"Well,' said Clyde smiling, "according to Dutch and some of the others, some of those mission Indins weren't too happy. Kinda slave labor for the padres."
Cal frowned. "Ah, bullshit," he growled. "More of that ol' anti-Catholic crap they peddle. I've talked to lots of old-timers about that, including some old ex-mission Indins, like Gabriel down there at the house. They say the Padres only took in Indin families who wanted to sign up. Indins who thought it might beat scratchin' a livin' out there in the toolies. Good food and shelter for their families, and the chance to learn a White man's trade or craft."
Looking towards the mission, Clyde said, "They used to whip 'em for runnin' away, didn't they?"
"Hell yeah they did. Just like any American apprentice runnin' away back East. And lots of ways to punish them without gettin' physical."
"True enough," agreed Clyde as they turned onto the road and headed back towards town.
"The wild ones still stayed wild," Cal added. "Huntin', fishin', fightin' and stealin', like always. Especially the young single braves. Takin' their chances with other tribes, outlaws, bandidos, drunken miners and soldiers. Not willin' or able to see that the old days were gone for good."
(from BAD MEN AND ANGELS) On Kindle now.