After listening to Indian tales of a great river, Coronado ordered a search party to travel northwest of Hawikuh. They did but were halted by a massive canyon, the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River flowed at its distant bottom.
The following spring, Coronado and the army set off again, this time toward the east, where rumor told of gold. The men marched across the dusty plains of Texas and Kansas, stunned by the enormous buffalo herds, but they found only cities of huts and buffalo hides.
Coronado was shocked to learn that his Indian guide had deliberately led the Spanish into the Plains in the hopes that they would die of hunger and thirst. Coronado had the man executed immediately.
In the spring of 1542, Coronado and his weary men returned to Mexico, with nothing to show after two years of exploration.