Jim Sam was one of the earliest Asians to arrive on the west coast. In 1865 he opened a restaurant in Prescott and eventually operated restaurants in a number of mining towns around the territory.
Jim Sam had a knack for making money in the restaurant business and he staked many a prospector. He was a soft touch for every down-on-his-luck who crossed his path. He kept a record of every dollar he loaned but never ran a total until one day the thought struck him to find out how much was owed. Much to his shock and dismay the total came to $164,000. He decided to go out and locate his own gold mine but after several tries never found that bonanza gold mine. His forte was running restaurants and charging the exorbitant price of one dollar per meal.
While running a restaurant in Globe some of the town rowdies visited his establishment bent on shipping him back to China. Jim Sam stuck a large knife in his teeth, armed himself with two pistols and plowed into the bunch. He didn’t shoot any of them but did beat a couple of them severely about the head and shoulders with the barrels of his pistol.
He was an excellent shot with a pistol and often put on exhibitions by shooting the marks out of playing cards from a distance.
One day in Pinal City a local undesirable named Shoot ‘Em Up Dick came in and ordered the most expensive dish on the menu. After finishing he ordered a fancy cigar, lit it and got up to leave.
“Hey, you forgot something,” Jim Sam said.
“No, I didn’t forget nothin’. I am Shoot Em Up Dick.”
Jim Sam, grabbed a big pistol and said, “So, you Shoot Em Up Dick? I am shoot em down Sam. You pay up!”
Shoot Em Up Dick paid up pronto and Jim Sam was known ever after as “Shoot ‘em Down Sam.”