Diary of a Desert Trail

To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Empire Ranch ERF has republished Edward L. Vail’s Diary of a Desert Trail, illustrated by photos from ERF’s archives and other library collections.  Vail first shared the colorful story of the 1890 cattle drive from the Empire Ranch to California’s Warner’s Ranch through a series of articles in the Arizona Daily Star in 1922.

Vail and Tom Turner, six cowboys of Mexican descent, and one Chinese cook, drove 900 cattle over 500 miles through the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and California and across the Colorado River.  The story, based on a diary kept by Vail during the two month and ten day trip, recounts their adventures and hardships including stampedes, the scarcity of water and feed, the arrest of two horse thieves, difficulties crossing the Colorado River, and an unwelcome tax collector.

Copies ($15) can be purchased from the ERF gift shop at the Empire Ranch or from Amazon.

Posted 10/30/2016