LEGENDARY OUTLAWS OF THE WEST by Brad Williams

LEGENDARY OUTLAWS OF THE WEST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Williams' eleven outlaws and gangs are less well known than the likes of Jesse James and Billy the Kid (whom he describes in a preface as mean, unromantic, psychopathic, etc.), but probably no more exemplary--and some are acknowledged ""inept hoodlums."" However, you can muster some sympathy for ruthless Pueblo Indian El Chato who personally killed 127 travelers in the mid-16OOs after losing half his nose to the Spaniards who killed his father--and for Mexican Joaquin Murietta who began his killing and looting career after American miners gang raped and killed his teenage wife. Others have no such extenuating misfortune but can be admired for their style and/or selectivity: for example, the ""crazy poet"" Black Bart who robbed only Wells Fargo and never hurt a soul, and who began without even a horse but convinced his victims there was a gang behind him. Most of these hombres were stage or train robbers of the late 1800s though Williams ends with one D. B. Cooper who vanished via parachute from a Boeing 727 he hijacked for ransom in 1971. . . somehow the least dashing of all despite the risks and mystery. Too recent? Anyway, as Williams projects the lot, they're a colorful bunch of desperados.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1976
Publisher: Walck