Monday, January 13, 2020

Ranger Jim's Ramblings for January.

Walker, Texas Ranger? NOT!

Today I'll take on the person most people today think of when they think of the Texas Rangers. Chuck Norris's character Texas Ranger Cordell Walker in the long running TV series, "Walker, Texas Ranger".

I'll be the first to admit I enjoyed the show, more so in its earlier seasons, when the Walker character was more of a cowboy type. As it veered more and more into science fiction, matrtial arts, and the romance between Walker and Assistant D.A. Alex, it became too much farce.

The serices was so full of inaccuracies it was comical. I'll list most of the major ones, but I'm certain I'll still miss some. 

I'll start by pointing out the real Texas Rangers, almost to a man and woman, hated the Walker character, but not for the reasons you might think. They couldn't stand his scruffy appearance, and most of all his black hat. More on that to come

First, right from the git-go, in the pilot episode, Walker would have been bounced off the force, stripped of his badge, and charged with police brutality and murder. Of course, this went on for the entire series. Walker killed enough bad guys tin numbers approximately the same as the entire population of the state of Rhode Island. (Official Name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Our smallest state has the longest official name of all 50).

Back to Walker's appearance.  Unlike the frontier Rangers, today's Rangers have a strict dress and grooming code. Unless circumstances, such as being undercover or in a hazmat area, require other clothing, Rangers MUST wear a white, or light blue dress shirt, tan, brown, or dark blue or black khaki or dress slacks, polished Western boots, a western belt, and a WHITE Western hat, or in the summer, a light-colored straw Western hat, and a necktie. The shirts and slacks must be starched and pressed, with a crease in the pant legs. No facial hair of any kind is allowed, nor any hair that is not neatly cut (obviously, for female Rangers, they are allowed to wear their hair longer.) Walker qualified on none of these counts.

Next, Walker's partner. Ranger's don't work in pairs. Each Ranger is assigned a large territory, which he or she covers by themselves, bringing in another Ranger when needed. Going into another Ranger's territory without their permission is strictly verboten. Therefore, Ranger TRivette would have had his own territory.

Even more ridiculous was C.D. Parker, caling himself a "semi-retired" Texas Ranger. No such animal. He would have been arrested for impersonating an officer of the law.

In the series, Alex was cast at Walker's boss, along with the mayor of Dallas. Bull. Rangers don't answer to mayors, or d.a.'. They are members of the Department of Public Safety. They work for the state of Texas, and their authority supercedes that of any local or other state law officers. Not ot mention Walker's and Alex's love fest would be considered inappropriate fraternizing. They both would have been reprimanded at the lest, then fired if they didn't knock it off.

That's not even getting into cars that explode instantly when hit by a bullet (the most notorious example being one that walker hit in the taillight, and the car immediately blows into a million pieces), and the outlaws that always came after Walker one at a time. How convenient for him. Not once did a gang think of swarming over him all at once., and finisheing him off.

There's plenty more, but this should give you the idea. When you stumble across an old WTR episode and decided to watch it, do as I do. Settle back, get ready to laugh, and take it with a pound of salt.

Until next month,

"Ranger" Jim

Friday, January 10, 2020

Happy New Year

Ringing in the New Year is a tradition that dates back nearly as far as humanity itself. However, their New Year’s Day wasn’t always what we think of when we celebrate. The earliest known New Year celebrations are from agricultural civilizations that linked Spring harvesting (of barley) with a new year. In ancient Egypt, the new year began with the Spring flooding of the Nile, while in China, they celebrated on the second new moon after the Winter solstice. It wasn’t until the Romans (Julius Caesar) that the modern calendar came into play, marking January 1 as the beginning of a new year.

In many countries, celebrations begin on December 31 to mark the end of the old and the ringing in of the new. These often include snacks and meals supposed to bring good fortune in the New Year. In Spain (and several other Spanish-speaking countries) you eat 12 grapes at midnight, symbolizing the 12 months of the year. In many parts of the world, legumes play a central role in the meal, as they supposedly resemble coins and thus stand for wishes for monetary comfort. Some examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the Southern United States. Pork can also appear on the New Year’s table as pigs are seen to represent prosperity. Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries celebrate with a pork meal. Ring-shaped cakes and pastries represent the cyclic year in Mexico, the Netherlands, Greece, and elsewhere. In Sweden and Norway, they serve rice pudding with an almond hidden inside; whoever finds the nut is said to have 12 months of good fortune. In India, rice promises prosperity, while apples dipped in honey bring a sweet beginning to Jewish revelers.

