Mexican Contribution in Big Bend: A Homesteader's Story

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Mexican Contributions to Survival The Langford’s’ survival in the Big Bend country can be attributed to many things. Excluding the main reason for their survival, the hot spring, the aid they received from various Mexicans in the Big Bend area contributed the most to the survival of the Langford’s. Without the help of their Mexican companions, the Langford’s would not have found the property, let alone been able to take care of it or know how to get around it. Before leaving for their new property in Big Bend, the Langford’s hired some help for the trek. Oscar Langford, the narrator, says that “The banker in Alpine who’d recommended Juan Salas to [him] had pointed out that Juan was a regular freighter between Terlingua and Alpine; [He] supposed Juan must know his business” (Langford 13). Because the Langford’s had never before been into Big Bend Country, hiring Juan was a huge advantage because Juan had been back and forth numerous times. Juan knew his way around which made the trip there much easier, especially when it came time to eat. Looking around, Oscar could not find any firewood to burn in order to cook the quail he had shot. Of course, Juan knew exactly where to find firewood as “Juan rose, dragged a grubbing hoe from his wagon, and strode out to the edge of camp, where he started digging around a dead mesquite shrub […] Stooping, he dragged from its earthen bed a long stick of wood worthy of being carried to any camper’s fire” (15). Without Juan’s knowledge of the land, Oscar may not have been able to cook his quail, leaving his daughter and pregnant wife hungry. Because the bush was dead, Oscar did not think to use it, but Juan knew there was sufficient firewood under there, they just needed to grub for it. During the first winter in Big Bend Country, Oscar admits that money was tight. However, Mexicans helped him yet again as Oscar explains that he

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