Far from Cactus Flat

The 20th Century Story of a Harsh Land, a Proud Family, and a Lost Son


In late June of 1944, Chloe Bundy received a letter at her homestead near the edge of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona Strip.  Her heart broke when she opened it and learned that one of her 14 children, a dancing-eyed, square-shouldered boy named Lincoln, had been shot down over Normandy just after D-Day.  No more was known of his fate.  The spiritually-gifted matriarch knew her son was alive.  She was right.  But she never knew it as a proven fact in her lifetime.  Not until 1996, when a British historian happened upon lost information about a downed American flyer, did Lincoln Bundy’s full story come to light.

Over the past several years, drawing on interviews, personal experience, and the sparse literature of the Arizona Strip, Lyman Hafen has laced together a tale that lies at the heart of the legendary homesteading era along the Hurricane Rim.

In 1917, the Bundys and several other families staked claims in a new promised land.  They made a go if it through the 1920s, 30s, and into the 40s.  Then the rains subsided and most of the young men went off to war.  Two of the promising cowboys on the fabled “Strip” were Lincoln Bundy and his cousin George Iverson.  After Pearl Harbor, the call to war reached their far-flung homesteads and both responded.  Lincoln became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot in Europe, and George, a Marine in the South Pacific.  The two golden boys of Bundyville soon found themselves far from Cactus Flat in the iconic battles of World War II – D-Day and Iwo Jima.

This is the story of the high, wild and lonesome Arizona Strip, and how a profound spirituality, a love of a place, and an eternal optimism secured a family against the harsh elements of the earth and the dangers of the big world that lay beyond the long horizon of the Hurricane Rim.

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