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Willa Cather, in the historical novel Death Comes for the Archbishop, depicts Padre Antonio Jose Martinez as an unscrupulous backward rogue priest and Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy as a civilizing, heroic and monumental figure. Countering Cather's assessment and portrayal of these two larger-than-life Southwestern folk heroes, Ray John de Aragon attempts to set the historical record straight. Padre Martinez (1793-1867) is viewed as a genius who was ahead of his time. Recognized as a champion of the poor, defender of the Native Americans and proponent of human rights, it was inevitable that he would clash with Lamy. Bishop Lamy (1814-1888), who also had his followers, emerges as someone whose understanding of native New Mexican cultures was lacking, but one whose intentions were to do good as a missionary in a strange and foreign land.