Fandango – Saturday, June 14, 2014

2014 Fandango Bill King explaining case

Click here to view photos from the event.

Members of the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners met for the June Fandango at the John Rains House in Rancho Cucamonga. We will see Docents led tours of the home and showed us the bedroom where John Rains awakened to find his guns missing on the morning of that fateful murder.

Rains, owner of the 13,000 acre Rancho Cucamonga, was ambushed, lassoed, shot, stabbed, dismembered and left in the bushes 152 years ago near the present-day intersection of Arrow Highway & South Walnut Avenue in San Dimas.

The Fandango’s goal—solve that crime.  (This was undertaken for fun, it may not be historically accurate.)

Behind the Scenes

Contributing to this memorable event were:

Rains House docent Pam Strunk who conducted tours,
Sheriff Larry Boerio who shot photos of the Fandango,
Deputy Sheriff Pete Fries who ran the registration desk, logging in 61 attendees,
Factotum Extraordinaire Paul Rippens who provided cowboy music for the day,
History Professor Bill “Lickskillet” King who summarized the sordid events of the John Rains murder,
Cowboy Tim Heflin who trucked all the way in from Kennedy Meadows to run the bar and regale patrons with friendly conversation,
“The Hangin’ Judge” Gary Turner’s whose well-tied nooses contributed to good behavior by attendees and whose ruling resolved the case &
Auctioneer Eric Nelson whose “prix fixe” book sale and art auction raised enough money to keep the event in the black, despite the lower ticket prices.

Lunch was served at High Noon. Then each table sent a representative forward to identify who the murderer and present their case to Gary “The Hangin’ Judge” Turner.


Prime suspects included 1) Merced Rains, widow, 2) Robert Carlisle, brother-in-law, 3) Cave Couts, fired Indian agent, 4) Cuervo Reyes, rancho employee, 5) Manuel Cerradel, alleged hit man, 6) Tomas Bustamante, bandit, and 7) Ramon Carillo, fired ranch employee.

Each of eight tables of picnickers at the Fandango sent a representative to argue their case before Judge Turner and the assembled crowd.


After appropriate consideration, Judge Turner ruled that Table 5, represented by Phil Brigandi had the best briefs (a non-sartorial reference). Judge Turner presented this outstanding legal team with a “pretty good bottle of wine” for their achievement. Ramon Carrillo was declared guilty.

Thank you to all the Westerners who participated and enjoyed an afternoon of fun, fellowship, and history…and who helped solve the murder of John Rains. Finally.

Case closed.

Click here to view photos from the event.