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Hidalgo
Hidalgo
General Information
Location:Texas
Establishment:1749
Disestablishment:N/A
Population:425
Notable Individuals:
Factions:La Legión de la Gente, Texican Caravan Company
Notable events:Hidalgo Compact, The Restoration, First Battle of Hidalgo, Second Battle of Hidalgo
Current status:Thriving Border Town

Hidalgo, Texas has always been a small town rich in culture and heritage, a blend of Dixie, the American West, and Mexico it was a fine example of a border town before the war and after it. A small trading post and pit stop for travelers leaving Texas for Mexico and leaving Mexico for Texas, Hidalgo has had a checkered past since the bombs fell and has gone from a booming town crawling out of the radioactive gutter of the world to a barbaric one of lawless gutter trash to a town once again possessing a modicum of civilization, weathering hard economic times, anarchy, and Comanchero raiders to get to where it is today.

History

Pre-War

Hidalgo’s roots trace back to early Spanish colonial colonization of what was then Mexico or ‘New Spain’ as they called it when Spanish colonists founded it in 1749. After the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 the town became part of the United States, specifically the state of Texas. In the first lustrum of the 1860s, Hidalgo flew the flag of the Confederate States of America during the War Between the States and would later fly the flag of the Union again in the spring of 1870.

The town was always small and would don the names La Habitación, Rancho San Luís, San Luisito, and Edinburgh before officially becoming Hidalgo when it was incorporated into Hidalgo County in 1876. After incorporation, Hidalgo remained a small border town which served as a gateway to Texas for many travelers and traders and an exit from Texas for cattle herds and men on the run.

Through the 20th century Hidalgo remained insignificant and boasted under twenty thousand inhabitants, surviving off of outlying agricultural operations and catering to those using the town as a gate between countries. In the early 21st century, Hidalgo gained new significance when it fell prey to the criminal antics of Mexican drug cartels that made the small town a hotbed of drug smuggling and drug-related murders. Hidalgo became another town ripe with crime as Mexican cartels smuggled goods into Texas and Americans ran guns and money into Mexico, both using Hidalgo as a gateway. After several years of this, Hidalgo gained a very violent reputation which failed to help the town’s small size grow, the only new citizens of Hidalgo in these troubled years were undesirables; gangsters, prostitutes, pimps, thugs, and smugglers.

It wasn’t until the spring of 2019 that things began looking up for Hidalgo, a troubled small town of then fifteen thousand when the state government began to pay more attention to the town in the wake of the vicious Fonseca murders in which Portuguese nationals touring Texas, Mr. and Mrs. Fonseca were brutally killed in their motel room by a Texan drug addict who murdered them for money to purchase cocaine from local cartel dealers. The murders of the happy couple sparked outrage in Portugal and led to demands for action by the Portuguese ambassador. The state of Texas obliged and in response established a Texas Ranger station in town to help beef up security around the border and better police the criminal district of Hidalgo.

By 2021 the town was drastically reformed and drug related crime dropped over sixty percent, a massive achievement for the small town whose streets were now much safer. This became the status quo for Hidalgo which would grow to have twenty thousand people, a community college, and a large truck stop by the time the bombs fell in October of 2077.

The War

Hidalgo was to say the least, insignificant to foreign officers as they planned the bombing of America. There were not even twenty five thousand people, no military garrison, no major stockpiles of medicine, gasoline, guns, or ammunition and the town wasn’t near any major targetable facility, in short it was a waste of a good missile. The nearest bomb was over fifty miles away and for a few short days, Hidalgo was mostly untouched. However panic and fallout both set in and the roads leading north into Texas and south into Mexico became a congested mess of automobiles as people fled, looted, killed each other, and hid as the Texas Rangers and local police proved incapable of restoring order. Radiation played a small part in culling of Hidalgo, by Christmas of 2077 it was fear, panic, and paranoia that had led the people of Hidalgo to flee or kill themselves, leaving less than six hundred people in town to see the year 2078.

