I absolutely loved the last couple of pages of this novel. As a whole, I found the book easy to read, unemotional, and very play-by-play. I liked it, but felt no emotional draw toward any character or theme. Regardless, I liked that it was written in a way that left out too much dialogue or thought, which can sometimes complicate and confuse the purpose of the book. This purpose is fully explained and summed up by the line on page 158: "a wrong done to one man is a wrong to society and to the world". I think this is an amazing lesson of how humans treat the people around them. Obviously when people do bad things, all the victims don't immediately run out and rampage, kill and rob everyone they see. However, if a person hurts someone and that happens to be the final straw, that victim may lash out at someone else, which could be that third person's final straw. Joaquin Murieta is an extreme example of what hurting others can do, but it is an important lesson.
The women have an interesting role in this novel because they do not retaliate. Joaquin's wife was hurt just as much as he was, but she also has to deal with the guilt of running around with her bandit husband, and the sadness of watching him ruin their lives. The women are the biggest victims of the book because while they have received the wrong-doings the rest of the men have, they do not murder or rob anyone, but blindly follow their mates. The last line of the book draws attention to these real victims. And it makes an important point that cruelty is learned. I think the author's point is that we, as humanity, needs to stop teaching people that revenge is an appropriate response to hostility and that aggression toward others is ever okay. By learning these, we will not continue the evil cycle that Joaquin Murieta displays.