The New Mexico Territory, in the Spring of 1873, Dona Ana County. The little town of Brimstone is over-run with Outlaws and Villains. Its “Deadwood”, “Silverado”, and “Fist-full Of Dollars” all rolled in to one. With maybe a taste of “High Plains Drifter”
Historically, New Mexico was pretty much pro-Union. Kit Carson had led an army of volunteers in the two major battles that happened in NM. The Battle of Val Verde, and the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Both were resounding defeats for the Rebels, although Glorieta Pass was a near thing. The Confederates had held Albuquerque for a little while, and there are rumors of gold and weapons still buried there left by them as they retreated. The Apache from the south are a big menace. So are the Navajo. For cliff house dwelling, “civilized” Indians, they are pretty savage. Navajo witches are greatly feared by other tribes. The Navajo have recently massacred all the Apache that had been encamped with them at the Bosque Redondo, on the Pecos River.
Rincon had been massacred by Apaches.and abandoned. Fort Thom had been as well. Las Cruces, to the south, is the big town in the area. Old Messilla is considered to be a bad town, full of banditos. Tularosa is to the north, as well as Lincoln County. The events there are just getting started. The Acheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad is working its way south from Denver. Most stage coaches still get through on the old trails, and the Pony Express is very reliable. The telegraph is starting to be used, but there are many places the wires don’t reach yet. The Rio Grande is used by smaller paddle-wheelers to move most goods. Its navigable as far north as Albuquerque and a bit farther.
Its a lawless time in a lawless area. Comancheros are selling whiskey and guns to hostile tribes. There are even rumors of slave trade going on with the French in Mexico. Juaristas are raiding the Nortenos to finance their rebellion against the Emperor Maximilian. Ex-Confederates are hiding in Mexico, looking north and hoping to start the war over, or carve a New Confederacy out of Mexico. The meager forces of the U.S. Army has more to do than it can handle.
Carpet-baggers have finished “reconstructing” Texas, have run out of land to steal, and are looking west,. Ancient secrets and treasures lay buried, left by the Anasazi, and the Aztec, and the Spanish. Coronado never found the Seven Cities of Gold…. Maybe he didn’t look in the right place?
The very ground yields rich gold and silver strikes, drawing all manner of low-lives, waiting to prey on the hard work of the miners. The land is fertile, even if its a bit dry. Cattlemen are carving out Empires. Settlers and farmers are drawn west, hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families.