American Auto Trail-Santa Fe Trail (La Junta to Trinidad CO)

This travel route explores the Military Branch of the Santa Fe Trail.

This route later became the path of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad and the National Old Trails Highway.

“Battle of Trinidad” on Christmas Day, 1867.

A wrestling match developed into a riot with almost a thousand people engaged.

During the free-for-all, a wrestler of the Spanish-speaking group was killed and his slayer, a

stage driver, was arrested.

Friends of the stage driver rallied in his behalf, broke into the jail, and freed him.

The prisoner and his liberators fled to an empty adobe building where they were besieged

by the sheriff and a sizable posse.

The siege lasted four days, during which several persons were killed.

A war party of the Ute tribe appeared and offered to help the posse overcome the English-speaking whites.

The offer was declined by the sheriff, who threatened to arrange a truce with the besieged and combine the whole force against the Indians if they did not withdraw.

The Ute thereupon departed.

On the fourth day, cavalry from Fort Lyon and Fort Reynolds appeared and placed the citv under martial law.

The soldiers were withdrawn several weeks later when the opposing factions, resenting the strict discipline of the military, again threatened to unite against the troops.

For many years the hostility engendered by the affair continued, although it never again reached such a violent height.

For more of our American Auto Trails and Slow Travels guides, available in print or eBook format, use one of the links below:


Lulu Press

Camera: Sony Active Camera FDR-X3000

Vehicle: “Sage” 2018 Nissan Rogue

Music Credits:

Slow Times Over Here/Midnight North

Ticker/Silent Partner

Beach Walk/Unicorn Heads

Pure Magic/Chris Haugen

Winds of Spring/the 126ers

Apex/Aakash Gandhi

Down the Street Blues/Unicorn Heads

American Frontiers/Aaron Kenny

Town of 24 Bars/Unicorn Heads

Twilight Train/Dan Lebowitz

Creek Whistle/Steve Adams

Waking to Reality/Unicorn Heads

Walking in the Sky/Nico Staf

Friendly Dance/Nico Staf

Chasing the Wind

Alta Loma Terrace/Wes Hutchinson

Beyond/Patrick Patrikios

Blue Macaw/Quincas Moreira

Feels/Patrick Patrikios


Sunshine on Sand/Unicorn Heads

Waiting/Andrew Langdon

Highway Wildflowers/Bird Creek

Hovering Thoughts/Spence

Road Home/Vyen

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