Biography and Southwest

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Gila Country Legend: The Life and Times of Quentin Hulse

Nancy Coggeshall

If there was ever a "ring-tailed roarer" of the backwoods of New Mexico, he was Quentin Hulse (1926-2002). Hulse lived and worked most of his life at the bottom of Canyon Creek in the Gila River country of southwestern New Mexico, but his reputation spread far and wide. His western image appeared on a tourist postcard and souvenir license plate in the 1950s. Footage of a lion hunt led by Hulse and his hounds appeared on the Men's Channel in 2005, three years after his passing.

Hulse grew up primarily in western New Mexico when that ranch and mining country was still remote and raw. At the age of ten he witnessed a point-blank shooting, the culmination of an old-fashioned frontier feud. He followed his parents between mines and towns until his father established a ranch at Canyon Creek. While serving in the navy during World War II, he landed on the bloody beach at Okinawa. After returning from the war, he was shot in a bar near Silver City during a night of carousing.

Hulse was most at home in the rugged Gila Wilderness, in which he ranched and guided for fifty years. With compassion and nuance, Nancy Coggeshall tells the compelling biography of a unique western rancher constantly adjusting to the inroads of modernity into his traditional way of life. Drawing on oral history, archival sources, and her personal association with Hulse and the Gila, she brings this unique westerner, and New Mexican, to life.


Nancy Coggeshall moved from Rhode Island to New Mexico, after living in London, England; Toronto, Ontario; and the Eastern Townships of Quebec. She quickly found herself at home among the ranching families and slower paced small-town life of the Land of Enchantment. She resides in Reserve, New Mexico.


"( Gila Country Legend) is a chest full of information about the country and the people Quentin Hulse came up among and knew so well."


The Glenwood Gazette

"For those who didn't know Quentin Hulse, Coggeshall has brought a true Westerner back to life."


New Mexico Magazine

"For those who never got a chance to make (Quentin Hulse's) friendship, this biography is the next best thing."


Albuquerque Journal

"Nancy Coggeshall has written a memorable, compassionate, and colorful biography of this pioneer who made a hard-scrabble living raising livestock and hunting dogs, and as an outfitter, mule packer, and hunting guide for city-dwelling nimrods and fishermen."


Roundup Magazine

"At its heart, this book is a love story about the very last vestiges of the Old West. It's also about a cantankerous old cowboy and the people who orbited around him. It's about love for the land. And it's about two people in their later years colliding in a fusion of love, passion and respect. Gila Country Legend honors a man who is very likely the last of his breed. Nancy Coggeshall has done a remarkable job of capturing a character of the Old/New West, warts and all, and we are richer for the intimate tale she shares with us."


Tucson Weekly

"Coggeshall does a masterful job of weaving the place into the person and the person into the place. This work is highly recommended for the history or social studies classroom, public and academic libraries, and for anyone who enjoys biographies."


Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"( Gila Country Legend) is engrossing and full of surprises. And it rings true in depicting Hulse as one of those throwback Westerners who found himself more comfortable with the past than with modernity. The story will linger with you long after the last page is turned."


Santa Fe New Mexican

"Nancy Coggeshall's Gila Country Legend is a multifaceted work: part biography, part cultural and oral history, part geographical study, part autumnal love story. That the book succeeds at each, knitting together a fascinating portrait of the West and drawing in even readers unfamiliar with its southwestern New Mexico setting, speaks to the knowledge and talent of the author and the powerful draw of her subject, the mercurial cowboy Quentin Hulse."


Bloomsbury Review

"( Gila Country Legend) is a great tribute to a great life."


New Mexico Historical Review

Published in association with The Southwest Center, University of Arizona

6 x 9 in. 296 pages 30 halftones, 2 maps