Abel Stearns (top left) purchased Rancho los Alamitos in 1842. To the original hilltop adobe, he added a north wing, shown here, featuring a gabled roof and wood siding and floors. By the time this 1887 photo was taken, Stearns had long left the ranch due to financial reversals after losing thousands of cattle during the 1863-64 drought. John Bixby (bottom left) and his two partners were running the ranch. – Courtesy Rancho los Alamitos Foundation; Stearns portrait courtesy Huntington Library of San Marino, California –
Burros, the “ships of the desert,” were indispensable in hauling heavy loads of ore across scorching deserts and treacherous mountain terrain. This is a W.S. Smith photo of a burro train bringing gold from mines near Ouray, Colorado. – Courtesy Library of Congress –
Gunnin’ Granny Catherine “Cattle Kate” Jones wasn’t interested in shuffleboard and golf when she hit retirement age. This picture taken in the 1960s—when Jones was well into her 70s—shows the Cahava Ranch owner with a weapon at her side and still on duty as Cave Creek’s deputy sheriff.
The gentleman bandit, Black Bart, caught the eyes of collectors in 2012 when a circa 1883 cabinet card of the stagecoach robber went up for bid at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction. The winning bid came in at $42,500, a sum the robber would have considered princely. – Courtesy Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction –