Wild West

THE LANCE AND THE SPEAR

n the wake of the Dec. 6–7, 1846, Battle of San Pasqual, demoralized Mexican troops dispersed into the countryside north of San Diego, California. Seated cross-legged around a fire at a Pauma rancheria some 40 miles northeast of town, one group of 11 disarmed and bound Californio lancers likely regarded their capture at the hands of the heretofore neutral Indians as somewhat of a folly, believing they would soon be freed. But as the flames rose, and the Paumas danced feverishly around the circle of prisoners, grinding the tips of their spears into the coals, the captives must have sensed their lives were in peril. Suddenly, the Indians culled one of

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