Category Archives: FRONTIERADO

BOOT HILL: A MINOR VALHALLA

JUST SIXTEEN DAYS UNTIL FRONTIERADO! THE FIRST FRIDAY OF AUGUST HAS ARRIVED, MEANING IT’S FRONTIERADO! NOW CELEBRATED ON SIX CONTINENTS!

The joyous day is here at last so let’s enjoy our meals of buffalo meat, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Southwest Fried Rice, corn on the cob, Cactus Salad, mashed potatoes and Western Spaghetti ! Later we can wash down some Deuces Wilds (Red or Black) and Cactus Jacks while playing Frontierado Poker or watching Silverado.

Boot HillBOOT HILL: The name has survived in much western lore as THE name for graveyards filled with gunslingers, outlaws and other stock figures of the Wild West. Today it serves as a blog post in which I focus on the causes of death for many of the men and women who have shown up in my Frontierado items over the years.

Jack Harris Vaudeville TheatreTEXAS BEN THOMPSON – Shot to death by multiple gunmen at Jack Harris’ Vaudeville Theater in San Antonio, TX on March 11th, 1884. It was a revenge killing that also claimed Thompson’s friend and fellow gunslinger John “King” Fisher.

DOC HOLLIDAY – Died of natural causes on November 8th, 1887 in Glenwood Springs, CO.

SAM SIXKILLER – Shot to death while unarmed on Christmas Eve of 1886 in Muskogee, OK (still called Indian Territory at the time).

“QUEEN” KITTY LEROY – Shot to death by her own husband in Deadwood, SD’s Lone Star Saloon on December 6th, 1877. Her husband then took his own life.

KID CURRY – Either took his own life or was killed by lawmen on June 17th, 1904, at Parachute, CO, supposedly after robbing a train. 

LONG-HAIRED JIM COURTRIGHT – Shot to death in a rare Legend on Legend gunfight with Luke Short in Fort Worth, TX on February 8th, 1887.   Continue reading

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LINCOLN COUNTY WAR: THE GANGS

New Mexico map

Frontierado is Friday, August 4th!

The various range wars of the Old West were not truly “wars,” of course but were more like modern-day gangster conflicts with very rare examples of outright good guys or outright bad guys. Frontierado is about the myth of the American West, not the reality, though, so think in terms of Renaissance Festivals. 

THE LINCOLN COUNTY WAR – Billy the Kid’s involvement in this range war has made this the most internationally famous of them all, so I chose it for this premier look at gangs fighting on both sides of the conflict. For fans of the original Young Guns movie I’ll lead off with the Regulators.   

THE REGULATORS

Side: Tunstall-McSween Faction 

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid

Comment: Like many of the units fighting in the Lincoln County War the Regulators were “deputized” by law enforcement personnel in the pocket of their faction’s leaders. This provided an arguable veneer of legality to the group’s actions. Dick Brewer led the Regulators until he was killed by Buckshot Roberts, then Frank McNabb led them and, after his death Josiah Scurlock took over.   

Prominent Members: Billy the Kid, Tommy O’Folliard, Charlie Bowdre, Jim “Frenchy” French, Dirty Steve Stephens, Tiger Sam Smith and the Coe Brothers. 

SEVEN RIVERS WARRIORS

Side: Dolan-Murphy Faction Continue reading

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THREE OVERLOOKED SPAGHETTI WESTERN HEROES

Jeffrey Hunter as The Christmas Kid

Jeffrey Hunter as The Christmas Kid

Frontierado is coming up on Friday August 4th!

In the past Balladeer’s Blog has examined some of the big names among the fictional gunslingers of Spaghetti Westerns. I’ve covered the original Django, Sartana, the Holy Ghost, Dynamite Joe, Harmonica and even Tony Anthony’s character the Stranger. Here are a few of the lesser lights from Eurowesterns.

Christmas Kid 2THE CHRISTMAS KID

Film: The Christmas Kid (1966)

The Story: Jeffrey Hunter portrayed this memorable gunslinger, who got his nickname from the date of his birth, December 25th. His nickname was always bitter-sweet, however, since his mother died giving birth to him on Christmas.

The Kid is a pacifist in fictional Jaspen, AZ during a copper rush. Our hero reluctantly takes up a gun and at first seems like he might be corrupted by the faction led by the crooked town boss (Louis Hayward) but eventually his girlfriend Marie dies as the violence escalates. The Christmas Kid redoubles his efforts against Hayward. Good but not a great film.

