Wolf Creek is a quiet, scenic town in southern Oregon about one hundred miles north of the California border. It's nestled amid forested mountains with about six hundred people living in a five mile radius.
It began as a stagecoach stop on the stretch between Sacramento and Portland. Then placer gold was found which attracted miners and Chinese migrant laborers. Later, the many giant trees provided jobs for workers of the timber industry. Hippies and counter-cultural folks began arriving after that.
The author lived for twenty-five years in Wolf Creek, serving as its civic association president, mail carrier, county park caretaker, pre-school teacher and newspaper correspondent. These stories are the legends and folktales he gathered from various sources. The legends are chronological and begin in the 1870's.
SINGBU is the story of the Chinese migrant colony of five hundred people that worked the placer gold mines in Wolf Creek. After being away for seven years, Bill Miller and his gang of gold miners return to re-establish their claim.
Singbu is the colony's oldest member, their Living Ancestor. When he sets out to speak with Miller, he receives a warning. He and his people had better leave before sundown the next day.
Singbu is attacked by a miner before he can return to warn his people. He lies in a creek until his kinsmen, frantic with worry by his absence, discover him. They take him to where the old man utters his final words of wisdom. The Living Ancestor is buried and his people are attacked.
STAGECOACH ROBBER tells the legend of when Wolf Creek was a stage stop between Portland and Sacramento. The story is of a general store owner who meets with Black Bart, a notorious outlaw who preyed upon Wells-Fargo's money shipments. At first, Mr. Pettengill doesn't suspect the stranger he meets, someone dressed like a gentleman and quoting Shakespeare.
Pettengill gradually becomes suspicious after he introduces the stranger, whose name is Boles, to the local gold dealer and arranges for them to journey northwards together. He finds that details on a wanted poster for Black Bart correspond to what he knows about Boles.
When Pettengill discovers that the gold dealer makes the journey safely, his suspicions are allayed. But then he inspects the valise that Boles has left behind, and finds it contains the duster and flour-bag mask that Black Bart wore.
When Boles returns, Pettengill confronts him. Boles admits who he is and tells his story about how Henry Wells and William Fargo cheated him from a partnership, and why he only steals from Wells-Fargo and not from stagecoach passengers.
ORCHARD PREACHER is about an enterprising clergyman who is head of a commune in Wolf Creek. He meets Maurice, an unemployed laborer who is looking for work. Reverend Smith invites him to spend the night, hoping to induce Maurice to join his commune.
Maurice refuses but is intrigued by Wolf Creek's pristine environment. He hears that free homesteads had once been available and he decides to go to the land office. The clerk finds one still remains. Maurice claims it and brings his wife and family.
Reverend Smith is angered when he sees Maurice and learns that he missed out on free land. Town residents are infuriated by the reverend's behavior. So one night he's taken at gunpoint to the railroad station in his pajamas and sent on his way.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER is the story of Glen, a gay man who comes to Wolf Creek, after being disinherited by his family when he revealed his orientation. Illuminata, a gay male nun, is his housemate. Glen is delighted with his job as the new school bus driver.
From the first day however, some of the kids are suspicious. "Hey Glen, my older brother says that you're a queer. Is that true?" one of the kids asks. Soon all the kids on the bus are shouting, "Glen is a faggot."
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About the Author
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