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Cover Story
Lincoln Looks West
By Richard W. Etulain
Abraham Lincoln’s frontier background made him a Man of the West, and as president he forged strong links to the trans-Mississippi West—from the Homestead Act to his resolution of the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota.

Chock-full of Chuck
The chuck wagon, invented in 1866 by cattle baron Charles Goodnight, was the utilitarian mobile kitchen of the open range, and “cookie” was de facto king among hungry cowboys during a long cattle drive.

The Lowdown on ‘Quarrelsome’ Bill Downing
By Karen Holliday Tanner and John D. Tanner Jr.
In the 1890s, the ornery and mysterious cowhand drifted into Arizona Territory, where he shot a man and robbed a train.

The Search for the Captives of Elm Creek
By Gregory Michno
The swift and deadly 1864 Elm Creek Raid in Texas and the subsequent quest to rescue female captives from Comanche and Kiowa raiders displayed all the drama of a Hollywood Western—John Ford’s The Searchers, to be specific.

Chasing the Elusive Joaquín Murrieta
By Lori Lee Wilson
Some considered him a Hispanic Robin Hood, others a depraved and greedy bandit—whatever the truth, like the fictional Zorro, he left his mark on gold rush California.

Editor’s Letter


News of the PBS American Indian miniseries coming this April, as well as newly erected statues of Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok. Also Richard Etulain’s Top Ten Books About the American West. Plus, West Words and Famous Last Words.

By Candy Moulton
Award-winning Oklahoma writer Robert J. Conley discusses his Cherokee encyclopedia and shares his uncensored Cherokee thoughts.

A boy and his dog pose with men who clown for the camera outside an old-time saloon.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By Lori Lee Wilson
The not-always-celebrated California Rangers, led by Captain Harry Love, tried to get ahead of the fast-moving outlaw Joaquín Murrieta.

Pioneers and Settlers
By John Koster
Walter von Richthofen, uncle of Germany’s notorious Red Baron, was himself a baron
who came to Denver to invest in cattle, beer and milk…and to build a castle.

Indian Life
By Leo W. Banks
Was Geronimo’s conversion to Christianity a sham or an attempt by the fearsome Apache warrior to find peace late in life?

Western Enterprise
By Pat Decker Nipper
Back when transporting gold was dangerous business, Wells Fargo rose to prominence. The company and its stagecoach logo remain familiar.

Ghost Towns
By Johnny D. Boggs
Although South Pass City sat near the well-trodden Oregon Trail, it was a gold rush that prompted the birth of this Wyoming Territory community.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
Charlie Russell’s sweeping panorama Lewis and Clark Meeting Indians at Ross’ Hole graces the Capitol in Helena, Mont.

By Linda Wommack
In the land of the rendezvous, the Museum of the Mountain Man pays tribute to a way of life that went the way of hats made of felted beaver fur.

Guns of the West
By George J. Layman
Dropped during an 1875 shootout in Campo, Calif., this .43-calber Whitney rolling-block rifle bears a bullet hole it its walnut stock.

Must-read books and must-see movies about Hispanic outlaws, lawmen and revolutionaries.

This Wells Fargo ledger records 95 notorious train robberies and the bandits behind them.


Discussion: What Eastern-born 19th-century president did the most to change the trans-Mississippi West: Thomas Jefferson (Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark Expedition), Andrew Jackson (Indian Removal Act, Trail of Tears, creation of Indian Territory), James Polk (control Oregon, annex Texas, gain New Mexico and California territories through Mexican War), Abraham Lincoln (Homestead Act, land-grant colleges, slavery and Reconstruction issues in the West) or Ulysses S. Grant (Peace Policy toward Indians, completion of first transcontinental railroad, Belknap scandal at Indian trading posts)?

Wells Fargo Guard Eugene Blair – Service With a Shotgun: Few Wells Fargo stagecoach messengers, or guards, did a better job protecting the strongboxes.

Apache Captives’ Ordeal: In 1851 Apaches in what would become Arizona attacked the westbound Oatmans, killing most of the family but taking sisters Olive and Mary Ann with them.

Complete Conley: The full interview with Cherokee author Robert Conley.

Interview With Tony Hillerman: The great mystery writer and friend of the Navajos spoke with Wild West shortly before his death.

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

On the cover: Abraham Lincoln poses for an 1863 portrait that actually caught him hatless but in our rendition portrays him sporting a cowboy hat. Lincoln is, of course, more closely associated with his trademark urban stovepipe, but he spent most of his early years in states (Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois) considered part of the frontier West in the early 19th century, and he became known as a “Man of the West,” just like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. (World History Group Archive; fitted for hat and colorized by Slingshot Studio, Atlanta, Ga.)