Thursday, April 30, 2020



the blog about the medicine and surgery of yesteryear

Dr Keith Souter aka Clay More

[We are living through a difficult and worrying time  as we are in the midst of a global pandemic of Covid-19. I have been called out of retirement to go back into medical practice to help out, so I have not had time to write a new blog this month.  So forgive me for posting this blog from 2014, which may be of some interest to my fellow writers.] 

Tombstone, A.T, 1881
Just after Christmas, Marshal Virgil Earp was  gunned down on Fifth Street, between the Oriental Saloon and the Golden Eagle Brewery. Three men  blasted at him with shotguns from the cover of the adobe Huachuca Water Company building that was being erected. Virgil was badly wounded in the back and the upper left arm. It was clearly a reprisal shooting for the OK Coral gunfight, that had taken place in October. 

Virgil Earp (1843-1905)
Doctor George Goodfellow was called to attend on  him. His immediate assessment was that amputation of the arm would be needed, but Virgil steadfastly refused, saying that he wanted to go to his grave with two arms. And when he saw his wife, he told her not to worry, for he would still have one good arm to hug her with.

Dr George E. Goodfellow (1855-1910)

The following day, Doctor Goodfellow, assisted by Doctor Henry Matthews removed four inches of Virgil's humerus. The arm was saved, yet it was functionally useless ever after.

A brief history of amputation
The word amputation comes from the Latin amputare, meaning 'to cut away.' Surgical amputations were performed as far back as the days of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in the 5th century BC.  Amputation of limbs was performed due to battle injury or after severe accidents.

In the 16th century the French military surgeon Ambroise Pare introduced the technique of ligation of blood vessels instead of artery with hot irons. This dramatically reduced the torrential loss of blood that was often fatal.

Wilhelm Fabry, regarded as the father of German surgery  was the first to emphasise the importance of amputating through healthy, rather than diseased tissue. He used cautery and also 'weapon salve'. This involved applying a salve to the weapon that caused the wound, not the weapon itself. It was based on 'sympathetic magic,' the belief that treating the blade that made the wound would cure the wound. Although it seems ridiculous to us, yet he achieved surprisingly good results, or at least results better than those surgeons who applied medication to the wounds after they had operated.  The reason of course is that he wasn't putting poisons and further bacteria into the wounds.

In 1674 the tourniquet was introduced, which allowed surgeons more time, and gave them the opportunity to work in a relatively bloodless field. This is of inestimable value, since surgeons could identify anatomical structures more accurately. 

To operate or not
Surgeons were of great value in wars, yet the experience of the British surgeons during the Crimea War (1853-1856) brought up the question of whether it was better to operate or not. That is, whether to adopt a conservative approach, or the dramatic one of surgery. The infection rate was extremely high as was the mortality rate after amputation. The British Surgeon General Guthrie advised against amputation except where the limb had been struck by a cannon ball. Nonetheless, individual surgeons operated and removed limbs when bones had been shattered by the Minie ball, the bullet that was to prove so effective in the Crimea and in the Civil War.

During the Civil War Dr D.D. Slade wrote a pamphlet that encouraged the orthodox view that amputation should be done immediately where there was great laceration of skin, or where there was a compound fracture (bone protruding through the skin), with splintering of the bone.

The germ theory had not been propounded at that time, so surgeons themselves often introduced infections. Instruments may have been merely wiped or washed, but not adequately sterilised (for there was not thought to be any necessity to do so). Added to this there was the problem of operating on men who may have been weakened by stress, disease or scurvy.

The Army position changed several times as the War went on. At the beginning, doctors from all sorts of disciplines were recruited, and only  a few had adequate surgical experience. They all had a baptism of fire and those that had little experience soon gained it. Amputations increased. The further the War progressed, the attitude changed again, with many surgeons adopting the conservative approach, to try to save the limb.

During the Civil War over seventy per cent of wounds involved the upper or lower limbs.

Circular or Flap operation?
Another debate that ran throughout the War was which type of amputation operation to use. The older method was called the 'circular' operation. This involved using a tourniquet and making a circular incision around the limb, cutting through the skin and the fascia. An assistant then retracted the skin and the surgeon made a further circular cut close the skin incision and went through all of the muscles to the bone. The amputation was then done, involving ligature of vessels, retraction of tissues and sawing through bone. The muscles were then drawn over the end and the skin brought down and strapped with adhesive, rather than sutured.

The newer method was the 'flap' operation. This had been developed in the previous century by William Cheselden (1688-1752), an English surgeon. This was favoured by sixty per cent of surgeons. It involved sacrificing more bone, but it gave a better stump, albeit it needed a large wound. Essentially, an oblique incision was made, so that a skin flap could be created in order to give better closure and better stump protection. It was also a faster operation and seemed to produce less post-operative pain. The skin was closed with interrupted sutures about an inch apart. Sometimes wire was used and sometimes silk. There were also single flap and double flap operations.

Phantom limb pain
After the War many amputees complained of pain, often excruciating discomfort where their amputated limb should have been. For example, they might have severe pain where they could still feel the foot that was no longer there. The year after the War Dr Silas  Mitchell of Philadelphia opened a stump clinic, where he made observations of these symptoms and he wrote a paper in Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, in which he described for the first time phantom limb pain. He speculated that it was the result of injury to the nerves during the operation.  
He was  quite correct, but there was little that could be done.

Although we have a  better understanding of this phenomenon now and a greater range of therapeutic interventions, yet it is still a significant problem for many amputees.

Doctor George Goodfellow
The Tombstone doctor was the right man to have operate on you in the wild days of Tombstone. He became the foremost authority on gunshot wounds and a surgeon who pushed back the frontiers in many areas. He did amputations, reconstructive facial surgery and he was the first surgeon to perform perineal prostatectomy. As I mentioned in my blog last month, his work on the impenetrability of silk to bullets led to the development of bulletproof vests.

But he was a scientist and he kept up to date with the developments of surgery, anaesthetics and medicine. He used Lister's aseptic methods and had a carbolic acid spray for use during operation. He was absolutely the right surgeon for Virgil Earp.

The Doctor published by Western Fictioneers in the  West of the Big River series

- my novel based on events in the life of Dr George E. Goodfellow

Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Post by Doris McCraw
writing as Angela Raines

Trying to get through the clutter in my mind.
Photo property of the author
I pondered what I would write about this month. The world has taken on a new aspect which begs the question, do I write about pandemics in the past? In truth, I would rather not focus on the negative, there is enough of that already.

For me, the best part of this time is having the ability to go for long walks/hikes. Before I started working at home, I found it hard to get out and wander around for long periods of time. Now with this extra time on my hands, I can spend that extra time outdoors which allows my imagination and research time to come to the fore.

One particular hike brought home the journey I decided to take when I followed a dream of writing. On this particular hike, I decided to try a trail I'd not traversed before. As is my pattern I chose the incline part of the trail first. As I headed upward, pausing of course to take photos of things that caught my eye, my mind likened it to the upper trajectory one makes when they decide to try something new.

The start of the trail
Photo property of the author.
As the trail leveled out and I thought to myself this is how writing and publishing should be. You've put in the effort and the story is flowing. Soon a publisher is preparing to launch that book or short story. But, as with all trails and dreams, the easy part can fool you.

As I started on the downward portion of the trail I was distracted by voices of young people giggling, laughing, and their music blaring, cutting into the beautiful silence that allowed my thoughts to flow. I thought this was much like the chatter of my own mind telling me that I couldn't do it, what was I thinking, I was a fool to follow my dream. Then, I turned a corner and the noise with cut off by the trees and rocks of the trail.

Photo property of the author
Up ahead I saw a bench and I'd covered quite a distance so I sat to rest. The trail was silent, and there were few people out on the trail that day. I sat and listened to the breeze through the trees, the birds singing and talking to one another. There was a rustling in the leaves behind and to the side of me but nothing frightening.

View from the top of the trail
Photo property of the author
Once I'd caught my breath and relaxed I resumed the hike. I shortly was at a point where I ran into a very rocky,, uneven part of the trail. What a wake-up call. Now in my mind, this part of the trail was like all the marketing, the platforms, and all the other parts of being an author that one does not think of when they just want to tell their stories. But, I had come too far to turn around and retrace my steps. It was easier to continue on, so I did.

Should I go on, or return the way I came?
Photo property of the author
Eventually, the trail smoothed out, I came out of the trees and looked at the vistas in front and to my sides. Walking back to my car I realized this long hike had given me perspective on myself and my career as a writer. I made it through the trail and I guess I'm going to make it through as an author.

The end is in sight
Photo property of the author
Perhaps you've had a similar journey. Sometimes the desire to finish what you started is what keeps you going, and after so long, it's better to stay the course instead of stopping.

For those who wonder, I'm still out hiking, taking photos, and thinking about the writing projects I'm finishing and the ones I hope to start. It's a good time.