Turks wear red underwear and sprinkle their doorsteps with salt to bring luck in the New Year, while the Swiss drop rich dollops of whipped cream to the floor and leave them there to usher in riches. Meanwhile, Filipinos wear polka dots because the round shapes symbolize prosperity. The English leave “old” money out on the porch to be purified, bringing in the cleansed bills on New Year’s Day. 

The practice of making resolutions supposedly began with the Babylonians, who made promises to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot (most of their resolutions were along the lines of “I vow to pay off my debts,” or “I will return my borrowed farm equipment”).

Making a noise seems to have been a favorite tradition in many cultures as well. In Thailand, guns were fired to frighten off demons, while in China they used fireworks for the same reason. In the early American colonies, the crack of pistols could be heard. In Switzerland, they beat drums. Around the world, churches pealed their bells to signal the passing of the old year and the coming of the new.

One tradition of the 1800s that has died out today is the practice of “first-footing,” being the first visitor of the New Year with one’s friends and acquaintances. In the 19th Century, New Year’s Day was a day when shops closed, and people renewed friendships. Folks made lists of all their friends, then sent visiting cards to alert those friends of an impending visit on the day. The streets were filled with well-dressed citizens greeting one another on their way to and from their New Year’s visitations. Of course, as with all celebrations, it was chiefly the upper crust who had the time to cease their labors and traipse about the city, but the poor generally made some attempt to join in the festivities. 

Sugar plums were the gift of choice on New Year’s, especially in France and Europe, though the wealthy showered their friends with all sorts of presents, from boxes of candy to jewelry. 

The singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” while popular in the United Kingdom, didn’t make it across the pond until 1929 when Guy Lombardo played the tune at a New Year’s Eve celebration broadcast over the radio.

Here are some old proverbs and sayings about the New Year:

·       On New Year’s Eve, kiss the person you hope to keep kissing.
·       If New Year’s Eve night wind blow south, It betokeneth warmth and growth.
·       For abundance in the new year, fill your pockets and cupboards today.
·       If the old year goes out like a lion, the new year will come in like a lamb.
·       Begin the new year square with every man. [i.e., pay your debts!] –Robert B. Thomas, founder of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

J.E.S. Hays

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The Bodie Kendrick Bounty Hunter Collection by Wayne D. Dundee

Bodie Kendrick is a tough but humane bounty hunter. Sometimes he finds his personal sense of justice at odds with the claims on a Wanted poster. But once he decides a fugitive deserves to be taken in, he'll see the job through—even if it means delivering his prisoner belly-down over a saddle.

     In that sliver's worth of distraction, Veronica saw the only opening she was likely to get. With desperate suddenness, she yanked the Greener free. Whirling, thumbing back the hammers as she dropped into a slight crouch, she braced the stock solidly against her right hip and pulled both triggers at once. The barrels roared a ground-shaking report and the twin ten-gauge loads hit Tully square in the chest, nearly tearing him in half, lifting him two feet out of his saddle and depositing him like a shredded, leaking bundle of rags on the ground three full yards away.
     The kick of the sawed-off knocked Veronica to the ground also, dumping her unceremoniously on her rump, legs splayed wide in front of her, her head and shoulders threatened by the nervously shifting legs of the chestnut Kendrick was suddenly fighting to keep under control.
     Stung by stray buckshot, Tully's now riderless horse was screaming in alarm and rearing high on its back legs. Mort's and Butch's horses were reacting wildly as well, bucking and wheeling away even as the two men tried to aim shots at Kendrick and the woman. Guns cracked, bullets whined harmlessly wide and high. Mort and Butch cursed.
     From where she sat in the dirt, Veronica frantically reached to draw Kendrick's Colt from the holster of the gun belt she’d stripped away only moments ago. Twisting at the waist, shouting "Kendrick!,” she tossed the revolver up and back in a flat arc. The bounty hunter's big hand flashed out and closed solidly around it.
     Mort and Butch were still trying to get their horses settled down and shoot at the same time.
     Kendrick's first bullet hit Mort in the right hip; his second one, a split second later, hit higher, just under the right armpit, and knocked the Circle G man out of his saddle.
     Butch, in the meantime, got off two more wild shots.
     Kendrick's aim shifted. His third bullet caught Butch in the pad of muscle just above his left collarbone. Butch toppled away with a loud grunt of pain.
     It was over. A matter of seconds.

