In a book subtitled ""True Stories of Legendary Gunslingers, Sidewinders, Fourflushers, Drygulchers, Bushwhackers, Freebooters, and Downright Bad Guys and Gals of the Wild West,"" Glass (The Sweetwater Run, 1996, etc.) endeavors to set the record straight concerning the doings of Jesse James, Black Bart, and other desperados who had their sorry reputations burnished by an Eastern press anxious for bold stories from the Wild West. He creates terrific biographical vignettes of eight bad-news characters: horse thieves Belle Start and Billy the Kid; card-sharp, liquor-swilling, tall-talers Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane; legendary bandit Joaquin Murietta, and consumptive Doc Holliday (""deadly as a steely-eyed viper, dangerous as a wounded wolf, and by all accounts a pretty good dentist""). There is a good dose of history in these pages, lightly delivered, and in particular how these characters fit into the post-Civil War years (how, for example, Jesse James could be seen as a hero in the South). The zesty telling makes the eight figures as fascinating astheir mythology; the illustrations are as rough-hewn as the stories are polished, with characters and caricatures melding into portraits of the colorful folk who remain part of the cultural fabric.