Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly Vol. 29, No. 4, Fall 2009, pp. 321
New Mexico is a state where regions and cultures collide. Partly situated in the western Great Plains, the lynchings and legal executions that have taken place in the former territory and current state illustrate tensions between the cultures residing therein. Robert J. Torrez, former New Mexico State Historian, ably captures the influence of the Anglos' "Judge Lynch" in the region formerly inhabited by Native Americans and later settled first by the Spanish and then the Anglo-Americans.
In the opening third of the book, Torrez provides an overview of hangings and capital punishment in the area. Concentrating on the territorial days, he succinctly updates the topic to New Mexico's most recent execution in the year 2000. In doing so, he provides the cultural, political, and historical context in which executions occurred.