Karl May's Imaginary America

A late August evening. Already a hint of Fall melancholy in the air. At the foot of limestone bluffs a small group of Indians, wrapped in blankets, drag their few possessions in the wake of a small detachment of US Cavalry. Tired, defeated, they're leaving their ancestral lands for the Reservation.

"Nein! Nein!" A thunderclap of defiance echoes round the cliffs. Out of the blackness, down the narrow pass that parts the cliffs gallops a bearded cowboy in buckskins. He reins to a halt facing the Cavalry Captain.

"The Red Man was noble and honest until we came to poison his soul and steal his lan!" He bellows to Indian and White Man alike. Then a note of sadness: "Why could we not share this land with him? And leave him in dignity and peace?"

The cowboy turns towards the grassy slope, where I sit high above him, invisible in the night. "But the Indian race still lives on!"

He turns back once again towards the cliffs. There, framed against the dying sky sits a raven-haired Apache chief in the full glory of manhood astride a white stallion.


Karl May's Imaginary America

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The American West in the American Imagination

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