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/ 1 Y O F T E X A S P R E S S Edited and with a Tcxt by JAN RUID


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of ANSl/NISO Z39.48-1992 (R1997)
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v, ,¡ 1 ''"' 111"'' ¡ ,11,il1igíng-ín-Publícatíon Data
1:,,, 1i1.111ol1·/1·<1111·<1
d11d wíth a text by Jan Reíd.
p. cm.
l',llN 11)Y) /0601-4 ((el): alk. paper)
1 li11' 1"·'"'11 · 111",1 11¡i1í1111
i111dtrave! 2. Río Grande Valley-Descriptíon and travel.
" l\1111""11<!1· l'í1 lorídl works. 4. Río Grande Valley-Píctoríal works.
l\11, 1",111ol1· 1111·1,11y
'olh tions. 6. Río Grande Valley-Líterary collectíons. l. Reíd, Jan.
F392.RSR56 2004
<Jl /.M'~ --dc/7 2004002629

1111 1 1 11
"P,10 (;r;111dc at Noon, Rio Grande atMidnight"

1 Vi1/cr has no rnernory; that is why it is so clear


llAMON GOMEZ DE LA SERNA

Ramon, the water here forgets nothing


1;:,._.;
a brown syrup of grease and ash that cleaves
.,.. ··.,;~

at rust canyons, caustic black cough of coal


from smokestacks extending river frorn razor wire

to sky.We have seen the devil and he is


a cartographer-rivers as wells, the Styx

wrapped seven times around his realm; ashamed,


the Border Patrol resigns, gathers cactus

flowers for their lovers-love songs all evening


spill from round-mouthed guitars like lava, like melting

snow-a river knows its source ... Tell us


what is enough love and what is more

1 li.111
cnough,and what it is to dream as rivers
d11-.1111-tonotjust swirn but to be the ocean.

111

l111lil /~q111/l/ir .'i11h/i1111·


CONTENTS

Prologue xm

PART 1 RÍO DEL NOR1E

PA uL 11() H (;A N' fro111 (;mil Rivcr X


TON Y 111111¡ H MAN, frorn N1·111 Mrxiro, Rio < ;rt111dc 1111dOt/icr J:ssays 1X

w11 LIAM L()<:AN,"'l'hl' Old Me.u l luutcr" 21

jou » Nl<:llOIS,fro111 ·¡·¡,,. f\li/1(\ZY<l ll1·t111/icldll;1r .'-.l


CONTENTS

PAR T 2 DESERT BLOOM 36

Jos I AH GREGG, from Commerce of the Prairies 47 ROL'

ROBERT BOSWELL,fromAmerican Owned Lave 49 ROBI

WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE, from Cuttingfor Sign 54 J :\~tl


CHARLES BOWDEN, from Down by the River 60 !RE:"
DAGOBERTO GILB,from The Last Known Residence ofMickeyAcuña 63
e E e IL I A BALLÍ, "Ciudad de la Muerte" 69 G_\R'

05C'

P A RT 3 LA J U N TA 84 GLOI

JOHN GRAVES, "Big River" 95 E rile


JOHN REED,from Insurgent Mexico rn5 Com
DON HENRY FORD, JR., from Contrabando Ill _-\chi
ROBERT DRAPER, "Soldiers ofMisfortune" II7

ARISTEO BRITO, from The Devil in Texas 127

P A RT 4 B 1G BEN D 130

ROBERT T. HILL, from "Running the Cañons ofthe Ria Grande" 139
WOODY GUTHRIE, from Seeds of Man 150
MOLLY IVINS, "Mayor ofLajitas Not the Goat He Used to Be" 154
JOHN SPONG, "Sand Trap" 156

P A RT 5 C R O S S 1 N G S 164

STEPHEN HARRIGAN, "Highway One," from Comanche Midnight 175


DICK J. REAVIs,"Gateway to Texas" 180
LARRY MCMURTRY' from Lonesome Dove 183
ELMER KELTON, from TheTime It Never Rained 194

To M MIL LER, "Confessions of a Parrot Trooper," from On the Border 203


JAN REID, "Busting Out of Mexico," from Clase Calls 208
JOHN DAVID SON, from The Long Road North 219
MARÍA EUGENIA GUERRA, "Nothing to Declare" 231
ELENA PONIATOWSKA, from Guerrero Viejo 236
10NllNI~
CONTENTS

xi
X 11
11f 6 LA FRO N T ERA 242
I' f\ !{ 1 2 D E S E RT B LO O M 36

ROLANDO HINOJOSA, from "A Sense of Place" 251


JOSIAH GREGG,from Commerce ofthe Prairies 47
ROBERT MENDOZA, "A Piece ofLand" 254
ROBERT BOSWELL, from American Owned Lave 49
WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE, from Cuttíngfor Sígn 54
JAMES CARLOS BLAKE, from In the Rogue Blood 262

CHARLES BOWDEN, from Down by the River 60 IRENE BELTRÁN HERNÁNDEZ, fromAcross the Great River 273
6l AMÉRICO PAREDES, from George Washington Gómez 279
DAGOBERTO GILB,from The Last Known Residence ~fMickeyAcuiia
CECILIA BALLÍ, "Ciudad de la Muerte" 69
GARY CARTWRIGHT, "BorderTowns," from Confessions oj a Washed-Up
Sportswriter 286
OSCAR CASAREs,"Domingo,"from Brownsvílle 303
GLORIA ANZALDÚA, from Borderlands 313
PART 3 LA JUNTA 84

Epilogue 317
JOHN GRAVES, "BigRiver" 95
Contributors 321
_¡011N Hl.1'.ll, fro111 /11s11~(!Cllf Mcxico 105
111 Acknowledgments and Credits 333
111>N 111'.NHY Hllll>, JH.,fro111 Co11/r11/,¡111do
111>11111111111\l'lll, "Soldins ofMisliirtt111l'" 117
,\ 111•,1111 'f'/¡I' I )1·1•i/i11'li'.\'dS
11111l11,111111> 127

1 1 1 1 '' 1· 1 1111 1 \11

119
thc Caúons
11111111111 11111. l11>111"ll..u1111111µ, ofthe RioGrande"

\\'111111' 1.111111111, ln1111Srrds1:(1Vld11 150


M1111Y 1v1 Ns," Mayor of Lajitas Not the Goat He U sed to Be" Il4

il>llN Sl'l>N<:,"SandTrap" 156

P f\ RT 5 C RO S S 1N G S 164

STEPHEN HARRIGAN, "Highway One," from Comanche Midnig/it I7l

DICK J. REAVIS,"Gateway to Texas" 180


LARRY MCMURTRY, from Lonesome Dove 183
ELMER KELTON, from TheTime lt Never Rained 194
TOM MILLER, "Confessions of a ParrotTrooper," from ontlicBoriicr lO]

JAN RE ID, "Busting Out of Mexico," from Closc Ca/Is 208

J () 1-1N DAV1J) s () N, frorn Th» Lo11g Road Nort/i 219


Mi\HÍA 1'.llCl'.Nli\ Clll'.l!l!i\,"Nothi11µ, to lkclarl'" 231
"' i:"1A llllNli\TOWSl<A,froll\ l irjo
C1lt'YYl'Y1l 0 .l,1{1
PROLOG U

SIXTEENTH CENTURY SPANIARDS called the strcarn Río de las Palmas. At first thl'Y
kncw 011ly thc r ivcr's mouth and its lush delta. Framed by bcachcs and duncs of
blond sand, thc bread bright forest of Sabal palrn trces around thc rivcr's 111ouLh
was a landmark f"ór navigators of the Gulf of Mexico. Those bcing a loncly :11HI
anxious fcw. In 1527, 194 Spanish cxplorcrs marooncd by a failcd cxpcdition i11
Florida sailcd wcst fro111Tampa l3:1y in fivc bargcs, hoping thcir crossing of thc gulf"
would dclivcr thcm Lo ihc l<..iwr of Palms :111dmore Spaniards thcy 111ighLfi1HI
thcrc. 1)cspcration had drivcn thcm LO thc :1Ltc111pt:seores of 111c11h:1d dicd of"
discasc, stnrvation, and :1LL:icks hy l ndi.ins, :111dLhl· Sp:111i:mls h.u.l caten :111t lu-ir
horscs.Thcy c;1ulknl .111tlL.111TtlLile h.1rgcs wirh gu111111y
l''(lld.1Lcs ofp.ilnu-uo :111tl
pinc, twistccl t luir 1opc .11HIriggi11g fio111 t lu: 111.111\''>
:111dt.iil-, ol' th\' de.id ho1 ws,
l<>l"L'off:111ll slit(livd lllf!,\'ll1\'1 th\'i1 1.1ggrd shi1t\ 101 s.11kA11 ollicv1 11.1111nl
Alv.11
NC11IL'í'C.1hvY.1cl\'V.11.1 1dlv¡tnl 011 tl1vi1 ( l1.1111n.11tlll'1111l\1'l "W1· 11·\11111vd
1>111
voy:1gv," he 1V<>1ildw: iu-, "1·0:1\l111f~l11w.11d 1!11:IZi11·1 111l',il111s,11111l1111lf•,v1.11111
tl11rst grnwi11g d.1ily mort: i11tL'nSL'lH'l'.lllSI' 11111\1 .11111'111\'l'dllll'•111'11'u.-.ulv I'.\ 11l11il1il11·
"1•.111111.1,,
11"1"'" would rival tlu- riclu-s SlllTL'lllkn·d t o t lu- rn iwu by •V
l1.1ustl'll ;i11dthl' w.in-r-hottlcs WL' had 111.11kh.u] 1111tnl" 1l11·A111·1"
.111.I111
•. 1·.,11.1\.dw;1ysjust a littl« t:1rthn 1111,
a kw more- l10ri,.011s north
Tlu-y tricd to kccp in sight thc coast's barricr isl.111ds,s.111d1w11111s11l.1s,
.111ll111;111- I\ 111111
1111\l'll 11lf '. 1lil'y WLTL' not the ones who would tind it, Cabeza de Vaca aud
grnw thickcts. putting in for rest in the sheltcrcd bays. liut .ilicr Sl'Vl'r.ilLLiysthc l11111111q1.11111111-,
llrckd southward through the country ofthe Gila Rjvcr ami thc
111
ight y outwash of the Mississippi River spewed the flotilla far out in to thc gulf, Cl11111,il111.1
Mountains; they eventually began to hear from the Indians tales of
.111dt hcn in thosc fragile crafts they ran afoul of a hurricane, which drowned many 111~11who
were Christians. Near the northernmost settlement ofSpanish empire,
.111dnashl'll a fl·w ashore on Galveston Island, which they named Malhado, the [11lucán,
New Galicia (which is today the Mexican state ofSinaloa), they found
"lsL111dof 1)00111."Only six of them ever saw other Spaniards again. rne;eChristians
terrorizing the Indians as slave hunters. The year was 1537.
(:a bl'za de Vaca set out on a six-thousand-mile odyssey, at times as a slave of Cabeza
de Vaca must have thought many times in that decade that his luck had
l11di;111s,
thcu as a shaman drawing on prayer and necessity that he could be a faith ru~out,
that this was his destiny, the place where he would die. He carne to love the
hL·,iln, aud ultimately as a trader of copper, turquoise, deer hearts. The survival of m1country
whose gateway was the Rio Grande and many of the peoples he en-
( :.1bl'z:t de Vaca and his few companions was a magnificent feat of endurance, :iuntered
there. He helped indigenous Americans fend off slave traders from rival
.uhicvcd on 110more than the strength of wits and prayer, a sheer refusal to give tt1~e1,and
he wanted to leave ali of them peace, priests, and plenty. Conquer them,
up. l .q.!;L'ndhas it that Cabeza de Vaca plunged through thorny canyon lands and make their lives better. As a leader of subsequent expeditions in South
nossl'd thc glistening jewel of Rio Grande tributaries, the Devils River. Many the conquistador punished Spaniards who had come across the ocean to
d;1ys l.ucr, the wanderers found the first real village beside the river, which ran loMand
rape-also ordered his men to carry his bed through a jungle. They muti-
lu-t wccu stark unwooded mountains-probably the future settlement ofEl Paso. sent him back across the Atlantic in chains. After so many brushes with
Ahorigincs cultivated beans, squash, and corn along the river. Replenished and iiiilim
a place almost as foreign as the moon, he nonetheless carne to his end amid
1·11co11r;1µ;cd,
Cabeza de Vaca and his companions roved onward in distance the 111timily,
a pensioner honored in his country. He died in 1557 at about age 67.
l11dia11smcasurcd by jornadas-treks between the semipermanent tribal rancherías. Cabeza
de Vaca was a survivor in another important way. Men named Dorantes
'lh« walk carr ied them several days along the Rio Grande's bottoms of cottori- 1n!Castillo
and another known only as "the Negro" lived to tell much the same
wood ami willow, switch grass and cane; they crossed the wide, chest-deep stream mrvBut
Cabeza de Vaca had the talent and foresight to put it clown on paper-
111trnby's southern New Mexico. The Europeans carne upon a tribe of planters rownte
about it-and as a result their wild experience has lived on under his
.111dhison hunters-"Cow People"-who received them with prescient misgiv- 11~11ature.
La Relación (The Relation, or his account) was first published in 1542;
111gs;111dstrcssed the harsh difficulties before them, whether they stayed near the later he retitled a second edition Naufragios (Shipwrecks), which seems
1~myears
rivcr or hrnvcd a desert crossing. The only things they would find that were half- rn11nply
an impish sense ofhumor. Cabeza de Vaca wrote a longer chronicle about
w.ry cdiblc wcre juniper berries. íl11rime
in South America, but the first one became an ageless book of travel and
1)id ( .abcza de Vaca sense that the river he camped beside was the Río de las 1knture.
For Europeans it provided the first vivid glimpse of a wilderness that
P;il111ashis cornpanions had died trying to find? There is no hint that he made that woulo
be called Texas, and of a river that one country severed from Spain would
grnµ;raphical connection. He just had faith that if he kept walking and, basically, ,::JRio
Bravo and that another country severed from Mexico would call the Rio
rn1111di11g
back to the left, he would someday encounter Spaniards. Cabeza de Vaca For the people who carne to call themselves Texans, his book was the
cxplorcd cnough desert, shortgrass plain, and juniper-studded hills that he ar- t~1111oation
of a literary heritage. Cabeza de Vaca was not the best-educated survi-
dcntly bclicvcd the stories of Cíbola, the fabulous Indian cities of gold and planta- :mof
that shipwreck-nor was he the only one to put thoughts and quill to
tions of cotton that had been founded on the plains, it was said, by seven fugitive prer-buthe wrote with subtle, instinctive flair. "Eating the dogs," he began one
hishops. (l-ugttivcs from where, one has to wonder, and whose authority?) At least :1ar1er, "seerned to give us strength enough to go forward; so cornmending our-
( :.1lH'"ª de Vaca rclaycd the stories of Cíbola as ifhe belicvcd thl'111-at thc end of 1m1to
the guidance of God our Lord, we took leave of our hosts, who pointcd
his lo11g walk he d.izzlcd countryrnen with tales of arrowhe.rds 111.11kui'1·1111·nlds. way to others nearby who spoke their language." La Rrlatión is ;1work of
:uttne
( )j' coursc, hL· h.uln't brought any s¡wcin11·11s.ilo11r~·Tli1s pl1.111t11111
1ivihz.n iou, 1rt,\nd
from it has flowed a shared literature of Mcxiro und thc Uuircd Statl's.
Prologue

