Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier, Revisited updates Patrick Dearen’s classic study of the Pecos River country of West Texas. It’s a land wild with tales, true ones and tall ones, that blend history, geography, and folklore.
The Pecos River country lies between San Angelo and the Pecos River and runs west to the edge of the Davis Mountains Dearen has spent years hiking the area, finding its landmarks, talking to old-timers, and reading yellowing newspaper files and dusty court records in a meticulous study of the mysteries and lore of this harshly beautiful land. From his search emerges a fascinating picture of an inhospitable landscape rife with legends.
Castle Gap and the Pecos Frontier, Revisited is the definitive study of six specific stories: Castle Gap, a break in a mesa some twelve miles east of the Pecos River, used by Comanches on the warpath, emigrants seeking California gold and cattlement driving longhorns up the Goodnight-Loving Trail; Horsehead Crossing, the most infamous ford of the Old West, considered the graveyard of hopes by drovers and emigrants alike; Juan Cordona Lake, the vast salt lake where sandstorms and skull-baking sun defied early efforts to mine the salt needed for everyday survival on the frontier; the bulto or ghost who wanders the Fort Stockton night in search of peace; the Lost Wagon Train, a forty-wagon caravan entombed in the sands of West Texas; and Will Sublett, who found a fortune in gold hidden in the Pecos country and took the secret of its location to his grave. Hidden treasure links these six stories — secret gold mines, outlaw loot, fortunes buried for safekeeping and never found again. Men were drawn to Pecos country to seek its legendary treasure — and many lost their lives without ever finding its riches.
Though linked by the search for wealth, the stories are as varied as the land itself. They speak eloquently of the Pecos country, its heritage, and its people.