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The Trail Driver: Zane Grey (1931)

Sometimes I press publish without meaning to. That happened this time. This is a more coherent review than the horror that was sent out the first time.

Translator: Hansheinz Werner

Translator: Hansheinz Werner

Zane Grey’s stories were mainly written to entertain. Entertainment was achieved through action- and romance-driven stories. For a story written in the early 1900’s, there was quite a bit of cussing and violence. Readers should be aware of changes in word-usage. “Ejaculation” in The Trail Driver is used about conversations: ““World comin’ to an end!” ejaculated Texas Joe.” Commonly used words back then are considered racist today. Views expressed in The Trail Driver romanticize cowboys and discriminate against women, Native-Americans and African-Americans. In most ways The Trail Driver is representative of the propaganda of its day (Wisniewski/Nakamura).

American tribes

Portion of US map compiled by Aaron Carapella detailing Americans in the US before Europeans invaded

By the time of the cattle-drives, most of the Plains Indian tribes had been decimated in the genocide of Native American (Jawort). The Comanche were too busy trying surviving the American Army to fight cattle drives for anything but survival (Miheshua, p. 14).

The Trail Driver enters the US at a turning-point of the cattle-drives (1871). It was first published as a serial in McCall’s Magazine, Oct. 1931—Feb. 1932 and later published as hard-cover by Harper & Bros in 1936. Friesen points out that Zane Grey got the crossing of the Chisholm Trail at Doan’s Store wrong. Other than that, Grey seems to have his facts straight. (VC Friesen, ch. 27).

Adam Brite is a Euro-American, middle-aged, single and childless man. He has just made a profit off a run on the Chisholm-trail and seeks to further that profit by a second run. This time he is overly optimistic in buying 4500 head of long-horns (ornery buggers) plus about 200 mustangs for his remuda.

“A 12-man crew could manage a herd of 2,000 to 3,000 head. The trail boss was the ultimate authority on the trail, like the captain of a ship, and was paid $100 to $125 a month. Of the rest of the crew, the cook was the most important, earning about $60 per month.” (Texas Almanac)

Adam’s role in the story is that of father-figure. He joins in the work and tries to not play favorites. In many ways Brite’s role is to point out to the reader what might be going on inside people’s heads: “that the Uvalde cowboy had been shot through the heart by something vastly different from a bullet.” Sometimes he pranks Joe or Reddie if the mood hits him. I guess Adam is a greedy, kind-hearted racist man who was somewhat aware of his own racism.

The foreman Adam got himself has an excellent reputation. Like any good owner, he lets Texas Joe Shipman handle the crew as Joe sees fit. Joe is “tall amber-eyed, tawny-haired young giant might well play havoc with the heart of any fancy-free girl“. Fortunately, he is much more than that. He has to keep the feisty crew in check. Like he says: “I reckon I gotta make myself disliked,” The person he struggles most with (in true Zane Grey romance style) is Reddie Blayne. Joe organizes defense and offense against cattle-rustlers (Russ Hite and gang) and deals with Commanches. His worst problems are the combination of weather and long-horn cattle. .

Joe brings his friend Less Holden along “No better ever forked a hawse. But Less is the wildest hombre.” We don’t see much of Less during the story. His character is one on the outskirts of the crew and its adventure. Less calls himself a “walking calendar” due to his ability to figure out what day it is. The explanation is quite mundane, but I do not want to be a spoil-sport.

Library of Congress

Photo by William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942

Alabama Moze is the cook. “It took no second glance for the boss to be assured that this cook was a treasure“. He brought his own stocked chuck-wagon. In addition to being the place where food is made, the cowhands sleep under it if it rains. Alabama’s job is tough. In addition to getting up hours before the drivers and wranglers, Alabama has to haul wood whenever it was available or use dried cow/buffalo-turds for his fire. At times the chuck-wagon has to be hauled across rivers that sometimes went wild. Alabama is African-American. Grey shows us how African-Americans were usually (Massey, SA) treated on cattle-runs, “... On the trail it was not usual for any rider to share the tasks of a negro. Manifestly Pan Handle Smith was a law unto himself…”. Being the cook, Alabama was probably treated better than regular African-American cow-hands. He is the only one of the crew whose fate we do not learn.

