Character of the West Galleries

Welcome to the Character of the West Galleries Page

Catron County NM – Home to thousands of elk, hundreds of coyotes, a few people and lots of fresh air.

Yes, this is also the old stomping grounds of Geronimo, Victorio,  Mangas Colorado, Cochise, Loco, Nana, Cuchillo and many more.  I will be glad to show you the mountains they roamed, the lands of the old reservations, forts and skirmishes.  DML

Tour information is listed below the galleries.  Contact number for tours is 575.533.6089 – Debbie Milligan Lee

Please see the “Character of the West” photo galleries below to see the settings of some of the books.  The galleries include current photos from the SU Ranch, the WS Ranch and Fort Bayard.  Information on the books are listed on this site under “The Books” menu or you may click the link below:

“The Books” Apache Creek Old West Tours

 WS Ranch Gallery- Alma, NM – Catron County

Phyllis McKeen has taken great pride in preserving the history of the WS Ranch and offers bunkhouse lodging right next to the old bunkhouse where Butch Cassidy stayed while living on the ranch.  If you’re curious to find out more about this ranch and why Butch Cassidy was at the WS Ranch – I refer you to the book “Recollections of a Western Ranchman”.  Please contact Phyllis McKeen at 575.539.2513 for lodging arrangements at the WS Ranch.  Phyllis is a 3rd generation descendent living on the WS Ranch.  You can even request the “Butch Cassidy Room” if you’d like. 

Please click on photos to enlarge and read captions.

 The historical WS Ranch is featured in the book “Recollections of a Western Ranchman” by Captain William French. The setting is in the late 1880’s.

Guest Room WS Ranch Bunkhouse Comfy Guest Room WS Ranch Guest Room WS Ranch Butch Cassidy's Room WS Ranch In the Butch Cassidy Room WS Ranch Decor in the Butch Cassidy Room WS Ranch Bunkhouse The Madam Millie Room WS Ranch Bunkhouse In the Madam Millie Room WS Ranch Bunkhouse Place for eatin' the meals WS Ranch Bunkhouse WS Ranch Wagon Wheel Table Steer head from the herd of the WS Ranch about 1965 Old horse shoes find a new use WS Ranch WS Ranch Bunkhouse Kitchen Hats of the WS Ranch Kitchen of the WS Ranch Bunkhouse The newest bunkhouse at the WS Ranch Chick Inn House at the WS Ranch Peacocks at the WS Ranch Model A at the WS Ranch Front View of Butch Cassidys Bunking Quarters as it looks today WS Ranch WS Ranch - Red Roof is the new headquarters- same location as the original headquarters WS Ranch Old Bunkhouse - Housing for Butch Cassidy WS Ranch Headquarters The Mogollon Mountains as seen from the WS Ranch WS Ranch Cemetery Gate Entrance to the WS Ranch Cemetery Ironically this is Indian Paint Brush Flora WS Ranch Cemetary where victims of the Apache wars are laid to rest Hutton & McMillan Graves at the WS Ranch He was actually murdered at Cooney NM WS Ranch Cemetery Photo Edward Lyon Grave WS Ranch Cemetery Grave Marker WS Ranch Cemetery of Edward Lyon - killed by Apaches Luke Flanagan Grave WS Ranch Cemetery


SU Ranch Gallery – Reserve, NM – Catron County

This Catron County ranch was featured in the book “Recollections of a Western Ranchman”, by Captain William French.  Montague Stevens also wrote a book called “Meet Mr. Grizzly”, that references his SU Ranch back in the days when the Apaches roamed the area and the grizzly bear shared the territory with cowboys and cattle.

Glyn Griffin, current owner of the SU Ranch, has maintained the integrity of the outside of the original buildings of the SU Ranch once owned by Montague Stevens and his partner, Upcher, hence the brand SU and name of the ranch.  Today, Glyn Griffin operates the Starkweather Canyon Outfitters and Guide Service from the original setup of SU Ranch with a few modifications to the interior of the buildings.  The main house burned in the 1960’s and a new home has been built in it’s place.  Most of the other outbuildings are the real deal, from the 1880’s.  Glyn Griffin’s contact number is 575.533.6360.  This ranch was also a main setting in the “Recollections of a Western Ranchman Book”.  Today, in addition to cattle, the ranch is used for guiding and outfitting services for hunters.


