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Literature

Man-Hunters of the Old West, Vol. 2: Old West Bounty Hunters

Man-Hunters of the Old West, Volume 2, Robert K. DeArment, University of Oklahoma Press, Cloth, $29.95, Non-fiction. Photos, Notes, Bibliography, Index. Eight men are featured here, most we’ve never heard of, but all were straight- shooting defenders of justice who were Old West bounty hunters, hunting outlaws and con-men.

Old West Bounty HuntersHenry “Harry” Love is credited with organizing the California Rangers.  He caught and killed the notorious bandit and horse thief Joaquin Murietta.  At age 45, Love married a wealthy but homely widow destined to weight nearly 400 pounds.  A few days after the wedding, Harry left on a three month honeymoon by himself.  Eventually he was killed in a shoot-out with his wife’s handyman.

Thomas Tate “Tom” Tobin, was a Colorado mountain man and adventurer credited with hunting down and killing the Espinosa brothers who had murdered numerous innocent people.  As time went by, however, Tobin himself was remembered as a “ruthless and callous killer and beheader of outlaws.”

Granville Stuart, born in Virginia in 1834, migrated “out west” as a teenager.  He prospected for gold, and then became successfully involved in many other businesses including mining and cattle ranching.  Man-hunting was only a sideline for him, but he organized a group of vigilantes who cleansed Montana of dozens of known horse rustlers and cattle thieves.

Henry Nicholson “Henry” Morse was born in New York City in 1835, became a seaman at age 10, worked in the California goldfields by age 14, and became a lawman and spent most of the rest of his life trailing, capturing, or killing bad guys.  One of his more spectacular captives was the infamous stagecoach robber, Black Bait.  If you want to read about a real gang-buster, the chapter about Henry Morse is for you.

Next comes Bass Reeves.  Born a slave in 1838 in Arkansas, freed by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he took to law enforcement, and spent a lifetime trailing and capturing outlaws.

Patrick Floyd Jarvis “Pat” Garret will always be remembered as the man who killed Billy the Kid.  He led a long and interesting life filled with controversy as well as derring-do. Pat’s own death at the hands of an assassin is still shrouded in controversy.

John Reynolds Hughes is hailed as one of the most famous Texas Rangers.  Hughes spent his entire working life apprehending outlaws and defending the good folks of Texas.  He had a sad personal life, in that the one young woman he loved died suddenly before the wedding.  In his biography found elsewhere, it tells of how he pined, and visited her grave.  At a ripe old age, tired of living, he died by his own hand.

James Franklin “Frank” Norfleet during his lifetime had been a buffalo hunter, cowboy, Confederate soldier, rancher, homesteader, and Texas Ranger.  Nicknamed “Little Tiger” due to his small stature but fighting spirit, he captured more than 100 bad guys, earning praise and respect from all who knew him.

This well written book is fast-paced, and filled with interesting facts that will entertain anybody who enjoys an exciting, Wild West read. It belongs in your Old West library.

Editor’s Note: The reviewer Phyllis Morreale-de Ia Garza is the author of numerous published books about the Old West, including 9 Days At Dragoon Springs, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York 10988 www.silklabelbooks.com

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