A black-and-white photograph of a woman leaning against a spiny cactus plant, with numerous mountains in the background

Photo by Francis King Duncan, courtesy Marfa and Presidio County Museum

Even today, Pinto Canyon Road in the Chinati Mountains of far West Texas is a lonely place. So we can only imagine how remote it felt in the mid-1920s when Francis King Duncan took this photograph of a woman dressed in flapper attire, identified in his notes as Daisy Burke, overlooking the canyon. Rancher James Edward Wilson, who raised cattle and goats in Pinto Canyon, had constructed the road a few years earlier to access his family’s adobe house. Today, the road is an unpaved extension of Ranch Road 2810, linking Marfa and Ruidosa. This photo is one of many that Duncan took in the area. Born in Missouri in 1878, he traveled the U.S., Canada, and Mexico as a photographer and prospector before setting up a commercial photography business in Marfa in 1916. He died in 1970 and was buried in Big Spring. The Marfa and Presidio County Museum houses 2,200 of Duncan’s glass and film negatives, a gift from his daughter in 1969.

Know of any fascinating vintage Texas photographs? Send copies or ideas to [email protected].

From the November 2022 issue

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