Pan Handle Smith is a gun-fighter and “might have rode up this Trail with Jesse Chisholm an been doin’ it ever since.” Giff MacShane told me that Pan is Pecos Smith in West of the Pecos. When Adam hires him, Smith is looking to get out of San Antonio. Gun-fighters weren’t bad guys/gals per se. “Pan Handle Smith had been outlawed, but he had really been more sinned against than sinning.” During the story, Smith calms tempers in both cattle and feisty teen-agers and supports Shipman as foreman.

The Uvalde quintet are “de finest an’ fightenest boys I ever seen,“. Their leader is Deuce Ackerman who “appeared to be the most forceful personality“, a quality needed to handle his friends. We see more of him than the other four. San Sabe comes a close second. San Sabe “had Indian or Mexican blood, and his lean shape wore the stamp of vaquero.” He has a lovely voice and it works wonders “That was the magic by which the trail drivers soothed the restless long-horns.” Rolly Little is “small and round. He had yellow hair, a freckled face, and flashing brown eyes, as sharp as daggers.” Ben Chandler is a “typical Texas youth, long, rangy, loose-jointed, of sandy complexion and hair, and eyes of clear, light blue“. His drinking problem gets him into serious trouble with Deuce, Joe and Adam. Roy Hallett is the last of the five. He is “a quiet, somber, negative youth“.

In addition, Adam is joined by Hal Bender, “the tenderfoot from Pennsylvania, appeared to be a hulking youth, good natured and friendly, though rather shy“, and Whittaker (no first name) was “a red-faced, sleepy-eyed, young rider of twenty-two, notable for his superb physique“. Finally, at Pecan Swale, their first stop, their last addition in the form of Reddie Bayne arrives: “Before the rider stopped Brite answered to a presagement not at all rare in him—that there were meetings and meetings along the trail. This one was an event.” Brite is correct in his presentiment. No Reddie, no The Trail Driver.

Artist: Edward Rapier, July 27, 1878

Artist: Edward Rapier, July 27, 1878

Shortly after the arrival of Reddie, Grey reveals that Bayne is a girl. While not common, women on the trail were a known phenomenon. They chose this tough life for many reasons. “An’ I got the idee pretendin’ to be a boy would make it easier. Thet helped a lot. But I’d always get found oot.” Turns out the last boss who found her out wants her back. Wallen, a rancher from Braseda, is a nasty guy. He rides into the camp at Pecan Swale demanding Reddie: “… I want this rider, Reddie Bayne. He come to me in a deal I made with Jones at Braseda.” At this point the crew learns that Reddie is a girl. Adam has known it for some time.

Wallen is joined by Ross Hite. Ross is a cattle- and mustang-rustler. “Humph! Mebbe Hite is at the haid of this new game,” declared the boss, seriously. “Cattle-drivers sometimes lose half their stock from stampeders. I’ve heahed of one whole herd bein’ stole.” To add to the tension of the story, Grey throws in Comanche raiders.

The Indian mustangs were haltered to the saplings at the edge of the glade. What a ragged, wild-eyed bunch! They had nothing but halters. These they strained against at every rifle-shot. And more than a few of them faced the covert where the drivers lay in ambush. They had caught a scent of the whites. Heads were pointed, ears high, nostrils quivering.

Even the weather conspires to make life miserable for the drivers. In real life, the weather and ornery nature of the long-horns were enough of a challenge on most drives.

The night fell dark, with rumble of thunder and sheet lightning in the distance. The tired cattle bedded down early and held well all night. Morning came lowering and threatening, with a chill wind that swept over the herd from the north. Soon the light failed until day was almost as dark as night. A terrific hailstorm burst upon the luckless herd and drivers. The hailstones grew larger as the storm swept on, until the pellets of gray ice were as large as walnuts. The drivers from suffering a severe pounding passed to extreme risk of their lives. They had been forced to protect heads and faces with whatever was available. Reddie Bayne was knocked off her horse and carried senseless to the wagon; San Sabe swayed in his saddle like a drunken man; Texas Joe tied his coat round his sombrero and yelled when the big hailstones bounced off his head; bloody and bruised, the other drivers resembled men who had engaged in fierce fistic encounters.