.iearlv ex- which the Spaniards hoped would rival the riches surrendered to the crown by
the Aztecs and Incas, was always just a little farther on, a few more horizons north
and man- or west. Knowing they were not the ones who would find it, Cabeza de Vaca and
t! davs the his companions circled southward through the country of the Gila River and the
) rhe gulf, Chiricahua Mountains; they eventually began to hear from the lndians tales of
ned many men who were Christians. Near the northernmost settlement of Spanish empire,
lhado. the Culiacán, N ew Galicia (which is today the Mexican state of Sinaloa), they found
these Christians terrorizing the Indians as slave hunters. The year was 1537.
a slave of Cabeza de Vaca must have thought many times in that decade that his luck had
. be a faith run out, that this was his destiny, the place where he would die. He carne to !ove the
survival of vast country whose gateway was the Rio Grande and many of the peoples he en-
ndurance, countered there. He helped indigenous Americans fend off slave traders from rival
sal to give tribes, and he wanted to leave all of them peace, priests, and plenty. Conquer them,
lands and yes, but make their lives better. As a leader of subsequent expeditions in South
ver, Many America, the conquistador punished Spaniards who had come across the ocean to
which ran loot and rape-also ordered his men to carry his bed through a jungle. They muti-
of El Paso. nied and sent him back across the Atlantic in chains. After so many brushes with
iished and death in a place almost as foreign as the moon, he nonetheless carne to his end amid
srance the his family, a pensioner honored in his country. He died in 1557 at about age 67.
rancherias. Cabeza de Vaca was a survivor in another important way. Men named Dorantes
of cotton- and Castillo and another known only as "the Negro" lived to tell much the same
~ep stream story. But Cabeza de Vaca had the talent and foresight to put it down on paper-
)f planters to write about it-and as a result their wild experience has lived on under his
nt rrusgrv- signature. La Relación (The Relation, or his account) was first published in 1542;
d near the seven years later he retitled a second edition Naufragios (Shipwrecks), which seems
were half- to imply an impish sense ofhumor. Cabeza de Vaca wrote a longer chronicle about
his time in South America, but the first one became an ageless book of travel and
Río de las adventure. For Europeans it provided the first vivid glimpse of a wilderness that
made rhat would be called Texas, and of a river that one country severed from Spain would
l. basically, call Rio Bravo and that another country severed from Mexico would call the Rio
-za de Vaca Grande. For the people who carne to call themselves Texans, his book was the
hat he ar- foundation of a literary heritage. Cabeza de Vaca was not the best-educated survi-
nd planta- vor of that shipwreck-nor was he the only one to put thoughts and quill to
en fugitive paper-but he wrote with subtle, instinctive flair. "Eating the dogs," he began one
,-~)Ar least chapter, "seerned to give us strength enough to go forward; so commending our-
the end of selves to the guidance of God our Lord, we took leave of our hosts, who pointed
~erneralds. out the way to others nearby who spoke their language." La Relación is a work of
ivilizarion, art. And from it has flowed a shared literature of Mexico and the United States.
l'rnloµ
J f\ N JU l IJ

111111
h thc Sp.uii.mls l111¡wd1\1111!.I111'.d1111111111·, "1111(·11dnL·d
to thc crown hy
rhirst gniwi11g d.iily morr i11tc11sL'l)l'c:tusl' our sr.int provision« wcrc nc.uly l'X--
XIV
1\ztecs ami (neas, w.tx .dw.in ¡ 11.,1.1li11h: l.111l111 , 111
1111· .. 1 íi-w more horizons nort ] 1
haustcd and thc watn-bottks WL'had mude had rottcd."
"111,·st.Knowing thcy W\'f(' 11(111l1l'011L·swh» 111111ld íind it, Cabeza de Vaca anc.J
They tried to keep in sight the coast's barrier islands, sand peninsulas, and 111an-
111"
«uupanions circlcd southward through t hc: ( .umtry ofthe Gila River and th.~.
grove thickets, putting in for rest in the sheltered bays. 13ut after severa! days the
1 huirahua Mountains; they eventually began t11 hear from the Indians tales (Jf
mighty outwash of the Mississippi River spewed the flotilla far out into the gulf,
1111·11
who were Christians. Near the northernmost settlement of Spanish empir~.
and then in those fragile crafts they ran afoul of a hurricane, which drowned many
1ulucán, New Galicia (which is today the Mexican state of Sinaloa), they foufl'--¡
and crashed a few ashore on Galveston Island, which they named Malhado, the
d1,·1"
Christians terrorizing the Indians as slave hunters. The year was 1537.
"Island ofDoom." Only six of them ever saw other Spaniards again.
( .abeza de Vaca must have thought many times in that decade that his luck h;i_rj
Cabeza de Vaca set out on a six-thousand-mile odyssey, at times as a slave of
11111
out, that this was his destiny, the place where he would die. He carne to love th.~
Indians, then as a shaman drawing on prayer and necessity that he could be a faith
1.111
country whose gateway was the Rio Grande and many ofthe peoples he eti_~
healer, and ultimately as a trader of copper, turquoise, deer hearts. The survival of
·111111tered
there. He helped indigenous Americans fend off slave traders from riv;i_¡
Cabeza de Vaca and his few companions was a magnificent feat of endurance,
111ks,
and he wanted to leave all of them peace, priests, and plenty. Conquer ther~,
achieved on no more than the strength of wits and prayer, a sheer refusal to give
11·1,
but make their lives better. As a leader of subsequent expeditions in Soujj,
up. Legend has it that Cabeza de Vaca plunged through thorny canyon lands and
·\111erica,
the conquistador punished Spaniards who had come across the ocean t~)
crossed the glistening jewel of Rio Grande tributaries, the Devils River. Many
l111•t
and rape-also ordered his mento carry his bed through ajungle.They muti~
days later, the wanderers found the first real village beside rhe river, which ran
1111\\
and sent him back across the Atlantic in chains. After so many brushes wit}1
between stark unwooded mountains-probably the future settlement of El Paso.
011·
uh in a place almost as foreign as the moon, he nonetheless carne to his end amid
Aborigines cultivated beans, squash, and corn along the river. Replenished and
1111
family,a pensioner honored in his country. He died in 1557 at about age 67.
encouraged, Cabeza de Vaca and his companions roved onward in distance the
Cabeza de Vaca was a survivor in another important way. Men named Dorantx,
Indians measured by jornadas-treks between the semipermanent tribal rancherías.
111il
Castillo and another known only as "the Negro" lived to tell much the san¡t·
The walk carried them several days along the Rio Grande's bottoms of cotton-
l11ry.But Cabeza de Vaca had the talent and foresight to put it clown on paper-....._
wood and willow, switch grass and cane; they crossed the wide, chest-deep stream
111
write about it-and as a result their wild experience has lived on under his
in today's southern New Mexico. The Europeans carne upon a tribe of planters
La Relación (The Relatíon, or his account)
11•,11ature. was first published in 154<;
and bisan hunters-"Cow People"-who received them with prescient misgiv-
-ven years later he retitled a second edition Naufragios (Shipwrecks), which seeri1s
ings and stressed the harsh difficulties before them, whether they stayed near the
l111111ply
an impish sense ofhumor. Cabeza de Vaca wrote a longer chronicle abolit
river or braved a desert crossing. The only things they would find that were half-
l11qimein South America, but the first one became an ageless book of travel a11d
way edible were juniper berries.
1d1enture.For Europeans it provided the first vivid glimpse of a wilderness th:11
Did Cabeza de Vaca sense that the river he camped beside was the Río de las
t111uld
be called Texas, and of a river that one country severed from Spain wot1id
Palmas his companions had died trying to find? There is no hint that he made that
Rio Bravo and that another country severed from Mexico would call the R¡11
'111
geographical connection. He just had faith that if he kept walking and, basically,
lumde. For the people who carne to call themselves Texans, his book was tJ¡t.
rounding back to the left, he would someday encounter Spaniards.Cabeza de Vaca
l1111ndation
of a literary heritage. Cabeza de Vaca was not the best-educated surv¡_
explored enough desert, shortgrass plain, and juniper-studded hills that he ar-
11 11of that shipwreck-nor was he the only one to put thoughts and quill t11
dently believed the stories of Cíbola, the fabulous Indian citiesof gold and planta-
111per-but he wrote with subtle, instinctive flair. "Eating the dogs," he began 011l.
tions of cotton that had been founded on the plains, it was said,by seven fugitive
1 l11pter,"seerned to give us strength enough to go forward; so commending 0111-_
bishops. (Fugitives from where, one has to wonder, and whosc authority?) At least
-lvesto the guidance of God our Lord, we took leave of our hosts, who pointvd
Cabeza de Vaca relayed the stories of Cíbola as ifhe believed them-at the cnd of
1111t
the way to others nearby who spoke their language." La Reladon is a work 11,-
bis long walk he dazzkd cou11try111L'nwith tales of arrowheads mude of cmcr.ilds.
111.
And from it has flowed a shared Iiteratnre of Mexico and thc U nitcd St:1tl's.
( )f coursc. he h.idu't hrnught a11y s¡)l'cÍ111L'llS:tlo11g.This pha11ton1rivilivat iou,
l'n 1l11g11