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

Monday, April 20, 2020

Movie trivia – Four movies - Same plot by Kaye Spencer #hollywood #westernfictioneers #movies

   Instead of writing about an April-in-history topic, I’m sharing this delightful bit of movie trivia about four movies with the same basic plot of villagers hiring warriors to defend their towns from returning marauders.

Even if you haven't watched these movies, you're probably passingly familiar with the titles.

A little more about each movie:

Seven Samurai – 1954 – Japanese movie nominated for two Oscars.

Seven Samurai is an epic samurai dram film that takes place in 1586 during the Sengoku Period of Japanese history.Read more HERE.

This movie is considered a motion picture masterpiece. Interestingly enough, Seven Samurai has achieved a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 100%. For the curious among us, and for what it’s worth, here is a link to a list of movies with the Rotten Tomatoes 100% approval rating: RottenTomatoes Ratings

The Magnificent Seven – 1960 version (not the 2016 remake)

 In 2013, this movie was selected for the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”-Read more HERE 

¡Three Amigos! – 1986 – western comedy set in 1916 (Steve Martin is a co-screenwriter.)

Originally, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, and John Belushi were the Three Amigos and Steven Spielberg was going to direct, but Spielberg wanted Steve Martin, Bill Murray, and Robin Williams. Also, Rick Moranis would have played Ned had Martin Short been unavailable.Read more HERE.

Contemplate this movie with Robin Williams and Bill Murray in it. Over-the-top comes to my mind.

A Bug’s Life – 1998 – computer-animated comedy (Pixar Animation Studios)

While the film was purportedly inspired by the Aesop fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, the underlying plot is the same as Seven Samurai. Read more HERE.

Since we're all engaged in variations of sheltering-in-place, enjoying a few hours of comparing and contrasting the plots and characters in these four movies would provide an entertaining diversion.

Do you know of other movies with the same basic plot?

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer

Stay in contact with Kaye—

Amazon Author Page | BookBub | Blog | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook

Friday, April 17, 2020

What's the Score?--The Horse Soldiers

When it comes to Westerns, I’m more a fan of the traditional lone gunman or cattle ranch story, so The Horse Soldiers (1959) is one of those John Wayne Civil War Cavalry pictures I ignored for too long. 

Directed by John Ford—whose family fought on both sides of the war—The Horse Sholdiers stars John Wayne, William Holden, and Constance Towers, with a score composed and conducted by David Buttolph.

It’s the story of Col. Benjamin Grierson’s voluntary, and triumphant, raid into Confederate territory, based loosely on a 1956 fictionalized account by Harold Sinclair. 

Much of my vinyl collection is made up of white label promotion records, given away to radio stations. I was fortunate to find one of these DJ copies of The Horse Soldiers, and it’s a rousing collection of martial tunes. No elevator muzak here, folks. This is blood churning stuff.

 It starts with a robust version of “Dixie,” heavy on the horns and follows immediately thereafter with the film’s signature theme, “I Left My Love.”
With vocal arrangements by Gus Levene and the actual singing performed by Buttolph’s chorus, it’s a real toe-tapper that I wouldn’t have guessed was specifically written for the picture.

“I Left My Love” was composed by Stan Jones—who more famously wrote “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”, while the second original piece, By the Campfire was written by Buttolph. Jones also makes an uncredited appearance in the opening of the film as Ulysses S. Grant.

The balance of the soundtrack finds Buttolph exploring the roots of authentic Civil War songs. Some of the pieces, like “By the Campfire” and “Lorena,” were actually sung by both sides in the war. The North and the South similarly shared a common tune with “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” called “We All Went Down to New Orleans” in the Confederate States. 

Buttolph scored 300 movies in his career, most notably arranging the Alfred Newman score for The Mark of Zorro in 1940. He composed music for TV’s Lone Ranger, and wrote the theme for Maverick with James Garner.  

If you’re in the mood for a robust, uplifting listen, the soundtrack for The Horse Soldiers is a winner.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

WHY DID YOU NAME IT THAT? by Cheryl Pierson

Ask any writer where their titles come from for their work and you’ll get a thousand different answers from “It just came to me!” to “My publisher made me use this one.” As an author, I’ve had both happen to me, with several other scenarios for my titles scattered in between.

In my first book, FIRE EYES, the heroine’s name is Jessica—my own daughter’s name. She needed a name that she was referred to by the Indians, and my daughter had told me years earlier she wanted her Indian name to be FIRE EYES. So that was a given. And it worked out great! That story was the one that the title came easiest for, of all my books.

