Who are the Gilenos?

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  • 12 May 2014 at 5:15 am #5356

    efscerbo
    Member

    Hi everyone,

    I’m rereading BM in its entirely, this time with an eye toward the historical/”true” aspect of the book, and I’m stumped: The opening line of Chapter 10 reads “In the days to follow all trace of the Gilenos faded and they pushed deeper into the mountains.” Who are the Gilenos? They’ve not been mentioned by name at any earlier point in the book. I believe the Gilenos are the Apaches who ambush the gang at the beginning of Chapter 9. And in the Myth, Legend, Dust collection, at the back of the book is a list of all the various characters and groups that show up in the book, and there the Gilenos are listed as a group of Apaches. However, no reason is given for this identification. (Also, the cited “first appearance” of the Gilenos is incorrect: M,L,D cites the first appearance of the Gilenos as at the end of Chapter 11 when in fact it’s the line in Chapter 10 quoted above.)

    Is anyone out there very convinced that these two groups are the same? I’ve been under the impression that, after the “ambuscado” that opens Chapter 9, the Glanton gang are chasing those Apaches: After that ambush, on pg. 116 in the 25th anniversary edition, the judge “looked north along the pale shore of the dry lake where the heathen had fled.” So the Apaches are heading north. Then, on pg. 118, “[The Glanton gang] were moving north and for two days the Delawares read the smokes on the distant peaks and then the smokes stopped and there were no more.” Are these not the fires of the Apaches? If not, whose are they? Immediately after, they find the “diligence” containing the bodies of three of the seven precious metals prospectors, the other four of whom escaped and made their way to Santa Rita del Cobre. (They are the “squatters” listed in the chapter headings.) On pg. 121, we find that the squatters have been in Santa Rita “for three days, fled [t]here from the desert to the south pursued by the savages.” I’m imagining that the prospectors were set upon by the Apaches. I suppose it could be any other Indian group out there, but the Apaches just tried to attack the Glanton gang, failed, and fled to the north. Then, presumably, they fall upon these copper prospectors, the survivors escaping north to Santa Rita. Finally, at the end of the chapter, on pg. 126: “To the north they could see other fires that burned red and sullen along the invisible ridges.” Again, to the north. As if the gang is chasing someone north. These fires and the ones mentioned on 118 must belong to the same Indians, right? If not, whose are they? This segues right into the beginning of Chapter 10, where the narrator says “all trace of the Gilenos faded”, which implies that the gang had all this time been on the trail of the *Gilenos*. But it seems from the info above that they were in fact on the trail of the Apaches who ambushed them. Ergo, the two groups are one and the same.

    This has some reverberations throughout the next couple of chapters: At the end of Chapter 11, on pg. 155, the Delaware scouts “reported finding the Apache villages abandoned”. Then, on the next page, the narrator tells us “The Delawares had reckoned the village empty ten days and the Gilenos had decamped in small bands by every egress.” So a) this sounds like the Gilenos and the Apaches are the same, and b) regardless, the gang are most definitely still in pursuit of the Gilenos. Then in Chapter 12 comes the brutal “Slaughter of the Gilenos”. And as the gang are slaughtering, on pg. 164 Glanton sees “a rise to the north where a band of mounted Apaches were grouped against the sky.” So are these Apaches the same as the Gilenos?


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    • This topic was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by  efscerbo.
    • This topic was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by  efscerbo.
    12 May 2014 at 5:30 am #5357

    efscerbo
    Member

    The reason why I’m so concerned about this is the following: In much of the critical literature on Blood Meridian (at least 4-5 different papers I’ve come across) the Slaughter of the Gilenos in Chapter 12 is particularly noted as a major step in the descent into madness of the Glanton gang. Why? Because the Gilenos are repeatedly described, in paper after paper, as peaceful. Why? Where are all these people getting this idea? Nowhere in the novel does McCarthy say this. I believe these writers are accidentally confusing the Gilenos for the Tiguas, who are surely called “peaceful”.

    If, however, the Gilenos struck first back in Chapter 9, the slaughter in Chapter 12, while reprehensible in how the gang mow down all the women and children, is not quite the same as if they had stormed some a settlement of some actually peaceful people and done likewise.

