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Last Chance Byway
The History of Nine Mile Canyon
Jerry D. Spangler and Donna Kemp Spangler
Nine Mile Canyon is famous the world over for its prehistoric rock art and remnants of ancient Fremont habitation. But it also teems with Old West history that is salted with iconic figures of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Last Chance Byway tells the stories of human endeavor and folly in a place historians have long ignored.
The history of Nine Mile Canyon is often the story of those who came with dreams and left broke and disillusioned, although there were exceptions. Some who left their mark include famed outlaw hunter Joe Bush, infamous bounty hunter Jack Watson, the larger-than-life cattle baron Preston Nutter, and Robert Leroy Parker, better known as Butch Cassidy.
Jerry D. Spangler is an archaeologist and a recognized expert on the prehistoric peoples of eastern Utah, and is the executive director of the non-profit Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, which is dedicated to preserving the past.
Donna Kemp Spangler is an award-winning writer, a former journalist, and currently the communications director for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
Table of Contents:
List of Illustrations
1. The Conundrum of Nine Mile
2. Beaver Fever: William Ashley and the Discovery of Nine Mile Canyon
3. A “Worthless Mineral”: Sam Gilson and the Gilsonite Rush
4. Soldiers, Schemers, and a Road to Riches
5. Squatters, Freighters, and Barkeeps: On the Nine Mile Road from 1886 to 1901
6. Hellfire and Gunplay: Law and Lawlessness in Eastern Utah
7. The Cattle King: The Myth and Legacy of Preston Nutter
8. A Perfect Storm: From Boom to Bust on the Nine Mile Road
9. A Genealogy of Place: The Farmers and Ranchers of Nine Mile Canyon
Praise and Reviews:
“A first of its kind, this book clarifies aspects of the folk history surrounding Nine Mile Canyon. The Spanglers have documented and backed up their writing, giving it weight beyond just story, moving the lore into the field of history.”
—H. Bert Jenson, Utah State University
“An original and valuable synthesis that brings together widely separated threads and fills a real need for a longer treatment not only of the area, but of many of the canyon’s fascinating characters.”
—Roy Webb, author of Lost Canyons of the Green River: The Story before Flaming Gorge Dam
"Spangler and Spangler have created a beautifully illustrated and informative history of an overlooked part of Utah, which from the late 1800s to the early 1900s was a thoroughfare from the Green River to the Uinta Basin....It is evident in the details they relate that Spangler and Spangler were meticulous in their research."