Where the elk come for cocktails
Where the elk come for cocktails

Pleasant Valley Days

In Young, Arizona, the Pleasant Valley War is remembered and celebrated each year on the third weekend of July, during Pleasant Valley Days. The historical society offers an informal talk about the feud, followed by a tour of sites that played a part in the events; there's a parade, barbecue, crafts displays, a rodeo and more. The Perkins Store, site of a famous and bloody ambush, and now a museum, is open to the public. Except for food and drink, nearly everything is free.

During Pleasant Valley Days, guests at Q Ranch are welcome to participate in all events, and they get a bonus seldom offered to other attendees: a chance to visit the sheepherder's grave and the Middleton spread. The latter is where, on Aug. 9, 1887, five members of the Graham faction opened fire on the Tewksbury clan, killing two of them. The ranch house was burned to the ground, leaving only the chimney, which still stands, along with the remains of two smaller buildings.

The aforementioned sheepherder was the true first fatality of the war. Described as a young Navajo in some sources and as a Basque in other sources, he was hired by the Tewksburys to bring sheep into Pleasant Valley. He was shot — and allegedly beheaded — by Andy Cooper, a member of the Graham faction.