Wild West Theory
Go West Young Wolf
SEARCHING FOR MONEY GALORE - Forrest Fenn
Treasure searchers are an inventive lot, and industrious, and energetic. I guess it comes with the genre. A pretty, blond-haired woman from Georgia has made the long driving trip to New Mexico, Wyoming, and Montana, more than a few times. Last summer she spent four days treasure searching in one spot on the Madison River. Sleeping in the car doesn’t bother this gal and I think the griz are afraid of her.
A recent email from her illustrates why we don’t need an Equal Rights Amendment in this country. She bought a ’67 Ford for $400 so she could tear it up and sell the parts. “The radiator alone is worth $450,” and I suspect she knows about which she speaks. Just think what she’s going to get for the grill, generator, air conditioner, tires, rear-view mirror and tail lights. If I were a betting man I’d bet on this woman. She has a pet rooster named John Wayne that she might sell to raise additional funds. Her neighbor brings her corn and “he wants the chicken.”
When I read Dal’s Scrapbook Fifty, I felt Mr. Fenn was sending a strong message to all searchers that Diggin Gypsy was on the right track, since he stated he would put his money on her if he was a betting man. He ended the story with his conspicuous trademark ΩΩ colophon and this was the first time he did that in a blog, which I interpreted to mean that this story carried a lot of weight.
The word “Ford” is important and was mentioned many times in his memoir, The Thrill of the Chase in the form of Miss Ford, so I honed in on Ford truck parts, more importantly the tires, which I believe is the important link is to the poem’s line, “I have done it tired." This line of thinking became more significant when he suggested the Vietnam soldiers beat the United States because their creative soldiers could make shoes out of tires. This lead me to become very convinced that my Yule Marble solution was correct.
There is a subtle comment in that story about her rooster, “John Wayne." If this is a hint, then what does the name John Wayne and Ford have to do with the puzzle?
Forrest’s memoir included several childhood pictures of him pretending to be a gun-slinging cowboy. One picture is of him dressed like Billy the Kid, another where he and four other boys are posing as the “Main Street Cowboys” and he wrote about using his imagination to be Hopalong Cassidy using his Daisy Air Rifle to shoot bad guys with black hats.
The actor John Wayne was the most famous cowboy on the big screen. Forrest Fenn suggested searchers should look at the big picture, so the silver screen movies, in which this actor played, may be where we should look for further clues. I believe John Wayne's iconic cowboy character is the best there ever was and the best there ever will be. Mr. Fenn is proud of that old wagon in his back yard, so much so that its picture is prominently featured on the back of his book, too far to walk. During the Dateline TV special and other articles, he was very eager to show off that wagon as if it was some kind of subliminal hint. Forrest said it was made in 1880 and he coincidentally commented that he felt he was born one hundred years too late. He later included more pictures of this wagon when he talked about his childhood hunting adventures with his Daisy Air Rifle.
What does John Wayne have in common with a Ford truck and a Gypsy? No that is not a joke or a riddle but rather a legitimate question. John Wayne starred in a few movies produced by John Ford and one of his classics films is called Stagecoach created in 1939 where he acted the part of Ringo Kid. The movie was made the same year Forrest found his first arrow head with his father that he proclaims to be his most prized possession. In his memoir, Forrest told a story about his father who traded their 1936 Chevy for a 1941 Plymouth and Forrest was very upset and likened it to trading off a member of the family. He recently went on the radio looking for a 1935 Plymouth. Plymouth relates to the first settlers of America, the Pilgrims, who settled at Plymouth Rock and The Duke was infamous for coining the word “Pilgrim" in many of his movies. The movie Stagecoach was coincidentally set in the year 1880, the same year that wagon in Forrest’s backyard was built.
So what does this all have to do with the poem? There is a line in the poem, “with tarry scant and marvel gaze." This line is perhaps the most confusing and awkward line in the poem because it contains really weird words and any attempt to make sense of them seems futile. However, the word “marvel” refers to something magnificent but if it has an another meaning, that word is also synonymous with Marvel Comics. Forrest advised searchers to give the poem to a kid and he said at the Moby
Dickens, too far to walk book signing, “I think kids have an advantage. Don’t ask me to explain that.” The most common explanation is simple because a kid would have a simplistic view of the poem. Because Mr. Fenn didn’t want to explain why a kid has an advantage, I feel he is either hinting a child link or there is something important about the word, “kid." Marvel refers to Marvel Comics, which has many old west characters such as the The Ringo Kid, which coincidentally happened to be John Wayne’s character in Stagecoach.
The final link to the movie Stagecoach is perhaps the most convincing, when considering his memoir’s Buffalo Cowboys story. In Forrest’s poem he wrote, “I give you title to the gold." Does “title” secretly refer to the title of one of his chapters, and if so does this title hint of a cowboy connection? Many treasure seekers are instantly drawn to this chapter but connect to the more obvious interpretation, Buffalo Bill Cody, since Forrest named the buffalo “Cody." This story is one of his more humorous recollections and is reminiscent of my adventurous, ok mischievous, boyhood. This story is about a time when he, Skippy and best friend Donny roped a buffalo in Yellowstone National Park and they tied the other end of the rope to the front axel of Skippy’s car. Cody then took off running and pulled them through the woods until they hit a ditch and the front axel and tires are pulled right off of the car. However, when the locals authorities later killed the buffalo and sold the meat to the local hotel, it made Forrest very angry. The hotel that bought Cody’s meat as buffalo burgers was none other than the Stagecoach Inn.
The poem’s first stanza contains the words, “riches new and old." The old in this theory is the “Old West." The poem’s line, “The end is ever drawing nigh” has two angles that support this western them. “Drawing” is both a reference to drawing a gun and the drawings in comic books. Nigh means left as in the left side of a horse (an old west icon) and it also could refer to a left-handed gunman. Billy the Kid, who Forrest imitated as a youngster, was a master of the pistol and he was rumoured to be a left-handed draw.
The Ringo Kid was featured in Marvel Comic’s four part final series: The Blaze of Glory. This title should also ring a bell to those who watched the Billy the Kid movie Young Guns. This comic series is centred around the fictional town of Wonderment, Montana and the real town of Anaconda. Forrest twice recited a poem from the book Alice in Wonderland, which made me wonder if he is hinting at Wonderment? As many know Diggin’ Gypsy is a big believer that the treasure is buried in Montana and if Forrest has his money on her, maybe he is also conveying the treasure is in the Treasure State (Montana) or possibly near Anaconda? Since Forrest mentioned snakes many times including the recent hint given on the CBS interview on 11 July - “The treasure is not hidden in a mine. A lotta these old mines are dangerous. I mean, they have snakes in ‘em, they have black widow spiders!”
Perhaps as a hint of a snake or the city of Anaconda. More on this later…
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