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01. Maverick, Relic of Fort Tejon (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails



Bactrian camel[1] in New Mexico Territory in 1878. (November 3, 1858March 27, 1908)[2]


Born in Siberia, Fatima was purchased in 1861 by California merchant Otto Esche for use in transporting supplies and ore in the mining industry. Fatima was shipped with a cargo of Bactrian camels to San Francisco aboard the German bark Dollart. Due to over-crowding of the camels onboard, many of them died en route.[2]


In January of 1862, Fatima arrived in San Francisco malnourished and dehydrated. She was rested and fed until she made a better appearance, and was purchased at auction by Julius Bandmann, who allowed her to graze and recuperate further before sending her to the Comstock as a pack animal.[2]


In Nevada, Fatima and a few of her fellow Bactrians worked the mines through the years of the Civil War. Fatima and the others were often treated poorly by the miners, who preferred mules and horses. As the camels proved to be more troublesome, many of them were simply let loose. Fatima, however, was sold at auction again in 1870, this time to Henry Brimmer who intended to exhibit the camel in a small traveling show.[2]


Brimmer found that Fatima did not excite his audiences. In fact, her annoying nuzzing and mangy appearance often kept them away. Brimmer tried to sell Fatima many times, but could never find any takers.[2]


In July of 1878,[2] Brimmer had finally become determined to rid himself of Fatima. At the Crystal Bar and Café in Clayville,[1] New Mexico Territory,[2] he got into a poker game with Bret Maverick and found himself a hundred dollars short of meeting Bret's raise. He offered to sell Fatima to Bret to raise a stake and stay in the game, but to hide the fact that Fatima was a camel, he described her as a "full-blooded Arabian mount." Believing Fatima to be an imported pure-bred horse, Bret agreed and paid Brimmer $200.[1]


Bret won the hand and asked Brimmer to introduce him to his new Arabian. He picked up some rock candy from the bar to make a good first impression with the animal. Outside the saloon, Bret discovered the Arabian mount was actually a camel. While he argued with Brimmer about the deal, he fed Fatima the rock candy, but Brimmer would not take Fatima back and Bret found himself stuck with a camel. He was determined to unload Fatima somehow, but until he could, he treated her well.[1]


Bret was unable to find a quick buyer for Fatima, so he left Clayville for Silver Springs on another matter and took Fatima with him. Along the way, his gentle approach to caring for her caused her to become affectionately attached to Bret, the first person ever to treat her kindly and with respect.[1]


Before arriving in Silver Springs, Bret paid Mr. Johnson, a rancher, $100 to take Fatima off his hands. Johnson was happy to have the money, but didn't care much for the camel. A few days after Bret left Johnson's ranch, Fatima found her way out of her pen and tracked Bret to his hotel in Silver Springs. Bret had other business to attend to and didn't have time to deal with Fatima, so he recruited Howard Harris to pay up to $50 to any local farmer that would give the camel a good home. Harris found someone to take Fatima for only $35.[1]


The next day, as Bret was tracking Carl Jimson across the desert, the horse he had borrowed from Harris gave out from thirst and exhaustion and Bret found himself on foot, miles from any water and at the mercy of the New Mexico sun. He was overjoyed when, once again, Fatima had gotten away from her pen and tracked Bret down, this time in the middle of the desert. Together, they were able to catch up to Jimson, capture him, and bring him back to Silver Springs. Bret recommended the town build a monument to Fatima, the "camel with a mangy coat and big, sad eyes."[1]


Bret rode out Silver Springs, and Fatima tried to follow.[1] But Bret's horse was faster than Fatima and she eventually lost his trail. She spent the rest of her days pining for Bret and wandering alone across the Western wilderness.[2]



See: Relic of Fort Tejon


Portrayed by an uncredited camel

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