Hollywood Starlet Heather Blackman gave birth to a bastard and unloved daughter named Harriet. Although Harriet grew up somewhat privileged, and all her physical needs were taken care of, she grew up unloved and unwanted. She rejected the Hollywood crowd and as soon as she was 18, married the son of a Mexican drug lord and moved to Mexico.
It wasn't but a few months before Harriet found out that a Mexican's wife is nothing but a commodity, and , if wealthy, may not be the maid but has charge of household matters. Harriet wanted more than that; she was frustrated.
Soon, she was a widow, her husband having been killed in a shootout with Mexican Marines. That was when she decided to strike out on her own. No, she wasn't going to deal drugs; she was going to get a gang together and simply take over a large area in the Sierra Madre where she didn't need to buy and sell illegal items but would simply steal what she wanted and kill anyone who got in the way. She found it remarkably easy to recruit members, especially since so many Mexicans were poor and willing to rob and kill to have a better life. Nor did her gang use SUVs , instead they road horses, just like something out of old Mexico. Horses could go places SUVs could not go, and there were few good roads in the mountains.
The gang was soon called "The Riders from Hell". They invaded a town out of nowhere, and stole what they wanted and robbed banks. Her numbers grew to between 45 and 200 members, depending on how long one could last being on the run. Many gave out and turned themselves in, but that stopped when they were almost to a man shot in the back of the head by either real Mexican policemen or ones dressed like them.
I was invited to a Big Game Hunt at the Ranchero Azul in the Sierra Madre. Señor Galvez raised prize cattle and had nothing to do with drugs. I had met his son Carlos back in Texas when the son had car trouble and I stopped to help. That meeting grew into a friendship where Carlos would stay with me when he wanted to get away from the crowd at Baylor University which was where he went to University.
A number of other hunters were also invited. Most had SUVs and drove to the ranch. A fellow I knew and I rented one and we arrived at the ranch, which , although the main house was large, was not quite encompassing enough to provide a berth for all the guests. But Carlos made sure my friend and I had a comfortable room with a private bath.
Now, I had heard of the "Riders from Hell" but paid little attention; I was of the idea that it described a gang of bank robbers, which it did, but I had no idea they were on horseback and raided towns, only staying long enough to carry their loot off into the mountains.
At lunch on the second day, it was overcast but some hunters had gone out to see what game was available. Most of us were eating when several hunters and their guide burst in and said " THE HELLRIDERS ARE COMING!" Everyone jumped up and grabbed their rifles. There must have been 20 or so armed men in our group, all expert shots, plus any ranch hands that Señor Galvez had. The raiders were coming from the north across a prairie without trees or hills, easy to see them approaching. I had binoculars and saw the leader out front was a white woman wearing an old Cossack uniform and Russian winter cap as she led the raiders closer and closer.
Senor Galvez said " Wait, wait, wait...NOW!" We opened fire and the first wave buckled and faltered. Apparently the raiders did not expect to encounter much resistance. My second shot I aimed at the woman who was the leader. I thought I hit her but she didn't go down. The raiders tried to stand and fight, which was a really stupid thing to do as they were totally in the open.
Soon the raiders turned and rode away as fast as they could. We went out and counted bodies: 25 dead and 15 wounded; from estimates of the number of attackers this might have been almost half their number: a devastating reduction of their numbers. But would they regroup and come back ? Not likely, as all approaches to the ranch house were bare soil and no features to hide behind. Nonetheless we waited for hours, and on into the night, but they never came back. We found out later that fight was one of the few times where the Riders from Hell had not succeeded in getting into the building or buildings of their target.
The Mexican National Police arrive, carted off the bodies and either they provided escort for us, or we provided escort for them as we went back to the nearest town and our homes. The battle wasn't in any U S newspapers and no one believed me when I told them of my adventure. They would say " Oh, Barry, you been watching too many Westerns."
Later I found out I had seriously wounded Harriet. She was unable to lead any more raids as she lay dying in a bed in San Mateo, a miserable little town in the mountains. From her deathbed she issued a threat and a reward : "Bring me the head of Barry McKinney and One Million Mexican pesos are yours." She erroneously thought I, being an Army veteran, was training men at the Galvez ranch in military tactics. This spurred hundreds of Mexicans to try and find me and get the reward. However I was back in the USA, so, as she lay in pain, most of the bounty hunters gave up.
A few months later, Carlos invited me to his wedding at the ranch. I, of course, flew down there. Word got around that the million pesos Gringo was back in town, so to speak. I, as yet, had no knowledge of this until some guest told me the day of the Wedding. I naturally became concerned because I had no idea if any "collection agents' could infiltrate into the ranch and kill me. Carlos' dad assure me it wasn't possible as he knew all the guests. I still kept my guard up.
About the time I was getting ready to leave, I was talking with a new acquaintance and trying to get him to let me ride with him back into town and I would pay one of the ranch hands to drive my rental car, just in case I was being watched. We were standing by one of the tractor barns when a small plane flew over, then dived on the barn and dropped a small bomb. Stupidly, I saw it coming right at me and it hit the barn and buried itself in the straw and dirt. A dud! I ran away from the barn and saw the plane circling around. Someone on the ground was guiding the pilot as to where I actually was. It dropped a second bomb which exploded, killing several guests. The people panicked and ran in all directions. I jumped into a car which was moving; the driver didn't know or care who I was, he just wanted to get out of there.
If you are in a plane looking at a moving ground target, then you know how difficult it is to line up the target and hit it. Add this to the fact that the pilot did not now know where I was, and he would have to wait for the ground spotter to tell him. But the ground spotter had lost my location in the general panic. So, I made it back to town, the whole time worried about an ambush. I then bought a bus ticket on a bus that was about to leave. I left my luggage at the ranch.
At one point, the bus was struggling to get up a hill, and I saw several cars ahead blocking the road, and I could see the AK-47s. Fear filled my bones. I told the driver to stop, and I jumped off and ran to the other side of the road. I walked a bit then walked back over to the previous side of the road and began walking North. That simple move outwitted the gunmen, as the passengers told them the Gringo had last been seen crossing the road, so they searched for me on that side, while I was moving further away from them and going North.
I sure wasn't close to the USA, but I had enough American money to get up close to the border and far enough away from the gunmen hunting me. I was able to walk or ride with someone all the way to La Frontera. So when I got to the Rio Grande, I jumped in, swam to the other side, then climbed the fence where La Migra quickly arrived. I was very glad to see them and they believed me when I told them I a citizen.
A fingerprint check at the Border Patrol station confirmed my citizenship. Now, the question was: Should I go back to my house? What if a bounty hunter were there, waiting to cut my head off ? So, I told my concerns to a senior agent. Hours went by then they took me to San Antonio. I was turned over to the FBI and told them my story. I thought it was too fantastic to believe, but they took notes and asked questions. Finally when I asked for Protection, they agreed and moved me to a safe house. That's where I am right now, not sure about going anywhere or will a killer be waiting for me?