You can pick up this exciting collection by Wayne D. Dundee at Amazon for only 99 cents!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author
Well, it's December 24, 2019. The year is almost at an end, and Christmas Day is right around the corner. Many of you will be spending time with friends and family. Others will be remembering those who are no longer with us or are deployed in another part of the world.

Holidays are so many things to so many people and for that reason, this post will be brief for most want to spend time with those they care about.

Below is a poem, an homage to those who traveled this land before we were even thought of. It is what we love and write about, those images and echoes of the time before.

by Doris McCraw

Quite of echoes, rising out from land
Rolling of wagons, images lost in mist
Mountains grow – sink, hourglass sand
Ghosts in the mind, voices persist
History beckons, out on the plains
Stories are calling, help they insist
Aged city, feels growth pains
What is mystery, ceased to exist
Time grows short, trip soon done
Will memories fade, post haste dismissed
Voices cry out, before long none
Echoes call, do not desist
Wishing everyone the best Christmas, New Year and Holiday season. See you next year. 
Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Friday, December 13, 2019

An American Holiday

In the early years of American history, Christmas celebrations were localized, and depended on the traditions of the settlers in each area. Before Queen Victoria’s reign (beginning in 1837), nobody even took the holiday off – they worked as if it were any other day. But by 1876, what we think of as a traditional Christmas had crystallized. The wealth generated by industrialization offered the emergent middle class time and money to take a holiday in the middle of winter. Modern Americans will recognize nearly all of the traditions your Victorian characters would have celebrated.

Victorians were good at providing their own entertainment. They would sing, play musical instruments, act out short plays, or read out loud for all to enjoy. Spring had been the traditional peak season for launching new books, but this shifted to October as publishers realized that books made excellent Christmas presents. 
By the 1860s, ice skating parties at Christmas were all the rage. The sport became popular not only as a family outing, but also as a great way for courting couples to socialize. Storytelling of all kinds was always a popular form of entertainment. Surprisingly enough, ghost stories were a popular Christmas entertainment, so Charles Dickens’ tale of holiday spirits, along with a good Victorian moral, made A Christmas Carol a new tradition for the holiday.

Holiday shopping also started early. Most families were large, so there were a great many gifts to procure or make. Cities were filled with specialty shops where one could go to buy French lace or English linen. In addition, the first department stores had opened, offering huge selections of goods to shoppers. As always, shopping for children was the most fun. German mechanical toys, with their clockwork moving parts, were particularly prized.

Gift-giving also spurred Americans to donate charitable gifts as well. It was but one more step to extend your good feelings and generosity to the homeless, hungry, and unemployed, and Christmas seemed the best time to ameliorate those situations (or at least, to assuage one’s guilt over them). “Nowhere in Christendom are the poor remembered at Christmastide so generously as they are in American cities, especially our own,” The New York Tribune contended.

The Germans also popularized the indoor Christmas tree, helped a great deal by England’s royal family. If the royal family found something fashionable, the rest of the Victorian world did as well. An engraving of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert decorating their tree was published in 1848, and helped popularize the tree as a traditional part of the season. During the 1850s, town squares began to bristle with trees for sale, and tree decorating became a big business. By 1870, American businessmen were importing large quantities of German ornaments to be sold on street corners, in toy shops and variety stores. Vendors hawked glass ornaments and balls in bright colors, tin cut in all imaginable shapes, and wax angels with spun glass wings.

Father Christmas and Santa Claus arose from two entirely different traditions. The former was originally part of an old English midwinter festival. He dressed in green and bore holly boughs and evergreen branches to herald the arrival of Spring. Stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in Holland) came via Dutch settlers, and by the 1870s, he was known as Santa Claus. The Dutch also brought the custom of hanging a Christmas stocking by the fire for small gifts.

The rise of Christmas cards revealed other aspects of the new holiday’s profile. The first American made cards were distributed in the 1850s, with a family scene dominating the small card’s center. Unlike its English counterpart, however, the images in each corner made no allusion to poverty, cold or hunger. Instead, the American cards showed Santa, reindeer, dancers, and an array of presents and food, suggesting the bounty and joys of the season. 

