Joe Mondragon, thirty-six with not much to show for it, a feisty hustler with a talent for trouble, slammed his battered pickup to a stop, tugged on his gumboots, and marched into the arid patch of ground. Carefully, if impulsively (and also illegally), he tapped into the main irrigation channel. And so began - though few knew it at the time - the Milagro beanfield war. But like everything else in the dirt-poor town of Milagro, it would be a patchwork war, fought more by tactical retreats than by battlefield victories. Gradually, ever so awkwardly, the small farmers and sheepmen begin to rally to Joe's beanfield as the symbol of their lost rights and their lost lands. The tale of Milagro's rising is wildly comic and lovingly tender, a vivid portrayal of a town that, half-stumbling and partly prodded, groped its way toward its own stubborn salvation.
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