Francisco Coronado. Juan de Oñate. William Becknell. Kit Carson. Jedediah Smith. Bent's Old Fort. Fort Union. Fort Larned. Fort Dodge. Raton Pass. Glorieta Pass.
Names resounding with history, lore, enterprise, bravery and honor; conjuring up images of treks and trading posts, stagecoaches and scouts, gunfights and gold seekers, cowboys and cavallery regiments, blizzards and buffalo herds, Indians armed to their teeth, army forts, dust, mud, heat, and just about every other cliché in the book of Western storytelling. And, of course, the name that connects them one and all: that of the Santa Fe Trail, the 900 mile-long famous trade route linking Missouri and Kansas with the West until the advent of the railroad in 1880.