    And a larger point: On this reread, I’ve been struck by how vicious the narrator is towards the Indians for the most part. Especially in the Comanche attack at the end of Chapter 4 and the Apache ambush at the start of Chapter 9, the Indians are repeatedly described as evil. Not just savage, but evil. This is not a point that particularly resonated with me on previous reads. Right now, it feels quite lopsided towards the Americans, as if the Indians are truly evil, and the Americans only become evil once they start killing peaceful Indians, Mexicans, and other Americans. It’s odd. It’s an aspect of the book I never really noticed before, and it may well change how I interpret the novel. It certainly is pushing me further and further away from any sort of “anti-Manifest Destiny” reading of the book.


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    12 May 2014 at 3:37 pm #5360

    Glass
    Member

    Ed, super interesting stuff. Excellent close reading. I can’t offer much in discussion, I’m afraid. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your posts. Maybe Chris Dacus will appear and comment. I seem to remember hearing him talk about the raid on the village of 1,000. I don’t know if it was Chris or someone else who said this was a real event in history, but McCarthy inflated the numbers of villagers. I might be misremembering. Also, your quoting of “heathen” got my attention as I was wondering if it is this event that the judge was remembering when he famously scolds the kid about offering “clemency for the heathen.” Did the judge see the kid act in a less than earnest way while taking part in the attack, information kept from us by the narrator? Or is the judge engaging in the manufacture and maintenance of falsehoods (Antogeny) against the kid? I’m sure there has been discussion of this. Anyway, I hope others will chime in here.


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    13 May 2014 at 8:27 pm #5361

    efscerbo
    Member

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for the response, and for the compliment. Would that I had time to post more on the forums. But unfortunately, damn work gets in the way. Your mention of the heathen is interesting. I’ll keep that in mind as I go. Those are the kinds of details I’m trying my best to keep track of on this reread. It’s honestly been so long since I’ve read the book in its entirety. I usually just reread passages/chapters that pop into my head as I think about one thing or another. I’m quite surprised at how the book has “changed” on me since I last read it fully. For instance, in Chapter 3, Captain White always seemed to me to be a caricature of a pro-Manifest Destiny jingoist type. Honestly, now I’m not so sure. Yeah, his name is White, and he says all kinds of outrageous, racist stuff… But he does say things that echo ideas that come up elsewhere in McCarthy. For instance, he says that the Mexicans are

    “a bunch of barbarians that even the most biased in their favor will admit have no least notion in God’s earth of honor or justice or the meaning of republican government. A people so cowardly they’ve paid tribute a hundred years to tribes of naked savages. Given up their crops and livestock. Mines shut down. Whole villages abandoned. While a heathen horde rides over the land looting and killing with total impunity. Not a hand raised against them. What kind of people are these?”

    This echoes something Peter says in Whales and Men: “Anywhere that courage did not live evil would enter and commence at once its awesome escalation into the colossus that it yearns to be.” Captain White is excoriating the Mexicans for their lack of will, of courage in dealing with the Indians. They even contract out to Americans to do their dirty work for them. I’m not saying McCarthy *is* Captain White in any sense. But I definitely think there’s more depth to him than I had previously believed. Also, this idea of “standing up to evil” echoes Augustine’s concept of “just war”, which I find particularly interesting in the context of McCarthy.


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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 8 months ago by  efscerbo.
    11 Jun 2014 at 8:27 pm #5485

    efscerbo
    Member

    Hi all,

    An update on my original question here. I’ve been reading and rereading Chapters 9, 11, and 12, paying extremely close attention to any mentions of Indians as well as geography/direction (these two are quite linked in these chapters). I think I have some things worked out.

    A caveat: Most things I’ve read over the last few weeks indicate that the term “Gilenos” refers variously to any Indians, Apache or not, living in the vicinity of the Gila River, Gila Mountains, or Gila Valley in eastern AZ/western NM. However, one source, J P Dunn’s “Massacres of the Mountains”, claims that “Gilenos” was used generically to refer to any Apache tribes. Likewise, the Wikipedia article on “Apache” claims that the term “Gilenos” “was used indiscriminately for all Apachean groups west of the Rio Grande (i.e. in southeast Arizona and western New Mexico)” and so “the reference in historical documents is often unclear.” Unfortunately, this fact on the Wikipedia article is not sourced. The point is, though, that “Gilenos” is a difficult term to deal with, and so any discussion of McCarthy’s use of it should involve care.

