• Ashley Wagner

Reserve, New Mexico

Updated: Oct 3, 2018


Reserve was named upper San Francisco Plaza by Hispanic settlers, which now holds about 400 residents. Because it is located in Apache hunting lands, it was subject to frequent attacks. “I will show the Texans there is at least one Mexican in the county who is not afraid of an American Cowboy” – Elfego Baca, 1884 “In 1884 western Socorro County, New Mexico was untamed; the San Francisco river valley a Spanish ranching community invaded by Texas cattlemen. Tensions between Texas cowboys and the local Spanish residents had escalated to violence. A young resident was castrated by a local cowboy, but the law was 120 miles away in Socorro. Frisco needed help or a miracle. Nineteen-year-old Elfego Baca answered the call. He was only 19 years old and packed a mail order badge when he rode into town on a buggy. After arresting one of the cowboys, a standoff ensued and Baca took shelter in a tiny mud shack, the jacal belonging to Geronimo Armijo. His fortress was made only of sticks and mud. Eighty cowhands from the surrounding ranches surrounded the shack and engaged in a gunfight, during which the men fired more than 4,000 rounds into the jacal. Baca and a statue of Saint Anne survived the onslaught and emerged after thirty-six hours unharmed due to the floor of the jacal being dug out into an area that allowed Baca to escape the bullets. The Frisco Shootout was the largest and longest gunfight in history. One lone man with two 6-guns against about 80 well-heeled cowboys. After the gunfight, the atrocities against the local citizens of the Frisco valley stopped.

Elfego was tried and acquitted of killing one of the cowboys after the door to the jacal, with over 360 bullets, was presented as evidence. Baca was admitted to the Bar in 1894 at the age of 29. Later he became a Deputy United States Marshall, an assistant district attorney, the mayor of Socorro, and Sheriff of Socorro County. Elfego Baca died in 1945."



Sources: Elfego Baca Project

True West Magazine


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