Death Comes for the Archbishop is a 1927 novel by Willa Cather. It concerns the attempts of a Catholic bishop and a priest to establish a diocese in New Mexico territory. The novel portrays two well-meaning and devout French priests who will encounter a well-entrenched Spanish-Mexican clergy after the United States acquired New Mexico in the Mexican-American War. As a result of the U.S. victory, the dioceses of the new state were remapped by the Vatican to reflect the new national borders. Several of these entrenched priests are depicted as examples of greed, avarice, and gluttony, while others live simple, abstemious lives among the Native Americans. Cather portrays the Hopi and Navajo sympathetically, and her characters express the near futility of overlaying their religion on a millennia-old native culture. The novel is timeless. The story unfolds in France and Italy with two boyhood friends who study for the priesthood together and subsequently end up doing their life's work together in the wild, open country of the New Mexico and Arizona frontiers. This work spans their entire lives, and the adventures, trials and hardships are many. The artistry that Willa Cather employs as she takes her reader through the magnificent, lonely expanses of sage and cactus, to the Mexican people in remote areas; the lawless exiles who hope to disappear into it's wilderness, is all accomplished as though a painter is at work beside her, shaping her words into visuals. The novel is based on the life of Jean-Baptiste Lamy, and partially chronicles the construction of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.