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Culture & Literature
Wild West

Wild West December 2018

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

4 min.
wells fargo fortunes

Wells Fargo has been around since the California Gold Rush—March 18, 1852, to be exact—and the name still captures the popular imagination. Its history as an express company in the Wild West is both colorful and iconic. Despite the company’s recent missteps, many Americans will forever associate Wells Fargo with those three S’s—stagecoaches, strongboxes and shotguns. In “They Rode for Wells Fargo” (see P. 36) John Boessenecker focuses on three company greats—Mike Tovey, ever modest, loaded with true grit and perhaps Wells Fargo’s best-known shotgun messenger; James B. Hume, most famous express detective of the Old West; and Jeff Milton, an illustrious lawman whose five-year tenure with Wells Fargo has often been overlooked. In his 2018 book Shotguns and Stagecoaches: The Brave Men Who Rode for Wells Fargo in the Wild…

3 min.
nelson miles

In the August 2017 issue [Roundup] Peter Cozzens ranked General Nelson A. Miles among the “Top 10 Frontier Generals.” Really? The general who spent his time during the Apache wars sitting on the beach in California with his family while others did the actual work? The one who prized a ceremonial sword paid for by his wife (who also funded his failed political career)? He did insist they send him telegrams, so he could pretend to know what was going on when questioned by Washington why, despite his braggadocio, he accomplished nothing, even though he commanded more troops than anyone else. At that time Geronimo only had 19 fighting men and some women and children. Miles had his men flashing useless heliograph messages and wandering aimlessly. Lieutenant Charles Gatewood arranged…

8 min.
10 top wells fargo guards and sleuths

1 Pilsbury “Chips” Hodgkins was among Wells Fargo’s longest-serving employees, hiring on in Gold Rush California in 1853, serving 20 years as a messenger and retiring in 1891, a year before his death. 2 Henry Johnson, among Wells Fargo’s first detectives, served out of the company’s San Francisco headquarters from 1857 to 1871. 3 Daniel C. Gay, a California Gold Rush gunfighter and Wells Fargo detective, shot and killed three stage robbers in two separate holdup attempts in 1860. 4 “Shotgun Jimmy” Brown started as a Pony Express rider, then rode as a shotgun guard for Ben Holladay’s Overland Mail in the 1860s and, finally, for Wells Fargo from 1870 to 1883. In his most famous exploit he shot and killed Nevada stage and train robber Andrew Jackson “Big Jack” Davis in 1877. 5…

1 min.
see you later…

TAB HUNTER Popular 1950s Hollywood star and pop singer Tab Hunter, 86, died on July 8, 2018, in Santa Barbara, Calif. Born Arthur Andrew Kelm in Manhattan on July 11, 1931, Hunter appeared in a number of Westerns, including Gun Belt (1953), Track of the Cat (1954), The Burning Hills (1956) and Gunman’s Walk (1958). In the latter he played Ed Hackett (see photo), hot-tempered older brother of good boy Davy (James Darren), with Van Heflin as their taskmaster rancher father, Lee. Hunter’s 1957 song “Young Love,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.…

3 min.
events of the west

Bierstadt The Buffalo Bill Center of the West (Cody, Wyo.) and the Gilcrease Museum (Tulsa, Okla.) have teamed up to present the exhibition “Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West,” which examines how the celebrated Western landscape artist rendered not just his majestic mountains and lakes, but also American Indians and bison. Pictured is his circa 1867 oil on canvas The Buffalo Trail. The exhibition runs at the Gilcrease Museum Nov. 3, 2018–Feb. 10, 2019. Call 888-655-2278 or visit gilcrease.org. The Reel West The Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis looks at how Western films and TV shows have shaped our ideas of the American West in “The Reel West,” which runs through Feb. 3, 2019. Among the featured objects are Danny Glover’s Silverado boots, a Gunsmoke badge and a Gene Autry hat. Call 317-636-9378…

3 min.
robert utley in command of frontier military history

Robert M. Utley [robertutley.net], a former chief historian for the National Park Service, has been recording the history of the American frontier—particularly its military history—for decades, and he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He has written or edited more than 20 books, including Frontiersmen in Blue, Frontier Regulars and Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier. All three are essential references for anyone writing about the frontier Army. And 2018 saw another command performance from Utley, namely The Commanders: Civil War Generals Who Shaped the American West. In it Utley profiles seven key commanders—Christopher C. Augur, George Crook, Oliver O. Howard, Nelson A. Miles, Edward O.C. Ord, John Pope and Alfred H. Terry—and provides his own informed analysis of their abilities. What strengths did…