Elfego Baca Project
Keeping New Mexico History Alive
Elfego Baca is a legendary and heroic New Mexican, born to a family who helped settle New Mexico since 1600. In the steps of his ancestors, Elfego, a self-appointed deputy sheriff, set out to restore order to the small town of Frisco, now called Reserve.
In 1884 western Socorro County, New Mexico was untamed; the San Francisco river valley a Spanish ranching community invaded by Texas cattlemen. Tensions between Texas cowboys and the local Spanish residents had escalated to violence. A young resident was castrated by a local cowboy, but the law was 120 miles away in Socorro. Frisco needed help or a miracle.
Nineteen-year-old Elfego Baca answered the call. After arresting one of the cowboys, a standoff ensued and Baca took shelter in a tiny mud shack, the jacal belonging to Geronimo Armijo. His fortress was made only of sticks and mud. Eighty cowhands from the surrounding ranches surrounded the shack and engaged in a gunfight, during which the men fired more than 4,000 rounds into the jacal. Baca and a status of Saint Anne survived the onslaught and emerged after thirty-six hours unharmed.
The Frisco Shootout was the largest and longest gunfight in history. One lone man with two 6-guns against about 80 well-heeled cowboys. After the gunfight, the atrocities against the local citizens of the Frisco valley stopped.
Elfego was tried and acquitted of killing one of the cowboys after the door to the jacal, with over 360 bullets, was presented as evidence.
Baca was admitted to the Bar in 1894 at the age of 29. Later he became a Deputy United States Marshall, an assistant district attorney, the mayor of Socorro, and Sheriff of Socorro County. Elfego Baca died in 1945.
Beating the back roads to a truly beautiful and unique place. Come to Reserve and live history.
Promote and preserve the history of New Mexico and the memory of heroic Hispanic Americans.
The memorial statue stands in the center of Reserve, NM. It stands as a tribute to one man who courageously stood up against unbelievable odds to defend his fellow man.
Memorial bronze statue commemorating the gunfight, standing on the site in Reserve, New Mexico. To read more about the statue designed and created by James Muir, go to the Status page.