The Long Riders' Guild

Through the Kyzyl-Kum Desert

When American Long Rider Januarius MacGahan learned the Czar’s army was going to invade the Central Asian kingdom of Khiva in 1873, the courageous reporter set out to ride 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) across the Kyzyl-Kum Desert in order to be on hand to witness the conflict.

“Being a man of peace, I went but lightly armed. A heavy double-barrelled English hunting rifle, a double-barrelled shot gun, an eighteen shot Winchester rifle, three heavy rifles, and one ordinary muzzle loading shot gun throwing slugs, besides a few knives and sabres, formed a light and unpretentious list of my equipment. Nothing was further from my thoughts than fighting. I only encumbered myself with these things in order to discuss with becoming dignity questions relating to the rights of way and property with inhabitants of the desert, whose opinions on these subjects are sometimes peculiar. The baggage having been all packed on the two little horses, and everything being ready, I slung my Winchester rifle across my shoulder, mounted my little Kirghiz saddle-horse, and waving an adieu to my friends, turned my horse’s head to the south and plunged into the desert,” MacGahan recalled.

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