l•• •·.11.11111,111·1l1.qis,c,1s1n
11111· tu 1111111
tl1.111l.111'Y111.1111111.ds.'l'lit·
/\11.1s.111iluurislicd >\VII
¡.-......_,
·ll1d1li1·11
.1li11q1tlyv.uiishcd, givi11g w;1y to scvcr.r] pud1lo-dwl'lli11g pcopks who
l'1~¡oynla sort ofgolden age along thc Rio Crandc whilc Cr usadcrs ;111dMuslims
AT 1,885 M1LES,the Rio Grande ranks twentieth in length among the earth 's
Werefighting over another desert's Holy Land. But the pueblo dwclkrs were al-
yet it has only two majar tributaries. The river that Cabeza de Vaca knew as Río::
Waysbeing marauded by nomads. And then in 1540, to their utter snrpefaction,
las Palmas has gone by many narnes, a number of them lovely: Mets'ichi GI':
they were attacked by Spaniards under the command of Francisco Vásquez de
and P' osoge and Paslápane ("big river" in languages of native peoples), R 1:

Coronado, whose greed for the mythical Cíbola was whetted by the briefings of
Caudaloso ("carrying much water" in Spanish), Río de la Nuestra Señora ("riY11 Cabeza de Vaca.
of our lady"), Río Turbio ("muddy" or "turbulent"), Río Guadalquivir, Río de;
Within the Spanish empire, the making of a mestizo culture was by then well
Concepción, Río de la Buenaventura del Norte, Tiguex River, River of Mir.
Under way; a granddaughter of Hernán Cortéz and great-granddaughter of the
Grand River, Río del Norte, Río del Norte y Nuevo México, Río Bravou:l
Aztec emperor Moctezuma 11 married a rich Basque named Juan de Oñate, who
Norte, Río Grande del Norte. The river's distinctiveness is captured by the IM
in 1598 claimed "all the kingdoms and provinces ofN ew Mexico" for the Crown.
names that have endured: Mexico's Río Bravo ("angry river" or "fierce river")ar,I
Asgovernor, Oñate made the tribes of the upper Pecas and Rio Grande submit to
the United States' Rio Grande ("great river"). If not for the happenstancem
anAct of Obedience and Homage. The Pueblos endured the rule of soldiers and
politics, war, and history, it might have attained the name recognition of, say,tn:
priestsuntil 1680, when Apaches and Navajos joined them in rage and rebellion,
Brazos. lt was a long river on the Indian frontier. But it became an internationl
killing413 missionaries and colonists and sending the rest in pell-mell flight down
boundary-"the Border" -a heavy burden for any river to bear. Particularly on1
theRio Grande. Though the Spaniards soon returned and crushed the puebloan
that runs through such dry country.
revolt,many refugees of that fighting chose not to take any more chances upriver.
The story ofthe Rio Grande of course precedes the coming ofEuropeans.Tn1
Iheir adobe settlement was named El Paso del Norte, but its soil and riverbank
river was born through eons of clash and shove of rock and lava and ice,its seer,
Was that of Ciudad Juárez, not the city that Texans today call El Paso. The settlers
known by beings that communicate by sniff and howl and rattle, itslegends anl
didnot build and till north of the river for another two hundred years.
fables and gods celebrated and passed down through the ages by oralstorytelle
The Rio Pecas, which heads in the stunning Sangre de Cristos, rnayhavebeen tn1
first stream to force its way to the sea, followed by the Río Conchos,which,
born in the Sierra Madres Occidental; flattened on maps, the Conchos'stributara
fOR ALMOSTFIVECENTURI ES-a blink of an eye in many civilizations; a long time in
look like the root system of a large old tree. In the river's northernmost reach, tne
oneforced with sorne difficulty on the watershed of the Rio Bravo or Río Grande-
continent's divide sends the runoff and snowmelt racing from the SanJuanMoun
theriver has mystified and inspired humans to write about it and make its images
tains. In these mountains, glaciers once crunched and moved rock,rnelted, aná
andmoods linger through (what is for me) the alcherny of photography. Artful
filled basins until one by one they broke through the dams and flowedwithout
paintershave also been drawn to the river, composing on rock walls ages befare
ceasing to the Gulf of Mexico.
anyoneknew of canvas; and writers of poetry, drama, screenplays, and songs, not
One cave farther downriver has evidence of human occupation going bad
JUstfiction and nonfiction prose. The decision to limit the scope and modes of
fifteen to twenty thousand years. Canyons in the upper Rio Grande havesustained
artisticexpression in this book was mine alone-a rnatter of what I'm cot nfortable
tribes at least twelve thousand years.The cave-dwelling Sandia culturegavewayto
with.Though the focus of their reflections and narratives may range far b.ick in
the Clovis mammoth hunters and Folsom bisan hunters andArchaic peopleswho
tm1e,most of the writers featured in this story of a river are conternp. ir.uies of
learned to grow corn and the Basketmakers who trained dogs to helpthem hum.
mine.The photographs, like the prose, seek a balance of historie and co ntt·mpo-
The Anasazi learned to make ceramic pottery, and they used rimbet forladder1
rary.
To my eye, presentations of color and black-and-white photogr;1pl 1s within
and supports in their construction that evolved from cave dwellingstopueblos:
thesarne book detraer from each other. The subtlety and starkness of thc r ivr-r .md
thcy advnnccd from spL-;irsto bows ami arrows ami cstablished tlut turkcyswcn
l1Traininvites black-and-white imagery. Early photographns who did 111 it li.rvc
t l u: llllilOll ol <1>101,111·,111111qH>lt,111t
¡>.11'1111
tl11\ IH1ok\ ..,¡Jit·11l!',.111d\llllll' 1ii'tl11
111mt'11¡1t·1l11rn11v11qHH.11yplintng1.q1liv1'> 111tlu- l\10 ( :1,111<lvwor k rnil) 111<111111
1 s.ilut c thow l.1ttv1 .11t1'ls xvit l: l'l'f.!,l'l'l'.
'I'hi-, ¡.., .1 houk .ihout t hr 1ivcr.Thc honlv1 .111<1
tia· i111111ig1.1t11H1
.111d< o n t r.:

h.111d.11Hl111usic.111dfood .111dsi\ll'l'll wlicckr'; .ill tlil· t1.1gedy ,111d1i< li11t'" ni 1¡..,


wildly v.nicd culture .irc closcly rl·l.1tl'll t hrnu-s , y. Tlu-
hu: thcy .irr '>l't 011<1.11
othcr thing 1 w:111LedLo do i11sclccting thcsc picturcs ,111dpicccs oi"writi11g w;1s l()
set thc bar high. 1 w:lS 110Lsurpriscd by thc wc.iltl: of tnlcru :111dwor], 1 li,1d [()
choosc fi-0111,but 1 wa» startlcd by thc chccríulncss :111tle:1gerncss of SO 111,111y
nrtists, or thcir cstatcs ami archivists, to lcnd thcsc voiccs :111dvisions Lo Ll1c lllltk1
taking.Thc 111:.igicof thc Rio Crandc !:ir cxcccds its natural bcauty :111dtlie pmw1
ofits cornmcrcc.A fricnd who was instrumental i11bri11gi11g this book LOthl· p.1gc
discovered that since 1890 at lcast nincty-scvcn movics hove bccn 111:1dewiL11 t it lvs
that include the words t'Rio Crandc."This story oíthe Rio Grande is 111e:111t
to lw
imprcssionistic and accurnulativc, not definitivo. Whilc gathcring matcrinl, 1 w;1~
twice challengcd by men of gifts and disccrnrncnt (rnovicrn.ikcrs) to ide11til'y .1
single story which crystallized and sumrncd up cvcrything orrc ought Lo k now
about thc river.The dominant political issucs nowadays are thc rcgio1l:ll :111di11tc1
nntional strife over its water and thc U.S. govcrnmcnt's decisión th.u thc r ivcr .111d
.ill other borders ofits sovcrcignty are thc ncw fronticr of a war againsi tcrro r istu
in thc Middle East. l3cyond that, all 1 could n:ply was: "You goi 111e."Thc l(io
Crandc's narrativo is likc the silt of its bottomlands and delta-a complcx l:1yni11g
ol" ma ny locales and traditions.The river bclongs Lo two countrics.und as :1co11sL'
qucncc it is protcctcd and managcd by ncithcr. IL is :1 brokcn r ivcr uow, ovcruscd
.111dabused and in pcril.Yct still it glows, cmcrald-Iikc, in a collcctivc i111:1gi11:1tio11.
/\11d that rnystiquc is its best hope for salvation.
'.MI 1111 H~

,..._,

()N /\ W/\HM JULY AFTERNOON in 2002 1 was going LO scc thc r ivcrs mnuth l(ll i hc
lirst time. Thc ccutur ics 01· clearing íor 1-:mns :111dcou nnunit.ics h.ivc tod.iy n:
ducnl ihc S:1h:il pnlms k11ow11 by Cabeza de V:1c:1 to 011c last sumd i11 ,1 sru.i!l
Audubon preserve outsidc lirowuxvillc, :llld :1withcri11g drought h.ul t his Sl111111IL'1
lvii most of ihc wctlnnds .is dry ;1s rhnlk . 111yc.irs ol'good r:1i11tliv lowl.uu lx .ilo11g
t l«: l\io Cr;111dc would lw 111.1rshL·s
tcc111i11gwit h -,hcllli~h .111d111i1111<1w-.
l1u11tvd hy
di1w\ .111dhl·1om, \ll'Jlpi11g spriglitly i11 t hr h1iuv. 1111111!1\V·" 1 rrnk v.l\l\V:11d <111
l l1ghw:1y ,,, i hc llHl'>l -,11iking k.llllll'\ ou: .ihr.ul \Vl'I(' .urlu u u ;: w lu t¡: '>\VIII...ol
....111d,111dx.rlt . 1:1nll\V.llt'I' inl lovv i-, .111('\(l1.11y'., liivl1l1HHI, 11111
tlll''>(' d.1y-, i l«: l\111
1 /IN IH 1 n
ITllJOfl,I

