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
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.
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