Short summary - The White Chief - Thomas Mayne Reid

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - The White Chief
Thomas Mayne Reid

The action takes place in Mexico in the late XVIII - early XIX century. The novel opens with a description of the feast in honor of St. John's Day in the small Mexican town of San Ildefonso. All walks of life are having fun here. Among the aristocrats, Catalina de Cruces, the daughter of the rich owner of the mines, Don Ambrosio, stands out. There are also a contender for her hand, Captain Roblado, an officer in the fortress garrison, and the commandant of the fortress, forty-year-old Colonel Viskarra.

The main participant in the competitions, which are an integral part of the holiday, is Carlos, the bison hunter. He, his elderly mother, who has the glory of a sorceress, and the beautiful sister Rosita are Americans. They are fair-skinned and fair-haired, besides they do not attend church, which is why they are known as heretics, and the local population treat them without sympathy, even with caution.

During the holiday, Carlos, the wonderful horseman, manages to accomplish many feats - he stops the angry bull, who nearly pounced on the crowd, at full gallop, riding on horseback, raises a coin from the ground and, to top it, dispersed the horse, keeps it on the edge deep gorge. As a result, Commandant Wiscarra, who argued for a large sum with a young rich cattleman, don Juan, a friend of Carlos, is at a loss.

He hates Carlos and would give dearly to remove him from the road, because even earlier he sees Rosita at the festival, whom he wants to make his mistress. Hates Carlos and the captain Roblado, who noticed how his beloved Catalina and the bison hunter exchange secret signs.

A week after the holiday, Carlos leaves to hunt for bison. The hunt is successful, as well as trade: Carlos successfully exchanges goods taken especially for this purpose for mules from the Wako Indians. However, at night, he cleanly robs the unknown detachment of Indians. Carlos sins on the wako, but it soon turns out that the Panay tribe has robbed his hostile wako. Carlos has a hope to return the stolen with the help of the vaco. He goes to their camp, appears there in the midst of a fierce battle, and witnesses an unequal battle between the Wako leader and the Panay tribe. Wanting to help the leader, Carlos kills several pans. And although the leader still dies, Carlos manages to avenge him by sending a bullet to the killer’s chest. The participation of Carlos decides the outcome of the battle in favor of the wako, and the grateful tribe elects him as their leader.

While Carlos is hunting, Wiskarra is trying to win the heart of Rosita, but the girl gives him a decisive rebuff. Then Roblado offers the commandant an insidious plan: under the guise of the Indians, they kidnap Rosita, and set fire to the house of Carlos. An unhappy mother, stunned by a blow to the head, is taken by don Juan.

Carlos returns home in the hope that now that he is rich, he will be able to marry Catalina, and Rosita - to marry don Juan. However, only one ashes remained on the site of the house. Don Juan, who appeared right there, talks about the Indian raid and the courage of the garrison lancers who made every effort to catch them.

Carlos visits his mother, and she tells him about her suspicions. Then Carlos sets off on the trail of the "Indians", which leads him to the fortress. He decides to take revenge on Colonel Wiskarra for the scolded honor of his sister and tricked into the fortress. However, he fails to count with the colonel: Lieutenant Garcia comes to the rescue, whom Carlos is forced to kill for self-defense. Wiskarra manages to escape, and Carlos only slightly injures him on the cheek.

As the killer Carlos is outlawed, a reward is assigned to his head. Wiskarra and Roblado make plans for his capture, but first let his sister go - having imagined that they had recaptured her from the Indians.

Rosita agrees to take home the poor girl of Josef, the bride of one of the laborers Carlos. On the way, a horseman catches up with their wagon - this is Catalina, who gives Carlos a ring with a diamond through Josef, and generously gives Josef generously money.

The next day, at the church of Josef, he sends Catalina a note from Carlos, where he rejects the murder charge, calling himself an avenger, and appoints Catalina a date.

Meanwhile, Wiskarra and Roblado take all measures to capture Carlos: his ranch was taken under surveillance, and one of the maids of Catalina, Vincennes, the bride of the soldier José, was bribed. She gives the commandant a letter from Carlos to Catalina. Roblado decides to ambush, although he does not know exactly where the meeting of lovers will take place. Just in case, he hides not far from the house of Catalina and at the signal of Vincenza attacks them. Carlos manages to escape, and Catalina is seized and put under house arrest.

To track down Carlos, Wiskarra and Roblado turn for help to two thugs who have long disliked Carlos. This is the mulatto Manuel and sambo (the son of a black man and an Indian woman) Pepe. Those willingly accept the offer, the more so as they guess where Carlos is hiding, and count on the promised reward.

The villains want to take Carlos alive as the reward for living doubles. Finding his refuge, they wait until he leaves the cave, and then hide there to catch him by surprise.

Carlos really leaves at night to meet with his farm laborer Antonio, who has become his faithful friend. Antonio warns the owner of the danger, and he, before entering the cave himself, lets the dog go ahead. Learning that there is an ambush in the cave, he jumps into the forest. There, in a clearing, he makes a fire and dresses a cactus trunk in his suit. The villains take the cactus for sleeping Carlos and attack him. Carlos easily deals with unsuspecting thugs.

Wiskarra and Roblado do not know what else to do, but it turns out that Carlos still managed to catch - thanks to the betrayal of one of his servants. At the same time, his mother and sister are thrown into prison. Imprisoned in a cell, Carlos witnesses the cruel punishment to which unhappy women are subjected: tied to the backs of mules, they are beaten with lashes. Unable to withstand the torture, Carlos's mother dies.

Carlos has his hands and feet tied, he is vigilantly guarded, and he is already beginning to despair. He even visits the idea of suicide, and, unexpectedly untying his belts, he is trying to take their lives to take his own life. However, being at the window, he suddenly gets hit on the forehead - this is a bundle with gold coins and a knife sent by Katalina. In the attached note, the girl offers an escape plan.

At night, Carlos makes a hole in a wall made of unbaked brick, and makes an escape. At the same time, taking advantage of the absence of his father and lulling the guard’s vigilance, Katalina flees from the house. Having met at the appointed place, Carlos with Catalina, Rosita and several faithful servants set off on a long journey - to America, on the other side of the Great Plains.

A few months later, Carlos returns to San Ildefonso to take revenge. With him - five hundred warrior Indians from the Wako tribe, who once elected him as their leader. The Indians arrange a terrible massacre in the fortress, leaving only Colonel Wiskarra and Captain Roblado alive - a more terrible death awaits them.

But Carlos is not satisfied with the reprisal against the garrison - at one time he vowed revenge and the inhabitants of the valley. His warriors burn San Ildefonso to ashes, allowing only Indians and several whites to leave, including the father of Catalina.

The next day, Carlos commits an act of retaliation against the Jesuit fathers, who once poisoned his family: the Indians tied them to the backs of mules and awarded them with lashes, and then shot from a bow.

An even more terrible execution is for Wiskarre and Roblado: they are tied to the saddles of the wild mustangs, and then they are allowed to ride their horses all the way towards the gorge ...

And Carlos, taking the promised gold from the Indians, goes to Louisiana, where he planted a plantation on the banks of the Red River. A beautiful wife, sister, married to don Juan, and several old servants happily live with him.