Page 351. " He was killed on Kwajalein Atoll "

The Battle of Kwajalein was part of the United States' World War II Pacific campaign. The conflict was fought from January 31 to February 3, 1944, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. By the end of the battle, 373 Americans, 7,870 Japanese (including forced Korean labourers), and an estimated 200 Marshallese islanders were killed.


US troops inspecting an enemy bunker, Kwajalein Atoll, 1944
Public DomainUS troops inspecting an enemy bunker, Kwajalein Atoll, 1944 - Credit: Official U.S. Army Signal Corps Photograph


Page 356. " Déme un Waterfills y Frazier "
Waterfill and Frazier advertisement
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumWaterfill and Frazier advertisement - Credit: bunky's pickle

Waterfill and Frazier began producing bourbon whiskey in Kentucky in 1810 before moving their distillery to Juarez, Mexico in the early 1920s to continue producing throughout the Prohibition years.

The company continued to make bourbon until 1964 when bourbon became a product of the United States and they had to simply call it whiskey. The Waterfill and Frazier company finally folded in 1972.

Page 357. " He wore a sweatstained guayabera "
Man wearing a guayabera shirt in Cuba, 1956
Public DomainMan wearing a guayabera shirt in Cuba, 1956 - Credit: Ifrain Caraballoso

The guayabera is a light open-necked cotton shirt, often with large pockets and intricate pleats down the front, and typically worn outside the trousers

Although commonly known in the U.S. as the Mexican Wedding Shirt, there is some debate as to its origins with both Mexico and Cuba claiming the shirt as their own.


Page 358. " The younger man said that he had received three bullets in the chest at Zacatecas and lain in the streets in darkness and cold while the dogs drank his blood "
Zacatecas (c. 1914)
Public DomainZacatecas (c. 1914) - Credit: Bain News Service

The Battle of Zacatecas was one of the bloodiest engagements of the Mexican Revolution and decisive in the overthrow of Victoriano Huerta.

On June 23, 1914, Villa’s División del Norte claimed the strategically important town after defeating the federal troops of General Luís Medina Barrón. The rebel victory demoralized Huerta's supporters, leading to his resignation on July 15.


Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCorrido - Credit: Library of Congress









Los Errantes – La Toma De Zacatecas (The Taking of Zacatecas)

Page 363. " just over his heart in so perfect an isoscelian stigmata "
Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata (1633), by Peter Paul Rubens
Public DomainSaint Francis Receiving the Stigmata (1633), by Peter Paul Rubens - Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent

Stigmata are marks upon the body which mirror the crucifixion wounds of Jesus. They are primarily associated with the Roman Catholic faith, and usually interpreted as a manifestation of deep faith.






Creative Commons AttributionStigmatisation - Credit: Seidl
Page 365. " she had brought him some menudo "

Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup, consisting of boiled tripe in either a clear broth or with a red chilli base, and usually eaten with tortillas. The red variation is usually seen in Chihuahua.

The soup is considered a traditional hangover cure in Mexico, which explains why the woman brings it to the ‘crudo’ Billy.

You can find a Menudo recipe here.

Page 367. " He gave her his hand and she took it and turned it palm up and held it in hers and studied it "
The Fortune Teller, by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1594)
Public DomainThe Fortune Teller, by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1594) - Credit: Musée du Louvre, Paris

The art of foretelling the future through the study of the palm can be found all over the world in various cultures. Its roots can be traced back to India in Hindu Astrology (known in Sanskrit as Jyotish), Chinese Yijing (I Ching), and Roma gypsy fortune tellers.

For a guide on how to palm read click here.

Page 369. " He said that he had but one brother "

Spoiler Warning: The following bookmark contains plot information relating to The Crossing and Cities of the Plain.


This is another reference which anticipates Cities of the Plain (see bookmark p.325).

The woman reading Billy’s palm tells him that he has two brothers: ‘Uno que vive, uno que ha muerto’ (‘One who lives, one who has died’) [p.369]. Although Billy does not yet know it, Boyd has already died by this point. The brother who lives is John Grady Cole, not literally but spiritually Billy’s brother.

Page 371. " In the evening the big red Waco plane came in "
1940 WACO UPF-7
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike1940 WACO UPF-7 - Credit: Craig Kinzer
WACO model 10 (Mexico, c. 1929-1932)
Public DomainWACO model 10 (Mexico, c. 1929-1932) - Credit: Gerard Farell


Waco planes were produced by the Weaver Aircraft Company. The trade name Waco was coined from the title letters of Weaver Aircraft Co.

The company produced warplanes throughout World War II and ceased operations in 1947, having suffered the fate of a number of aviation companies when an anticipated boom in aviation following the war failed to develop.

Page 375. " In the field the lights were strung overhead and barkers called out "
Barker at Louisiana state fair (1938)
Public DomainBarker introducing performers at Louisiana state fair (1938) - Credit: Lee Russell (Library of Congress)

Barkers were employed at circuses and funfairs to announce the attractions of a specific show and to try and tempt in passing fairgoers.

Often just as entertaining as the shows they promoted, barkers sometimes conducted brief free shows where they introduced the performers and described the acts to be given at the main performance.

Most professional barkers prefer the term talkers, drawing a distinction between what they do and other fairground announcers who simply repeat a few stock phrases.



Barker at the Greene County fair in Greensboro, Georgia (1941)
Public DomainBarker at the Greene County fair in Greensboro, Georgia (1941) - Credit: Jack Delano (Library of Congress)


Page 375. " their nostrums "

Better known as patent medicines, nostrums were the drug compounds of dubious medicinal value sold under a variety of names and labels during the 19th and early 20th century, claiming to prevent or cure everything from ‘female complaints’ to cancer. William Radam’s Microbe Killer had the bold claim ‘Cures All Diseases’ embossed on the front of the bottle, while Ebeneezer Sibley went one step further with the promise that his Solar Tincture was able to ‘restore life in the event of sudden death'.

In 1936 patent medicines were effectively banned after stricter regulations came into force. Many products previously marketed as patent medicines remain on supermarket shelves to this day (albeit in revised or repurposed forms), including Anadin, Vicks Vaporub, 7-Up, Bovril, Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper.


Wolcott's Instant Pain Annihilator (c. 1863)
Public DomainWolcott's Instant Pain Annihilator (c. 1863) - Credit: R. L. Wolcott (Library of Congress)
Dr. C.Y. Girard's Ginger Brandy - 'A Certain Cure for Cholera, Cholic, Cramps, Dysentery, Chills & Fever' (c. 1860)
Public DomainDr. C.Y. Girard's Ginger Brandy - 'A Certain Cure for Cholera, Cholic, Cramps, Dysentery, Chills & Fever' (c. 1860) - Credit: Library of Congress
Dr. D. Jayne's Tonic Vermifuge. 'The Cure for Coughs, Colds, Asthma, or any Lung or Throat Disease' (c. 1889)
Public DomainDr. D. Jayne's Tonic Vermifuge. 'The Cure for Coughs, Colds, Asthma, or any Lung or Throat Disease' (c. 1889) - Credit: Knapp & Co. (Library of Congress)
Page 375. " A wheel with the figures of the lotería was fastened to the wall of the caravan "
Tablas de Lotería (Lotería boards)
Public DomainTablas de Lotería (Lotería boards) - Credit: Alex Covarrubias

Lotería is a Mexican game of chance, similar to Bingo, but using images printed on cards rather than numbers.

The origins of the game can be traced back to 15th century Italy before it spread to Spain and then to New Spain (Mexico) in 1769. It eventually became a tradition at Mexican fairs.