Fast forward to my first contemporary romance novel, Sweet Danger. The story takes place in a deli that has been taken over by a very dangerous escaped convict, Tabor Hardin, and his men. His hostages just happen to include an undercover police officer, Jesse Nightwalker, who put him away in prison—supposedly for life. One of the other hostages is Jesse’s neighbor, Lindy Oliver, who is the retired police commissioner’s daughter. They’ve just met and are minding their own business over a sugar ring when a hail of gunfire erupts and—well, y’all know how I love my wounded heroes, and Jesse is no exception. I had titled the story THE SUGAR RING. But I was told by my publisher that that title would have to be changed. Period. SWEET DANGER was born, and in retrospect, is a much better title.

Titles should stick with the reader, be memorable, and make readers want to know more about the book.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Who would do that?)
SWEET SAVAGE LOVE (Tell me more!)

SHANE (Who is this person?)
NOBODY’S DARLING (Maybe mine?)
THE GATES OF THE ALAMO (I’ve gotta know!)
HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE (Maybe I can learn something, here!)

TALES FROM THE OTHERVERSE (Where is this place, and what are these tales about?)
LOST SISTER (Who was she and why was she lost?)

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (Who was he? Certainly not who we thought!)

The list goes on—but you get the idea. I know right now you’re thinking of titles you’ve read that have stuck in your mind—and the questions they’ve made you ask about those particular stories or books.

And I bet you’ve seen a phrase and thought, “That would be a great book title!” I know I’ve done that plenty of times. I’ve even written them down. Now, if I could only remember where I wrote them!
Another fun way to come up with titles is through a title generator. There are several of these online. They even have them for different genres: Sci-fi, westerns, fantasy…you name it. But they come up with some real doozies! Take a look at some of the ones a western title generator came up with for me:

These are mainly odd, funny titles, but the beauty of them is that they get your mind working in ways you might never have thought before—and adding and changing some of the words in some of these titles can make for a beautifully creative experience!

What are some of YOUR favorite titles, and why?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Who Were You in the Old West?

This is a question that I often ask myself when I write historical books, as I try to put a little bit of myself onto each and every page, but first, I have to ask myself - who would I have been in this setting? A female pistoleer? A housewife managing home births and a house full of children? A lady of the evening? A spinster? A woman so in love with her freshly enlisted husband that she dresses as a man and joins up to fight alongside him in war? A midwife or doctor?

To gain inspiration, I often look to the place where we can find most of our answers to today's problems and questions - - - the past! One good thing about living in the 21st century, aside from thyroid medication and coffee makers, is the access to websites like

So today, I want to look to my late grandmother for inspiration. She passed from this life in March of 2008 after a battle with lung cancer following a lifetime love affair with Marlboro cigarettes. She outlived two husbands and a son, and had two daughters. But there was more to her than a couple of sentences. Much, much more.

She was born in the 1930's, but even in those "good old days", there were bullies. And one particular bully laid the foundation for her early life. She developed womanly curves at a younger age than other girls, which made her a spectacle. And a target. After her jealous nemesis ripped off her homemade sweater on the playground, she quit school and married young. Her first husband died - but nobody knows how since we only found out about him after her death. She never spoke of him, nor the stillborn son of his that she delivered. The son, who would have been my uncle, we found out about immediately after her funeral. It was almost as though he, or she, was reaching out from the other side to tie up loose ends with those of us left behind.

The next man in her life turned out to be my biological grandfather, who fathered her two daughters before he went to prison. My mother and late aunt knew him for a few years, through visits to prison and shortly thereafter . . . but they were 7 and 5, with my mom being the younger. Why was he in prison you ask? Bank robbery, plain and simple.

In prison, he taught himself painting and classical Greek. When he got out, he killed himself.

Then, she married my grandfather. The half-Choctaw, half-Scotch man who helped shape my childhood. If my childhood had an actual shape, it would be something like John Wayne, with cacti and a hat and a pistol in a holster.

She lived with Pawpaw until her death and they had lots of adventures that included finding dead bodies, witnessing shootouts during bank robberies (wow, how THAT must have felt), and rescuing and raising many unwanted animals.

Who do YOU draw inspiration from? 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Easter in the Old West

In the year 325, the council of Nicea decreed that Easter should be observed on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring equinox (March 21). This means that Easter can be any Sunday between March 22 and April 25. It’s a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, but as with most Christian traditions, has plenty of pagan tradition mixed in.