I still enjoy Zane Grey’s stories, but keep on wondering how I would read them if I was Native American or African American. Whenever gender bias comes up, I’m jarred out of the flow. That is most likely a good thing and might well have to do with my sense of fairness evolving. Reading stories that were written almost 100 years ago, is always a strange experience. Noting that many stories today are still as problematic is kind of depressing.

During its heyday, between 1867 and 1884, some five million cattle and an equal number of mustangs were moved along the trail. 


The Trail Driver is available for free at Faded Page and Roy Glashan’s Library


Reviews:


Translations:

  • Croatian: Gonič stada; Translator: Omer Lakomica; Rijeka, Otokar Keršovani, 1966
  • Czech: Jezdci z pastvin; Translator:  Jaroslava  Vojtěchová; Praha: Olympia (to 1992), 1965
  • Finnish: Aavikon ratsastaja; Translator: Werner Anttila; Porvoo, Helsinki, W. Söderström, 1939
  • German: In der Prärie; Translator: Dr. Franz Eckstein, Berlin, Th. Knaur Nachf, 193
    • Sie kämpften sich durch; Translator: Hansheinz Werner; München: F. Schneider, 1969
    • In der Prärie; Translator: Hansheinz Werner; München: Heyne, 1981
  • Hungarian: A vöröshajú leány; Translator: Ruzitska Mária; Budapest, Palladis, 1937
  • Italian: La lunga pista; Translator: Simonetta Damiani; Milano, Sonzogno, 1968 (Cover artist: Guido Crepax)
  • Portugese: O guia da montanha; Translator: Fernanda Pinto Rodrigues; Lisboa: Ag. Port. de Revistas, 1959
  • Spanish: El conductor de manadas; Translator: Lino Novás Calvo / José Luis Fernández; Barcelona, Juventud, 1937

Sources

 

 
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Posted by on 2016-06-08 in Books

 

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The Trail Driver: art

 

 
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Posted by on 2016-05-26 in Artwork

 

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New monument to honor Paiutes slain in Circleville Massacre

Paiutes are some of the main characters in Zane Grey’s Wild Horse Mesa. Given his relationship with Paiute individuals, I imagine he would have strong feelings about this massacre and the role of the Mormons. This article about the intended memorial tells the story of the killing of 30 Paiute men, women and children for no other reason than unfounded fear and lack of information.

By , Deseret News
Published: Thursday, April 14 2016 12:45 p.m. MDT | Updated: Thursday, April 14 2016 10:46 p.m. MDT

An artist’s rendering of a new memorial that will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago. The monument will be dedicated April 22, 2016.; By Sunrise Engineering

A new memorial will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago.

CIRCLEVILLE, Piute County — A new memorial will mark a dark but rarely mentioned moment in Utah history when Mormon settlers slaughtered as many as 30 Paiute men, women and children in the small town of Circleville 150 years ago.

The massacre with guns, knives and clubs happened in April 1866 during the Black Hawk War because of unfounded fears by the settlers that the Paiute Koosharem band posed a threat, even though the two groups had been friendly.

Despite being the worst atrocity committed against Native Americans in Utah, it became a hidden chapter in state history. Paiute people know little of what happened to their ancestors. Circleville residents — none of whom are original descendants of the perpetrators — don’t talk about it.

But that is changing.

The Paiute Tribal Council, Utah Division of State History, Circleville, LDS Church Historical Department, Utah Westerners and some independent historians felt compelled to recognize the victims.

On April 22 — the suspected date of the massacre — they will dedicate a monument to the slain Paiutes in Memorial Park in Circleville. It will provide a solemn place of contemplation and commemoration to honor the victims of one of Utah’s saddest episodes.

“I think it’s going to be beautiful,” said Dorena Martineau, Paiute Tribe cultural resources director. “Hopefully the remains, the spirits of our past ancestors can come to rest.”

