Peasant Autonomy
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Story 29

A village in the north of Mexico – around 1890

Bandits and assassins

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: John W. Schulze)

North of Mexico.

“How long must this go on? How often does this have to happen again?” Hilario desperately shouts to the villagers. Once again the notorious gang of robbers of Calvera has looted the village. They have snatched away chickens, hides, dried meat, wine; everything that they saw. Laughingly they said “Adios, see you again.” Undoubtedly they will return after the corn harvest.

“We have to fight against them,” Hilario continues. “Well, what can we do against a gang of forty robbers?” someone else laments, “they have guns, we only have our machetes.” Finally the village decides to seek help in the town. Not from the rurales, the gendarmes, because they really will not come to protect their village. They will try to find some experienced gunmen. Hilario and two other peasants collect all the gold and silver that is in the village, and start on their way. It isn't much, but it's worth a try.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Wonderlane)

North of Mexico.

Luckily, they find a capable bounty hunter, who takes pity on the poor peasants, and rounds up some mates. After all the dirty jobs of the last years, now they want to show their good side.
Ten horsemen – three peasants in white cotton clothes with sombreros and seven tough gunmen – travel a few days through the wild area with cactuses taller than a man and small streams to the village where the corn is already drying in sheaves on the field. Hilario is in high spirits. These professional fighters will attack the bandits together with all the villagers and drive them away. It will not be easy, but it has to succeed.


The movie The magnificent seven (1960) made by the American director John Sturges is a classic Western, with beautiful landscapes, galloping horses, and tough gunfighters. The movie depicts at the same time the live of the Mexican peasants.

Go to:
= the next page: There is war in the air - a village in Liberia – around 1890 (2), story 30.
= the Table of contents, story 29.