Mining Your Own Business

Illustration by Bob Boze Bell

Approximately 250,000 abandoned mines exist in the state of Arizona, testifying to the scope and impact of mining on the state. Naturally, at the height of this boom in the 1880s, many residents, including cowboys, caught the mining bug. In fact, so many cowboys staked claims, it proved difficult to distinguish cowboys from miners. One old-time cowman attempted to explain the difference: “A miner is a cowboy with his brains bashed out.”

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