    I believe I have ascertained beyond any doubt that when McCarthy refers to Indians as “Gilenos”, he does intend them to be Apaches (so the citation given in the appendix of Myth, Legend, Dust mentioned above is accurate, except that the first mention of Gilenos is at the opening of Chapter 10, not the end of Chapter 11). It is plausible that he further intends them to be Gila Apaches, i.e., of the tribes of Apaches living along the Gila River. However, I speculate he may actually mean “Mescaleros”, or that he has (intentionally or not) conflated the two groups. The main points in my reasoning are as follows: (Note: All page references are to the Vintage 25th anniversary edition.)

    1) The gang have contracted with Trias specifically for Apache scalps. This is known historically and is intimated at several points in the novel. (Moreover, aside from isolated references to other Indian tribes, the Apaches are really the only ones treated in the novel. Others mentioned include Maricopas (258, 266), Tiguas (173, 180-182), Comanches (44, 54-57, 81), Yaquis (210), Papagos (237), Dieguenos (307, 312-314), and Yumas. Note also that it is possible that McCarthy is conflating the Yumas and Apaches: On pg. 254, the narrator mentions “troops from Sonora seeking a band of Apaches under Pablo”. But Pablo was a Yuma/Quechan chief. This is known historically and is confirmed on pg. 266 when they go to the Yuma camp and meet the three chiefs: Caballo en Pelo, Pascual, and Pablo. And I’ve not found any historical reference of Pablo leading a band of Apaches at any point.)

    2) The gang are heading north at the start of Chapter 9 when they are ambushed by Apaches. After a fight, the Apaches flee north, and it is implied that the gang track them through the rest of the chapter. But when Chapter 10 begins, it turns out they had been on the trail of Gilenos.

    3) The village they explore at the end of Chapter 11 is described as Apache, but the inhabitants are called Gilenos.

    4) After they slaughter the Gilenos in Chapter 12, they are harried all the way to the gates of Chihuahua City by seventy to eighty Indians who are almost certainly survivors of the massacre. But the whole time back to Chihuahua, these Indians are referred to as “Apaches”. Also, after the gang ride out of the Gileno camp, the judge has the Apache child with him.

    Thus, as far as I’m concerned, the Gilenos are undeniably Apaches.

    Two reasons why they may be Gila Apache are as follows: One, in the “Geographical Cruces in BM” thread, I argued that in Chapter 11 the gang were not at the Keet Seel ruins near the four corners but were actually at the Gila Cliff Dwellings (or some other native ruins nearby) in western NM. If this is so, it puts them in what is now the Gila National Forest, near the source of the Gila River. And almost immediately upon leaving the ruins, they search the abandoned Apache/Gileno village down in a canyon. It is very possible that this is a canyon carved by the Gila River, along which the tribes of the Gila Apache lived.

    Two, as will be noted in the following post, it is very possible that the Indians the Glanton gang are tracking throughout Chapters 9-12 (i.e., the Apaches/Gilenos) are the same that attack the precious metals prospectors just outside the mines at Santa Rita. But historically the Santa Rita mines were a common place for the Gila Apache to plunder. See the following links:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=64gP6rcP_TIC&pg=PA389&lpg=PA389&dq=coppermine+apache+gilenos&source=bl&ots=gYrKhLoKtj&sig=FFsZdtGxDup-3Ibe6eWtZJQU3gw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=58uYU7mNH4P3oATq8oDICg&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=coppermine&f=false

    http://books.google.com/books?id=VclQcKLPKRcC&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=coppermine+apache+gilenos&source=bl&ots=uXrnhEshet&sig=_PtgTf0To1YG19Ww_SmPR3YdZ1M&hl=en&sa=X&ei=58uYU7mNH4P3oATq8oDICg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=coppermine&f=false

    Three reasons why I speculate the Gilenos may actually be Mescaleros: One, as the gang track the Apaches/Gilenos after leaving the “Anasazi” (perhaps Mogollon; see the “Geographical Cruces in BM” thread) ruins, “they began to come upon burnedout pits in the ground where the indians had cooked mescal” (154). I know that many different Indian tribes cooked and ate mescal, but the Mescaleros were particularly noted for it, hence the name.

