Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 13:1 (Winter 1993). Copyright © 1993 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


James Parins has produced the first booklength study of John Rollin Ridge, the mixedblood Cherokee writer and California newspaper editor. Ridge (1827 -67) packed a great deal into his relatively short life and certainly deserves a biography. He grew up during the violent years of Cherokee removal and postremoval factionalism; when only twelve, he saw his father assassinated; he later killed an enemy and fled to California to become a forty-niner; and he became well-known as a poet, editor, and political commentator. Ridge is best remembered as the author of The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit (1854), one of the first novels written by an author of American Indian extraction.