Feasting has always been a big part of the Christmas holiday. Even the poorest families will scrimp to have a delectable morsel for their holiday meal, while the more well-to-do went all out with their feasts. One menu from 1890 featured breakfast: fruits, breaded chops, tomato sauce, baked potatoes, buckwheat cakes, maple syrup and coffee; dinner (at 2 o’clock): oysters on half shell, almond milk soup with rice, salted almonds, celery, olives, halibut baked with fine herbs, English drawn butter, Persian potatoes, roast turkey, cranberry sauce, rice croquettes, asparagus tips, braised duck, baked macaroni, lettuce salad, wafers, brie, English plum pudding, brandy sauce, coffee, nuts, fruits, and sugar plums; and supper (at 8 o’clock): raw oysters, chicken sandwiches, coffee, jelly, and cake. 

In short, your characters would have celebrated in much the same way you celebrate the holiday today, albeit without the conveniences that electricity and modern plumbing make available. A child in the late 1800s would have had just as magical a time as todays youngster.

J.E.S. Hays

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ranger Jim's Ramblings for December.

This will be a very brief post. Since the West was settled by all sorts of people, not just white Anglo-Saxons, I wish al of you a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Buon Natale, Wesolych Swiat, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Good Winter Solstice, and a Happy New Year.

See you in 2020

"Ranger" Jim

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Photo property of the author
With all the busyness of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, along with the 'storm' predicted for a majority of the country, I thought I'd just share some stories from the papers back in the day.

Those who know me, and my love of research, realize how much joy I get from reading about the lives of the residents of my adopted state from the early days. Most of these clippings are from the 1880s after Colorado became a state in 1876.

Fort Morgan is located in the northeastern part of the state. It was established, by Abner Baker of the Greeley Colony in 1884, on the ruins of Camp Cardwell. Camp Cardwell, established in 1865 to protect travelers on the Overland Trail, name was changed to Camp/Fort Morgan in 1866. The fort was closed in 1868. It was said the fort had nineteen differing companies from eleven cavalry and infantry regiments.

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Fort Morgan Times, Dec 7, 1888

Of course one of my favorite towns in Colorado history was Tin Cup. The town was originally known as Virginia City, but as I'm sure you realize, there was a lot of confusion between the other Virginia Cities in Nevada and Montana. The name was officially changed in 1882 when the town was reincorporated. I love it so much my latest novel "The Outlaw's Letter" has some major scenes which take place there.

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Tim Cup Record November 26, 1881
Of course one always has to include Aspen when talking about historic Colorado. The town was founded in 1879 and was originally names Ute City for the indigenous people who lived in the area. The name was changed in 1880 to Aspen. The town experienced a boom during the time when silver was king. The town, at its height, was home to around 15,000 people.

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Aspen Daily Times November 27, 1890

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Aspen Daily Times November 27, 1890

Of course, one cannot forget the saloons and The Nugget got in on the celebration also.

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Aspen Daily Times November 27, 1890
And of course, I will end with another series of clippings from the town of Tin Cup. Despite its violent history, having gone through seven marshals in a very short time, including Harry Rivers being killed in 1882 and Andy Jameson in 1883, the people of the town made the best of their time there. No train ever made into the area, and the mines played out fairly quickly. It was difficult to get to, especially in winter.

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Tin Cup Record November 19, 1881

I hope you enjoyed some of the stories from back in the day along with the small tidbits of history. I wish everyone a safe and pleasant Thanksgiving week. 

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

Friday, November 8, 2019

It's Thanksgiving Somewhere

November is Native American History Month, and assuming your characters would have come in contact with Native Americans in the Old West, they might have been treated to one of the many Thanksgiving Festivals celebrated throughout the year by various tribes. Nearly every tribe had some sort of Thanksgiving celebration — thankfulness for surviving the Winter, or for a good harvest or hunt. Here are some Native American celebrations your characters might have encountered.
First Nations people marked time by the sun and the moon, and the Full Moon was the most important night/day of each month. Celebrations were often held at each full moon, the type of celebration depending on the particular customs of each tribe. However, the harvest season saw three main celebrations common to most tribes: Green Corn Moon, Harvest Moon, and Hunter’s Moon.
Thus, there were three Thanksgiving celebrations long before the white man even came to the Americas. Europeans, of course, brought their own Harvest festivals, and sometimes they would join their own feasts with those of their Native neighbors.

