Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

The number of people involved in giving substance to this book is far too great to be fully acknowledged here. I would, however, like to thank a specific few, and hope the others will understand that my gratitude extends equally to them. First, for their aid in documentation: Leland Sonnichsen, Tracy Row, and the staff of the Arizona Historical Society; Barbara Hooper and the staff...

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Foreword

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p. ix

The major events in this book actually happened, although a number of details have been altered. Many of the characters are based on real people (none now living). Here, too, the author has taken great liberties that may upset scrupulous biographers. But the book pretends to be neither history nor biography...

Part One

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Prologue: June, 1917

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pp. 3-4

We've never known a summer like it. On paper, we've been at war with the Bosch three months now. Halfway around the world, at a place called Chemin des Dames, French and German soldiers duck artillery in mud so deep that it sucks the wounded under and smothers them. Our Boys aren't there yet, but they're coming. The first regiments are on ships somewhere...

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Big Bill Haywood: New York City, June 28, 1917, 4:00 PM

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pp. 5-17

No one has recognized you yet as Big Bill Haywood, but somebody will. The crowd attracted by the young anarchist speaker beside the subway entrance will be sure to know the leader of the Wobblies, the roughest, toughest, most hell-raising union in history. Your Stetson, boots, scowl, single eye, and black western-cut suit are as much trademarks as Bill Cody's beard. But you deliberately...

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Orson McCrea: Cochise County, Arizona, July 1, 3:00 A.M.

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pp. 17-26

The monsoon, the chubasco, has come at last. Fat cumulus clouds grow in the distant Gulf of Mexico, lumber across the wastes of Chihuahua, clip the tops of the high sierra of Sonora, bust open over the emptiness of southern Arizona like overloaded Papago water skins. Walls of water rip churning and brown through dry washes. They freight rocks, rattlers, dead branches, gophers...

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Jim Brew: July 1, 7:00 A.M.

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pp. 26-34

Too old, Jim Brew tells himself as he drags himself up the haulage tunnel of the Copper Queen Southwest. Wore out and too blessed old for the graveyard shift. Timbering all night in a hot-spot drift where the heat is so high the water in the air turns into underground rain. Tnen coming out here where the air gets sucked in through the cracks in the mountain so hard the wind...

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Harry Wheeler: July 1, 7:20 A.M.

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pp. 34-45

You are Harry C. Wheeler, the last of the real sheriffs. You came across the Great Nowhere to find the Wild West, and almost missed it. You were a scout with the Apaches in captivity back in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, when you were barely twenty, and one of the best, by God. Then at thirty you were commander of the Arizona Rangers and able to hit 197 out of any 200 bull's-eyes...

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Art Matthews: July 1, 8:00 A.M.

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pp. 45-55

Art Matthews's welcoming party has taken a roundabout way from the station to avoid what Jack Greenway calls, with a laugh, the wrath of the masses. They slip off the platform on the east end, toward Mexico and away from the strikers in front of the post office. The ragtag Copper Queen band follows, but in front of city hall Grant Dowell dismisses the group. The...

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Bo Whitley: July 1, 11:30 A.M.

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pp. 55-65

Bo Whitley sits with a man named Hamer on top of Sacramento Hill watching a Mexican air machine do lazy tricks over Naco, across the border. They sit cross-legged on the ground with a bunch of miners' kids, who are smoking snitched tobacco. The kids tell them the Mexican air machine appears every day and drops...

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: July 1, 3:00 P.M.

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pp. 65-77

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn is troubled. She told herself that she came to these desert mountains to crack the copper trust, and her mind is full of an ex-husband. She knew Bo Whitley was from Bisbee. When Bill Haywood cabled her to come to Arizona, she didn't consciously think of Whitley. But when she stepped off the train and saw him, she knew she had expected to find him...

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Art Matthews: July 1, 4:30 P.M.

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pp. 78-91

Will wonders never cease? Art Matthews has never had so many things happen to him in one day. The train ride with the Flynn woman, the excitement of real Wobblies striking around him, the strange joy of standing up to Bunny and his father, then-best of all-his afternoon on the Line. A bunch of all-right fellows hang out up there, and he never spent four dollars so well in...

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Orson McCrea: July 1, 7:00 P.M.

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pp. 91-110

Orson McCrea sits in a shaft of rainy evening light and listens to the voices from Captain Jack Greenway's parlor. His head throbs, and he is a little drowsy from the shot Dr. Bledsoe gave him at the C & A hospital in midafternoon. The leather armchair is comfortable, and he wishes he could go to sleep. But he can't. Captain Greenway has given him things to study. He has been...

