The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

lesser-known miscreants as David Lewis, Keith and Malinda Blaylock, Harvey
Bell Mitchell, Z. G. Harshman, and the Whitney brothers, who became
involved in the underside of nineteenth-century frontier America. Overall the
research in newspapers and primary materials is extensive, though his knowl-
edge of the secondary literature is limited.
More troublesome is Dugan's inability to conceptualize a framework that
explains why the outlaws operated as they did. His pedestrian theory about
why people became criminals turns almost solely on economics. In Marxian
fashion congressmen, bankers, railroad magnates, big businessmen, and
industrialists all conspired to oppress and limit the earning power of laborers
and farmers. This theory raises two questions. Did all outlaws Dugan studied
come from the lower classes? What about the millions among these same
classes who never encountered legal or criminal problems and desired only
peace and tranquility?
In summary, Dugan has given us a lot of information about some lesser-
known outlaws of the past century. Unfortunately the frequent block quotations
demonstrate a failure to integrate the material into a free-flowing text and mars
the presentation. His stories about the creation of legends surrounding his par-
ticipants are unconvincing and ignore the larger importance of the subject.
Gallaudet University BARRY A. CROUCH
Mystic Healers & Medicine Shows: Blazing Trails to Wellness in the Old West and
Beyond. By Gene Fowler. (Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1997. Pp. vi+102.
Illustrations, introduction, appendices, contributors, index. ISBN:
0-941270-95-5. $14.95, paper.)
In light of today's anguish over health care, Fowler's book about frontier med-
ical practices between the 187os to the 1930s is curative, especially if one
believes that laughter is still the best medicine. It's not that the editor and con-
tributors mean to be funny. The humor rises out of the reader's response to
practices of the past juxtaposed against modern science.
Fowler's introduction outlines the categories of doctoring and puts them into
the setting of time and place. He notes: "viewed a century or more later, there is
an inevitable aspect of the dramatic to most every element of life on the westen
frontier. And an air of magic and mystery surrounds the healing arts in any age
and place, often marking the physician as an extraordinary being with uncom-
mon powers." Several contributors write about specific inventive medicos and
traditional types.
Among the most noticeable were those who invented their own personas
along with their techniques and prescriptions. An example of the type was
the Diamond King, Dr. J. I. Lighthall, who covered both himself and his
clothing with diamonds-or something-pulled teeth free of charge, and
gave "spellbinding lectures and sales talk." Folks lined up to get a dollar-a-
bottle-cure-all "containing brown liquid that smelled like a mixture of tur-
pentine and whiskey."

April

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed December 19, 2014.