Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

David Bajo


In certain pockets of rural America time functions in different measure. This collection of stories focuses on one such anomaly, the rural ranching community in northeastern New Mexico. In the shadow of ancient Volcanoes, the soil is thin, rocky, arid, but surprisingly fertile for native dry land grass. Elevation fluctuates from to 9,000 feet to less than 4000, depending on whether one is on top of a mountain or down in a canyon. It is a place where wealth is measured in cattle and land, where horses are a necessity and pressed Levis are considered Sunday dress. Life continues much as it did at the turn of the twentieth century, focused primarily on cattle, dependent on weather, and susceptible to wildfire and disease. The rancher and cowboy of today are not far removed from their 19th century counterparts. However, there are fewer and fewer men and women willing to take on the burden of ranch life. Those who do discover the work is still hard, but making a profit is much more difficult. Stories of this Hi-Lo Country, from the edge of the Rocky Mountains to the grasslands of Texas and eastern Colorado, serve as connection between generations, and as a vital link to displaced heirs of the ranching tradition. Beneath the Dry Teeth of Mountains explores the complicated realities of life in this remote region. Through fictional interpretation of true events and real people, this manuscript hopes to preserve a glimpse into a way of life that is steadily disappearing.


© 2020, Susan Doherty Osteen