This was true in Socorro County in 1884.
The year when a self-appointed deputy sheriff named Elfego Baca
set out to restore order to the small town of Frisco, near
present-day Reserve, New Mexico.
Southwestern New Mexico was still untamed, ranching country.
Geronimo would not be captured for another two years and Billy
the Kid was killed just three years before. It was a
time and place that cowboys did what they wanted, when they
Elfego Baca arrested one of these cowboys that were shooting
up the town of Frisco. The cowboy's friends wanted him
released. Something Elfego Baca wasn't going to do.
A standoff ensued when Baca took shelter in the tiny house
of Geronimo Armijo. The standoff resulted in a furious
attack by over 80 cowhands, in which over 4,000 rounds were
fired into the house by those outside. Elfego Baca managed
to kill four of his assailants and wounded eight others.
Thirty-six hours after it began, Elfego Baca walked out unharmed
and into history, at 19 years of age.
Baca was admitted to the Bar in 1894 at the age of 29.
Later he also became a Deputy United States Marshall, an
assistant district attorney, the
mayor of Socorro, and among other things, in 1919, became
Sheriff of Socorro County. Elfego Baca died in 1945.
In 1936, nine years prior to his death, he gave an
interview to Janet Smith who was doing depression-era interviews
as part of the W.P.A. lifehistories project. Although
short, Baca's indominatable spirit comes through. The
interview can be found at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/wpa/20040209.html
and the W.P.A. lifehistories project can be found at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/nmcat.html