The Hearst ranch, San José de Babicora, originally founded in the 18th century by the Jesuits, was located in northern Mexico and was in the pathway of the revolutionary movements of the 1910s-1920s. In 1907, at the age of twenty-four, Jim Barker went to Mexico, where he served as ranch manager of the million-acre estate in Chihuahua of Mrs. Phoebe Hearst. Described as a "smallish, wiry Irishman with a sandy complexion and sandy hair and sandy eyes,” he served as a civilian scout for General John J. Pershing during the punitive expedition’s search for Pancho Villa.
This interview with Mr. Barker, who died at age eighty-three in San Antonio, provides extensive primary source information about the Mexican Revolution, his involvement in it, the murder of Peter Keene, and the history of the Babicora ranch. Pancho Villa put a $10,000 price tag on the head of Mr. Barker in his attempt to capture Barker. This led to Barker’s nine-day trip to escape being captured. Barker later served in World War I as head of an extensive intelligence operation in France and Germany and was a business consultant for the Hearst Enterprises until he retired in 1963.