I’ve been asked why I chose the title, Blood on the Cimarron for my latest mystery – which, by the way, is NOW available on Amazon as a trade paperback and on Kindle as an ebook.
The Cimarron is a river that flows across northern Oklahoma. The river originates in northeastern New Mexico, flows into the Oklahoma panhandle, up into se Colorado and sw Kansas, and then down once again into western Oklahoma. Eventually, it flows into Lake Keystone and the Arkansas River near Tulsa.
I’m a western Oklahoma native, born and raised in Enid. Enid is only thirty miles west of I-35, which splits the state into east and west, and is the largest town in northwestern Oklahoma. The Cimarron flows miles to the south of Enid. From Enid, we crossed this river any time we travelled to Oklahoma City (central OK), or Tulsa (northeastern OK). The river flows north of Guthrie, and south of the college town of Stillwater on its way across the state to Lake Keystone.
Cimarron. A western movie was named this. For me, the word calls to mind a sporadic, muddy river, weaving through sand bars and dangerous quicksand, and surrounded by a thick forest of native oaks and other trees often called the Cross Timbers. I camped on the river in college, and sought Indian points along its banks. I floated in the shallow water as the sun set, and roasted marshmallows on a campfire nearby. A quiet and peaceful place, I recall finding raccoon and deer tracks, as well as the footprints of waterbirds like the great blue heron.
In Spanish, the work cimarron means wild.
Author Washington Irving saw the Cimarron River during his travels into Indian Territory, and a museum east of Stillwater off Highway 51 commemorates his visit, and the book he wrote while traversing the state.
The River Valley is wide and rugged in some spots. And sufficiently wild. What better place to set a rural murder mystery?
In my story, Rancher J.B. Floren owns a ranch on the Cimarron River south of Stillwater. But not just any ranch. It is a refuge for wild mustangs and burros from the West.
Next up: What about Mustang Rescue Ranches? Come back soon.