Long before Europeans arrived in the Southwest, this was undisputedly Mescalero Apache territory. The Mescalero were essentially nomadic hunters and warriors. The Mescalero roamed freely throughout Texas, Arizona, Chihuahua and Sonora, México. Apache raiders were known to be expert guerrilla fighters who defended their homelands and brought terror to Spanish, Mexican and American settlers. As the American frontier spread west, the U.S. government established a system of forts to protect settlers, including Ft. Stanton (1855).
For more information on the Mescalero please see this excellent brochure on the Mescalero Apache compiled by the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino.