Tag Archives: Frontierado holiday

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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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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X: THE REAL-LIFE VIGILANTE

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 4th!

X

The Vigilante called “X”.

JOHN XAVIER BEIDLER, AKA “X” – How does a real-life figure who was known by the cool nickname “X” fly under the radar as thoroughly as this man has? His real name was John Xavier Beidler with his nom de guerre coming from his distinctive middle initial.

Born in 1831 X was one of the most successful  Vigilantes in the history of the American West and his way of playing judge jury and executioner should have made him the subject of several gritty, “adult” westerns from the 1960s onwards. Spaghetti Westerns in particular could have romanticized him as a figure akin to that sub-genre’s famed Vigilantes like the Soldier of God and Sartana and others. 

By the 1850s Beidler was living in Kansas where he was associated with John Brown and some of the more active elements of the Abolitionist movement. In 1852 he took part in sabotaging the offices of a pro-slavery newspaper and the exchange of gunfire that accompanied the act. Whether or not X played any further role in the Bleeding Kansas violence is still being debated.

In 1863 John took part in the Montana Gold Rush and found himself frequenting Virginia City and Bannock. As in the California Gold Rush outlaws took advantage of the chaos to prey on gold shipments and payroll deliveries.

In Montana, however, the situation was further complicated by the fact that the gunslinging leader of the criminal faction, the one and only Handsome Henry Plummer, was also serving as the head of the area’s law enforcement.

(This was similar to the way in which modern-day criminal organizations often outrightly OWN the local authorities. Back then the crooks assumed a more active role by just pinning on a badge themselves and using their office as a cover for their illegal activities.)

Frustrated, many Montanans formed groups of Vigilantes to handle what the lawmen were too crooked or too inept to handle. Beidler refused to hide his identity like the other members of the Montana Vigilantes and so in late 1863 his fame as “X” began. Continue reading

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MADAME DUMONT: GAMBLER/ GUNSLINGER

Balladeer’s Blog presents another underappreciated Wild West gunslinger since the Frontierado holiday is fast approaching! Friday August 5th will mark the event, the yearly celebration of the myth of the old west, not the grinding reality. 

Eleanore DumontMADAME DUMONT – Decades before Poker Alice and Lottie Deno came along  Eleanore “Madame” Dumont made a name for herself as a blackjack-dealing gambler and gunslinger. Much of the Madame’s early life is unknown but she supposedly was born in France around 1830. In 1854, when the record of her activities becomes more concrete, she arrived in Nevada City, CA as the Gold Rush was still at its peak.

By this time the charming and aristocratic Madame Dumont had already acquired a small fortune in gambling winnings after playing cards and slinging lead in mining camps throughout northern California. Eleanore’s cash and her nascent reputation for being able to maintain order with her own guns if necessary made it easy for her to immediately open her casino named Vingt- et-Un (“21”) right on legendary Broad Street itself. Continue reading

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WHISPERING SMITH: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Frontierado is Friday, August 5th! 

whispering smith

Whispering Smith

WHISPERING SMITH – James L Smith, aka Whispering Smith, led an action-filled life that bore little resemblance to the squeaky clean image of the man depicted in the movie, radio and television series based on his law enforcement career. Smith was a relentless lawman whom I often describe as “the Dirty Harry of the Old West.”

Whispering Smith was born in 1838 and by 1860 was making a living as a riverboat gambler up and down the Mississippi, where he acquired his famous nickname. He had his first gunfight in the form of a duel with a gambler named Larry Boyle on the Belle of Memphis. When the Civil War broke out James joined the Union Army, as did other future gunfighters like Wild Bill Hickok, Bear River Tom, Long-Haired Jim Courtright and others.

After the war he next surfaced in New Orleans, LA, as part of the city’s Metropolitan Police Force in 1868. By 1873 Smith had made detective and married his sweetheart Anna Mannion. Continue reading

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