When the West Was Young By Frederick R. (Frederick Ritchie) Bechdolt HOW DEATH VALLEY WAS NAMED There were three of us sitting on a pile of lumber in a sun-baked little mining town down near the Arizona border. One of my companions was the sheriff of the county and the other was an old man with snowy beard and sky-blue eyes whom every one called "Mac." To look at him was to behold a vision of the past. As we were whiling away the time with idle talk something was said which aroused the spirit of reminiscence within this survivor of the unfenced West. He closed his jack-knife with a snap, threw away a pine stick from which he had been peeling shavings, and turning his sky-blue eyes on the sheriff, "I remember--" he began. After which he told of cheating Death in quicksand fords, of day-long battles with naked Apaches in the malapi, of fighting off bandits from the stage while the driver kept the horses on a run up Dragoon Pass, of grim old ranchmen stalking cattle-thieves by night, of frontier sheriffs and desperadoes and a wilderness that was more savage than the wild riders who sought sanctuary within its arid solitudes. He did not talk for more than forty-five minutes at the most and the words came slowly from his lips, but when he had done my head was spinning from more visions of bold men and large deeds than it had held since the Christmas night when I reeled off to bed after bolting a full half of the "Boy's Froissart." And after that old man had sauntered away in the hot-white Arizona sunshine I thought of other grizzled chroniclers to whom I had listened in other parts of the West. Some of their tales came back to me, straightforward simple stories of the days before the farmers, barbed-wire fences, and branch railroad lines; and I marveled at the richness of a lore whose plain unvarnished narratives of fact stand out with values exceeding those of most adventure fiction, more vivid and colorful than the anecdotes of the Middle Ages which the French chronicler set down for all the world to read. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.