01. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
Hayden, Jessie Jr.
Son of Little Bend storekeeper Jessie Hayden, Sr., Jessie Junior took over the operation of the town's general store upon his father's death.
Although his father had been a trusted and honest man, Jessie Junior was unscrupulous in his business dealings. He had dreams of becoming the largest ranch-owner in Texas, and saw the struggling regional economy during and after the Civil War as an opportunity to grab up land left behind by ranchers gone off to fight the War. What Hayden could not buy, he would stoop to swindling or violence to get what he wanted.
Hayden planned his ranching empire carefully. He mapped out the lands he believed be could build into the largest ranch in West Texas, across three counties and 5,000 square miles. Among others within the borders of the platted Jessie Hayden Ranch were the holdings of the Miller and Maverick ranches.
Burchard Miller, a wealthy local rancher and partner in the vast Fisher and Miller Land Grant in neighboring Bexar County, saw Hayden as threat to honest and established ranches in the region. Hayden believed Miller was one of the few who could threaten his plans. On March 26, 1867, Hayden ambushed Miller on the open range and killed him. With no others in sight, Hayden left Miller's body to be found, apparently thrown from his horse.
In August of that year, Fort Adobe in the Arizona Territory had posted a call for 2,000 head of cattle for $80,000. Miller's daughter Laura hired Bret and Bart Maverick as trail bosses and to recruit hands for a cattle drive to Fort Adobe to earn the money she believed would be enough to stop Hayden's plans. But Hayden was planning his own drive to Fort Adobe and sent three of his ranch hands to turn the Johnny Rebs in Little Bend against the Mavericks for having been Galvanized Yankees in the Union Army.
After Hayden's men failed, he sent two men that night to ambush and kill the Mavericks as they left their hotel. An unknown Tall Man saw what was about to happen and shouted warnings to the Mavericks, who were then able to react and kill their would-be murderers. The Tall Man had witnessed the entire gunfight, but left the scene without giving an account of what happened to the Union Army. The next morning, on August 12, 1867, Hayden swore in a deposition to the San Saba County Attorney that he had seen the Mavericks shoot and kill his men in cold blood.
That same morning, the Miller cattle drive set out for Fort Adobe. With the Union Army now hunting for the Mavericks as murderers, Bart headed out to pick up the Tall Man's trail while Bret lagged behind the Army platoon tracking the Miller drive. Within a few days, Hayden had organized his own drive and set out to beat the Miller drive to Fort Adobe and claim the money himself.
Only a day behind the Miller drive and two days from their destination, Hayden approached Bret Maverick and attempted to bribe him to delay the drive so Hayden's could beat them to Fort Adobe. After Bret refused, Hayden assembled a group of his men to stampede the Miller herd. Bret and the Miller hands were able to lure them away from the drive. Some of Hayden's men were killed in a resulting gun battle, and Jessie himself was shot in the chest.
Mortally wounded, Hayden bargained with Bret that if he got him to a doctor, Hayden would retract his accusation of murder against the Mavericks. He managed to survive long enough to be brought to the Fort Adobe infirmary, but the doctor was unable to extract the bullet. Bret and the doctor stood by Hayden, waiting for a deathbed retraction, but on October 24, 1867, Jessie Hayden uttered his dying words, "Hang, Maverick."
See: Trail West to Fury
Portrayed by Charles Fredericks
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