Video: Graveyards of the Wild West: New Mexico

Nov 5, 2020 | 0 comments

Graveyards of the Wild West: New Mexico

In this video, Heather Moulton, author of the new book, Graveyards of the Wild West: New Mexico, discusses several old cemeteries in New Mexico. She also shares examples of pictures in the book, taken by photographer Susan Tatterson. The graveyards in small towns across New Mexico featured in this talk include Fort Sumner Cemetery and the grave of Billy the Kid, Shakespeare Cemetery in Lordsburg, Memory Lane Cemetery in Silver City, and cemeteries along U.S. Route 60, including in Quemado, Pie Town, Willard and Encino.

New Mexico is one of several states that make up the Wild West in the United States. New Mexico became a territory in 1853 and was later admitted into the Union on January 6, 1912, but it had a long, exciting history before that. The state that would become New Mexico was, like so much of the West, originally inhabited by Native Americans and, in the sixteenth century, colonized by Spain as part of Mexico. After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the United States acquired the land that eventually became Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California.

As with other Southwest states, gold and other precious metals were found in the nineteenth century, and pioneers, miners, cowboys, and outlaws converged on the Territory. Of course, with an influx of population comes a new need for graveyards. The cemeteries of the pioneer, mining, and cowboy towns carry on even as the towns have fallen to ruins. Some New Mexico graveyards linger in obscurity while others are cashing in on the area’s legends. Regardless of their conditions, the cemeteries offer powerful and precious reminders of New Mexico’s wild history.

Graveyards of the Wild West: New Mexico (Amazon affiliate link) invites you to learn not only about New Mexico’s past, but to see it and meet the people whose spirit of adventure led them to live and die in an idyllic and untamed territory.

The interviewer is Gail Rubin, CT, the Doyenne of Death and coordinator of the Before I Die New Mexico Virtual Festival. This video is one of the Zoom events in the fourth annual Festival, which took place October 30 to November 2, 2020. Festival sessions from 2020 and previous years’ festivals are available for free at

Festival Sponsors

2020 Festival Sponsor Logos

The Before I Die New Mexico Virtual Festival was made possible by:

A portion of the sponsorship proceeds and ticket sales from the Before I Die NM Virtual Festival are donated to 501(c)(3) charitable partners Fathers Building Futures, making “caskets for a cause” (, and Albuquerque’s Historic Fairview Cemetery, est. 1881 (

A Good Goodbye