The Paiute Tribe wrote the inscriptions for the granite monument, which in part say, “None of us can ever hope to describe the emotions that these people might have felt. All we can do is honor their existence as human beings.”

“The story here is about the victims, and it’s about the process of forgetting the victims,” said Jed Rogers, a Utah state historian. “How is that we have a tragic event that very, very few people in this state know anything about. That, to me, compounds the tragedy of Circleville.”……….

The rest of the article is on Deseret News

 
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Posted by on 2016-04-17 in General

 

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Image

Art based on “Wildfire”

My book-review of Wildfire

 
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Posted by on 2015-12-20 in Artwork

 

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Films based on “Wildfire”

1922: When Romance Rides (Wildfire)

  • Directed by Jean Hersholt, Eliot Howe and Charles O. Rush
  • Produced by Benjamin B. Hampton
  • Starring Claire Adams, Carl Gantvoort and Jean Hersholt
    • Harry Van Meter, Charles Arling, Mary Jane Irving, Tod Sloan and Audrey Chapman
  • Portugese: Romance da Planície

“When Zane Grey‘s novel, Wildfire, was filmed here, it somehow turned into a hoary Drury Lane-style melodrama, set in the West instead of England. While chasing an unruly colt through the hills, Lin Slone (Carl Gantvoort) is knocked unconscious. Lucy Bostil (Claire Adams) finds him — a stroke of luck, since her father (Charles Arling), who owns a stable, has a formidable rival in the villainous Bill Cordts (Harry L. Van Meter). Cordts will do anything to make sure his horse beats out Bostil’s in the next race, including drugging the steed. Slone has trained his colt, named Wildfire, to carry a rider, and he gives him to Lucy, providing she ride it in the race. She does, and Wildfire wins. But the story’s not over yet — in one last bit of villainy, Cordts and his half-wit accomplice, Joel Creech (a not-very half-witted Jean Hersholt), kidnap Lucy. Sloan, of course, heads into the mountains and rescues her for the requisite ending clinch. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Reviews:

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1949: Red Canyon (Wildfire)

Red Canyon was one of several medium-budget, Technicolor westerns turned out by Universal-International between 1949 and 1959. Howard Duff plays wandering cowpoke Lin Sloane, who spends most of the film trying to capture a fabled wild stallion. While thus occupied, he finds time to romance Lucy Bostel (Ann Blyth), daughter of the region’s most influential horsebreeder (George Brent). Conflicts arise when Lucy intends to race the captured stallion, much to the dismay of her father; there’s also a major brouhaha involving Sloane’s disreputable family heritage. Red Canyon was adapted by Maurice Geraghty from a rugged novel by Zane Grey. (Film Affinity)

Translation:

  • Austrian: Die rote Schlucht
  • Belgian: Le roi de la vallée
  • Brazil Portugese: Escrava do Ódio
  • Dutch: De Strijd in ‘t rotsgebergte
  • German: Hurrikan (TV) / Die rote Schlucht
  • Danish: De vilde hestes konge
  • Spanish: Huracán
  • Finnish: Tuliharja
  • French: Le mustang noir
  • Greek: Sto farángi tou trómou / Στο φαράγγι του τρόμου
  • Italian: Figlio del delitto
  • Portugese: Sangue Ardente
  • Swedish: De vilda hästarnas dal

Reviews:

  • Fred Blosser: Handsomely mounted and well acted, “Red Canyon” is an engaging, unpretentious tale about second chances that should be better known than it is.”
  • French forum for Western films: “Le jeu des acteurs secondaires est assez intéressant avec un (court) duo étonnant à l’écran : Chill Wills et Edgar Buchanan.”
  • Greenbriars Picture Shows: “… this was among loveliest-shot westerns the decade offered.”
  • James D’Arc: “School was cancelled and workers left their daily labor when Kanab locals were needed to get into costume and become a crowd at the Kanab Race Track for the horse-racing scenes …”
  • Jacqueline T. Lynch (Wonderful review): “Buchanan’s speech is so tangled up in the most outlandish and complicated blustering euphemisms that I’m surprised he could remember half his lines.  I’d love to see the outtakes; they’re real tongue-twisters and he had to have messed up sometimes.”
  • Once upon a time in a Western: “One of the better scenes is watching little Lucy’s reaction as she opens her birthday present from her dad, and finds it complete with corset, bustle and other female do-dads.”
  • Robert Cornell: “Only Chill Will’s typical character acting distinguishes this very minor and rather childish western.”
  • Scott O’Brien: “… Bostel mistakenly buys Lucy a frilly frock for her eighteenth birthday. He may as well have given her a cow pie.”
  • T.M.P., New York Times: “While “Red Canyon” is not a picture to create any special enthusiasm, it runs its course in agreeable enough fashion.”

