Tag Archives: Wild West

HAPPY FRONTIERADO! TIMELINE OF THE WICKED BURG: SIDNEY NE

Wild West TownFrontierado is here at last! Time for buffalo steaks, cactus salads, Tumbleweed Pizzas, Cactus Jacks, Deuces Wilds, Western Spaghetti and lots of games of Frontierado Poker. Naturally the day ends with Silverado plus a few other westerns of your choice. I usually add Posse or Once Upon A Time In The West.

And since it’s a three-day weekend you’ve got both Saturday and Sunday to recover.  

When it comes to Wild West towns places like Tombstone, Dodge City and Deadwood get the lion’s share of the attention. In keeping with Balladeer’s Blog’s overall theme here’s a look at some of the action in the neglected town of Sidney, NE. Figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Luke Short, Susan B Anthony, Whispering Smith and Dom Pedro II of Brazil passed through Sidney in its heyday. Here’s a timeline of just some of the events in the town infamous as “The Wicked Burg”:  

April 29th, 1868 – Daniel Richardson, Thomas Cahoon and William Edmondson became the first recorded dead men buried in Sidney’s Boot Hill Cemetery. All three men were killed in a clash with Native Americans.

May ?, 1875 – Susan B Anthony delivered a lecture in Sidney advocating women’s suffrage.

October 24th, 1875 – At the Capitol Saloon the livery stable owner Robert W Porter and Charles Patterson got into an argument (the subject is not known) that resulted in Patterson shooting Porter to death with 3 shots. Patterson was placed under arrest. Continue reading

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RUSSIAN BILL: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Frontierado is this Friday, August 2nd, so just a few days left for seasonal posts this calendar year! As ever, this holiday is about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality. 

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill

Wolf Kahler would have made a good Russian Bill

RUSSIAN BILL – William Tatenbaum aka Waldemar Tethenborn aka Feador Telfrin was born in Russia as the son of Countess Telfrin. Russian Bill’s noble birthright was confirmed by the American Consul in Saint Petersburg, Russia after Bill’s death by lynching in 1881.

That’s important to note because during William Tatenbaum’s travels in the American West many people thought the smooth-talking Russian gunslinger was lying about being a nobleman. Apparently they assumed he was a forerunner of the 20th Century’s Mike Romanoff, who became a celebrity based on his brassy – but failed – attempt to pass himself off as a member of the fallen Romanoff dynasty.

The 19th Century’s William Tatenbaum might have lived a longer life if he had pursued a similar con-man’s career instead of falling into the life of a guns-blazing outlaw.

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill 3While serving in the Tsar’s Imperial White Hussars (cavalry) and after seeing action in the Khivan Campaign, the future Russian Bill had a violent falling out with a superior officer. The exact nature of the conflict is not known and years later the Countess Telfrin would refer to it only as “a political affair.”   

Bill left Russia under a cloud and at some point wound up in the American West. The wandering rogue made references to having gambled on Mississippi Riverboats and in assorted Texas towns while participating in periodic “duels” (gunfights) over ladies or related matters of “honor.” Given how true Russian Bill’s claims to nobility turned out to be, all the other claims he made about his mysterious past need to be taken with some seriousness.

Wolf Kahler Russian Bill 2Tatenbaum certainly looked and otherwise fit the part of the Old West Gambler better than the rougher outlaw he later became. He was described as a dandified dresser and sported expensive pistols. In addition he was well-spoken, well-educated and fluent in at least four languages, all of which would have accounted for his popularity with the ladies. His supposedly handsome face, curly blonde hair and moustache would have helped.  

By the late 1870s Russian Bill was in the Animas Valley in Southwestern New Mexico Territory where he fell in with the Clanton Crime Faction, whose control extended from there to parts of Arizona Territory. Some accounts claim Bill first took to committing crimes with them to pay off a gambling debt to one of the gang. Continue reading

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FRONTIERADO FLASHMAN: FLASHMAN AND THE REDSKINS (1982)

Frontierado is fast approaching! Friday, August 2nd is the big day! Here’s my January review of Flashman and the Redskins again since it’s appropriate to the holiday. 

Alan Bates -better Flashman than MalcolmFor Balladeer’s Blog’s Number One Harry Flashman Novel click HERE  . 

For background info on George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous anti-hero Harry Paget Flashman you can also click that link.

 

flashman and the redskins 27. FLASHMAN AND THE REDSKINS (1982)

Time Period: Part One – 1849-1850, Part Two – 1875-1876

The Flashman novels jump around to different periods of the fictional Harry Flashman’s life. This book covers his adventures with the Forty-Niners on the way to the California gold fields as well as his much later involvement in the Sioux Uprising.

Favorite Book Blurb: “The West is just wild about Harry!” (It came long before “See what I did there?” was a thing, but the sentiment still applies.) 

NOTE: Once again Fraser used the structure of a swashbuckling, guns-blazing adventure story to cast his critical eye on some of the Great Names and Great Events of the 19th Century. Get ready for another generous helping of “History Noir” as only George could write it: by blending fact, fiction and satirical subtext in a way which scandalizes BOTH the political right AND the left.

And as always when viewed against the backdrop of history’s major atrocities the amoral carnal and monetary pursuits of that British blackguard Harry Paget Flashman look almost harmless by comparison.  

flashman and the redskinsSynopsis: The plot of Flashman and the Redskins picks up immediately after the end of Flash For Freedom (1971). Still stranded without funds in 1849 America our antihero returns to the welcoming arms – and bed – of brothel madam Susie Willink. That voluptuous MILF has been bitten by the Gold Bug and invites Harry to join her and her stable of prostitutes as part of a wagon train headed to California.

