William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody was the most famous American of his age. He claimed to have worked for the Pony Express when only a boy and to have scouted for General George Custer. But what was his real story? And how did a frontiersman become a worldwide celebrity? In this prize-winning biography, acclaimed author Louis S. Warren explains not only how Cody exaggerated his real experience as an army scout and buffalo hunter, but also how that experience inspired him to create the gigantic, traveling spectacle known as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. A dazzling mix of Indians, cowboys, and vaqueros, they performed on two continents for three decades, offering a surprisingly modern view of the United States and a remarkably democratic version of its history. This definitive biography reveals the genius of America's greatest showman, and the startling history of the American West that drove him and his performers to the world stage.
A magnificent history of the American conquest of the West; "a story full of authority and color, truth and prophecy" (The New York Times Book Review).In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of "Manifest Destiny," this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness.
At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
From a rediscovered collection of autobiographical accounts written by hundreds of Kansas pioneer women in the early twentieth century, Joanna Stratton has created a collection hailed by Newsweek as "uncommonly interesting" and "a remarkable distillation of primary sources."Never before has there been such a detailed record of women's courage, such a living portrait of the women who civilized the American frontier. Here are their stories: wilderness mothers, schoolmarms, Indian squaws, immigrants, homesteaders, and circuit riders. Their personal recollections of prairie fires, locust plagues, cowboy shootouts, Indian raids, and blizzards on the plains vividly reveal the drama, danger and excitement of the pioneer experience. These were women of relentless determination, whose tenacity helped them to conquer loneliness and privation. Their work was the work of survival, it demanded as much from them as from their men--and at last that partnership has been recognized. "These voices are haunting" (The New York Times Book Review), and they reveal the special heroism and industriousness of pioneer women as never before.
The must-have companion to Bill O'Reilly's historic series Legends and Lies: The Real West, a fascinating, eye-opening look at the truth behind the western legends we all think we know
How did Davy Crockett save President Jackson's life only to end up dying at the Alamo? Was the Lone Ranger based on a real lawman-and was he an African American? What amazing detective work led to the capture of Black Bart, the "gentleman bandit" and one of the west's most famous stagecoach robbers? Did Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid really die in a hail of bullets in South America? Generations of Americans have grown up on TV shows, movies and books about these western icons. But what really happened in the Wild West? All the stories you think you know, and others that will astonish you, are here--some heroic, some brutal and bloody, all riveting. Included are the legends featured in Bill O'Reilly's ten week run of historic episodic specials-from Kit Carson to Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok to Doc Holliday-- accompanied by two bonus chapters on Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley.
Frontier America was a place where instinct mattered more than education, and courage was necessary for survival. It was a place where luck made a difference and legends were made. Heavily illustrated with spectacular artwork that further brings this history to life, and told in fast-paced, immersive narrative, Legends and Lies is an irresistible, adventure-packed ride back into one of the most storied era of our nation's rich history.
The modern woman who tries to juggle private and public roles with equilibrium will discover a spiritual ancestor in Alice Kirk Grierson. The colonel's lady spent most of her life at army outposts on the nineteenth-century western frontier, where she faced the problems of raising a large family while fulfilling the duties of a commanding officer's wife. Fortunately for history, she left a large and extraordinarily candid correspondence, which has now been edited by Shirley Anne Leckie.
Alice was the wife of Benjamin B. Grierson, a major general in the Civil War who won fame for a raid that contributed to the fall of Vicksburg. Her letters begin in 1866, when her husband reentered the army as colonel of the legendary buffalo soldiers of the Tenth Cavalry, and end with her death in 1888. During these years she chronicles the criticism experienced by her husband in commanding one of the army's two black mounted regiments and the frustration when he is repeatedly passed over for promotion, in part because he advocated a more humane Indian policy. All the while her position requires her to assume heavy responsibilities as a hostess. Her letters are just as unflinching in describing the daily hard-ships of raising a family at frontier posts like Forts Riley, Gibson, Sill, Concho, Davis, and Grant, where two of her seven children died young and two suffered from manic-depressive psychosis. They are extraordinary for their insight into nineteenth-century attitudes toward birth control, childbearing, marital roles, race relations, and mental illness.
Harriet Backus writes about her life as an assayer's wife and true pioneer of the West with heart-felt emotion and vivid detail. Sharing her amusing and often challenging experiences as a new bride in the high San Juan Mountains where the Tomboy Mine operated above Telluride, Colorado, she paints a poignant picture of the people, and the life centered around silver mining where most of the book takes place. It is a skillfully written account from a women's perspective in a rough and tumble mining town that has made this book a classic for women's studies. Harriet's life followed her husband George's career which took them many places beyond the San Juan Mountains including the rugged coast of British Columbia, and the mountainous mining town of Elk City, Idaho and back to Colorado's Leadville. Although both Hattie and George were from the San Francisco bay area where they eventually retired, her heart never quite left the rugged mountain trails of the high San Juans of Colorado.
John Colter was a crack hunter with the Lewis and Clark expedition before striking out on his own as a mountain man and fur trader. A solitary journey in the winter of 1807-8 took him into present-day Wyoming. To unbelieving trappers he later reported sights that inspired the name of Colter's Hell. It was a sulfurous place of hidden fires, smoking pits, and shooting water. And it was real. John Colter is known to history as probably the first white man to discover the region that now includes Yellowstone National Park. In a classic book, first published in 1952, Burton Harris weighs the facts and legends about a man who was dogged by misfortune and robbed of the just rewards he had earned.
This Bison Book edition includes a 1977 addendum by the author and a new introduction by David Lavender, who considers Colter's remarkable winter journey in the light of current scholarship.
In this revisionist biography, award-winning historian Michael Wallis re-creates the rich anecdotal saga of Billy the Kid (1859-1881), a young man who became a legend in his time and remains an enigma to this day. In an extraordinary evocation of the legendary Old West, Wallis demonstrates why the Kid has remained one of our most popular folk heroes. Filled with dozens of rare images and period photographs, Billy the Kid separates myth from reality and presents an unforgettable portrait of this brief and violent life.