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.Read more...
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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."
- ISBN-13: 9781250071484
- ISBN-10: 1250071488
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press
- Publish Date: February 2017
- Page Count: 400
- Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.41 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-30
- Reviewer: Staff
Recounting the most famous of cattle towns and its two most influential lawmen, Clavin (Reckless) argues that it wasnt gunfights but rather the refusal to fight that eventually tamed Dodge City, Kans., the wickedest town in the American west. Though the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., has passed into popular legend, fewer know of the Dodge City War, the last hurrah of the towns violent legacy, which the legendary Wyatt Earp and lesser-known Bat Masterson resolved without violence. The romanticization and mythification of the West and the gunslinger is Clavins greatest challenge; with a firm dedication to the truth, he has attempted to confirm what he can and qualify what he cannot. Though this fact-checking may take some of the glamor out of the popular conception of Earp in particular, Clavins book brims with a colorful collection of real outlaws, sex workers, gamblers, and chorus dancers whose personalities, deeds, and even nicknames help readers understand why the Western legend entranced the nation in the first place. To know the history of Dodge City is to understand how the West was won, and this history is often just as captivating and strange as the legends that have supplanted it. Agent: Scott Gould, RLR Associates. (Mar.)
Stories from America's wild past
Tales of the Old West seem to improve with age, as award-winning historian Tom Clavin (The Heart of Everything That Is) demonstrates in his lively new book, Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West. Revisiting the capital of the wild frontier, Clavin focuses on Dodge City’s heyday—the 1870s and 1880s—and brings into sharp focus stories that long ago acquired the sepia tone of antiquity.
Established as a military settlement, Dodge City developed into a frisky cowtown with a bustling stockyard and railroad terminus. Set on the plains in southwestern Kansas, it was an inevitable stop for buffalo hunters, businessmen, miners, guns-for-hire, cowpokes and other folks traveling westward. Dodge City, Clavin says, “came to symbolize both the American West and a nation seeking to fulfill its manifest destiny.”
Because it attracted gunslingers of every breed (Dirty Sock Jack, Cold Chuck Johnny and Dynamite Sam, to name a few), extra-vigilant lawmen were needed to keep the peace. Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp were tailor-made for the task.
Clavin’s storytelling skills shine as he chronicles the personal histories of the now-mythical pair, tracing the years of their reign in the West and providing an intriguing look at their comradeship. He delivers plenty of quick-draw drama—with appearances from Wild Bill Hickok, Jesse James and others—in detailed accounts of the shootouts and duels that were the order of the day.
Clavin’s bold narrative of life in a nation still coming of age provides a shot of good old-fashioned escapism. Dodge City “was a reservoir of tall tales,” he says, “yet many of the facts are equally if not more fascinating.” This rip-roarin’ read proves he’s right.