Post-War

Tribal Era

Those who did survive soon found themselves in a world of hardship; spread out across the small town they formed small tribes of forty or fifty and sometimes up to sixty and began what armchair historians of post-war Hidalgo call ‘The Tribal Era’, where the town was dominated by a collection of such clans, mainly the so-called ‘Big Four'

Bombed Ruin

Scavengers outside of a ruined house during the Tribal Era

One such ‘Big Four’ tribe, ‘The Rangers’ consisted of the Texas Rangers and police officers as well as their families who had stayed the course and found themselves garrisoned at the old police station, defending it with their weaponry and trading protective gear, ammunition, and some weaponry for food and water.


Another consisted of truckers and those who were at the large truck stop after the panic had stopped; they quickly found that most trucks had at least one firearm, normally a pistol in the glove box along with cargo. While some trucks had cargo useless to survival such as makeup or children’s toys, other trucks had been hauling clothing, food, water, and electronics when they were stopped at Hidalgo on October 23rd, 2077 and the Trucker Clan managed to do quite well for itself.


Another tribe was a religious one, formed of churchgoers of the local branches of the Catholic and Lutheran churches who put aside denominational difference and united under the banner of their shared Christian ideology to band together. They elected priests as their leaders and scavenged for food and water to provide for their people and for weapons to protect the flock against the wolves. ‘The Flock’ as it was called was responsible for most of the scavenging in Hidalgo and had trading teams across the town of approximately four and a half miles, mapping it out by 2085.


The last major group was formed in and around the San Pablo Community Hospital, a Jesuit founded hospital which was stocked with some weaponry for security but with a generous amount of medical supplies. ‘The Samaritans’ as they were called around Hidalgo holed themselves up in the hospital, constructing a makeshift barricade around the hospital’s perimeter and posting armed guards on the rooftops who had visibility for several hundred yards. They allowed those seeking trade or medical treatment inside their gates providing they surrendered their weapons and provided medical services in exchange for trades of food, water, ammunition, and whatever else one requiring medical care could offer of value.


The Big Four tribes proved the most powerful and resilient compared to smaller tribes who fell prey to lack of supplies or the bands of raiders who skulked around the crumbling ruins of the town, destroyed by its own people in the unrest the bombs caused. All four tribes sent patrols into the ruins near their bases and trading groups to other Big Four tribes and smaller groups, never traveling by night as they feared the brigands who would savagely attack them if they were outside a barricade after dark. This went on nearly one hundred years as trade between the tribes and marrying between tribes increased and outside traders from Texas and Mexico passed through, soon the Big Four decided that living in fortified strongholds small distances from each other wasn’t enough, and in 2172 the Hidalgo Compact was signed, creating the Free Township of Hidalgo.

Free Township of Hidalgo

The Hidalgo Compact was simple, the Big Four: The Rangers, The Trucker Clan, The Flock, and The Samaritans, all of whom had some blood ties to each other and friendly relations decided to unite and form a provisional government, the Free Township of Hidalgo which would be led by an elected chamber of representatives referred to as a ‘representantes’, with one from each of the Big Four tribes. Representantes were elected in early December and sworn into one year terms every Christmas, when the chamber was formed they would elect a leader who would become mayor and whoever had ran against the mayor in his or her tribal election would be named representante of their tribe.

The first order of business was the cleaning up of the town; the Hidalgo Militia was quickly organized as a conglomeration of all tribal militias and new conscripts who were forced into temporary service until the raider bands hiding in abandoned apartments and convenient stores could be purged.

For two long months the sound of gunfire became as common as dust in Hidalgo as militia bands raided potential raider strongholds and were bushwhacked by those marauders still willing to fight. ‘The Restoration’ as it came to be known as it restored law and order was one of the bloodiest chapters in South Texas after the war, fighting was tooth and nail as shotgun blasts ripped off limbs in close range and lead pipes bashed in skulls to bloody pulps as the militia and raiders fought like savages against in each other, emptying their firearms in close range fusillades of loud screaming death and then using them as billy clubs when ammunition ran out. The Restoration would last sixty three days and claim an estimated two hundred lives before The Chamber officially declared that the ruins of Hidalgo were safe and open for settlement. This was perhaps the biggest accomplishment for Hidalgo up to that date in their post-war history, the conscripts were released from service and the buildings not owned by the tribes were declared to be the property of the first man, woman, or family to enter them as a way to spread the population of approximately four hundred and fifty out across the ruins of town.

