Early Anglo settlers in the Old West crafted negative images of Latinos in part to help justify the takeover of land occupied by Mexicans and Spaniards at the time. Unfortunately, these depictions were perpetuated throughout the 20th century in art, popular culture, and media … eventually reshaping the narrative of the American West to the exclusion of the non-Anglo people. This book contrasts dominant lore with historical reality to provide a broad overview of the history and contributions of Latinos in the Old West.
Author D. H. Figueredo sets out to debunk the myths and falsehoods of the American West by chronicling the cultural perceptions that led to such historical inaccuracies. Through spellbinding accounts, chapters address such topics as the legends behind the caballeros, Mexican culture in the Old West, and the search for cities of gold in the Southwest. Arranged chronologically and thematically, the book examines how popular culture diminished the role of the Mexican vaqueros and illustrates how the image of the Anglo cowboy became the iconic symbol of the Old West.
- Introduces topics unfamiliar to most readers, such as the role of Spanish-Mexican Jews, the presence of the Spanish Inquisition in the United States, and the real Yellow Rose of Texas
- Reveals the duplicity of la leyenda negra to illustrate prejudices of the time
- Traces the development of stereotypes such as the Black Legend, banditos, greasers, Zorro, the Cisco Kid, and "loose women," and how these characterizations came to depict Latinos in the Old West in the popular imagination
- Documents Latinos' participation in the conquest of the territory west of the Mississippi