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Wild West

Wild West June 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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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
tracking progress

Four years after the American Civil War westward emigration—already going strong among Northerners and Southerners, including former slaves—received a boost with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. The “Last Spike” (or “Golden Spike”) ceremony on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, was certainly worth commemorating then and now, 150 years later. The uniting of the nation via the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads was a long time in coming. As early as the 1840s entrepreneurs had recognized the vast potential of a coast-to-coast railroad. The Civil War was still heating up on July 1, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railroad Act. The Central Pacific broke ground during the war’s second year, and the Union Pacific did so three months after the Confederate surrender…

4 min.

KANSAS HISTORY My hat is off to Deb Goodrich and her June 2018 article “From Tepee to Capitol Dome” on Kansan Charles Curtis. It sparked me to pull out two old Kansas history schoolbooks that belonged to my grandmother Patterson (and were used in a one-room schoolhouse). She gave them to me as a teenager due to my love of history. Both books are titled Four Centuries in Kansas: Unit Studies, by Bliss Isely and Walter Marvin Richards—the first one was published by the State of Kansas, W.C. Austin, state printer, in Topeka in 1937; the second one is a second edition, printed in 1944, with my mother’s signature inside, copyright 1936, by the McCormick-Mathers Co., of Wichita. It is noted the contents are “based on original letters, journals and documents of…

2 min.
10 must-see sites of the great sioux war

This marker at Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument stands where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer fell. He is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, N.Y. 1 Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument: The best time to visit this iconic Montana site is on the June anniversary weekend, when the general public can rub shoulders with reenactors, victory riders and scholars. The excitement is intense on a field that is itself rather intense. 2Custer Battlefield Trading Post: Across from the Little Bighorn battlefield is James “Putt” Thompson’s post, filled with intriguing artifacts, books and Indian arts and crafts. It’s the finest emporium of its sort on the northern Plains. Putt also makes a mean Indian taco. 3 Rosebud Battlefield State Park: Someone we know is working hard to better position…

9 min.
mccubbin collection sold

More than 1,500 items from the Robert G. McCubbin Collection sold at Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction in Mesa, Ariz., on Jan. 25 and 26, 2018. Arizona historian Richard Weddle, who often writes about Billy the Kid and covered the auction for Wild West, reports that McCubbin’s premier photography collection realized more than $1.7 million, his artifacts/document collection nearly $600,000. Items from other collectors brought the overall weekend auction total to more than $3.1 million. At the first night auction of McCubbin’s photo collection, John Wesley Hardin’s personal album (including two images of the gunfighter) brought the highest bid, at $129,800. (A separate tintype of Hardin sold for $64,900.) Not far behind was a portrait of the “Fort Worth Five,” aka Wild Bunch, which sold for $118,000. A cabinet card of…

3 min.
events of the west

Transcontinental Railroad This year marks the sesquicentennial of the 1869 completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific Museum [up rrmuseum.org] in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is partnering with the Joslyn Art Museum [joslyn.org] in Omaha, Neb., on “The Race to Promontory,” a traveling exhibition of photographs and stereographs by Andrew Joseph Russell and Alfred A. Hart documenting the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The exhibition will appear at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts [umfa.utah.edu] in Salt Lake City through May 26, then at the Crocker Art Museum [crockerart.org] in Sacramento, Calif., June 23–Sept. 29. Utah plans events statewide to mark the anniversary, notably a “Golden Spike” commemoration at Promontory Summit on May 10. For a full list of events visit spike150.org or nowplayingutah.com. Little Bighorn The Battle of the Little…

4 min.
chronicling the comstock

Californian Gregory Crouch has written about mountain climbing in Patagonia (Enduring Patagonia) and World War II aviation in Asia (China’s Wings: War, Intrigue, Romance and Adventure in the Middle Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight). He sticks closer to home in his latest book, a narrative nonfiction account of industrialist John Mackay and Nevada’s Comstock Lode that’s a lot more than a biography. The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle Over the Greatest Riches in the American West also takes in social history, Irish-American history, the slums of New York, Western mining towns, mine disasters, strikes, bank kings, frontier justice, engineering and myriad other topics. Crouch spoke with Wild West about the book and his interest in the Old West. After writing about Patagonia and China, what brought you…