Culture & Literature
Wild West

Wild West August 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.
jack mccall’s mysterious calling

Wild Bill Hickok bested Davis Tutt in a gunfight in Springfield, Missouri, on July 21, 1865. Anyone who has looked beyond Hollywood shootouts to delve into real Wild West history knows that dramatic confrontation was a rare one-on-one, face-to-face quick-draw duel worthy of fictional Marshal Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke TV fame. Even Hickok vs. Tutt, though, has been overshadowed by Wild Bill’s assassination in Deadwood on Aug. 2, 1876. “In the Wild West era,” writes Aaron Robert Woodard in our cover article (see P. 38), “Hickok’s death rates in notoriety with the 1881 killing [in Fort Sumner, New Mexico Territory] of Billy the Kid by Sheriff Pat Garrett and the 1882 assassination [in St. Joseph, Missouri] of Jesse James by that ‘dirty little coward’ Robert Ford.” Of course, the former was…

4 min.

YOGO SAPPHIRES Chuck Lyons’ Western Enterprise story “Bothersome Blue Pebbles” [February 2019] is very interesting yet might benefit from some clarification. Hundreds of prospectors did not descend on Yogo Gulch in 1866. Rather, a small group of prospectors found placer gold in upper Yogo Gulch. However, Indians encouraged the party to move along before they had a chance to conduct any definitive prospecting. Word of this earlier discovery eventually got around, and in 1878–79 a rush of gold prospectors and associated entourage, maybe 1,000 souls total, descended on upper Yogo Gulch, and Yogo City was born. By the early 1880s the entire gulch had been prospected with discouraging results. While working the lower gulch, prospectors noticed but disregarded tiny blue pebbles. Jake Hoover was indeed at Yogo City around this time,…

9 min.
top 10 graves of old west legends

1 Geronimo: The legendary Chiricahua Apache warrior’s grave (above) at Fort Sill’s Beef Creek Apache Cemetery, near Lawton, Okla., attracts many visitors, who place money and trinkets beside the stone pyramid marker. Since his February 1909 burial rumors of grave robbers and whispers of his reburial by tribesmen have swirled around the grave, which wasn’t even marked until 1932. 2 Billy the Kid: Iron fencing protects William “Billy the Kid” Bonney’s grave at New Mexico’s Old Fort Sumner Cemetery—and for good reason. In 1950 the Albuquerque Journal reported “some varmint has swiped…the grave-stone.” The marker resurfaced in Texas in 1976 but was swiped again on Feb. 1, 1981. Eight days later police in California found the gravestone, which was flown back to New Mexico and fenced in. 3 George Custer: Montana’s Little…

1 min.
a wister for will

Will Bagley (see Interview, P. 16), an award-winning Salt Lake City–based author of books about the Mormon West and all trails West, has earned the 2019 Owen Wister Award from Western Writers of America for lifetime contributions to Western literature. The author will also be inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame, housed outside the Mc-Cracken Research Library at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody. Wyo. “People either love or hate me,” says Bagley, a Wild West contributor who previously earned Spur Awards for three of his books (Blood of the Prophets, The Mormon Rebellion and With Golden Visions Bright Before Them). “The Wister Award is an expression of affection from my WWA friends that is appreciated and humbling, for it calls to mind the words, ‘I…

1 min.
winning western writers

Among other honorees at Western Writers of America’s annual convention in Tucson on June 19–22, Wild West special contributor Johnny D. Boggs [johnnydboggs.com, photo at right] will receive a record eighth Spur Award. Boggs’ win came in the juvenile fiction category for Taos Lightning, earning him one more Spur than novelist Elmer Kelton (1926–2009), whom WWA members voted the Best Western Writer of All Time. Historian Paul Andrew Hutton, a frequent contributor to Wild West, and novelist Richard S. Wheeler (1935–2019) each have six Spurs. Those earning 2019 Spurs for nonfiction are Mark J. Nelson for White Hat: The Military Career of Captain William Philo Clark (biography); Francisco Cantú for The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border (contemporary and first book); Brenden W. Rensink for Native but Foreign: Indigenous…

1 min.
see you later…

JIM EARLE James “Jim” Hubert Earle, 86, Western history publisher, gun collector and authority on outlaws and lawmen, died on Feb. 4, 2019. Born in Jacksonville, Texas, on May 2, 1932, Earle attended Texas A&M and, after serving in the Air Force, taught engineering there for nearly 40 years until his retirement in 1995. His Creative Publishing Co. printed nonfiction books about the Old West, including The Capture of Billy the Kid (1988), which he edited, and The O.K. Corral Inquest (1992), which he illustrated. Earle’s historic gun collection, including the .44–40 Colt single-action revolver Pat Garrett used to kill Billy the Kid, was profiled in Guns of the West in the April 2013 Wild West. GLEN SWANSON Glenwood J. “Glen” Swanson, 78, a sculptor and collector of all things related to Lt.…