Table of Contents – December 2008 Wild West

10/14/2008 • WW Issues

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Cover Story
Hickok’s Last Gunfight

By Joseph G. Rosa
Less than six months into his job as Abilene marshal, pistoleer Wild Bill bested a trigger-happy gambler but accidentally killed a friend in a shootout that changed Hickok’s life.

Bird’s-eye View of Deadwood
The saloon where Jack McCall assassinated Wild Bill Hickok is clearly visible in this photograph, taken a year or two after Hickok’s demise and a year before a devastating fire wiped out much of the Black Hills gold-mining town.

Wild West Power Couple: John and Jessie Frémont
By Sally Denton
He was the illegitimate son of a Virginia aristocrat, she the daughter of U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri. Their alliance helped propel America’s Manifest Destiny.

The Hounds That Tamed the West
By Rich Byerly
These rugged, swift dogs, often referred to as staghounds, ran off four-legged frontier predators and pursued prey for the likes of hunter George Armstrong Custer.

Battle Creek: Where Surveyors Fought Like Soldiers
By Donna Gholson Cook
Attacked in October 1838 by Kickapoo warriors while surveying land in what is now southwest Navarro County, Texas, desperate workingmen set aside the tools of their trade and picked up their rifles.


Editor’s Letter


News about Western awards and the Hickok-Obama connection. Author Sally Denton’s Top Ten Mysteries and Unknown Histories of the West. Plus, West Words and Famous Last Words.

By Candy Moulton

The recipient of two Western Heritage Awards, Sally Denton discusses her work, particularly the subject of her latest book—19th-century power couple John and Jessie Frémont, whose politics and love entwined with Western expansion.

Celebrated cowboy artist Charlie Russell rides a ferryboat in a rarely seen 1903 photo.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By R. Michael Wilson

Ranch hand John Hancock committed a depraved double murder in the Nevada desert. A lone woman witness was his eventual undoing.

Pioneers and Settlers
By Laura Lee Carter

Doc Holliday wasn’t the only tuberculosis sufferer to head to Colorado for his health. In fact, more people trekked to the Centennial State in search of a “cure” than in search of gold.



Indian Life
By Kay Muther

When the Army forced Arizona Territory Apaches on another “Trail of Tears,” Brig. Gen. George Crook called it an “outrageous procedure.”

Western Enterprise
By Pat Decker Nipper

Coffee kings James Athearn Folger and John Arbuckle Jr. helped keep countless cowboys and miners awake, if not perky.

Ghost Towns
By Terry Halden

Unlike most mining towns in the 19th-century West, Elkhorn, Montana Territory, boasted a high proportion of married miners.

By Linda Wommack

The U.S. Cavalry rides again on the frontier at Tucson’s Museum of the Horse Soldier.

Guns of the West
By Joseph G. Rosa
Wild Bill Hickok was proficient with a wide range of six-shooters, but the Colt Navy was his favorite—he wore a pair of them.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
In his Texas Trail to Rail Trail, San Antonio artist Donald Yena tells the story of Longhorns, drovers, railroad men and a curious prairie dog or two.

Must-read books and must-see movies about Wild Bill Hickok, widely considered the top pistoleer in the frontier West. Plus a review of a new biography of Sitting Bull and many other reviews in brief.

Pat Garrett’s five-star badge went for $115,000.



Discussion: James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok is often considered the most accomplished 19th-century Western shootist. Hickok is known to have killed seven men in six gunfights, and his reputation for fearlessness and proficiency with six-shooters surely scared off countless others. But was Wild Bill a more dangerous foe than such noted gunmen as John Wesley Hardin, Clay Allison, “Killin’ Jim” Miller, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Billy the Kid, Ben Thompson and Harvey Logan? Share your opinions in our forums.

Western Gambling: Acclaimed “gunfighters and lawmen” author Bob DeArment writes about the high-rollers who made gambling a respectable profession in the Wild West.

More Wild Bill: Hickok looked like a frontier dandy, with his long hair and fancy duds, and indeed he impressed more than a few frontier ladies, but the twin Colt Navies he wore weren’t just for show.

Plus more on the life and works of artist Donald Yena

“After reading Wild West cover to cover, I can go to the Web site and find other interesting items” —Anonymous

On the cover: This is the best known of four plates made of Wild Bill Hickok by Gurney & Sons of New York in 1873–74 (during Hickok’s time with Buffalo Bill’s Combination theater troupe) and which were copied by George Rockwood, who generally gets credit for them. Wild Bill had a stage presence but was no actor. After Hickok returned to the wide-open spaces of the West, better actors portrayed the character “Wild Bill” on stage. (Cowan’s Auctions Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio; colorized by Slingshot Studio, Atlanta, Ga.)



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