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Oklahoma: The Sooner the Better
By Robert Barr Smith
These Boomers had nothing to do with babies or birth rates; these Sooners had nothing to do with college football. But with their futures at stake, these bold pioneers appeared in the territory in bab­y-boomerlike numbers and rushed like Jim Thorpe for a piece of Oklahoma.

Early Oklahoma in Maps

Oklahoma’s Land Lottery: The Last Great Opening
By Kevin L. Cook
Secretary of the Interior Ethan Allen denounced “the old method of wild scramble” characterized by “utter disregard of law and order” and oversaw a new kind of race.

The Rise of Guthrie

Wyatt Earp in Seattle
By Pam Potter
When the former Tombstone lawman came to the Northwest metropolis, he was looking for a certain kind of justice—a fair shake in the heavily stacked local gambling game.

Big Trouble: The Legacy of Mountain Meadows
By Will Bagley
On September 11, 2007, an Arkansas wagon train will once again roll into southern Utah, where one of the West’s most horrific atrocities—a massacre in anyone’s book—took place 150 years ago. Controversy remains about who was responsible for the killings.

Editor’s Letter


By Tasiwoopa api and Sierra Adare
In The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn, Lakota historian Joseph M. Marshall III relies on oral tradition to help explore the fleeting victory at the Greasy Grass, or Little Bighorn.

News and events celebrating the frontier, plus law professor Robert Barr Smith’s Top Ten “Worst Oklahoma Outlaws.”

He wielded an ax, played the violin.

Gunfighters & Lawmen
By John R. Sanders
A whiskey-fueled 1884 gunfight in the Old House Saloon between Texas drover “Bing” Choate and gambler Dave St. Clair led to the full enforcement of the gun-carrying ban in Dodge City.

Pioneers & Settlers
By Maria DeLong
A plucky newspaperwoman known as Kentucky Daisey jumped off a moving train, planted her stakes and shot off her revolver to salute her land claim south of Guthrie in April 1889.

Indian Life
By Gregory Lalire
A strong believer in the “Kill the Indian, Save the Man” philosophy, Richard Henry Pratt transformed native lives as chief of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.

Western Enterprise
By John R. Sanders
What do you do when your old cow town ain’t what it used to be? For the town council in Dodge, the answer seemed to be staging the first live Mexican bullfight on U.S. soil.

Ghost Towns
By Steve Mauro
Oklahomans are not about to forget Ingalls, the site of one of the West’s largest gun battles back in 1893.

By John Rose
The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City has a blue-ribbon collection and a hilltop haven to showcase it.

Guns of the West
By Lee A. Silva
Bat Masterson may not have been a big man-killer, but he knew the kind of Colt he wanted to help tame towns and to protect himself.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
Osage can you see the historic art of Missouri painter Andy Thomas? It’s worth a second look.

Must-read books and must-see movies about early Oklahoma. Plus the latest book reviews and a review of the HBO movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Who wouldn’t want to be back in this saddle!


How much do you know about Wounded Knee?: Take our quiz now.:

How much do you know about Western movies?: Test yourself with our bonus quiz.

“They Have Slain My Children”: Rescue of the Mountain Meadows Orphans: How 17 children survived.

Blood Bath at Going Snake Cherokee Shootout: Zeke Proctor’s trial for murder led to a great tragedy.

Dodge City’s Grand Bullfight: The famous Kansas cow town wanted to spice things up on July 4, 1884.

Missouri Artist Andy Thomas Has History Down Pat: He shows us colorful moments from the Show Me State

September Dawn No Yawn: A review of the movie that dared to depict the Mountain Meadows Massacre.


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September 11, 2007, marks the 150th anniversary of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, in which about 120 men, women and children on a wagon train passing through southern Utah Territory were killed by Mormons and some Paiute allies. Author Will Bagley and the recent movie September Dawn both say that John D. Lee (the only man punished for the massacre) was a scapegoat and that Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon Church, authorized the attack. Some Mormon historians insist that Young had nothing to do with the massacre and afterward never figured out who did it. What do you think?