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Cover Story
Squaring Custer’s Triangle
By John Koster
First, there was George and Libbie. For a short time, there was George and Monahsetah. Then it was George and Libbie again. But, by George, there were no offspring.

Reckoning the West at the Centennial
By Kevin L. Cook
In 1876 at Philadelphia’s Centennial International Exhibition, seven Western states promoted a peaceful, prosperous “New West,” even as shocking news of George Custer’s defeat reached the East.

Saga of the Leatherstocking Scout
By Susan K. Salzer
Medicine Bill Comstock, grandnephew of author James Fenimore Cooper, often dressed in buckskins and moccasins while serving as a fearless early scout for Colonel Custer. But there was more to him than met the literary or military eye.

The Man Who Arrested Doc Holliday
By Peter Brand
The dentist turned gunfighter wanted to get away from it all—it being Tombstone and the rest of Arizona Territory—but he found little peace in Colorado. Perry Mallon, a small-time con man out to boost his reputation and his billfold, was largely to blame.

Monumental Vision
The formations are unforgettable to the Navajos who live there, the tourists who visit and anyone who has seen John Ford’s Westerns. Picturesque Monument Valley encapsulates the American West.

Editor’s Letter


News about the exhumation of Geronimo, outlaw Samuel Wells and Fort Craig soldiers, and the evaluation of a “Crazy Horse” photo. Also John Koster’s Top Ten Little Bighorn survivor myths.

By Johnny D. Boggs
Jim Donovan discusses his latest George Custer book, A Terrible Glory, and how the latest findings helped him relate a fuller story of the controversial Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Although he served briefly as a federal lawman, E.M. Reavis has the look of a mountain man—and, indeed, he went off to live in the mountains.

Gunfighters and Lawmen
By Troy Kelley
Arizona had just become a state, but the late-booming mining town of Jerome still held some shooting action for lawman Johnny Hudgens.

Pioneers and Settlers
By Susan Michno
On the hard-luck emigrant trail west, the Ringo family dealt with tragedy when John’s father accidentally blew out his brains with a shotgun.

Indian Life
By Bill Markley
Bear Butte, four miles northeast of the Black Hills, was a landmark for early white visitors and remains sacred to the Cheyenne and Lakota people.

Western Enterprise
By John Koster
Frederick Law Olmsted was a hard-working genius who designed parks and defended the redwoods, but his golden touch did not extend to the Mariposa mines in 1864–65. 

Ghost Towns
By Jim Pettengill
A mini-rush gave rise to Ironton, Colo., in the 1880s when silver was still king, but not even the Joker Tunnel could keep the good times rolling.

Art of the West
By Johnny D. Boggs
South Dakota painter Mick Harrison gets down and dirty with his depiction of 1870s Deadwood.

By Linda Wommack
The Autry will showcase artifacts from the Southwest Museum of the American Indian.

Guns of the West
By Lee A. Silva
The Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 Army revolver served well for 10 years before the powerful No. 3 American Model took center stage.

Must-read books and must-see movies that feature Doc Holliday, plus reviews of four of the latest offerings dealing with the Little Bighorn.

Auctioned for a record $920,000, this Colt Walker once belonged to a private in the Mexican War.


Discussion: Thanks in large part to director John Ford, many people view Monument Valley, which spans the Arizona-Utah border, as the natural Western feature that best conveys the “Wild West.” Do you agree, or would you nominate another location, such as the Grand Canyon, Pikes Peak, the Black Hills, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Yosemite, California’s Alabama Hills/Inyo National Forest, Old Tucson’s desert scenery, New Mexico’s White Sands, or even the mountainscape of Alberta, Canada? Click here to share your thoughts.

Stand-up Custer: The author argues that Custer stood tall on Last Stand Hill, and that Reno and Benteen were actually to blame for defeat at the Little Bighorn.

Ten Myths of the Little Bighorn:Conceits about the famous battle that just don’t stand up to close analysis of available firsthand accounts.

Baseball in the West: Playing ball in the 19th-century trans-Mississippi West.


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

On the cover: In 1868 Lt. Col. George Custer, who had been a brevet major general during the Civil War, took a strong interest in a lovely Cheyenne captive named Monahsetah, but “sleeping with the enemy” did not destroy the George-Libbie marriage. Cover images: George Custer: © Corbis; Libbie Custer: World History Group Archive (colorized by Slingshot Studio, Atlanta, Ga.); Monahsetah: From Princess Monahsetah: The Concealed Wife of General Custer, by Gail Kelly-Custer.