    Two, after the slaughter of the Gilenos, Glanton believes he has killed Gomez (165-166). But Gomez was the chief of the Mescaleros. And Glanton was no novice at Indian-killing. I’m skeptical that they would kill a band of Indians and that Glanton would just assume that the chief was Gomez unless he had some idea who the Indians were. Thus it seems that even Glanton believes the “Gilenos” to be Mescaleros.

    Three, Sepich in his “Notes on Blood Meridian” mentions a huge Mescalero slaughter in Santa Elena Canyon (33, Revised and Expanded Edition). To be fair, the date, place, and number of scalps recovered don’t match up to those in BM. But McCarthy occasionally plays fast and loose with those kinds of details.

    Also, if as noted above McCarthy indeed conflated the Apaches and Yumas, who’s to say he didn’t do the same with the Gila Apaches and Mescaleros?

    There are, however, a few potential problems with the above: One, where did the “seventy, eighty” (171) Apache/Gileno survivors come from? Sure, the whole “enfilade of refugees” got away, but only a dozen on horseback did (162-163). And all seventy, eighty Apaches are on horseback. And Glanton drove off the rest of their remuda. So how do they all have horses?

    Two, at the end of Chapter 11 on pg. 155 it is said that they find abandoned Apache “villages” (plural). And then on pg. 156 we’re told “[t]he Delawares had reckoned the village [singular] empty ten days and the Gilenos had decamped in small bands by every egress.” Now, I speculate that since there are upward of one thousand Gilenos later on, they probably lived down in the canyon in several villages. But why would the gang search just one? Or perhaps one of “villages”, “village” is a typo and they’re both supposed to be the same?


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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by  efscerbo.
    11 Jun 2014 at 8:36 pm #5486

    efscerbo
    Member

    Now, for anyone interested how exactly I justify the above items, I will give as detailed an account as I can manage:

    1) The Glanton gang are specifically hunting Apaches: In Chapter 3, Captain White tells the kid that the Mexicans have “paid tribute a hundred years to tribes of naked savages… [w]hile a heathen horde rides over the land looting and killing with total impunity. Not a hand raised against them. What kind of people are these? The Apaches wont even shoot them.” (36) This is our first sign that it is the Apaches and not another tribe who are attacking the Mexicans. (I’m aware that historically the violence between the Mexicans and the Indians was more general. However, as mentioned above, no other Indians are really treated throughout BM.)

    Then, at the end of Chapter 6, just before the kid, Toadvine, and the veteran/Grannyrat/Chambers get out of the prison in Chihuahua, Toadvine goes to speak to Glanton and comes back and reports “He’s got a contract with Trias. They’re to pay him a hundred dollars a head for scalps and a thousand for Gomez’s head.” (83) So no mention of Apaches per se, here, but clearly Gomez is the big prize. And Gomez was the chief of the Mescaleros, an Apache tribe.

    Next, in Chapter 7, the gang are on their way to the town of Corralitos when they “spent the night in the corral of a hacienda” where two weeks before “a party of campesinos had been hacked to death with their own hoes and partly eaten by hogs while the Apaches rounded up what stock would drive and disappeared into the hills.” (92) This is the first explicit mention in the novel of the Apaches killing Mexicans. After crossing the Casas Grandes River, the gang “rode along a benchland above the gaunt rill of water past a place of bones where Mexican soldiers had slaughtered an encampment of Apaches some years gone” (94-95), further hinting at the animosity between the Mexicans and the Apaches.

