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The often quoted tale that the name Tucumcari arose from an incident in which an Apache Chief’s daughter, Kari, was beloved by a brave called Tocom is pure fiction.  The name’s real origin is obscure, but the consensus is that it comes from a Plains Indian word meaning “lookout” and was applied to the Tucumcari Mountains, 4,956 ft., the dramatic natural lookout just 2 miles south of town.  Efforts to trace the name to specific words in a specific Indian language, however, have been inconclusive.