Photograph courtesy of the Harvey Caplin Estate
New Mexico Book Co-op 2010 Winner
Honorable Mention for the
New Mexico Press Women's Award 2012
One of the Tucson-Pima County Library’s
“Notable Books of the Year 2009” for Southwest book lovers!
Gila Country Legend is a gem of study and observation. For fans of western individualism it's a benchmark for how much ground we've lost.
- Tom McGuane, author of Gallatin Canyon
“I have now read and totally enjoyed Gila Country Legend ….You have revealed [Quentin Hulse] as one of the most interesting complex major characters in New Mexican history to live in the last hundred years.”
- Howard R. Lamar, author of Charlie Siringo’s West and editor of The New Encyclopedia of the American West.
“Nancy Coggeshall’s Gila Country Legend is a multi-faceted work: part biography, 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."
- Jennifer Howard in The Bloomsbury Review
"Quentin Hulse braided his life so tightly to the Gila country that to read this haunting biography and memoir is to learn an entire history of a remarkable land and one of its most colorful figures. If you didn't know him, reading GILA COUNTRY LEGEND will make you wish you had, right before it makes you believe you did."
- Louis Warren, author of Buffalo Bill’s America and The Hunter’s Game
“Gritty, gripping, and authentic—GILA COUNTRY LEGEND memorably portrays the life of Quentin Hulse in New Mexico’s sprawling Gila country. His story rings true, recounting both his virtues and his flaws. No one else could have told this story as well or in such detail as Nancy Coggeshall.”
- Marc Simmons, historian
This Quentin ain’t quaint – he’s quintessential.
If there ever was a 20th-century mountain man, Quentin Hulse was it. His family roots in the Appalachians as well as their subsequent migrations to Texas and beyond is a familiar story for many ranching families in the Southwest. What makes this man stand apart is his survival not only as a cowman but as a hunter, guide, hounds man, and mule skinner, literally and figuratively. When one ponders his lifestyle and the most rustic if not primitive of living conditions for the vast majority of his life, you can only conclude this is a man who would have been most comfortable with Jim Bridger and company.
- Walter Piehl, Jr., Painter of Western Americana
The Life and Times of Quentin Hulse
A product of New Mexico’s southwest, Quentin Hulse (1926-2002) lived and worked from the bottom of Canyon Creek in the Gila River Country on the northern border of the Gila Wilderness. The force of his character and personality impressed people so deeply that stories about this legendary rancher, packer, guide, and hound man were told even in Tasmania and Baghdad. His photograph appeared on a tourist postcard and souvenir novelty license plate in the 1950s. (western-collectibles.com) The Men’s Channel broadcast footage of a 1962-lion hunt with him on New Year’s Day 2005; boys were named for him; and a song was written about him and recorded in 2003. (davemunsick.com)
Descended from genuine frontier stock, Quentin was raised during raw, woolly times, following his father’s vocational pursuits between ranches, mines, and towns until the family acquired the ranch at Canyon Creek. He witnessed a point-blank shooting when he was ten. As a seaman first class and a member of a beach battalion team on the USS Burlegih (APA-95), an attack transport, (navsource.org/archives) during World War II, he landed on the beach at Okinawa “before a Marine laid a track.” (lou.chirillo.com) And he was shot in a bar near Silver City when he returned from the war. His reputation as a hard-drinking hound man notwithstanding, Hulse was most at home in the Gila Wilderness, where he ranched and guided for more than fifty years. As a prankster, he ranks with the like of Randall Patrick McMurphy, the good soldier Schweik, Yossarian, and Cool Hand Luke.
This compelling biography of a rural ranching family and rancher demonstrates the constant adjustments to modernity into that traditional way of life and brings this unique westerner to life. Nancy Coggeshall has produced a vibrant grass-roots history of twentieth-century southwestern New Mexico, a region generally overlooked by historians.