Joshua “Josh” Eberhardt

Joshua: “God is my salvation”, Hebrew

Height / weight: 5 feet 9 inches / 180 lbs
Born: 1840 March, in New Mexico Territory (revised to 1888) – American
Birth sign:
Birth stones:
Birth flowers:
Partner: Alexandria Mary MacDonald
Occupation Marshal / gunman, now a private investigator
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Drives: Prefers horses
Reads / Writes: English, German, French, speaks Spanish, Cherokee and Apache
Weapons: Handgun, long-arm, shotgun, fist, grapple


Josh has dark hazel eyes, short, thick dark brown hair and a thick black moustache.  A handsome man, Josh is very fit and very strong.  He is broad shouldered and muscular, with barely an ounce of surplus fat on his frame.  Despite his build he is fast and agile.  Josh is a very active man and cannot go for long without vigorous exercise, so he works out every morning and often practices shooting and fast draws.  “Keeps my hands limber. Pappy had arthritis pretty fierce later on.  Want to keep it at bay in myself.”  Alex saw the hands of the 85 year old Josh and the memory is sickening.  They were twisted and gnarled like driftwood, and almost as flexible.  Perhaps things will turn out differently this time.


Josh is a quiet, calm, responsible, reasonable man.  He will always talk before resorting to violence.  There is nothing that earns more scorn than someone going of ‘half-cocked’.  If he must fight though, he will do so without hesitation or regret.  He will always attempt to shoot to incapacitate rather than kill, except against folks like Virgil Diaz, and in situations where such actions would put innocent bystander’s lives in danger.  Then he shoots to kill.

In some ways he is a typical Westerner.  He usually doesn’t consider walking places, he will ride a horse four doors to another place (patrols are different).  He pretends to despise mutton, but although he feels uneasy around sheep he really doesn’t mind them too much.  He rather likes most shepherds, Basques and Mexicans mostly, and their good folk on the whole.  He is not significantly prejudiced but tends to classify most folk as ‘good’, then await their actions to either prove or disprove his hypothesis.  He doesn’t let this inherent optimism blind him to reality though, he is quite prepared to pull a gun on a ‘good fella’, or punch one out, just in case.  He is aware that every race has its good and bad members.

Josh is a modest man who rarely talks about himself, but will happily chat about friends, acquaintances and enemies, like Ned Byrne, Sgt Rufus Starr, Freddie and especially Pappy.  It’s obvious he has a deep and abiding love and respect for Pappy, though Josh is well adjusted to his father’s death.  From these anecdotes and stories it is possible to pick up quite a bit of Josh’s history.

Josh is not shy, but naturally quiet and reticent.  He is more than happy to remain in the background at any meeting, but will join in if Alex asks, or if he meets an interesting person.  A natural and un-laboured gentleman, he will accept tough, forthright and independent women.  He is frontier stock and has seen this kind of female before.  He will speak up for people being outclassed, abused or bullied.  He is mildly embarrassed at affection in public, though kissing and holding hands is fine.  Long, passionate embraces and so forth are really private matters for private places.

His sense of humour is sparing and dry and tends to rely on the conversation at hand, he won’t just come out with a joke or a pun.  He is an excellent raconteur with a totally straight face and unforced delivery.  Josh calls Alex ‘Alexandria’ in private, ‘Alex’ or ‘Miss Alex’ in company and absent-mindedly (or otherwise) ‘Ma’am’ once in a while.  He feels that ‘Alexandria’ says all that he needs to say by way of a salutation, and that her name implies all of ‘love’, ‘darling’, ‘dearest’ etc.

After some time has passed Alex may notice that Josh can be quite introverted, overly optimistic and reluctant to act without sufficient information.  Once she learns to recognise the signs she will be able to balance Josh with her own extrovert personality, some cautious pessimism and her intuitive actions.


He takes a keen interest in politics, mostly on the national scene, and follows leaders for their policies rather than for their parties.  Josh is deeply fond of dogs and likes horses, though he considers horses more like ‘tools’.

His interest in guns is restricted to their use and his application of them as the ‘tools’ of his trade.  As his life often depended on his guns this interest is not unnatural.  He is a highly qualified gunsmith well capable of repairing even extensively damaged guns.  He could easily make a living as a gunsmith but he disapproves of the use to which most folk put them.  “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but guns sure as hell make it easier!”  Being a gunsmith has occurred to him as a possible occupation, but only because he knows he can do it, and do it well.

