A Bonaza of One’s Own.
For Quanah Parker & Satanta.

America’s first Gilded Age rises from the brutal Depression of 1873-1879. Just then, two wealthy Victorians - Ireland’s John George Adair and his American wife, Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie – set sail from Ireland to NY, to begin their Wild West safari. Adair burns for a buffalo trophy, before it’s too late. And lo, in the summer of 1874, they head west under army escort, through a warp between 2 huge events. To their north: Gen. George Armstrong Custer ends his grand Gold Expedition into the Lakota’s sacred Paha Sapa, the Black Hills of Dakota. To their south: Col. Ranald “Bad Hand” Mackenzie spearheads the Red River (Buffalo) War against Commanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne bands who are rejecting the Reservation to save their buffalo and lifeways from destruction.

Adair fails to bag his trophy, but lands a far better catch -- Charlie Goodnight, a legendary trail blazer gone bust in the Depression. In the wake of America's Centennial and backed by Adair's money, they launch the real “Bonanza” – the Texas Panhandle's founding Cattle Empire. And lo, the vast JA (John Adair) Ranch would rise in the Palo Duro, America’s 2nd biggest canyon. Bordering the Staked Plains, it's set where Indians last tasted freedom. The JA's stunning growth will make Goodnight a Hall of Fame cowboy and John George Adair the world’s biggest Irish-born land owner.

These traces remain, hidden in plain sight:

American Progress (John Gast painting, 1872). Public Domain, from Wikipedia.


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Lighthouse rock formation in Palo Duro Canyon. Photo by Thomas Shahan.


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US Government 1887 Indian Terrority Map


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