Soon the expatriate British Cavalry Officer is traipsing across the continent alongside the young Kit Carson himself. Harry, Kit, Susie and their wagon train wind up negotiating with and/or fighting Pawnee, Arapaho and other assorted tribes of Native Americans as well as combating cholera, thirst and hunger along the way.

Since Fraser can never resist slipping Flashman into tantalizingly unresolved historical footnotes we get Harry’s account of the mysterious final days at the original Bent’s Fort. Tossed in for good measure we learn that our favorite British scoundrel was the man who supposedly taught the young Crazy Horse how to wink, which was reportedly a very UN-Oglala-like thing to do.  Continue reading

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PRETTY PIERRE: GAMBLER-GUNSLINGER OF CANADA

The Frontierado Holiday coming up on Friday August 2nd is all about the myth of the Old West, not the grinding reality.

Gilbert ParkerPRETTY PIERRE – Created by Canadian author Gilbert Parker, Pretty Pierre was a Canadian version of fictional American Western Pulp Heroes like Deadwood Dick and many others. Pierre was a smuggler and gambler/gunslinger whose adventures took place in Canada and Alaska in the late 1800s. 

The very first Pretty Pierre story, The Patrol of the Cypress Hills, was published in The Independent in 1890. Many stories followed and were published in two collections: Pierre and His People (1892) and Pierre, A Romany of the Snows (1896).

That second collection was published in England under the title An Adventurer of the North in 1898, often leading to the mistaken belief that there are actually three separate collections of Pierre short stories but this is not the case.  

Pierre was the son of a Canadian woman and a Native American of no specific designation. The Pretty One was raised by his father’s people for a time then began moving in white Canadian circles. His good looks and elegant clothing earned him his nickname but he made his living as a gambler/gunslinger and as a smuggler (Think of the real-life Montana Kid, covered previously here at Balladeer’s Blog). Continue reading

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TOMAHAWK TAM: FRONTIERADO SAGA

The latest Saga custom written for Frontierado, which is coming up Friday, August 2nd!

TomahawkTOMAHAWK TAM – Tamara “Tomahawk Tam” Wise-Brosnan aka “The Houston Hellcat” led one of the most eventful and action-packed lives in the Old West.

Born in 1863 the ever-willful and rambunctious child ran away in a pouting huff from the westward-bound wagon train her family was traveling with in 1873. Elders from the Nevada Paiute Tribe which adopted her forever maintained that when they encountered the young lady in the desert she fearlessly walked up to them and told them she was hungry and inquired if they had any food to share with her.

Charmed by all this, the Paiute raised her as one of their own. By her teen years Tamara was a close follower of the outspoken Paiute woman Sarah Winnemucca aka Thocmentony aka Shell Flower. It was Sarah who introduced the young Tamara to Eleanor Dumont, the famous gambler/ gunslinger. Eleanor’s free spirit forever after served as an inspiration for the future legend. 

When she was 15 in 1878 Tamara’s tribe left the reservation and found themselves in a conflict with the United States Army, the Bannock War (June-August).

The Paiute tribe under Chief Buffalo Horn could only muster around 500 warriors at the time and during one of the battles Tamara, wielding a rifle and a tomahawk, fought back against the attacking soldiers. From that day forward the newly rechristened “Tomahawk Tam” insisted on fighting alongside the men of her tribe. With her body-count increasing in every clash no one dared say her nay. Continue reading

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DEVILS RIVER WHISKEY FOR FRONTIERADO

Devils River BourbonIt’s no secret that Balladeer’s Blog is a Lifestyle Brand. (I’m KIDDING!) At any rate the Frontierado Holiday will be here Friday August 2nd so before you know it, it will all be over for another year. Here’s another brand of booze that I like to drink either straight or mixed in my Cactus Jacks: Devils River (1840).

This Texas Bourbon is created with water drawn from Devils River (Devils is plural, so no apostrophe) and is 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. As usual I prefer Barrel Strength – I’m slamming down a 117 Proof bottle as I type – but naturally you’re free to make your own selections.

Remember, to be a Frontierado Whiskey it’s got to have incomparable taste PLUS be strong enough to let you blow flies out of the air right after you take a drink.   Continue reading

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DIAMONDFIELD JACK: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Diamondfield Jack Davis

Diamondfield Jack Davis

FRONTIERADO IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 2nd. 

DIAMONDFIELD JACK – Born Jackson Lee Davis this neglected gunslinger is a colorful example of the old west’s gunmen for hire. He’s also a poster child for the confusion and conflicting information that surrounds those figures. Various sources place his year of birth anywhere from 1864 to the mid 1870s and in several different states. Even the story behind his nickname is disputed as I’ll deal with in detail as we go along.

Diamondfield Jack is noted for the shotgun he carried in a holster on his back, like a quiver of arrows carried by an archer. He also sported three 45 caliber pistols in holsters and coatpockets and had a Bowie knife strapped to his leg.

By the late 1880s Jack was in Colorado during the Silver Boom. In return for various killings and acts of violent intimidation he performed for the railroad tycoons and the silver mine owners he was partially paid with several uncut diamonds. Later Jack’s own boasting and the usual embellishments that accompany men like him exaggerated the story to the point where he supposedly owned a hidden diamond mine near the Idaho/Nevada border. Jack cultivated the story by forever after carrying around a pocketful of uncut diamonds.

In 1892 Diamondfield Jack was in Silver City, Idaho, working for the Black Jack Mine’s owners to try to shoot down chances of the miners organizing a union. After a time he was wanted for questioning in some killings in the area and laid low in the mountains for several months. Continue reading

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