By 2177, the centennial of the Great War, radiation in Hidalgo was minimal and the town was crawling out of the ashes of war to civilization. While the representante of The Flock managed to push through a ban of prostitution, all other businesses were welcome as squatters turned their new properties into general stores, bars, cardhouses, and other businesses. The people used the Rio Grande as a means of water for crop irrigation and soon a new tribe, ‘The Planters’ found themselves a representante in The Chamber. The Free Township of Hidalgo quickly became a frequented spot for traders from both sides of the border and a trading town itself, selling cargo left from trucks at the old truck stop, food grown by The Planters, salvage found in the ruins, and hand loaded ammo from The Rangers for guns, medical supplies to replenish the hospital, electronics, clothing, and brahmin.

When the twenty third century dawned, Hidalgo was a thriving community with a population of seven hundred and a militia of fifty brave men and women to protect it. It was a caravan and brahmin town capable of sustaining itself without trade and prospering from it, possibly the most thriving town in Southern Texas at the time. The Free Township decades are agreed by all students of post-war Hidalgo history as the town’s most prosperous years as The Chamber led the town to wealth untold for another three and a half decades.

First Battle of Hidalgo

In 2235, Hidalgo’s darkest days dawned when it became a target for some of the most feared raiders south of the border, a band of comancheros led by Benedicto Aguado. One of the most ruthless men to emerge from post-war Mexico, by the age of twenty two he had killed four men and by twenty five had a cabal of comancheros numbering fifty. When he was thirty in 2235 his gang of bandits was eighty men and growing, a small army almost. Deadly and lethal, Aguado’s men could stand up to some of the most heavily defended trading posts and caravans on either side of the border. But he soon realized that there was no caravan large enough to provide ammunition, food, water, medicine, and women for eighty bandits and if he didn’t find a way to ensure adequate supplies for all his men soon that a mutiny would occur inside his camp that would start with his throat being slit and then lead to many of his men being killed before breaking off into seven or eight splinter groups with his name being forgotten. Desperate to avoid this, Aguado realized he needed a stronghold and when he heard about Hidalgo from a captured caravaneer he investigated and after visiting the town in disguise, he decided it would make a perfect stronghold. He recruited more mercenaries until his ranks numbered a full one hundred and on Christmas Day of 2235, he attacked and the First Battle of Hidalgo began.

The First Battle of Hidalgo was one of the bloodiest engagements that the post-apocalyptic Mexican border ever saw, while many were in Christmas services at the Catholic and Protestant churches in town or at home celebrating and observing the birth of Jesus, Aguado’s hundred man legion was wading across the Rio Grande with pistols on their right hips, machetes on their left hips, and scavenged rifles in their hands. When the first gunshots went off, the militia, over half of which was off duty in honor of Christmas was caught unaware. Comancheros went door to door, killing everyone who opposed them, violating women, stealing anything they liked, and setting up sniper’s nests and check points out of strategically valuable buildings.


The official militia was organized in an hour and a half and had over a hundred and thirty by the evening. Men, women, and children as young as twelve armed with old law enforcement weapons, scavenged civilian hunting guns, fire axes, sledge hammers, and anything they could get their hands on fortified themselves in the old San Pablo Hospital which was conveniently located in the center of town with the northern half under town control and the southern half under Comanchero control. Potshots were exchanged until evening when the mayor of the township, a popular Flock representante, Benito Torres hoisted an old pre-War Mexican flag, a symbol of parley across the Mexican border in Texas.

When Aguado saw the flag he sent a messenger agreeing to parley, only after the sun set though so that no sniper could pick him off in the open. The meeting was held between Torres and Aguado in the middle of Bonaparte Street which ran perpendicular to the hospital and served as the border between comanchero and civilization. At the meeting Torres offered Aguado anything he wanted if he would leave be it guns, food, medicine, ammunition, and even a small number of men and women to take as slaves. However Aguado wasn’t interested in Danegeld, he wanted a city. His ultimatum was clear, if the militia had until sunup to surrender and lay down their arms. Property owners and merchants would be allowed to return to normal lives provided they accept comanchero rule and pay annual tribute, the militia men however along with their families would be taken as slaves along with all vagabonds and non-productive citizens.


