Outlaws

Jesse James Lived & Died in TEXAS by Betty Dorsett Duke.  When Jesse James' mother, Zerelda James Samuel, was called to identify the body of Tom Howard, the man shot by Bob Ford as Jesse James in St. Joseph, Missouri, on 3 April 1882, she blurted out, "That's not my son."  It was only after she had been ushered into a private anteroom for a 10-minute 'talk' that she returned, weeping, saying the body was indeed that of her son Jesse.  Frank James, Jesse's brother, never did identify the body.  It's a fact that lawmen were never sure.  Could Jesse have engineered his own death and lived out his life in peace as a private citizen?  Betty Dorsett Duke thinks so, and she has the most convincing evidence to prove it.  She had the forensics laboratory at the Austin Police Department and the Visionics Corporation, a separate forensics laboratory, compare the historically accepted photos of Jesse James and the James family in Missouri to her great-grandfather James L. Courtney's family photos.  Both forensics departments individually, and without the knowledge of the other's work, came to the exact same conclusion...the people in Betty's family photos were the exact same people pictured in the James family photos.  Even the 1995 exhumation and DNA testing on the body of Tom Howard in the grave in Missouri could not prove that Jesse James and Tom Howard were one and the same man.  For an encapsulation of this book, read the Jesse James legend at the Legends of the Old West web site.  This is undoubtedly the most controversial book ever written, and the controversy is not over yet!  Don't miss it!

The Wild Bunch at Robbers Roost  by Pearl Baker.  Robbers Roost was a hideout for outlaws and hunted men long before Butch Cassidy found it in 1884.  The impenetrable wastes and wilds of this high desert country in southeastern Utah, cut through by canyons along the Green and Colorado rivers and bounded on the west by the Dirty Devil, discouraged lawmen from pursuit.  In the 1890s the Wild Bunch spread over Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Arizona rustling cattle, stealing horses, robbing banks and trains, and often taking cover at Robbers Roost.  Great book.

Digging up Butch & Sundance  by Anne Meadows.  With the exception of Jesse James and Billy the Kid, never has there been more controversy over whether or not an outlaw met his fate or took advantage of mistaken identity to slip into another life.  Did Butch and Sundance really die in the shootout in Bolivia?  Or did Butch survive, return to America and live out his life under an assumed name? With the tenacity of Pinkerton agents, the author and her husband track the outlaws and the enigmatic Etta Place through South America, where they fled in 1901.  Meadows roves the pampas of Argentina, deserts of Chile, and sierras of Bolivia; pores over faded newspapers and musty documents; exhumes skeletons with the aid of forensics; and unearths eyewitness accounts of the two outlaws' final holdup and the Bolivian shootout.  Truly a fascinating book.

Black, Red, and Deadly  by Art Burton.  Absolutely the most fascinating book on Black and Indian gunfighters of the Indian Territories.  Included are Ned Christie, Cherokee Bill, Henry Starr, Rufus Buck Gang, Dick Glass, and a slew of other baddies.  Also included are the heroes:  Bass Reeves, the Lighthorse, Sam Sixkiller, Grant Johnson, Zeke Miller, and others who wore the star.  Wonderful book!

Johnny Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was  by Jack Burrows.  This is an entertaining and easy to read book on the myth surrounding of of Arizona's most notorious gunmen.  It has all the facts, including the Earp-Clanton factions to the Hoodoo War to Ringo's mysterious death.

Daltons! The Raid on Coffeyville, Kansas  by Robert Barr Smith.  This is undoubtedly the best, most reasoned, and comprehensive account of the Coffeyville raid ever written.  It concentrates on the heroic defense of the town rather than on the criminals who attacked it. 

The Return of the Outlaw Billy the Kid  by W. C. Jameson.  The author, who is best known for his lost gold and buried treasure books, has done a superb job on Billy the Kid.  It's the story of a man who surfaced 68 years after Billy the Kid's alleged death.  Discovered quite by accident in a small Texas town, that man did not seek public attention and at first denied that he was once known as Billy Bonney.  Confronted with the evidence, William Henry Roberts, amidst the storm of controversy, eventually admitted his identity.  Through research and investigation and painstakingly separating fact from lore, this book takes careful aim at the evidence and the argument both for and against traditional history and for the first time dares to allow readers to judge for themselves:  Who was Billy the Kid?

Josey Wales: Gone to Texas  by Forrest Carter.  Missouri is called the "Mother of Outlaws."  She acquired her title in the aftermath of the Civil War when bitter men who had fought without benefit of rules in the Border War could find no place for themselves in society.  They rode and lived aimlessly, and all that remained was personal feud, retribution and survival.  If Missouri was the Mother, then Texas was the Father...the refuge, with boundless terrain and bloody frontier, where a pistolman could find reason for existence and room to ride. This is the story of one of those outlaws ---Josey Wales, the battle-hardened Missouri Confederate guerilla fighter who kills Yankee soldiers to avenge the brutal murder of his wife and son by Kansas Redlegs. With price on his head, he is forced to Go to Texas.

The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales  by Forrest Carter.  This book is the continuing story of Josey Wales and as such is the sequel to Gone to Texas.

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