    Before I continue, I must digress: Note the way the citizenry treat the Glanton gang when they ride through towns in the first half of the book: When they leave Chihuahua the first time, there are “lovely darkskinned girls throwing flowers from the windows and some blowing kisses and small boys running alongside and old men waving their hats and crying out huzzahs” (84). When they enter Corralitos, “[t]he people had turned out to see the Texans, they called them, standing solemnly along the way and noting the least of their gestures with looks of awe, looks of wonder” (93), and when they leave, “[t]he people watched them go. Some of the men stood hand in hand like lovers and a small child led forth a blind man on a string to a place of vantage.” (94) When they come back to Chihuahua, it is “to a hero’s welcome” (172), and as they ride towards the governor’s palace, they “surged on, some now holding aloft cups that had been pressed upon them, waving to the ladies clustered on the balconies their putrescent hats…, all so hemmed about now by the citizenry that they seemed the vanguard of some ragged uprising and heralded before by a pair of drummers one witless and both barefoot and by a trumpeter who marched with one arm raised above his head in a martial gesture and playing the while.” (173) When they enter Coyame, “they were fallen upon as saints. Women ran alongside the horses to touch their boots and presents of every kind were pressed upon them until each man rode with an embarrassment of melons and pastries and trussed chickens gathered in the bow of his saddle.” (179) Messianic terms. The people view the gang as saviors. More importantly for my purpose, the people of these cities clearly know who the gang are. Not personally, of course, but they know who they are and what they’re doing.

    Back to the previous line of reasoning: In Chapter 8, in the cantina in Janos, the kid, Toadvine, and the Vandiemenlander/Bathcat speak with “another advisor” (105), who asks them “You kill the Apache, no?” and says “You kill Gomez they pay you much monies.” (107) Note how he begins the conversation “You are Texas?”, recalling how the people of Corralitos “turned out to see the Texans, they called them” (93). This man recognizes them and knows what they’re doing. Moreover, he says “You are sociedad de guerra. Contra los barbaros.” This is what the historical anti-Apache organization started by Trias was called: “Sociedad de Guerra contra los Barbaros”. (See the gang’s final exit from Chihuahua at the end of Chapter 13, after which “the Sociedad was disbanded” (193).) The point is, this “advisor” knows what he’s talking about, and thus when he says that the gang are hunting the Apache, I believe him.

    In Chapter 9, they enter Santa Rita del Cobre, which has been “abandoned these dozen years past when the Apaches cut off the wagontrains from Chihuahua and laid the works under siege.” (120) More evidence of the problems the Mexicans are having with the Apaches.

    In Chapter 10, Tobin tells the story of how the gang met the judge. Tobin says “We were thirty-eight men when we left Chihuahua City and we were fourteen when the judge found us”, “half of all Apacheria in pursuit” (131, 132). Clearly this is one of the gang’s earlier scalp-hunting journeys, one which went wrong. Presumably they attacked some Indian village and it did not go well, and since they are being chased by Apaches, we can reasonably infer they had attacked Apaches.

    In Chapter 13, they leave Chihuahua to go on their second scalp-hunting raid, and “[t]hey wandered the borderland for weeks seeking some sign of the Apache.” (179) In Chapter 15, after “the string runs” on their dealings with Trias, they go to Ures, where they get “a contract signed by the governor of the state of Sonora for the furnishing of Apache scalps.” (188, 213) And in Chapter 17, they meet “troops from Sonora seeking a band of Apaches” (254).

    Thus, every piece of information we get hints at the antagonism between the Mexicans and the Apaches. People who recognize the gang as “Texans” believe they are hunting Apaches. Their contract in Ures is for Apache scalps. And no other Indian tribe is discussed in much detail (except the Yumas, whom, as I said above, McCarthy may be conflating with the Apaches). So I surely believe that the gang, at least in Chapters 7-12, are hunting Apaches.

