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Wild West - February 2012 - Table of Contents

Originally published on Published Online: December 02, 2011 
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Cover Story
Fighting for the Homestead
By Blake Bell
The Homestead Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, opened up the West to settlement but also sparked clashes over public frontier lands

'Two-Gun' Hart: The Prohibition Cowboy
By R.K. DeArment
Boasting a gunfighter's looks and a Western film star's surname, Richard J. Hart battled 20th-century bootleggers while keeping secret his family ties to a major crime boss

The Road to Statehood, Southwest Style
By Johnny D. Boggs
New Mexico and Arizona, once forming a single territory, went their separate ways during the Civil War and endured political shenanigans aplenty before achieving statehood 100 years ago

Rape, Execution and Conflicting Stories
By John Koster
Oglala Lakota warriors Two Face and Blackfoot were convenient stand-ins on the Fort Laramie gallows for the Indian raiders from another tribe who really seized and abused white settler Lucinda Eubank

Battle of the Hot Springs Gamblers
By Orval E. Allbritton
Most folks came to the "Spa City" for their health—not so Major S.A. Doran, who visited the Arkansas community to make things unhealthy for Frank "Boss Gambler" Flynn


Editor's Letter


Mountain Meadows is named a national landmark, Sitting Bull and a buffalo soldier get statues, O.K. Corral fight turns 130 and Johnny Boggs gives 10 reasons why he would have rather lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, than Tombstone, Arizona Territory

By Johnny D. Boggs
Lee Silva, author of a multivolume biography of Wyatt Earp, discusses the legendary lawman and other matters of the heart

Pioneer Ezra Meeker's quest to memorialize the Oregon Trail took him down to the Alamo

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By David S. Turk
Real-life deputy U.S. marshals in Indian Territory displayed the kind of "true grit" portrayed by the fictional Rooster Cogburn in Charles Portis' exceptional novel and two popular movies

Pioneers and Settlers
By John Koster
Italian-born Felix Vinatieri was Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's bandmaster but did not have to face the music at the Little Bighorn

Indian Life
By John Koster
Artist George Catlin met the Mandans, noted their varying skin and hair tones and came to believe they were descendants of a legendary lost Welsh tribe

Western Enterprise
By Bill O'Neal
Entrepreneur F.E. Warren built the Warren Emporium in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, and brought recreational shopping to the West

Ghost Towns
By Stephen Mauro
Described as "the largest and richest gold mine" in late 1860s Arizona Territory, the Vulture soared even in the face of Yavapai raiders

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
Buck Taylor, who acted alongside the great James Arness for eight years on the popular TV show Gunsmoke, is making his name in the art world, particularly with his rodeo posters

By Linda Wommack
A half-dozen "Little House" museums highlight the homesteading days celebrated in Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular children's books

Guns of the West
By Lee Silva
The Arizona Rangers policed the Mexican border in the early 1900s with Model 1895 Winchester rifles and old-style .45-caliber Colt revolvers

Interesting books and movies about New Mexico and Arizona, plus reviews of recent books, upcoming Western-themed American Experience programs and the DVD of Meek's Cutoff, the squeaky wheel of Western movies

Go West!
Hot springs eternal at Yellowstone National Park

On the cover: Solomon D. Butcher (1856–1927) took many memorable photos of sod houses on Nebraska homesteads, including this classic 1886 shot of the Sylvester Rawding "soddie" north of Sargent in Custer County. The cow stands on a hillside that connects with the roof. (Photo from the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Solomon Butcher Collection)



Discussion: The U.S. government passed the Homestead Act 150 years ago to prompt Americans to settle the Great Plains. Would you have jumped at the chance to claim your own "free" land in a remote, difficult environment where Indian attacks were common and law and order was scarce?

Double Trouble from Notorious Kids: Sundance and Curry
Donna Ernst, recipient of the Wild West History Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, writes, "The Sundance Kid's reputation grew to mythic proportions in part because reporters often confused him with his Wild Bunch cohort Harvey Logan, who was dubbed Kid Curry and was responsible for killing at least nine law enforcement officers in five different shootings"

The Prohibition Rule: Murder in Sioux City
After an 1882 law shut down saloons across Iowa, this Missouri River town thumbed its nose at becoming a dry place, and a local minister took a bullet for protesting too much


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