Tag Archives: Whispering Smith

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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TEN NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS OF THE OLD WEST

MASCOT COWBOY 2

“Hold it right there,” the gunslinger exclaimed, “We got us some apparent paradoxes and their effect upon contemporary philosophy to discuss … you savvy?”

JUST 30 DAYS 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.

Rattlesnake Dick

Rattlesnake Dick

10. RATTLESNAKE DICK – No, he’s not a porn star. Dick Barton was originally from England but migrated with his family to the United States.In 1849 he joined the California Gold Rush but, having no luck at prospecting, formed an outlaw gang and took to robbing gold and payroll shipments instead. His second-in- command Cyrus Skinner was once shot down in a gunfight with Wells Fargo detectives and the stolen gold that Skinner had hidden before dying was fruitlessly sought after for years. Continue reading

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TEN NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS: COUNTDOWN TO FRONTIERADO

JUST 30 DAYS 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 1800’s. 

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.

Rattlesnake Dick

Rattlesnake Dick

10. RATTLESNAKE DICK – No, he’s not a porn star. Dick Barton was originally from England but migrated with his family to the United States.In 1849 he joined the California Gold Rush but, having no luck at prospecting, formed an outlaw gang and took to robbing gold and payroll shipments instead. His second-in- command Cyrus Skinner was once shot down in a gunfight with Wells Fargo detectives and the stolen gold that Skinner had hidden before dying was fruitlessly sought after for years. Continue reading

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MORE NEGLECTED GUNSLINGERS FOR FRONTIERADO

FRONTIERADO IS COMING ON FRIDAY, AUGUST SECOND!

With the Frontierado holiday almost upon us what better time to examine three more figures who helped make the American west wild?

Lottie Deno

Lottie Deno

3. LOTTIE DENO – Equally comfortable  dealing faro, playing poker or shooting a pistol Charlotte “Lottie” Deno was one of the most famous female gamblers of the old west, along with Poker Alice. Lottie didn’t engage in nearly as many gunfights as Poker Alice did, but she didn’t have to, since she was very skilled at maneuvering lovesick men into doing some of her killing for her. Even her no-good husband Johnny Golden was bumped off by two of Lottie’s male conquests. 

Lottie, who said she learned card-playing from her father, was a former southern belle who came west after the Confederacy fell. She spent three years in San Antonio dealing faro and playing poker in, among other places, the iconic vaudeville saloon of Jack Harris, where Texas Ben Thompson and King Fisher were killed the same night in 1884. Fellow gambler Frank Thurmond began a romance with Lottie but when he Continue reading

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THREE MORE NEGLECTED WILD WEST FIGURES

FRONTIERADO IS THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST THIRD!

With the Frontierado holiday almost upon us what better time to examine 3 more figures who helped make the American west wild?

3. LOTTIE DENO – Equally comfortable  dealing faro, playing poker or shooting a pistol Charlotte “Lottie” Deno was one of the most famous female gamblers of the old west, along with Poker Alice. Lottie didn’t engage in nearly as many gunfights as Poker Alice did, but she didn’t have to, since she was very skilled at maneuvering lovesick men into doing some of her killing for her. Even her no-good husband Johnny Golden was bumped off by two of Lottie’s male conquests. 

Lottie, who said she learned card-playing from her father, was a former southern belle who came west after the Confederacy fell. She spent three years in San Antonio dealing faro and playing poker in, among other places, the iconic vaudeville saloon of Jack Harris, where Texas Ben Thompson and King Fisher were killed the same night in 1884. Fellow gambler Frank Thurmond began a romance with Lottie but when he Continue reading

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