The Good Samaritans of the Desert

There are all sorts of people that make it their mission in life to do good things for the benefit of others.

Today’s “Brian reads…” episode (as read from Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia volume 9) is about the story of Louis Westcott Beck and his dog Rufus who, while failing to find gold or silver in the deserts of Nevada, USA, that aptly-named “Death Valley”, and after suffering thirst and hunger themselves, set about displaying sign boards to guide other people to water and shelter.

I was struggling to find out little else about this pair other than this Christmas Story from the December 1954 edition of The Rotarian:

That tale mentions mining prospector George W. Parsons (1850-1933), and here he is, looking the part:

The Wikipedia page for him says he was “a licensed attorney turned banker during the 19th century Old West. He kept a detailed daily diary of his life in the west, especially while he lived in Tombstone, Arizona Territory from 1879 to 1887. He described life in Tombstone in detail, including his interaction with individuals who became famous such as Wyatt Earp and Ike Clanton.” But no mention of Louis Westcott Beck.

A little more digging though and I found the Encyclopedia story above elaborated in a similarly titled book “Good Samaritans of Death Valley”, but referring to Beck as Lou Wescott Beck.

You can read more here [link], and here they are from a site titled Forgotten Stories:


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