Wild West

ALWAYS BIGGER IN THE RETELLING

Kingston, New Mexico (population 32, according to the 2010 U.S. census), is a shadow of its former self. Once upon a time it was a busy place, an 1880s boomtown that went bust little more than a decade later. The town and its adjacent mines peaked around 1890 with perhaps 1,500 residents. But Kingston’s population grew postmortem. That’s how legends are made. It’s also the difference between heritage and history—the latter is what happened; the former is how we wish it to be. That Kingston was once the largest town in New Mexico Territory, boasting some 7,000 residents, has become our heritage—with no basis in truth.

Kingston traces its origin to the discovery of silver. In

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