The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

hill ranchland rolls on in brilliant green contrast to the snow-covered
Rockies. Two rival bulls square off-the herd heads through snow to
the winter range-the warm bunkhouse means a short rest and a chance
to talk. A saddle-bronc rider lands hard at the Calgary Stampede-a
small boy stands ready with a spray can of disinfectant during the de-
horning and branding process-a cowboy is still a cowboy, at age 82.
The photographs alone commend this publication. It should give pleas-
ure to those who appreciate a well-designed book on an enduring aspect
of the Greater West.
Southwest Texas State University JAMES A. WILSON
Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters. By Bill O'Neal. (Norman: Uni-
versity of Oklahoma Press, 1979. Pp. xiv+386. Introduction, illus-
trations, bibliography, index. $24.95-)
The saga of the "gunfighter" is a prominent theme in the history of
the West. Whether a hardcase outlaw, a rehabilitated sheriff, or a foot-
loose cowboy, the gunfighter mirrored both the violence and the high
adventure that characterized the process of adjustment in newly opened
regions. Some won a measure of immortality in range wars or by robbing
banks, stages, or trains; others were lawmen who boldly undertook a
career of protecting life and property in young communities. A roster of
gunfighters is difhcult to make, due to problems of defining the term
and selecting criteria; but a provocative step in that direction is Ency-
clopedia of Western Gunfighters, which selects 255 men (who were in-
volved in 587 fights) as representative of the group. Bill O'Neal com-
piled his work from secondary sources and offers no fresh research or
interpretations, but his attempt to provide a ready reference to gun-
fighter "exploits" will be welcomed by writers who continue to recycle
the West for the general public.
In his introduction, the author generalizes about his study. He com-
piled his list by selecting (somewhat arbitrarily) those men who had
been in two verifiable gunfights during the period from the Civil War
to around 1900. Out of the total of 255, he rates 33 according to number
of killings, fights, and assists. James Brown ("Killin' Jim") Miller heads
the group, followed by John Wesley Hardin; Bill Longley, Harvey
Logan, and James Butler ("Wild Bill") Hickok. O'Neal also offers
vital statistics on gunfighters' lives, lists gunfights in western states
(1854-1924), presents a chronology of major shootouts and feuds
(1861-1924), and discusses nicknames. Despite its promise, the intro-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/. Accessed December 19, 2014.