A Chronology of THE LONG HUNT

TIMELINE: Saturday, February 24, 1877 Sunday, February 10, 1878


Some time before: Jedd and Martha Ferris buy and move into a ranch in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory, shortly before the bank robbery in town.[1]


Wednesday, May 8, 1872: Ben Maxwell, Lefty Dolan, Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon rob a bank in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory. Dolan kills the bank teller.[1]


About five years before: Jedd Ferris is tried and convicted of the murder of the Dry Springs bank teller killed by Lefty Dolan. Ben Maxwell attends the trail, meets Martha Ferris and falls in love with her.[1]


About five years before: Arizona Territorial Governor Anson P. K. Safford commutes Jedd Ferris' sentence from hanging to life imprisonment.[1]


About five years before: Ben Maxwell buys the Rocking Star Ranch and begins to build a friendship with Martha Ferris.[1]


Some time before: Jedd Ferris is transferred from the Tucson jail to be housed in Yuma Territorial Prison.[2]


Immediately before:[1] At Fort Laramie,[2] Wyoming Territory, Bret Maverick wins the money of six men in a poker game against a man holding four of a kind.[1]


Saturday, February 24, 1877: Along the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage route,[2] Lefty Dolan saves Bret Maverick from a mob of angry poker players. Dolan is mortally wounded in a stage robbery and while dying, makes Bret promise to clear Jedd Ferris' name of murder.[1] In Cheyenne that night,[2] Bret is so preoccupied with his promise to Dolan that he carelessly loses poker hands with winning cards.[1]


Sunday, February 25Wednesday, March 14, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory,[2] through Silver City, New Mexico Territory and into Tucson, Arizona Territory, on the trail of Poker Alice.[3]


Wednesday, March 14, 1877: In Tucson, Arizona Territory, Bret Maverick speaks to Governor Anson P. K. Safford on Jedd Ferris' behalf, but is nearly thrown out of the office.[1] He also speaks with Jed Ferris' attorney, but has no effective recourse without the Governor's support.[2]


Thursday, March 15, 1877: In Dry Springs, Arizona Territory, Bret Maverick speaks with the sheriff on Jedd Ferris' behalf.[2]


Friday, March 16Friday, September 7, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Dry Springs[2] to Silver City, Alamogordo,[3] Memphis, New Orleans, Tampico, Corpus Christi,[4] Sundown and Leadville.[5]


Saturday, September 8 – Thursday, September 27, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Leadville, Colorado[5] to Yuma, Arizona Territory.[1]


Friday, September 28, 1877: Bret Maverick visits Jedd Ferris in Yuma Territorial Prison.[1]


Saturday, September 29Friday, October 5, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Yuma,[1] through Apocalypse,[6] en route to Dry Springs, Arizona Territory.[1]


Friday, October 5, 1877: Bret Maverick delivers a message from Jedd Ferris to Martha Ferris in Dry Springs, Arizona Territory and suffers a broken arm helping Ben Maxwell with a chore.


Saturday, October 6: Bret Maverick travels to Tucson to convalesce with his broken arm.[2]


Sunday, October 7 – Wednesday, October 24, 1877: Bret Maverick convalesces in Tucson with his broken arm.


Thursday, October 25 – Saturday, October 27, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Tuscon to Phoenix, Arizona Territory.[2]


Sunday, October 28Thursday, November 1, 1877: Bret Maverick travels from Phoenix[2] to Prescott, Arizona Territory.[1]


Thursday, November 29, 1877: At the Palace[2] in Prescott, Arizona Territory, Bret Maverick meets Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon.[1]


Wednesday, December 5, 1877: At the Palace[2] in Prescott, Bret Maverick learns that Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon had been Lefty Dolan's partners in the Dry Springs bank robbery. A gunfight breaks out between the three of them and one of Brandon's shots kills Clark. Brandon flees, apparently making a run for the Mexican border.[1]


Thursday, December 6 – Saturday, December 8, 1877: Bret Maverick trails Brandon south from Prescott, Arizona Territory towards the Mexican border.[1]


Sunday, December 9, 1877: On the trail of Whitey Brandon, Bret Maverick recognizes the countryside around Dry Springs, Arizona Territory and decides to seeks Ben Maxwell's help at the Rocking Star Ranch.[1]


Monday, December 10, 1877: At the Rocking Star Ranch after midnight, Bret Maverick deduces that Ben Maxwell was the fourth partner in the Dry Springs bank robbery. Maxwell kills Whitey Brandon and is then mortally wounded by the sheriff of Dry Springs. Maxwell signs a confession before he dies, clearing Jedd Ferris' name of murder.[1]


Tuesday, December 11, 1888Monday, February 4, 1878: Bret Maverick rides the trail to who-knows-where.[2]


Tuesday, February 5, 1878: Bret Maverick meets Jedd Ferris at Yuma Territorial Prison to accompany him home to Dry Springs, Arizona Territory as a free man.[1]


