Love, like all other cowboys, often found himself fighting off attacks by
Indians, but one tale stands out from the rest, showing us once more that
his strength of character and bravery had earned him the respect of friend and foe
alike. In one story, Love tells of a particularly violent fight with
the Yellow Dog's tribe, in which he runs out of ammunition, yet keeps on
fighting, getting severely wounded in the process.
The story takes an unexpected
turn when Love is then brought back to the Indian village and his wounds
are tended to. Love reasons that they may have spared him because he
fought bravely, or that he was spared since the Yellow Dog's tribe was
comprised of many "half-breeds" and that "there was a large
percentage of colored blood in the tribe". Once he was well
enough, Nat Love took part in tribal activities and was even offered
100 ponies to marry the Chief's daughter. Of course, Love did not
accept, opting instead to find one choice pony, and make his escape,
riding 100 miles without a saddle.
Nat Love didn't only survive
fights with the Indians, he also fought Mexicans, and most importantly,
fought against mother Nature in an effort to survive the many perils which
presented themselves during his journeys. In one story, he recalls
being stranded on the prairie, starving, and thirsty; he survives by
slitting the throat of a calf, drinking its blood, and eating its meat.
In another incredible tale, he tells of being frozen to the point of
losing his toenails, and much of the flesh from his extremities to
frostbite. Whether these tales have been exaggerated for the benefit
of the reader or not, they remain fine examples of courage and character,
of larger-than-life heroism which is now almost only seen in movies,
television, or within the pages of novels and comic books.
In fact, Nat Love's stories are
all written in a clear, concise style which made them easy to recall and
relate to friends, tall tales made taller like all the other legends of
the American West.
But what about romance?
After all, the man's name is Love, so it is only fitting that there be a
love story somewhere in his book. While driving the herd past a
passing a small adobe house near the city of Old Mexico, Nat's attention
was drawn to a lovely young Spanish woman standing in the yard, and it was
love at first sight. Nat pretended to be very thirsty and asked her
for a drink, just so he could introduce himself.
Later, he kept seeing her
everywhere he went in town, and at some point, he overheard her talking
with her mother about whether or not she would be leaving town with him,
she answered she wouldn't and upon hearing this, Nat bid her farewell,
jumped on his horse and rode off into the distance to try and escape the
pain of heartache, but while he was able to distance himself from her
physically, he wasn't able to distance himself from her emotionally.
Months later, he returned to Old Mexico, but was reluctant to see her,
even to the point of making his team boss lie about his whereabouts when
she came around their encampment.