Death in the Disappointment Valley

The Disappointment Valley lies southwest of Norwood. The events I am writing about for “Notorious Telluride” took place in 1904 and 1922. This complicated story of love, betrayal, homicide, and revenge took place among ranch folk in this isolated valley. It involves a rancher shooting a disabled man then marrying his wife (the sister of his current wife). Years later, the first man’s disturbed son gets his revenge.

High bluffs along the eastern edge of the Disappointment Valley

Update: After doing a bit of research, I’ve learned that the Disappointment Valley is home to some of the last wild horses left in North America. There used to be 2 million of these beauties; now there are about 25,000 left. Watch this ten minute documentary about what’s happening to the wild horses in Disappointment Valley and other western places.


26 thoughts on “Death in the Disappointment Valley

  1. Thank you for saying wild horses and not mustangs. I live in disappointment valley. My boyfriend is a Suckla and it is a wonderful place to be. It’s a shame what the BlM and Forest Service are trying to do to the land and what they have already done so far

  2. I sure would like to know why this valley was called Dissappointment Valley, would you know. I used to live in Naturita, CO. I sounds like an interesting place to visit, as I have driven around the area.

    • Hi Lauryce,
      I don’t know — but I can sure imagine! I picture pioneers hearing about the place, and heading over a great rise and seeing the valley and thinking “No water!!” Anyway, there is a book by a local women whose name I can’t remember. It might be in there. It’s a very rare book but if I ever get hold of a copy maybe the answer will be in there.

  3. The name of the book is “Where Eagles Winter” by Wilma Crisp Bankston It details a few of the Disappointment tragedies. My Great, Great Grandfather and his children and Grandchildren lived there. Their names were Lavender, if anyone has any more information regarding the old Lavender Cemetery or Lavender Post Office I would be very grateful.

  4. Greg, I saw posting just now. Mabel Lavender was your great Aunt! That is great. Do you have anything on her? Thomas Reddick was my dad, Donald Reddick’s grandfather. Thomas Reddick’s son was Lance Reddick who happened to be my dad’s father.

  5. Deborah send me your email address to gmcclelland at surewest dot net and i will forward a link to the family tree I have built and you can see who I have found so far.

      • Your grandfather was Eugene aka Pete Lavender? I am granddaughter of John Wilson Lavender. Who is your mother? Is it Hazel? Was your grandmother called Rusty? I remember a couple of boys who were sons of Pete and Rusty’s but can’t recall their names. If that was the same Eugene, i was at his memorial service. My email is bettytheloon at yahoo dot com
        Alice Liapis McClelland

  6. Does anyone know where it got it’s name? the Disappointment Creek has lots of water all year so it can’t be that.

    • Did you get an answer to your question, “how it got it’s name?” My neighbor had a book that described a feud between families. Nearly all of the men in both families were killed and the survivors named it, according to the book.

  7. FACT: There is no such thing as wild American horses. They are 100% invasive species brought here along with the Conquistadors. Just like kudzu vine, asian carp, and zebra mussels.

  8. It seems that the goverment owns enough land .That there would be plenty enough land for the wild horses.Its awonderful sight to see them run free.AGM

  9. I worked in Naturita in 1996-97 with my 12 yr old son. We drove all over the area every chance we got. I learned to drive in snow and ice from local people, even with my 2 wheel drive truck. I thought if we were careful, we could go anywhere, no matter road conditions. Fortunately we never had a disaster. That year was 150% snowpack and we drove twice from Nucla to play in Durango on icey snow-packed roads, and then home again the same night. Each time we hit the Disappointment and the Dolores River about midnight. The horses were bedded down along the river and what a sight to see in the moonlight.

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