NR Digital

‘The Old West in Your Mind’

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Guns and getup at End of Trail

Edgewood, N.M. — Down in the valley, the festivities are well under way. Main Street teems with men, women, and children — some dressed in buckskins; others in leather waistcoats, chaps, spurs, and bandanas; yet more in the gaudy, ersatz dress of the 1960s B-western. Everyone is in hats and boots, with revolvers on most hips. A trio of steers amble past, and, for a brief moment, everybody stares.

Here, the stores have evocative names. The main drag boasts the Copper Queen Hotel, SASS Mercantile, River Crossing Leather, Long Hunter Shooting Supply, and Texas Jack’s Wild West Outfitter. Cimarron Firearms has an emporium, too, as do both Ruger and Taylor’s. There is a Spanish mission, its iron bell and white adobe-and-stone cross pushing upward into the afternoon sky. And littered chaotically around 480 acres of brush and sand are a host of abandoned wagons, half-finished wooden fences, and sun-bleached skulls — rams, longhorns, you name it. On the outskirts of town, a “No guns after 5 p.m.” sign does its part to keep the peace.

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