** I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF A CRISIS INVOLVING A LOVED ONE. THIS BLOG POST WAS PRE-WRITTEN.
Frontierado is Friday, August 5th! My most popular Frontierado articles over the years have been the ones about neglected gunslingers of the American West. Here is another neglected western figure whose life was at least as interesting as those of the bigger names.
KID RUSSELL – How cool is it that an authentic, acclaimed international artist spent some of his younger years wandering the Wild West, even earning the nickname Kid Russell? Charles Marion “Kid” Russell was born in 1864 in St Louis, Missouri. As with Klondike Kate Rockwell, most of this figure’s life story is outside the purview of this article.
Since Frontierado is about the myth of the Old West I’ll focus on the legends about Kid Russell’s wild, wandering younger years full of guns, ranches, saloons, cattle drives, bordellos and sketches drawn on any nearby flat surface, sketches that showed the nascent talent that would one day make Russell world-famous.
When he was age 16 Charles’ well-to-do parents gave up trying to force him to continue his schooling and let him move to Montana, where, clad in a brand-new buckskin outfit, he worked on a friend’s sheep ranch north of Helena. It took skill with a gun and a true survival instinct to live through encounters with rustlers, hostile cattlemen and their hired gunmen but Charles, already being called Kid Russell, thrived and felt more at home in this rough and tumble lifestyle than among his family’s hoity-toity friends in St Louis high society. Continue reading