Torres took the ultimatum back to The Chamber for a vote, at sunup a volley of gunfire aimed at the comancheros gave Aguado his answer, ‘No.’. All five representantes and Torres voted to defy Aguado’s demand and the bloodiest day in Hidalgo’s history began. Over eight thousand rounds were fired over the course of the day as groups of militia and comancheros tried to cross Bonaparte Street, which quickly became littered with bodies. Eventually however the comancheros broke through and into the hospital compound gates and thus began bloody fighting as pistols and shotguns roared and machetes met baseball bats as close to a hundred and fifty men and women fought it out in vicious close range combat like medieval armies.


While it seemed anyone’s game to the militia who outnumbered the comancheros with ninety fighters compared the seventy comancheros, the brigands had far more experience in such fighting. After thirty savage and bloody minutes, the outer gates were clear of militia and of the hundred comancheros who had come, only forty were left. They quickly stormed the hospital and shot any armed survivor, sparing those who surrendered. By nightfall the town was theirs, along with fifty slaves and two hundred and eighty five citizens, the so-called ‘Comanchero Years’ had begun.

Comanchero Years

Typical Comanchero

A typical Comanchero in Hidalgo

Hidalgo was declared to be ‘open’ by the agents of Aguado as he reigned from the inside of the old hospital. Every day saloons, brothels, and cardhouses sprung up in what used to be schools, houses, and tailor shops. Drunks and druggies roamed the streets and it became unsafe for a woman to walk down a street even during the day, the only men safe from a the knife of a mugger or the pistol of a bandit were Aguado’s comancheros who policed the hell they had made, all of them wearing old Mexican flags as bandannas around their neck as a symbol of their homeland. Hidalgo became a town of slavers, gamblers, comancheros, mercenaries, prostitutes, drug smugglers, and gun runners who turned the town into a post-apocalyptic mix of Babylon and Dodge City.

Peaceful traders steered clear of Hidalgo in this time period and the only people who came into town were men on the run looking for sanctuary, gun runners, drug dealers, slavers, and raiders looking to join up with Aguado. Murder rates were over five a day as men and women met their demise in violent stabbings, gang robberies, drunken shootings, and the occasional hanging. Aguado didn’t care for the people who fell victim to the criminals who ran loose on the streets, the only men who were protected were his slaves and his raiders and any crimes against them were punished with summary execution.

Aguado used Hidalgo as his base to launch raids in Texas and Mexico over three decades as he became one of the most powerful bandit kings in post-War Texas and Mexico and became known as the ‘King of the Comancheros’. His reign of terror left over two thousand people dead inside and outside of Hidalgo as his wealth and power accumulated, when the end finally dead come for the aging Aguado, he would never see it coming.

Second Battle of Hidalgo

2269 would prove to be the most important and crucial year in the recent history of Hidalgo. The events of that fateful year would turn the town around and it would be due in large part to one man and his love for a woman, when he rolled into town in the spring of 2269 he seemed an average drifter, however he would soon enter the Parthenon of border legends for killing another legend, Benedicto Aguado, his name was Harland Ross.

Harland Ross
Harland Ross

Harland Ross, 2276

To fully understand the events of 2269 and The Second Battle of Hidalgo, one must understand the character of one Harland Ross. Ross was twenty five when he entered Hidalgo and in his short life he had been a brahmin drover, scavenger, bartender, prize fighter, faro dealer, caravaneer, and bandit. When he entered Hidalgo he entered with a pack brahmin loaded with old hunting rifle parts he had scavenged from a shack in Mexico hoping to make some coin. All accounts agree that he went to the Dynasty Saloon and what he saw that evening prompted him to set in motion the events that would overthrow Aguado.

Ross was the very definition of a drifter; he had once had a home however. He had grown up in Matamoros; a Mexican border town located across the Rio Grande from Fort Brown and had left home when he was seventeen to seek his fortune, leaving behind a family and a lover. He had returned to his home town three years later to find his darling gone, captured in a slave raid. And it was in the Dynasty Saloon where he found her again, the beautiful Carmen Huerta.

