The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976

Book Reviews

he was regarded as a man not to be crossed. He made fortunes and lost
them, or consumed them in riotous living. He rubbed elbows with generals
and peones, with high government officials and lowly Indians, and came
to know the customs and folklore of all.
The author, Rick Ricketts, is a mining geologist who became acquainted
with Thompson in Mexico during the 1940s. For the next twenty years
the two men were associated, off and on, in various mining and prospecting
ventures. "El Lobo" talked freely of his many experiences and Ricketts was
an attentive listener. The author attests that he was a witness to some of "El
Lobo's" adventures. Others he learned during evenings together in mining
camps, or in little Mexican hotels in isolated mountain pueblos, and still
others were unfolded in Mexican jails. Ricketts has told Thompson's stories
in the first person, not only recounting tales of lost gold mines and of
flying contraband to insurgents, but interweaving observations of supersti-
tions and Mexican folk customs.
Eagle Pass, Texas BEN E. PINGENOT
They Called Him Wild Bill. By Joseph G. Rosa. (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1974. Pp. vii+377. Illustrations, bibliography, index.
Doc Middleton: Life and Legends of the Notorious Plains Outlaw. By
Harold Hutton. (Chicago: The Swallow Press, 1975. Pp. 290. Illus-
trations, bibliography, index. $I o.)
The appearance of an historically valid biography of a western outlaw
or lawman has been a somewhat rare occurrence over the years. But the
year I974 was a banner year for those who enjoy carefully researched and
documented accounts of the men who labored for and against the estab-
lishment of law and order west of the Mississippi in the last quarter of
the nineteenth century. These two titles must join Leon C. Metz's Pat Gar-
rett: The Story of a Western Lawman, also published in 1974, as extremely
valid contributions to history in a field cluttered with colorful but poorly
researched rehashes.
James Butler Hickok, to become nationally known as "Wild Bill" in his
own time, represents the epitome of the western "gunfighter." James M.
Riley, alias Doc Middleton, although not as widely known as Wild Bill,
was undoubtedly the West's most successful horse thief. Their biographies
have many similarities, the most important being the depth of research that


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed March 6, 2015.