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The vast, gray expanse of the desert lay still as a pic ture in the heat of the early afternoon. The silence of waste places held it. It was gaunt and sterile, clad with a drab growth of sage, ﬂat as a table, and with the white scurf of the alkali breaking through its parched skin. It was the earth, lean, sapless, and marked with disease. A chain of purple hills looked down on its dead level, over which a wagon road passed like a scar across a haggard face. From the brazen arch of the sky heat poured down and was thrown back from the scorched surface of the land. It was August in the Utah Desert in the early fifties.