Culture & Literature
Wild West

Wild West April 2019

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.

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6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
open range closure

The Old West that readers and the editors of Wild West love thankfully lives on despite suggestions in some circles it should be buried and forgotten. Among other entities and people that have kept alive that era in American history are Western magazines (like the one you’re holding), films and TV series, traditional and dime novels, frontier nonfiction books, video games, Buffalo Bill and subsequent entertainers, Western history associations, artists, firearms collectors, the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), reenactors, history-minded towns like Tombstone and Deadwood, rodeos, and present-day cowboys and cowgirls who still ride their horses to work on the range. Yes, to cowboy up these days does not necessarily mean hopping into a truck or ATV to round up a herd, as horses can go places motor vehicles can’t (e.g.,…

4 min.

GUNFIGHTS I appreciated your October 2018 issue, with particular attention to “Gunfights Far From the O.K. Corral” [by Ron Soodalter]. You can imagine my delight in seeing the first of those gunfights featured an ancestor, Dallas Stoudenmire. My research on Dallas yields five or six different versions of the gunfight. However, I think the general consensus lies with the account you have reported, as described by Leon Metz. My hat is tipped to Soodalter. John Stoudenmire Pascagoula, Miss. I greatly enjoyed Ron Soodalter’s article “Gunfights Far From the O.K. Corral.” I am sure there were many to choose from, but I was disappointed to see he had not included the shootout at Ehrenberg, Arizona Territory, on May 17, 1877. Joseph Wiley Evans, the one-armed superintendent of a stage line, and George “Crete” Bryan stood…

2 min.
10 frontier legends of western canada

1 Charles “Red” Nelson (aka Sam Kelley): This Nova Scotian ventured west in his 30s, broke two cohorts out of jail in Glasgow, Montana, in 1895 and teamed up with Frank Jones to form the Kelley-Jones Gang—Canada’s answer to the Wild Bunch—which hid out in caves in Saskatchewan’s Big Muddy Badlands when not robbing horses, cattle and trains for nearly a decade. 2 Louis Riel: A parliamentary spokesman for the part Indian, part European Métis people, he led Canada’s bloodiest uprising, the North-West Rebellion, and was hanged in November 1885. Canadians still debate whether he was a traitor or a martyred mixed-blood hero. 3 Fine Day: War chief of Poundmaker’s Plains Cree band, he organized its defense when attacked by Lt. Col. William D. Otter’s Canadian troops on May 2, 1885, exhibiting…

1 min.
colorado’s fifty-niners

This year marks the 160th anniversary of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush (aka Colorado Gold Rush), when Fifty-Niners scoured the Rocky Mountains for rich diggings a decade after the California Gold Rush lured Forty-Niners to the Sierra Nevada. “Pike’s Peak or Bust” became the seekers’ new catchphrase. The first significant gold discovery in the Rockies came in July 1858 at Little Dry Creek (in the present-day Denver suburb of Englewood), and by the spring of 1859 prospectors were pouring into what was then Kansas Territory. On Oct. 24, 1859, a goldfield election in western Kansas Territory established the provisional government of Jefferson Territory (encompassing future Colorado), though Congress did not recognize it. Soon after Kansas became a free state in 1861, Congress organized Colorado Territory. Among the territory’s earliest boomtowns…

1 min.
captive keepsakes

Last fall during sesquicentennial observances at Washita Battlefield National Historic Site [nps.gov/waba], in Cheyenne, Okla., descendants of Plains Indian captive Clara Blinn shared her story and revealed historic family heirlooms, including a letter scratched out by Blinn during her 1868 captivity, a scrap of her calico dress (see photo) and a pipe bag recovered from the battlefield. On Oct. 7, 1868, Indian raiders (thought to be Kiowas) captured Clara and 2-year-old son Willie during a wagon train attack in western Kansas. The raiders traded them to the Cheyennes, and in a November 7 letter Clara passed to a Mexican trader, she stated the perilous situation she and her son were in and enclosed the calico scrap as proof. When Lt. Col. George A. Custer’s 7th U.S. Cavalry attacked Cheyenne Chief…

2 min.
grand anniversaries

Grand Canyon aficionados have two big anniversaries to celebrate in 2019. On February 26 Grand Canyon National Park [nps.gov/grca], in northern Arizona, celebrates its centennial. Of course, the canyon itself is a tad older. Though geologists debate its precise age, the Colorado River started to carve its way through the surrounding cliffs some 5 to 6 million years ago. The first known “tourists” gawked at the gorge 10,500 years ago, while some 4,000 years ago ancestral Puebloan Indians made it their home. In 1540 a dozen Spanish soldiers led by Captain García López de Cárdenas, one of conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado’s officers, found the canyon with the help of Hopi guides. In 1869 U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell led a waterborne expedition down the treacherous Colorado through most of…