Please click the link below for more information on local history books.

“The Books” Apache Creek Old West Tours

The historical SU Ranch – Reserve, NM.

Original SU Ranch buildings as they appear today An original relic of the SU Ranch Old time transportation. SU Ranch, Reserve NM Original SU Ranch Building Fireplace added by Wee Griffin to a SU Ranch outbuilding Original rock storage building of the SU Ranch SU Ranch, Reserve NM. Hunters bath house on the far left Now used for hunter's quarters, SU Ranch Original Doors in place - SU Ranch Once a bunkhouse, now a hunter's paradise - SU Ranch Cowboyin' equipment SU Ranch Western Decor SU Ranch Western Decor on a rustic wall - SU Ranch Buffalo Bill Cody Renovated interior at a SU Ranch outbuilding Cozy interior of an SU Ranch outbuilding now used to accomodate hunters Wee Griffin's fireplace is the center of attention. SU Ranch The west is a bit rusty and we love it that way - SU Ranch Even Marilyn and The Duke take to the SU Ranch Old Time Heat -SU Ranch Gordon Snidow art SU Ranch Rustic and Artistic SU Ranch Hunter's cantina at the SU Ranch inside an original SU building Geronimo's photo and artifacts at the SU Ranch What probably is a VXT Ranch photo - SU Ranch Billy The Kid and Apaches SU Ranch Tom Mix graces the wall at the SU Ranch The place where guest hunters belly up at the SU Ranch. The building is an original with a new rustic interior.



Fort Bayard parade grounds is a ghostly but interesting door to the past.  The buildings and grounds of yesteryear can still be toured on site and the cemetery is a remarkable tribute to the days of the cavalry and includes veterans and spouses of all conflicts/wars since that time. Fort Bayard is in Grant County, NM, located near Silver City, NM.  “The Fort Bayard Story” is an excellent reference book to the history of the area.

  Fort Bayard Gallery – Bayard, NM (Grant County)

Please click on photos to enlarge and see captions.

Taking you back to the days of the cavalry – Fort Bayard NM

Link to Local History Books:

“The Books” Apache Creek Old West Tours

Fort Bayard Gallary

Fort Bayard #1 Fort Bayard #11 Fort Bayard #10 Fort Bayard #9 Fort Bayard #8 Fort Bayard #7 Fort Bayard #6 Fort Bayard #5 Fort Bayard #4 Fort Bayard #3 Ft Bayard #2 Santa Rita Mine and Kneeling Nun as you view when leaving the entrance of Ft Bayard Cemetery Water Tower at Ft Bayard Sacred Ground Fort Bayard Cemetery



 Tour Information:


“The Tours” are guided tours by vehicle where you get a viewing of the historical areas along the highways and roads that were once wagon tracks and livestock trails featured in the books.  Because of my love of history, I am honored and excited to be your tour guide.   My goal is to get you more familiar with the legends represented in the books and for you to see and get to know their places of travel and everyday living.  Essentially, to give you the feeling of walking a mile in their footsteps during a time period when life was much harder and without the modern comforts we have today.  No actual walking is involved unless you choose to do so. Current tour options are listed below. Most tours are scheduled for Saturdays unless other arrangements have been made. Please also read the tour policy and notes listed below the tour options and follow the link provided to access lodging information in the Catron County NM area. Most tours begin in Reserve, NM (Milligan Plaza) at 8:30 A.M. I thank you for visiting Apache Creek Old West Tours.  Debbie Milligan Lee

Branding At Long Canyon (Slash Ranch) early 60's

Tour Options

Lodging Link:

2 Hour Tour:  Covers approx. 60 miles.

The Half-Pint Tour –  Includes the area of what was once Milligan Plaza/Frisco Plaza and the Apache Creek, Whiskey Creek and surrounding areas.  Local area history relating to the following books: These Also Served, Cow Dust and Saddle Leather, Recollections of a Western Ranchman, Mogollon Mountain Man and more.   $100.00

1/2 day tour (approx. 4-5 hours): Cover approximately 100 miles.