Josh doesn’t gamble or fight for the hell of it, but if he gets involved he will certainly enjoy himself.  No reason not to!  Other personality traits evident in Josh include leadership, honour, trustworthiness, bravery, honesty, innovation and imagination.  He is very active but has a calm disposition.

Josh will be quite happy to live in California.  He wants to help Alex plan the house and will even tolerate Jersey cows, if Alex insists.  He will, however, stick to drinking bourbon.  He also wants to keep horses, but well away from Alex (she is terrified of them).  It will take him a long time to get over his nervousness at cars, he will probably never like them.  He will learn to drive (just) for convenience, but he will always prefer a horse, or horse and wagon, for transport.  Planes will shock him, but less than cars.  He will agree to go up in one and he will dislike it far less than cars.

He isn’t going to know what he wants to do for some time as he needs to know about the world first.  The centre, centre-west of U.S.A. is his choice for somewhere to live, but as long as he is living with Alex he doesn’t mind where they are.  Writing will occur to Josh as something he might like to do for a living (“its as though he lived through it”) and so will history.  After Alex describes a private investigator’s job Josh agrees that it doesn’t sound too bad.  On hearing that Bat Masterton is now a journalist and Wyatt Earp is now a sports writer, Josh is rather amused.  According to Josh, Masterton was “damn near a psychopath.  Well, he was a good fella but a mite inclined to get out of control.”

Josh will find a reasonable percentage of Hollywood folk superficial.  He won’t win friends (and may possibly gain Alex enemies) by not being chary in telling the worst offenders so to their face.  However, people like Tom Mix and Charlie Chaplin are OK.  “Hell, pretty damned good if you want to know, but don’t hold a candle to my Alexandria.”

Josh takes an exceptional delight in learning about Alex.  He hardly believes that he has learnt very much about women at all.  It is not uncommon for Alex to wake from pleasant dreams to find Josh on one elbow, gazing quietly at her with a look of gentle bewilderment on his face.  “Y’ know how, when you were a kid, there was somethin’ you wanted so bad, it hurt?  Then you got it and put it right beside your bed and went to sleep, watchin’ it.  Then, next mornin’ you woke up, and first thing off, checked up on it to make sure it wasn’t a dream and you really had it.  That feelin’ of joy when you realised it really was yours.  Well Alexandria, what I feel when I look at you is like that, but a lot more so.  One hell of a lot more so!”

Josh feels there is a difference between being ‘uninhibited’ and what they are doing.  Other people are ‘uninhibited’, they are in love and able to show it.  After all, stands to reason.  Those other folk can’t really be in love.  They don’t have what Josh and Alexandria have.  Although Josh is not too experienced he thoroughly enjoys himself and comes up with some interesting ideas.  It is all the more wonderful, devastating that Josh has never really been in love before.

Oh, there was a girl, a neighbour before the war (Civil War) who he thought he loved.  But when he came back she had married some rabble-rousing bastard who had convinced her Josh was a nigger-lover.  Well, Josh does like Negroes, they were damn good men, so he didn’t mind that.  What he did mind was his men, some of the finest in the war, being called niggers.  So he laid the other out, took away Miranda’s gun before she hurt someone and never went back.

Josh will refuse to be kept by Alex, at least not permanently.  On the other hand, he doesn’t expect Alex to be kept by him, unless she so chooses.  He has pride but not foolish pride.  He doesn’t mind being kept in the short term.  He does want to marry Alex but not until he has found the ideal situation, after he knows that he can support himself and her also, if she chooses.


For a man with such a limited formal education he is very wide read with a huge fund of general knowledge.  He tends to underestimate himself, like many self-educated men he confuses education with knowledge and he is in awe of Alex’s education.  Being ‘uneducated’ he believes that he is not clever, but he speaks four languages fluently and two others adequately, reads and writes two languages well and a third quite respectably.  He easily comes out with information like the library of Alexandria and other things seemingly as obscure.  Josh loves books of all sorts and reads voraciously on any and all subjects.  “You never know when this sort of thing might come in handy, Alexandria.”  Although Josh does denigrate his own reading skills he reads Goethe in the original language.


Josh was born sometime in 1840, he thinks early in March, in New Mexico Territory.  His father got along well with the local Navaho Indians, his wife Joy was half Navaho.  This doesn’t show in Josh, but he is not ashamed of his heritage.  Joy died only days after his birth and Pappy brought up Josh alone.  Pappy had been older than Joy.  Josh estimates he must have been born in 1800 or so.  He had been a scout, mountain man, buffalo shooter, guide and explorer before he settled down, but when Josh was born Pappy was working as a miner.  Pappy never talked about himself, in fact Josh never knew his first name.  Everyone called him ‘Pappy’ or ‘Pap’.  He was quite possibly German, Austrian or Swiss.

