Ephraim Younger is likely best known for his antics around the town of Great Bend, Kansas. His much loved and later deeply despised Ephraim’s Extract won the praise of citizens all around town, until they were faced with the affects of the tonic the morning after. The magic, all healing elixir was banned when the contents were deemed unfit for human consumption and the product was pulled from the shelves. No stranger to crime Ephraim is also the brother of the much feared outlaw Cole Younger.
Ephraim is a biblical name. Were your parents religious? What were their feelings on you and your brother pursing a life of crime?
My parents were very religious. They’d always be saying things like “Goddamn it Ephraim, put that down! Every day since you’ve been born has been my own personal hell. What did I ever do to God to deserve such a stupid child.” You know, religious things like that. My parents supported our criminal choices. Momma always used to say “Rob a bank Ephraim, and then you can go to jail be someone else’s problem.
What was it like growing up in the Younger household?
We were a typical family. Lots of screaming and throwing things. And punches. Punches all the time.
Did you ever get tired of growing up in the shadow of your brother Cole?
I love being in Cole’s shadow. It’s a lot cooler there. I tend to burn in the sun.
Was it an easy decision to turn to a life of crime or was it one of those things that just happen?
It wasn’t a decision. Can a bird choose not to fly? Well, actually I guess it can. It can walk places. One time I saw this bird walk two or three miles with me. Never flew, just walked. So I guess a bird can choose not to fly. What were we talking about again?
If you had your say in the matter what would you rather be doing other than criminal activities?
Sometimes I’ll just enjoy a good think. A couple months back I started thinking about something. For the life of me I can’t remember what. Anyhow a few hours later I came to. Everyone was gone, fire was out. But wow. What a way to spend an afternoon.
Do you think society tends to underestimate the pressures faced when living a life of crime?
Oh absolutely. So many things to remember. Lots of moving parts. Is today a hostage taking day or are we just robbing? Here’s a tip: Mask on first. Learned that the hard way after a few botched robberies…
Exactly how long have you known Eli? Why did you call him Ile when first apprehended by Hoyle? Do you sometimes like to deny all association with Eli or is that something you called him as a kid?
We’ve known each other since we was kids. Some names are harder to pronounce than others. But he knows when I’m talking to him so it all works out.
Where did you come up with the idea for Ephraim’s Extract? Is there any chance you can tell our readers how it is made?
I was chatting with a Shaman while in prison. He gave some great ideas about medicines and the like. So I took what he had taught me and added some of Ephraim to it. I can’t go into details about the exact recipe. But I can tell you there’s a lot love in my product. And I do love making it.
Did you enjoy working as an apothecary?
Oh sure. I love mixing things. Putting things in bottles. Selling the bottles. uUsing the money to buy more bottles. Something about bottles has always interested me. Lot less to worry about than when robbing a bank. Bottles won’t shoot at you. Although though there’s more counting. When you rob a bank you just say “give me all of your money”. Working as an apothecary you have to make change.
What all did you learn while incarcerated at Leavenworth?
I can make a shiv from just about anything you can imagine. Don’t hand me something nice, because minutes later I will have shiv-ified it.
Was it somewhat upsetting to learn your extract had been replaced by Brown’s? Do you miss the apothecary work? How did it feel to have your work outlawed?
I was very upset. Then enraged. Then back to upset. Then normal for a while. Then someone reminded me of it, and I went right back up to enraged, skipping upset entirely. I do miss apothecary work, but I don’t like being in such close proximity with Honey Shaw. She’s more handsy than you’d imagine…
Being an outlaw ain’t nothing new for me. I’m an outlaw, so my extract should be an outlaw. It’s like when an acorn falls from the tree, but nobody hears it. Right?
Did you ever forgive Eli for the events that occurred during the raid on Cole’s hideout? How has that event affected the relationship you have had with him since childhood?
Elie is not forgiven. Mark my words. Because I can’t, on account of my illiteracy.
Was the mint leaf a nice touch? Did turpentine on your lips help you forget that whole ordeal?
Once you find out you’ve man kissed a man you didn’t intend to man kiss, no amount of leaves, or turpentine, or asking yourself why you enjoyed it so much will ever make you feel better.
What aspirations are you currently leaning towards?
Can you ask that a little less fancy? This whole thing is giving me a headache.
If you could say one thing to citizens of Great Bend what would it be?
My brother’s gonna kill you.
Fantastic. Love these Quick Draw interviews. Thank you.