xx ( ;r;1ntk has littlc olth.n to givl'. Sy111pto111.1tic


of Jh h1olof',ll .il 11l11n-.IVl'l'l'nt11!1iil tq11d 11q 'l •1 111'il 1ln: l 1.\. f',llVl'I1111
tl'l it . llvl·.111Sl'
ol' Mcxico 's water tkht, r hr gruw
salt that lincd the b.uiks for hundrcds ofyards: tln-y rl'sl·111likd tl y -.lusli.Tlic 11111t· ns , ,d, ul.u o.l t l n: lms lo thcir tidds at about 489 billion gall011s of water .u id
sprawling river delta had bcen reduced to a ucarly b.irrcn, nodl'd strip ol l\irt!1. warucd th.rt thc Vallcy economy could collapse. Their anger had embroikd Mcxi-
Across South Bay, which is the lower end of Laguna Madre, 1 could makc out111 can presidentVicente Fox in a domestic furor that could only sour his once-bright
the haze a few buildings in Port Isabel. My guide rernarked that some resident1ol relations with bis American counterpart, George W Bush. Invoking the rhetoric
Port Isabel were having trouble breathing-there was so much windblown gritm of America's war on terrorism, Texas agriculture commissioner Susan Combs-an
the air. ambitious Republican politician and one of the farmers' key supporters-branded
The guide was a pleasant man named Gilberto Rodriguez. He grew up on¡ Chihuahua "a rogue state." But the farmers' ire was aimed not only at Mexico. The
farm in the Valley, spent sorne years working as an investigator for law firrns, and conflict had embarrassed Texas governor Rick Perry and the hugely popular (at
now roamed the lower Rio Grande as a watermaster specialist for the Texas Com- least in Texas) President Bush.
mission on Environmental Quality. In layman's terms, Rodriguez was an unarnei A dwindling supply of water was an issue for all Texans-no less for those in the
water cop; he spent much of bis time checking pump gauges on the Texas side. rain-soaked forests and coastlands whose plenty was eyed enviously by Houston,
making sure none of its farmers were drawing more water than they were allowed. Dallas, San Antonio, and other cities. But few Texans raised as desperate a fuss as
For many Rio Grande Valley residents, the mere inference of such cheating sparked Rio Grande Valley farmers. For a decade they had suffered a dry spell rivaling the
outrage, and Rodriguez told me there had been times when he feared violence legendary drought of the forties and fifties that had turned most ofTexas into a
"The hotter the water," he reflected, "the more hostile people become." federal disaster area. Because the groundwater is brackish, the Valley could get no
He was not referring to water temperature.Valley growers were livid over whar help from its underlying aquifers; the Rio Grande carried all the water there was.
they believed was Mexican theft of Rio Grande water in the northern stateoí Every drop ofConchos water was vital to the farmers, but that spigor had been all
Chihuahua. In the United States we learn that the Rio Grande begins with snow- but turned off.
melt and rapids in the Rockies of Colorado and New Mexico and then the river Nowhere was this more apparent than at the mouth ofthe Rio Grande, which
marks the plains with graceful lines of cottonwood and willow as it winds south- was further depleted and consumed by spongy mats of hyacinth and hydrilla. At
ward and claims its legacy as the Texas-Mexico border. Among geologistsano the terminus of Highway 4, Gilberto Rodriguez and I jostled from pavement to
geographers, especially of U.S. education and persuasion, that is gospel.Other loose sand. It was a pretty day at the beach.The white-capped waves were a bright
experts on the river have long contended that the genuine stream of origini1 dark blue, and squadrons ofbrown pelicans folded their wings and smacked beak-
Mexicos Río Conchos. Whatever the technicalities and truth of that scienceof first into the surf, trying to catch dinner. Boca Chica, which means "small mouth,"
water and gravity and elevation, these days dams in New Mexico, the thirstyand had none of the glitz of nearby South Padre Island, but families were out fishing,
sprawling border cities ofEl Paso and Juárez, and giant tangles of salt cedarstrangle splashing, building sand castles. Ahead, a portable light tower had been erected.
the Rio Grande's flow by the time it enters Texas. In undisputed fact,if not in That landmark, Rodriguez told me, was Mexico. Parked on the beach, hood pointed
science, the river's headwater is now the Río Conchos, which begins highin the toward the surf, was a green-and-white SUV marked "U.S. Border Patrol." For
Mexican cordilleras, crosses a forbidding pan of Chihuahuan Desert, and revive' hours on end two agents sat and stared at beachcombers and the gulf. They re-
the parent stream at Presidio and Ojinaga, the storied La Junta above BigBend. turned our nods as we passed, but their expressions were not particularly frie11dly.
By terms of a 1944 treaty, two-thirds of the Conchos's flow belongs toMexico; The agents represented the increased vigilance that had come to America sin ce
the remaining third is supposed to be released to the United Sta tes. Yet how ex- terrorists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the
actly does one possess a river? In the rooos Mexico bogan to am.rss a hugc"water Pennsylvania countryside. The pressure of Mexican and other Latin American
debt." Instead of regularly releasing Río Con e hos water dow nst n-;1111,
nnnagcrs in immigrants on communities and institutions north of the Rio Grande was hardly
Chihuahua stored it in reservoirs for the llSl' ofits 1t1w11s.111df(ir irri~.11í11gt:1r111s. new. During the Second World War, Texas was excused from the regulatio11s of a
Texas far mcrs bclicvcd that thcir way ot'lit(· \V,1sli1·111g
s11ld.lown t lu: nvcr orup federal program that brought in Mexican farrn laborers because its ow11 sysrcm 0 f
thc river-;1nd in rhcir coutusion .111d1'\,1-.¡w1.1t1011 hy tlic
t luv \\'l'll' i1iti111.1tl'd m.ik ing thar arr.uigcmcnt was su dl'q1ly i11grai11ed.Yct gcncrations latcr, llll'llllwrs
t>I' tlu: 'l(·,,1s ( (>11¡;1('\'>l(>11.ildt'lq•,.111(111 \\1·11· 1m1111111c·111.il111 ¡111sli11q; 11111111~·.li
.1
wll()lvs.il\' .1w.1y vu iu.illy .ill i ,11111
1l'Vl'>to11ol1111111ig1.1111111l.1\\s11111¡1¡111l1.11111111(·d
/\111c11(',11h.'l'lwy co1Hi1H1t·d 10 JH1111.1(1ms t ln: IH11d(·1 tlkg.1lly.
llul t hc tv1101 now w.r- quilt' dilk1v111.Tliv dis101d w.1s 110 lo11gc1 ch ivt·11 hy
jc.ilouxy ovcr jobs :111dtrndc ami 1-csc11t111t•11t.u tlie cosl of"l'{luc:1ti11g .111dprovid111g
hL\ilth carc and social scrviccs Lo illcg:il nlicns, k11ow11 111on: poliicly as undoru
111L'11tcdworkcrs. Amcr ica's policy makcrs pcrccivcd a nation living i11 l(:.1r .111d
n.'SL'llL111c11L
ofjust about ali forcigners cxccpt the L3ritish. Many dccadcs h:1d p:isscd
sincc Juan Cortina and Pancho Villa Aouted U.S. power and killcd gri11gos 011
American soil. L3ut once again,American might was bcing ernploycd to 111;1kctlic
P...io Grande a barricade, notan inconvenience.
Citizcns of ali natioris could now legally cross the border only at offirinl ports
of cntry, Thc closest one to Boca Chica was a bridge across thc Rio Cr:111dt·
bctwccn L3rownsville and Matamoros. If any ofthose beachgoers, Rodrigucz. or 1
straycd past the line marked by the portable light tower, U.S. agents would arrcst us
whcn we tricd to come back across the sand.
Which addcd to the surreal aura; for it was all sand. The spot was not uulik,:
othcr strips ofsand and shell that the tide and currents lay out in thc gulf's cndlcs,
coustruction ofbeaches becorn.ing dunes becorning barrier islands.Thc diffcrcncc
vvasthat this sandbar had obliterated a natural frontier between nations and lcfi thc
cclcbratcd n...io Grande a tepid, stagnant shallow, lt had too little push to cross rhc
s.uidbar and rcach the ocean.
l(odrigucz and l got out of his pickup and walked. Thc bordcr was furthrr
111;1rkcc.Iby a couplc ofbarrels anda stretch ofsagging, yellow plastic consu-uction
ll.·11Cl'.lkyond thc plastic fence 1 watched sorne Mexican boys skimrning :1 pool
wit h lishi11g ncts. One stood in the rniddle ofthe great river about a qunrtcr ol .. 1
111ik i11l:111d,and thc water carne no higher than his knecs.
"I havc 110L brought you to the mouth of thc rivcr," Rodrigue? saic] wit h .1
slight smi!c. "I havc brought you to the cnd ofthe r ivcr."

S EVANS
THAT DAY GILB:OI

remember a rin
me think of Pau
can History and i
its existence. Ba
and plastered \Y

during our Civi


ing thern on E
1867,just t\YO~
cane in the Val
buildings standi
without a trace.
EPILOGUE

THAT DAY G ILBERTO RODRIGU EZ took me to Boca Chica, he said that as a boy he could
remember a tiny Mexican village beside the river's mouth. His reminiscence made
me think of Paul Horgan's masterful book Great Ríver:The Río Grande in NorthAmeri-
can History and its passages on a similar hamlet, the long-extinct Bagdad. For most of
its existence, Bagdad, Mexico, was a cluster of reed huts occupied by contrabandistas
and plastered with mud and oyster shells.Like Matamoros, Bagdad enjoyed a heyday
during our Civil War-receiving bales ofSouthern cotton across the river then load-
ing them on European ships that were evading the Union naval blockade. But in
1867,just two years after the war ended and that trade evaporated, the worst hurri-
cane in the Valley's history killed twenty-two people in Bagdad and left just four
buildings standing. Like the fishing village that Rodriguez recalled, it was now gone
without a trace.
In his book
Rio Grande d
1847 was an a
retired general
manhunt for I
would be exce
ridden bivouac
all.Wallace des
ing, and hurryi
an order for d:
simple as not e
As Rodrigu
agents intently
to make Home
of their own d
talked abour ch
of work. "Hell.
But he was ju
times-the wc
The fighre,
literature and
boys wading ir
time Mexico e
chose to igno
hands. With si
Chica, enablin
BILL WRIGHT within a week
intact. Days la
into the surf. I
Jet the Rio G1
Epilogue

In his book Horgan wrote about American troops who were stationed beside the 319
Rio Grande during the U.S.-Mexican War. Ordered to stand watch on Bagdad in
1847 was an army lieutenant from Indiana named Lew Wallace. Later in life, as a
retired general and governor of New Mexico 'Ierritory, he would orchestrate the
manhunt for Bílly the Kid while writing the novel Ben-Hui, which during its day
would be exceeded as a best seller only by the Bible. But that posting to a disease-
ridden bivouac on the gulfhad the young officer wondering ifhe had any future at
all.Wallace described the sight of fresh troops "marching by, flags flying, drums beat-
ing, and hurrying toward boats as if they smelled the contagian in our camp or feared
an order for them to stop and take our place ... There was not a soul among us so
simple as not to see that we were in limbo."
As Rodriguez and I walked, I looked back at the Border Patrol jeep and the two
agents intently watching the gulf and its sand. It struck me that those guardians trying
to make Homeland Security work in a place so ill-adapted for its rigors were captives
of their own drumbeats and limbo. I was in a meeting once when George W Bush
talked about the unfairness and folly ofbarricades against Latino immigrants in search
of work. "Hell, if they'll walk acrossBig Bend, we want 'ern," he exclaimed, grinning.
But he was just a governor then. As everyone keeps saying-it is the cliché of our
times-the world has changed.
The fighters of the Rio Grande's water wars are no less in limbo. The river's
literature and legend are so full of people swimming, swimming: now I watch the
boys wading its mouth with fishing nets, their stomachs barely getting wet.About the
time Mexico defaulted on its water debt to the United States and the two presidents
chose to ignore the subject, three fed-up Mexicans took matters into their own
hands. With shovels they dug a aoo-foot-long ditch through the sandbar at Boca
Chica, enabling the Ria Grande to run free for the first time in nearly a year. But
within a week the tides and currents just laid the sand back in strips.The sand bar was
intact. Days later, heavy rains set in again, and muddy floodwater again washed out
into the surf. But as the year warmed up, the flow would again grow feeble.We have
let the Rio Grande become the river that can no longer find its way to the sea.
CONTRIBUTORS

