by F.M. Parker
The Highbinders is a rousing saga of adventure, romance and violence set in the rugged frontier of the Pacific Northwest.
The time is 1869.
On the Black Rock Badlands, Tom Galaway is mistaken for another man, a thief, and shot. Delirious and near death, he wanders into the mountains of the Snake River Country. Sigh Ho and his 30 comrade gold miners find Tom unconscious on the river bank and nurse him back to health.
The lonely Chinamen have pooled their money and sent to China to buy a woman and have her brought to California to provide love for them in the foreign land of America.
In China, beautiful Lian sells herself to a Buyer of Girls to provide food for her starving family. She dreads the frightening voyage across the stormy sea to America. Pak Ho, a fierce Triad warrior, a Highbinder, is ordered to guard and transport Lian safely to San Francisco.
For saving Toms life, Sigh Ho asks one favor of him, go to San Francisco and bring Lian to him and his comrades. Tom agrees.
While Tom is away, Sigh Ho and his comrades pay a terrible price for their gold as a gang of thieving killers fall upon them.
Tom with his sixgun and Pack Ho the Highbinder with his deadly sword set out to take revenge upon the murderous gang. In the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains and on the violent San Francisco waterfront and back alleys, the lives of Tom, Pak Ho and Lian explode with passion of love, and of violence in a battle for revenge and survival.
The Highbinders reveals a little-known chapter of the history of Chinamen in the gold fields of California, Oregon and Idaho. It combines authenticity with non-stop action and suspense. It is a thrilling reading experience.
The Highbinders is fiction, however it is based upon a true event that cost the United States Government 276,610 in indemnities to the Chinese Government.
From The Highbinders
The Highbinders is fiction; however, it is based upon a true incident of a cold-blooded massacre of thirty-one Chinese miners on the Snake River near the mouth of Deep Creek in northeast Oregon.
J. K. Vincent, United States Commissioner, investigated the case. He wrote the Chinese Consul at San Francisco as follows about the wholesale butchery:
. . . was the most cold-blooded, cowardly treachery I have ever heard tell of on this coast, and I am a 49er; every victim was shot, cut up and stripped and thrown in the river.
Bodies of the miners were found at intervals for some months in the Snake River, as far as Panawawa, one hundred and sixty miles downstream.
The Imperial Chinese Government, through the Chinese Minister, Chang Yen Hoon, lodged a stiff complaint with the United States. The Minister stated:. . . as the character of this case, wherein 31 lives were murdered and their bodies mutilated in a most shocking manner and thrown away, differs greatly from a common case of homicide. It is feared other wicked persons may, from their hatred of the Chinese, follow the examples of the murderers if not arrested and punished, which will affect the interest and safety of the Chinese residents there and elsewhere in the United States.
The United States paid 276,610 as indemnities, stating the payment was made . . . out of humane consideration and with no reference to the question of liability for loss of Chinese life in the Northwest.
Though each member of the gang became known, not one was ever brought to justice. All eluded the law and escaped to other states. The leader of the gang was killed during an argument with a young man in a card game in San Francisco.
- Fearl M. Parker, November 2011
Fearl M. Parker
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