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stock. Bessie's ancestors had arrived soon after the Civil War to take tip ranching along the Rio Grande near the military outpost of Fort McRae, now submerged under the waters of Elephant Butte Lake, a man-made reser

voir built in the early twentieth century. Joe's grandfather had migrated west to El Paso in the 1880s and made his money in banking before buying a huge tract of land on the Jomada, east of the Caballo Mountains. Joe had inherited not only the ranch but a majority ownership of the bank his grandfather had established in Truth or Consequences. Why had Joe sold both interests, tak

en a job as president of a savings and loan in Deming, and bought a ranch in the Bootheel? Until now Kerney hadn't given it any thought. He'd been away from his boyhood home for so long, the comings and goings of people he'd known in his distant past hadn't concerned him. But in retrospect the question had importance. The Jordan family had been part of the social, pol

itical, and economic fabric of the Jomada for generations. What would have prompted Joe and Bessie to pull up stakes from a place where they had such deep roots? Did it have something to do with Johnny or Julia? Kerney doubted it. Both had been long gone from home at the time of the move to the Bootheel, Julia finis.

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hed with college and living on her /own, and Johnny competin