Cattle Days in Hidden Valley

About the Muralist
Dedication Date: October 25, 2000
Locaton: Crossroads Christian Books

The monolithic buttes and towers that surround Hidden Valley in what is now  Joshua Tree National Park were once reputed to be the stronghold of rustlers and outlaws known locally as the McHaney gang. The valley was aptly named due to its remoteness and concealed entrance through which passed stolen cattle and horses. There they were re-branded before being herded to Arizona for resale. Cattle would winter in the high desert of the Morongo Basin, from the 1880's on into the 1940's. The area around Twentynine Palms was used by the early cattlemen for the water at the Oasis of Mara while they grazed their stock in the Queen Valley area now in Joshua Tree National Park. The herds were then driven, following the water sources, back to summer pasture in the high meadows around Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains where the ranches were located. Early cattle companies were the Swarthout, Barker and Shay outfits.

Subtitled as "Valentine's Day," this trompe l'oeil mural tells a story about an artist who fell asleep while painting a mural. Manifested from the artist dream about Cattle Days in Hidden Valley, a rodeo bull named Valentine is metamorphosed into reality next to the scaffolding. Named for the white heart shape on his head, Valentine also bears the McHaney gang brand, as if he traveled out of the historical scene in the mural. Waiting for the artist to awake, along with a patient vulture, Valentine will soon have his day. Created by art illusionist John Pugh of Los Gatos, CA, the mural is located on the south-facing wall of Crossroads Christian Bookstore, 6219 Adobe Road. Dedicated: October 25, 2000.

This Mural Masterpiece was completed and unveiled on October 25th. If you would like to see the progress of this Mural as it was painted, Click Here.

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Michael Collins, All rights reserved