Crossing Rio Pecos
The Pecos River flows snake-like out of New Mexico and across West Texas before striking the Rio Grande. In frontier Texas, the Pecos was more moat than river, a deadly barrier of quicksand, treacherous currents, and impossibly steep banks. Only at its crossings - with such legendary names as Horsehead and Pontoon - could travelers hope to gain passage. Even if the river proved obliging, its Indian raiders and outlaws often did not. Its banks echoed with the sounds of the mythic Old West - the war cry of the Indian, the blast of the cowboy's six-shooter, the crack of the stage-driver's whip, the thunder of the stampeding longhorn. While documented history was painting dreary lives for pioneers in many other locations, the Pecos stirred with color and drama and nurtured the stuff of legend. Long after irrigation and dams rendered the river a polluted trickle, Patrick Dearen went seeking out the crossings and the stories behind them. In Crossing Rio Pecos, a follow-up to his Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier, he draws upon years of research and relates the history and folklore of all the crossings: Horsehead, Pontoon, Pope's, Emigrant, Salt, Spanish Dam, Adobe, S, and Lancaster. Meticulously documented, Crossing Rio Pecos is the definitive study of these gateways which were so vital to the opening of the western frontier.
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animals Apaches Army attack August bank bridge Butterfield Overland Mail California Camp Captain Castle cattle Cavalry Clayton Clayton Williams Collection Colonel command Company Concho County cowboys Davis December diary drive drovers early east Emigrant Crossing feet finally five ford Fort Stockton four Frontier George Haley Library head headquarters herd Historical Horsehead Crossing horses Hubbs hundred Indians interview with author January John John Pope Journal July June killed Lancaster Crossing later letters and telegrams Lieutenant Lower March Mexico Midland miles months night noted November October officer party Paso passing Pecos River Pontoon Pope's Crossing present pushed ranch Rankin reached recalled reported returns Road Rock route San Antonio scouts Second September side Southwest Spanish Springs stage Stockton stream taped telegrams sent Texas took trail train travelers upstream wagon wrote