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Rodolfo Fierro

Pancho Villa's Hatchet Man

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Rodolfo Fierro was Pancho Villa's right-hand man during the Mexican Revolution. He was a dangerous man, capable of killing in cold blood.
Rodolfo Fierro

Rodolfo Fierro

Photo by Agustin Casasola

Pancho Villa was not afraid of violence, and the blood of many men and women was directly or indirectly on his hands. Still, there were some jobs that even he found distasteful, and that's why he had Rodolfo Fierro around. Fiercely loyal to Villa, Fierro was fearsome in battle: during the Battle of Tierra Blanca, he rode after a fleeing train full of federal soldiers, leapt onto it from a horse, and stopped it by shooting the conductor dead where he stood. Villa's soldiers and associates were terrified of Fierro: it is said that one day, he had an argument with another man about whether people who were shot while standing up would fall forward or backward. Fierro said forward, the other man said backward. Fierro solved the dilemma by shooting the man, who promptly fell forward.

On October 14, 1915, Villa's men were crossing some swampy ground when Fierro got stuck in quicksand. He ordered the other soldiers to pull him out, but they refused. The men he had terrorized finally got their revenge, watching Fierro drown. Villa himself was devastated, and greatly missed Fierro in the years that followed.

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