Depending on your character’s religious affiliation, he or she might have celebrated the holiday with a church service, a feast, and perhaps an egg hunt. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and reflection culminating in Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.

Churches typically decorate with flowers to symbolize rebirth, traditionally Easter Lilies, which are believed to have grown in the Garden of Gethsemane, the site of Jesus’ arrest by the Romans. Other Easter flowers include pussy willows, daffodils, narcissuses, and red tulips to symbolize the blood of Christ. 

In pagan celebrations, Easter was actually a celebration of fertility, often associated with the Germanic goddess Eostre, from whom the holiday’s name came. Others called it Ishtar, the resurrection of Tammuz, another pagan god. At any rate, the celebration included eggs and rabbits, long seen as symbols of fertility. German settlers brought the Easter Bunny and his eggs to America in the 1700s.

Your character may participate in an egg hunt, or may help decorate hard-boiled eggs for the town’s children to hunt. Eggs were also part of the Christian tradition because they were forbidden during Lent in Medieval Europe, making them often included in the Sunday feast. In the Catholic church, eggs are often dyed red to symbolize Christ’s blood. 

Coloring eggs has long been a part of the celebration of Spring. Scientists found two colored goose eggs, decorated with scratches, in the Fourth Century grave of a young girl. Slavic people in Europe decorate their eggs with elaborate wax coatings and dip them into color baths before removing the wax to show the patterns left behind. Romanians use beads to decorate their eggs. In many traditions, it was the woman’s job to decorate the eggs, and men were locked out of the house during this process, less they cause bad luck.

Countries around the world celebrate Easter differently. Italy holds reenactments of the Easter story in their public squares. Cyprus builds bonfires in the yards of schools and churches. Czechs and Slovacs playfully beat women with be-ribboned switches or dump water on them to bring health. The women repay the gesture with an egg treat. Greeks on the island of Corfu toss pots of water out their windows, following the Venetian practice of breaking pots in celebration. They also bake dove-shaped cakes called colompines. Some Scandinavian countries feature costumed children going door-to-door to beg for candy or flowers. 

In the UK, eggs are rolled down hills to see whose egg can roll the furthest. Sweden puts a twist on this by using a tilted roof tile to roll eggs down. If your egg gets hit, you can keep yours and the egg that hit it. In Germany, eggs are set in trees, similar to decorating a Christmas tree, and people dance around eggs set on the ground, trying to damage as few as possible. Egg tapping takes place in many countries. Each contestant taps the pointed end of his or her egg against the pointed end of their competitor’s. The egg that doesn’t break wins. In Mexico, hollowed-out eggs are filled with confetti and can be broken over someone’s head. 

One thing your character probably would not have had at Easter was a chocolate bunny. In Germany, chocolate bunnies were made and sold (and eaten) in large quantities before 1900, but a mid-1800 attempt by Whitman Chocolate to market them in America failed. It was only after 1900 that chocolate bunnies gained popularity in the United States.

Happy Easter!

J.E.S. Hays

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Ranger Jim's Ramblings for April

First, Happy Easter or Happy Passover!

Time for a quick recap of common misconceptions about the Texas Rangers.

The Rangres were established in 1823, not 1835.
The early Rangers did include Mexicans, other Hispanics,  Native American Indians, and even  a few blacks. It wasn't until after the Civil War that the Rangers became and all white outfit. Even then, they still had a few Mexican ancestry Rangers, and blacks served as scouts and camp helpers.
The early Rangers were all volunteers. Once the danger was over, they went back to their jobs, farming, ranching, bankers,  lawyers, store clerks, even preachers and rabbis.

The Rangers didn't wear badges until at least the late 1880s or early 1990s. The first authenticated Ranger badges are from that period. Even after that, they still had no official badge until 1935.

The Rangers didn't wear uniforms. Technically, they still don't, although they do have a strict dress code.

The Rangers could be just as ruthless as the men they were chasing. Since it was  a matter of survival, they had to be. If a Ranger had a chance to drop a killer, or even a lesser criminal, such as a bank robber or horse thief, by shooting his quarry in the back without warning, he would, without hesitation.

There are no known instances of a Ranger getting into a Hollywood style showdown. A Ranger would already have hss gun drawn before arresting an outlaw.

Many Rangers started out on the wrong side of the law. A few went to the wrong side of the law after they left the Rangers.

Sadly, for us writers of Ranger novles, frontier Rangers rarely worked alone. They generally patrolled in troops.

That's the basic list. There are a few more, minor ones.