The Recollections Of A Western Ranchman Tour – Related to the historical events through Saliz Canyon and Alma and Glenwood NM.  History includes the story of a family that walked from Tyrone to Apache Creek after the flu epidemic of 1918 and to the books:  Recollections of a Western Ranchman and Meet Mr. Grizzly. $250.00

All Day Tours:  (approx. 7-8 hours):  Covers approximately 200 miles.

The Full Recollections/Mining Tour – Related to the historical events of Alma, Glenwood, Mogollon and Saliz Canyon. Relates to the same as the half day tour but also includes the town of Mogollon, The Catwalk at Glenwood and Soldier Hill near Pleasanton, NM.  Related Books include:  Mogollon Mountain Man, Recollections of a Western Ranchman, Victorio, Apache Voices and I Fought with Geronimo.   $350.00

The Cattle Drive Tour – Features the areas of Fort Tularosa, Apache Creek, Horse Springs, Datil, Magdalena and may include Kelly NM if you’re interested in the remains of an old mining town.  Relates to the books:  Cow Dust and Saddle Leather, Meet Mr. Grizzly, No Life For A Lady, Apache Voices ,In the Days of Victorio, Indeh and Woman of the Century and Cowboy Spur Maker, (the story of Ed Blanchard).  $350.00

The Homesteader Tour – Includes Apache Creek, Fort Tularosa, Horse Springs, Datil, Quemado, Fence Lake area and Pie Town.  Relates to the books:  Cow Dust and Saddle Leather, Meet Mr. Grizzly, No Life For a Lady, Pie Town Woman, From the Top of the Mountain, Homesteader’s Daughter and from Dust to Dust.  $350.00

The Cow Dust and Saddle Leather/Slash Ranch Hounds Tour/Mogollon Mountain Man Tour – Will only be given a couple of times a year due to the remoteness this involves. Involves the most information on the VXT Ranch. Please call for information.  The majority of this tour is on dirt roads and could be 10-12 hours+, depending on the road conditions. $500.00

Customized tour options are available according to your interests.  Please call for more information.  575.533.6089

“The Tours” are guided tours by vehicle where you get a viewing of the historical areas along the highways and roads that were once wagon tracks and livestock trails featured in the books.  On the tours, you will  hear of the history of the locations and settings as portrayed in “The Books”.  Please also note the tour policy notes listed below. Once you have decided which tour you may want, please call Debbie at 575.533.6089 to schedule your tour or just to ask questions..  You may choose to ride with me or ride in your own vehicle.  Taking a tour requires signing a waiver of liability.  Riding with me constitutes no smoking, alcohol,  pets or children under 14.  Tour fares includes 1-3 people in my vehicle or 4 in your vehicle.  Group tours welcome for colleges and universities.  Please call if you have any questions.  50% deposit required to hold a tour date.  Cancellations within 1 week of tour results in half of your deposit returned to you.  If for any unforeseen reason Apache Creek Old West Tours has to cancel, it will result in a full return of your deposit and any monies paid.  Check the following site for lodging information You will need to make your own arrangements for lodging and meals.  Full day tours run from when daylight savings time begins in the Spring until it ends in the Fall.  Less than full day tours run year round dependent on the weather.  Cancellations due to weather in the Catron County area will be fully refunded.  I look forward to meeting you and sharing the history of Catron County NM and beyond with you.  Debbie Milligan Lee


Note: We will stop at one of the historical communities for lunch in one of the local establishments or at one of our local country grocery stores.  The cost of lunch is not included but snacks, water and sodas will be provided.  Please remember we are in remote areas and cell phones do not always work in some locations.  Please bring sturdy shoes and clothing in case you would like to take a short stroll in the areas and please don’t forget your camera. 

Schedule a historical tour today of Catron County NM and beyond by calling Apache Creek Old West Tours at 575.533.6089 – or to ask questions.  Please leave a message and I will return your call or you may email me at  Thank you. 

Armijo Building Lower Frisco