The Authentic Wild West: The Gunfighters
Accounts by Eyewitnesses and the Gunfighters Themselves
by James D. Horan
Publisher: Crown Publishers, Inc.
With 200 authentic documents and illustrations
The crowning work by a man long noted for his gripping portrayals of America's most fascinating frontier figures, this compelling volume shatters many myths and reveals the truths behind those legendary giants of the Wild West, the gunfighters. Depicted countless times in folklore and fiction, on the page and on the screen, the gunfighter has always been projected larger than life, glamorized, or vilified. Now James D. Horan strips away the self-serving deceits of journalists and romancers to reveal what the participants themselves saw, thought, said, and did.
Uncovering the flesh and blood beneath the exaggeration, Horan demonstrates -- again and again -- the much more dramatic reality of this period of American history that has been romanticized throughout the entire world. This book is the culmination of twenty years of research in government depositories, state and regional historical societies, files of forgotten frontier newspapers, and interviews with those who knew the violent men of the West. From the author's encyclopedic knowledge of the Wild West, from the decades of diligent searching, from newly mined lodes of documentation now emerge the true stories of these riders in the sky of international imagination.
Here are the authentic, completely documented, hair-raising stories of seven gunfighters -- Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Ben Thompson, John Wesley Hardin, Kid Curry, Tom Horn, and Harry Tracy:
* In the summer of 1878, a young New York City prosecutor was sent as a secret presidential agent into New Mexico's Lincoln County "war" to investigate a Watergate-type ring of corrupt officials. He was assisted by a fellow New Yorker, a teen-age orphan named Henry McCarty. McCarty, known to the West as the cold-blooded, moronic killer, Billy the Kid, is recognized as a quixotic hero.
* The reputation for glorying heroism of the golden-haired Wild Bill Hickok organized in a cowardly massacre in which he killed three unarmed men.
* John Wesley Hardin, who killed forty men and made Wild Bill Hickok back down, was finally sentenced to a long term in Texas's dread Huntsville prison. For nineteen years he smuggled out love letters to his eighteen-year-old bride, Jane Bowen Hardin, who promised to wait for him. He was pardoned shortly after she died.
* At the turn of the century, Harry Tracy wrote the last chapter of the story of the Wild West. For two months he eluded the West's greatest manhunt. Murdering as he went, he had tea with farmers' wives, joined the posses hunting him, helped a rancher build a barn, and even commandeered a boat for a personal cruise on Puget Sound.
Each of the gunfighters added his unique notch to the lore of the Wild West. James D. Horan's factual account of their bigger-than-life deeds not only sets the record straight, but enhances the lore for all time. And the rarity of the accompanying photographs and documents matches the uniqueness of the men who pistol-whipped the West.
Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover. Pages are tanned and darkening from age. Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper. Dust covers are tanned from age. Dust covers show a bit of edge wear and tear and creasing. Binding is beginning to split in places throughout the book, but pages are in tact. THIS BOOK IS FOUR POUNDS.
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- ISBN 0517118556
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