The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Valley of Tears

Jeanne F. Lively General Entry

The Valley of Tears (Valle de las Lágrimas) is a long, narrow swale at the intersection of the Cottonwood and Los Lingos creeks near Quitaque at the southeastern edge of Briscoe County. It is surrounded on three sides by hills. The elevation drops from about 2,550 feet to almost 700 feet in the space of six or seven miles from the tip of the plains to the floor of the valley. The sides of the valley are cut by steep, dark canyons, and the creek banks offer sweet grass that once drew buffalo to the area. Several miles to the west of the Quitaque Peaks, the falls of Los Lingos Creek tumble from the Caprock. According to legend, the name of the valley was suggested by some unknown person who heard the wailing of mothers and children who had been kidnapped by Indians and brought there in the mid-1800s to be separated from each other and sold. In recent years farmers and ranchers in the area have initiated bed-and-breakfast businesses, hoping to attract hunters, rockhounds, and nature lovers visiting nearby Caprock Canyons State Park to the now-peaceful valley.

Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, August 14, 1938. Briscoe County Historical Survey Committee, Footprints of Time in Briscoe County (Dallas: Taylor, 1976).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jeanne F. Lively, “Valley of Tears,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 07, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.