Upon arriving at Diamond Springs some days later, Joaquin learned through one of his associates who owned a dance hall there, that on the following day the post which operated between Hangtown and Sacramento would carry very few passengers, and a great quantity of gold dust destined for eastern states.
In the early days of his career Joaquin had the opportunity of holding up a stage coach which came and went from Mokelumne Hill, but the disastrous result of that enterprise had filled him with an aversion to that sort of work. Ever since, he had tried to obtain money in a less dangerous way. Nevertheless, he judged it prudent not to throw away the opportunity which was offered him, and resolved to take possession of the valuable contents of the coach at any cost. Indeed, the sum of forty thousand dollars was not to be thrown away. It was as much as it would take to go to Mexico, enlist the men whom he needed, and put into action the plan which he had laid out to plunder the southern counties.
Joaquin held a secret interview with Valenzuela and Jack Three Fingers and disclosed his plan of holding up the post. Their approval was immediate and enthusiastic. That night they went to examine the road, to find a hiding place. After riding almost all night, the three Mexicans decided on a deserted spot covered with undergrowth and surrounded by trees, situated halfway between Mississippi Bar and White Rock House. Joaquin placed his two companions at the left side of the road behind a thicket, very near where the post would pass, and he hid on the right side, in a similar position. The bandits were hidden for two hours, consumed with anxiety. Dawn was beginning to break and the coach did not appear. Joaquin knew for a fact that it was the custom to leave Hangtown between one and two o’clock in the morning. Now it was six-thirty. The chief began to wonder if he had been deceived. He started down the road where Garcia and Valenzuela were stationed, almost deciding to return to