This glowing book grew out of Paul Horgan's pulitzer Prize winning Great River. Although the Rio Grande is always with us as it tumbles out of the Rockies until, gentle as a garden river, it flows into the sea, it is of the great river's three peoples that Paul Horgan speaks. Of the Indian, who was the first to live at the river's edge, believing that everything about him was sacred -- the blazing sky above and the desert water flowing below. Of the Spaniard, the Indian's dauntless and often cruel conqueror, whose Mexican-American sons still dream of the half-forgotten splendor of their Spanish ancestors. Of the Anglo-Americans with their vigorous ingenuity, as hard as the hardest thing that could happen to them, who brought a wild new strain to the river kingdom. If the Indian, in his dateless time, had been tied to the present, and the tradition-bound Spaniard to the past, it was the American, Crevecoeur's "new man" who brought a passion for the future to the Rio Grande.
These three southwestern cultures--the indian, the Latin and the Anglo American--are the "heroic triad" Mr. Horgan writes about, carrying the reader down through the centuries with the great river, presenting the clash, the attraction, the repulsion, and the final acceptance by the three peoples of each other and the vast region ruled by the Rio Grande.