Ross had an immediate revival of feelings for his old flame and immediately set about a way to try to spring her free from captivity. The owner of the Dynasty Saloon was no other than Emilio Aguado, kid brother of Benedicto Aguado. Harland was unable to buy his love and realized that stealing her would result in him and Carmen being hunted down by her the men of her former owner’s brother. After a week of thought Harland decided that he could live the rest of his life as a drifter or help do something to clean up the town of Hidalgo and marry his love. Thus he decided to do what he saw as most rational, begin a rebellion against the most powerful bandito in South Texas.

La Legión de la Gente
Pancho Mendoza

Pancho Mendoza, 2269

Few people know that La Legión de la Gente, or The People's Legion was actually founded in Hidalgo a year before their bloody and infamous war with Rey Cristobal began. It was founded in the cellar of a cardhouse by Harland Ross, Pancho Mendoza, and five other residents of Hidalgo, tired of Aguado's bloody and corrupt criminal junta. The goals of the People's Legion were quite simple, overthrow Benedicto Aguado and drive out the comanchero scum that had turned Hidalgo into a den of criminal vice. The Legion was funded with money from Mendoza's cardhouse and that money quickly went to buying guns, ammunition, supplies, and explosives as they covertly prepared for battle.

Invitations were extended to those citizens of Hidalgo who were not involved in criminal enterprises such as working men and honest store owners who actually outnumbered the criminals but were no match in terms of firepower. Mendoza and Ross both began recruiting and arming men and women, setting up sniper's nests in some of their houses, medicine stashes in dumpsters near the homes of sympathizers, and weapon caches in the closets of those loyal to the idea of liberty for Hidalgo.

Every week for two months the members of the legion would meet outside of town for drilling and target practice until soon they numbered near two hundred people, all of them ready to fight the comancheros, pimps, drug dealers, and smugglers who had oppressed them for over three decades. With advantage in numbers and devotion The People's Legion bade their time until November the sixth, when all the Comancheros in town as well as most of the other unsavory elements were celebrating the birthday of their Comanchero king.

The Battle

The Second Battle of Hidalgo was quick and brutal, all the comancheros in town thought that the gunshots they heard were merely celebratory (as excessive celebratory gunfire was normal in Hidalgo) and didn't realize that an army of angry paisanos was shooting their way through town. Raiding dens of vice, freeing slaves, and handing out weapons to any and all willing to fight. The near two hundred strong army grew to well over two hundred and fifty when they charged the hospital that Aguado had won his victory in so many years previously.

Led by Harland Ross, the drifter turned general, the People's Legion swarmed the compound as they engaged in bloody close range gunplay. The comancheros were caught unaware and drunk and stood no match as many were hacked apart with machetes and shot in the head. The only man who managed to hold his own was Aguado himself. With his pair of .44 magnums he was said to have killed nine men before the fighting stopped and he challenged Ross to a showdown. What happened next was like something out of an old 19th century dime novel. The last comanchero stared down Ross Harland as an entire small army stood to the side. Harland ordered that if he were to die that Aguado be let go before the duel.

The two men paced in a circle around each other for near four minutes before Aguado drew his gun on Ross, who was too slow. By the time Harland drew, Aguado's bullet was long gone, flying past Harland's head. Aguado made the typical mistake, he tried to get the first shot instead of the first hit. He had drawn at a speed to rival Wild Bill himself and had missed, Ross drew relatively quick but aimed and was able to fire a shot right into Aguado's chest, killing the King of the Comancheros instantly. With that shot from a pre-War Mexican army revolver, Harland Ross became a legend and Hidalgo became free.

The Golden Age

When the corpses of Aguado and his men were set ablaze in a massive funeral pyre, the people of Hidalgo began to rebuild. The majority of the People's Legion was disbanded, with only thirty remaining to follow the new general, Pancho Mendoza. The rest turned to rebuilding their economy. Brothels and dens of vice were turned into friendlier inns and hotels and bars and caravaneers were attracted in with promises of cheap food, beds, drinks, and some friendly card games.

