Book Reviews and Notices
Fighting Men of the West. By Dane Coolidge. (New York: E.
P. Dutton & Co., 1932. Pp. 343. Illustrations. $3.75.)
After many years as naturalist, collector, photographer, and
writer of western fiction, Dane Coolidge has turned historian and
has sketched twelve of the more prominent characters who have
furnished background for his novels. And the sketches of these
twelve men emphasize the fact that true chronicles of the West
may be as strangely wild as fiction. Mr. Coolidge's decision to
write these biographical sketches, for the most part composed of
material that he gathered from the subjects themselves, makes
available the historical basis of his novels, and will interest many
readers of history not attracted by his fiction.
The first four chapters deal with noted western characters:
Charles Goodnight, the trail-blazer, John Chisum, the cattle king,
Clay Allison, the man-killer, and Tom Horn, scout and human
bounty-hunter. His accounts of the first two cowmen seem to be
based largely on the recollections of Goodnight himself. His story
of what happened when Clay Allison rode into Dodge to meet
Wyatt Earp, is exactly opposite of what Stuart Lake tells in his
life of the marshall, and if true, leaves a stain on the Earp
escutcheon which Mr. Lake has polished so well. While Mr.
Coolidge collected some new biographical material on each of these
four, they have so frequently been the subject of feature treatment
that they lack the freshness of the succeeding chapters.
Of the remaining eight subjects, four are officers of the law.
Commodore Perry Owens, vain but reckless long-haired Arizona
sheriff; Captain John R. Hughes, the oldest of all Texas Rangers
in point of service; Captain Burton C. Mossman, ranchman organ-
izer of the Arizona Rangers; Harry C. Wheeler, one of Mossman's
successors in service and in office; and the tyrannical Jefe de
Cordada, Colonel Emilio Kosterlitzky, unyielding captain of the
Rurales in northern Mexico-these are the vivid characters about
whom many valorous tales have been told. Burt Alvord, the
sharply scheming Arizona outlaw, furnished the Arizona Rangers
much of their trouble and gave Mr. Coolidge material for another
Two mining men complete the roster, the most interesting of
whom is Colonel Bill Greene. The long story of Greene's tragic
but hopeful search for a mine, of his strike in Cananea copper, of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/. Accessed April 21, 2015.