———————————————–

Sources

 
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Posted by on 2015-09-15 in Movies

 

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The world Zane Grey wrote about

Map of North- and Central America just before contact with outsiders. Compiled by Aaron

Map of North- and Central America just before contact with outsiders. Compiled by Aaron Carapella

The above map compiled by Aaron Carapella at tribalnationsmaps.com shows what tribes were in existence and where they were just before they came into contact with non-Americans (or illegal immigrants as they are called today). Zane Grey mainly writes about the US but he also ventures into Canada and even as far south as Peru. Research shows that Native-American roots in the Americas go back at least 12 000 years to a time when people migrated across Beringua all the way down to what is known today as the Yucatan Peninsula.(*ed.)

Betty Zane is Zane Grey’s first story and also a semi-biographical work about his great-great… grandmother and her courage. Fort Henry (its final name) was finished in 1774 in West Virginia soon after the end of the French/British war for colonial ownership of the land. The American revolution between the British and the settlers were at its very beginning. Between and against the two were the Native Americans.

This map drawn by Thomas Conder shows how the immigrants saw North America in 1775. I have marked the approximate location of Fort Henry

Source: raremaps.com | I have marked the approximate location of Fort Henry

Source: raremaps.com | I have marked the approximate location of Fort Henry

By the end of the timeline of Zane Grey’s stories (1932), borders and languages had been changed to fit Western European/Christian thinking and politics and appear more or less as we know them today.

Source: mapsoftheworld.com

Source: mapsoftheworld.com

As time flows its inevitable way to change, these borders and languages will probably once again change hands.

Below is the timeline of Zane Grey’s Western stories and the Ohio River Trilogy (none of the children’s stories or semi-biographical works have been included). Along with that you will find the setting of the story. Dr. Kevin S. Blake at the Zane Grey West Society is responsible for most of this information.

