Ellis P. Bean was a callow youth of seventeen about to embark on a grand odyssey. Philip Nolan, a dashing soldier of fortune invited the young man to join him on an expedition to capture wild mustangs in Texas. Nolan promised Ellis a few months of thrilling excitement, to be capped off by a small fortune in gold coins.
The expedition didn’t realize until it was too late that they were being stalked by Spanish squadrons of veteran cavalry, for the Spanish rulers of Texas feared Nolan was leading an invading force. After a brief battle, Nolan was killed and the surviving members of the hunting party were taken prisoner. Ellis Bean’s real adventure had just begun; an adventure far different from the one he had been promised.
Ellis endured nearly a decade of imprisonment in Mexican jails—in Nacogdoches, San Antonio, and Acapulco—much of the time in painful shackle or in solitary confinement. After many failed escape attempts, Ellis was finally released from prison—on the condition that he fight with the Spanish to put down the insurrection of Padre Hidago and General Morelos. He promptly deserted, joining up with the freedom fighters. Soon he was counted among the leaders of the Mexican independence movement against Spain. But after years of fighting, of victories and reversals, the revolution finally seemed on the verge of collapse…and Morelos begged Ellis to return to the States to raise an army to invade Texas.
Ellis Bean was finally home—but would he return as promised, to the cause of freedom? Once home, could he force himself to return?
Based on actual events and filled with meticulous details, the story of Ellis P. Bean is an unparalleled adventure from the pages of America’s frontier history.
Don Worcester is the recipient of the Levi Strauss Saddleman Award for his lifelong contributions to the literature of the American Frontier and a two-time Spur Award winner. He was a history professor at Texas Christian University and has formerly been president of Western Writers of America. He lived in Texas and Arizona.