Leaving the Interstate on the town's own exit ramp I came across what is left of Two Guns, originally a railroad town known as Canyon Diablo. Birthed in 1882, the town came into being to support work on the railroad that was prevented from crossing the canyon because the wrong dimensions had been used to create the first bridge. While waiting for the correct span to bridge the gorge, the wild town of Canyon Diablo sprang into life.
Within a short time the town had 2,000 residents and murder on the street was common. Crazily, it was sometime before a lawman was employed but eventually the first marshall was sworn in. He took office at 3:00pm and was buried at 8:00pm that same night. Five more town marshals would follow, the longest lasting one month. All were killed in the line of duty. A cemetery sprouted up at the end of town, which in less than a decade had 35 graves, all of which had been filled by victims of violent deaths.
It was a wild place.
In 1878 the Apaches attacked the Navajo. All the men, women and children, except three young girls taken prisoner, were slain. Taking the girls prisoner they disappeared into the Canyon. Two Navajo scouts stumbled upon their hiding place in a cave in the canyon and after they discovered the girls had been tortured to death they lit fires at the entrance trapping them.
Altogether forty-two Apaches lost their lives in the cave. The bodies were stripped of valuables, and the remains of the men left. Navajo fighting men retreated from the cave quietly, awed by the terrible destruction they had wrought. The girl victims cruelly put to death had been avenged.
The curse kicked in.
A murky story of two Mexicans going missing and their bodies being found nearby with a bullet hole in the skull also did the rounds.
In 1938 another zoo was built along with a trading post and the cave tours continued until 1950.