Time Setting Title Year Publ. Place Setting
c. 1774 Betty Zane 1903 Fort Henry, Ohio River
1777-1782 The Spirit of the Border 1906 PA: Allegheny and Monongahela rivers
1783 The Last Trail 1909 Fort Henry, Ohio River
1856-1870 Fighting Caravans 1929 Santa Fe Trail
KS: Fort Larned
1861-1879 The Lost Wagon Train 1936 Santa Fe Trail
NM: Fort Union
1861 Western Union 1939 Western Union telegraph route (Omaha to Fort Bridger)
NE: Chimney Rock
1863 The Border Legion 1916 a) ID: central
b) MT: Virginia City, Alder Gulch
1864-1869 The U.P. Trail 1918 Union Pacific Railroad (Omaha to Promontory Point)
WY: Laramie Mountains
1865-1871 West of the Pecos 1937 TX: Pecos River Horsehead Crossing
TX: Langtry
c. 1870 Wildfire 1917 AZ: Lees Ferry, Monument Valley
1870s The Lone Star Ranger 1915 a) TX: Nueces River headwaters
b) TX: western, Mount Ord
1871 Riders of the Purple Sage 1912 UT: southeastern
AZ: Tsegi Canyon
1871 The Trail Driver 1936 Chisholm and Western cattle trails
TX: Colorado River crossing
1874-1877 The Thundering Herd 1925 TX: Red River & Pease River headwaters
TX: Llano Estacado
1874-1875 Knights of the Range 1939 NM: Cimarron
1877 Robbers’ Roost 1932 UT: Dirty Devil River, Henry Mountains
c. 1878 The Heritage of the Desert 1910 AZ: Lees Ferry, Painted Desert
1878-1892 Wanderer of the Wasteland 1923 a) CA: Chocolate Mountains
b) CA: Death Valley
1878-1885 Shadow on the Trail 1946 a) TX: Denton County
b) AZ: Tonto Basin, Doubtful Canyon
1880 Twin Sombreros 1941 CO: Las Animas
c. 1880 Valley of Wild Horses 1947 NM: Magdalena
c. 1880 The Fugitive Trail 1957 TX: Brazos River headwaters
1880s Raiders of Spanish Peaks 1938 a) KS: Garden City
b) CO: Spanish Peaks
1880s The Arizona Clan 1958 AZ: Tonto Basin
c. 1885 The Man of the Forest 1920 AZ: White Mountains, Pinedale
c. 1885 Sunset Pass 1931 AZ: Sunset Mountains
1885-1918 30,000 on the Hoof 1940 AZ: Mogollon Plateau, Miller Canyon
1886 The Rainbow Trail 1915 AZ: Tsegi Canyon
UT: Rainbow Bridge
1887 To the Last Man 1922 AZ: Pleasant Valley, Mogollon Plateau
1889 The Drift Fence 1933 AZ: Flagstaff, Mogollon Plateau
1889 The Maverick Queen 1950 WY: South Pass City
1889-1890 The Hash Knife Outfit 1933 AZ: Mogollon Plateau
c. 1890 The Mysterious Rider 1921 CO: Gore Range, Middle Park
c. 1890 Forlorn River 1927 CA: Tule Lake
c. 1890 “Nevada” 1928 a) CA: Tule Lake
b) AZ: Mogollon Plateau, Chevelon Canyon
c. 1890 Wild Horse Mesa 1928 UT: Kaiparowits Plateau
c. 1890 The Dude Ranger 1951 AZ: Springerville
c. 1890 Stranger From the Tonto 1956 a) Sonora: western
b) UT: Hole in the Rock
c. 1892-1905 Arizona Ames 1932 a) AZ: Hellsgate on Tonto Creek
b) WY: Pinedale
c) UT: Hurricane Cliffs
d) CO: Troublesome Creek in Middle Park
1896 Stairs of Sand 1943 CA: Salton Sea
c. 1900 Black Mesa 1955 AZ: Black Mesa
1906 Thunder Mountain 1935 ID: Salmon River Mountains
c. 1910 Horse Heaven Hill 1959 WA: Colville Indian Reservation
1912 Desert Gold 1913 a) AZ: Altar Valley
b) Sonora: Pinacate Range
1912 The Light of Western Stars 1914 AZ: San Bernardino Valley
NM: Peloncillo Mountains
1916-1919 The Vanishing American 1925 AZ: Kayenta
UT: Valley of the Gods, Navajo Mtn.
1917-1918 The Desert of Wheat 1919 WA: southeastern
1919-1920 The Shepherd of Guadaloupe 1930 NM: Las Vegas
1920-1921 The Call of the Canyon 1924 AZ: Oak Creek Canyon
1920 Rogue River Feud 1948 OR: Rogue River
1920s Under the Tonto Rim 1926 AZ: Tonto Basin
1920s Code of the West 1934 AZ: Tonto Basin
1920s Captives of the Desert 1952 AZ: Black Mesa
1920s Lost Pueblo 1954 AZ: Tsegi Canyon
1924 The Deer Stalker 1949 AZ: Kaibab Plateau, Grand Canyon
1930 Wyoming 1953 WY: Antelope Hills
1932 Majesty’s Rancho 1942 AZ: San Bernardino Valley
NM: Peloncillo Mountains
1932 Boulder Dam 1963 NV: Hoover Dam
Based on information from http://www.zgws.org/zggeomap.php

(*ed.) 10 02 2016 I edited the last part of this paragraph after it had been pointed out to me that my previous paragraph was highly offensive to Native-Americans. I unequivocally apologize for this offense and will strive to do better.

 

 
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Posted by on 2015-08-20 in General

 

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Gallery

Art based on “The Border Legion”

 
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Posted by on 2015-07-17 in Artwork

 

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