Summary and Analysis Book 8: Chapter 2



The following day, Latour receives a letter from Leavenworth, Kansas, that describes the Colorado gold rush. Vaillant already knows about the gold rush from letters he has received from his brother in Europe. The Bishop of Leavenworth has visited Colorado and has seen the squalor of the living conditions of the prospectors. Furthermore, there are thousands of Catholics and no priests. The Bishop adds Colorado to Latour's jurisdiction. Latour decides to send Vaillant to minister to the Colorado prospectors.

As usual, Vaillant is ready for action before conditions warrant. Latour tells Vaillant that he must prepare for the harsh conditions of the prospectors' camp. He must have a special wagon built that can also serve as a portable altar for holding Mass outdoors. Latour and Vaillant both know that this mission will be Vaillant's hardest, but Vaillant is excited to leave his beloved Arizona mission and travel to Denver.

That evening, Vaillant remembers a visit he made to a young Mexican awaiting execution for murder, Ramon Armajillo. Armajillo owned a prize fighting cock. The owner of a cock defeated by Armajillo's cock kills the latter's animal. Armajillo, in reprisal, kills the other owner.


The foreshadowing of the previous chapter is realized. Latour will build his cathedral and become rooted in Santa Fe, while Vaillant's church will be the wagon upon which he travels. Another instance of foreshadowing occurs when Vaillant visits Armajillo. The young man is making ornate boots for the little Santiago in the church at Chimayo, believing the saint will change his luck. Vaillant is aware that the criminals in Denver will not be as gentle as Armajillo.