The Absurdity of the Colors of the West

Flores points out that the first images of the Southwest presented to eastern audiences came from Palo Duro. So did some of the first dismissals of these studies-in-versimilitude as being unreal, unbelievable. In 1876, Ernest H. Ruffner made six watercolors of the canyon during his attempt with Charles A. J. McCauley to retrace the earlier, 1852 explorations of the Red River's headwaters. These paintings' 'hues elicited laughter and disbelief when he showed them in eastern Kansas,' Flores writes; no one back east had ever seen such vibrant colors on such striking landforms.

- In the Mind's Eye, Essays Across the Animate World, Elizabeth Dodd