Tag Archives: American West

BOONE MAY: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Boone MayBOONE MAY – We ring down the curtain on another Frontierado holiday with this look at neglected gunslinger Daniel Boone May, better known as just Boone May.

Daniel Boone May was born in Missouri in 1852 and raised on the family farm in Kansas following a move around 1860. In the early 1870s Boone headed west with his brothers Jim and Bill. By some accounts Boone drifted into bounty hunting as a way of making a living while his brothers were into more sedate and settled livelihoods.

With the Black Hills Gold Rush raging in 1876 the three May Brothers headed to Deadwood, SD to seek their fortunes. Bill tried his hand at prospecting while Boone and Jim invested some of Boone’s bounty money in a series of horse-team changing stations between the gold fields and the railroad in Cheyenne, WY.  

Boone earned a solid reputation for being able to use his guns to keep the changing stations safe from bandits AND from bands of Sioux warriors. Before long he had made enough money to buy a home and land near the Platte River outside Deadwood.   Continue reading

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BOOT HILL – A MINOR VALHALLA

JUST SIXTEEN DAYS UNTIL FRONTIERADO! IT’S THE FIRST FRIDAY OF AUGUST, 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. Continue reading

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GUNPLAY MAXWELL – NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

MASCOT COWBOY 2The Frontierado holiday is Friday, August 3rd!

GUNPLAY MAXWELL – This neglected gunslinger was born in Boston, MA as James Otis Bliss circa 1860. When he was 15 years old he got into a fight with a friend at a Boston tavern and shot him to death. Fleeing authorities the young man headed west and began a life of using various false names, including Charles L Maxwell or “Gunplay” Maxwell as he is best remembered.  

Life on the run was bringing out both the dark violence AND the shrewd manipulative streak that would characterize the young man for the rest of his life. By late 1876 he was in Texas staying alive through assorted robberies, con games and increasingly frequent gunplay. Texas eventually became too hot for Gunplay Maxwell and by the late 1870s or early 1880s he moved north to Montana.     Continue reading

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3 GUNSLINGERS: HAVE NICKNAME, WILL TRAVEL

Hunnewell, KSFrontierado is coming up this Friday, August 3rd. The holiday celebrates the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. With just a few days remaining until the big day I’ll be squeezing in some last seasonal posts.

Part of the appeal of old west gunslingers lies in their catchy nicknames. I’ve covered all of the big names over the years, so here are a few more who don’t get the attention they deserve.

cash hollisterCASH HOLLISTER – Cassius M “Cash” Hollister was born in Cleveland, OH on December 7th of 1845. Cash was a two-fisted and fiery man who felt too constrained living in the citified East. In 1877 he traveled to Kansas, where he did hotel work in Wichita before moving on to Caldwell. 

Hollister married Sadia Rhodes in 1878 and in late October of 1879 was elected Mayor of Caldwell following the violent death of the town’s previous Mayor. High office did nothing to diminish Cash’s high spirits and he continued to participate in frequent barroom brawls and street fights.

Choosing not to stand for reelection in 1880, Hollister held no further official position until very early 1883, when he was appointed Deputy U.S. Marshal by Marshal B.S. Simpson. Within months Cash was involved in a series of gunfights against horse thieves and cattle rustlers in the sprawling criminal organization headed by Jay Wilkinson. Continue reading

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TEN NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS OF THE OLD WEST

MASCOT COWBOY 2JUST ONE WEEK UNTIL FRONTIERADO! As always Frontierado is about celebrating the myth of the Wild West and not the grinding reality. Part of the fun each year is an examination of neglected gunslingers from the 1800s. 

The likes of Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Calamity Jane and Jesse James have been the subject of a variety of movies and folk tales. Unfortunately some figures from the Wild West led lives at least as interesting as the big names did but have not gotten nearly as much attention. Here is a look at ten such men and women. Continue reading

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DESPERADO: FRONTIERADO SONG

Frontierado is coming up on Friday, August 3rd. For the holiday season here is another “Frontierado Carol.” It’s Linda Ronstadt with Desperado

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FEMALE MARSHALS IN THE OLD WEST

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 3rd!

As always, Frontierado is a holiday dedicated to the myth of the old west, not the grinding reality. Here is a look at a handful of ladies who served as gunslinging Marshals.

Ada CarnuttADA CURNUTT

Around 1889 or 1890 Ada Curnutt moved to Oklahoma (formerly Indian Territory) with her sister and her brother-in-law. By some accounts Ada chose to head west to get out from under the influence of her Methodist Minister father and equally devout mother.

When she was 20 years old, Curnutt started working as a Clerk of the Court in Norman, OK. Finding a desk job too dull for her, Ada soon became a Deputy Marshal for United States Marshal William Grimes. Her duties included serving writs and warrants, escorting dangerous prisoners from one jurisdiction to another and, of course, making arrests.   

In 1893 alone, Marshal Curnutt arrested at least 19 criminals wanted for various offenses. In December of that same year the gunslinging heroine traveled to Oklahoma City and dramatically got the drop on a pair of outlaws in the Black & Roger Saloon in front of a large, admiring crowd.     Continue reading

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