Part Two

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Big Bill Haywood: July 2, 4:15 P.M.

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pp. 113-122

The Golden State Limited brakes, jerks, hisses. You throw out a hand to steady yourself against the window frame. To calm your impatient anger, you've even tried to count the numberless gallows frames that mark the hoists of Bisbee's mine shafts. But your anger won't let you. It has had you up and pacing from...

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Harry Wheeler: July 2, 8:00 P.M.

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pp. 122-134

That Haywood is not a pussy. So much you know. Whether he is a Real Man or not remains to be seen. You bet he has used that pistol, and would have used it again. You wonder why he gave in to you so easily this afternoon. But you don't let your mind dwell on it. It's enough to know that a man will give in easily, if you...

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: July 2, 10:00 P.M.

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pp. 134-142

Whitley hasn't spoken since they left the last street behind. Elizabeth doesn't know why she's here with him at all, on an old wagon road high above the town in the cool damp of the night. She only knows that she had to get out of the smoky meeting hall of the Pythian Castle before she screamed, and Whitley was there to take her away. For the past hour they've plunged up and down...

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Jim Brew: July 3, 9:30 P.M.

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pp. 142-152

Striking is one thing; busting into the country club is another. If he wasn't so afraid that Bo would think he was letting him down, there's no way in hell he would have got roped into it. To begin with, he's too blessed old. Taking the streetcar out to the car barn in Warren, then sneaking through the desert behind the country club in the dark! Lord! There's no point in it that he...

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Art Matthews: July 3, 10:15 P.M.

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pp. 152-156

Art wishes Bo and the Flynn woman were in the front seat with him instead of this big lump of a Brew chap. He's dying to talk. He feels unspeakably ... elated. He's just done the most moving thing in his life. He's free! For the first time he was able to tell the old man to go diddle himself! And he might as well be...

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Jim Brew: July 3, 10:30 P.M.

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pp. 156-162

They would have wanted to take Jim to the doctor, but he's never been to one of the sons of bitches in his life, even after he spent a week in the Mormon stope cave-in up in Utah. They took Bo, and that's all right. He's pretty bad. But Jim had to figure a way to get that sharp something out of his throat before it chokes him. He's never felt quite this way before. Nothing he can think of...

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Bo Whitley: July 4, 7:30 A.M.

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pp. 162-177

The explosions from Sacramento Hill echo and stop. Bo, like the others at the long oilcloth-covered tables of Mother Moriotti's French Kitchen, looks up. Forks and coffee cups pause, as if waiting for a signal that it's over. Only Mother Jones keeps jabbing at her pancakes. "Noise," she says in the silence, "is good for...

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Art Matthews: July 4, 8:00 P.M.

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pp. 178-184

Art's pretty lonely, but relieved. Johnny Fourth of July got the list back all right and managed to slip a couple of quarts of Scotch out in the bargain. Plus some civvies and the two twenties Art had hidden away in his kit bag. He supposes the first day must be the hardest. He had really expected it to be more of a giggle than it's been so far. To tell the truth, he feels a bit like a...

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Orson McCrae: July 4, Midnight

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pp. 184-188

Will he never get any sleep? Don't they know what it took to get the word around to all those boys who showed up at the meeting last night? And to get the captains organized to turn out over a thousand men for the parade? When is enough? They've rousted him out of bed on this wet night and he hadn't been asleep an hour. How do they expect a man to be clear-headed when...

Part Three

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Big Bill Haywood: July 10, 3:30 P.M.

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pp. 191-198

You step through the double screen doors of the French Kitchen to watch the newsboys scrambling for their papers at the stand just behind the stage entrance to the Lyric. Your trunk is packed in your room above, ready for the 4:30 Argonaut to Chicago. In Chicago you will hit the speaking circuit, in spite of the pain in your stomach that tells you your ulcer is working at killing...

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Harry Wheeler: July 10, 8:00 P.M.

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pp. 198-213

They've come for you in a closed car. Picked you up in back of the dispensary, by the YWCA, and drove you in circles until they were sure no one was following. It's not needed, though. There's not one foot of the Bisbee-Warren mining district you feel unsafe on. All week that's been proved again and again. The boys are...

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Art Matthews: July 11, 7:00 P.M.

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pp. 214-223

Misery. He can't go home, and he can't fit in with the Wobblies. Not a real pal among them, no matter how hard he tries. And Bo-he's got no use at all for Bo anymore, though he thinks he understands him. They're both hopelessly in love with the Flynn woman and Bo has to humiliate him every chance he gets. That's romantic, though, so Art supposes it's all right...

