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Cover Story
Horse Trading in the Early West
By Dan Flores
A dozen years before the Lewis and Clark Expedition, young adventurer Philip Nolan went west dreaming of wealth—not from gold nuggets or beaver pelts but from wild horses.

Grizzly Adams: Bear Man of California
By William B. Secrest
Ben Franklin and Lady Washington wrestled, turned somersaults and carried bareback their master and friend who brought them in from the wilds.

Valentine’s Day Shootout at Stoneville
By Les Kruger
There was no love lost between Deputy U.S. Marshal Cap Willard and outlaw George Axelby when they crossed paths.

He Won His Showdown with Jesse James
By Jim Muehlberger
Missouri lawyer Henry Clay McDougal went after his state’s most famous outlaw without packing iron—and he didn’t let up, even when his lawsuit looked dead in the water.

Soldier Justice at Fort Walla Walla
By Douglas C. McChristian
When gambler A.J. Hunt gunned down Private Emit L. Miller in a Walla Walla, Washington, saloon, the nearby fort was up in arms, and a large force of soldiers sought vigilante vengeance Army-style.

Editor’s Letter


Say, could that be Geronimo smoking a cigarette? Read all about it and other Wild West–related news. Plus upcoming events, Frontier Flashes and Dan Flores’ Top Ten list of animals by the numbers.

By Johnny D. Boggs
After tackling the turmoil of Tombstone, writer Wm. B. Shillingberg gets the hell into Dodge in his latest Western town history.

All is well at Fort Lewis, Colorado, so these officers went a-fishin’ instead of a-fightin’.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By Clara Watkins
Looking for a rancher with a reputation for quick-draw, no-nonsense gunplay? Turn back to frontier Texas days and think Pink Higgins.

Pioneers and Settlers
By Mike Coppock
Unlike his predecessor, Sam Houston, Mirabeau Lamar had a grand, nationalistic plan for the Republic of Texas—flying the Lone Star Flag as far west as the Pacific Ocean.

Indian Life
By John Koster
Natawista Iksana, independent-minded daughter of a Blackfoot chief, reigned like a princess while helping her husband run a trading post at Fort Union on the upper Missouri River.


Western Enterprise
By John Koster
Dutch Bill Greiffenstein ran a trading business with his Cheyenne wife in Indian Territory. When she died, he remarried and helped put Wichita, Kansas, on the map.

Ghost Towns
By Terry Halden
In 1887 silver miners staked more than 1,600 claims in the Castle Mountains, Montana Territory, but the town of Castle faded fast

By Linda Wommack
Those interested in Billy the Kid’s time in Lincoln, New Mexico, should head southwest 30 miles to browse the Ruidoso River Museum.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
Cowboys push a herd through a blinding blizzard in Hard Winter, by W.H.D. Koerner.

Guns of the West
By Les Kruger
A double-barreled shotgun that likely belonged to controversial Sheriff Henry Plummer.

Must-read books and must-see movies about horses on the wild side. Plus reviews of recent books, including John Koster’s Custer Survivor.

Go West! NEW
Yosemite’s Glacier Point, then and now.



On the cover: A handler clings to the neck of a rearing horse on the set of the 1961 movie The Misfits (review in this issue), which deals with modern mustangers. American entrepreneurs began capturing and trading for wild horses in the Southwest as early as the 1790s. (Getty Images, photography by Ernst Hass)




Discussion: Wild horses are viewed by some people as living symbols of the Wild West and by others as nuisances, as the mustangs compete with livestock on the open range. What do you think of the Bureau of Land Management policy of keeping a set number of mustangs in the wild, while placing the remainder in holding pens and putting them up for adoption?

Survivor Frank Finkel’s Lasting Stand: Between 1876 and the late 1920s, 70 grizzled galoots insisted they were the lone survivors of Custer’s immediate command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn—but one of them might well have told the truth.

Jesse James’ Assassination and the Ford Boys: Feeling safe at home on a hot Monday morning, April 3, 1882, Jesse James tossed his coat and vest aside and took off his six-shooters. Brothers Bob and Charlie Ford took notice.


Also be sure to visit, where you can read and write about history, even if you don’t know a ‘blog’ from mustang manure