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Culture & Literature
Wild West

Wild West

October 2020

Wild West Magazine presents the great American frontier from its beginnings to today. America’s western frontier has been a vital part of the country’s myths and reality, from the earliest exploration beyond the territory of the first colonies, to the wide expanses of the western prairies and deserts. Experience the old west and cowboys and Indians from top historical writers. Wild West brings to life the fascinating history, lore and culture of the great American frontier.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
HistoryNet
Frequency:
Monthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
cowboy talk

The word “cowboy” has deep historic roots. In 1725 Dublin-born satirist and author Jonathan Swift first used it in print to describe (what else) a boy tending cows, and the word caught on in Britain in the early 19th century, perhaps replacing the earlier “cowherd” (like “shepherd”). In the latter half of the century the word “grew up” in the American West, referring to the mostly men who tended cattle on horseback, much as the vaqueros (a Spanish word for cowherds) had long been doing across New Spain (Mexico and California). The term remains common in the 21st century West, even if the cow herders of today also use trucks, drones, smartphone aps and GPS to do their jobs. But cowboying has long been about more than just the men…

1 min.
visit our website for online extras

WildWestMag.com Confidentially Told in Brown’s Park The how and why Colorado cattle barons hired killer Tom Horn near the turn of the 20th century is revealed in Linda’s Wommack’s article, which originally appeared in the June 2019 Wild West and earned the Wild West History Association’s Six-Shooter Award for best general Western history article. More About Kody Bundy The scratchboard artist with a connection to horses says her work has evolved beyond copying photographs. “It’s more like how a composer writes music,” she explains. “I patch together a story from the banks of images I keep on file to tell the story I want.” Extended Interview With Roland De Wolk “He was certainly guilty of many shabby performances, but given the stage he found himself on, unprepared by upbringing, temperament and history itself, what else can…

4 min.
milking a legend

I’m 73 years old, and I’m watching 60-year-old episodes of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, with Hugh O’Brian, who died at 91 in 2016. The show’s adviser was Stuart Lake, who tended to glorify Earp’s life in his book [Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal]. In the series Earp didn’t touch alcohol but drank nothing but milk while in Dodge City. Is that one of Lake’s falsehoods? Ken Haines Taylor, Mich. Wyatt Earp biographer Casey Tefertiller responds: In those times most men were drinkers, often heavy drinkers. What we know with some certainty is that Earp did not drink hard liquor during his time in Kansas and then Tombstone. Whether he had an occasional beer or glass of wine is not certain, so I have avoided calling him a teetotaler. He actually often…

3 min.
top 10 criminal cowboys

1 Bob Martin is justly considered the founder of the borderlands gang of Cowboys. Hailing from Texas, Robert E. Martin (friends called him “Dutch” or “Dutchy”) was ambushed and killed in 1880 at the hands of fellow Cowboys. 2 Curly Bill Brocius was among the most colorful of the Cowboys. He once forced a Charleston preacher to dance at gunpoint and killed Tombstone City Marshal Fred White using a six-shooter move known since as the “border roll” or “Curly Bill spin.” A vengeful Wyatt Earp shot Brocius dead on March 24, 1882. 3 Frank McLaury and younger brother Tom were raised the sons of a prominent Iowa farmer. In southern Arizona Territory they ran two ranches that served as hideouts for Cowboys and their stolen cattle. Their hot tempers and foolish insistence…

1 min.
winning wommack

The Wild West History Association (WWHA) has awarded Colorado author Linda Wommack (left) its Six-Shooter Award for best general Western history article for “Confidentially Told in Brown’s Park,” published in the June 2019 Wild West. The article makes good use of northwestern Colorado cowhand Frank Willis’ never published manuscript “Confidentially Told.” Fellow cowhand Hi Bernard had confessed to Willis how and why Colorado cattle barons had hired paid killer Tom Horn around the turn of the 20th century, but Bernard made Willis swear not to publish a word about it until after Bernard’s death (which came from a heart attack on Jan. 31, 1924). “It is such an honor to receive this award from Wild West History Association, a prestigious organization of the highest caliber—I am humbled,” says Wommack, a…

1 min.
fenn’s cache found

Treasure seekers have been scouring the American backcountry for gold since Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado mounted his 16th-century search for the Seven Cities of Cibola in the Southwest. While Cibola remains elusive, another treasure—this one “missing” for a decade—was reportedly discovered in June somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by an Eastern dude who chooses to remain anonymous. In 2010 Santa Fe art dealer Forest Fenn planted a bronze chest full of gold dust and nuggets, rare coins, rubies and other valuables worth more than $1 million in an undisclosed location. Fenn then posted clues for hopeful hunters in a 24-line poem published in his autobiography, The Thrill of the Chase. “It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had…