ADAMS, ANSEL. Born in San Francisco in 1902,Adams taught himselfto play the piano
at age twelve and believed music was his calling, but in the 192os,while hiking in
the California highlands, the purity oflight and scene befare him redirected him to
the camera. In addition to photographing nature, he documented the internment
of Japanese-Americans in 1943.Photos taken along the upper Rio Grande in the
194os contain sorne of his most popular images. President Jimmy Carter awarded
Adams the Presidential Medal ofFreedom in 1980. He died in 1984.
A N z AL D ú A, G LO R 1A. A Chicana, feminist, poet, prose writer, and cultural critic,Anzal-
dúa grew up in the Rio Grande Valley.Her Borderlands!La Frontera (1987) employs
English and Spanish in a variety of forms. She is editor of Making Face/Making
Soul: Haciendo Caras (1990) and ca-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by
Radical IM.Jmenof Color (1983),which won the Befare Columbus FoundationAmeri-
RIO GRANDE

322 can BookAward. Other honors include the 1991 Lesbian RightsAward.Anzaldúa BOSWELL, ROB

lives, writes, and teaches in northern California. up on a rol


ARMSTRONG, FRANK. A native ofrural EastTexas,Armstrong discovered photography spired Mark
while stationed by the Navy in the Aleutian Islands.A protégé ofRussell Lee and in 1993-Bo
Garry Winogrand, he has been a Dobie-Paisano fellow, and his work is represented Award for
in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Mu- Love (199-)
seum of American Art, the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, and the Harry at New .\1,
Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University ofTexas atAustin.Armstrong Universirv
lives and teaches in Massachusetts but for many years has focused on Big Bend and BOWDEN, CHAi

the Rio Grande. His book Rock, River & Thorn, was published in zoor , deserts ofA
AULTMAN, OTIS. Born in Missouri in 1874,Aultman moved to El Paso at thirty-five among thei
and worked the rest ofhis life as a commercial photographer. He documented the books. His 1

city's growth from a frontier to a Victorian town, a dramatic counterpoint to the tion, rights
Mexican Revolution. He was initially a favorite of Pancho Villa, who called him (1995) and
"the banty rooster" of the American press.Aultman was the first photographer on NorthAme
the scene at Columbus, New Mexico, after Villa's raid there in 1916,and he fol- Paso and C
lowed the retaliatory invasion ofChihuahua by GeneralJohn Pershing and the U.S. tigation of i
Cavalry.Aultman died in 1943; Photographs Jrom the Border was published in 1977. BRITO, ARISTE<

BALLÍ, CECILIA. A native ofBrownsville, Texas, Ballí has reported for the San Antonio Brito to rh
Express-Neu/s and is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly. Her investigation ofJuárez, Texas,and C
"Ciudad de la Muerte," was chosen, in slightly different form, for the anthology was publish
Best American Crime Writing. She is finishing a book about the Juárez murders. wrote a nov
BLAKE, JAMES CARLOS. Blake is a writer with roots and footing in two nations. His the work in
mother's family had a ranch south of the Rio Grande in Tamaulipas, Mexico, but she workofCh
attendedAmerican schools in the Valley.Blake's father was a Mexican highway engi- for Fiction.
neer who resented how he had been treated in the United States, though profes- CARTWRIGHT, <

sional opportunity prompted him to move to Florida. Blake's novel of the U.S.- the arrny; ar
Mexican War, In the Rogue Blood (1997),won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for where his b
fiction. Set in Florida, Red Grass River (1998)won the Chatauqua South BookAward. Bud Shrake
Blake has written seven novels, as well as Borderlands (1999), which contains short ture in Phila
stories and a resonant mernoir of his upbringing. Blake tends to live where he sets phase of his
and researches his books. In recent years he has shown up in El Paso and Galveston. followed in
BON AR, AVE. A longtime resident of Austin, Bonar was a University ofTexas journal- produced e:
ism student when she met her mentor, Russell Lee. One of fourteen photogra- Dirty Dealil(
phers named by the Texas Historical Commission to produce Contemporary Texas other books
(1986),she took as her assignment the lower Rio Grande Valley.Bonar spent months CASARES, OSCA

documenting Ann Richards' winning campaign for governor; her book Wíth Ann tising agenc
was published in l99I. Her most recent project explores the Norwegian heritage family ande
ofBosque County. ers Workshc
Contributors

d __
-\:-2~.:.:.:"' BOSWELL, ROBERT. A prize-winning playwright and author of fiction, Boswell grew 323
up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky, near a part of the Mississippi River that in-
h0:0:-.--=-~;:-::-. spired Mark Twain. His novel ofborn-again Christians, Mystery Ride, was a bestseller

sel, L"" ~--= in 1993· Boswell's honors include Guggenheim and NEA grants anda r995 PEN
r~ri~~:::~..: Award for a story collection, Living to Be a Hundred. His novel American Owned

m0::i'. -' L:.- Lave (1997) grew out ofhis experience living beside the Rio Grande and teaching
j the Harr. at New Mexico State in Las Cruces. He has also guided student writers at the
L-\.'T!:SIT0:~; University of Houston.

ig:Bend ""='_: BOWDEN, CHARLES. A resident ofTucson, Bowden has spent most ofhis life in the
deserts ofArizona. He reports that he writes for magazines to keep the lights on-
u rhirrv-rive among them Esquire, Harper's, and GQ-and then takes this loot and scribbles
irnenred rhe books. His first, Killing the Hidden Waters (1977), detailed drought, rationing, pollu-
point ro the tion, rights wars, and insatiable consumption of water in the West. Blood Orchid
) called him (1995) and Blues far Cannibals (2002) provided searing looks at the underbelly of
og:rapher on NorthAmerican life. Bowden writes with intense emotion and authority about El
. and he tol- Paso and CiudadJuárez, the primary setting of Down by the River (2002), an inves-

and rhe C.S. tigation of international drug trafficking and law enforcement.

ed in 1977. BRITO, ARISTEO. Construction ofthe first bridge across the Rio Grande introduced
· S.m _--1.m,111i,1 Brito to the notion of "illegal crossings" between his hometowns of Presidio,

.on ofJuárez.
' Texas,and Ojinaga, Chihuahua. His first book of fiction and verse, Cuentos I poemas,

ie anthologv was published in 1974. Drawing on legend, folklore, and historical archives, he

murders. wrote a novel in Spanish, El Diablo en Texas (1976). DavidWilliam Foster translated

. narions. His the work into English, The Devil in Texas; it has been hailed as a groundbreaking

exico,but she work ofChicano literature. Brito's novel won the 199º Western States BookAward

ighway engi- for Fiction. He lives in Tucson.

ough profes- CARTWRIGHT, GARY. A native ofArlington,Texas, Cartwright went to college,joined

of the U.S.- the army, and then got a job at the talent-rich but impecunious Fort Worth Press,

ook Prize for where his boss was Blackie Sherrod and his colleagues included Dan Jenkins and

BookAward. Bud Shrake. In the next decade, Harper's published his account of ajob misadven-

.onrains short ture in Philadelphia as"Confessions of aWashed-Up Sportswriter," marking a new

where he sets phase of his career. A novel about pro football, The Hundred Yard War (1968), was

nd Galveston. followed in 1973 by the start of his association with Texas Monthly. Cartwright

.exasjournal- produced exhaustively reported books about murders, Blood Will Tell (1979) and

en photogra- Dirty Dealing ( 1984), and an appreciation of people and place, Calveston ( 1991). His
tmporaryTexas other books in elude a reckoning of mortality, Heartwise Cuy ( 1998).

spent months CASARES, OSCAR. Born and raised in Brownsville,Texas, Casares worked for an adver-

ook WithAnn tising agency in Austin and wrote stories drawn from memories and tales of his

~gianheritage family and community along the Rio Grande. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writ-
ers Workshop. His honors include the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship and the James
RIO GRANDE

Michener Award from the Copernicus Society ofAmerica. His much-praised story Revieu-. u»
collection Brownsville was published in 2003. He teaches writing and Mexican lowships. H
American studies at the University ofTexas at Austin. GILPIN, LAURA

CESSAC, CHRISTOPHER. A poet whose published credits include the Antioch Review born near <

and Cimarron Review, Cessac works as an attorney and performs as a rock musician, Clarence H
making his home in the Big Bend town of Marfa. His first book, Republic Sublime, and the Pik
won the 2002 Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry. Grande: Ri1'
DAVI DSON, JOHN. A recipient ofDobie-Paisano and NEA fellowships, Davidson grew from irs sou
up in Fredericksburg, Texas, lives in Austin, and has written for publications in- Her archive
cluding Texas Monthly and Vanity Fair. His book about undocumented Mexican GRAVES, JOHN.

immigrants, The Long Road Notth (1979), was honored as the nonfiction book of tomlands ot
the year by the Texas Institute ofLetters. He is currently working on a book about years discov
the Mexico City salon and heyday ofLeon Trotsky,Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera. sorne tackle
DRAPER, ROBERT. The grandson ofWatergate special prosecutor LeonJaworski,Draper him as one
carne of age in Houston and Austin. His Rolling Stone lvfagazine: The Uncensored Li111esft111<
L
History (1990) led to a run as a senior writer for Texas Monthly. Hadrian 's Walls on his small
(1999), rooted in his investigations of prison life, won the Texas Institute ofLetters Apprenticcsl:

award for best first fiction. Draper is writer-at-large for GQ and lives in Asheville, GREGG, JOSIAt

· North Carolina. hopes of irr


EVA NS, JAMES. Knowing nothing ofpies, Evans talked his way into ajobas a pastry the Mexica
cook in order to move to Marathon, Texas, in 1988. Born in West Virginia, he 1844 narrar
began taking pictures while following drag racing. Evans has worked throughout first vivid e
the Southwest and in Mexico, but his heart's terrain is the Big Bend; his images of GUERRA, MARÍ

the region and its people have appeared in many national magazines and major serves both
museums and galleries. His book Big Bend Pictures was published in 2003. Austin tor s
FORO, DON HENRY, JR. A horse breeder and trainer at his home near Seguin, Ford was o n a tamilv

born to a farming family in West Texas. He risked his life smuggling drugs out of voir was di

Mexico, spending one year as a fugitive and marijuana grower in the Big Bend. research.
Ford completed a term in a U.S. federal penitentiary and began to write. He has GUTHRIE, WOO

written a memoir of his past as an addict and outlaw along the Rio Grande, the Dust B1
Contrabando (2004). when Guth
GILB, DAGOBERTO. Gilb is the author ofGritos (2003), Woodcuts ofWomen (2001), The silver mine
Last Known Residence of Mickey Acuña (1994), and The Magic of Blood (1993). The Long, It"sE
latter collection of stories won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the best fiction Land," His
prize of the Texas lnstitute of Letters. Born in Los Angeles, Gilb lived for many íollowing a
years in El Paso. He put in twelve years as a union high-rise carpenter. Gilb won on his fam.
notice with stories of funny, proud people bedeviled by lay-offs, broken-down HARRIGAN, STI

cars,matters oflove, and overdue rent. He has written for the New Yorker, Threepenny Dobie-Pais
Contributors