The Green Corn festival usually lasts at least three days. It’s generally celebrated after the first full moon in August, or sometimes September, when the young corn has reached a certain height and may offer a tender first harvest.  Some tribes that have celebrated this festival include the Iroquois, Cherokee, Choctaw and many Pueblo nations.
Some of the activities your character may have observed include ritual fasting, cleansing, prayers and the building of a bonfire that lasts then entire festival and must not be allowed to die down. There would also be dancing, singing, playing games and participating in a drumming circle. Corn is a major food for this festival, of course, and is eaten roasted, in cornbread,  corn soup, or tortillas. Also featured are various game animals caught by the tribe’s hunters, and local fruits and/or vegetables. 

The Harvest Moon festival is held in September, and features gathered harvests of fruits, vegetables, nuts, corn and other grains, and fish or small game animals. Thanks are given to all living things for allowing themselves to be sacrificed to provide flood, clothing and other items for the tribe. The festival includes lots of dancing and singing, drumming and games. After this, the hunt for big game animals to survive the winter will begin in earnest.

The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon is celebrated in late September or October. It is not as popular today as the other two Thanksgiving festivals, as hunting is no longer as important to many tribes, but your character might certainly have witnessed and/or participated in such a festival. 

Native Americans gave thanks in many ways during the year, so the idea of one Thanksgiving festival was a foreign one. To the First Nations, every day should be Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Below is a news report from the August 29, 1885, Gazette in Colorado Springs, that helped to start a rabbit hole of research on the killer "Joe Ward". There is much more to the story, and a paper on the subject has been written. But I thought some might find the early reports interesting. 

The headline read: Joe Ward, the slayer of Scheidler, riddled with bullets,
the career of a noted Colorado desperado terminated,
review of the crime committed by Ward in the city,

Early residents of Colorado Springs remember that on February 1879, Lafayette Scheidler, the young man eighteen years of age, was shot and killed by one Joe J Ward, who, when he came here, did not have a very enviable character. The circumstances of the case were these: Scheidler and two companions visited a house on the west side of the Monument, just north of Tejon street, which was occupied by a woman who had borne a bad reputation.

Upon knocking for admittance they were told by an occupant that the woman had gone to Leadville. Scheidler and his companions immediately turned back to town. After having gone from the house but a short distance Scheidler was shot in the back and after lingering nearly two days died.

It being ascertained that the shooting had unquestionably been done by Ward, the woman's husband, the officer searched the house, but the man was not to be found. Sheriff Dana, who was then Marshall of Colorado Springs, the same night detected and arrested Ward as he was coming in from the brush to take a horse from the barn with which to make his escape.

In the meantime, the news of the shooting had spread about town in a crowd gathered to lynch Ward. Scheidler was well-known and a popular young fellow, while Ward had an unsavory reputation and had frequently boasted of having killed his man in southwestern Kansas. Comparing this record with that of Scheidler the crowd were determined to make him pay the penalty of his crime but the officers very cleverly evaded them and place the prisoner within the stonewalls of the county jail. 

On April 22 of the same year Ward, who had been indicted by the grand jury, was arraigned before Judge Bowen of the fourth judicial District, now US Senator. The defendant was given a fair and impartial trial being prosecuted by CW Burris and defended by Gen. Danforth. As a result, Ward was committed to Canyon City for a term of two years.

In his sentence Judge Bowen said that the verdict was fully sustained by the evidence. At the same time, he considered the reckless and useless resort to firearms, but under the recommendations of mercy by the jury and the consideration of aggravating circumstances he would make the sentence two years.

Ward served out his sentence, and it was hoped that it would give him a lesson. Not so, however; for no sooner had he been released and he went to Leadville, where he was joined by the disreputable wife who had placed him behind the bars. Leadville was in those days very prosperous. The wife opened a dance hall and the husband lived off the profits. He lived liberally, made things lively with his six-shooter and occupied a cell in the city jail almost weekly. Finally, finding even the cloud city too warm for him, he departed for a more congenial climate, taking with him his wife and daughter.

