The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

of the images. Additionally, an unfortunate layout separates the chapters de-
scribing the photographs' historical backgrounds from the images themselves
and the text does not refer to pages on which they appear.
Historians have traditionally been uncomfortable with images, frequently
letting picture editors add them after the text is completed. To Samponaro and
Vanderwood's credit, they demonstrate what rich resources photographs can
be, especially with a subject that was photographed so extensively by both
professionals and amateurs. Photographers are not entirely objective, however,
but make choices that affect how their intended message will be communicated.
The authors have ignored this point and frequently say only that Runyon "was
there with his camera." They succeed in bringing to our attention the treasures
in this vast collection, but leave to future scholars the chore of mining these
artifacts for their complex messages.
The Last Conquzstador: Juan de Orlate and the Settling of the Far Southwest. By Marc
Simmons. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991. Pp. xvi+ 20o8.
Preface, introduction, sources, index, illustrations, figures, maps, photo-
graphs. $24.95.)
War, mutiny, and starvation hounded Juan de Ofiate, the founder of New
Mexico and Spain's last and most pathetic conquistador. According to Marc
Simmons, these disasters stemmed primarily from Ofiate's own flaws. Ofiate's
sixteenth-century Spanish mind made him seek quests and noble gestures. He
imagined a kingdom of New Mexico as being his perfect beau geste. Fueling this
was the example of his father, Cristobal, a Mixton War hero and Zacatecas
silver baron. These forces made Ofiate a conquistador rather than a colonizer
and incapable of adapting to the reality that was New Mexico.
After founding New Mexico in 1598, Ofiate led long searches for Quivira,
the Straits of Amnin, wealthy Indian empires, and silver deposits. These yielded
nothing and merely dissipated the colony's strength. Many of his colonists, like
those at Jamestown a decade later, were young adventurers dreaming of riches
and titles rather than farming. When none materialized, some mutinied and
tried to return to Mexico. In the middle of these hardships, the Pueblo Indians
Unwilling to admit failure, Ofiate became a tyrant. He waged bloody war
against the Pueblos, executed the mutinous soldiers, and murdered several
men who tried to leave New Mexico. Word of his actions eventually leaked out
and in 16o0 the crown replaced him. While Ofiate's dream failed, New Mexico
survived and he can be credited with establishing a permanent Spanish colony
in North America, helping found Santa Fe, and extending the El Camino Real
by almost a thousand miles.
Simmons's informative and well-written biography, part of the Oklahoma
Western Biographies series, will appeal especially to general readers and un-
dergraduates. Academics may balk at his heavy reliance on published and sec-
ondary sources and the lack of footnotes or endnotes. Some might also wisn


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed September 1, 2015.