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Deadly Dozen: Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West,Vol. 2

by Robert DeArment, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2007, $29.95.

Back in 2003, Western gunfighter guru Robert DeArment presented his first dozen forgotten gunfighters to the delight of anyone who wanted to hear about pistol-packers who haven’t gotten the publicity of say Wyatt Earp or John Weslesy Hardin. Most of us are ready for another dose of the same. It’s possible that the 12 featured figures of Volume 2 are less known than the dozen of Volume 1, but they are just as interesting. Among the new stars are Jim Moon, who preferred to use his six-shooters for bludgeoning rather than for shooting; James H. Currie, whose claim to fame was shooting actor Maurice Barrymore in Marshall, Texas; and Joel A. Fowler, who in the New Mexico Territory press of the 1880s was called such things as “The Exterminator,” “The Annihilator,” and “The Human Hyena.”

Readers of Wild West might recognize some of the other names, such as Tom Tucker, Zack Light and Jack Jolly, because DeArment had articles about them in past issues of the magazine. Also in that category is Samuel Burk Burnett, the subject of a feature article by DeArment in the August 2005 Wild West. Burnett, gunslinger No. 7 in this volume, won two standup gunfights on his way to becoming a successful Texas rancher. “He was unique,” writes DeArment, “the only multimillionaire in the annals of western gunfighters.” Don’t miss the “Afterword,” in which the author notes that seven of the latest 12 wore a badge at some stage of their careers and that one-third of the dozen were born in Texas. And there are more forgotten gunfighters where these guys came from; we are happy to report that a third Deadly Dozen is in the works.


Originally published in the February 2008 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here