The town's economy took off running as Harland Ross assumed the role of sheriff with his new wife, Carmen. Some would call the liberation of Hidalgo the ultimate love story and many came just to see if it was true. After stockpiling up weapons for a town arsenal and for his new deputies, Ross capitalized on the surplus of guns by sending out a message that every merchant and traveler who would spend one night in Hidalgo would be given a free firearm of their choosing from the unused guns. Caravaneers and scavengers flocked for the next six months and some made out with high quality assault rifles as the hotels gained money from rentors, gamblers, drinkers, and dining patrons.

Harland's free gun program introduced many caravaneers to Hidalgo who made it a regular stop and brought some travelers in to spend a few caps, pesos, or whatever currency they had. Harland Ross became famous for his saving of the town and for his efficient and unique law enforcement methods the most well known of which was his policy of mandatory armament of all citizens, fining any man not openly wearing some form of gun, the rationale being that criminals were less likely to commit crimes in an area that was clearly capable of offering resistance. This and many other of Ross' policies have made Hidalgo the safest it has ever been and beginning what many call the "Golden Age" for Hidalgo.

The town has only gone up since the fateful year of 2269, already the hospital is partially operational and there is now a Roman Catholic church and Baptist church along with a schoolhouse for teaching literacy to children. Harland Ross serves as de facto mayor, policing the town of over four hundred with his department of twenty five Texans and Mexicans, collecting a tax of five percent from all people on a monthly basis and using it to pay the sheriff, deputies, and to help fund the school and hospital which are open to the public on Harland's orders.

As stands the town is reliant upon traders and is a major stop for those crossing the border, the People's Legion mantains an outpost to use as a forward operating base for raids against Rey Cristobol in Mexico and the powerful Texican Caravan Company mantains an office in town ensuring a steady supply of Texican Caravans. The fact that every man is armed and that Harland Ross is the sheriff detters most raiders and has kept the town safe as it continues to grow with some suggesting that Hidalgo could become the seat of a reasonably strong regional power in the future if it so wishes, either way as of 2281 the city is reaping caravan profits under the watchful of Harland Ross.

Government

Government in Hidalgo is quite simple seeing how there really is none except for Harland Ross who takes care of the town. With twenty five deputies, Ross mantains law and order with surprising effectiveness, but besides a five percent tax that is collected from all people over the age of eighteen at the end of each month and the basic code of laws banning prostitution, slave transport, unauthorized chem sales, cheating in gambling, rape, murder, theft, assault, and other crimes like arson, the law mantains a hands-off approach.

If a complaint is made against any particular citizen then a warrant will be served only on Harland Ross's order in which case said citizen will be arrested and given a Hidalgo trial. A Hidalgo trial meaning that the accused is brought to the nearest saloon and a jury of a dozen is selected while whoever made the complaint will argue their case and call witnesses and the defendent is then called upon to argue their defense and call witnesses, lawyers are not allowed on either side. After the arguements are done the jury will make a verdict of innocent or guilty and then Sheriff Ross will lay down sentence which is either a fine, exile, or a rapid hanging.

The basic simplicity of the law is easy to comprehend and makes Hidalgo a friendly and safe town for all travelers. The government is strictly present to enforce law and order and make a decent living, collecting a modest tax to fund the hospital and school in town and pay a modest salary for the deputies. In the Old World the government would be classified as rather libertarian and the hands-off approach of government law that ensures that any and all can have a good time and conduct fair trade in a safe environment, perhaps the main reason that Hidalgo has prospered as it serves as a rather happy medium between lawlessness and a controlling government.

Economy

Hidalgo’s economy is based around the caravan trade. For the most part it is a sustainable community, using water from the Rio Grande to irrigate crops and getting Brahmin from nearby small ranches, although food commonly passes through town. This being said, the only real consumables the town requires are spirits, which the saloons have no problem buying with all the rent and gambling money they take in. With little outside dependency, the economy of Hidalgo can be focused on the so-called three S’s, saloons, salvage, and startups.

Hidalgo Saloon

The inside of the Imperial Saloon, known as The Dynasty Saloon during the comanchero years

Saloons are what Hidalgo lives off of, without them the town would hardly be worth the time it takes to walk through it. There are over a dozen saloons in the town; one or two of them are nothing more than large tents selling cheap moonshine. Others like the Imperial Saloon and the Polecat Saloon are large bars, casinos, and inns. The money that the saloons bring in is what makes Hidalgo so prosperous, the only thing missing is pleasurable company which due to the strong religious sentiment of many in town and Sheriff Harland Ross, is banned. Besides that however, it’s like heaven to any caravaneer who has been on the dusty trails of South Texas or North Mexico for days or weeks and caravaneers have no problem gambling big, losing big, and drinking big in the saloons.