When we next heard of Ward was last summer in Northpark, where he and his wife were keeping a sort of a tavern where liquors were disposed of without a license, and the husband and a few pals were occasionally raiding cattle ranches. Here the depraved wife by undue familiarity with a young cowboy aroused the ire of the husband. The result was he (the young man) was killed, in cold blood, one day on his way to Georgetown. A report of the shooting appeared in the Gazette at the time, and so indignant were the residents of that locality in consequence that Ward was lucky in escaping the country alive.

From Northpark we follow this desperados history to Gunnison County where it is reported that he with his ready shooter disposed of his man, but we cannot confirm the story.

Now comes the report that on Tuesday a body was found on an un-frequented road leading to Green River which was identified as that of Joe Ward. Beside him was lying his horse, that had fallen with two bullet holes in his side, and that was all that was left to tell the story of death. Upon examination, it was found that Ward had been shot five times, and his body was completely riddled with bullets. It is said that Ward had been having some trouble in that region, as in this, over his wife and that upon this occasion he started out to prescribe his favorite dose for a cowboy. Thus another Colorado outlaw with the record takes his departure.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

COWBOY POTATOES! by Cheryl Pierson

Hi everyone! I was thinking about how much I love fried potatoes tonight when I was making them for dinner. Those are a great “comfort food” to me, and one I don’t think I’d ever get tired of. But I imagine the cowboys of yesteryear grew sick of the fare they ate constantly–beans, chili, stew, potatoes, and the like–when they were on a cattle drive.

Dinner time at a cowboy’s camp, banks of the Yellowstone, Montana, U.S.A. Original source: Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views.

Here’s another awesome picture that is around 120 years old–Wonder what they’re having to eat? Chili? Beans? Maybe biscuits and gravy? Or…POTATOES??? These color pictures were produced using a method called photochrom. This is making colorized photos from black and white negatives through the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lithographic printing plates.

It was invented in the 1880s and by the 1890s, was extremely popular (when this image was shot). Credit: Mediadrumimages/PublicDomain

Here’s a really good recipe for — what else? COWBOY POTATOES!
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup bell pepper (or jalapeno for spicier fare!), diced
salt and pepper
Peel potatoes, if desired or leave the peel on and cut into 1/2″ cubes.
Heat oil in large skillet. Add the potatoes, spreading into a single layer. Let them get brown on one side before stirring.
Stir the potatoes, and let them brown on another side. Stir once more, and add the pepper and onion. Cook until the onions and peppers are tender. If the potatoes are not done, reduce heat to low and cover the skillet until they’re done.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

YUM, YUM! Hope you enjoy these! Do you have a favorite potato recipe? PLEASE SHARE! I’m sure we have a LOT more variety than the cowboys did!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Western Bookshelves

One thing I like to do periodically is inventory my books. I enjoy having physical books on my shelves (though I do have quite a few e-books on my iPhone) and I enjoy the solid heft of a good book. I like the smell of a book as well, especially some of the older ones I’ve collected.

I thought you might like a virtual peek at my bookshelves, being authors yourselves. You’ve probably got much the same collection, but perhaps you’ll spot something that will strike your interest. I’d love it if you’d comment, too – what books do you have that I might like to read?

Here are some of my favorite non-fiction books about the Wild West:

Age of the Gunfighter; Joseph G. Rosa – a basic history of gunfighters and gunfighting

A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains; Isabella L. Bird – the journal of a middle-aged English lady traveling alone in 1873 Colorado

The American Frontier: Pioneers, Settlers and Cowboys 1800-1899; William C. Davis – another basic history of the era

The American West; Dee Brown – a good all-around history book about the period

A Texas Cowboy, or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony; Charles A. Siringo – autobiography of the man who later became a Pinkerton detective

Before Barbed Wire: Photographer on Horseback; L.A. Huffman – an excellent source of photographs from the era

Boudoirs to Brothels: The Intimate World of Wild West Women; Michael Rutter – a well-illustrated history of the madam and her working girls

Buckskin and Blanket Days; Thomas Henry Tibbles – the memoirs of a pioneer, scout, hunter and “friend of the Indians”

Card Sharps, Dream Books and Bucket Shops: Gambling in 19th Century America; Ann Vincent Fabian – an interesting history of gambling

Children of the Old West; Russell Freedman – full of photographs of pioneer and Indian children during the era

Cowboy and Western Songs; Austin E. Fife – an interesting collection of songs from the era

