Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West

Tom Clavin. St. Martin’s, $29.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-07148-4
Recounting the most famous of cattle towns and its two most influential lawmen, Clavin (Reckless) argues that it wasn’t gunfights but rather the refusal to fight that eventually tamed Dodge City, Kans., the “wickedest town in the American west.” Though the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Ariz., has passed into popular legend, fewer know of the Dodge City War, the last hurrah of the town’s violent legacy, which the legendary Wyatt Earp and lesser-known Bat Masterson resolved without violence. The romanticization and mythification of the West and the gunslinger is Clavin’s greatest challenge; with a firm dedication to the truth, he has attempted to confirm what he can and qualify what he cannot. Though this fact-checking may take some of the glamor out of the popular conception of Earp in particular, Clavin’s book brims with a colorful collection of real outlaws, sex workers, gamblers, and chorus dancers whose personalities, deeds, and even nicknames help readers understand why the Western legend entranced the nation in the first place. To know the history of Dodge City is to understand how the West was won, and this history is often just as captivating and strange as the legends that have supplanted it. Agent: Scott Gould, RLR Associates. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/2017
Release date: 02/28/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-8306-1
Ebook - 978-1-4668-8262-1
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-250-16056-0
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