Review, Harper's, GQ, and Latina. His honors include Guggenheim and NEA fel-
praised srory
lowships. He lives in Austin and teaches at Texas State University in San Marcos.
nd .\kxican
GILPIN, LAURA. The daughter of a would-be cowboy from Baltimore, Gilpin was
born near Colorado Springs in l89r. A student of and admirer of the work of
zri,y/i RtTiew
Clarence H. White in New York, she compiled folios and books on Mesa Verde
ck musician.
and the Pikes Peak region in 1927. The Pueblos (1941) led naturally to The Rio
11/>kS11/i/i111e.
Grande: River of Destiny (1949). She was the preeminent photographer of the river
from its source to the sea.With a career spanning sixty years, Gilpin died in 1979·
rvidson gre"l.Y
Her archives are in the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth.
•líeations in-
GRAV Es, Jo H N. The Fort Worth native spent much of his boyhood roaming the bot-
red .\1exican
tomlands of the Trinity River. He fought in World War II and afterward spent sorne
non book of
years discovering Spain. Graves returned to Texas and embarked with his dog and
a book about
sorne tackle on a canoe trip clown the Brazos; Goodbye to a River (1960) established
>iegoRivera.
him as one ofthe most respectedAmerican writers. Hard Scrabble (1974) and From a
orski. Draper
Limestone Ledge (1980) were drawn from experiences and neighborly encounters
lrt" l "11;01,:,1rcd
on his small ranch near Glen Rose. His latest book, Myself and Strangers:A Memoir of
r.idri.lll '.< lJ:¡fü
Apprenticeship (2004), recollects his years in Spain following World War II.
ute of Lerrers
GREGG, JOSIAH. A physician, Greggjoined a trader's caravan to Santa Fe in 1831 in
; in Asheville.
hopes of improving his health. He was a Santa Fe merchant and correspondent in
the Mexican-American War and died in the California Gold Rush in 1849. His
ob as a pastry
1844 narrative, Commerce of the Prairies, provided countless Americans with their
t Virginia, he
first vivid exposure to the Southwest and West.
d rhroughout
GUERRA, MARÍA EUGENIA. The editor and publisher of LareDOS, a newspaper that
.his images of
serves both sides ofthe Rio Grande at Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, Guerra lived in
tes and major
Austin for sorne years, then returned to her native SanVicente to help her parents
.::.003.
on a family ranch. Guerra's short story of Guerrero Viejo and the Falcón Reser-
ruin, Ford was
voir was drawn from tales told by her family and neighbors and from archival
z drugs out of
research.
he Big Bend,
GUTHRIE, wooov. A native Oklahoman, Guthrie was born in 1912 and lived through
wrire. He has
the Dust Bowl and "Okie" diaspora to California during the Depression. In 1931,
Rio Grande.
when Guthrie was nineteen, his family set out in fruitless quest of a rumored lost
silver mine in the Big Bend. Guthrie's famed body of songwriting includes "So
<'111.::.001). TI1r
Long, It's Been Good to Know You," "Dust Bowl Blues," and "This Land IsYour
od , 1993). The
Land." His autobiography, Boundfor Glory, appeared in 1943· Guthrie died in 1967
he best riction
following a long fight with Huntington's Disease. His novel, Seeds of Man, was based
ived tor manv
on his family's rambles along the Rio Grande and was first published in 1976.
nrer, Gilb won
HARRIGAN, STEPHEN. Harrigan is a journalist, essayist, screenwriter, and novelist. A
broken-down
Dobie-Paisano Fellowship produced a highly regarded first novel, Aransas (1980),
-ka. Tiirt'tjJfllll)'
RIO GRANDE

which drew on his youth in Corpus Christi and appreciation ofthe Gulf ofMexico. .\·,,rrli .--
An essay in Texas Monthly and the collection Comanche Midnight (1995) inspired second
more research and reflection that culminated in his masterpiece novel, The Cates cf IVINS, MOL

the Alarno (2002). Harrigan is working on a novel about astronauts. He makes his saz·cr. h
home in Austin.
HERNÁNDEZ, IRENE BELTRÁN. Hernández was a fifteen-year veteran case worker for as one o
the Dallas Health and Human Services Department when she decided to try wr it- a besr-s.
ing books for young adults. Across the Great River (1989) was rejected forty-one with he
times, but when finally published, its story of a Mexican girl forced to struggle as !1'/i,d;d
an illegal alien helped establish a market for books aimed at young readers who live- in:
identified with Latino characters and themes. Her subsequent novels include Heart- KELTON, EL

beat Drumbeat (1992), The Secret of Two Brothers (1995), and Woman Soldier I La World\1
Soldadera (2000). She lives in Satin, Texas. from 19
HILL, ROBERT T. An officer ofthe United States Geological Survey assigned to the torrv be
Texas-Mexico borderlands, Hill led the first thorough and recorded exploration of care er l::
the Big Bend canyons of the Rio Grande. With five companions and three boats, Ti111c Ir.
Hill's 1899 expedition took to the river at Presidio and emerged many weeks and (19~0 .
hardships later at the rail depot and saloon in Langtry run by Judge Roy Bean. His Hall orl
account of the journey was published by Century Magazine in r901. mg one
HILLERMAN, TONY. Born and educated in Oklahoma, where he developed a sustain- Kelron 1

ing interest in Native American life, Hillerman set out on a career as a newspaper LANGEWIE5

reporter in severa! towns in the West, then taught at the University ofNew Mexico for nian
in Albuquerque. There he launched a series of acclaimed mystery novels set among thing. L
the Navajo. Skinwalkers vaulted Hillerrnan's books to bestseller lists in 1987. His for rligJ
memoir, Scldom Disappointed, won the Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction in 2001. parcho
HINOJOSA, ROLANDO. A pioneering and motivating figure among Chicano writers, Mexico
Hinojosa grew up in Mercedes, Texas. Following army service in Korea, Hinojosa and .--lm
taught high school English in the Valley.His first novel, Estampas del Valle (1982), LEE, RUSSE

won a Cuban literary prize, Premio de Las Casas de las Américas, which brought a Farm'
recognition ofhis talent throughout LatinAmerica. Hinojosa has spent many years 1903. L,
writing novels drawn from a complex saga that encompasses sixty years in the took his
Valley.He calls these books "The Klail City Death-Trip Series." Hinojosa writes J\:"e"·Yo:
in English and Spanish. He teaches at the James Michener Writing Center at the who pu
University ofTexas at Austin. Parks. ai
HORGAN, PAUL. Horgan, who died in 1995 at his home in Connecticut, was a master \YhO \ÚI

ofboth fiction and nonfiction (and was a better than fair watercolorist). Born in the Cni
1904, he lived in New Mexico for many years and set most of his books in the William
Southwest. Horgan's definitive two-volume history, Great River:The Rio Grande in LIMMER, Al

Texa,;Te
Contributors

0: \ioe:x::c:0. Nortl: American History (1955), won the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes. He won a
;~ :::~r::-c..: second Pulitzer in history for Lamy of Santa Fe (1975).
T:,- G.;:,--' :r- IVINS, MOLLY. lvins was a longtime ca-editor, with Kaye Northcott, ofthe Texas Ob-
oe :::1ke< hi- server. Ivins' career as a reporter led her to the Neu. York Times, Dallas Times-Hcrald,
Fort Wtirth Star- Teleoram, and a nationally syndicated column, which established her
worker ror as one ofAmerica's favorite humorists and political commentators. She broke out as
to trv \\TH- a bcst-selling author with Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She? (1991). Co-written
J torrv-orie with her colleague Lou Dubose, her most recent books, Shrub (2000) and Bush-
) -;rruggle a< whacked (2003), have assessed the politics and presidency of George W Bush. Ivins
·e1Jer< \\ ho lives in Austin.
elude Hc.ut- KELTON, ELMER. Kelton grew up on a ranch in Crane County. Following service in
5._'icilt·r i., World War 11, he took up the newspaper profession. He worked at Livestock Weekly
from 1968 until his retirement in 1991, but has found time to write more than
gneJ ro the forty books, most of them novels. Kelton achieved lasting stature with a mid-
.plorarion of career burst of inspiration that produced The Day the Cowboys Quit (1972), The
three boats, Time It Never Rained (1974), The Good Old Boys (1978), and The Wtllf and the Bu.ffalo
v weeks and (1980). He has won four Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy
ov Bean. His Hall of Fame and seven Spur awards from the Western W riters of America, includ-
ing one for The Way ¡:{ the Coyote (2002). The Western Writers of America named
ed a sustain- Kelton the AH-Time Best Western Author.
a newspapcr LANGEWIESCHE, WILLIAM. Perhaps more than any major American writer, this Cali-
..;e\Y\1exico fornian has pursued a life without borders. Son of a noted aviator and author on
~Isset among ftying, Langewiesche worked his way through Stanford as a pilot and first wrote
in 1987. His far füght magazines. He gained the attention of the Atlantíc Monthly with dis-
non in 2001. parches from Algeria. His first book, Cuttino for Sign (1995), explored the U.S.-
.ano wr iters, Mexico border. Other hailed books of reporting include Sahara Unveiled (1996)
~ea.Hinojosa and American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center (2002).
"I :11/e (1982), LEE, RUSSELL. Lee becarne one ofthe star photographers brought by Roy Stryker to
hich brought a Farm Security Administration project during the 193os and early 194os. Born in
ir many years 1903, Lee studied chernical engineering in college and tricd to be a painter. He
vears in the took his first photographs in the mid-rojos at the Woodstock Art Colony and in
nojosa writes NewYork City. He won work from Collier's andAmerican Magazine and met Stryker,
=enter at the who put him afield with Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Carl Mydans, Gordon
Parks, and Arthur Rothstein. Lee found humor, elegance, and dignity in people
was a master who withstood the Dust Bowl, racial prejudice, and the Depression. Lee taught at
rist). Born in the University ofTexas from 1965 to 1973; his protégés includedjim Bones, Rick
books in the Williams, and Ave Bonar. He died in 1986.
Ri» Grande in LIMMER, ARTIE. Limmer is creative director of the office of news and publicity at
Texas Tech University in Lubbock.A contributing photographer for Texas Monthly,
RIO GRANDE

Limmer pursued the length of the Rio Grande in less than a week, illustratingjan NOTTINGHI

Reid's "The End of the River" in 2003. life Der


LOGAN, WILLIAM (BILL). Following a boyhood inAustin and Dallas, Logan survived He has'
intense combat in World War ll, graduated from the U niversity ofTexas, and worked 2002. he
most of his life as a newspaperman. For twenty-three years he was the outdoors RodD<
editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Logan, who died in 1995, created an tOF pho
alter-ego who held forth on hunting, fishing, and human nature; The Old Meat Informa
Hunter, a collection of those columns, is being edited and illustrated by his son, Bill PAREDES,~

Logan. mired re
M CM u RTRY, LA RRY. The son of a cattle rancher has been the preeminent novelist of spendin,
Texas since the publication ofhis first book, Horseman, Pass By (1961). McMurtry's ern .\1e
epic take on a trail drive, Lonesome Dove (1985), won the Pulitzer. Throughout his ne\YSFª
career McMurtry has inspired moviemakers with story, character, and setting: Hud Texas ar
(adapted from the first novel), The Last Picture Show (1966), Terms of Endearment
(1975), and Lonesome Dove are classics ofAmerican film. McMurtry's accomplished border,
nonfiction includes In a Narrow Grave (1968), Walter Benjamín at the Dairy Queen songs, _..¡
(1999), and Sacagawea's Nickname (2001). He is one of the country's premier Rio Gr;
bookmen; Booked Up, his store in his hometown of Archer City, is a marvel.
M ENDOZA, ROBERTO. A man of diverse and far-reaching interests, Mendoza was born (1991 '· I
in California and grew up in Laredo. He holds degrees in English literature and Charles
Latin American studies; he has worked as a house painter and taught in secondary 1Il 1999
schools in the United States and Spain. He lives in Austin. Mendoza's reminis- PAYNE, RICI

cences of his family ranch beside the Rio Grande is first published here. He re- tograph-
ports that the ranch remains unsold.
MILLER, TOM. Miller lives in Tucson and writes about Cuba, baseball, Panama hats, wirh a t<
Rio Grande smugglers, the heart of Africa-wherever his avid interests lead him, comran
he seems to find a way. Miller, whose credits include the New York Times, Rolling POGUE, Ali

Stone, Smithsonian, and Esquire, is the author of Trading with the Enemy (1996) and seeks to
]ack Ruby's Kitchen Sink (2000). The latter won the Lowell Thomas Award for the estiman
year's best travel book. Miller traversed the length of the U.S.-Mexico frontier in nugrant
a collection of pieces, On the Border (1982), and has edited an anthology of writing PONIATOW!

