Deadly Dozen: Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, Vol. 3

by Robert K. DeArment, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2010, $29.95.

 The number of interesting frontiersmen known to have used their guns against other men is not countless. But Bob DeArment, who has written about law and order in the American West in many books and also in articles for Wild West, has proved the list is more extensive than one might think. He has looked well beyond Bat Masterson, the subject of a fine DeArment biography, and such other well-known shootists as Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid and John Wesley Hardin. First, DeArment turned up a dozen “forgotten” gunfighters, then another dozen and finally a third dozen. In this last volume, as in the early two, the names might not have been forgotten by gunfighter and lawmen aficionados, but these fellows are certainly all unsung compared to the big names. Among the 12 are Jim Masterson (one of Bat’s brothers, who died wearing a badge in Dodge City), Ed Short (long on courage, he died with his adversary in a blaze of gunfire), Jim Levy (a fighter like many other Irish-born immigrants, but he had the distinction of being one of the few Jews in the Old West’s gunfighting fraternity) and Whispering Smith (a real-life character overshadowed by his fictional persona—a 1948 Alan Ladd movie called Whispering Smith and a short-lived 1961 TV series of the same name, starring Audie Murphy). For the record, the remaining eight forgotten gunfighters in the 396-page Volume 3 are Farmer Peel, Charlie Harrison, Dave Neagle, Billy Brooks, Port Stockton, Ike Stockton, Jim McIntire and Hill Loftis.


Originally published in the October 2010 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.