Exploring the greatest bandit to ever live

From the novel by David Caraccio

Read, view and learn more about how Tiburcio Vasquez, the famous outlaw from Monterey, CA, shaped California’s land, people, culture and political issues that still linger today. "Tiburcio!" is a fictionalized account based on a true story of the famous old west bandido who lived and traveled throughout Monterey, San Juan Bautista, Northern California and the Los Angeles area from 1854-1874. Should he have paid the ultimate price for his crimes?

Love, crime and rebellion in early California

Click below to hear the podcast "The Desperado of Monterey" with guest David Caraccio

Meet the author

David Caraccio is an online news editor for the Sacramento Bee. He's practiced journalism for more than 27 years. This is his first published book. His second novel, "The Back of the Net," was published in March 2017. Caraccio has a wife, son and daughter who live with him in Fair Oaks, Calif. He has lived in the same areas in Northern California where his subject, Tiburcio Vasquez, lived and raised hell. Follow him on Twitter @DavidCaraccio

Reviews of "Tiburcio!"


- "Readers come to know not only Tiburcio, but also the people around him: villagers, renegades, and gringos alike. The prose here is always clear and readable, and this 508-page book might have been even longer while still remaining every bit as enlightening and suspenseful."
- From Kirkus Reviews
- "Excellent for a first novel"

-  "This is a must read. The author did a great job of weaving history into a captivating story. Be prepared though, the storyline is a little addicting as you will find yourself, as did I, staying up too late a few nights, because it is hard put it down in the middle of a great chapter. The problem with that is that all of the chapters are "that good"

- "Very good" 

- "Anyone from No Ca will love this" 

- "Fantastic historical account and a page-turner" 

- "I found this book to be not only entertaining but an interesting way to project the mindset of Mexicans who felt that they were betrayed by the 'gringo' invasion starting before the gold rush."

- "Finished David Caraccio's book "Tiburcio!" Love, crime and rebellion in early California" this weekend. It was really good! Ordering two more, one for my brother and one for an uncle."

- "A real page turner! (The) style of writing kept me engaged throughout and I burned through it quickly."

See all of the reader reviews here

Excerpts from the book "Tiburcio!"


Inside Snyder’s, Tiburcio paced up and down in his black suit, holding two revolvers and rambling loudly and frantically. “I am sorry to trouble everyone this way. I would rather work hard each and every day of my life in an honest way, but the minute people found out who I am I would be hanged. I didn’t start out this way, but I only have one way to make a living in the state and as long as other people have money I intend to rob them for it."


* * *


Anastacio was muscular and handsome and witty. But he had a legendary temper. He could be smiling one moment and reaching for his gun the next. When angered, the veins in his forehead and thick neck visibly throbbed. He was intimidating when mad. And he usually got mad when he was drunk. And he was usually drunk.


* * *


How about a little romance with your outlaws, gunfights, deceit and killing? This is from Tiburcio's first meeting with Anita since the Hardmount murder:

"Less than 72 hours after breaking out of prison, and for the first time in two years, Tiburcio was clean-shaven, well-fed and lying on a soft bed. ... (He) might have dozed off under the satin sheets if he hadn’t heard a young woman’s voice ... The voice was familiar. ... Anita was in the flower garden next to the hacienda, smelling the Castilian roses and examining the hollyhocks, white lilies and nasturtiums. The quiet of the garden was good for her restless soul. ... The morning breeze was very slight but inside her head chaos swirled like the wind. Her meanderings took her to behind the room where Tiburcio was staying. She heard the slow, divine strumming of an old guitar. His fingers had not lost their passionate touch on the strings. She sighed and her back fell against the wall just when she heard her name being called ..."


* * *


What is that phrase, darling,” Garcia asked his wife gently with a wink, “that Tiburcio always whispers in his horse’s ear before he performs a stunt.” “Arriba el telon.” “Of course! Arriba el telon!” He swiftly tossed two bandoliers across his chest, stuffed a Colt in his belt and grabbed two more revolvers in each hand.


* * *


"Abelardo and Tiburcio agreed quickly on how they would duel and stood back to back. They took twenty steps in opposite directions and turned to face each other. Abelardo's gun was in his sash; Tiburcio's in the open holster at his side. ... Tiburcio drew quickest while Abelardo was slower and luckier. With the barrel of Tiburico's gun pointed directly at Abelardo's chest, the cylinder jammed. Abelardo then fired and Tiburcio let out a groan and fell to his knees on the wood planks."


* * *


“Soriano said if you can’t lead the liberation, Tiburcio, it cannot be won. There is not another man in the state who could secure sixty thousand dollars and embolden thousands of people with the will to overthrow the state. There is not another man in all of California who could even think about starting a revolution of the people. That’s what he told me. He knows the people will follow you. He knows the foundation of trust you have built among the native Californians. You have helped them survive this long. You will be the one to show them to freedom.” “Well, then, Clodoveo, the time has come!”


* * *



Tiburcio Vasquez: “In the past year, Mother, I have seen more than I ever wanted to. So much is out of my control. I am going to go out in the world and take my chances, and likely suffer at its hands. But I need to find my own destiny. And I need your blessing.” he told her. ... Doña Guadalupe: "Listen, son,” she said softly in his ear. “You may not know if you have the courage to face what you find out there in the world. But face your fears in the present, only in the present. Do not turn away from them and the answers will become clear. The bravest people do not lack fear. Rather, they face and know their fear intimately.”