By John McManus
The tale of Duke stems, as most legends do, from the seeds of reality. Where reality ends and myth prevails can only be personally resolved.
The name of the lonely Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad worker who brought Duke the dog to the Salida rail yard is lost forever. Duke, however, a smart, obedient and friendly canine, soon became part of the scene in the Salida yard during his master’s shift. A rail worker’s life in the 1890s could be described as hard, dirty and dangerous work with little compensation. The dangerous part of the job caught up with Duke’s owner one day when he was caught between a boxcar wheel and rail.