Ask The Marshall: Pancho Villa

What happened to Pancho Villa’s henchman Rodolfo Fierro?

Chuck Shumway
Dewey, Arizona

Rodolfo Fierro, known as El Carnicero, or the Butcher, was Pancho Villa’s most loyal pistolero.

Anecdotal stories of Fierro’s brutal killings are legend. On one occasion, he got into an argument over whether a man falls forward or backward when shot. The other guy claimed the man would fall backward. “Forward,” said Fierro, pulling his gun and proving the point by shooting the man—who fell forward.

On October 14, 1915, Fierro died after being thrown from his horse while crossing a muddy stream that turned out to be quicksand. He was packing a cache of gold coins that helped pull him under. He ordered his men to pull him out, but they kept missing with their ropes, and he finally slipped beneath the surface.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official state historian and the vice president of the Wild West History Association.  His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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