about the border, Writing on the Edge (2003). morher,


N1 e Ho Ls, Jo HN. Born in Berkeley, Nichols has lived and worked in Taos since 1969. She live-
With penetrating wit and style, he has written fiction and nonfiction about water recogmt
rights and ethnic conflict in New Mexico and about issues of war, peace, and her inve
injustice throughout the United States and Latin America. His much-praised nov- Citv, Lz
els include The Sterile Cuckoo (1965) and The Milagro Beanfield War (1974), both of receive 1

which were made into popular movies. calamir e


Contributors

.rraring Jan NOTTINGHAM, EARL. Award-winning chief photographer for theTexas Parks andWild-
life Department, Nottingham has been taking pictures in that capacity since 1996.
n survived He has worked for Smithsonian, Southern Living, and National Geographic Traveler. In
nd workcd 2002, he took the photos selected here for a special report on the Rio Grande by

~ ourdoors Rod Davis in Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. His work on the Rio Grande won
create d an top photo honors in the 2002 national awards of the Association of Conservation
- O/,f Xlcat Information. Nottingham lives in Temple.
ris 50TI. Bill PAREDES,AMÉRICO. An English professor, anthropologist, and folklorist greatly ad-
mired for the flair ofhis prose, Paredes was born in 1915 and grew up in Brownsville,
novelist of spending his summers entranced by storytelling performance and tradition in north-
.k\1urtn_.s ern Mexico. During World War 11 he was political editor of the armed forces

•ug:hout his newspaper, Stars & Stripes. After the war, he took degrees from the University of

erring: H11d Texas and won a faculty position. With His Pisto/ in His Hand:A Border Ballad and

E11de.1m1e11t Its Hero (1958) conveyed his enthusiasm for the antiestablishment song form ofthe

.omplishcd border, the corrido. Folktales of Mexico (1970) was succeeded by his collection of
),iiry Q11ee11 songs, A Texas-Mexican Cancionero (1976). Paredes' stylish phrasing and feel for the

1· s prenuer Rio Grande Valley communities that reared him are on rich display in his novel

marvel, George Washington Gómez (1990), and in a poetry collection, Between Two Worlds

ra was born (1991). In 1989, he became the first Mexican American to receive the prestigious

erature and Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He died

1 secondary in 1999 at age eighty-three.


a s rerrums- PAYNE, RICHARD. A registered architect and nationally recognized architectural pho-

iere. He re- tographer, Payne lives in Houston and has worked on several books that include
Historie Galveston (1986) and TheArchitecture of Philip]ohnson (2002). Guerrero Viejo,

anama hats, with a text by Mexicanjournalist Elena Poniatowska, was published in 1997 by his

ts lead him, company,Anchorage Press.


unes, Rolli11g POGUE,ALAN. Through his Center for Documentary Photography inAustin, Pogue

· 11996) and seeks to illumine the displaced and downtrodden. His subjects have included Pal-

vard for the estinian refugees, Iraqi war victims, migrant farmworkers, and undocumented im-

o tronrier in migrants. Pogue contributes often to the Texas Observer.


:y ofwriting PONIATOWSKA, ELENA. Born in Paris in 1933, she moved to Mexico in 1942 with her
mother, whose wealthy family had been uprooted by the Mexican Revolution.

; since 1969. She lives in the Federal District and has worked as a journalist since 1954· Literary

abour water recognition carne with her first novel, Hasta no verte,]esús mío (r969). Next carne

--peace. and her investigation of the massacre of students by government troops in Mexico

praised nov- City, La noche de Tlatelolco (1971). In 1979 Poniatowska was the first woman to

"F -1- '- both of receive the national journalism prize in Mexico. Nothing, Nobody (1995) details a
calamitous earthquake in Mexico City. She won the esteemed international
RIO GRANDE

Alfaguara Prize far her novel La píe! del cíe/o (2001). Poniatowska carne to the the Cni
Mexico-Texas borderlands to write an introduction for the photos of Richard ourdoor
Payne and stayed to produce Guerrero Viejo (1997), an elegant book about the half- cuno st

flooded town and its human holdouts. Laurie Manning translated her text from Brown-:
Spanish. SMITHERS,

REAVIS, DICK J. Inclined toward a career injournalism by a father who published a San l UJ·
newspaper in the Texas Panhandle, Reavis has roamed and written about Mexico the Bis
as a correspondent far Texas A1onthly and the Dallas Times-Llerald and in his book journ.ili
Conversations witn Moctezunia (1990). His unflinching investigation shed light on border I
the Branch Davidian tragedy in The Ashes c:fWaco (1995). Reavis is a past Neiman darkroo
fellow at Harvard and won the 2003 Texas Institute ofLetters Award for newspa- more rh
per writing far a series on homelessness published in the San Antonio Express- rrappers
News. He now teaches at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. :\frcr he
RE ED, Jo H N. A radicalized son of a Portland insurance salesman, in r914 the Harvard
graduate was commissioned by Metropolitan A1agazíne to cover the Mexican Revo- SPONG, JOI

lution. His dispatches from the camps and battlefields of Pancho Villa established Spong r
him as a war correspondent and were published as Insurgent México that same year.
He was in Russia in 1919 when the Bolshevik revolution erupted. He wrote the large<r ]
influential Ten Days That Shook the World (1922) and joined that cause, helping Jf,,mhi¡·
found the American Communist Party. Reed died in i920 at thirty-two; he is the divide- i
only American buried as a revolutionary hero in the Krernlin. WITTLIFF. B

REID, JAN. Reid grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, and has made his home in Austin phorogr
since 1980. He has a career-long freelance affiliation with Texas Monthlv and has career b·
written far Esquirc, GQ, Slate, and other major magazines.An early article spawncd Booken
his first book, The Improbable Rise ~f Redneck Rock (1974, with a revised and up- of disrin
dated edition published by the University ofTexas Press, 2004). Other books in- produce
elude the novel Deerinwinter (1985), the collection Clase Calls (2000), anda mem- Hi< boo
oir, The Bullet Meantjor Me (2002). Rcid's honors include a grant from the National 2004. _\¡

Endowment far the Arts and PEN Texas's award far short nonfiction far an essay garhcrc,
about his abduction and near-fatal shooting by Mexico City robbers in 1998. He .\lex1co.
has continued to work along the Rio Grande and in Mexico: his Texas Monthlv WRIGHT, BI

essay "Thc End of the River" won the Texas Institute of Letters' award far best rica. Ch
magazine writing of 2003. devored
RUNYON, ROBERT. Born in Kentucky in 1881,Runyon moved to Brownsville in 1909 uted ni
as a widower looking for a new start. He worked as a commercial photographer enous rr
until 1926. He documented intensifying fighting and a flood of refugees during
the Mexican Revolution. Controversially, he posed Texas Rangers with lariats
around corpses of reputed Mexican bandits and circulated the image throughout
Contributors

me to the the United States as a postcard. Though he continued to take pictures of the
,f Richard outdoors and of native plants, he gave up photography as a profession and opened
ir the half- curio stores in Matamoros and Brownsville. Runyon was elected mayor of
texr from Brownsville in l94I. He died in 1968.
SMITHERS, w. D. Son of a bookkeeper for a mining company, Smithers was born in
ublished a San Luis Potosí, Mexico, in 1895. He worked as a teamster for the U.S. cavalry in
LH Mexico the Big Bend from 1915 to l9J7- He then moved to San Antonio, working as a
1his book journalist and commercial photographer. In the early i93os more unrest on the
d light on border prompted him to return to Big Bend. Famous for building a dugout-adobe
st :'\"eiman darkroom that employcd sunlight as a light source for his enlarger, Smithers took
ir ne\Yspa- more than 9,000 photographs. He photographed Pancho Villa, Will Rogers, fur
¡,, Express- trappers, chino grass merchants, trail drivers, circuir riding preachers, and curanderos.
After he retired in r974, he moved to El Paso and wrotc an autobiography, Chronicles
1e Harvard of tlie Big Bend (1976). He died in r98r.
can Revo- SPONG, JOHN. A son and nephew of prominent clerics of the Episcopal Church,
e-tablishcd Spong briefly aspircd to be a rodeo clown and bullfighter-it took hirn. one bull
.;a111e
vear. to get over it. As an Austin attorney, he held for a time the record as counsel in the
wrore rhe largest losing judgment ever rendered by a jury in Travis County. In 2003 Texas
'e. helping Monthlv sacrificed Spong's talents as a fact-checker and made him a staff writer. He
J: he is rhe divides his time between Austin and the nig Bend.
w ITT L 1F F, B 1L L. Raised in Blanco, Texas, anda longtime resident of Austin, Wittliff is a
· in Ausrin photographer, wr iter, publisher, and collector. Wittliff has been honored for his
ilr and has career by thc Texas Institute ofLetters and is a recipient of the Texas Book Festival
e <pawned BookendAward.The Encino Press, co-founded with his wife Sally,published works
·d and up- of distinguished literature and history for many years. His screenwriting and film
books in- producer credits include Lonesome Dove, The Pcriect Storm, and The Black Stallíon.
id a mem- His book of photographs, Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy, was published in
e :'\"arional 2004. At Texas State University in San Marcos, the Wittliffa have endowed and
or an essav gathered a treasured archive of writing and photographs of the Southwest and
1 199~. He Mexico.
.1.< J lontl¡ Ir WRIGHT, BILL. A resident ofAbilene,Texas,Wright has taken photographs inAntarc-
rd tor besr tica, China, Cuba, Guatemala, Nepal, Mexico, and southern Africa, but he has
devoted mu ch ofhis career to Texas, especially its borderlands.W right has contrib-
Ile in 1909 uted valuable and critically esteemed books on the Kickapoo and Tigua indig-
otographcr enous tribes; his most recent titles are Portraitsfrom the Desert: Bill Wright~' Bíg Bend
ees during (r998) and People's Lives: A Photographic Celebration of the Human Spirit (2001).
virh lariars
hroughour
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND CREDITS

TWO TRUSTED READERS and good friends played important roles in moving Rio Grande
from meandering proposals and false starts to the finished book. My agent, David
McCormick, suggested an innovative structure-an extensively reported commen-
tary that would be a road map and guide to an anthology of fine writing and photog-
raphy.Jim Hornfischer began urging me to develop a book about the Rio Grande a
decade ago and encouraged me to carry on when its prospects were far from certain.
Ty Fain and his stalwart colleagues at the Rio Grande Institute in Marathon,Texas,
and Len Materman of Americas River Communities provided moral, material, and
creative support. Casey Kittrell was a gifted research assistant, making astute sugges-
tions of content and bringing order to the impossible piles of paper in my office.
Texas Monthly editors Evan Smith and Christopher Keyes and art director Scott
Dadich gave the project a large boost at a critical time. Heartfelt thanks to them and
to the Texas Institute of Letters for its recognition of the essay "The End of the
RIO GRANDE

334 River"; and to Theresa May, Dave Hamrick, and all the members of the dedicated CESSAC, CHI

staff at the University ofTexas Press who worked so hard to make Río Grande a book ¡mhk 5111

we are proud to have on our shelves. DAVIDSON.

