Synopses & Reviews
Much information (some of it factual, a lot of it fictional) is available about the famous gunfighters of the Old Westand#151;the Jameses, Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, John Wesley Hardin, and that latter-day folk idol, Butch Cassidy. Dozens of less-well-known but sometimes even more murderous gunslingersand#151;such men as Cullen Baker, Harvey Logan, Longhaired Jim Courtright, and Mysterious Dave Matherand#151;have received only scant mention in scattered accounts.
This encyclopediaand#151;a whoand#8217;s who of the gunfighting West-provides a compilation of facts, sifted myths, folklore, and outright lies, about the lives and deaths of 255 men, both the famous and the all but forgotten. Also included are detailed accounts of the almost six hundred gunfights the men took part in, mostly between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century.
Each entry follows a concise and useful format: an alphabetical listing of the gunman; nicknames or aliases; dates and places of birth and death, is known; the occupations the man pursued; a brief biography; and, in chronological order, accounts of the verified gunfights in which he participated.
and#160;In the Introduction, from the information he amassed in this volume, Bill Oand#8217;Neal provides a fascinating summary of the data and offers new insights into the nature of the western gunmen and of the feuds and fights that bloodied the West. For example, he relates how a large number of the gunfighters used guns as tools of their trades, legitimate and otherwiseand#151;lawmen and detectives, buffalo hunters, army scouts, thieves, hired killers, and the like. Of the gunfighters included here 108 served as law officers at some time in their careers. The average lifespan, including those who died of natural causes, was forty-seven years, and more than 50 percent of the gunmen died from gunshot wounds.
Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters offers a unique compilation of information about these menand#151;a comprehensive and reliable source.
"Bill O'Neal...has created a scholarly, readable, and interestingly written reference work that deserves a place in any collection serving patrons
with more than passing interest in the West." Booklist
"The value of this volume is that it provides vital statistics and biographical
summaries of many westerners who have come to fascinate a wide audience. It is
not only an excellent resource for general information, but it also includes helpful sources in each case for those who want additional information." Colorado Magazine
"The author, who is a descendant of gunfighter Jessie Standard, has given readers a comprehensive, fascinating and reliable encyclopedia, a reference
work certain to be deemed a classic in time." Montana: The Magazine of Western History
"The format of this fascinating reference work is well conceived and the text
very well written....O'Neal has done an outstanding job of compiling data on
255 gunmen, including dates and places of birth and death (where available),
aliases and nicknames, occupations, and a brief biography, followed in chrono-
logical order by detailed accounts of verified gunfights by each individual. The author's introduction is illuminating, giving an overview of the mass of data collected." Utah Historical Quarterly
What sorts of men were the gunfighters? What kinds of lives did they lead when
not blazing away at other men with guns? The following register attempts to
answer such questions about commonplace gunmen like Scott Cooley and
Chris Evans and Sylvester Powell as well as such famous individuals as Wes
Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, and Billy the Kid.
About the Author
Bill O'Neal, a native of Corsicana, Texas, is a graduate of East Texas State University. He teaches history in Panola Junior College, Carthage, Texas.
He has a special interest in the history of the American West. And he comes by
his absorption in gunfighter research naturally; he is a descendant gunfighter Jess Standard.