A certain American cowboy has two faces; depending on who you talk to.
Richard Wetherill’s death will be considered a murder by some – – – or – – – thought to be the result of cattle rustling by others.
Richard Wetherill will be considered a “pot hunter” by some – – – or – – – the discoverer of ancient American Indian villages by others.
Accused of being the loser in a gunfight due to his own cattle rustling – – – or – – – shot by an American Indian debtor – – – it makes no difference. He will die in 1910.
Accused of selling archaeological artifacts – – – or – – – collecting them for a museum – – – it makes no difference. He will die in 1910.
The territory where all this occurred is now called Mesa Verde.
Future archaeologists will say Richard Wetherill will forever remain known as a pot hunter; the worst of scoundrels in the world of archaeology. They say he was an uneducated cowboy who plundered Mesa Verde.
Others will consider him an honest man whose first excavations of the great ruins at Mesa Verde greatly outweigh these accusations.
For now, Richard Wetherill remains sitting in the middle, hatless among his four brothers.
But all this will take place in the future.
All we know is what Dr. T. Mitchell Prudden has told us in Harper’s Monthly.
But, for today, let’s just enjoy what we know.