And always to my love, wife, and travel companion Dorothy Browne, who pro- Repnntc
nounced early on that this book was going to be fon and set about delivering on her DRAPER, RO

pro mise.
EVA NS, JAMI

e°' I9•F-J
CREDITS AND PERMISSIONS TO REPRINT
pg. 16o.
ADAMS, ANSEL. "Moonrise over Hernandez," pg. 21; "Sunrise, Laguna Pueblo, New phorocr:
Mexico, c. 1942," pg. 32. © 2004 Corbis. Reprinted with perrnission of the Ansel FORO, DON

Adams Publishing Rights Trust. publi-hc,


ANZALDÚA, GLORIA. "La concienciade la mestiza," excerpt from Borderlands!La Frontera, GILB, DAGOI

© 1987 by Gloria Anzaldúa. Reprinted by perrnission of Aunt Lute Books. Dagober


ARMSTRONG, FRANK. "Rio Grande River, Presidio County, Texas,"© zoor , pg. 138; GILPIN, LAU

"Ocotillo,Big Bend National Park,Texas," o 1995, pg. 151; "Sand Bar, Rio Grande
River, Big Bend National Park, Texas," © 1979, pg. 315. All photos © Frank gion or ~
Armstrong. Reprinted with permission of the photographer. pg.uo;"
AULTMAN, OTIS. "Refugees,"pg. 95; "Punitive Expedition,"pg. I05; "Mexican Revo- Cp tot,
lutionaries," pg. rn8; "Yaqui Indian Guards," pg. I09. Images appeared in the \'fonh.T
book Photographsfrom the Bordee; © 1977 by the El Paso Public Library Association. .\1u<cun:
Reprinted with permission of the Southwest Collection, El Paso Public Library. GRAVES. JOI

BALLÍ, CECILIA. "Ciudad de la Muerte,"© 2003 by Texas Monthly. Reprinted by per- Reprinr.
mission of Texas Monthly. GUERRA. M~

BLAKE, JAMES CARLOS. Excerpt from In the Rooue Blood, © 1997 by James Carlos
Blake, Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Inc. GUTHRIE. W

BONAR, AVE. "Border Patrolman," pg. 180; "Valley Produce," pg. 247; "Deportces in
Custody ofU.S. Border Patrol," pg. 294; "Los Ebanos Ferry," pg. 299. Photographs licaricns.
© 1981 by Ave Bonar. U sed with perrnission of the photographer. HARRIGAN.'

BOSWELL, ROBERT. Excerpt from American Owned Lave, ©1997 by Robert Boswell. Rcpr inn
U sed by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, HERNÁNDEZ

BOWDEN, CHARLES. Excerpt from Down by the River, © 2002 by Charles Bowden, Bclrr.n: 1
Reprinted by permission of the author. otHoust
BRITO, ARISTEO. Excerpt from The Devil in Texas,© 1976 by Aristeo Brito. Reprinted HILLERMAN.

with permission by Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe. bv Tonv


CARTWRIGHT, GARY. Excerpt from Conjessions of a Washed-Up Sportswriter, © 1982 by HINOJOSA, 1

Gary Cartwright. Reprinted with perrnission of the author. Rcpr inn


CASARES, OSCA R. "Domingo," from Brownsville, © 2003 by Osear Casares. Reprinted HORGAN, P~

by permission ofLittle, Brown & Co. Inc. granred 1


Acknowledgments and Credits

e dedicated CESSAC, CHRISTOPHER. "Rio Grande at Noon, Rio Grande at Midnight," from Re-
.111dea book public Sublime,© 2002 by Christopher Cessac. Used with permission ofthe author.
DAVIDSON, JOHN. Excerpt from The Long Road North, © 1979 by John Davidson.
~.who pro- Reprinted by permission of author.
ring on her DRAPER, ROBERT. "Soldier of Misfortune," © 1997 by Texas Monthly. Reprinted by
permission of Texas Monthlv,
EVANS, JAMES. "Kickapoo Boy Swinging;'© 1996, pg. xxii; "The Road to Candelaria,"
© 1997, pg. 126; "Boy and Puppy," © 1996, pg. 135; "Lajitas GolfCourse," © 2002,

pg. 160. Ali photographs © by James H. Evans. Used with permission of the
ueblo, New photographer.
of the Ansel FORD, DON HENRY, JR. Excerpt from Contrabando, ©2004 by Don Henry Ford,Jr.,
published by Cinco Punto Press. Reprinted with permission of the author.
L7 Frontera, GILB, DAGOBERTO. Excerpt from The Last Knoum Residence oj Micleev Acuña, © 1995 by
ooks. Dagoberto Gilb. Reprinted with permission of the author.
H. pg. 138; GILPIN, LAURA. "The Rio Grande Yields Its Surplus to the Sea," pg. ii-iii; "The
~io Grande Prospector-Fred Gulzow ofCreede,"pg. 3; "Gorge BelowTaos [Midstream Re-
>s :g Frank gion of the Gorge ]," pg. 18; "Mexican Irrigator," pg. 23; "Elephant Butte Lake,"
pg. 40; "Boy on Donkey, River Background, Near El Paso," pg. 51; "Cattle Round
:ican Revo- Up [Old Timer]," pg. 194· Photographs © r979 Amon Carter Museum, Fort
ared in the Worth, Texas, Bequest of the Artist. Reprinted with permission of the Amon Carter
\ssociation. Museum.
lic Library. GRAVES, JOHN. "Big River," © 1982 by John Graves, first published in Texas Monthly.
red by per- Reprinted with permission of the author.
GUERRA, MARÍA EUGENIA. "Nothing to Declare,"© r995 by María Eugenia Guerra.
mes Carlos U sed with permission of the author.
GUTHRIE, WOODY. Excerpt from Seeds of Man,© 1976 byWoody Guthrie Publica-
'eportees in tions, lnc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission ofWoody Guthrie Pub-
hotographs lications, Inc.
HA RR1 GA N, s TEPHEN. Excerpt from Comanche 1V1idnight, © 1995 by Stephen Harrigan.
-rt Boswell. Reprinted with permission of the author.
HERNÁNDEZ, IRENE BELTRÁN. Excerpt from Across the Great River, © 1989 by Irene
-s Bowden, Beltrán Hernández. Reprinted by permission of Arte Público Press-University
ofHouston .
. Reprinted HILLERMAN, TONY. Excerpted from Neu. Mexico, Río Grande and Other Essays, © 1989

by Tony Hillerman. Reprinted by pcrmission of Graphics Arts Center Publishing.


¡;' 1982 by HIN OJOSA, ROLAN DO. Excerpt from "A Sense of Place,"© 1983 by Rolando Hinojosa.
Rcprinted by permission of author.
Rcprinted Ho RGA N, PAU L. Excerpt from Great River, © 1955 by the late Paul Horgan. Permission
granted by Wesleyan University Press.
RIO GRANDE

IVINS, MOLLY. "Mayor ofLajitas Not the Goat He Used to Be,"© 2002 by Molly Ivins, REAVIS, DIC

from her syndicated newspaper column. Reprinted with permission of the author. tor the e

KELTON, ELMER. Excerpt from The Time It Never Rained, © 1974 by Elmer Kelton. REID, JAN. I
Reprinted with permission of author.
LANGEWIESCHE, WILLIAM. Excerpt from Cuttíngfor Sign, © 1993 byWilliam Lange- Reid. Tl
wiesche. Reprinted by permission of Pantheon Books, a division ofRandom House. r ight- re

LEE, RUSSELL. "Man on Porch with Family," pg. 25; "Home-Building," pg. 64; "Girl RUNYON, RC

with Child in Lap," pg. 235; "Boy Drinking Water," pg. 307. Photographs © 1949 Revolur
by Russell Lee. Reprinted with permission of Center for American History, The sion ot t

University ofTexas at Austin. SMITHERS, 1

LIMMER, ARTIE. "Rio Grande Headwater," pg. ro; "Patriotic Bridge,"pg. 54. Photo- pg. 171;·
graphs © 2002 by Artie Limmer. U sed with permission of the photographer. bv rhe I
LOGAN, WILLIAM (BILL). "The Old Meat Hunter," © 1972 by the Rocky Mountaín The Cn
News. Reprinted with permission of the Rocky Mountain News. SPONG, JOH

MCMURTRY, LARRY. Excerpt from Lonesome Dove, © 1985 by Larry McMurtry. Re-
printed with permission from The Wylie Agency, Inc. WITTLIFF, B

MENDOZA, ROBERTO. "A Piece of Land," © 2003 by Robert Mendoza. Used with \\·e,;r\\'r
permission of the author. WRIGHT, Bll

MILLER, TOM. Excerpt from On the Border, ©1982 byTom Miller, published by the Boquilla
University of Arizona Press. Reprinted with permission of the Copyright Clear- printed ·
ance Center.
NICHOLS, JOHN. Excerpt from The Milagro Beanjield War, © 1974 by John Nichols.
EXCERPl
Reprinted with permission of author.
NOTTINGHAM, EARL. "River's End," pg. vi; "Rio Grande No Más?" pg. 69; "Irriga- GREGG, JOS

tion Pump, Redford," pg. 88; "Burned Tamarisk," pg. 90; "Herder on Levee, La HILL, ROBE!

Junta," pg. 93; "Big Bend Baptism," pg. 302; "Beached Tree Marking the Border, li-hed in
Boca Chica," pg. 316. Photographs © 2002 by Earl Nottingham. U sed with per- REED, JOHN

mission of the photographer.


PAREDES, AMÉRICO. Excerpt from Geo~!?dVáshington Gómez, © 1990byAmérico Paredes.
Reprinted with permission of Arte Público Press- University of Houston.
PAYNE, RICHARD. Untitled photographs from Guerrero Viejo, pgs. 238, 250. © 1996 by
Richard Payne. U sed with permission of the photographer.
POG u E, A LA N. "Illegal Entry," pg. 60; "Maquiladora Floor," pg. 72; "Mexican Mother
and Children in Contaminated Mud," pg. 273; "Colonia Beside Stagnant Water,"
pg. 287. Photographs © 2003 by Texas Center for Documentary Photography.
U sed with permission of the Texas Center for Documentary Photography.
PONIATOWSKA, ELENA. Text of Guerrero Viejo, translated by Laurie Mann, © 1997 by
Elena Poniatowska. Reprinted with permission of author.
Acknowledgments and Credits

.íoliv Ivins, REAVIS, DICK J. "Gateway to Texas,"© 2003 by DickJ. Reavis, written on assignment

me author, for the San Antonio Express-News. Reprinted with permission of the author.

ier Kclron. REID, JAN. Portions of the text were published in Texas Monthly as "End of the River,"
© 2003 by Jan Reid; and "The Forgotten River," in Close Calls, © 2000 by Jan

arn Lmge- Reid. The excerpt from "Busting Out of Mexico" is also from Close Calls. All

.om House. rights reserved by the author.


~-64; ..Girl RUNYON, ROBERT. "Soldaderas," pg. 246; "Man in Cabbage Patch,"pg. 249; "Mexican
Revolution Refugees," pg. 262; "Army Band," pg. 283. Reprinted with permis-
rhs \'. l'}+'J
Ii-rorv, The sion of the Center for American History, The U niversity ofTexas at Austin.
SMITH ERS, w. D. "El Viejo," pg. xii; "Ford on Ferry," pg. xviii; "Chino Merchants,"

54. Photo- pg. 171; "Water Boy," pg. 175; "Cavalry Commanders," pg. 183. Permission granted

rarher. by the Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,

, Jf,'Wlf,lÍll The University ofTexas at Austin.


SPONG, JOH N. "SandTrap," © 2002 by Texas Monthly, Reprinted by permission of Texas

lurrrv, Re- Monthly.


WITTLI FF, BILL. "Lonesome Dove, Del Río, 1988," cover image. Courtesy of South-

C<eJ wirh west Writers Collection, Texas State University, San Marcos.
WRIGHT, BILL. "Early Morning at Paso Lajitas," © 1994, pg. 156; "Baby and Horse,

hed bv che Boquillas, Coahuilla, Mexico," © 1985, pg. 318. Photographs © Bill Wright. Re-

ighr Clear- printed with permission of the photographer.

m :'\"ichols.
EXCERPTS THAT WERE PUBLIC DOMA IN

69; ..Irriga- GREGG, JOSIAH. Excerpt from Commerce of the Prairies, first published in 1844.

n Lcvce. la HILL, ROBERT T. Excerpt from "Running the Cañons ofthe Rio Grande," first pub-

che Border, lished in Century Magazine, 1901.

d with per- REED, JOH N. Excerpt from Insurgen: Mexico, first published in 1914.

ico Paredes.
15(011.

'· ( 1996by

can .\ lother
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horographv,
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