Monday

Explorer's excerpts II: Andrews on desert bandits

Following is a recollection of an encounter with bandits in Mongolia by Roy Chapman Andrews (American Museum of Natural History):

"I was more than a mile in advance of Johnson as we approached the place where the two Russian cars had been robbed a few weeks earlier. As I recognized the spot the thought came to me, 'I wonder if brigands would attempt to hold me up on the same ground.' Almost at the same moment, I saw the flash of a gun barrel on the summit of a hill three hundred yards away. The head and shoulders of a single mounted horseman were just visible against the sky. In Mongolia and China only two kinds of native have modern rifles- brigands and soldiers. As a matter of fact, these terms are virtually synonymous. The horseman on the hilltop was doubtless a sentinel to give warning to others in the valley below. I had no mind to have him in such a position, whoever he might be, and drawing my revolver, I fired twice. The bullets must have come too close for comfort, although I did not attempt to hit him, for he instantly disappeared. "

A moment later, as the car topped the rim of the valley, I saw three mounted bandits as the bottom of the slope. It would have been impossible to turn the car and retreat without exposing myself to close range shots and knowing that a Mongol pony never would stand against the charge of a motor I decided to attack. The cut-out was open and with a smooth stretch in front of me, I roared down the slope at forty miles an hour. The expected happened! While the brigands were endeavoring to unship their rifles, which were on their backs, their horses began a series of leaps and bounds, madly bucking and rearing, so that the men could hardly stay in their saddles. I opened up with one of my six-shooters, firing close to their heads, and in a second the situation had changed! The only thing that the brigands wanted to do was to get away. When last I saw them, they were breaking all speed-records on the other side of the valley..."

~On the trail of ancient man (1926), pp.216-217

1 comment:

Spencer said...

Haha! That's a fantastic little story, thanks for posting it.

It sounds just like ol' Andrews, man of adventure as he was (like the legend goes, Indiana Jones was inspired by him). Remember how they called it "RCA'd" when a fossil was excavated poorly (or otherwise damaged) by him? Granger was a good "sidekick" to have for matters such as those.

What I also find interesting is that the Central Asiatic Expeditions were not started to find dinosaurs. Everyone remembers them for Protoceratops, Velociraptor, and the nests that we now know belong to Oviraptor, etc., but they were initially begun to find mammal fossils (early apes or humans, if I remember correctly?). Andrews was a whale specialist, right?

Spencer

P.S. You aren't planning on having any adventures like this, are you Jack? :-P