. I mean we had no right to remind him of what he should do. That was his business. I don’t mean to sound hard or callous; that’s just the way it was. We had enough on our minds without worrying about his wife.
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You looked at her and wondered how something like that could have happened to a young girl and still not see it on her face.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

Going toward the north does not mean we went in a straight line. Unless you wanted to climb steep slopes all the time, and maybe get up there and find no way down, you had to follow the washes and draws that cut through this high country, so that maybe you would walk two, even three miles to get one mile north.
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“But they didn’t harm anybody before. Why would they want to now?” “Do you want to give them your water?” “They got water.” “Two canteens which they were drinking out of all day yesterday. Do you want to give them yours?” “No, but-” “Then they’ll kill you for it.”
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If he tries to leave with nothing, shoot him once,” Russell said. “If he takes the saddlebag, shoot him twice. If he picks up the water, empty your gun.
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“You run now,” Russell said to him, “they’ll catch you and kill you. Believe that more than you believe anything.”
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There had been good ambush places before this, but nothing had jumped out at them. Why should it now?

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

“All right, shoot her.” Like she was nothing to him, so what did he care? Do you see the difference? Russell was so cold and calm about it, it scared you to death. Also, if he didn’t care about her, what did he care about us?
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That was over as far as he was concerned; he was not the kind of man who would stew over something finished and past fixing.
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“You didn’t do so good.” “I tried to do better,” Russell said. “I think you moved.” “Moved,” the Mexican said. “How do you like them, tied to a tree?” “On a horse,” Russell said. “Like your friend.”
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“You give it to us or we shoot that woman.” “All right,” Russell said. “You shoot her.” The Mexican kept staring at him. “What about the rest of them? What do they say?” “They say what they want,” Russell said. “I say what I want. Do you see that now?”
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This one had a .44 Colt on his hip and his hat tipped forward with the brim curled almost to a point, the hat loose on his head but seeming to be part of him.

j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

I couldn’t tell the man to his face I thought he was a thief. That’s why I had so much trouble thinking of something to say.
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“For hardly more than a little girl,” Dr. Favor said, “you certainly have strong opinions.” “When I know I’m right,” the McLaren girl said.
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“Listen, he makes sense,” Mendez said. “Whether you agree with him or not.” “He makes sense even if it kills you,” Dr. Favor said. “That’s what you’re saying.”
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“I know him better than that.” “Where money is concerned,” Dr. Favor said, “you don’t know anybody.”
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I kept picturing myself sitting on a shady porch with a big pitcher of ice water, sitting there in a clean shirt having just shaved and taken a bath. Boy!
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John Russell was dusty, of course, but had no beard to make his face look dirty. You could tell he had pulled out the stubbles Indian-fashion when he first started to get a beard, years ago, and now he’d never have one.

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j
jimg2000
Jun 09, 2017

A western thriller on prejudice, survival, greed, Stagecoach ride and moral integrity, characterized by a white man raised as an Apache in a world of self-righteous bigots and bandits and told through the eyes of a young man named Carl Allen (whose role was downplayed in the movie as a stagecoach hand Billy Blake.) Carl fancied Kathleen McLaren who once was kidnapped by Indians and she provided much of the anti-prejudice morale arguments in the book (in the movie, the character was eliminated and replaced by a strong female character Jessie Brown.) Mho is that "Jessie the boarding house caretaker" was more appealing to general audience (less controversial) than "the McLaren girl" though both succeeded to convey the best and worst aspects of personalities of the men in the story.

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