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LEGEND OF GHOST HORSES CONTINUED...

"The canyon looks wild and pristine in the early morning, and in the absence of any other hikers we barely have to imagine the old days at all: they are right in front of us. Here, in the company of wild turkeys and roadrunners, we can practically see the ghosts of the last free Native Americans as they take refuge from the white men they’re warring against—carrying water over the clay soil, stockpiling supplies in caves, building their lodges. Nor is it difficult to conjure that fateful morning in September 1874, when, just a few miles southeast of us, a column of blue-uniformed soldiers under the command of Colonel Ranald S. Mackenzie made its way silently down the canyon’s steep walls and attacked a large Indian camp. The Indians, mostly Comanche and Kiowa, were still asleep; they had been told by a Kiowa medicine man that no bluecoats could possibly penetrate the canyon. Startled into a panic, they tried desperately to protect their horse herd, but it was too late: Mackenzie’s men captured 1,400 animals, and the fleeing Indians were forced to leave behind their clothing and lodges and all of their winter food supplies. Because Mackenzie knew the strategic value of horses, he later ordered about 1,100 of them shot. A pile of their bleaching bones remained for years, as though to document the end of two hundred years of Comanche dominion...."

-Written by Texas Monthly