“Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something important.” Allegedly, Francisco “Pancho” Villa spoke these final words to a group of reporters before his death. Even for Villa, master of media and movies alike, this was just too good to be true. In fact, Pancho Villa didn’t have time for any last words, he was killed instantly in a hailstorm of bullets along with all but one of his entourage. Some claim that Ramon Contreras, the lone survivor, is the source of Villa’s dying plea. However, two days after the assassination Contreras gave an interview stating that Villa died in the first seconds of the attack. Perhaps Villa’s dying words are the product of the silver screen. In the 1934 film, Viva Villa! (Wallace Beery) a dying Pancho begs a reporter to tell him what his last words should be. Even with all the research True West has done for the 50 Photos of Pancho Villa issue hitting news stands on June 16th, the answer is unclear.
Do you have some insight into Villa’s final moments? Where do you think these last words came from? We’re interested in hearing from you.