The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 74
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Wyatt Earp's judgment of the men with whom he dealt. Their
combined perspective is in accord with that of the Kansas Jayhawk-
ers who could not understand, and hence never liked, these men
who lived on horseback. Mr. Lake's recurrent descriptive phrases
may best illustrate his estimate of the Texas cowboys. Such state-
ments as "Bosses and herd owners had thousands of dollars to
throw away" at gambling, and "incitement to most of the killings
f[at Dodge] was charged against the cattlemen," are unjust indict-
ments of the great majority of the Texans. "Consciously and
boastfully," he continues, "these Texas men were the trouble-
makers of the frontier." They were a bunch of "roistering, gun-
wielding cowboys," "Texas clans," who "in the custom of their
kind, bawled their boasts" in "swaggering," "strutting," "arro-
gance." When Mr. Lake tells of two thousand cowboys who were
camped around Wichita from off the trail, "picturesque swash-
bucklers hunting excitement," "among them riders for every cattle
king in Texas and possibly one-half under the leadership of pro-
fessional fighting men, six-gun killers hired by the feudal lords
. . . for their incessant wars with Indians, rustlers, and one
another," his unkindly estimate might be taken more seriously
except for his evident lack of grasp of the history, the temper, and
the quality of the Texas range. But this lurid travesty upon the
life of the cow country has persisted too long.
Perhaps I overemphasize the importance of Mr. Lake's con-
clusions about the Texans, conclusions drawn, however, not from
an estimate of the cowboy's life as a whole, but from his recreations
after gruelling months of working alone. For after all, Mr. Lake
has written a story of dramatic action and power, particularly in
the closing chapters of the book, when the Earp brothers are fight-
ing out their feud with outlaw elements around Tombstone, Ari-
zona. His exposition of the psychology of professional gun-men
and their technique of fighting, is excellently done. And without
doubt, the preservation of Wyatt Earp's stirring narrative is a his-
torical contribution toward the understanding of the West and its
J. EVETTS HALEY.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/82/: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.