HISTORY OF GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA

Where The Wild West Happened

The Code of the West was first chronicled by well-known resident, western writer Zane Grey. The men and women who moved west in the 1800s were bound by this unwritten code of conduct. Integrity and self-reliance guided their decisions and actions. As they moved west they were confronted by opposition, whether in the form of Native Americans who possessed the land or from the harsh wildernesses that were unforgiving on ill-prepared newcomers.  These lands were full of outlaws that were used to governing the territory with a stiff rope, a hanging tree and a six-gun.  Pioneers and Ranchers settled in the high mountains and started time-honored traditions like the Annual World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo, that is still going strong today.  America's ingenuity and the search for copper began in small mining towns like Globe, Miami, Hayden and Winkelman. Cattle and sheep ranches sprung up all over the Tonto Basin creating competition for surrounding grazing rights.  Soon these conflicts boiled over into one of the bloodiest family feuds on the western frontier.   From this rugged, almost brutal landscape a place was born.  You may call it Gila County.  The families that lived it, called it...THE WILD WILD WEST!