By Kristy McCaffrey
When you hear Las Vegas you immediately think of the gambling mecca in Nevada, but there is another.
Las Vegas, New Mexico—located east of Santa Fe—was established in 1835 on the Gallinas River, near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
|Sangre de Cristo Mountains|
It prospered as a stop on the Santa Fe Trail and was 30 miles from Fort Union, a large Army outpost.
Las Vegas had a unique combination of Spanish and Anglo traditions. The white people held balls and church socials while the Spanish community held fandangos, or neighborhood dances, and fiestas.
The railroad arrived in 1879 and Las Vegas soon became one of the largest cities in the American southwest. The sophisticated town supported an opera house, social and literary clubs, an orchestra, and a theater. But Las Vegas also had a reputation for rowdiness, and had its fair share of gamblers, hoodlums, and fallen women. Infamous characters such as Doc Holliday and his companion, Big Nose Kate, as well as Billy the Kid, Jesse James, and Wyatt Earp all passed through in the late 19th century. The area later became known as a resort town because of its dry, temperate climate and the hot springs north of town, attracting wealthy patrons from as far off as Europe. These luxury resorts flourished during the 1880’s and early 1890’s.
Many movies have been filmed here, beginning with silent western films, from 1913 to 1915, to Easy Rider, Convoy, Wyatt Earp (starring Kevin Costner), All the Pretty Horses (with Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz), No Country for Old Men (with Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) and Paul (with Simon Pegg and Kristen Wiig).
My second book in my Old West romance series, The Dove, is set in Las Vegas and the surrounding countryside.
Wings of the West Series: Book Two
Disappointment hits ex-deputy Logan Ryan hard when he finds Claire Waters in the midst of a bustling Santa Fe Trail town. The woman he remembers is gone—in her place is a working girl with enticing curves and a load of trouble. As a web of deceit entangles them with men both desperate and dangerous, Logan tries to protect Claire, unaware his own past poses the greatest threat.
Plagued by shame all her life, Claire is stunned when Logan catches her on the doorstep of The White Dove Saloon dressed as a prostitute. She lets him believe the worst, but with her mama missing and the fancy girls deserting the place, she's hard-pressed to refuse his offer of help. As she embarks on a journey that will unravel the fabric of her life, one thing becomes clear—opening her heart may be the most dangerous proposition of all.