Dodge City, Kansas, is a place of legend. The town that started as a small military site exploded with the coming of the railroad, cattle drives, eager miners, settlers, and various entrepreneurs passing through to populate the expanding West. Before long, Dodge City’s streets were lined with saloons and brothels and its populace was thick with gunmen, horse thieves, and desperadoes of every sort. By the 1870s, Dodge City was known as the most violent and turbulent town in the West.
Enter Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. Young and largely self-trained men, the lawmen led the effort that established frontier justice and the rule of law in the American West, and did it in the wickedest place in the United States. When they moved on, Wyatt to Tombstone and Bat to Colorado, a tamed Dodge was left in the hands of Jim Masterson. But before long Wyatt and Bat, each having had a lawman brother killed, returned to that threatened western Kansas town to team up to restore order again in what became known as the Dodge City War before riding off into the sunset.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Clavin's Dodge City tells the true story of their friendship, romances, gunfights, and adventures, along with the remarkable cast of characters they encountered along the way (including Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James, Doc Holliday, Buffalo Bill Cody, John Wesley Hardin, Billy the Kid, and Theodore Roosevelt) that has gone largely untold—lost in the haze of Hollywood films and western fiction, until now.
Included are criminals like James Deacon Miller, the devout Methodist and hired assassin. Righteous and devious, he often avoided the gallows by convincing others to admit to his murders. Rufus Buck, a man of Native American descent, targeted white settlers. His crimes against them became so heinous as to cause the Creek nation to take up arms against him. The answer to criminals such as these came in the form of Hanging Judge Parker and other officers of the law. Although they were greatly outnumbered, they provided some balance to the chaos. This historical compilation covers every memorable outlaw and lawman who passed through Oklahoma.
James Butler Hickock was known across the frontier as a soldier, Union spy, scout, lawman, gunfighter, gambler, showman, and actor. He crossed paths with General Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as Ben Thompson and other young toughs gunning for the sheriff with the quickest draw west of the Mississippi.
Wild Bill also fell in love—multiple times—before marrying the true love of his life, Agnes Lake, the impresario of a traveling circus. He would be buried however, next to fabled frontierswoman Calamity Jane.
Even before his death, Wild Bill became a legend, with fiction sometimes supplanting fact in the stories that surfaced. Once, in a bar in Nebraska, he was confronted by four men, three of whom he killed in the ensuing gunfight. A famous Harper’s Magazine article credited Hickok with slaying 10 men that day; by the 1870s, his career-long kill count was up to 100.
The legend of Wild Bill has only grown since his death in 1876, when cowardly Jack McCall famously put a bullet through the back of his head during a card game. Bestselling author Tom Clavin has sifted through years of western lore to bring Hickock fully to life in this rip-roaring, spellbinding true story.
On the afternoon of October 26, 1881, eight men clashed in what would be known as the most famous shootout in American frontier history. Thirty bullets were exchanged in thirty seconds, killing three men and wounding three others.
The fight sprang forth from a tense, hot summer. Cattle rustlers had been terrorizing the back country of Mexico and selling the livestock they stole to corrupt ranchers. The Mexican government built forts along the border to try to thwart American outlaws, while Arizona citizens became increasingly agitated. Rustlers, who became known as the cow-boys, began to kill each other as well as innocent citizens. That October, tensions boiled over with Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne confronting the Tombstone marshal, Virgil Earp, and the suddenly deputized Wyatt and Morgan Earp and shotgun-toting Doc Holliday.
Bestselling author Tom Clavin peers behind decades of legend surrounding the story of Tombstone to reveal the true story of the drama and violence that made it famous. Tombstone also digs deep into the vendetta ride that followed the tragic gunfight, when Wyatt and Warren Earp and Holliday went vigilante to track down the likes of Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill Brocius, and other cowboys who had cowardly gunned down his brothers. That "vendetta ride" would make the myth of Wyatt Earp complete and punctuate the struggle for power in the American frontier's last boom town.