A Timberline Book
"In the entire history of the American West there were no more fascinating characters than the 'Bloody Espinosas' of Colorado Territory. This fast-paced, amazingly objective, intriguing, and highly recommended study of the Espinosas, as well as those who hunted them, will keep you turning the pages."
—Jerry Thompson, Regents Professor of History, Texas A&M International University
"Well-written and well-documented . . . Price's biography of the Espinosas is an important chapter in the violence and vigilantism that plagued the West during the Civil War."
—Marshall Trimble, author of Wyatt Earp: Showdown in Tombstone; True West Magazine
"[C]ontains horror and tragedy, but also moments of grace and scene-circling post-mortems. . . . You feel like you're reading a combination of Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men and Walter Van Tilburg Clark's The Ox-Bow Incident. Except that Season of Terror is history and essay, and keeps stepping back to examine not only the evidence but also the historiography."
—Rob Neufeld, The Asheville Citizen Times
"[T]his is the best book yet on the famous Espinosas of Central Colorado."
—Forrest Whitman, Colorado Central Magazine
Season of Terror is the first book-length treatment of the little-known true story of the Espinosas—serial murderers with a mission to kill every Anglo in Civil War-era Colorado Territory—and the men who brought them down.
For eight months during the spring and fall of 1863, brothers Felipe Nerio and José Vivián Espinosa and their young nephew, José Vincente, New Mexico-born Hispanos, killed and mutilated an estimated thirty-two victims before their rampage came to a bloody end. Their motives were obscure, although they were members of the Penitentes, a lay Catholic brotherhood devoted to self-torture in emulation of the sufferings of Christ, and some suppose they believed themselves inspired by the Virgin Mary to commit their slaughters.
Until now, the story of their rampage has been recounted as lurid melodrama or ignored by academic historians. Featuring a fascinating array of frontier characters, Season of Terror exposes this neglected truth about Colorado's past and examines the ethnic, religious, political, military, and moral complexity of the controversy that began as a regional incident but eventually demanded the attention of President Lincoln.