These Are Your Stories #37 – Big Jimmy Calhoun

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This time on These Are Your Stories we have one that comes from the old west and was sent to us by Big Jimmy Calhoun. Big Jimmy lives in the great state of Arizona and is a real cowboy. In fact, he comes from the lineage of real cowboys. I spent some time on the phone with Jimmy and here is the story he told me about his great-grandpa Jerico. 

His great-grandpa was a bit of a legend in Arizona. You won’t find his name in any history books and Jimmy doesn’t even have a picture of him. What we do have is a journal of his stories. All of which he swore was true. Jimmy never got to meet Jerico, but he did get to meet his Chiricahua wife, Zi-Yeh. She was very old at the time and gave Jimmy his great grandpa’s journal. This story is one of the last in the book. The words were copied directly from the journal, so please don’t expect perfect English. Big Jimmy had this to say, “This is as true a story you find about the old west, well mostly true anyway.”

I was shot by my friend Sam waters.  If he had not done it, I would have been dead for sure. 

We had been sent out to collect strays in the north end of the ranch near Willow canyon. We made our campsite near a stream and enjoyed a hearty meal of beans and trout. It was our last night out and had collected 15 cows and a few calves.  We had an iron on the spit with plans to brand the calves after supper.

Sam had brought a bottle with him and we agreed that we would share it on our last night. We knew that we had to stay sharp, because the “REZ” was not too far away and there had been some jumpers over the last few weeks. Jumpers are what we call illegal Indian hunts. You had to be careful because the Indians were not always in the best of moods. Also, they had been known to shoot cattle rather than look for other game.

I had first watch. We had hobbled the horses but the cattle had been left to graze. Wolfs or Rouge Indians could easily run them off and have their pick of them. It was after midnight when I heard a rustling in the bushes. I threw a rock at Sam to wake him up. I pointed off into the bushes and he reached for his rifle.

It was quiet, too quiet and we both knew that there was going to be trouble. We didn’t know if it was going to be Indian or wolves. I had just turned my back when the first howl rose into the night. The cattle all raised their heads and were off.  Sam yelled, “Stampede!” and a pack of hungry wolves appeared nipping at cattles hooves.

All of this would have been fine, we would collect what was left, and in all likelihood the wolves would take the calves rather than bring down a 400 pound cow. The problem was that the cattle all were heading straight to me. I was turned around and didn’t see the danger until it was too late.

Sam took aim with this Winchester and shot me straight through and through in the shoulder. The impact knocked me sideways over a rock and cattle changed their direction. The herd missed me only a couple of feet. The bullet had gone right through me leaving a neat hole which Sam quickly closed with the whiskey and that hot branding iron. As it turned out I was branded that night and will carry a scar to prove it.

Jericho Calhoun

Well, there you have it straight from Big Jimmy Calhoun. My thanks to him for sharing with us. This was one of the best interviews I have ever done. It is my hope that we get more stories from that journal someday.

This Week’s Podcast:

On the show this week we are all about ghosts. A podcast full of them including a tale from the OTR series The Mysterious Traveler titled The Haunted Trailer. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from Apple Podcasts, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link

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