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Bo Whitley: July 11, 10:30 P.M.

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pp. 224-232

The streetcar sways down out of Jiggerville, past Skunk town and Bakerville into Warren. In the dark cactusy stretches between camps, Bo lets himself drift into a mixture of elation and dread. He left word only this afternoon at the C&A hospital that he wanted to see Greenway. And the company fink was at his door in Jiggerville by sundown with instructions. That's good...

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Orson McCrea: July 12, 2:00 A.M.

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pp. 232-236

"This is the Loyalty League call." That's all it took. Kellogg and the operators in the phone company office said it-how many?-a hundred times to the captains and the lieutenants. And that was it. Afterwards the switchboard lit up like an electric sign as the captains and the lieutenants called the troops. An hour is the estimated maximum time it should...

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Jim Brew: July 12, 3:30 A.M.

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pp. 236-244

The shuffling, thumping noises from above have long stopped. Even the cleanup man, Nigger John Brown, has put away his broom and spread fresh sawdust and gone home. In the seven other nights he's spent here underneath the Saint Elmo saloon, Jim has learned the closing-up routine by heart. They say this cave was dug back in the time when you needed a place to...

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: July 12, 6:15 A.M.

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pp. 244-254

There were men in the house. She saw them outlined against the moonlight through the open screen door. Her first thought was that Bo had come with some of the boys and was trying to slip in to see her. But then she saw the rifles and the gunbelts. What she remembers now, as she sits on the bench in Harry Wheeler's temporary office, is not the fear she felt but the sense...

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Bo Whitley: July 12, 10:00 A.M.

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pp. 255-260

Bo hasn't slept. All night boots clumped along the carpeted hall outside the bedroom, and shouts, cussing, jokes, rolled from room to room. His door was locked and he was conscious always of someone outside it. He thinks he's got it figured. They're going to round up the strike committee and organizers like himself-put some trumped-up charges against them, or just ride...

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Harry Wheeler: July 12, 1:00 P.M.

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pp. 260-266

The damn train should have been here by now. Dowell promised twenty-five boxcars and cattle cars. That's precious few; you'll have to do a right smart of packing in. You pace through your officers and make sure they know the plans. If that fool McCrea hadn't got himself shot, you'd be free of a lot of this petty detail....

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Bo Whitley: July 13, Noon

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pp. 267-271

Bo stays low and sprints. The road has got to be just ahead of him, over the cactusy rise. He saw rooster tails of dust from automobiles at least a mile back. More than a few of them. And there are houses here, too, set under the few eucalyptus trees that stand out above the desert mesquite. The Mex tank tender's directions back in Hermanas were sound. And it's good that Hamer...

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Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: July 14, 4:30 P.M.

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pp. 271-275

Elizabeth watches a drop of water fight its way down the windowpane of the Argonaut. Outside, bands of deputies question the few arriving passengers. Rain drips from the deputies' hat brims and ponchos. Above them, a machine gun's black barrel still pokes from the roof of the dispensary. And above that, the tops...

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Bo Whitley: July 14, 8:00 P.M.

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pp. 275-282

With the soldiers to Douglas; by clanking ore train next morning to High, Lonesome Road, deserted since Geronimo's time. A stop at Walnut Springs to rub the juice from green, bitter walnut husks onto his face until it is dark as the darkest Mex's. Then with the Mex woodcutters' burro train, slanting down the mountainside into Zacatecas as Bisbee's streetlights flick on in...

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Big Bill Haywood: September, 1917, 8:00 P.M.

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pp. 283-284

You know there is an auditorium, and a dark dry street stretching out behind it with puddles of light from street lamps. It is in Philadelphia or Indianapolis or Los Angeles, you're not sure. You're scheduled for one of them this week. There is an ugly glare in the small dressing room, which is bare brick made stark by the naked light bulb from the ceiling. Your...

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Harry Wheeler: July 12, 1923, 7:00 P.M.

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pp. 284-288

Outside your hotel room, traffic circles and honks. You pull the curtains back each time a honk is particularly close-by. It could be your taxi. You'd be up shit creek without your taxi. The most you've been able to figure out about London in the month you've been here is that you're on one of those damn little squares...

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About the Author

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pp. 289-289

Robert Houston has published nine novels in addition to Bisbee '17, including The Nation Thief and The Fourth Codex, and a book of translations of the poems of Le6n Felipe. One of his novels became...