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Love's Life

 

Nat Love, like all other cowboys, often found himself fighting off attacks by Indians, but one tale stands out from the rest, showing us once more that his strength of character and bravery had earned him the respect of friend and foe alike.  In one story, Love tells of a particularly violent fight with the Yellow Dog's tribe, in which he runs out of ammunition, yet keeps on fighting, getting severely wounded in the process. 

The story takes an unexpected turn when Love is then brought back to the Indian village and his wounds are tended to.  Love reasons that they may have spared him because he fought bravely, or that he was spared since the Yellow Dog's tribe was comprised of many "half-breeds" and that "there was a large percentage of colored blood in the tribe".  Once he was well enough,  Nat Love took part in tribal activities and was even offered 100 ponies to marry the Chief's daughter.  Of course, Love did not accept, opting instead to find one choice pony, and make his escape, riding 100 miles without a saddle.

Nat Love didn't only survive fights with the Indians, he also fought Mexicans, and most importantly, fought against mother Nature in an effort to survive the many perils which presented themselves during his journeys.  In one story, he recalls being stranded on the prairie, starving, and thirsty; he survives by slitting the throat of a calf, drinking its blood, and eating its meat.  In another incredible tale, he tells of being frozen to the point of losing his toenails, and much of the flesh from his extremities to frostbite.  Whether these tales have been exaggerated for the benefit of the reader or not, they remain fine examples of courage and character, of larger-than-life heroism which is now almost only seen in movies, television, or within the pages of novels and comic books.

In fact, Nat Love's stories are all written in a clear, concise style which made them easy to recall and relate to friends, tall tales made taller like all the other legends of the American West. 

But what about romance?  After all, the man's name is Love, so it is only fitting that there be a love story somewhere in his book.  While driving the herd past a passing a small adobe house near the city of Old Mexico, Nat's attention was drawn to a lovely young Spanish woman standing in the yard, and it was love at first sight.  Nat pretended to be very thirsty and asked her for a drink, just so he could introduce himself. 

Later, he kept seeing her everywhere he went in town, and at some point, he overheard her talking with her mother about whether or not she would be leaving town with him, she answered she wouldn't and upon hearing this, Nat bid her farewell, jumped on his horse and rode off into the distance to try and escape the pain of heartache, but while he was able to distance himself from her physically, he wasn't able to distance himself from her emotionally.  Months later, he returned to Old Mexico, but was reluctant to see her, even to the point of making his team boss lie about his whereabouts when she came around their encampment.

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Excerpts from the electronic edition of The Life and Adventures of Nat Love Better Known in the Cattle Country as "Deadwood Dick" by Himself; a True History of  Slavery Days, Life on the Great Cattle Ranges and on the Plains of the "Wild and Woolly" West, Based on Facts, and Personal Experiences of the Author, are the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The full electronic edition, which also includes original illustrations of this text may be viewed here. All other text and graphics on this website are 2002 http://www.natlove.com Send mail to webmaster@natlove.com
Last modified: October 18, 2002