After Joy died Pappy moved to Bowden in Colorado Territory and opened a general store.  That was where Josh learnt Spanish, German and French.  There were a lot of youngsters from foreign climes in Bowden and a boy had to learn the lingo to survive the plots of the gangs.  Josh grew up to his 5′ 9″ then grew out.  A quiet young man, folk learnt to respect him for his fists, his gun handling and above all, the wisdom with which he applied the two skills.  At 18 Josh was appointed Deputy Town Marshal and learnt a lot from Ned Byrne.  ‘Wild Ned’ he was called, before he left the criminal life to become ‘respectable’.  “Poorer pay son, but it’s regular and a damn sight easier on a man’s nerves.”

In 1860 the war broke out and Josh rode east to join up.  At first he was a member of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry (he ran across them accidentally and joined up on the spot) but by 1861 he was a 2nd lieutenant in the 4th New York Cavalry and by the war’s end was a Captain, brevet-Major in the 10th US. Cavalry (one of the two Negro cavalry regiments), the Buffalo Soldiers.  Apart from the Gettysburg incident, he was wounded four more times, only once more severely.  He collected some shrapnel, his horse was killed and he was trapped under its body for some hours, his leg broken.  He was out of action three months that time.

After the war he stayed on in the Army for some time, but resigned in disgust in 1868 over the treatment the Indians were receiving, the promises that were being broken.  He decided that he could no longer be a party to it.  Pappy died in 1868 and so Josh returned to Bowden to transport his body back to the hills to lie beside Joy’s.  He sold the store and bought a small ranch in Kansas were he settled for a while.  There was a bad season, so he prospected for a while, unsuccessfully, and drifted in general.  By 1871 he had returned to the Law business, first in Texas, then into Arizona Territory, Kansas, Colorado, Utah Territory then back to Arizona Territory.  For a brief time he contemplated joining the Arizona Rangers, but decided against it.  He did hold a star as a Deputy US. Marshal for a time.  He got shot at altogether too much, although he was only hit twice, and decided that he felt more comfortable in a town.  When the offer from Kenneton Wells came up, he accepted readily.

A bit of research will reveal that Josh Eberhardt was quite well known as a Shootist and lawman in the west, he is mentioned in a couple of histories.  There is also a cheap and incredibly melodramatic paperback book featuring the exploits of ‘Pappy’ Josh Eberhardt, who saves a town from rampaging Apaches, a flood, two gangs of bank robbers and three separate villains who return from jail to seek revenge on Josh for their imprisonment.  Josh rides off into the sunset with the exquisite, boring, colourless and sweet young daughter of the Reverend Prentiss, Laura, with whom he had been pursuing a platonic affair for most of the book.  They met when he saved her from a stampeding bull bearing down on her buggy and she had fainted in terror.  The author of the book is one Leroy Patricks, who has written such classics as ‘Shoot-out at Dry Gulch’, ‘Gunfight at Webberville’ and ‘The Allingford County War’.

Further research turns up a daguerreotype of him, clean-shaven and wearing a hat, clutching a rifle and looking uncomfortably out into the camera.  The picture was taken about 1872 in Texas.  Apart from the melodrama, ‘Shoot-out at the Bar G’, the writings seem quite complimentary toward Josh and each speculates about his mysterious disappearance in 1878 in the company of a beautiful woman and her two accomplices.  The theories put forward centre on the woman and her two lackeys murdering Josh because he is getting close to heart of their criminal activities.  They then flee the country and vanish, leaving his skeleton to moulder in an unknown grave.

Josh is embarrassed about the writings and annoyed at the implication that Alex, Frank and Runyard had anything to do with his death.  After thinking about that he has a good laugh and tries to play down the histories.  He is acutely embarrassed at ‘Shoot-out at the Bar G’ and denies everything, especially any and all references to Laura Prentiss.  He never knew a Reverend or a Laura Prentiss, and he certainly doesn’t know this damned Leroy Patricks.  “But I’m beginnin’ to wish I did! I’d as soon let him know about what I think.  Damn near as bad as that Ned Buntline character, ‘ceptin’ this Patricks ain’t never come anywhere near me.  How the hell did he ever hear of me?”  Henceforth Josh will try and put the matter behind him, but he will react with good humour if the subject is brought up again.