This book, in affectionate tribute to the gallant courage, rugged independence and wonderful endurance of those adventurous souls who formed the vanguard of civilization in the early history of the Territory of Arizona and the remainder of the Great West.
"When I first broached the matter of writing his autobiography to John H. Cady, two things had struck me particularly. One was that of all the literature about Arizona there was little that attempted to give a straight, chronological and intimate description of events that occurred during the early life of the Territory, and, second, that of all the men I knew, Cady was best fitted, by reason of his extraordinary experiences, remarkable memory for names and dates, and seniority in pioneership, to supply the work that I felt lacking.
Some years ago, when I first came West, I happened to be sitting on the observation platform of a train bound for the orange groves of Southern California. A lady with whom I had held some slight conversation on the journey turned to me after we had left Tucson and had started on the long and somewhat dreary journey across the desert that stretches from the "Old Pueblo" to "San Berdoo," and said:
"Do you know, I actually used to believe all those stories about the 'wildness of the West.' I see how badly I was mistaken."
She had taken a half-hour stroll about Tucson while the train changed crews and had been impressed by the—to the casual observer—sleepiness of the ancient town. She told me that never again would she look on a "wild West" moving picture without wanting to laugh. She would not believe that there had ever been a "wild West"—at least, not in Arizona. And yet it is history that the old Territory of Arizona in days gone by was the "wildest and woolliest" of all the West, as any old settler will testify.
There is no doubt that to the tourist the West is now a source of constant disappointment. The "movies" and certain literature have educated the Easterner to the belief that even now Indians go on the war-path occasionally, that even now cowboys sometimes find an outlet for their exuberant spirits in the hair-raising sport of "shooting up the town," and that even now battles between the law-abiding cattlemen and the "rustlers" are more or less frequent. When these people come west in their comfortable Pullmans and discover nothing more interesting in the shape of Indians than a few old squaws selling trinkets and blankets on station platforms, as at Yuma; when they visit one of the famous old towns where in days gone by white men were wont to sleep with one eye and an ear open for marauding Indians, and find electric cars, modern office buildings, paved streets crowded with luxurious motors, and the inhabitants nonchalantly pursuing the even tenor of their ways garbed in habiliments strongly suggestive of Forty-fourth street and Broadway; when they come West and note these signs of an advancing and all-conquering civilization, I say, they invariably are disappointed.
One lady I met even thought "how delightful" it would be "if the Apaches would only hold up the train!" It failed altogether to occur to her that, in the days when wagon-trains were held up by Apaches, few of those in them escaped to tell the gruesome tale. And yet this estimable lady, fresh from the drawing-rooms of Upper-Radcliffe-on-the-Hudson and the ballroom of Rector's, thought how "delightful" this would be! Ah, fortunate indeed is it that the pluck and persistence of the pioneers carved a way of peace for the pilgrims of today!