Ranger Jim

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dorothy A. Bell author of Oregon Historical romance, my blog for all my books and all about me at https://dabellm3.
 On the Western Fictioner's blog today
Cowboys, and most folks during Victorian times, didn’t use a lot of curse words, especially in front of the women folk. They got their point across using colorful, imaginative words and phrases to describe events, express their opinions and reactions to people, and the world around them. I’ve complied a short list of some of my favorites.
A bungler, or one who does things clumsily
A fraud or cheat
Gullyfluff: The waste — coagulated dust, crumbs, and hair — which accumulates imperceptibly in the pockets of schoolboys.
Hobbadehoy: A youth who has ceased to regard himself as a boy, and is not yet regarded as a man.
Hugger-mugger: Underhand, sneaking. Also, “in a state of hugger-mugger” means to be muddled.
Job’s Turkey: “As poor as Job’s turkey” — as thin and as badly fed as that ill-conditioned and imaginary bird.
Arkansas Toothpick - a long, sharp knife
Beat the Dutch - if that don't beat all
Lucifers – matches
Skedaddle - run away, escape
Sparking - courting a girl
Toe the Mark - do as told, follow orders
An upset stomach or acute feeling of nervousness
Donkey's years 
(Donkey's ears) a very long time. In reference to the length of a donkey's ears. Sometimes abbreviated to, "donkey's".
flog a dead horse 
1. To continue talking about a long forgotten topic. 2. To attempt to find a solution to a problem which is unsolveable
hard cheese 
Bad luck
A cheap, sensationalist magazine
Caboodle – The whole thing. Also called “kit and caboodle.”
Calash – A covering for the head, usually worn by ladies to protect their head-dresses when going to evening parties, the theatre, etc.
Calf Slobbers – Meringue on the top of pie.
California Collar – A hangman’s noose
Candle-light – Dusk. The dance will start at early candle-light.
Catalogue Woman – A mail order bride.
Catawampous –  Fiercely, eagerly, awry, cockeyed, crooked, skewed. Also “catawamptiously.”
Cats-Paw – To be made a cats-paw of. To be made a tool or instrument to accomplish the purpose of another.
Chalk – Not by a long chalk. When a person attempts to effect a particular object, in which he fails, we say, “He can’t do it by a long chalk.”
Chucklehead – A fool
Close-Fisted – Stingy, mean.
Coal-Hod – A kettle for carrying coals to the fire. Also called a coal scuttle.
Coffin Varnish – Whiskey.
Come a Cropper – Come to ruin, fail, or fall heavily
Conniption Fit – A fit of hysteria
Eagle – A gold ten dollar coin.
Five Beans in the Wheel – Five cartridges in the six chambers of a revolver. Westerners often left the chamber under the hammer empty for safety reason.
Gee Up – A term used by teamsters to their horses and oxen, when they wish them to go faster. “To Gee” means to agree.
Head-Cheese – The ears and feet of swine cut up fine, boiled, and pressed into the form of a cheese.
Hellabaloo – Riotous noise, confusion
Hornswoggle – To cheat or trick, to pull the wool over one’s eyes
Husking Bee – A social event in which the community came together to husk corn and to drink. Also called a “husking frolic.”
Lambasting – A beating, a thrashing.
Lickspittle – A mean parasite, one who will stoop to any dirty work
Lincoln Skins – Greenbacks.
Mochilla – A rectangular leather saddlebag popularized by the Pony Express
Mountain Oysters – Fried or roasted calves’ testicles. Also called Prairie Oysters.
Piddle – Waste time.
Prayer Book – A packet of papers used to roll cigarettes. Also called a “dream book” or a “bible.”
Quirt – Whip
Scalawag or Scallywag – A mean, rotten or worthless person.
Shivaree – A boisterous party for newlyweds
Shoot the Cat – Vomit.
Skeezick, skeesick – A mean contemptible fellow.
Skulduggery – Rascality, treachery.
Slumguzzling – Deceiving, humbugging.
Tall Hog at the Trough – Superior, outstanding, exudes leadership.
Taradiddles – Falsehoods, traveler’s yarns or tales.
Tarnation – A mild oath or explanation.
That Dog Won’t Hunt – That idea or argument isn’t going to work. Or, the person saying it doesn’t believe what you’re saying. 
Trig A Wheel – To stop a wheel so as to prevent its going backwards or forwards
Whang – Sinews of the buffalo or another animal, or small strips of thin deer-skin, used by the dwellers and hunters of the prairies for sewing.
Whistle Berries – Beans
Bell wether- someone or something that is an indicator of future trends.