While that makes up the bulk of economic activity in Hidalgo, the town still has other economic activities, selling salvage to passing caravans is a decent business due to the fact that a new caravan passes through town at least once every two days and accordingly there are many salvagers and prospectors in town always looking to sell some scavenged trash and treasure off to a caravan merchant for a quick couple of caps, pesos, or for anything they might want to trade. The salvage business draws in a good crowd of thirsty patrons for the saloons, although the sheriff isn’t fond of it being that the crowd isn’t always the most law abiding.

The final big part of Hidalgo’s economy is the caravan startups. A protected town that acts as a gateway between Mexico and Texas with a booming economy is an excellent place for a caravan to start. Some end in Hidalgo and sell their goods to caravaneers or stores, from their companies like the Texican Caravan Company which has a permanent office in town for starting caravans that go south into Mexico and paying off caravaneers who have made journeys to carry goods from North Texas to Mexico on the long and dangerous Turtledove Trail, it is in Hidalgo that the goods are normally transferred to another caravan and the successful caravaneers take their pay, lose most of it in town, and then go back north to make another run with very little of their pay left. The money that Texican Company caravaneers get after a successful run is huge and much of it pours into the saloons while more caravaneers then take the goods south into Mexico.

Culture

The culture of Hidalgo is a rich and blended one, the town's makeup ethnically is about fifty-three percent white, forty-five percent hispanic, and two percent from other races. That being said the town's culture could be accurately described as Tex-Mex or Texican. Both English and Spanish are frequently heard, and one needs moderate comprehension of both to be able to live in town, although travelers can normally find saloons dominated by one language or the other if they are just passing through.
Border Family

The San Juans, a typical Hidalgo family.

Hidalgo is religiously Christian with sixty percent of it Roman Catholic, twenty five percent of it Baptist, ten percent of it Lutheran and the last five percent of other or no religious beliefs. That being said, people in Hidalgo cling strongly and devotely to Christian morality and regularly tithe parts of their income to their church to be used to fund charitable work. Though Old World differences between Catholicism and Protestantism were strong, ever since The Flock in the early township, both sects have gotten along quite well, regarding their differences as tolerable differences of opinion and not heretical practices unfitting of a Christian church.

However while the people are mostly strictly religous, that doesn't mean they are pacifistic. Most residents of Hidalgo were present during the reign of Aguado and many fought in the original People's Legion. By law there is a firearm in every occupied building and a man between the ages of sixteen and sixty is required to carry a gun openly on his person by law and know how to use it. This dumbed down form of mutually assured destruction has kept violence between citizens at a minimum and has foiled several bands of raiders over the past twelve years.

Due to the fact that such a large portion of the economy is based on trading with passing caravans, Hidalgo has a strong sense of Southern hospitality. Its people are generally friendly and welcoming to all passing through as an unwelcoming reception keeps caravaneers away from the bar, restaurants, gambling tables, and inns. Saloons in Hidalgo are some of the friendliest places in Southern Texas with most of them offering free lunches and night long Happy Hours, every night traditional Mexican salsa dancing is a common occurence throughout town as musicians play songs reflecting Hidalgo's Southern, Western, and Mexican heritage. In one night it isn't uncommon to 'Dixie', 'Red River Valley', and 'Cielito Lindo' all played by the same guitarist.

Ultimately Hidalgo has a rather friendly and catering culture that welcomes long time residents and guests all alike. A culture that has deep religious and moral principles, a friendly spirt, a hands-off approach, and a willingness to fight tooth and nail to protect that which they have with whatever weapons they can find.

Geography

Hidalgo is located on the Mexican border in Southern Texas, specifically on the Rio Grande, making it a stone's throw from Mexico at all times. In regards to other locations in the state of Texas it is around 60 miles to the west of the fellow border town of Fort Brown and approximately 175 miles south of the ruins of Corpus Christi and The Lexxx.

Corpse Coast

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