Territory who traded with the Comanches and, to a lesser degree, other
plains tribes during the 186o's and 1870's. They have been portrayed
generally as evil men, encouraging these Indians to war against the
whites and supplying them with arms, ammunition, and whisky in
return for stolen livestock. While there is some truth in this image,
Charles L. Kenner has indicated that it is not entirely accurate.
Predating the arrival of the Spanish and continuing until the 1870's,
a trade existed upon the complimentary natures of the economies
of the plains and the upper Rio Grande Valley. The instrusion of
the Comanches upset this beneficial relationship for a time, but
they, too, became involved, and New Mexico traders began to visit
the Comanche camps while plains Indian warriors traveled to trade
fairs at the pueblo of Pecos. Both parties benefited, and as a result, the
Comanches remained at peace with New Mexico although they raided
other portions of the Spanish and later the Mexican frontier.
Changes began to occur with the arrival of the Anglos, for American
encroachment and United States official policy produced discontent
among the Comanches. By 1864 war erupted. It was also during the
186o's that the character of the comanchero trade changed and the
image of the evil traders developed. Guns, ammunition, and whisky
were exchanged for livestock stolen in Texas. Major efforts were made
to suppress the traffic, and, although New Mexico courts treated the
traders favorably, constant patrols-along with the destruction of the
buffalo and the military campaign of 1874-1875-brought an end to
Much of the material covered here is familiar to historians, but
Professor Kenner has deepened our knowledge of relations between
the plains Indians and New Mexico and modified the traditional
portrait of the comancheros. Although the sections on the Spanish
and Mexican periods are based largely on printed material, they in-
dicate the duration of the trade. The latter portion of the book is
based solidly on primary material, and Kenner's new approach makes
it a useful contribution to the history of the Southwest.
University of New Mexico RICHARD N. ELLIS
Spanish Government in New Mexico. By Marc Simmons. (Albu-
querque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968. Pp. xv+238.
Illustrations, appendix, glossary, bibliography, index. $6.95.)
As every student of the Spanish borderlands knows, most of the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/. Accessed July 2, 2015.