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Cover Story
Living the Legend: Super Scout Buffalo Bill
By Paul Andrew Hutton
William Cody already had a stage presence when he returned to the frontier to lift a “scalp for Custer” and boost his status with substance.

Monsters of the Plains
By Nancy M. Peterson
By 1832 no wild buffalo remained east of the Mississippi, but Easterners could go West to gaze on herds stretching to the horizon and hear hooves pounding like distant thunder—until the day even these great beasts nearly vanished.

Charley Nebo: The Forrest Gump of the Old West
By Jane Matson Lee and Mark Dworkin
This hard-nosed man in the saddle knew Charles Goodnight, Billy the Kid and John Chisum and punched cattle for some 40 years.

Service with a Shotgun
By Chris Penn
Considered a hero and one of the bravest men out West, messenger Eugene Blair guarded Wells Fargo strongboxes with his life and became “the road agent’s terror.”

The Hybrid Beast That Built the West
By Charles M. Robinson III
Westerners may have loved their horses, but they were no fools. During many a tough time, they knew to lean more on a less glamorous four-legged animal—the mule.

Editor’s Letter


News and events relating to Western history, plus author Nancy M. Peterson’s Top Ten rivers west of the Mississippi. Which is No. 1—the Missouri, the Rio Grande or another?

By Johnny D. Boggs
Sandra K. Sagala discusses William Cody’s colorful early days in the theater, before Buffalo Bill’s Wild West became the show of shows.

George Washington “Buck” Conner was a cowboy, an actor and a man of adventure.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By Paul Cool
Despite an unassuming countenance, Mark Ludwick stood tall as a Texas Ranger who brought law to El Paso, a border haven for badmen.

Pioneers and Settlers
By J.R. Sanders
Like any hide hunter, Charles Jesse Jones wanted to kill as many buffalo as possible, not save them. But “Buffalo Jones” would eventually change his tune, and their preservation became his legacy.

Indian Life
By John Koster
The death of the great Lakota leader Crazy Horse at Camp Robinson, Nebraska, has been the source of much controversy, but no doubt he preferred death as a fighting man to imprisonment.


Western Enterprise
By J.R. Sanders
Buffalo hide hunting was big business in the 1870s. Even after the great slaughter of the herds, men found a cash crop in the sun-bleached bones.

Ghost Towns
The mines around Tuscarora, Nev., produced $10 million in silver from 1871 to 1885, but today pottery and rock collecting are the main draws.

By Johnny D. Boggs
No one is certain how many dime novels tell tales on Buffalo Bill Cody, but the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyo., has almost 1,000 of them on display.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
Howard Terpning’s Hard Trails Wore Out More Than Ponies sold for $1,251,001 at the Autry in 2008. So, what’s in store for the 2009 Masters event?

Guns of the West
By Douglas C. McChristian
Sharps Model 1868 carbines helped members of the 2nd Cavalry hold off Sioux and Cheyenne warriors during the 1872 Battle of Poker Flat.

Must-read books and must-see movies about Buffalo Bill Cody. Plus recent book reviews and a review of the new and improved How the West Was Won.

This Ghost Shirt has a few holes in it, but still sold for more than $16,000.


Discussion: William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody was a skilled hunter and frontier scout before turning to the stage. In 1876, four years into his stage career, he returned to scout on the Plains and took the scalp of an Indian. By 1877 he was again devoted to showbiz, first onstage and later with his own touring Wild West exhibition. Does any figure in American history compare to Buffalo Bill as a celebrity?

Charlie Russell’s Last Legacy: Lee A. Silva relates the story of how the famous “Cowboy Artist” created an amazing mural late in life for a wealthy California oilman.

The Pony Express – Riders of Destiny: Christopher Corbett describes how this thrilling historic enterprise is layered in decades of fabrications and myths.

Plus an interview with the late author Tony Hillerman

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

On the cover: William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody poses for a George Gardner Rockwood photo in 1873. Cody was dressed as a young scout for his role in the Ned Buntline play The Scouts of the Prairie. He had served as chief of scouts for the 5th U.S. Cavalry from September 1868 to November 1872. The play, which opened in Chicago on December 18, 1872, was such a success that Cody committed to a stage career, although it would be temporarily interrupted in the summer of 1876. (Western History/Genealogy Department, Denver Public Library; colorized by Slingshot Studio, Atlanta, Ga.)