The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956 Page: 133
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iniscences of the taming and settlement of a sector of the Llano
Estacado (Staked Plains) and Ceja (Cap Rock) of eastern New
Mexico and western Texas, extending from Las Vegas to the Pan-
handle of Texas. Mrs. Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, author of the Good
Life (1949) and the much publicized Historic Cookery, is a de-
scendant of one of the early settlers in the region about which she
writes. Born and reared on one of the large ranches near Las
Vegas, she describes authentically the life of the late nineteenth
and early twentieth century Hispano-American sheep and cattle
ranchers. Except for the fact that the early inhabitants were of
Spanish descent and their principal industry for a while was sheep
raising, their life seems to have been little different from that in
general among those who conquered the Great Plains.
In a quaint, if somewhat disorganized, rambling style, the author
has attempted to recapture the hopes, joy, happiness, lonely soli-
tude, despair, frustrations, trials, and tribulations of the Spanish-
speaking sheep and cattle barons and their ranch hands on the
broad expanses of the open high plains. These persons lived alter-
nately, depending upon the weather, amidst a sea of grass and
the interminable bleakness and desolation of winter snows and
ice or prolonged droughts.
Graphic descriptions are given of the picturesque life of the
sheepherder and, more especially, of the cattle rancher who each
year staged a roundup (rodeo) for branding, marking, and other-
wise disposing of the cattle on the unfenced range; of the partidario
system (share-ranching) ; of isolated domestic life; of the colorful
but cruel cock race (corrida); of bandits, Indian raids, and rustlers;
of the baile (dance) ; of religious worship; of the author's personal
experiences as a country school teacher; of mustang and buffalo
hunts; of the Comancheros (Comanche Indian traders) and how
the New Mexicans connived with the Indians to steal cattle from
the Texas ranchers and sell them further west or north; of the
coming of the railroads and the farmers ("Milo Maizes"); and
of the rivalry between the ranchers and farmers, the Hispanos
and Texans, and between the sheepmen and cattlemen as evidenced
by the belling of the lobo.
The reader is impressed with the importance of rain and
droughts in the life of the people of the llano. "Money in our
lives," writes Mrs. Cabeza de Baca, "was not important; rain was
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 59, July 1955 - April, 1956, periodical, 1956; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101162/m1/151/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.