by David Gross
Tom Tobin, an illiterate hunter, trader, rancher, Indian fighter and sometimes U. S. Army guide, led a small detach-ment of soldiers to hunt the Espinosas. He tracked them down, used his Hawken 54 caliber rifle to kill them at long range then cut off their heads. He returned to Fort Garland with the grisly trophies but refused the huge reward for killing them. The era of the Mountain Man, the San Luis Valley and events leading to and following the Mexican-American War provide the backdrop for this story of revenge, redemption, repentance and brutality. After the war, Americans took huge tracts of community property lands from the New Mexicans. Was this why Gringos were the targets of the Espinosas?