    2) The gang track throughout Chapter 9 the Apaches who ambushed them: The gang leave Janos in the middle of Chapter 8 (109). The next day they ride north through the Animas Mountains (110), and the day after that they are ambushed by Apaches (113-115). After they fight off the Apaches, the Indians flee north: “The judge looked north along the pale shore of the dry lake where the heathen had fled.” (116) Since the gang end up at Santa Rita del Cobre, we know they are heading north as well. For the next few days, “the Delawares read the smokes on the distant peaks” (118), which they then lose sight of. Presumably these are the Apaches that just ambushed them. And just before they reach Santa Rita, they find “a dusty old diligence” containing the bodies of “a dead man [and] another man inside and a young boy” (118), who must be the three dead from the “party of seven that had set out for the mountains to prospect for precious metals.” (121) The four survivors, the squatters in the Santa Rita presidio, had “fled [t]here from the desert to the south pursued by the savages.” (121) It is very possible that these prospectors were set upon by the same group of Apaches that ambushed the gang in the start of the chapter. And the night they leave Santa Rita, they start heading north towards the mountains, and “[to] the north they could see other fires that burned red and sullen along the invisible ridges.” (126) (And they are definitely heading north, because they come upon “ciboleros down from the north” and then pass them by, “each passing back the way the other had come” (127).) Seeing these fires, “[t]hey ate and moved on, leaving the fire on the ground behind them” (126), presumably as a decoy, so the Indians they’re tracking think they are staying put. And then immediately begins Chapter 10: “In the days to follow all trace of the Gilenos faded…” (128) It really sounds like throughout Chapter 9, the Apaches are heading north and the gang are tracking them. But at the beginning of Chapter 10, it seems the gang have been on the trail of Gilenos. Hence, to my mind, they are one and the same.

    3) The village the gang search at the end of Chapter 11 is called first Apache, then Gileno: The Delaware scouts “reported finding the Apache villages abandoned” and “reckoned… the Gilenos had decamped in small bands by every egress.” (155, 156) Note also the behavior of the gang at the opening of Chapter 12:

    “For the next two weeks they would ride by night, they would make no fire. They had struck the shoes from their horses and filled the nailholes in with clay and those who still had tobacco used their pouches to spit in and they slept in caves and on bare stone. They rode their horses through the tracks of their dismounting and they buried their stool like cats and they barely spoke at all.”

    Clearly they don’t want to be seen or tracked. Presumably, this is in response to having found the villages abandoned: They realize that they were spotted by the very Indians they were tracking. Thus, the Apaches/Gilenos who lived in this village must have been whom they were tracking all along. This may well reinforce my point that the gang were tracking the Apaches who ambushed them at the start of Chapter 9.

    4) The gang are chased to Chihuahua City by survivors of the Gileno massacre, and these survivors are called Apaches: The Gileno encampment is along “the white salt shore” “of a shallow lake” (161, 160). The Delaware scouts “reported the Gilenos camped… less than four hours to the south.” The Glanton gang get into position along “the north end of the lake” (160). So they are approaching from the north. When the slaughter begins, “[the] raiders went through the village at full gallop and turned and came back.” So now they’re coming from the south, facing north. Fleeing from the gang, “a whole enfilade of refugees had begun streaming north along the shore wailing crazily with the riders among them like herdsmen clubbing down the laggards first.” (162) This further reinforces the sense of direction: If the refugees are streaming north and the riders are clubbing down the laggards first, the riders must be approaching from the south. Next, “a small band of warriors had mounted themselves out of the scattered remuda and they advanced upon the village” (162). These are “shot down one by one until the dozen survivors among them turned and fled up the lake past the groaning column of refugees and disappeared in a drifting wake of soda ash.” (163)

    Then, as the gang are scalping and coupling with the dead and dying, the narrator tells us that “Glanton knew that every moment on this ground must be contested later in the desert and he rode among the men and urged them on.” (163) I take this to mean that Glanton is expecting the refugees and survivors on horseback to regroup and attack shortly. This is further reinforced by the judge, who after the slaughter is over asks “How long do you think it will take these yahoos to regroup?” (166)

    Finally, immediately after the death of Juan Miguel, Glanton sees “a rise to the north where a band of mounted Apaches were grouped against the sky.” (164) So the Gileno refugees and a dozen men on horseback escape to the north, and then all of a sudden there are Apaches just to the north of them looking to attack? These have to be the Gileno escapees, right?

    Also, when they ride out from the Gileno camp, the judge has with him a “strange dark child covered with ash.” (167) This can only be a child from the Gileno camp, which burned and is covered in ash. But later, when the judge is “dandling it”, he is described as an “Apache boy” (170). Even the corresponding chapter heading confirms this: “An Apache child” (157).

