A proud, hard-working and humble people ruthlessly stripped of property, every last meager possession ripped from their calloused hands, their priceless dignity annihilated by a distant, unhinged tyrant. It’s the basis of ancient fairy tales and modern day action flicks the world over. From the Brothers Grimm to Star Wars to The Matrix, it’s a seductive narrative, tried and true, that appeals both to our shared European immigrant roots and our independent, uniquely American sensibilities. There may be dragons to fight or droughts to overcome, brave country knights or rugged cowboys chopped up and cut down. But there is always a hero, one who puts his own safety aside and risks all to stand up fearlessly against overwhelming odds.
Such was the case in an exotic, untamed land far to the west of power and wealth, an almost mythological place full of treasure and peril, with flashy, savage names. Countries within a country, the Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada territories. Lands once free, until jackbooted thugs wearing the insignia of collectivist war lords rode into town and stole the chosen people blind. The problem is, like most bedtime stories, it’s pure fairy dust. But there sure is some stealing going on … [Read more…]