The Espinosas were two brothers—some contend they were cousins—and a nephew who terrorized southern Colorado in the early 1860s. On their vengeful rampage, Felipe, Vivian, and José Espinosa killed dozens of people and remain Colorado’s most prolific serial killers. Today, the Espinosas live on in the canon of western myth and as one of the most violent chapters in Colorado’s territorial period.
In 1863, two brothers from Colorado's San Luis Valley allegedly went on one of the most infamous killing sprees in the history of the American West. But the story's sensationalized lore has been entwined with the deeply contentious and unresolved history of land rights in the Borderlands of Southern Colorado for centuries. In this episode, we produced for History Colorado, we journeyed to the San Luis Valley for some up close and personal investigative field work to peel back the layers and see why the story still resonates today.
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