History and the Myth When Carson arrived, she'd only been dead five minutes and the body was still warm.  

Kit Carson True West Magazine
Kit Carson.

In 1849 Kit Carson rode as scout for a company of Dragoons in pursuit of Apache raiders along the Santa Fe Trail.  They had taken a white woman, Mrs. Ann White and her infant child, captive.

Carson’s men picked up the trail and just before they caught up with the band, they scattered, but before they ran, they murdered the woman. When Carson arrived, she’d only been dead five minutes and the body was still warm.

Next to her was a book, a dime novel about the exploits of Kit Carson saving a beautiful woman from death at the hands of a band of Indians.

Carson couldn’t read nor write, but when one of the soldiers read the story to him, he muttered, “throw it in the fire.”  He was deeply affected by the fact that this woman was hoping and praying the legendary Kit Carson would come to her rescue and unlike the story in her dime novel, he got there too late. Her baby was never found.

Kit Carson: The Life of an American Border Man

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Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.