Wednesday, February 6 – Saturday, February 9, 1878: Bret Maverick and Jedd Ferris ride from Yuma to Dry Springs, Arizona Territory.[1]


Sunday, February 10, 1878: Bret Maverick and Jedd Ferris arrive at the Ferris Ranch and Ferris is reunited with Martha.[1] Bret rides away, bound for St. Louis.[7]


01. Maverick, The Long Hunt (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

03. "The New Maverick" (1978), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

04. Maverick, Escape to Tampico (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

05. Maverick, Duel at Sundown (1959), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

06. Maverick, A Cure for Johnny Rain (1959), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

07. Maverick, The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill (1959), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

08. Arizona Territorial Officials Volume II (The Governors 1863 through 1912), John S. Goff (1978), Black Mountain Press

09. Annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office (1877)

10. Poker Alice (1951), Nolie Mumey, Artcraft Press

11. Maverick, Escape to Tampico (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

12. Leadville: Colorado's Magic City (1980), Edward Blair, Fred Pruett Books



"I, the undersigned, helped rob the bank at Dry Springs on May 8, 1872." The date of the robbery and the bank teller's murder is clear from the confession affidavit Bret Maverick carried for any of Lefty Dolan's partners to sign, as proof of Jedd Ferris' innocence.[1]


"Five years ago, Dry Springs, Arizona. Four of us robbed a bank." With the robbery clearly set in 1872, Lefty Dolan's dying words places the beginning of "The Long Hunt" firmly in 1877.[1]


"It had taken almost a year out of my life, off and on." Bret's narrative suggests the story likely ends some time in 1878. But there are large breaks of time in the account of events while other episodes tell of Bret's further exploits during 1877, which must also be reconciled between the events of "The Long Hunt."[1]


"They nearly hanged me. The territorial governor commuted it to life, and lost a lot of friends."[1] The governor of the Arizona Territory in 1872 was Anson P. K. Safford, when the territorial seat was in Tucson.[8]


"Maybe that explains why he almost threw me out of his office." Bret explained to Ferris he had been to see the governor, among others, on his behalf.[1] Safford was only Governor until April 5, 1877,[8] so Bret would have had to have met Lefty Dolan earlier in the Wyoming Territory earlier in the year, with enough time to travel to Tucson to see the Governor during the last days of his term.[2]


Winter months in Wyoming are often bitterly cold, but we see comfortable weather depicted in the opening scenes of "The Long Hunt." However, the Chinook winds often bring warming conditions to the plains of eastern Wyoming, where the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage route once ran. While March hit Wyoming in 1877 with snows, records show February temperatures in and near Cheyenne to hit the mid-50s...shirt-sleeve weather for most people acclimated to freezing winter weather. February 24, 1877 reached a balmy 53° by mid-day, so it is reasonable to place the beginning of our story on this date.[9]


"'77 was a particularly bad year. I followed you into Tucson, Silver City, Alamogordo." In 1880, Bret reminisced with Poker Alice about a difficult year he had, coming into towns where she had just left.[3] So events of "The Long Hunt" must also reconcile with the historic travels of Poker Alice. She is known to have traveled through New Mexico Territory in the spring of 1877,[10] which would have placed Bret in the vicinity of the Arizona Governor's office at just the right time.[2]


New Orleans, LAJune 23, 1877Hotel ClaibourneCanal Street. The date on Bret's hotel bill in New Orleans places the events of "Escape to Tampico" from late June until his arrival in Corpus Christie in mid-July.[11]


"Leadville's just starting to boom. That's the time when the games are big and loose."[6] No date is given, but history tells us that Leadville was just beginning to boom in the summer of 1877.[12]


"It was a long time later that I paid a visit to Jedd Ferris. And in the meantime, I really had done all I could do." The "long time later" allows time for Bret to travel to Leadville for a time to pocket some decent traveling money. His conscience was probably still bothering him with the unfinished business of Jedd Ferris, so he would have decided to seek some closure and travel to Yuma to see him towards the end of September.[2] To fulfill his promise to Ferris of delivering a message to his wife in Dry Springs, Bret would need traveling time to get to Dry Springs in early October.[1]


"Two months later, two hundred miles away..." After enough time for the broken arm he received in Dry Springs to heal, Bret traveled to Prescott where, towards the end of November, he would have had about a week to have been playing Rex Clark and Whitey Brandon at the Palace before learning they were two of Dolan's partners in the bank robbery. After Clark's death, Bret would need several days to trail Brandon for two hundred miles, bringing him back to Dry Springs in early December.[1]


"Two months later, Jedd Ferris came home to stay." After Ben Maxwell's dying confession clearing Ferris' name[1] in early December, Bret would have met him upon his release from prison in early February of 1878. Several days on the trail would bring them both back to Dry Springs in early to mid February, which would fulfill Bret's narrative of taking almost a year out of his life, off and on.[2]

Wednesday, December 5, 1877: The Palace, Prescott,[1] Arizona Territory. Bret Maverick realizes he's playing poker with two of Lefty Dolan's former partners.[2]

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