Bungling Burglars of Old Arizona

Shadow of Burglar

Nefarious ne’er-do-wells, bent on leading a life of crime in the Arizona territory, knew their stock in trade had a few risks. It was hard to look innocent and inconspicuous while driving a herd of stolen horses or cattle. The encumbered perpetrators were also quite vulnerable to being pursued by an angry rancher and his hired hands. Whiskey running and small-time hold ups brought little return for the risk involved. Banks had lots of money, but they were located in towns where people didn’t take kindly to having their savings robbed, and posses could be formed quickly. That left stagecoaches and trains as likely victims. Both were especially vulnerable when pulling long grades or stopped at some remote station.

Antelope Canyon: An Abstract in Sandstone

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One of my favorite spots in Arizona is Antelope Canyon, a magnificent sandstone sculpture created by time and nature. Located near Page on the Navajo Reservation, the slot canyon is a photographer’s paradise because the waters that roar through it after a desert rainstorm have washed away portions of the canyon walls. What’s left behind are gentle swirls and abstract patterns on the remaining sandstone, enhanced by brilliant colors that multiply when the sun peeks over the rim.

Chance to Win Clay Thompson’s Latest Book in the Valley 101 Series

Valley101 Front Cover-250

The Arizona Republic columnist and Arizona Oddities contributor Clay Thompson has made a living out of answering the strangest questions in the newsroom and snarking on some of the people who ask them. Now, he’s gone one step further, asking his readers to submit recipes for a cookbook, just so that he can make money as a writer, but without having to do any of the writing itself. The Enormously Big, Official Valley 101 Cookbook will be available November 21. It retails for $9.95, but Arizona Oddities readers get the chance to win free copies!

Meet Arizona Oddities Authors at ArtFest of Scottsdale

Clay Thompson

You’ve read their informative and often humorous insights into Arizona life, and now you can meet two of the Arizona Oddities storytellers in person. On November 21 and 22, Clay Thompson and Marshall Trimble will host book signings at the ArtFest of Scottsdale, an outdoor festival featuring more than 200 artists. They will be part of a special “Book Street” for Arizona authors. The free event will be held at the Scottsdale Civic Plaza from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rex Allen: A Cross-Eyed Hero from Willcox

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Most fans of the old Western B movies watched Rex Allen fight the outlaws and rescue the heroines without ever realizing that he was once a cross-eyed country singer who performed at barn dances.

Fortunately for everyone involved (Allen and fans alike), he had corrective surgery shortly after his singing career took off in Chicago. But his eye problem is prominently mentioned on a bronze plaque placed next to his statue in Railroad Avenue Park in Willcox. The larger-than-life bronze sits across the street from the Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum and the Willcox Cowboy Hall of Fame.