Synopses & Reviews
This volume recounts eleven homicides in New Mexico during the Mexican period. In colorfully written vignettes, the author explores the social and cultural tensions that erupted in lethal violence in this isolated Mexican territory. Homicide in frontier New Mexico was the culmination of violence between family members, between neighbors, and against and by foreigners. The author describes and analyzes the murder, motive, investigation, trial, and sentencing in each case. Even on this remote frontier, civil authorities aggressively applied their legal tools to bring the violent offenders to justice, although sentences were rarely executed.
Homicide and its aftermath provide an intimate view of social and cultural history. The testimony of farmers, laborers, and artisans reveals their struggle to live and prosper in the deserts and mountains of New Mexico. Preceding each chapter is a case summary listing the murder, investigators, alcaldes, prosecutors, defenders, lawyers, witnesses, and others.
Table of Contents
New Mexico under Mexico, 1821-1846 -- Frontier justice -- The bad life -- Death before Christmas -- The servant boy -- Murder in the Bosque -- Domestic violence -- Death at a fandango -- A matter of honor -- Trouble in Tomâe -- Murder within the community -- Death in a mining camp -- The missing peddler -- Two Frenchmen -- An acquittal -- Conflict with foreigners.