With over 1000 entries and 400 illustrations, this volume is the most fact-packed history of the west ever assembled. Bestselling crime historian Jay Robert Nash has left no stone unturned in his search for the gunmen, train robbers, gangs, desperadoes, range warriors, gamblers, and lawmen that roamed the frontier.
Contrary to popular myth, the Wild West was not a glamorous land where chivalry and courage were the custom and a man died with his boots on. It was a land of incredible hardships—brutal weather, hunger and disease, and the constant threat of violent death. Everyone carried a six-shooter, neutrality was impossible, and violence unavoidable; lawmen and shooter, neutrality was impossible, and violence unavoidable; lawmen and outlaws lived side by side, and often there was no telling one from the other. Into this land came pioneers lured by promises of great fortunes, ex-Confederate soldiers embittered by the outcome of the war, greedy cattle barons, and merchant princes. It was truly an explosive mixture.
Included in this volume are all the great Western legends—Billy the Kid, Jesse and Frank James, Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Judge Roy Bean, "Wild Bill Hickock—and a host of lesser-known figures who, though they may have missed notoriety, were equally lethal. In addition to alphabetical listings, it offers two glossaries listing the lawmen and outlaws for quick reference, a wonderful photo and illustration appendix, and an extensive bibliography of books on the American West.
Jay Robert Nash is the bestselling author of Bloodletters and Badmen, Hustlers and Con Men, and the Almanac of True Crime. He received a special Edgar Allen Poe award in 1991 for his Encyclopedia of World Crime. He lives in Wilmette, Illinois.