The Kid deserved more than one screen appearance but the forced Jesus parallels make this movie as UN-intentionally funny as the Holy Ghost Spaghetti Westerns (“Looks like this is your Last Supper.”). Continue reading

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FRONTIERADO POKER: A REFRESHER

"You're not goin' nowhere, ya bottom-dealin' Hombre," the gambler-gunfighter exclaimed, "We've got us a few apparent paradoxes and their effect upon contemporary religious thought to discuss!"

“You’re not goin’ nowhere, ya bottom-dealin’ Hombre,” the gambler-gunfighter exclaimed, “We’ve got us a few apparent paradoxes and their effect upon contemporary religious thought to discuss!”

The Frontierado holiday is coming up fast – on Friday, August 4th in fact. Today we’ll revisit the rules of Frontierado Poker for newbies to the holiday.

Here are the rules for Frontierado  Poker, the game that is Continue reading

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DUSTY DELIA: FEMALE STAGECOACH DRIVER

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

Delia Haskett RawsonDELIA B HASKETT – “Dusty Delia” Haskett was the first woman to transport the U.S. mail via stagecoach. Delia was born in December of 1861 in Ukiah, California to businessman Samuel Haskett and schoolteacher Miranda Haskett.

Among the businesses run by Delia’s father were a blacksmith shop, the Ukiah Hotel and a stagecoach route for Wells Fargo. As the young lady grew up she was forever pleading with her father to let her become a stagecoach driver for the Ukiah to Willits route.

While periodically keeping up the pressure on her father, Delia lived the life of the ultimate tomboy, mastering the arts of trick-riding, lariat-trickery and – of course – gunplay. In 1876, when Haskett was just 14 years old, one of Samuel’s regular drivers was struck down with disease and could not drive his route.

With no other drivers on hand, Delia at last got her wish as her father agreed to let her take the ill driver’s dangerous afternoon to 3:00 AM route. In addition to other cargo, Haskett was transporting the United States Mail, too. Continue reading

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THE TOP FOUR WESTERNS BASED ON REAL-LIFE FIGURES

butch cassidy and the sundance kid 2We all know that in real life the celebrated “heroes” of the old west were a pack of corrupt and/or outrightly criminal thugs who would have had a pretty redneckish worldview. And let’s face it, by our standards their personal hygiene habits would have been pretty disgusting.

But since the Frontierado holiday is all about celebrating the myth of the West and not the grinding reality of it here’s my list of the Top Four Westerns Based On Real-Life Figures. Coming up with lists like this is one of the perks of being the international commissioner of Frontierado (along with the seven-figure income and a staff of three hundred people).

butch cassidy and the sundance kid1. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) – Redford and Newman set the standard for the “buddy western” with this magnificent movie. Newman once described this flick by saying “It’s a Continue reading

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DANITES: GUNSLINGING “KNIGHTS” OF THE OLD WEST

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

Berenger Avenging AngelThe Frontierado Holiday is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. The Danites – the gunslinging Knights of the Mormon faith – are an underutilized and underappreciated element of Old West fiction.

The opportunities for action presented to a Danite could start as early as the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. After that there’s the Illinois Mormon War in the 1840s which ended in the Siege of Nauvoo.

Following that conflict the Mormon Exodus to the West began, with “Deseret” (later called Utah) as the ultimate destination. Danites – like Christian Knights of long ago protecting Pilgrims headed for their “Holy Land” – safeguarded Mormon travelers from attacks by hooded anti-Mormon gangs, from armed outlaws and from various Native American tribes along the way.  

Berenger Avenging Angel 2In Deseret itself there were conflicts with Mexican raiders after the end of America’s war with Mexico (1846-1848). Danites would also be called upon to battle various Native American tribes in Deseret, in the role of oppressors rather than oppressed much of the time.

They would also fight Navajo armies to stop them from seizing Paiute Indians as slaves. (The anti-slavery aspect of Mormonism is often overlooked.) Plus the Danites faced the task of driving off armed bands of prospectors wanting the gold and other precious metals of the area.

There was also the Utah War with the Mormons fighting the United States Army from 1857-1858. On top of that add rumored armed conflicts among competing factions of Mormon leaders with the Danites caught in the middle like Mafia gunmen serving their respective “Dons” as it were.

NOTE: This blog post is interested only in the neglected potential of Danites as mythic heroes and/or villains in western sagas. I know that in real life the Mormon Church downplays or distances themselves from the Danites because of the violence often associated with them. Continue reading

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