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Joshua Tree National Park ~ Desert Queen Ranch

Joshua Tree National Park

Bill & Frances Keys’ Desert Queen Ranch

“From 1918 until 1963 Bill and Frances Keys were the leading – sometimes the only – citizens of the high desert valleys of Joshua Tree.

Bill was prospector, miner, mill operator, cattle rancher, road and dam builder, mining equipment salvager, and improviser;

whatever was needed to survive in this desert hideaway.

Frances Keys was gardener, housekeeper, mother of four children, doctor, nurse, teacher, and as innovative a survivor as her husband.

In 1943 a feuding neighbor, Worth Bagley, tried to ambush and kill Bill Keys, but Bill was the better shot and killed Bagley instead.

Keys was tried and sentenced to 10 years in San Quentin for manslaughter.

Erle Stanley Garner took up Keys’ case in his “Court of Last Resort” magazine articles.

Bill was paroled after 5 years in prison and finally pardoned on the basis of self defense.

Then 69 years old, Bill and Frances returned to the Desert Queen Ranch.”

Decker, Decker & Hazlett, Road Guide To Joshua Tree National Park, 1999

Bill & Frances Key’s Desert Queen Ranch

Joshua Tree National Park

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Posted by bigdawg on January 2, 2018

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