    And when the gang leave the Gileno camp, heading south, back to Chihuahua for payment, they see “a thin line of dust to the north”, and the Delawares put their “ears to the ground” to listen. When they make camp, they see “the fires of the enemy… ten miles to the north.” (167) So they are indeed being pursued right out of the Gileno camp. The next day, the narrator mentions “the enemy who were to hound them to the gates of the city” (170). And a few days later they are “in full flight from the Apaches.” And again, the next day, “[the] Apaches, seventy, eighty of them” are pursuing them. And finally that evening, “they led the Apaches through the town of Gallego” (171).

    So they attack the Gileno camp, and immediately after they spot Apaches on a rise to the north, and they are pursued by Apaches to the gates of Chihuahua City, and the judge has an Apache child with him. Again, as far as I’m concerned, McCarthy intends the Gilenos to be Apaches.


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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  efscerbo.
    11 Jun 2014 at 9:28 pm #5489

    efscerbo
    Member

    To sum up: My opinion for the time being is the following: The gang are ambushed by Apaches at the start of Chapter 9. These are a few of the larger group of Indians who live in the mountains along the Gila River and whom the narrator will call “Apache” and “Gileno” interchangeably later on. The gang chase these Apaches/Gilenos north, tracking them as far as they can. When they lose them, they start searching the mountains and discover their village, which the Apaches/Gilenos have abandoned because they know they’re being hunted. Shortly after, the Delawares see smoke coming from the south. The gang, as furtively as possible, make their way south towards the Indians (who are the very same Apaches/Gilenos). They finally catch up to them and slaughter them. Along the way, McCarthy is conflating (I imagine intentionally) the Gila Apaches with the Mescaleros: They are a group of Apaches who live near the Gila River and whom they suspect Gomez is the chief of.

    The point is, though, that it seems that the gang don’t really “go rogue” until the *second* scalp-hunt of the novel. Throughout Chapters 9-12, they are hunting and killing only those Indians whom they have contracted to kill. It’s only later that they start killing peaceful Indians (e.g., Tiguas) and Mexicans. I imagine that the progression downwards is important.


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    11 Jun 2014 at 9:35 pm #5490

    efscerbo
    Member

    Also, the gang’s return to Chihuahua City is dated as July 21, 1849. It seems that it took them about ten days to get back to Chihuahua after the Gileno massacre. Thus we can approximately date the slaughter of the Gilenos as July 11, 1849. Is the Gileno massacre historical? Did the Glanton gang actually kill hundreds of Indians at dawn on or around July 11, 1849? This could resolve definitively many of the issues raised above.


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    11 Jun 2014 at 10:05 pm #5491

    Glass
    Member

    Impressive work, Ed. Thanks for this and for all of your recent posts on BM. Much to think about! Very interesting. I thought I might have had something to add to your “dry lake” mystery, and I still might — there may be some clues in William R. Goulding’s overland journey book “California Odyssey,” which I read a few months ago and has excellent accounts of adventures in many of the same geographical areas as those of the Glanton gang and at almost exactly the same time, maybe even the same week of the same year. Goulding’s spooky stories about the mirages they “saw” at Lake Playas are uncannily similar to how the gang experienced its hallucinatory trip (so to speak) through there. It’s a lot of fun to read Goulding and then read the parallel passage in McCarthy. Reading Goulding, you are half expecting Holden to make an appearance! As for that slaughter: I know I heard someone mention that at the 25th anniversary of BM conference. I will look at my notes to see if I wrote anything down on that interesting detail.

    Here’s a link to the Goulding diary and some other books germane to the subject at hand:
    http://patriciaettersouthwest.com/publications/


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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 7 months ago by  Glass.
    11 Jun 2014 at 10:47 pm #5493

    Glass
    Member

    Ed, I just checked my BM conference notes and what I said I thought I remembered about the slaughter from BM you are analyzing doesn’t look like it is a match. But, since I looked it up, I might as well share my shorthand scribblings here: “– Sproule/kid — blood in church — see massacre at Mire where blood flowed 2 feet deep. {Tiguas} — melons — research allows McCarthy to fill in the details of everything that has vanished — they end up in a book…McCarthy was the WITNESS — recording all the details..needs the details of history.”

    I don’t want to derail. Please ride on with more great posts!


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