The Last Resort

When Steve Smith bought the remote Big Bend town of Lajitas in 2000, he dreamed of building a lush, five-star retreat that would attract the likes of Tiger Woods and Tom Cruise. Instead, he paid dearly to learn an age-old lesson: The desert always wins.

At first blush, it’s almost impossible to tell the age of a resident of south Brewster County, and there are two good reasons for that. The first is the effect of the arid Big Bend environs, of the baking sun, beating winds, and unrelenting dust. Faces age faster in the desert, the skin browning and creasing and toughening up in ways that city and suburban

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