Ride the Devil’s Herd: Wyatt Earp’s Epic Battle Against the West’s Biggest Outlaw Gang

John Boessenecker. Hanover Square, $29.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-335-01585-3
Historian Boessenecker (Shotguns and Stagecoaches) delivers an exhaustive account of lawman Wyatt Earp’s takedown of the “loosely organized” gang of bandits and cattle thieves known as the Cowboys. Boessenecker traces the Cowboys’ origins to New Mexico and west Texas in the mid-1870s, where future members robbed stagecoaches, raided cattle ranches, murdered rival desperadoes, and fought in border wars. Meanwhile, Wyatt Earp left behind his “unsavory” background as a horse thief and alleged pimp to become a peace officer in Dodge City, Kans. By the time Wyatt and his brother Virgil, a deputy U.S. marshal, arrived in Tombstone, Ariz., in 1879, there were roughly 100 Cowboys rustling cattle on both sides of the border and selling them to local ranchers. Boessenecker details numerous confrontations between the Earp brothers and the Cowboys and their associates, culminating in the infamous 1881 gunfight at O.K. Corral, for which Wyatt stood trial for murder. Once acquitted, he led a posse against the Cowboys and “effectively end[ed] organized banditry in Arizona Territory.” Boessenecker overstuffs this granular history, clogging the narrative but providing a plethora of intriguing details about the politics, economics, and culture of the Old West. History buffs with a tolerance for tangents will be rewarded. Agent: Claire Gerus, the Claire Gerus Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/31/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Library Binding - 701 pages - 978-1-4328-8119-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-0940-9862-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-0940-9863-0
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