Kit Carson is described as a mountain man, an explorer, a scout, a soldier, a transcontinental courier and a general.
He is the hero of movies like 1933's Fighting with Kit Carson, and in the 1950s TV series The Adventures of Kit Carson, but California historian Kevin Starr calls him "bloodthirsty."
I visited the Kit Carson museum in Taos, New Mexico. The exhibits expose him as a gun fetishist.
One of his many victims was Rose Berryessa's ancestor, 75-year-old José de los Reyes Berryessa. He was on the way to visiting his son who was jailed along with other Berryessa brothers, and Mexican General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. They were taken prisoner by a group of white settlers called the "Bear Flaggers." Described as men capable of brutality by historian James David Hart, they challenged Mexican rule by establishing the independent Republic of California. It lasted for about a month.
Read the rest at Huffington Post San Francisco.