Wild West – June 2012 – Table of Contents

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Cover Story
Libbie Custer: ‘A Wounded Thing Must Hide’
By Paul Andrew Hutton
The wife of Lt. Col. George Custer retreated from the public eye following his June 1876 death on the Little Bighorn—that is, until fellow officers pinned the blame for the massacre on her “Boy General”

The ‘Arapaho Five’ at the Little Bighorn
By John Koster
In June 1876 George Custer and the 7th U.S. Cavalry faced a formidable enemy—hundreds of well-armed Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, along with a handful of reluctant Arapahos

Plural Wives and the Plains Indians
By John Koster
The practice of polygamy helped offset the low birthrate among the Lakotas and Cheyennes —but then the U.S. government deemed one wife sufficient

The Bloody Benders’ Grim Harvest
By David McCormick
For years guests at the Benders’ seemingly hospitable Kansas inn checked in but didn’t check out, until the day suspicious neighbors searched their orchard and found more than apples

California Grizzly Tales
By William B. Secrest
These powerful bears killed livestock and men, but hunters and trappers killed far more of them, and by the 1920s the only remaining grizzly in California was on the state flag


Editor’s Letter


Louis Kraft wins a Wrangler for his Wild West article “When Wynkoop Was Sheriff” and plenty more Western news and events. Plus, the Top 10 reasons why author William Secrest considers early California the personification of the Wild West, “West Words” from the Alamo and “Last Words” from the gallows in Globe, Ariz.

By Johnny D. Boggs
Indian wars historian Paul L. Hedren, another 2012 Wrangler Award winner, discusses how things changed for the northern Plains Indians after Custer met his match at the Little Bighorn

Two tight-lipped laborers work the mercury (quicksilver) furnaces in Terlingua, Texas, at no small risk to their teeth and gums

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By David S. Turk
U.S. Marshal Stillwell Russell had to deal with Sam Bass and other Texas outlaws, but squaring off with political enemies proved tougher

Pioneers and Settlers
By John Koster
When 7th Cavalry Sergeant Daniel Kanipe dropped back to deliver orders from Captain Tom Custer, he thought it bad luck, but it proved his salvation

Indian Life
By Ron Soodalter
Scalping scared the pants, if not the hats, off many settlers, but that nasty business was not only the work of Indians—just ask Buffalo Bill Cody

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
If you admire the Western paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, the Amon Carter Museum is the place to go in Fort Worth, Texas

Western Enterprise
By Jim Petengill
Known as the “Pathfinder of the San Juans,” Otto Mears built a network of toll roads and railroads that transformed southern Colorado

A look at some of the books and movies about the now extinct California grizzlies and other smarter-than-average Western bears. Plus, reviews of recent books about George Custer and a Tombstone judge, as well as reviews of two Western DVDs

Ghost Towns
By Stephen Mauro
First called Sitting Bull, Mystic, S.D., was once a thriving town with an experimental gold mill

By Linda Wommack
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston commemorates the black fighting men of frontier times and beyond

Guns of the West
By Lee Silva
A French nobleman and noted duelist, the Marquis de Morès exchanged his dueling pistols for Colt revolvers and Winchester repeating rifles to make his mark in the Dakotas

Go West!
The buffalo still roam at South Dakota’s Custer State Park

On the cover: Civil War Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer poses with wife Libbie in the spring of 1865. In the original black-and-white image (see P. 32) George’s brother 2nd Lt. Tom Custer stands behind the celebrated couple. (Photo from the Library of Congress; colorization by Slingshot Studio, North Hampton, N.H.)



Discussion: The Bloody Benders of Kansas were reputedly the worst serial killers of the Old West. Does anyone else on the frontier even come close? Note: The Benders sure enough killed many unwary travelers, but greed seemed their principal motive.

Interview with Little Bighorn Researcher John Koster
“George Custer is the most fascinating American figure of his era, because he was such a kaleidoscope of contradictions,” writes the author of Custer Survivor: The End of a Myth, the Beginning of a Legend

Swanson’s Custer Statue
Glen Swanson has spent 40 years collecting 7th U.S. Cavalry artifacts and needed no help rendering his new life-size bronze sculpture of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer


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