Trail of the Iron Ponies

In 1860, history records an incident in which the famous Comanche chief, Peta Nacona, conducted his last raid on settlers and stole 600 horses from a two-county area. The last time Nacona and the horses were seen in Palo Pinto County was by settlers who witnessed their drive up the shallow banks of Dark Valley Creek which traverses through Rio Roca Ranch. Goodnight and Loving, famous Texas Rangers, assembled a posse which followed them northward and led to the Battle of Pease River to avenge the death of the settlers. At the Battle of Pease River, Cynthia Ann Parker, a girl kidnapped by the Comanches in 1836 and subsequently married to Peta Nocona, was identified and returned to her original family. She was also the mother of the young brave, Quanah Parker, the greatest chief of the Comanche nation.

It is the story of these stolen horses that have inspired the works of art along a 2-mile stretch from Highway 4 to the Chapel compound affectionately dubbed “The Trail of the Iron Ponies.”