Gila Monsters and Red-Eyed Rattlesnakes: Don Maguire's Arizona Trading Expeditions, 1876-1879

Gila Monsters and Red-Eyed Rattlesnakes: Don Maguire's Arizona Trading Expeditions, 1876-1879

Gila Monsters and Red-Eyed Rattlesnakes: Don Maguire's Arizona Trading Expeditions, 1876-1879

Gila Monsters and Red-Eyed Rattlesnakes: Don Maguire's Arizona Trading Expeditions, 1876-1879

Excerpt

More than fifty years have passed since the days and nights when I penned the records of my three commercial and exploration expeditions into the wonderful land of Arizona. It was while the impressions were still fresh in my mind that I produced these records from my diaries, notebooks, and memory.

Army men, miners, ranchers, adventurers from across the country and the seven seas looked upon Arizona as the land of dreams, inviting them to come and possess her wealth, drink of her mountain streams, and rest in her forest shades. It was a region of romance; but danger and death also lurked in a hundred places where the Apaches made blood-stained trails, where lone deserts and black lava plains, waterless wastes, and long forbidding reaches of desolation discouraged man's coming.

But for one who would brave the dangers, there was much to secure in a land where life was yet primitive and civilization was yet in the making. It was the officers and men of the United States Army who were given the work of bringing peace and civilization to the region. It was while that work of transformation from barbarism to civilization was in process that the author of these pages took part in the life of that romantic country.

The fifty-five years since the events recorded here took place have seen vast changes in western America. Arizona then was an unsettled territory with no railroads and only a few unimportant villages whose white inhabitants, with a few thousand ranchmen, miners, and freighters, enjoyed a precarious protection by the army from robbery, outrage, and death by Indians. The army posts were so many places of refuge where food supplies and protection could be obtained.

While Arizona was terrorized by ruthless Indians, other western ter-

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