Around 1850, following the New Mexico territory’s annexation to the United States, the Vatican appoints Father Jean Marie Latour, a French Jesuit missionary priest previously serving in Ohio, as the first bishop of this region. He sets out for Santa Fe with Father Joseph Vaillant, a personal friend for many years.
The almost plotless historical novel Death Comes for the Archbishop follows the two priests for almost forty years. But the real story is the story of the peoples of New Mexico. Now American by law, they are actually Mexican and Indian by custom and belief.