by Elton Miles
Hidden treasures dot the Big Bend country of far west Texas. From the Guadalupes to the Chinatis and the Chisos, lost mines and abandoned hoards lie like magnets, pulling at the treasure hunter’s heart. Or so the stories go. But perhaps the stories are themselves the hidden treasures.
The Big Bend has always attracted an unusual sort of settler, and the settlers have spawned an unusual wealth of lore. Their tales live in the oral tradition of the place, adding to its color, mystery, and appeal. There is horse trader Zack Miller, who has to unload two thousand horses bought from the Mexican army of Victoriano Huerta. There is generous Maggie Smith, who trades in candelilla wax (obtained legally or otherwise), raises “stray” children who need a home, and cares for every honest passerby. Evans Means appears, weathering the border troubles the Mexican Revolution spawned by putting “a smile on his face, a pistol on his hip, two languages on his tongue, and [drinking] coffee with anybody on the border.”
For more than thirty years Elton Miles collected the lively stories and legends that spring from the unique Big Bend lifestyle. A companion to his successful Tales of the Big Bend, this collection will fascinate visitors to the region and will make a lasting contribution to the annals of Texas folklore.