John Glanton killed Indians for money
John Glanton was perhaps the greatest villain of the entire Wild West, and there were a lot of them. But Glanton was a truly horrible man. He killed Apaches for money and pulled scalps off their heads.
John Glanton was not the sympathetic gunslinger we romanticize in Westerns. A brutal killer without a shred of compassion, he gathered around him the worst outcasts he had ever encountered and together they roamed the countryside just to find as many Indians as they could to scalp. There was money to be paid for scalping redskins in those days. Not a lot of money, but if you had a lot of scalps, you could live on it.
Glanton has been known for his brutality since he was 16 years old. His mother was unable to raise him after the death of his father, so her son engaged in theft and fighting and was considered an outlaw at a young age. But after leaving his native Tennessee for Texas, he became a literal monster.
In Texas, he first joined the army as a tracker. America was at war with Spain, which owned Mexico. In the army, he learned to cover great distances alone, searching in inhospitable mountains or deserts. After the war, which he survived unscathed, he was perfectly equipped to work on his own, so to speak.
He wanted to settle down, even had a fiancée, only to have her kidnapped by Apaches and scalped. Glanton remarried, but he never forgave the Apaches. But it must be said that his next journey was not one of revenge. He didn’t start scalping Indians until long after the event, and he did it for money. Although, of course, it can’t be forgotten that he really enjoyed his work.
The Apaches were then attacking the homesteads of the settlers and their caravans; they were in a permanent guerrilla war with the whites. Texas was a very dangerous outpost, so for every Indian skin or scalp the authorities paid $100. Glanton and his band (and it must be said they were not the only ones) began massacring the Indians. Once they found a group that wasn’t very large, they attacked and killed them all. They especially targeted women and children because they paid the same for each skin and a woman or child never fought back. The warriors were, of course, harder to deal with, but Glanton always dealt with them.
Gradually his activities could be described as big business with scalps. He kept track of how much was being paid for skins and shifted his operations accordingly. He shot everyone he met and later expanded his „business“ to Mexicans. They also had brown skin similar to the Indians, plus they were refugees from Mexico, so Glanton said they could hardly claim any protection. But when the authorities learned that Glanton was killing not only Indians but Mexicans as well, they issued a warrant for his arrest, accompanied by a hefty reward for his own scalp. Suddenly, the hunter became the hunted.
But he managed to make his way north and escape to relative safety. In San Diego, his gang robbed a bank, killing at least one man. Then they returned to their camp for a nap. He felt safe in the wilderness, no one knew about his camp. But that’s where he was wrong. A local tribe of Yuma Indians knew that some white men had a camp nearby. The warriors arrived, and before the bandits could even wake up, they all had their scalps gone. All of them, including Glanton. He ended up dying the same death he’d caused hundreds of others.