Captain Jonathan R. Davis
"All the heroes of olden time|
Who have jingled alike in armor and rhyme,
Hercules, Hector, Quintus Curtius,
Pompey, and Pegasus-riding Perseus,
Brave Bayard, and the brave Roland,
Men who never a fight turned backs on;
Charles the Swede, and the Spartan band,
Coriolanus, and General Jackson,
Richard the Third, and Marcus Brutus,
And others, whose names won’t rhyme to suit us,
Must certainly sink in the dim profound
When Captain Davis’s story gets round."
On December 19, 1854, Captain Jonathan R. Davis, his awesome mutton chops, and two other men were quietly walking through a canyon deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. For those adventurers and prospectors brave and tough enough to withstand the treacherous pitfalls and blistering heat of these uncharted, dangerous, largely-uninhabited lands there was plenty of gold to be found, and veritable shitloads of money to be made. This small group was convinced that they had what it took to get the job done. Captain Davis, an unflinching Eastwoodian gunslinger from South Carolina, scanned the horizon for worthwhile claims to stake, careful to watch out for potential ambushes by native warriors, bloodthirsty brigands, or vicious wild animals. On his left stood James McDonald, an Alabama man, and on his right was Davis' good friend, a local doctor named Bolivar A. Sparks. These three men had big dreams of striking it rich in California gold, heading back home with wagonloads of unimaginable wealth, and retiring to gold-plated mansions where they could constantly be surrounded by hot corseted babes and taxidermied bear corpses.
But unfortunately any time there's money to be made, there will be men are eager to opt out of the whole hard work thing and take that wealth from other by force of arms. And such was the case in California in the 1850s. Little did this small, three-man party know, they were being watched. Nearly a dozen vicious, hardened, remorseless criminals lay in wait for their approach. Eleven utterly-douchetastic scumfucks in the midst of a murderous crime spree. This vile bandit gang had already killed and robbed ten men in the past two weeks. They were eager for more.
Ten Old West badasses, one less than the group lying in ambush.
James McDonald never even heard the shots. The bandit crew was out from behind the bushes and rocks of the canyon in a heartbeat, and without saying a word they opened fire into the narrow killzone. The poor bastard fell dead with his pistol still in its holster. Dr. Sparks managed to draw his sidearm, but the physician only managed to get off two wildly inaccurate rounds before being mortally wounded by a couple dozen gunshot wounds to parts of the body that generally don't function properly when perforated by a half-inch of metal at a high velocity. Within seconds, both of Captain Davis's companions lie dead or dying at his feet. Surrounded, outnumbered, and retardedly outgunned, this lone traveler now found himself in the open, staring down eleven hardened killers rapidly firing a pants-wetting array of revolvers and rifles in his direction.
At a time when most people would have instinctively died from a delightful mix between gunshot wounds to the head and extreme terror, Captain Davis stood firm. These bandit motherfuckers hadn't counted on the fact that he was one of the most ridiculously hardcore gunslingers in the Old West. He wasn't going to let them slaughter him without a fight.
Davis quick-drew his revolvers with the speed of a rabid, genetically-enhanced tarantula diving down on a pack of unsuspecting crickets. The barrels had barely left the leather of his awesome-looking Han Solo thigh holsters before he'd already snapped off two unbelievable shots and sent a pair of bandit douchebags straight to Hell without passing Go or collecting $200. Instinctively flipping his internal badass-o-meter into Freak Mode, Davis adjusted quickly, sidestepping gunfire as a pair of bullets grazed his arm and poked holes in his jacket, and he calmly planted another volley of burning-hot lead into the brains of two more jerkwad robbers. By this point, all the gang managed to do was mutter, "oh fuck", under their breaths as Captain Jonathan R. Davis tore them all a collective new asshole and then buried their corpses inside of it. In a gunbattle that couldn't have lasted more than twenty seconds, Davis emptied both revolvers into the bandits, killing seven men dead with just twelve shots. The Steven Segal of the Old West, Davis had bullet holes through his hat and clothes, but was otherwise unharmed, fully-functional, and more than capable of putting dirtbags in their place at the bottom of the badass food pyramid.
At this point all the fighters left standing were holding empty weapons. Reloading a real bitch back in the days when revolvers and rifles were still cap-and-ball affairs, so with Davis and the remaining four bandits all out of ammunition, there was only one way to settle the score – a fucking badass knife fight. Three of the bandits drew a set of knives of various sizes. Their leader pulled out a goddamned four-foot cavalry saber.
Davis didn't blink. He calmly re-holstered his revolvers (probably twirling them on his fingers first) and slowly unsheathed a twelve-inch Bowie knife from his belt.
That's not a knife. This is a knife.
The four men charged Davis together – a screaming pack of armed killers looking to disembowel him the old-fashioned way, avenge the deaths of their comrades, and plunder whatever money remained. Obviously they didn't understand that Davis wasn't about to back down, even when the odds were stacked ridiculously against him. Even when death was imminent, and had been imminent for the last couple of minutes. The South Carolina gunfighter quietly tightened his grip on the blade, got into an attack position, and hurled himself straight at the dude with the four-foot-long saber.
The details of what happened next aren't very specific, so I will attempt to approximate my interpretation of it here with a series of pictures.
All we know is that when the smoke and dust cleared on the remote canyon floor, Captain Davis was standing in the middle of a pile of four bloody, carved-to-fuck corpses. He didn't have a scratch on him.
Davis went around, making sure that all eleven banditos had the good sense to stay dead (and knifing a couple of guys who were stupid enough to still be moving around), before taking off his shirt, cutting it apart, and using it as a tourniquet for the critically-wounded Dr. Sparks. A nearby group of miners, having witnessed the entire bloodbath, came running down to help. Davis instinctively commando-rolled over to the body of his friend McDonald and drew the dead man's still-loaded revolver, but once he noticed that the miners weren't dumbass enough to fuck with him he let his guard down. The miners searched the dead bodies, finding several hundred dollars in gold, cash, and jewelry. Davis took the loot, hoisted Dr. Sparks on his shoulder, and carried the man down the mountain to his home. Sparks ended up dying in his bed a few days later, and Davis donated the money to the dead man's family.
When the miners came back to town and shared the story of what they'd witnessed with the local media, the paper ran a story about Davis' epic duel – how he took on eleven men at onced and iced all of them without mercy. A few doubters came out and said that Davis was full of shit; he responded by offering to lead them to the shallow graves where he'd buried the outlaws. When the naysayers wisely decided not to fuck with a dude who killed eleven men in two minutes, Davis calmly walked off into the sunset, never to be heard from again.
The Redoubtable Achievements of Captain Davis
True West Magazine: The Gang Slayer
Cochran, Hamilton. Noted American Duels and Hostile Encounters. Chilton Books, 1963.
Kulczyk, David. California Justice. Word Dancer Press, 2007.
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