Cowboy Culture; David Dary – a chronicle of cowboy life and legend

Cowboy Lingo; Ramon F. Adams – “A dictionary of the slack-jaw words and Whangdoodle ways of the American West”

Cowboys of the Wild West; Russell Freedman – an introduction to the cowboy

Daily Life in a Covered Wagon; Paul Erickson – this interesting book draws on actual diaries and letters

Days on the Road: Crossing the Plains in 1865: Sarah Raymond-Herndon – true story of a young woman who crossed the plains to start a new life

Early America at Work: A Pictorial Guide to Our Vanishing Occupations; Everett Broomall Wilson – an interesting history of old-time workers

Frontier Gambling; G.R. Williamston – a discussion of the seedier side of the frontier

Frontier Slang, Lingo and Phrases; Kathy Weiser-Alexander – another useful dictionary

The Gunfighter: Man or Myth?; Joseph G. Rosa – truth and legend of the Old West’s gunfighters and their influence on American culture

The Gunfighters: How the West Was Won: Bruce Wexler – truth and legend about some of the famous gunfighters of the era and their weapons of choice

Guns of the Wild West; David Kennedy – showcases more than 50 of authentic weapons from the Cody Firearms Museum of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming

Home on the Range: A Culinary History of the American West; Cathy Luchetti – a chronicle of American frontier cooking from anecdotes, writings and photographs

How the Wild West Was Won: A Celebration of Cowboys, Gunfighters, Buffalo Soldiers, Sodbusters, Moonshiners, and the American Frontier – Bruce Wexler – a comprehensive history

How to Write Western Novels; Matt Braun – a good basic writing “How-To”

I Do: Courtship, Love and Marriage on the American Frontier; Cathy Luchetti – compiled from journals, letters and reminiscences

The Look of the Old West: A Fully Illustrated Guide; William Foster-Harris – basically a picture dictionary of Old West tools, culture and fashions

The Log of a Cowboy; Andy Adams – the story of an 1882 cattle drive from Mexico to Montana

Men: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources: Harter – a good picture dictionary for clothing and hairstyles

Men of the West: Life on the American Frontier; Cathy Luchetti – compiled from letters, diaries, journals and photographs

My Sixty Years on the Plains: Trapping, Trading and Indian Fighting; W.T. Hamilton – a simple reflection from a man of the era

The Old West: National Geographic – an excellent history of the era with lots of good photographs

The Old West Day by Day; Mike Flanagan – 15,000 chronologically-arranged events with descriptions, sidebars and photographs

The Prairie Traveler; Randolph B. Marcy – an 1859 guide for settlers

Reflections of Western Historians; John A. Carroll – the history of the era by 16 historians

Seeking Pleasure in the Old West; David Dary – the amusements available to the average Westerner during the era

Shoes, Hats, and Fashion Accessories: A Pictorial Archive; Grafton – a good picture dictionary of fashion from around 1850

Stagecoach: Rare Views of the Old West; Sandor Demlinger – almost 300 rare photographs

Time-Life Old West Series – a great encyclopedia with many useful photographs

Trail Driving Days; Dee Brown with Martin F. Shcmitt – tales and photographs of the men and their animals during the heyday of the cattle drives

The Way West: A.B. Guthrie, Jr. – a novel about a frontiersman’s return to the untamed West in 1846

We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher; E.C. Abbott – the story of “Teddy Blue” Abbott, a cowboy from the heyday of the era

Western Words: A Dictionary of the Old West: Ramon Adams – an excellent dictionary

The Wild West How the West Was Won; Bruce Wexler – another history of the era

Women: A Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth-Century Sources; Harter – a good picture dictionary of fashion and hairstyles

Women of the West: Cathy Luchetti – a good look at the women who settled the West, from memoirs, diaries, letters, journals and photographs

Write a Western in 30 Days: With Plenty of Bullet-Points!: Nik Morton – an interesting “How-To” book for the Western writer

Writing Historical Fiction: A Writers’ and Artists’ Companion; Celia Brayfield and Duncan Sprott – reflections on writing the genre

The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the Wild West: Candy Moulton – an interesting basic guide to writing the era

Your Travel Guide to America’s Old West; Rita J. Markel – a travelogue describing fashion, accommodations, foods, customs and local transportation

Comment with your own favorites!

J.E.S. Hays