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

Book Reviews

duction is disappointing. The author presents no historical perspective
for the subject, and he could have analyzed his material a step further.
The main body of the encyclopedia contains a collection of sketches.
Each sketch includes brief biographical information, a careful descrip-
tion of gunfights, and a list of sources. Familiar names parade by (from
Clay Allison to Cole Younger)-and familiar writers are cited (Ed Bar-
tholomew, Carl W. Breihan, Homer Croy, Harry Sinclair Drago, James
D. Horan, Glenn Shirley, and a host of others). Inconsistencies are
immediately apparent. For example, in at least a dozen places the author
departs from his criteria, citing men who participated in only one gun-
fight. Inaccuracies also abound: Emil (for "Almer") Blazer (p. 46),
Nellie Cushman (p. 208), Charleston, New Mexico, rather than Arizona
(p. 61), John S. Chisum's Seven Springs (for "South Spring") Ranch
(p. 211), and the list could be extended. Because many of these mis-
takes probably occurred in O'Neal's sources, whoever uses the encyclo-
pedia should also consult Ramon F. Adams's commentaries on western
books in Burs Under the Saddle (1964) and More Burs (1979) to get the
story straight. O'Neal also apparently did not venture too far into the
gunfighter literature of the 197os, nor did he adequately comb periodi-
cals. The concept of this encyclopedia is excellent, but the material it
presents must be used with caution.
The Encyclopedia is highly readable, handsomely designed, and en-
hanced by over sixty photographs and a good index. However, as a work
drawn primarily from the "standard" gunfighter books of the 196os, it
reflects the flaw Adams warned about in his "Afterword" to More Burs,
"I find that people are still writing on subjects they know little about
and are blindly following early legends that have been told as history.
Let us hope that some day before this century has passed, such writings
will be discontinued and historians who know how to do research will
take over" (p. 17o).
University of Arizona HARWOOD P. HINTON
More Burs Under the Saddle: Books and Histories of the West. By Ra-
mon F. Adams. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979- Pp.
xvi+ 182. Foreword, introduction, afterword, index. $14.95.)
For most of his eighty-six years the late Ramon Adams sought to be
responsible and authorative in his pursuit of western American history,
especially as it pertained to gunman lore. For one with little or no for-
mal training his contribution to history and bibliography is nothing


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 5, 2016.

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