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Outlaw Past

“Colorado seems to think of its history in more wholesome terms than other Southwestern states,” says author Charles F. Price. “New Mexico and Arizona and so forth, they’re big on their outlaws and their feuds and fights, but the Colorado historical establishment is more about mining and railroading and exploration, more seemly subjects than just lawlessness.”

Price’s new book, Season of Terror: The Espinosas in Central Colorado, March-October 1863, from University Press of Colorado, delves into that lawlessness. To write it, Price researched the violent history of the “Bloody Espinosas,” three Hispanic outlaws who set out to kill every Anglo in the Colorado Territory. The book tells the story of the Espinosas and their 32 victims, looking at what might have spurred the murderous rampage as well as the people who tracked the outlaws down.

“It’s not just a blood-and-thunder thing of tracking down a bunch of killers,” says Price, who investigated possible motives for the spree, including the political climate at the time, in which newly conquered people were forced to pay taxes and obey laws that were not theirs, and involvement in a violent religious fraternity known for self-flagellation. In a related scenario, “several people were either seriously injured or killed [because someone thought] they were the Espinosas when they weren’t, simply because they looked suspicious,” explains Price. “Colorado needs to take a harder look at its own history.”

Price will do that tonight, discussing and signing Season of Terror at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. For more information, visit and
Mon., July 1, 7:30 p.m., 2013


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