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The village of Chama, New Mexico is in Rio Arriba County. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad started construction of the San Juan extension in 1880.The extension went to Alamosa, Colorado to Silverton, Colorado, going through Cumbres Pass, Chama, and Durango. Within a year, the Rocky Mountain village had built facilities to service railroad equipment, warehouses, stockyards, and a train depot. All that construction made Chama a boomtown, and people came from all over to work or to make money off of those who worked. Chama soon became a prosperous town with numerous gambling houses, saloons, and stills. There were also coal mines, logging enterprises, and cattle and sheep ranching. Groceries and lodging were highly expensive and outlaws regularly robbed one establishment or another.

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